What Private Prisons Have Done to Diversify in the Face of Sentencing Reform

Corrections Corporation and GEO Group have both invested into offender rehabilitation services


GEO Group in 2011 acquired Behavioral Interventions, the world’s largest producer of monitoring equipment for people awaiting trial or serving out probation or parole sentences. It followed GEO’s purchase in 2009 of Just Care, a medical and mental health service provider which bolstered its GEO Care business that provides services to government agencies…

“The big growth in recent years has been with [U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE] and both of these companies have historically made heavy investments there,” Ruttenbur says. Immigration detainees are commonly held in the same private facilities that contain state and federal prisoners, and a Government Accountability Office analysis of ICE data showed (PDF) that immigration detentions more than doubled between 2005 and 2012.

Alex Friedmann, associate director of the Human Rights Defense Center and managing editor of Prison Legal News, says sentencing reform will probably not affect immigration detainees. “Immigration reform might, but even under proposed reform legislation, detention will likely increase,” he says.

In 2015, more than $2 billion in federal contracts are up for bid to run five or more prisons that meet the “Criminal Alien Requirements” and house non-U.S. citizens.


gos·sa·mer (ɡäsəmər), noun

-a fine, filmy substance consisting of cobwebs spun by small spiders, which is seen especially in autumn.
-used to refer to something very light, thin, and insubstantial or delicate.

From Wikipedia:

Gossamer is an animated cartoon character in the Warner Bros. Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of cartoons. The character is a hairy, red monster. His rectangular body is perched on two giant tennis shoes, and his heart-shaped face is composed of only two oval eyes and a wide mouth, with two hulking arms ending in dirty, clawed fingers. The monster’s main trait, however, is bright uncombed orange hair.

The Gossamer Condor was the first human-powered aircraft capable of controlled and sustained flight; as such, it won the Kremer prize in 1977. It was created by Paul MacCready and Peter Lissaman of AeroVironment, Inc.

The Gossamer Project is a group of specialty archives that, combined, contain the vast majority of X-Files fan fiction on the Internet. In the mid to late 1990s, the Gossamer Archives/Project was one of the “big three” single media fandom-focused archives on the Internet, and remained the largest single fandom fan fiction archive[citation needed] until the emergence of various Harry Potter archives in the early 2000s.

(Photo taken 4/27/2015.)

Abandoned Painkiller Makes a Comeback


Funny how an article about pain medication is posted under Psychiatry and Addictions.

In 2006, in the midst of a growing opioid epidemic, the FDA approved the new narcotic painkiller Opana. It was a familiar drug. Under the name Numorphan, it had been abused in the 1960s and 1970s until it was removed from the market. When injected, the drug is 10 times as potent as morphine.

In 2006, we were in the midst of a growing opioid epidemic?  Seems like for some people, there’s always an ongoing opioid “epidemic.”

And since there are plenty of drugs other than pain medications that are abused, should they also be removed from the market?  No more Xanax or Valium?  I mean, damn, how many people abuse alcohol?  Should we try prohibition all over again?

Known generically as oxymorphone, the FDA approved the new version of the drug — made by Endo Pharmaceuticals — in 2006 as both an immediate-release and extended-release pill. Then in December 2011, the agency approved a new abuse-deterrent version — but users have been able to foil the anti-injection mechanism and have been shooting up Opana.

In addition to overdose risk, abuse of Opana by injection has been tied to a recent outbreak of HIV in rural Indiana as well as a surge in hepatitis C infections in several Appalachian states…

Because the recent outbreak of HIV is the drug’s fault, right?  Has nothing to do with the drug war or the DEA’s war against pain patients?  Lack of access to affordable mental health and addiction treatments?  Clean needle exchanges?  Poverty?

It also has been associated with a blood-clotting disorder and permanent organ damage — a problem that didn’t occur with injection abuse of generics and the earlier version of the drug.

Well, when you coat pain pills in plastic, or whatever these new abuse-deterrent drugs are covered in, you’re going to have problems, no?  Why not also mention problems like how hard these pills are to digest and how the time release mechanism doesn’t appear to work very well?

“There certainly didn’t seem to be a need for it,” said James Roberts, MD, a professor of emergency medicine at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia. “There are plenty of narcotics around for pain relief.

Gee, you’d think a doctor would know that many patients can’t tolerate a number of the legal narcotics that are “around.”  And some opioids work for some people but don’t work very well for others.  But why would doctors want more options for their patients?  Why, thinking about the needs of patients is just utter nonsense, especially for doctors.

The IMMPACT meetings helped develop a new approach to winning approval of drugs known as enriched enrollment. The approach allows drugs companies to weed out people who don’t respond well to a drug or who can’t tolerate taking it before an actual clinical trial for the drug begins.

Independent doctors say that approach makes it much more likely a drug will be found effective and possibly win FDA approval. It’s also cheaper for drug companies to conduct such trials. Critics say the approach essentially stacks the deck in favor of the drug. More importantly, experts say, drugs tested that way are not likely to reflect what will happen when a medication gets on the market and is prescribed for large numbers of people.

When Endo tried to get Opana approved in 2003, the FDA said the drug didn’t appear effective enough in clinical trials. It also raised safety concerns after several postoperative pain patients overdosed on the drug and had to be revived with naloxone. So Endo conducted new clinical trials using enriched enrollment…

Opana is not the only opioid approved using enriched enrollment. In 2013, drugmaker Zogenix used the strategy to win approval for Zohydro, a high-dose, hydrocodone-only drug that was originally approved without any abuse-deterrent mechanisms.

So, hydrocodone has never been approved before 2013?  You know, there aren’t too many people who would say that hydrocodone doesn’t work.  In fact, it works best for the largest number of people, with the least amount of side effects — which many other opioids do not.

The article says it was written by John Fauber and Kristina Fiore, and since they’ve reported on PFROP before, I have to wonder how cozy they are with Mr. Kolodny and his group. Perhaps even members?  Or maybe this is just a version of Fox News for the war against pain patients?


Woman suing former workplace for tracking her phone in off hours


A Southern California woman says she was fired after uninstalling an app on her iPhone her employer used to track her at all hours of the day. Myrna Arias claims in a lawsuit that her boss, John Stubits of Bakersfield-based money transfer service Intermex, fired her shortly after she deleted the app, Ars Technica reported. The job-management GPS app Xora was required for all of his employees.

“Plaintiff and her co-workers asked whether Intermex would be monitoring their movements while off duty,” the lawsuit says. “Stubits admitted that employees would be monitored while off duty and bragged that he knew how fast she was driving at specific moments ever since she installed the app on her phone.”

Arias asserted she was being tracked while not at work, and on weekends. She seeks damages in excess of $500,000 for invasion of privacy and unfair business practices, as well as other allegations.

This is why I couldn’t afford edibles

From today’s New MexiCann newsletter:

Oatmeal Raisin Cookie
Glutten Free
30 mg – $5.25

Glutten (glutton) free, that’s hilarious. 🙂

High THC Capsules
mix oil / hybrid
100 mg per cap
2 caps per bag – $28

That’s $14.00 per pill, while a 10mg hydrocodone is $1.54 per pill, according to this link.  But with insurance, I got 180 pills per month for about a $10 copayment (that’s 5 cents per pill).


You’d think if the federal government was really concerned about the opioid “epidemic,” prescription medications wouldn’t be so cheap and medical cannabis would be covered by insurance.

Thinking of you, April Brogan


It was Daytona Beach Police who arrested April Brogan, a 28-year-old from Palm Coast, Florida, and a mother to two young children. On April 29, they targeted her in an anti-prostitution sting, charging her with “aiding/abetting/committing prostitution.”

April had been in Volusia County Jail before, Rebecca told me. Public records confirm this: On April’s arrest report from April 29, her past involvement with drug court is noted. “They knew her,” Rebecca said. “They knew her history.”

On May 1, at 2:24 PM, two days after her cellmate reported April told her she was dope-sick, April was declared dead…

Volusia County Jail has had to answer questions before about the deaths of women incarcerated there. Tracy Lee Veira died in custody on September 16, 2009, while detoxing from heroin. A woman jailed with Tracy heard her cries in the night, and told RH Reality Check in a recent interview, “It was frightening to hear her beg them, because you could hear in her voice that she didn’t feel good.” …

“To them, she wasn’t a woman,” Rebecca said. “She was a prostitute.”

April went to space camp, her sister Rebecca told me. She was in Brownies for years. She was quirky, “a gorgeous girl with the biggest heart.” Her mother remembered taking her to work with her at her construction company, and that April could recite all the Mother Goose rhymes by the time she was four years old.

In the last year, April had been in a rehab program that allowed her to bring her three-year-old daughter Bella with her, but left the program after two months. The program she was in, Emily Cortes told me, can be hard on women, especially mothers, because they can be restricted from contact with their other children and family members in the first 90 days. “Even in jail,” Emily said, “they can talk to their kids.”

Because April Brogan was ordered to the rehab program through drug court, by leaving, a warrant was automatically put out for her arrest…

Thinking of you, Brandon Glenn


The LAPD Had a Wild Town Hall About the Shooting of Brandon Glenn (May 8, 2015)

On Tuesday night, an unarmed homeless black man named Brandon Glenn was shot and killed by an LAPD officer outside of a bar in the Venice Beach neighborhood of Los Angeles. The incident marks yet another tragic episode in a seemingly endless string of controversies over the use of force by police, especially against men of color.

The incident was filmed, but so far, the city hasn’t released that footage to the public…

Abuse Against Mentally Ill Prisoners Is Widespread


Anthony McManus weighed 75 pounds when he died. In 1997, the mentally ill 38-year-old publicly exposed himself and was put in a Michigan prison with no psychiatric facility, where his condition deteriorated rapidly. He would frequently talk about the devil, and spread urine and feces around his cell. According to a lawsuit, prison staff would restrict his access to food and water in a cruel attempt to control his behavior. As a result, he died—partially from emaciation—in 2005…

Sadly, he wasn’t the only inmate in America to suffer such egregious abuse. A Human Rights Watch report released this morning gives multiple examples of corrections officials in the United States using violence to punish bipolar and schizophrenic prisoners for exhibiting behaviors of their mental illness. This tactic violates both the US Constitution and international human rights laws, the report says…

In contrast, it’s clear that no one at the Michigan prison that McManus died in had any aspirations about rehabilitating him. “Even the layman across the hall, an obvious layperson… could tell that McManus was suffering,” an official said in a deposition. “You could see that his eyes was turning yellow. His cheeks were sunken in, the skin on his frame was just hanging off his bones like clothes on a hanger.” …

Laughing all the way … out of depression


The dentist’s office might be the last place you’d look to find a quick cure for an implacable bout of depression. But new research suggests that laughing gas — the mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen that eases the pain and anxiety of having dental work — may help banish treatment-resistant depression in about the time it takes to fill a cavity…

But it is actually another legitimate sedative-turned-party-drug, ketamine, that prompted researchers to explore whether nitrous oxide might have a rapid anti-depressant effect.

A growing number of studies in recent years has shown that when it is infused at low levels, ketamine has a rapid and powerful antidepressant effect in patients with severe and unyielding depression. As an anesthetic or party drug, ketamine induces a euphoric “out-of-body” high. But when administered to the suicidally depressed, it is thought to be a promising “rescue” drug that offers relief quickly, filling the four-to-six-week gap needed for many standard antidepressant medications, including Zoloft and Prozac, to take full effect.

Like ketamine, nitrous oxide is an antagonist of the brain’s NMDA receptor, a key bit of the cerebral machinery that makes the brain hum. Working together, psychiatrists and anesthesiologists at Washington University in St. Louis, wondered whether nitrous oxide — a far less addictive drug than ketamine, and one that pharmacologists consider less likely to have unforeseen side effects — might have the same benefits…

One day after nitrous oxide treatment, three patients reported that their symptoms had disappeared almost completely, while another seven reported significant improvement. Seven patients reported mild improvement in their symptoms. No patients said their symptoms worsened after treatment with nitrous oxide…


Demi Moore reportedly hospitalized after inhaling nitrous oxide (2012)

What exactly are whippets? Also known as “whip-its,” “whippits,” and “nossies,” they are steel cylinders filled with nitrous oxide, or “NOX,” which is often used in dentists’ offices before novocaine injections or dental procedures…

Glatter said he “occasionally” sees people come to the emergency department after inhaling whippets, but mostly in teens and less frequent in recent years.

Are whippets addictive?

Stratyner, who has no involvement in Moore’s case, said the gas can be psychologically addictive, but it’s “not highly usual” that people would go to rehab for it. According to Stratyner, nitrous oxide is often not a drug of choice for many people, but rather one of many drugs they use.  “If they’re doing nitrous, they’re probably doing other things,” he said.

D.A.R.E. Gets Duped By Anti-Pot Satire


D.A.R.E. still receives funding from the Justice Department, the Department of State and numerous other government agencies and corporations. For the past month, that funding has been used to spread the message that marijuana is a “third world drug” that causes teen pregnancies and leads to “primal aggression,” and to promote demonstrably false claims about people killed by marijuana edibles.

Abolitionist Harriet Tubman Wins Popular Vote to Be Face of $20 Bill


The $20 bill was selected because 2020 is the 100th anniversary of passage of the 19th Amendment that granted women the right to vote.

“There are so few reminders in our everyday lives of great women who’ve contributed to the shaping of our nation,” said Susan Ades Stone, executive director of Women on 20s. “It’s time to correct that and putting a woman on a $20 is like having a little pocket monument.”

The group’s slogan is “A Woman’s Place is On the Money.” …

Sole Survivor by Dean Koontz

The sky is deep, the sky is dark,
the light of stars is so damn stark.
When I look up, I fill with fear.
If all we have is what lies here,
this lonely world, this troubled place,
then cold dead stars and empty space…
well, I see no reason to persevere,
no reason to laugh or shed a tear,
no reason to sleep or ever to wake,
no promises to keep, and none to make.
And so at night I still raise my eyes
to study the clear but mysterious skies –
that arch above us, as cold as stone.
Are you there, God? Are we alone?

(Photo taken 1/6/2015.)