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Third World in Vermont    
Monday, February 25 2008 @ 01:37 PM GMT+4
Contributed by: babalu

OpinionImagine this; If your child was very, very sick, with a serious and chronic illness, or your mother or father for that matter, and you were forced for months on end, each new day as unbearable as the next, to leave your loved one behind is the care of an ignorant, impoverished and backward third world country that could offer no treatment; where no care was available - not even privacy or a soft bed where they could lay to suffer.

Imagine further, that the people in the village have no empathy and no sense of urgency for your seriously ill relative. They treat your mother, your son, or your father as if they were invisible, or worse, they systematically throw insulting and vulgar words at them like stones on top of the expectation that they should endure this neglect.

Imagine that you give this village, in desperation, thousands upon thousands of dollars each year that passes, hoping that they will find a way to treat and care for your loved one; something you could in fact have done for far less, if only you could have them home with you. But, let’s just say you will give this village more than twice the cost of care that would be considered a blessing by anyone‘s measure, and still, they did nothing. Imagine that.

If you can create an image of utter despair and blind indifference, of waste and hopelessness, of callous disregard and disrespect, of heartbreak and life altering experiences, only then would you know what it is like to have a loved one with serious mental illness in the clutches of Vermont Correctional System.
It is not punishment; it is not rehabilitation; it is abuse.

I know the kettle has been boiled dry, but I know a young man who has been enduring this “third world” environment for months on end. He has been through some horrible experiences, and in all honesty, I could not publish those descriptions of events unless privately.

Should it really matter that not all DOC staff are abusing their position of power?

Is it completely understandable to everyone but myself - that complaints are dealt with by pointedly making the environment ever more hostile for the one or more inmate who has a family utterly horrified at what they see and hear?

I’ve heard all of the jokes - every inmate claims innocence, but, unbelievable as it may seem to you, this inmate IS innocent. He has, among other things, a social phobia that would have made his participation in the crime he was accused of absolutely impossible! He was victimized, exploited in the first place, unwittingly made to play the patsy, and because he’s a healthy, strong, good looking young man, those people in government to whom I have described his situation seem to find it annoying or worse, humorous. For the past five years, it has even come to bear that the advice and insight I have given to DOC staff, both inside the prison and in the field offices right here in Brattleboro, have been completely ignored and in some instances, even used against this man to draw out the very response I sought to avoid!

This man calls me at least four times a day. His first words to me yesterday were “I just want to go home again.“ His final words to me last night were these:

“I guess I don’t want you to complain about this. I have been thinking. These CO’s must have had a very bad life to be able to act the way they do. Well, goodnight, mom. I just called to say good-night.”
One of the symptomatic behaviors of my son is this blind forgiveness. With continued neglect from the state in providing any care for my son, whether he is in prison or home where he belongs (The DOC has not allowed him to live at home since 2005 - they blame me for his failings) God, give me that blind same forgiveness. We have two more years to go.

 

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    The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they may say.
    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: annikee on Monday, February 25 2008 @ 03:24 PM GMT+4
    I'm so sorry, Barb, sorry for your son's treatment and sorry for what you go through.

    ---
    "Kindness and love being the core of human interaction rather than power and material gain is at the heart of everything worth struggling for"-SK-B
    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: babalu on Monday, February 25 2008 @ 04:56 PM GMT+4
    Thank you, Annikee - you know you've been my rock.
    I have not told my son that unless I can find a supervised residential home for him, he's likely in the bowels of this "system" for the next two years, on top of the five he's already been through.
    The DOC has nothing for him; the mental health system wants to argue his status (is he mental or developmentally disabled?) and Chittenden County doesn't seem too happy to be asked to consider finding a solution. He's officially a Windham County Resident!
    The good news is that the DOC is allowing another "assessment" (yet another in a string since he was four years old).
    For this, he is in a "special needs" unit - where most of the inmates are sexual offenders, and the "special need" is to keep them all from being killed by other inmates. They put any protective case in this "unit". The name of the unit alone is a testimonial to the "what you see is not what you get" factor that exists in the DOC. But never mind the other inmates for a moment; the CO's have some very vulgar and graphic things to say to my son, as they assume he is in that unit for child molestation. They don't have a clue.
    They haven't explained why they've agreed to have another assessment of my son, but my guess is they are hoping he can be "cleared" to be shipped out of state where they can offer the same level of neglect for half the cost.
    It beats me why he can't just come home and see his clinician - but, I can only guess that he was removed from his home a couple of years ago because of his "meddlesome" mother - me.
    I guess I owe them a huge apology for getting in their way! Or, maybe they are waiting for my gratitude - I'm confused.
    But, you know, it won't end here just as it didn't begin here.
    Every system he's been in has failed him - the school system, the mental health system, and somewhere amongst all of that, I have failed him, too.

    ---
    If there is no wind, ROW!
    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: annikee on Monday, February 25 2008 @ 06:02 PM GMT+4
    The systems have failed him, but you never have.

    I can't help but think of the numbers of similarly unfortunate who have no one to stick up for them at all. It's awful to be powerless, but hopelessness is dehumanizing.

    What kind of a country have we become?

    ---
    "Kindness and love being the core of human interaction rather than power and material gain is at the heart of everything worth struggling for"-SK-B
    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: Maus Anon E on Monday, February 25 2008 @ 06:36 PM GMT+4
    ***What kind of a country have we become?***
    The kind of country where torture is okay as long as you can claim it saved American lives. Government has no principles. The Vermont state government has a long institutional history of mistreating the few in the name of the many - particularly the mentally ill and disabled. Sad to say, but it's true.

    -Maus

    ---
    Psyche!
    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: babalu on Monday, February 25 2008 @ 07:01 PM GMT+4
    Ah, the state of Vermont - I was raised to be proud of her - I would willingly parrot my parent's words and give the long list of our ancestry who helped shape and forge her boundaries. Every generation of my family has fought in nearly every war - and now I call them to me and ask if this is what they envisioned for the generations that were to follow?
    And, speaking of ancestry - let me add that mental illness tends to be genetically based; not once have I heard such a story of indifference come down through the family tree.
    They must have had something to be poud of - I have yet to figure out just what that could have been.... I choke on the words of my childhood.

    ---
    If there is no wind, ROW!
    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: annikee on Monday, February 25 2008 @ 07:32 PM GMT+4
    So much for, "That which you do to the least of my brethren, you do also to me".

    ---
    "Kindness and love being the core of human interaction rather than power and material gain is at the heart of everything worth struggling for"-SK-B
    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: Lawbound on Tuesday, February 26 2008 @ 09:46 PM GMT+4
    Barb-
    I understand the frustration you are going through. I have had several
    confrontations with the DOC myself. There is very little logic within
    that system. I think the whole order of "jailing", which really means
    "to warehouse" needs to be addressed. There is a huge lack of
    rehabilitation services available to persons incarcerated in the state.
    And what little "programing" is available, does little to address the
    true underlining issues one might have. The prison system in Vermont
    is much better than some of the privately ran institutions/jails/prisons
    some states employ to house their offenders. But that doesn't justify
    the treatment vermont prisoners have to endure.

    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: babalu on Tuesday, February 26 2008 @ 10:22 PM GMT+4
    I just heard from my son, Laidlaw, who just read the original post. His comment to me was that he didn't see how the post would attract any sort of attention; he said "everyone here is mentally ill, pretty much - that's not news anymore! No one cares! Why did you bother to write that, anyway? I don't see why you bothered to write that!"
    My information about the for-profit prisons is that the Vermont inmates are for the most part, much happier - if one can use the word "happier" - and for half the cost.
    What programs are on the inside? Do you know? I've heard of AA meetings, cognitive self-change (what are the qualifiers; violent offenses?) and possibly programs for anger management? I've heard there is a program for sex offenders, but again, not everyone convicted of a sex offense has automatic entry. If I'm wrong, correct me.
    And you're right; just because I see a man with no legs doesn't mean I should be additionally grateful for the ones I have.
    Yes, they have a few programs, and an inmate must qualify for them, based on the underlying crime. It's not just the mentally ill who are being neglected, then. Is that the point you wanted to make?

    ---
    If there is no wind, ROW!
    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: babalu on Tuesday, February 26 2008 @ 10:26 PM GMT+4
    Excuse me! I mean LAWBOUND!! I must be thinking of the school bus company -
    I apologize!

    ---
    If there is no wind, ROW!
    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: MMulligan on Monday, February 25 2008 @ 05:30 PM GMT+4

    Collectively I call out treatment of the mentally disabled or ill...our “American Gulag”....I think our country should be charged with “crimes against humanity”. You are absolutely right...I had been advocating for years that we charge the people of the USA with “crimes against humanity”...for the disparate care of the mentally ill.

    You ought to read up on what the UN calls “crimes against humanity”...it is when a country treats one group of their population disparately from the rest. Actually, we are involved in a world wide problem...most nations have similar or worst care of the mentally and physically disabled. The UN has just recently set standards and rights for the care of the mentally disabled....believe it or not the UN had no set of rights for the disabled. It was a collusion among nations that the UN never spoke about the rights of the mentally disabled.

    You know the story of “the rich are getting richer and the poor have been getting poorer”...we see the effects of us with the bottom half incomes getting stagnated...the care of our mentally ill has declined in the last few decades as did our incomes. You are with me, if you think we are punishing the mentally disabled because our incomes have stagnated or declined.

    Take right now, we don’t have the money to support the state police budgets in Vermont...they will probably pull the money out of the care of the vulnerable in order to fund more pressing needs.

    I’ve have always told everyone I’ve met...our mentally ill people are our most important population. How we treat the mentally disabled...it’s a sentinel indicator of our collective morality...it monitors how a country will end up treating its population in general. It foresees the future. Believe it or not, the mentally ill are going to save us all...cause we will begin seeing all their tears and suffering some day...and we will all get changed by it.

    You got to see it from the eyes of the corrections employees. They probably haven’t been given educational resources...the incomes are low...they are overloaded...the state effectively abuses these employees with its callous indifference.

    I remember a few years ago visiting a cerebral palsy man in jail...he was in a wheel chair and couldn’t feed himself...he was arrested and was sitting in the Westmorland county jail in NH. The jail absolutely had no way to accommodate this type of physical and mental disability...it was a human rights violation...and everyone including the warden knew it. I believe the jail was almost hundred years old. This began the push for a new jail.

    What frightens the hell out of me...is the magnitude of the “good people” who has accommodated these human right violations. Think of all the people in the bureaucracy and the political system...who knows what’s going on...and are indifference. These "good people" are all of us...we don’t know what’s right or wrong anymore. The typical reframe of “us”...well, I got to have a job and feed my family. I’ve have asked repeatedly...”where have all the good people” gone to in the USA.

    All of us have elevated our economic concerns higher than the value of human life. A dollar holds more value than a human life.

    We are all at risk with our attitudes.

    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: babalu on Monday, February 25 2008 @ 05:47 PM GMT+4
    This country would collapse if not for the jobs created by the problems of poverty. There would be no department of corrections, otherwise

    ---
    If there is no wind, ROW!
    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: NorahCook on Monday, February 25 2008 @ 07:06 PM GMT+4
    Their mental health is our mental health--we are all interrelated. And based on the number of people who are taking mood-altering drugs everyday just to cope with "reality"... well, maybe it's time for the so-called collective reality to shift, instead of people having to accommodate themselves to fit into it.

    Possible to get a meditation group going? That appears at a glance to be a facile answer, but meditation is racking up a lot of "scientific" support. When you begin by sitting down and meditating then answers begin to arise.

    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: babalu on Monday, February 25 2008 @ 07:31 PM GMT+4
    My son would love that idea. He feels he can better "fit in" using something other than drugs. The DOC had him in another "what you see is not what you get" situation called a "co-occurring disorders program" where he was made to comply with a chemical labotomy - using a drug called Risperdal Consta. It was a blatant "use it or go back to jail" situation. In fact, after three trips to an emergeny room to manage the side effects of this drug, I was accused by HCRS of "piecemealing treatment" by a little man who stopped his feet like rumplestiltskin when I informed him that the ER doctor told us my son was likely among a small 1 or 2% of the population who could not tolerate that drug. Over the course of our six month ordeal,however, the DOC was very happy with it; my son was so incapacitated while using it, with severe muscle and joint pain, vomiting and twitching that he could not control; he just kind of sat there in "compliance".
    We already knew he could not tolerate this drug in it's more simple forms - but again, the DOC is not interested in anything we may already know. They are NOT interested in having any "meddlesome" family to deal with.
    Rumple had accused my son, with his trips to the ER, as "drug shopping" HA! My take is that this idiot wanted to show my son as some glowing success of his half-baked program, where mainly, he acted as a CO wannabe and did us the favor of adding to the long list of diagnoses my son already had, the following:
    "A touch of post traumatic stress disorder"
    Well, not far from the truth; except the post traumatic stress came from our involvement with the DOC.
    This came right after my big debate that my son merely needed help with the hour to hour schedule he had to fill out week by week. Most of the trouble he has had with following conditions are well rooted in this requied "document" that had to be filled out one week in advance. Try doing that with ADD, Aspergers (Autism), Bipolar, Social Phobia and Obsessive compulsive disorders. Those are the diagnoses that the DOC now needs to further assess.
    I wonder; will another assessment change his symptoms; will I be able to yell - "It's a miracle; my boy can walk again!"
    When my son is finally able to return home, I only hope I can help him heal from this expereince, and will remember the suggestions here.


    ---
    If there is no wind, ROW!
    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: babalu on Monday, February 25 2008 @ 11:17 PM GMT+4
    And who is Vermont or the United States to point a finger at any other country, then..

    ---
    If there is no wind, ROW!
    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: annikee on Wednesday, February 27 2008 @ 10:47 PM GMT+4
    Bush has caused the US to lose any semblance left of moral high ground.

    ---
    "Kindness and love being the core of human interaction rather than power and material gain is at the heart of everything worth struggling for"-SK-B
    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: Joann on Monday, February 25 2008 @ 07:59 PM GMT+4
    I wonder if you could contact one of our state senators. Do you live in Windham County? The two senators are Jeanette White and Peter Shumlin. I think that perhaps Jeanette White would do her best to help you.
    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: babalu on Monday, February 25 2008 @ 08:55 PM GMT+4
    Thank-you.
    My prior attempts at communicating with our law makers haven't always gone so well; I'm usually at my wits end by the time I begin a communication.
    I will say that Daryl did what he could at one other junction in this ongoing crisis and I thank him so much for that.
    However, last year, when there was a senate hearing over closing the door on disability issues, I was told that Senator Sears did not want to hear a lot of testimony, so I offered none.
    When one mother arrived with an 8X10 picture of her son, and a story about how "the ambulance never arrived", but the police wasted no time in answering her 911 call, a call she had been directed to make in certain cases by the mental heath worker who had been trying to help her son, the Senator, who heads the committee, rolled his eyes and flipped his pencil into the air when she took her seat.
    I have to confess that I do not have the same composure this woman exampled if for no other reason at this point than burn out.
    I know the legislature has some interest, but they seem less interested in seeing any of these issues up close. I don't know that the legislature can send my son home, or find him any residential treatment in Vermont; there just isn't any. I've spent a year searching.

    ---
    If there is no wind, ROW!
    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: MMulligan on Monday, February 25 2008 @ 08:28 PM GMT+4
    All I am trying to bring out...poverty drove eugenics and asylum care...untransparency drove it...and we should be thinking about that today.

    One needs to be reminded that a gilded age was nearing the end in 1927...and we are deep within a gilded age today. I wonder if there is a relationship between human rights violation and gilded ages.



    http://www.uvm.edu/~eugenics/

    ...The rights of the individual cannot be fully safeguarded when he is being compelled to support in the midst of his community the lawless, the immoral, the degenerate, and the mentally defective.... We are beginning to know enough about human heredity, about the working of the sterilization laws, to have a little courage, and to undertake a much needed reform. To make our state safe for decent citizens, to free the taxpayer from unnecessary burden in the support of the hereditary defective, to place upon a self-respecting, self-supporting basis the largest percentage of our boys and girls --- these are the objects for which constructive social betterment measures ought to be passed.

    Henry F. Perkins,
    Lessons from a Eugenics Survey of Vermont, 1927




    One forgets the results of Vermont’s isolated culture and extreme poverty before the interstates and the invention of the automobile. The automobile and our interstates...was an amazing transparency device. Our interstate system...cars... had as much to do with the state of our democracy and human rights, as is our Constitution. You build roads and interstates before you can make a Constitution...that’s a good thumb-rule today. You wouldn’t have had MLK...if we didn’t have the car. We were waking up as we built our interstates.

    I’ll make the case...it was the development of our interstate systems and penetration of the use of automobiles into “all” classes of peoples...that brought out the horrors to the front of our minds with our mental illness care...the insane asylums and mental institutional “crimes against humanity” during the 1960’ and 1970’s.


    You don’t even get close to understanding what’s going on, if you don’t understand this...we were as much as building roads on the territory earth of our communities, as we were building new neural interstates in our brains. We even name today our internet as our information superhighway.

    It’s about bringing into the front of our collective minds...that how you solve these vexing problems.



    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: babalu on Monday, February 25 2008 @ 11:09 PM GMT+4
    Thank you so much for all of your input here - I'm getting an education, Vermont style. This explains why, when I wrote to the office of Governor Douglas, asking for help, I was sent a form that would have been impossible for my son to fill out. (asking for a conditional pardon)
    It also explains the lack of information on my ancestral tree as to the genetic link between the past and the present; the familial link seems to be a well kept secret - the thing that brought Hitler to power also silenced their tongues and stilled their pens right here in Vermont. No Wonder.
    I am grateful for your presence here.
    Hilter lives on, it seems.

    ---
    If there is no wind, ROW!
    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: MMulligan on Monday, February 25 2008 @ 09:06 PM GMT+4
    All I am trying to say the self talk of the mental health organizations...their rationalization and explanations today makes about as much sense as eugenics did in the first half of the 20th century.

    At the end of the day...they aren’t doing what is best for the person who has a mental illness...they are saying we are severely limited by our resources and this is all we can afford to pay for your care...get away from us.

    Generally the organizations and state agencies are terribly overloaded and overwhelmed...they then begin to play this blame game with those that have an illness and their families.
    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: babalu on Monday, February 25 2008 @ 11:13 PM GMT+4
    Yes; and what little meat is left on the bone is fought over with the smartest, fastest or best-connected ones winning the prize. That much has been made vividly clear to me over the past few years.

    ---
    If there is no wind, ROW!
    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: babalu on Monday, February 25 2008 @ 09:35 PM GMT+4
    I should stress that this was in first time in trouble; and that he had been given what is called a "community sentence" and the intent was he serve his time in the community - he's in prison (since Oct. 2006) because the Brattleboro P&P threw up their hands and said "we cannot supervise this kid!"
    However, I had put a few tools in place for them that they refused to utilize. No one knows what to do about him - except me.

    ---
    If there is no wind, ROW!
    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: Maus Anon E on Monday, February 25 2008 @ 09:49 PM GMT+4
    Have you contacted the media about this? Sometimes things are mysteriously resolved when someone is asking hard questions and the answers are "on the record."
    I would suggest calling a reporter of your choosing, and discussing it. If that reporter isn't interested, don't get discouraged and call another one. The story will strike a chord with someone. There may be a reporter out there who has been covering mental health issues, or corrections issues and is just waiting for an issue like this to fall into their lap.

    -Maus

    ---
    Psyche!
    An important semi-colon
    Authored by: Maus Anon E on Monday, February 25 2008 @ 09:51 PM GMT+4
    "don't get discouraged and call another one" should have been "don't get discouraged; call another one."

    ---
    Psyche!
    An important semi-colon
    Authored by: babalu on Monday, February 25 2008 @ 10:17 PM GMT+4
    Gosh; I have in fact thought of finding some credible ink- and every time I begin, I end up just spinning in circles; where do I begin; how do I put this into a nutshell; how do I make sense out of nonsense? the last time my name appeared in ink along with that of my son, he was put into a cell, naked, given a pail, and asked to produce - I mean, how do I tell this to people? That a CO told him "If you want to get out of the cell, tell your mother to forget about visiting!" after they read the ink?
    It's vulgar and I have no way to dress this up and make it look pretty - I have no way to offer an explanation as to why there often times seems to be only one or two voices in print - no one dares to challenge this fierce, yet thin skinned system unless armed with an attorney and the patience to fight for the next four years.
    I'm just his mom - he's a big strapping man who ought to be able to pull himself together and take care of this problem himself! Right? That's what I'm told - by his PO's, his original attorney, every office in the state seems to have their hands tied for one loppy reason or another. I cannot make sense out of any of it.
    Which battle do I pick first?
    It kind of reminds me of a story about Texas and an execution; new evidence came to light, but the man was executed anyway - the reason? The time limit had passed wherein the attorney could enter new evidence.
    See what I'm talking about?
    We can ask for what is called "post conviction relief" and the word is, after a two year wait to get into court, the chances are slim to none that anything will change. A very miniscule number of cases are even heard.
    I am so grateful to find some support here; and maybe an idea or two that will carry me forward in advocating for this man. But, I sometimes think this must be Texas.

    ---
    If there is no wind, ROW!
    An important semi-colon
    Authored by: Maus Anon E on Monday, February 25 2008 @ 10:41 PM GMT+4
    Not to put it coldly, but I think you have to sell your story as illustrative of the broader issue of how the mentally ill, or mentally disabled, are treated by the state justice system. I think you need to highlight the similarities between your situation and Vermont's embarassing former eugenics program that steamshovel mentioned. It's a valid comparison, and it will give a reporter something they can really grab hold of.
    How will legislators and state officials like being quoted in that article? Not much.

    -Maus

    ---
    Psyche!
    An important semi-colon
    Authored by: babalu on Monday, February 25 2008 @ 10:56 PM GMT+4
    I'm just not that smart; I have no sophistication. I am, afterall, a native Vermonter.

    ---
    If there is no wind, ROW!
    An important semi-colon
    Authored by: babalu on Monday, February 25 2008 @ 11:10 PM GMT+4
    But, I am going to try.

    ---
    If there is no wind, ROW!
    An important semi-colon
    Authored by: Maus Anon E on Tuesday, February 26 2008 @ 12:58 AM GMT+4
    ***I am, afterall, a native Vermonter. ***
    Me too. Seventh generation.

    I'm sure you can do it. It won't solve everything, but it will shine some light on your predicament.
    Is there an attorney who will assist you with the legal system?

    -Maus

    ---
    Psyche!
    An important semi-colon
    Authored by: babalu on Tuesday, February 26 2008 @ 02:16 AM GMT+4
    Yep - I see now where stating the obvious comes from.
    I have some occassional words of wisdom from an attorney with the Disability Law Project. They can't take "the case" until we get the big "NO" - but that has left me confused since the intent of the sentence was that it be served in the community and he got the big "NO" back in October of 2006 - they must be waiting for a specific "NO" and they haven't told me which one.
    We have an attorney with the Prisoner's rights (Defender General) and the most she can do (in terms of bringing the sentence back out of the prison and into the community) is wait for this new assessment, and then like me, pray that someone at the Howard Center in Burlington can come up with a "plan" that the DOC will throw holy water on - but given the run around I get from the Howard Center, "the case" will be refused funding for a number of reasons - one being that the supervision, if the DOC is still going to be involved, (and they hold the whip till March 2010), is the responsibility of the DOC, and not to be preplaced by a program like Howard. It's the "not my job" argument, even though a developmental case has a supervision component. The other promise is that the mental Health side of Howard (son would qualify for either side) will see the developmental angle and pass it back off to the DS side, who, remember, has already said no funding; no supervision. No deal.
    How do I get off on these tangents!!!!
    The answer to your question then, is - one attorney who can help by revisiting the Parole Board if I can piece meal a plan that shows someone will agree to supervise this man; and another attorney who can help once we get some magical "NO".
    It all boils down to money. But - wait; aren't they already spending 40 grand a year to tuck him into a cell in Vermont? - that's why I think they are hoping to have an asessment that will clear the way to ship him to the cell that costs 20 grand a year.
    The DOC has got to have known about all of the roadblocks I've been finding as I go along; given that, what else could they be planning, then? they certainly won't tell me anything.

    ---
    If there is no wind, ROW!
    An important semi-colon
    Authored by: Maus Anon E on Tuesday, February 26 2008 @ 02:57 AM GMT+4
    Yes, certain bureacratic types seem find sadistic pleasure in the misery of those who suffer under their tangled web of arbitrary and cryptic procedures.
    I'm very sorry for your son, incarceration must be awful for someone with autism.

    -Maus

    ---
    Psyche!
    An important semi-colon
    Authored by: babalu on Tuesday, February 26 2008 @ 03:26 AM GMT+4
    Yeah, it's sadistic to the core - but as rough as they like to play - they have pah-ritty thin skin otherwise. They cannot stand being asked a question unless it involves a "yes - no" answer.
    In all fairness, I have come across some seemingly decent staff; but from time to time, I have to ask if they just get the fly off the pie without using the swatter, or are they really well intentioned. I do know this; my son is still in Vermont, and they could have shipped him to Kentucky long ago.
    My claim of his special needs then, would either compel them to save or avoid a lawsuit down the road, or they really do intend to try something creative and different with my son.
    Which do you think it could be?
    I am, unfortunately, quite jaded at this point. they, however, would not understand why.

    ---
    If there is no wind, ROW!
    An important semi-colon
    Authored by: annikee on Tuesday, February 26 2008 @ 01:57 PM GMT+4
    Hold on, the cavalry's coming. Daryl Pillsbury's stepping up to the plate!

    ---
    "Kindness and love being the core of human interaction rather than power and material gain is at the heart of everything worth struggling for"-SK-B
    An important semi-colon
    Authored by: babalu on Tuesday, February 26 2008 @ 04:00 PM GMT+4
    OMG - That's great; but now I wonder if I shouldn't give Daryl a "heads up" ... the commissioner is watching my son very carefully; which is why i figure they want to pave the way to ship him out tho the village that wants only half as much as the one here in the state -
    I asked a simple quesiton on the administrative level, and the curt anser I received was copied to Commissioner Hofmann - Any ideas as to why that would happen? Is the Commissioner concerned for his charge, my son? Or, is the commissioner hoping to box us into a place where we have no argument left.
    The last time I had any communication with him, he sent quotes (I have the email) of my previous complaints - as if I had hurt his little feelings somewhere along the lines - then, it began to feel like the kindergarten experience - the familiar "You do too" - DID NOT; DID TOO - and so did you SON!
    This is a man who will work with no one.
    I hope he treats Daryl with some respect; he has none for me.

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    If there is no wind, ROW!
    An important semi-colon
    Authored by: babalu on Tuesday, February 26 2008 @ 03:28 AM GMT+4
    In some ways, his autism is a blessing in disguise. In other ways, it's the root of all his failings with the DOC; but, try and tell that to the DOC.

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    If there is no wind, ROW!
    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: cgrotke on Monday, February 25 2008 @ 09:58 PM GMT+4
    Ahem... writing a story here is using the media... : )

    I'd guess that interested professional reporters might get in touch about
    this... many read the site looking for good story ideas, and frequently
    stories that start here get picked up in print, on the radio, and even on
    TV.
    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: babalu on Monday, February 25 2008 @ 10:20 PM GMT+4
    My, er - apolgies, Chris, for stating in another post I've considered "looking for credible ink" - I actually find this site very credible, just not so "inky" !

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    If there is no wind, ROW!
    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: Maus Anon E on Monday, February 25 2008 @ 10:21 PM GMT+4
    Yes, well so it is.
    But I don't think Barbara will get too far if she calls state officials and claims she's working on a story about her situation.

    This is the kind of issue where print media is more effective than any other form of media. Nobody likes to think of that issue of the paper in which their department was skewered sitting around on their boss's desk until it's time for the annual review. And no one likes to think about the story being circulated around the state and country over the wire services, either.

    I've heard rumors that one or two reporters read the site - but that's no reason Barbara shouldn't be contacting reporters on her own. Wait for someone to pick up the story, and you might be waiting a long time.

    -Maus

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    Psyche!
    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: babalu on Monday, February 25 2008 @ 10:30 PM GMT+4
    I thought I'd have better luck sending information about my situation to people who think they'd like to vacation here - by letting them know they have no safety net if they choose to bring a family member with a mental or developmental illness, unless they keep them on a "leash" - Mental disabiltiy is not welcome here - God forbid they are tossed a bag of sneakers while waiting for the tour bus -

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    If there is no wind, ROW!
    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: MMulligan on Tuesday, February 26 2008 @ 02:15 AM GMT+4
    What I know is, stories are very important social change vehicles.

    If it was my son...I start by writing some stories about what is occurring...I’d try to write or paint a picture of what is occurring. Posting it here is a very good place.

    I write a few paragraphs about a conversation you had with your son...I try and get through your sons stories with what is going on in his life. I would try and characterization a few of the conversation with some of these officials.

    If your son is talking about troubles through phone calls...I’d figure out how to record a few of these phone conversations. It would be OK if he sounded like he had a mental illness.

    If I went to visit in jail...I take troubling pictures with my cell phone. These things are invaluable when talking to the media, government officials and the politicians. There just might be some retribution against your son...but not speaking up is even more risk-ful.

    There are probably tons of parents who are in the same position as you are. They are dying to get their stories out. They are going to recognize similar events as you...then they will reinforce your story and add stories of their own. There are probably tons of similar people as you....and many family member who also know what is going on.

    You got to get people talking about it.
    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: babalu on Tuesday, February 26 2008 @ 02:39 AM GMT+4
    You are right in assuming there are tons of other families; and you are also right that they will not speak out for fear of a very, very real thing called retribution. I do have some letters from my son and also, letters from other inmates who had concern for his welfare. My son has been unlawfully and repeatedly held for weeks on end in what is called "the hole". That shouldn't happen again, but I can't make that promise.
    They do not allow cell phones in the facility.
    I could easily record and later transcribe some of the phone calls, if it would help. One thing my son is, he's very fair, has an inability to lie (lacks the imagination) and is very forgiving.
    He called me about 7 times today - his calls are sweet and innocent. He does not call in anger asking me to give them hell; he calls to tell me what he has forgiven; and tells me about some of the other poor souls he now lives with. He has, however, asked me to tell people what has happened to him and his anxiety makes him worry that I will forget him if he is away for a long time. He just doesn't understand.
    For an example of how he thinks; I told him that the attorney who can help once we hear the magic "NO" has six prison cases involving "serious" mental illness. He later called me and told me how wonderful it was to have found an attorney who had only 6 cases.
    On the other hand, he can tell you how to build the fastest, most efficient computer system from parts and how much it should cost.
    I think if anything, reading his words might give some insight to what mental illness and autism specturm disorder really is - not the baby killing, village idiot thing it's made out to be. Obsessive Compulsive disorder is not confined to hand washing; my son doesn't do that. But, he will get stuck on one little thing; a funny movie line (he has several - one in "matchstick men") and he will watch that movie clip a hundred times and each time, find it just as thrilling and funny as the first. He cannot help it. I would love it if people could listen to his phone calls with me. He's funny, considerate, and tries very hard to figure things out for himself.

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    If there is no wind, ROW!
    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: MMulligan on Tuesday, February 26 2008 @ 03:17 AM GMT+4
    Been there, with these disability rights organization...the bottom line is they are poorly funded...they really are only a hollow shell of help.

    I am going to just tell it straight out...generally these group homes...the employees are poorly paid and have very little professional skills. They are generally run by a private contractor like organization...their aim is to make money. Most of the employees are rejected hamburger flippers.

    I mean for some of these really troubled individuals...you need a really professional staff of well paid employees. The employees go through a lot and have an enormous responsibility. If the care-givers are hamburger flippers...you end up drugging the clients more to control their behaviors.

    What I’ve seen...is because the social service agencies are so poorly staffed...they ignore a troubled child...they watch him get deeper and deeper into legal troubles because of his mental illness...where they allowed him to go into jail.

    I had the privilege to observe a group mentally disabled adults for a few hours...they were northern European....they were really mentally disabled. I want you to know, they were a lot more well behaved, happy and docile, than their American counterparts.

    We will never make them normal again...it my opinion...but I will tell you, a lot of our mental health bureaucracy generates this destructive anti social behavior with the mentally ill.

    If you want my opinion, if we wrapped these troubled peoples and their family in a professional staff of mental health experts...local group homes...who are extremely experienced and educated...these adults would be a lot better behaved and they would lead lives that were a lot less expensive than they are right now.

    When I visited the Westmoreland Jail...I figured 50% of the inmates had a serious mental illness. Defacto...our jails are the insane asylum and mental institutions of the 1950’s, 1960’s and 1970’s...and collectively as a society, we abuse the mentally ill and their families more than we did in the 1930’s through the 1960’s.





    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: MMulligan on Tuesday, February 26 2008 @ 05:27 AM GMT+4
    I am a nobody...but I worked in a group house full of severely autistic children at a state sponsored institution for over a year....maybe 5 children.

    In 2001, there was a severe, severe, severe shortage of these types facility....and similar shortage of educated and skill employees...who have an educated on autism.

    These are very complicated children. Meal time for these children were a nightmare.
    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: babalu on Tuesday, February 26 2008 @ 03:54 PM GMT+4
    After running around trying to solve the problem of "what's the matter with maria?" - here's my take; there were probably some talented professionals in Vermont - I never had the good luck of running into him/her in trying to figure out how to help my son. I have concluded, after years of observation, that what we have to work with are professionals who were at the bottom of their class. In the case of the very first "professional" I brought my son to, he in fact was later stripped of his license when it came out that he had duped the state of vermont into his licensed therapy practice - his degree was not in psychology, but in education. I had brought my son to him on a referral from another psychotherapist, who later was also disciplined for having an affair with one of his clients; another therapist was sued just before that - who had been seeing my son also - for the same type of behavior. Most of them were exploiting either they system itself, or their patients!
    How was he able to dupe the sytem; think about it - the person checking the math also was at the bottom of their class....
    Along the way, I've collected a whole ton of labels - all of them personally worthless. I don't need a label to be able to tell you who my son is, because even if any of them are correct - my son is NOT a Aspie - he is NOT an ADD case; he is NOT - well, you get it. My son is a person who deserves some thoughtful consideration, who deserves to participate in his community - I can tell you what all of his "symptoms" are, but I'd rather tell you who he is.
    There isn't enough talent in the state. Not at any level. The one good person is left picking up the slack for the remainder - and they eventually burn out and then end up in NYC or some other area where they can be paid according to their true talent. They won't waste it here, not in this state. There is not one reason for them to stay here, beginning with the pay scale.
    Reminds me of a grammar shcool principal; I overheard him arguing with a teacher - he said "These kids are not going to amount to anything, anyway. So, why would I want to introduce such a program?"
    Where's the dedication in that comment?

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    If there is no wind, ROW!
    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: annikee on Tuesday, February 26 2008 @ 11:29 PM GMT+4
    There are several issues here- the regular bureaucracy that we deal with in government (lousy in itself); the burnout and resentment of the people who work there and get frustration from all sides; the inability of big systems to accommodate the needs of individuals; the toll it takes on those personally involved.

    I have no answers as to how to unravel all this. It's a large dysfunction that can only be helped by taking things apart and evaluating the whole thing from ground up. But it's clear that reforms need to happen, that it need not disassemble the whole thing to straighten it out, and that with a lot of effort, some push from the public and some help from some dynamic public servants at all levels, this can be done.

    ---
    "Kindness and love being the core of human interaction rather than power and material gain is at the heart of everything worth struggling for"-SK-B
    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: babalu on Wednesday, February 27 2008 @ 12:07 AM GMT+4
    Yes, Annikee - I agree with you. And I think there is a way to unravel by starting with "one". Have you seen the results sometimes, of one positive, creative idea? It's amazing sometimes, how much speed and steam one success can bring to the whole in terms of change.
    I don't think it's something that needs to wait for a new master plan; while all good things take good planning, in the interim; small, but good things, can be happening.
    I want my son and his case to be that one good thing right now. He could in fact, succeed right here in his community. If he can succeed, how many more, with equally creative ideas, can there be?
    But, it takes cooperation and teamwork. Right now, I face some hostility for wanting to use services in Burlington, only because they don't exist here - there's no teamwork there. I have done everything I can to be there for the DOC, for the sake of my son. Why isn't it working, then (not really a question, is it?)



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    If there is no wind, ROW!
    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: annikee on Wednesday, February 27 2008 @ 12:19 AM GMT+4
    Okay, there's an opportunity. We bring it home and deal with it in Bratt, with people we know and who care and have to run into us. We start something right here. It can be done. Daryl's on our side, Terry Martin is interested, we have caring people.

    But where are Sarah Edwards, Shumlin, Jeanette White? 2 days, no answer...

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    "Kindness and love being the core of human interaction rather than power and material gain is at the heart of everything worth struggling for"-SK-B
    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: babalu on Wednesday, February 27 2008 @ 12:32 AM GMT+4
    If we have anything at all in Brattleboro, it is caring people. Caring, and for the most part, accepting. My son could find no better place. He will tell you that himself. He has goals, he can be helpful, and he wants to fit in so badly. He seems shy (social anxiety); is extremely quiet(but has a lot to say), very funny (but not lately) has a great sense of humor(even now) is kind, loyal (he'll take the hit before he points a finger), and if coming home again were the result of the community he lives in, he wouldn't miss the opportunity to show his thanks and prove his worth.

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    If there is no wind, ROW!
    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: babalu on Wednesday, February 27 2008 @ 12:40 AM GMT+4
    I wonder myself; where are those who are in the better position to make a difference? Actually, one of the above hob nobs with this man's aunt and uncle - not that it adds or detracts any weight to the matter at hand - but i do find it interesting. They are dining with the same genetic pool we are discussing here..

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    If there is no wind, ROW!
    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: annikee on Wednesday, February 27 2008 @ 01:26 AM GMT+4
    Just might need a reminder or two to those muckitys, that people know each other, people talk, and they have to run to keep that "power" they covet. And if they do nothing of worth for the people they serve, we can get others who will. I know a couple of people who can replace Shumlin and Edwards handily.

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    "Kindness and love being the core of human interaction rather than power and material gain is at the heart of everything worth struggling for"-SK-B
    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: babalu on Wednesday, February 27 2008 @ 01:34 AM GMT+4
    I think they might be very surprised, in fact.

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    If there is no wind, ROW!
    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: MMulligan on Tuesday, February 26 2008 @ 11:51 PM GMT+4
    Remember, it not just a Vermont problem...it’s also all the states around us.
    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: babalu on Wednesday, February 27 2008 @ 12:10 AM GMT+4
    I'm not so sure about that; although no state has any perfect, total example, there is a lot more happening in other states than here. California, for example, has had mental health and drug courts for a while now.


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    If there is no wind, ROW!
    Diversion Programs
    Authored by: Belfast on Wednesday, February 27 2008 @ 05:24 PM GMT+4
    Just a note on the "mental illness" (and/or "drug") courts-last night's
    episode of NH Outlook (on NH PBS) had segment on 3 such programs in
    N.H. (incl. Keene & Rochester). Realize it's too late & wrong state, for this
    situation-but it's something Vt. ought to consider.

    ---
    "You cannot administer a wicked law impartially-it destroys everyone it touches, its violators as well as its upholders."
    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: MMulligan on Wednesday, February 27 2008 @ 01:22 AM GMT+4
    The thought all comes up...what media resources do we got. 60 minutes, MSNBC, USA Today, Boston Globe or the New York Times....Rutland Herald. Surprisingly one of the best investigative newspapers on the plight of the disabled has been the Wall Street Journal...one of the big wigs kids must be disabled.

    What about governmental investigation, state? Any issues with Medicaid or Medicare...funding fraud or not adequate services for money...how would we drag in the feds?

    We own the congress...what about getting Sanders and Leahy to request a health and Human Service investigation around these issues...I know they will think, do you want me to shoot myself in the foot?

    Now what was that controversy with mental health care in Vermont...the anti trust issues...anti competitive agreements.

    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: annikee on Wednesday, February 27 2008 @ 01:30 AM GMT+4
    "Now what was that controversy with mental health care in Vermont...the anti trust issues...anti competitive agreements"

    Do tell.

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    "Kindness and love being the core of human interaction rather than power and material gain is at the heart of everything worth struggling for"-SK-B
    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: MMulligan on Wednesday, February 27 2008 @ 01:50 AM GMT+4
    We need somebody to talk to us...who is in the information stream. We need somebody with an insiders view....who is in the system and know how they interact...a whistleblower of some sorts. Some times you run into an insider whistleblower...that knows of agency broken rules or stealing money...sometime they can make some money...that’s what we need, is somebody who wants to talk about it.

    Sometime you run into an insider...who is sick and tired with damaging innocent people, doesn’t want to damage the next innocent child...he steps up to the plate, and changes the world.

    At the end of the day...you want an attention gaining incident. I hate to talk like this, but...any dead children or adults, who recently didn’t get adequate services, murder or suicides...that can be connected to inadequate services.

    I see Vermont is rated as C- by NAMI...can we get them to down grade Vermont....how would you get them help? How about unions of professional organizations....I am sure they would have something to say.
    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: babalu on Wednesday, February 27 2008 @ 03:50 AM GMT+4
    The state has a budget busting at the seams. All I'm really asking is for them to allow my son to serve the sentence he was given; a community sentence. He failed that sentence, but, he failed for reasons directly related to his disorders; that really ought to be a disability rights/advocacy issue, but I gather it isn't; I don't understand WHY it isn't.
    He "lives in the moment" he has an impossible time planning out the schedules; they did not try to accomodate this difficulty, and they subsequently and routinely igonored information I gave them that would have helped. Including the name and number of his clinician who would have been happy to assist them with supervision efforts. They never asked. They routinely "suprised" my son; let's see - shaking a can of mace while walking toward him; using sarcasm more often than not when communicating with him; answering his questions with questions; all things that should not be done to someone like him. Like a little four year old, my son would run away from them - they scared him; frequently lied to him.
    He is now more a part of the budget problem because of it; and it makes no sense. I think there are likely many people like my son who could live at home; they have Global positioning technology - among so other things, if this "supervision" is really an issue (supervision is actually just knowing where a person is; don't take the word too literally) ; why not use them, save a ton of funding - and save a life all at the same time. ?
    It's more a question of creative thinkers - where are they?

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    If there is no wind, ROW!
    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: MMulligan on Wednesday, February 27 2008 @ 02:03 AM GMT+4
    What is this? Do they use contractor for mental health services?



    Vermont Nonprofit Home Health Agencies Fight For-Profit Encroachment
    The agencies want their exclusive charter for a $90 million business, saying that for-profit competitors will skim most-easily served clients.

    The Vermont Assembly of Home Health Agencies is appealing to the Vermont Supreme Court to overturn a grant of a certificate of need to the for-profit Professional Nurses Service of Winooski. Until now, the 12 nonprofit home health agencies have been the exclusive providers of home health care in the state.

    The argument is a simple one: the for-profit claims that people are not being adequately served, while the nonprofits say that for-profit competitors will take away the easiest-to-serve clients, leaving them unable to survive, since currently they are required to serve all in need in their respective geographical areas.

    The home health business is large enough to attract attention from would-be for-profit ventures. The twelve nonprofit agencies have a combined revenue of over $90 million and employ over 2,000 staff, from their Form 990 reports (eleven of the twelve were found; the twelfth may be under a different name or organized under a different section). A summary of the Form 990 data is here (PDF, 68 Kb), showing for each agency the revenue, director compensation, total administrative staff compensation, and number of staff.


    Here are the agencies:
    VNA of Chittenden and Grand Isle Counties EIN 03-0179603 Form 990
    VNA and Hospice of Vermont and New Hampshire EIN 03-6006494 Form 990
    Central Vermont Home Health & Hospice EIN 03-0186089 Form 990
    Rutland Area VNA & Hospice EIN 03-0185024 Form 990
    Franklin County Home Health Agency EIN 23-7076401 Form 990
    Addison County Home Health & Hospice EIN 23-7032401 Form 990
    VNA and Hospice of SVHC EIN 03-0302664 Form 990
    Orleans, Essex VNA & Hospice EIN 23-7418021 Form 990
    Lamoille Home Health & Hospice EIN 03-0224616 Form 990
    Manchester Health Services EIN 03-0182056 Form 990
    Dorset Nursing Association EIN 03-0217139 Form 990
    Caledonia Home Health Care & Hospice (Not Found)

    The trend toward for-profit home health seems to be widespread. Here is a story from West Virginina about the sale of a nonprofit home-health agency operated by Highland Hospital Association (EIN 03-0185024 Form 990). In this case, the selling organization focuses primarily in mental health care, and the sale of the visiting nurse subsidiary will finance other expansion.

    It also looks as though all this activity remains a bit under the radar. An article from the 2001 Home Health Care Services Quarterly reported that there have been few studies that compared the performance of for-profit and nonprofit home health care.

    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: annikee on Wednesday, February 27 2008 @ 02:10 AM GMT+4
    Home Health Care is for physical illness, not mental.

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    "Kindness and love being the core of human interaction rather than power and material gain is at the heart of everything worth struggling for"-SK-B
    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: MMulligan on Wednesday, February 27 2008 @ 02:22 AM GMT+4
    I know people who work in home health care...health care attendants...contractors...agencies...who takes care of mentally disabled adults in their own homes or group homes?



    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: annikee on Wednesday, February 27 2008 @ 02:36 AM GMT+4
    I do also, and was a CNA in NYC. You don't get those services unless you have a physical condition first. Mental issues often accompany those physical conditions, but you won't get medicare/medicaid to cover it unless there's a primary physical basis.

    In Barb's son's case, there is no physical issue, so it's moot.

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    "Kindness and love being the core of human interaction rather than power and material gain is at the heart of everything worth struggling for"-SK-B
    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: babalu on Wednesday, February 27 2008 @ 03:37 AM GMT+4
    And he may not even qualify for developmental services; due to the DOC making him live at Middle House, he is considered to have "lived on his own". As well, having a developmental disability - the word I have from the Howard Center is Burlington, is that the Mental Health portion won't want him, either. What a catch 22, then

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    If there is no wind, ROW!
    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: MMulligan on Wednesday, February 27 2008 @ 03:00 AM GMT+4
    My wife is a special Ed administrator in the Keene school system...she just crinkled her face at me with disgust....she just told me you don’t have a clue with the definitions of mental illness, developmental delayed and a communication disorders....which autism is a communication and sensory disorder. That is, she was crinkling her face and talking about “me”. She thinks I am pathetic.

    Everything is definitions and words with professional people.



    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: babalu on Wednesday, February 27 2008 @ 03:34 AM GMT+4
    You're OK. You don't need to "know" to care; and you obviously care. Thanks for caring.

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    If there is no wind, ROW!
    How do we measure cruel and unusual;
    Authored by: babalu on Wednesday, February 27 2008 @ 01:05 PM GMT+4
    What ever resulted from past discussions on using global positioning technology as a tool for releasing certain inmates back into their communities? The FSU unit (Field Supervision) of the DOC, functions in large part as a human version of global positioning. I’ve never seen a satellite shake a can of mace, aim a taser, or sling a series of insults, threats or serious misinformation that would cause the level of alarm and fear, anxiety and “fight or flight” response that the human version so recklessly creates.
    And, why wouldn’t the eighth amendment be able to address this reality in Vermont; that it is unquestionably, cruel and unusual punishment to incarcerate, with no treatment, little to non-existent staff training and questionable use of some antiquated and dangerous drugs along with tactics such as “the hole” people such as my son, who go in with absolutely no support services to succeed, even behind the cement walls that conceal them ever more from that support?
    These are all questions I’ve been asking for a long time now.
    Why is Vermont so intent on holding my son until he is so traumatized that there is less and less hope, as each day passes, of his ability to appropriately internalize and respond to this experience in any productive or meaningful way? Who, exactly, will they be giving back to me in 2010? Can they tell me?
    All of this - for a pair of dirty sneakers, and a check for 150.00 - neither of which had been initiated by him as someone acting alone with criminal intent, but by others (who have subsequently gone to prison, but for other crimes) who gave him some very specific instructions in response to his loyal, trusting and neurologically blinded obedience?

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    If there is no wind, ROW!
    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: MMulligan on Wednesday, February 27 2008 @ 02:34 PM GMT+4
    I am sorry, I was trying to be humorous about my wife last might. I was repeatedly pumping her about what she knows about the system...she had a long day...and she was getting irritated at me. She was just getting ready to go to bed. If I offended you last night or your situation...I am sorry.
    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: MMulligan on Wednesday, February 27 2008 @ 04:02 PM GMT+4
    Barbra,

    Do you think poverty played a role in your son’s situation: Child poverty spikes in area
    By HOWARD WEISS-TISMAN, Reformer Staff

    http://www.reformer.com/headlines/ci_8375574

    Wednesday, February 27
    BRATTLEBORO -- Child poverty rates inched up in many Windham County schools this year, according to data released by the Vermont Department of Education, Tuesday.

    What kind of work or jobs did your son do when he lived in the community?

    Thanks,

    mike


    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: babalu on Wednesday, February 27 2008 @ 05:51 PM GMT+4
    My son had a number of failed employment attempts as he needs, on an ongoing basis, an advocate to help with communication as he misreads others and others misread him routinely. This is due to a combination of his social phobia, resulting anxiety, and the Aspergers.
    He needs a lot of feedback throughout any given day. No employer has the time.
    His goal is to become a member of the geek squad or something close to it - he loves computers and figures he wouldn't have to necessarily be the one who had to talk to the customer. He's a little odd; if he were rich, we'd call him eccentric.
    Has poverty played a role? Yep. Of course it does. How many wealthy people have you met in prison?It's the poverty of this state, and the fact that I don't have the 100 grand to put him in a private program that has every little support he would need, if in fact, a program would be a requirement. (Right here in vermont!) It would take five years of my income, and I am not working in order to give my remote support; which not only helps my son, but helps the DOC, whether they want to acknowledge that or not.
    This in state program could be recreated, though, with community support and piecing together what already exists. The biggest trouble with that, is that the systems in the state do not coordinate or share information. There wouldn't be enough time in the day to do it for them, or I would. I have tried my best, but with the DOC unwilling to listen, it matters little how may pieces I put there because in the end; they have a program designed for neurotypical, criminal or not, and he therfore "fails" in jumping through their hoops.

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    If there is no wind, ROW!
    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: MMulligan on Wednesday, February 27 2008 @ 10:16 PM GMT+4
    Barbra,

    What would his school records look like...what would his teachers and administrators say about him.


    Thansk,

    mike
    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: babalu on Thursday, February 28 2008 @ 01:12 AM GMT+4
    I can't speak for other people, but can tell you that in grade school, for three years,he qualified for Chapter1 services. Chapter one was not as intensive a "plan" as an IEP - tests for learning disabilities found nothing specific, but he did place in the grey area ("there's something but we don't have a label for it" area.
    CAT Tests scores ranged below average in some subject, above in others. (again, grade school; not much for high school as he didn't go beyond ninth grade; he just couldn't handle the social stress and failed at all his classes).
    He obtained a GED without much preparation, however.
    Has anyone read the Amelia Bedelia stories? It's simple misunderstandings that make no sense to anyone who observes them - the paradox is, how can someone as bright as my son, misunderstand the most simple of instruction?
    It isn't his brain as a whole - it's a part of his brain, and a part that for the rest of us works quickly and automatically - that isn't working properly for him.
    He cannot read body language well - so, when a preson smiles at him, combined even with language, he has a hard time telling if they are happy, sarcastic, or teasing or playing a joke on him. Facial and body expressions can create a great deal of anxiety for him. That would happen for any of us. A huge percentage of our communication is done through body language - and a lesser percent through our words. He has difficulty with both forms of communication. Not impossible; just difficult. Not every minute of every day, but frequently every day.
    Also, once his anxiety spikes, forget it. He can't process anything after that. He meltsdown - runs away, exits the room. He just can't handle it without help.

    ---
    If there is no wind, ROW!
    TO QUOTE AN OFFICER:
    Authored by: babalu on Thursday, February 28 2008 @ 01:36 AM GMT+4
    I have a copy of a "letter to the editor" published in the Rutland Herald, on April 9th, 2004, Written by a former DOC employee.
    Here are a couple of quotes -

    "I worked for the DOC for almost two years. It was the worst two years of my life. I left willingly and on my own accord, but not without the scars DOC left me with. I stood up for what I believed, was knocked down time and time again but kept fighting"
    "Mentally ill patients are the officers' entertainment. People in closed custody their puppets. The inmates girlfriends, wives or daughtes were the officers prey. It's a game to these officers; they want to see how much they can get away with"

    Do the math. 2004 - 2008. How much has in fact, changed?

    ---
    If there is no wind, ROW!
    TO QUOTE AN OFFICER:
    Authored by: annikee on Thursday, February 28 2008 @ 04:14 AM GMT+4
    Sadly, this doesn't surprise me. I lived with an MD in my early 20s and he and his peers had the same attitude about the mentally ill. It sickened me to hear them talk.

    It also doesn't surprise me that inmates who see this happen don't make a point of complaining about this behavior, because if they did, they'd get hell, too.

    ---
    "Kindness and love being the core of human interaction rather than power and material gain is at the heart of everything worth struggling for"-SK-B
    TO QUOTE INMATE "D":
    Authored by: babalu on Thursday, February 28 2008 @ 11:48 AM GMT+4
    Inmates fear retribution. It's a fact; it's their reality. The DOC easily dismisses their complaints by reminding us "these are criminals". However, if an inmate has information that helps the DOC in any way, we are not reminded of that. Suddenly, then inmate is take seriously by the DOC.
    When an offender goes into prison, he may not initially realize that those on the outside, who had so-called "supervised" them in the community, freely express opinion and hatred to those who supervise these men on the inside and there begins a chain of evil actions. Then the "fun" begins.
    There had been a long list of complaints last year about the efforts of one supervisor/caseworker, who sought to "prove" my passive son was violent.
    The object was to create a situation where, if my son had been given an opportunity to see the parole board ,the only decent participants of this broken system, they could passively "show" he was a threat to society because of numerous disciplinary issues and that would cause the board to deny him release. Unknown to this caseworker was the fact that my son won't defend himself in any physical way - as a result, he's had black eyes (two at a time!) broken ribs and just like in grade school, the object of every bully who wants a shot at him.
    This caseworker, whose job security is a given, incited as many other inmates against my son as he could, with not one concern of his motives being quesitoned. Other CO's jumped on board. It's sadistically fun for them.
    This lack of self-defense from my son is hard for some people to believe - he's well over six feet tall and healthy. He can look formidable, but he's an easy mark. But, suddenly, three inmates at a time decided to "help" the caseworker in his quest to show how "violent" my son was, by provoking fights. My son was victimized wholly and completely, and then, not ever having taken a swing in his own defense, was thrown in "the hole" for weeks on end.
    This is nothing better than the prisoner abuse at prisoners at Abu Ghraib. - Yet here it is, right in VERMONT! Right under our noses.
    Another inmate wrote me last year (a number of them wrote me)
    To quote:
    "I witnessed what they did to Justin the day they sent him to Delta (Note: Delta is "the hole" solitary confinement) This is just one of a long list of things they did to him"
    "The guards always try to push buttons, expically McDuffy + case worker E.H."
    "If they want you locked in, they will find ways to get you locked in"
    "Let me just say this we all know jail is very hard on your mental state even for a person who is 100% sane."
    Outside investigations are the only ones that show this kind of evil as it exists within the DOC. It does no good to have a few good staff, and there are some who care; but, like the CO who wrote to the paper four years ago - the good ones cannot change things or bring a stop to abusive practices. The explanation is here: http://www.prisonexp.org/
    It's a fact. Vermont is going along for the ride, and it's costing us a fortune, creating new social ills along the way, and is just as criminal an act as any.
    Their ace in the hole on this issue - the DOC has the authority to investigate itself. Wonderful.

    ---
    If there is no wind, ROW!

    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: MMulligan on Thursday, February 28 2008 @ 06:09 PM GMT+4
    I wonder if the 2007 population of 2215...the decline to 2132 in 08...a drop of -3.7%....is that accurate?

    I’d like to see the incarceration rate from city to city, or town to town and neighborhood to neighborhood?

    Why are the corrections funding such a high percentage of the general funds.... over 9%...the third highest in the nation?

    The great liberal state of Vermont...you are the "national leader"...you got the highest correctional spending to higher education ratio in the nation...you tower over the second place winner. You are one of only five states in the nation that spends more on corrections than higher education.

    I wonder what the incarceration rate is with the mentally ill?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/28/us/28cnd-prison.html?hp

    February 28, 2008 11:13 AM ET

    1 in 100 U.S. Adults Behind Bars, New Study Says

    By ADAM LIPTAK

    For the first time in the nation’s history, more than one in 100 American adults is behind bars, according to a new report.

    Nationwide, the prison population grew by 25,000 last year, bringing it to almost 1.6 million. Another 723,000 people are in local jails. The number of American adults is about 230 million, meaning that one in every 99.1 adults is behind bars.

    Incarceration rates are even higher for some groups. One in 36 Hispanic adults is behind bars, based on Justice Department figures for 2006. One in 15 black adults is, too, as is one in nine black men between the ages of 20 and 34.

    The report, from the Pew Center on the States, also found that only one in 355 white women between the ages of 35 and 39 is behind bars, but that one in 100 black women is....

    http://www.pewcenteronthestates.org/uploadedFiles/One%20in%20100.pdf



    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: MMulligan on Thursday, February 28 2008 @ 06:49 PM GMT+4
    I was looking at this last night. They don’t pick up long term bonding of the guards...or the groups.




    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanford_prison_experiment

    Stanford prison experiment
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Jump to: navigation, search

    The Stanford prison experiment was a psychological study of human responses to captivity and its behavioral effects on both authorities and inmates in prison. The experiment was conducted in 1971 by a team of researchers led by psychologist Philip Zimbardo at Stanford University. Undergraduate volunteers played the roles of both guards and prisoners living in a mock prison in the basement of the Stanford psychology building.

    Prisoners and guards rapidly adapted to their roles, stepping beyond the boundaries of what had been predicted and leading to dangerous and psychologically damaging situations. One-third of the guards were judged to have exhibited "genuine" sadistic tendencies, while many prisoners were emotionally traumatized and two had to be removed from the experiment early. Finally, Zimbardo, alarmed at the increasingly abusive anti-social behavior from his subjects, terminated the entire experiment early.

    Ethical concerns surrounding the famous experiment often draw comparisons to the Milgram experiment, which was conducted in 1961 at Yale University by Stanley Milgram, Zimbardo's former high school friend.

    Tom Peters and Robert H. Waterman Jr wrote in 1981 that the Milgram Experiment in the 1960s and the later Zimbardo Experiment were frightening in their implications about the danger which lurks in the darker side of human nature.[1].....









    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: babalu on Thursday, February 28 2008 @ 06:55 PM GMT+4
    ...and still no one has learned a thing.

    ...And that is indifference.

    ---
    If there is no wind, ROW!
    Re: Zimbardo & SPE
    Authored by: Belfast on Friday, February 29 2008 @ 02:28 AM GMT+4
    A good (recent) book is Pete Earley's "Crazy: A Father's Search through
    America's Mental Health Madness", about his son's bi-polar illness & the
    travails & traumas endured in order to get help for the (adult) son.

    Society as a whole (or those who make the decisions) doesn't seem
    motivated to expend effort & attention until someone's already in severe
    crisis (or dead). Then there may be a scandal for a few months, until
    things return to standard operating procedures-not according to the
    diplomatic terminology in policy manuals, but punitive & callous everyday
    behavior towards those who lack "status" or credibility (solely due to being
    broadly labeled "mental" or "criminal").

    Zimbardo’s book “The Lucifer Effect” compares the Stanford Prison
    Experiment with the abuses of detainees at Abu Ghraib & Guantanamo
    Bay. Zimbardo co-created The Stanford Prison Experiment-having learned
    relevant lessons from that (he freely admits now that some lessons he
    was slow to realize), he was intrigued by parallels with institutional
    policies’ (incl, those which are informal/unwritten/unintended) influence on
    subsequent events.

    His take seems to be that setting (environment-which consists of many
    variables) can corrupt individuals, and he discusses the conditions that
    promote mistreatment & dehumanization. People (at least publicly) act as
    if depravity, cruelty, and ruthlessness are so abnormal, uncommon,
    foreign, and unnatural.

    Have read (and enjoyed-if that’s the right word for such depressing
    material) author’s “Lucifer Effect”, “The Past and Future of U.S. Prison
    Policy: 25 Years After the SPE”-and especially “Discontinuity Theory:
    Cognitive and Social Searches for Rationality and Normality-May Lead to
    Madness”. Discontinuity theory experiment really caught my interest, and
    was about induced cognitive dissonance leading to paranoia-but I digress...

    Many people who have autism spectrum disorders write blogs, in which
    (among other issues) they detail the horrible treatment they've been
    subject to, whether in "mental hospitals", prisons, or on the "outside".
    Link is to someone's post (with a passage from "The Lucifer Effect"),
    about how same behavior is interpreted so disparately depending on
    preconceptions of identity/role:
    http://ballastexistenz.autistics.org/?p=470

    ---
    "You cannot administer a wicked law impartially-it destroys everyone it touches, its violators as well as its upholders."

    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: MMulligan on Thursday, February 28 2008 @ 06:58 PM GMT+4
    Barbra,

    Have you ever requested any and all security tapes...the recordings associated with your son....from the state? You ought to request that all areas of the prison be immediately camera’d and audio up and recorded...for the safety of all the guards, inmates, and especially your son.



    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: babalu on Thursday, February 28 2008 @ 07:24 PM GMT+4
    I'm sure they'd laugh at me if I asked. Besides, I'm not looking for a lawsuit or evidence other than the things I'm told or things i see (such has his two huge blackened eyes!) It has been duly noted in reports that my son did not strike back, in that or any other instance.
    Camera's aren't there for inmate protection; I don't think that they are in the cells themselves - otherwise, mainly around the guards and doors, and of course, in the visiting areas.
    But, you're doing great; keep thinking!

    ---
    If there is no wind, ROW!
    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: MMulligan on Thursday, February 28 2008 @ 07:27 PM GMT+4
    Why wasn't somebody charge with assault..."he's had black eyes (two at a time!) broken ribs.

    How come they didn't flip it into a court issue. Boy, I'd like to see the internal report of the black eyes and broken ribs...did they take pictures of that...he must have gone to the hospital for the broken ribs...there is a lot of documents surrounding this?
    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: babalu on Thursday, February 28 2008 @ 07:44 PM GMT+4
    There would be some documentation, but no one goes to a hospital unless they are near dead, near death, or possibly near death. They do not take pictures of injuries, and the police refuse to "investigate" saying they do not have that authority.
    However, the facility itself can and does ask the police to go in and cite an inmate for various infractions of the law. They did not charge anyone for the beatings my son took.
    Also, one has to be careful; the inside "society" can become very dangerous for an inmate who complains. The inmates have some rules of their own. No snitching is one big one! That is what kept my son from telling on another inmate who had tried to slice my son's arm as he slept!!
    What happens is that all people involved, including the victim, are put in segregation and they have a roughly outlined sort of "hearing" and the "sentence" is issued at that time. Usually, the sentence is a specific duration in "the hole".
    There is supposed to be special consideratin in using the hole as punishment in cases where the inmate is mentally ill. But, like a lot of "supposed to"s , they generally do not; and one must take them to court or otherwise make a big, ongoing stink to make them comply with their own rules.
    Sad, but very very very true!

    ---
    If there is no wind, ROW!
    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: MMulligan on Thursday, February 28 2008 @ 07:34 PM GMT+4
    http://leahy.senate.gov/press/200703/031407.html

    U.S. SENATOR PATRICK LEAHY
    CONTACT: Office of Senator Leahy, 202-224-4242 VERMONT
    ________________________________________
    Vermont Editor Testifies Before Leahy Panel
    On Need For Stronger Open Government Laws

    WASHINGTON (Wednesday, March 14) – A Vermont newspaper editor and President of the Vermont Press Association testified Wednesday before Senator Patrick Leahy’s Judiciary Committee about the importance of transparency in government and the need to strengthen federal open government laws.

    Leahy invited Sabina Haskell, editor of the Brattleboro Reformer and President of the Vermont Press Association, to serve on a witness panel of leading media and FOIA experts who testified before the committee at its hearing, “Open Government: Reinvigorating the Freedom of Information Act.”

    “The Freedom of Information Act is clear in its charge: We are a country where we do the people’s business,” said Haskell, who is also a founding member of the Vermont Coalition for Open Government. “And the people have the right to know what local, state and federal officials are doing.”

    The hearing focused on bipartisan legislation introduced this week by Leahy and Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas), also a member of the committee. They introduced the “Openness Promotes Effectiveness in our National Government Act” (OPEN Government Act of 2007), which would create more concrete deadlines for agencies to respond to requests for information and ensure the public has easier access to government records and information.

    “From human rights abuses in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, to environmental violations at home, to public corruption at the highest levels of our government, information about many of the important issues of our time have been obtained through FOIA,” said Leahy, who introduced a similar bill in the last Congress. “But sadly, today FOIA also faces challenges like never before.”

    The committee’s hearing coincides with the third annual national Sunshine Week, a week devoted to creating a dialogue about government transparency and the public’s ability to access information.
    # # # # #
    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: Maus Anon E on Thursday, February 28 2008 @ 08:35 PM GMT+4
    This is pretty ironic, given Annikee's story posted today.

    ---
    Psyche!
    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: MMulligan on Thursday, February 28 2008 @ 09:08 PM GMT+4

    Alright...I think the public has a fundamental right to know that their politician’s and tax monies are not facilitating a human rights violation. I can’t think of a more important question for all of us.

    Generally, whistleblowers' are well aware of the scap-goating of outliner employees who challenges the dysfunction of the organizations.

    The general theme here is...what sets up the “us and against them” individuals and sub groups? How this usually plays out is there becomes sub organization and hidden policies and rules within organizations. There becomes a whole unseen organization under the stated organization. The essence of real danger becomes...if there ends up being a mono culture...or mono style peoples who, end up ganging together to meet their ends.

    What’s been banging around my discussion of Vermont, basically there is still a mono culture...Vermont is one of the one of the whitest states in the Union. It’s a small state and the state politicians and governments are of a mono-culture style. The feeling is the correction department is a reflection of this...that they are a mono-culture. Generally stress and powerlessness makes this whole thing spin toward a human rights violation.

    The question becomes...what’s the racial, gender and age mixture of your jails...what is the racial, gender and age mixture of the correctional employees? We feel that if you have a diverse group of employees...many different racial, gender and aged employees....the better chance that you won’t have a hidden organization under the stated organization.

    We feel that Vermont is of special concern...in that you are a small state, and that you don’t have a diverse population...that this naturally sets-up the ideal of a “pure culture or society”...where you disproportionably punish “unpure people”. We feel this is especially pernicious with the disadvantaged and poor population...such as in a jail. I might make the case, Vermont has a history of when confronted by poverty and economic concerns...the state mono culture tends to pick on non-pure peoples verses a diverse metropolitan area. It becomes just a matter of cost.

    In other words...I think Vermont is covering up the brutality of the non mono-culture peoples and un-pure peoples...you pick on outliner groups of peoples secretly ...such as the mentally ill or developmentally disabled population of people. I think this whole system is designed to hide the appalling lack of resources to the poor and dis-disadvantage population...especially the mentally disabled. Of course, your long term controversy around the state mental hospital...your inability to provide quality services independent of cost...is a reflection of the deep seated "human rights abuses" going on in the state of Vermont.

    It’s a history that Vermont never escaped from! I hereby charge the population of the state of Vermont with “crimes against humanity” and gross “human right abuses” in their criminal justice system and their state mental health governments.

    Is justice defined by the amount of money you can afford?

    It’s a Minneapolis bridge collapse...it’s the crumpling of our societal and social infrastructure. It’s a kind of bridge collapse here folks, we are creating a vast outcast class of peoples, we got an island of people isolated by a disconnect from society, all the bridges have been destroyed...everyone on the island is starving...and we don’t care.


    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: babalu on Thursday, February 28 2008 @ 09:12 PM GMT+4
    Here's the site with all the numbers and breakdowsn for Vermont http://www.doc.state.vt.us/
    Go to the site map and you'll find the answers to some of your questions.

    ---
    If there is no wind, ROW!

    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: MMulligan on Thursday, February 28 2008 @ 09:42 PM GMT+4
    Any reason why that link doesn't work?

    Right, defecto, if you have a mental illness, you are poor, genially you are intentionally isolated from society because nobody will hire you and you aren’t given proper care...thus poverty is criminalized.

    It’s a crime to be poor in Vermont!
    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: MMulligan on Thursday, February 28 2008 @ 11:19 PM GMT+4
    OK, so blacks...in 2006....(.7%) of the total population of Vermont is black...while 10% of Vermont’s jail population black ...so what’s the percentage of the department of corrections employees, as being black? .

    Surprise, surprise....how many other federal holidays are not celebrated by Brattleboro...and that tickets are given on those holidays. You get my point...is this old policy a product of white prejudices.

    http://www.ibrattleboro.com/article.php/20080228180418254

    Brattleboro Parking on Martin Luther King Birthday - Update





    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: MMulligan on Thursday, February 28 2008 @ 11:22 PM GMT+4
    Right, I am making the case that you make outcast on the outliners of your population...the “unpure”?
    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: MMulligan on Thursday, February 28 2008 @ 11:39 PM GMT+4
    How about Colonel Sanders of years back...all of the gender and racial bulling in your high school....lets not forget about the belittling of all those “retards”


    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: MMulligan on Friday, February 29 2008 @ 01:47 PM GMT+4
    Now how much income do the mechanics and plumbers get?

    My way of looking at it...all the direct care agencies are colluding between themselves to keep wages and benefits at a poverty level.

    We generally see these agencies and companies as mistreating and abusing their employees...they have no power to enforce standards...no representation...they fear to speak up...thus the disabled are effective mistreated.




    ��ASP survey respondents report having trouble hiring and retaining workers: 39% have had trouble hiring attendants due to low wages; 40% have had difficulty recruiting and retaining attendants due to lack of benefits

    ��The Children’s Personal Care Services survey revealed that:

    ��28% of families that did not use the allocated service hours did not because they couldn’t find workers
    ��11% said they cannot keep workers




    http://dail.vermont.gov/dail-publications/publications-legis-studies/direct-care-workforce-vt-status-report-final-jan-30-2007



    A Study of the Direct Care Workforce in Vermont:
    Status Report
    January 31, 2007

    Table 5: Average Wages for Direct Care Workers across Job Categories (May 2005)
    Location Home Health Aides Nursing Aides, Orderlies & Attendants Personal & Home Care Aides
    Northwestern Vermont $9.68 $10.49 $9.19
    Northeastern Vermont $9.46 $10.16 $9.20
    Central Vermont $10.37 $10.56 $10.53
    Southern Vermont $9.45 $10.50 $10.29

    Table 6: Vermont Livable Wages (2005)
    Single Adult Single Parent with 1 child Two wage earners w/ 2 children
    Urban w/ employer funded health care $12.02 $18.55 $14.48
    Urban w/out employer health care $13.49 $19.96 $15.56
    Rural w/ employer funded health care $12.71 $18.22 $14.55
    Rural w/out employer health care $14.08 $19.61 $15.63

    Source: Basic Needs Budgets and the Livable Wage, Vermont Joint Fiscal Office, January 2007

    18
    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: MMulligan on Sunday, March 02 2008 @ 12:51 AM GMT+4
    Barbra,

    What do you think about this?

    mike




    House bill begins corrections' transformation

    By Nancy Remsen
    Free Press Staff Writer

    March 1, 2008
    MONTPELIER -- The House sent the Senate a bill Friday that's intended to spark a transformation in the way the state treats non-violent offenders, many of whom abuse drugs and alcohol.

    The need for change is apparent in the findings the House included in the legislation:

    Spending for correctional services is on track to have increased by $30 million in five years.

    People found guilty of property and drug offenses are the fastest growing segment of the prison population.

    Three-quarters of those sentenced for property and drug offenses have a drug or alcohol disorder.

    The bill takes aim at the causes for the mushrooming prison population and high recidivism -- both of which have led to Vermont's spending more on corrections than higher education. The bill sets new expectations that the Department of Corrections will identify substance-abuse problems early, will expand treatment options especially in the community and will develop housing to help inmates transition from prison to life on the outside.

    "We want to make offenders much more likely to succeed," said House Institutions Chairwoman Alice Emmons, D-Springfield. "We will have offenders who will be productive members of the community, who give back to the community instead of being a drain on the community."

    This bill, which passed the House on Friday without any dissenting voices after clearing a few procedural and political hurdles, is part of a package of reforms lawmakers are assembling this year.

    The House already passed a bill that requires inmates up to age 26 who don't have high school diplomas to attend class to earn that diploma. Education is one of the factors that help offenders succeed rather than return, yet Rep. Jason Lorber, D-Burlington, noted that 90 percent of the youngest inmates never finished high school.

    The Senate will take up another facet of correction reform when the Legislature returns from its town meeting break -- a bill that would change probation policies concerning alcohol to focus on treatment rather than punishment. Unless an offender's crime involved substance abuse, probation conditions would no longer include bans on drinking.

    Also, public drunks would no longer be put in jail for their safety if they hadn't committed a crime.

    The bill also authorized statewide use of electronic monitoring equipment -- another alternative to help alleviate the need to imprison so many people.

    The Senate Institutions Committee will include money in the proposed capital budget to pay for renovations needed if the department reorganizes how it used some prison space. A plan under consideration would move women out of the Dale Women's Facility in Waterbury and close it because it is the most expensive prison in the system. Women would be housed at the Northwest Regional Correctional Facility in St. Albans Town. The Southeast Correctional Facility in Windsor, which along with Dale houses female inmates, would become a large work camp.

    Many of these correction reform ideas grew from research and a report provided by the Council of State Governments. The House and Senate have divided up the suggestions.

    "Once all the parts come together," said Senate Democratic Leader John Campbell, D-Windsor, "we believe very strongly we will have ground-breaking legislation."

    The Douglas administration has been working closely with legislators as they develop the package. Jason Gibbs, spokesman for Gov. Jim Douglas, said the work looks good.

    Emmons noted that lawmakers are sketching the big picture, but will only fund a small portion. The Department of Corrections must find $600,000 within its $130 million budget to take an array of small steps to enhance identification and treatment of drug and alcohol abuse among offenders.

    Lawmakers are banking that these small steps will produce better, less expensive outcomes, resulting in financial savings. The plan is to plow savings into more treatment and transitional housing.

    This strategy could save the state $54 million over 10 years, lawmakers say.

    "It's a multi-year proc- ess," Emmons said. "This is an investment to better people's lives and make our communities safer."

    Contact Nancy Remsen at 229-1298 or nremsen@bfp.burlingtonfreepress.com


    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: babalu on Sunday, March 02 2008 @ 02:11 PM GMT+4
    It's a start - and let's see what shape the bill is in if and when it passes. Then, let's see how quickly it's utilized. I don't think we'll see a mass exodus of inmates.
    Work Camps are also a good alternative to sitting about and watching each day drip by....
    Although I feel the GED is a giant step; I hope the DOC is prepared to address the learning disabilities that I'm sure are present in large proportion - but even if they succeed on that, and it's going to perhaps give some rise to individual self-esteem, but these guys are still locked out of a huge number of employment, higher education and housing opportunities that will be essential for any long term success. What good is a degree if it can't be put to use?
    While it's a good move in terms of reducing who is actually selected to serve a sentence in a prison - it's not going to fix much else. But, it's a wonderful start in that it acknowledges that the system is full of individuals who are really victims of the society we live in, and that this so-called war on drugs has never been a war on drugs at all.
    I feel it addresses a few issues for the short term, and I hope that other things can grow from it so that we aren't faced with a shift from overload in the prison, to overloads and resulting failures of the alternatives.
    One good thing would be to sunset a person's criminal past based on something other than than what would be currently available; most of us are ordinary citizens and most of us couldn't rise to the gleaming levels expected for something such as a pardon - I think thre's a long way to go; but, am happy to see the beginnings of at least the overcrowding issue!
    I wouldn't feel too happy just yet; the problems are rooted well beyond having a GED and if the state is suggesting it's anything more than a good beginning, they're wrong.
    Back to some other posts of yours, it's as much a poverty issue as anything else. What can we do to make it more likely that some will never end up in this correctional system to begin with? - that is the bigger fish to fry.
    that can be addressed in a number of other ways; but, like everything else, it takes money, dedication and for me, it's not the intentions, it's the results that count.
    On a personal level; My son should never have been put in prison; he has his GED; and I haven't seen any indication that they will begin to treat mental health or developmental issues either in, or out. He had never been in trouble as a youth; his situation I don't think is that unique.
    I'm happy that the State is finding ways to ease their overcrowding issues, however they choose to do it. I'll keep an eye on this bill -

    ---
    If there is no wind, ROW!
    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: MMulligan on Sunday, March 02 2008 @ 01:00 AM GMT+4
    Barbara,

    Another letter is missing on a word again...sorry...but I caught it on my own, well almost. (humor).



    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: MMulligan on Sunday, March 02 2008 @ 09:53 PM GMT+4
    Barbara,

    Did you happen to read anything about my recent employment opportunity...at the Hinsdale Wal-Mart. The group I worked for 90% of my buddies had a congnitive disability, there was a large rate of past incarceration....3 or 4 didn’t have a high school education. I worked with two 18 year olds who didn’t have a high school diploma. Can’t you just imagine the life they are going to lead....it’s horrendous. The store in general had about 65% with cognitive issues...and everyone lived in lives of stress and fears.

    This concentration of troubled souls in Wal-Mart...that’s when it dawned on me that something much bigger was going on. Our economics has steadily pushing our vulnerable people further and further down the road of inhumanity...further down the employment ladder. They are a lot of Wal-Mart’s in our area.

    This economy around the area just chews our kids up...it is so demoralizing. I see a lot of these kids making $9.00 an hour...they aren’t ever going to afford to own their own home...and they are never going to have any dignity either. Poverty so steals the souls of our children...that’s what I see around here.

    We all got such a huge awaking just up in front of us. It’s going to be so difficult for us.

    I think we need a professionalized “public works project”...you got to keep these kids and adults busy, learning and making money....always heading towards independance.

    To think the market is going to do the right thing...it’s just crazy.
    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: annikee on Friday, March 14 2008 @ 04:34 PM GMT+4
    An update- as of today, the only elected representatives to respond at all, of all contacted-White, Shumlin, Edwards, Milkey, Pillsbury, Bernie and Welch- were Bernie and Daryl Pillsbury.

    Bernie, because he's a US Senator now, is forbidden to get involved by law. But he had suggestions.

    Daryl Pillsbury is knocking himself out over this. He's made 16 phone calls so far, and gotten a run around, but won't give up. He has a meeting with the DOC Commissioner scheduled. If it wasn't for Daryl, there'd be no progress in this case.

    Daryl is who we need in the Senate, not some do-nothing gladhanders who won't deign to return a call for help. How they can call themselves "public servants" is beyond me.

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    "Kindness and love being the core of human interaction rather than power and material gain is at the heart of everything worth struggling for"-SK-B
    Third World in Vermont
    Authored by: babalu on Friday, March 14 2008 @ 05:18 PM GMT+4
    I have received two personal phone calls from Daryl. He made a number of calls to Howard Center, where I have been seeking treatment for my son for well over a year now. So far, no results and the promise that there will be nothing for him at that facility and the only reason they can offer me: "because he isn't a resident of Chittenden County". I've heard this so far from THREE different offices at Howard, starting last year at this time.
    If my son were to be released from prison today (A miracle in and of itself) he would be a HOMELESS resident of Chittenden County - and despite the fact that Howard has programs for even that, I'm told 'there's NOTHING we can do - try the Windham Center - (a short term hospitalization!) they've found a number of very original ways to tell me to go fry ice.
    All the money goes to Chittenden - Windham County has nothing as grand, or even close to the size of Howard. Check out their web site!
    I sent a letter to the Director of The Howard Center, Todd Centybear, on the first day of March; I've heard nothing back.
    Daryl made a huge (and admittedly frustrating) effort to reach someone at Howard who would agree to give me some guidance - from all I can gather from the person who did call me back from Howard, they must have shuffled his call from one office to another, until finally, I got the outright denial from an administrative assistant, who, in my opinion, was purposely offered up to Daryl so she could take the fall when the #@@$ hits the fan. I hope she doesn't lose her job for telling me what the rest of those stingy self-serving horray for us and to he&& with you types have already been telling me for over a year now.
    I was told by the first office I called LAST year, 'Thank you for submitting the application for your son; it will help us when we have to go ask for funding, to show the need that exists" - do you think they'll tell the legislature that they count need that exists state wide, yet help that they'll make available is only residents of Chittenden county?
    They are very bothered by me for asking the DOC to move my son moved to the prison in Burlington; isn't he a resident of Chittenden County by virtue of where he resides?
    About Daryl; He has never failed to respond to a call. I've been emailing the leg. from time to time over the past few years; the ONLY person who has ever taken the time to respond in any way at all, has been Daryl.
    I'd love to see him in the senate for that reason alone; not that he called me personally, but that he called at all. This "problem" belongs to us all.
    The others you've listed, Annikee - are wasting space in Montpelier. If they don't think this is a problem that needs attention NOW, they've got their heads in the sand (or elsewhere) and I don't know who they're working for -
    If a problem like this can't be solved a bit more easily and with a level of coorperation between systems, then, puking out prisoners to save money will only last for a few weeks before the prisons bulge again.
    I want my son home again. Where he can have a "residential treatment program" via the community he lives in.
    His imprisonment at this time is an outright violation of the 8th ammendment; I gather the majority of our legislature supports this violation.
    God Bless you, Daryl, for your ethics, morality, common sense, logic, sense of fairness and outright caring for the people of your hometown.

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    If there is no wind, ROW!