05 25 2016
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  • On Tuesday, a judge ordered the 78-year-old Cosby to stand trial on sexual assault charges 
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  • The judge concluded Officer Edward Nero played little role in the arrest and wasn't responsible for the failure by police to buckle Gray in  
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  • Bill Cosby faces a preliminary hearing Tuesday to determine if his criminal sex-assault case in suburban Philadelphia goes to trial.Prosecutors had declined to charge the comedian-actor over the 2005 complaint, but arrested him in December after his explosive deposition in the woman's lawsuit became public. In the testimony given in that deposition, Cosby is grilled about giving drugs and alcohol to women before sex; making secret payments to ex-lovers; and hosting Andrea Constand at his home. They knew each other through Temple University, where he was a trustee and she managed the women's basketball team. Bill Cosby's wife refused to answer dozens of questions during a combative deposition in a defamation lawsuit filed by seven women who say the comedian branded them liars after they accused him of sexually assaulting them, according to a transcript released Friday. Camille Cosby was subjected to intense questioning by the women's lawyer, who repeatedly pressed her to say whether she believes her husband "acted with a lack of integrity" during their 52-year marriage. The lawyer also asked if her husband used his position and power "to manipulate young women." Camille Cosby didn't answer those questions and many others after her lawyer cited marital privilege, the legal protection given to communications between spouses. She repeatedly said she had "no opinion" when pressed on whether she viewed her husband's behavior as dishonest and a violation of their marriage vows. About 50 women have publicly accused Bill Cosby of forcing unwanted sexual contact on them decades ago. Cosby has denied the allegations. He faces a criminal case in Pennsylvania, where prosecutors have charged him with sexually violating a former Temple University employee, Andrea Constand. He has pleaded not guilty. Camille Cosby answered questions in the deposition Feb. 22 and again April 19 after her lawyers argued unsuccessfully to stop it. A judge ruled she would have to give a deposition but said she could refuse to answer questions about private communications between her and her husband. Camille Cosby's lawyer, Monique Pressley, repeatedly cited that privilege and advised her not to answer many questions asked by the women's lawyer, Joseph Cammarata. The exchanges between Cammarata and Cosby became testy at times, and she admonished him: "Don't lecture me. Just keep going with the questions." Using a transcript of a deposition Bill Cosby gave in a civil lawsuit filed by Constand in 2005 and a transcript of an interview she gave to Oprah Winfrey in 2000, Cammarata asked Camille Cosby about extramarital affairs her husband had. "Were you aware of your husband setting up trusts for the benefit of women that he had a sexual relationship with?" Cammarata asked. She didn't answer after her lawyer cited marital privilege. Cammarata asked her about Shawn Thompson, a woman who said Bill Cosby fathered her daughter, Autumn Jackson, in the 1970s. Jackson was convicted in 1997 of attempting to extort money from Bill Cosby to prevent her from telling a tabloid she's his daughter. He acknowledged he had an affair with her mother and had given her money. "Was it a big deal when this came up in the 1970s that your husband had — big deal to you that your husband had an extramarital affair and potentially had a daughter from that extramarital affair?" Cammarata asked. "It was a big deal then, yes," Camille Cosby replied. She said she had "no opinion" on whether her husband's admission he obtained quaaludes to give to women with whom he wanted to have sex violated their marriage vows. Her lawyer objected and instructed her not to answer when Cammarata asked her if she ever suspected she had been given any type of drug to alter her state of consciousness when she had sex with her husband. A spokesman for the Cosbys declined to comment on her deposition. The Cosbys have a home in Shelburne Falls, an hour's drive from Springfield, where the lawsuit, seeking unspecified damages, was filed. An attorney handling a separate lawsuit against Bill Cosby revealed Friday that Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner provided sworn testimony Wednesday. In the sexual battery lawsuit filed in Los Angeles, Judy Huth says Cosby forced her to perform a sex act on him at the Playboy Mansion around 1974, when she was 15. Bill Cosby's former lawyers have accused Huth of attempting to extort him before filing the case and have tried unsuccessfully to have it dismissed. Huth's attorney, Gloria Allred, said Hefner's testimony will remain under seal for now. Hefner also was named as a defendant in a case filed Monday by former model Chloe Goins, who accuses Bill Cosby of drugging and sexually abusing her at the Playboy Mansion in 2008.   The Associated Press generally doesn't identify people who say they're victims of sexual abuse, but the women accusing Cosby have come forward to tell their stories.___AP Entertainment Writer Anthony McCartney contributed to this report from Los Angeles.
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Researchers at Washington State University are challenging the widespread belief that private prisons can help job growth in rural counties.

In a new paper, "Prisons, Jobs and Privatization: The Impact of Prisons on Employment Growth in Rural U.S. Counties, 1997-2004," they say that privatization of prisons, in fact, often has a negative impact on their host counties.

"What we found is that when a new prison opens in a rural county, they tend to have fewer jobs instead of more," says Gregory Hooks, a WSU sociology professor. "There is no evidence of private prisons being statistically significant in terms of job growth but we did find that states embracing privatization went the other way."

Hooks, along with co-authors Shaun Genter and Clayton Mosher, used Bureau of Justice data to compare rural counties in states pursuing privatization to those that aren't. Over the last 20-30 years, there has been a disproportionate number of prisons built in rural counties, he says.

According to Hooks, proponents of private prisons often tout efficiency and potential job growth as reasons to embrace these institutions.

"When a state government rapidly chooses to build new prisons and has them run privately or turns over the management of current public prisons to private prisons, that sets in the motion the race to the bottom in terms of employment patterns, salaries, total staffing ratios, corrections personnel vs. prisoners and so forth," he says. "Remaining publically managed prisons have to look like private ones or else they're at risk to become privatized. That's very much one of the selling points of private prisons. That's very much a selling point of politicians that endorse privatization. They think that it will discipline and make efficient the public bureaucracy."

Hooks says that there are sharp differences between private and public prisons in terms of salary, benefits and the turnover rate.

The study says that, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, the median annual wage for correctional officers employed by the federal government was $50,830. Officers employed by state governments  earned $38,850 and those employed by local governments earned $37,510. In comparison, officers employed in private prisons earned a median salary of $28,790.

The number of jobs per 100 prisoners is also lower for private prisons and states that pursue privatization.

Gregory Hooks
 

Nationally, the annual employee turnover rate for private prisons is 52 percent, compared to 12 to 25 percent for public prisons, according to Hooks.

Although the private prison industry has grown rapidly over the last couple of decades, the violent crime rate has actually gone down, says Hooks. Specifically, he notes that the murder rate has declined significantly.

"While that number has been declining, the number of people being locked up is through the roof," says Hooks. "I'm be in favor of less violent crime but it's not clear that's what's going on with incarceration. The United States is the most incarcerated place on earth. There are more people locked up in the United States than all of China."

Hooks points to the War on Drugs as a major contributing factor. Between 1980 and 2000, the incarceration rate nearly tripled, despite the homicide rate declining by nearly 50 percent. There are around two million people currently incarcerated and around five million on probation or parole. Most are serving time for nonviolent offenses, many of which are drug related.

Ironically, Hooks says resources used to fund prison growth were diverted from education. In a previous study, he and another WSU doctoral student found that community colleges helped local employment growth in host counties most years between 1976 and 1997.

Besides educating students for future careers, a community college also has the "spillover effect" of creating jobs for staff and faculty and increasing consumption of goods from local vendors, says Hooks.

He notes that community college can be a rite of passage for many and without it, institutions like prisons can fill that role.

"Most people commit most their crimes between the ages of 16-24," says Hooks. "That's also when you might go to college. Community college is one way for people to transition to adulthood and so is the prison."

According to his research, the number of 18-24 year olds grew steadily between 1967 and 1980. However, the U.S. still made investments in education to meet this demand.

The war on drugs, he says, reversed this course. During this period, the number of 18-24 year olds declined. In addition, the cost of education has gone up because of lack of public funding, making it even harder for young people to receive an education. According to Hooks, it can cost a state from five to ten times as much money to lock someone up as it would to support him/her through community college.

"The imagery is so vivid of a country that is making it easier for your transition to adulthood to come with a felony conviction and the stigma that goes with it and a bit harder for you to transition to adulthood with an education credential."

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