05-20-2018  7:37 am      •     
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NEWS BRIEFS

Raina Croff to Speak at Architectural Heritage Center

'When the Landmarks are Gone: Older African Americans, Place, and Change in N/NE Portland’ describes SHARP Walking Program ...

Portland Playhouse Presents August Wilson’s ‘Fences’ Through June 10

May 20 performance will include discussion on mental health; June 10 performance will be followed by discussion of fatherhood ...

Peggy Houston-Shivers Presents Benefit Concert for Allen Temple CME

Concert to take place May 20 at Maranatha Church ...

Family Friendly Talent Show, May 18

Family Fun Night series continues at Matt Dishman Community Center ...

Oregon State study says it's OK to eat placenta after all

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — First experts said eggs are bad for you, then they say it's OK to eat them. Is red wine good for your heart or will it give you breast cancer?Should you eat your placenta?Conflicting research about diets is nothing new, but applying the question to whether new mothers...

US arrest, raids in Seattle pot probe with China ties

SEATTLE (AP) — U.S. authorities have arrested a Seattle woman, conducted raids and seized thousands of marijuana plants in an investigation into what they say is an international black market marijuana operation financed by Chinese money, a newspaper reported Saturday.Authorities are still...

State sees need to reduce elk damage in the Skagit Valley

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. (AP) — Elk are easy to spot against the green backdrop of the Skagit Valley, where much of the resident North Cascades elk herd that has grown to an estimated 1,600 is found.For farmers in the area — especially those who grow grass for their cattle or to sell to...

Famed mini sub's control room to become future exhibit

BREMERTON, Wash. (AP) — The U.S. Naval Undersea Museum at Keyport has a new addition to its archives — the salvaged control room of the legendary, one-of-a-kind Cold War-era miniature submersible NR-1.Adm. Hyman G. Rickover, the father of the nuclear Navy, conceived the idea for the...

OPINION

Golfing While Black Is Not a Crime

Grandview Golf Club asks five Black women to leave for golfing too slow ...

Discovering the Best of Black America in 2018

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis discusses the DTU Journalism Fellowship & Scholarship Program ...

Will Israel’s Likud Party Ever Respect the Rights of Palestinians?

Bill Fletcher weighs in on the precarious future of the two-state solution between the Israeli government and the Palestinian people ...

The Future of Medicinal Marijuana in Pets

Dr. Jasmine Streeter says CBD-derived products show beneficial therapeutic benefits for pets ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

2018 midterms: An early heat for 2020 Democrats?

ATLANTA (AP) — Look closely enough at the 2018 midterm campaign and you'll see the stirrings of a Democratic scramble to reclaim the White House from President Donald Trump.The leading players — from established national figures such as former Vice President Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders...

Guess who's coming to Windsor? Royal ceremony weds cultures

BURLINGTON, New Jersey (AP) — With a gospel choir, black cellist and bishop, Oprah, Serena and Idris Elba in the audience and an African-American mother-of-the-bride, Saturday's wedding of Prince Harry to American actress Meghan Markle was a blend of the solemn and the soulful.Guess who's...

A royal wedding bridges the Atlantic and breaks old molds

WINDSOR, England (AP) — The son of British royalty and the daughter of middle-class Americans wed Saturday in a service that reflected Prince Harry's royal heritage, Meghan Markle's biracial roots and the pair's shared commitment to putting a more diverse, modern face on the monarchy.British...

ENTERTAINMENT

Reggie Lucas, who worked with Miles Davis and Madonna, dies

NEW YORK (AP) — Reggie Lucas, the Grammy-winning musician who played with Miles Davis in the 1970s and produced the bulk of Madonna's debut album, has died. He was 65.The performer's daughter, Lisa Lucas, told The Associated Press that her father died from complications with his heart early...

Broadcast networks go for milk-and-cookies comfort this fall

NEW YORK (AP) — If provocative, psyche-jangling shows like "The Handmaid's Tale" are your taste, head directly to streaming or cable. But if you're feeling the urge for milk-and-cookies comfort, broadcast television wants to help.The upcoming TV season will bring more sitcom nostalgia in the...

Met says it has evidence Levine abused or harassed 7 people

NEW YORK (AP) — The Metropolitan Opera said in court documents Friday that it found credible evidence that conductor James Levine engaged in sexually abusive or harassing conduct with seven people that included inappropriate touching and demands for sex acts over a 25-year period.The Met...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Trump Jr. met with Mueller witness during campaign

WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump Jr. met during the 2016 campaign with a private military contractor and an...

The Latest: Venezuelans line up to vote in Sunday's election

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — The Latest on Sunday's presidential election in Venezuela (all times local):9:22...

2018 midterms: An early heat for 2020 Democrats?

ATLANTA (AP) — Look closely enough at the 2018 midterm campaign and you'll see the stirrings of a...

Love and fire: Text of Michael Curry's royal wedding address

WINDSOR, England (AP) — And now in the name of our loving, liberating and life-giving God, Father, Son and...

Episcopal bishop Curry gives royal wedding an American flair

WINDSOR, England (AP) — Nothing quite captured the trans-Atlantic nature of Saturday's royal wedding as...

Markle's bridal gown work of Givenchy's Clare Waight Keller

LONDON (AP) — Clare Waight Keller of Givenchy is the master British designer behind the sleek silk...

Sheila V Kumar the Associated Press

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- Facing budget constraints, state officials are moving ahead with a plan to shut down two prisons, including one with a well-established addictive treatment program, despite a growing inmate population.

The first to go was the Forcht-Wade Correctional Center in the Caddo Parish community of Keithville, which closed July 1. Later this month, the J. Levy Dabadie Correctional Center at Pineville in Rapides Parish will shut down. State lawmakers who opposed the closings complain that more than 100 jobs will be lost and the mental health program at Forcht-Wade will have to be moved to another parish.

Louisiana incarcerates more people per capita than any other state, with almost 40,000 people behind bars in 2010, 12 state run facilities and an operating budget over $665 million.

State Corrections Secretary Jimmy LeBlanc said the closings are part of cost-cutting moves.

LeBlanc said most inmates at the prisons had little time remaining on their sentences, so consolidation will save money.

``We're going to be much more efficient in providing the same level of service, but at substantially less cost,'' he said. ``Unfortunately, it does impact our employees.''

Lawmakers attempted to keep Dabadie open, approving over $8 million in the Legislature's recent session. But Gov. Bobby Jindal stripped that money with his line-item veto, saying the closure ``allows the state to streamline the Department of Corrections while still providing the same services.''

The shuttering of the two prisons, which held more than 700 inmates, will move some prisoners into parish jails, where the per-day cost to sheriffs is cheaper than the state costs of housing an inmate. Local prisons are given a $24.39 per diem while state prisons spend $55 per day on its inmates.

Tucked in northwest Louisiana, Forcht-Wade housed almost 500 inmates and featured an addiction treatment program, which provided treatment to offenders in their last two years of their incarceration.

LeBlanc said inmates in the program will be folded into maximum- and medium-security facilities in Bossier Parish while others will be transferred to David Wade Correctional Center in Homer in Claiborne Parish or into a work-release program. The mental health program will continue at the local sheriff's jail in Bossier Parish, he said.

While LeBlanc said some staffers will move with the mental health program or to the Homer prison, 89 employees were laid off. The corrections secretary said 20 of those are seeking to work at the Bossier sheriff's office.

Rep. Henry Burns, R-Haughton, whose son worked with the mental health program at Forcht-Wade, said it was vital that the program remain available because it keeps inmates from relapsing into destructive behavior that could land them behind bars again.

``A very successful recidivism program is so important because without that, unfortunately, most of the incarcerated prisoners are destined to return back to prison. But this program has been highly successful,'' Burns said. ``The atmosphere at Forcht-Wade is encouraging to the prisoners. They know they have a shot.''

In central Louisiana, 220 inmates at Dabadie will be transferred to the Avoyelles Correctional Facility at Cottonport, LeBlanc said, and around 20 employees will lose their jobs.

LeBlanc estimated savings in the first year will be nearly $6 million: $3 million from the shuttering of Dabadie and $2.7 million from Forcht-Wade. He said both facilities will be used as emergency evacuation shelters to handle, for example, coastal residents fleeing a major hurricane.

Area lawmakers questioned the savings, however.

Rep. Robert Johnson, D-Marksville, estimates the closure of Dabadie and the services it provides will cost an estimated $7 million, because the state will have to make up for the offender labor.

``It's a tremendous loss to the taxpayers. It's just a slap in the face of taxpayers because they're going to have to pay this bill,'' he said.

Rep. Chris Hazel, R-Pineville, said he thinks the governor chose to close Dabadie because he's looking to make the neighboring Avoyelles Parish prison more profitable for a prospective buyer.

``I think the end gain is that the governor is paying back campaign contributions from private prisons,'' Hazel said.

Jindal has proposed selling and privatizing the Avoyelles Correctional Facility in the last two legislative sessions, but failed to get support from lawmakers.

Hazel sponsored the budget amendment to keep Dabadie operating, and he said the governor is ignoring the will of both chambers by vetoing it.

``How can the governor line-item veto Dabadie, which really almost pays for itself and really hurts central Louisiana? It's really going to hurt the folks around here,'' Hazel said.

 

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