06-18-2018  12:29 pm      •     
The Skanner Report
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MRG Foundation Announces Spring 2018 Grantees

Recipients include Oregon DACA Coalition, Kúkátónón Children’s African Dance Troupe, Komemma Cultural Protection Association ...

CareOregon Awards $250,000 for Housing Projects

Recipients include Rogue Retreat, Bridges to Change, Luke Dorf, Transition Projects and Bridge Meadows ...

The Honorable Willie L. Brown to Receive NAACP Spingarn Medal

The award recognizes Brown’s lifelong commitment to the community, equality and civil rights ...

Watching Oprah: The Oprah Winfrey Show and American Culture

New Smithsonian exhibit looks at how Oprah Winfrey shaped American culture and vice versa ...

Oregon Historical Society, Oregon Black Pioneers Host ‘Celebrate History and Make a Difference Now!’ Event June 9

Representatives from local organizations will talk about how individuals can get involved in promoting social change ...

Grants Pass man, 39, drowns in Rogue River

GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — The Josephine County sheriff says a Grants Pass man drowned in the Rogue River.Sheriff Dave Daniel says it happened Saturday afternoon when 39-year-old James Dawson tried to swim to shore after his watercraft quit working. He was not wearing a life jacket.Crews...

Some forest trails remain closed long after 2017 wildfire

IDAHHA, Ore. (AP) — Some trails in Oregon's Willamette National Forest remain closed due to damage from a wildfire that ripped through the area last year.The Register-Guard reports the Whitewater Trail into the Jefferson Park area remains closed. Other trails, including some in the Fall...

UW to pay 7K to settle Republicans' free-speech lawsuit

SEATTLE (AP) — The University of Washington will pay 7,000 to settle a lawsuit filed after the college billed a Republican club security fees for a rally.The UW College Republicans sued, saying the bill for ,000 to cover security costs for the campus event violated free-speech and...

Old farm warehouse may be saved as part of Hanford history

RICHLAND, Wash. (AP) — One of Washington state's most endangered historic places is located on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation near Richland. That's according to the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation.The long warehouse along the Columbia River was once owned by farmers Paul and Mary...


What Happened? Assessing the Singapore Summit

For all its weaknesses, we are better off having had the summit than not ...

Redlining Settlement Fails to Provide Strong Penalties

A recent settlement of a federal redlining lawsuit is yet another sign that justice is still being denied ...

5 Lessons on Peace I Learned from My Cat Soleil

Dr. Jasmine Streeter takes some cues on comfort from her cat ...

Research Suggests Suicides By Racial and Ethnic Minorities are Undercounted

Sociologist Dr. Kimya Dennis describes barriers to culturally-specific suicide research and treatment ...


Greece: 2 face racism charges over beatings of immigrants

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greek police say they have arrested one suspected extreme nationalist and are seeking a second as suspects in a pair of attacks on immigrants in Athens.A police statement issued Monday said the suspects allegedly attacked two Pakistanis on Friday, stole a mobile phone...

Redistricting changes headed to the ballot in several states

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling Monday on redistricting lawsuits in Wisconsin and Maryland comes as several states already are considering changes to the criteria and processes that will be used to draw legislative districts after the 2020 Census.In most places, the state legislature and governor are...

States' redistricting plans facing challenges in court

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to block the use of legislative districts in Wisconsin and Maryland in separate cases that had alleged unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering. Instead, the high court allowed lower courts to continue considering the claims.The cases are among several that...


Review: 'Jurassic World 2' leans on nostalgia, contrivances

Here's the good news: "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom " is more fun than "Jurassic World." It's not exactly a high bar, but still a welcome surprise. In the hands of a new director, J.A. Bayona, with Chris Pratt's high-wattage charisma on full blast and a fair amount of self-aware humor intact,...

'Incredibles 2' crushes animation record with 0 million

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The combined powers of superheroes, the Pixar brand and a drought of family-friendly films helped "Incredibles 2" become the best animated opening of all time, the biggest PG-rated launch ever and the 8th highest film launch overall.Disney estimated Sunday that the film...

AFI highlights Clooney's life of acting, activism and pranks

LOS ANGELES (AP) — George Clooney's Hollywood career spans more than three decades, with memorable roles including fighting vampires, playing Batman and drifting through space in "Gravity." But Clooney's other accomplishments, including directing, screenwriting and activism, led to him...


Puerto Rico struggles with jump in asthma cases post-Maria

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Shortly after he turned 2, Yadriel Hernandez started struggling to breathe....

Apple sets up iPhones to relay location for 911 calls

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Apple is trying to drag the U.S.'s antiquated system for handling 911 calls into the...

Compulsive video-game playing could be mental health problem

GENEVA (AP) — Obsessive video gamers know how to anticipate dangers in virtual worlds. The World Health...

Israel PM, Jordan king meet after months of strained ties

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — Jordan's King Abdullah II and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have met after...

Geraldine McCaughrean wins Carnegie children's book prize

LONDON (AP) — British writer Geraldine McCaughrean has won the prestigious Carnegie Medal for children's...

Greek far-right lawmaker arrested on treason-linked charges

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greek anti-terrorism police arrested an extreme far-right lawmaker on treason-linked...

Prison bars
Freddie Allen, NNPA Senior Washington Correspondent

A new report from criminal justice and human rights groups found that the “emerging ‘Treatment Industrial Complex’ has the potential to ensnare more individuals, under increased levels of supervision and surveillance, for increasing lengths of time—in some cases, for the rest of a person’s life.” (AP Photo)

WASHINGTON (NNPA) – As cash-strapped state and local governments shift resources from incarceration to treatment for individuals convicted of low-level drug crimes, for-profit prison companies are following the money and potentially “undermining efforts to treat and rehabilitate prisoners,” according to a new report.

The report published by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), Grassroots Leadership, and the Southern Center for Human Rights (SCHR), groups that advocate for criminal justice reform and human rights, found that the “emerging ‘Treatment Industrial Complex’ has the potential to ensnare more individuals, under increased levels of supervision and surveillance, for increasing lengths of time—in some cases, for the rest of a person’s life.”

That’s because more than 90 percent of people serving time behind bars are eventually released, but individuals who receive care at mental health facilities or in community-based programs can continue to receive treatment indefinitely, “which spells long-term, guaranteed profits for private corporations,” according to the report.

According to the Sentencing Project, a research and education group that advocates for criminal justice reform, 1 in every 10 Black men in their 30s “is in prison or jail on any given day” and 1 in 3 Black men is likely to spend some time in jail or prison during their lifetime compared to 1 in 17 White men who will share the same fate.

A 2012 study conducted by researchers at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tenn. found a correlation between the frequency of substance abuse disorders (SUDs) and the high incarceration rates of Black males.

The Justice Policy Institute reported that treating people struggling with SUDs was far less expensive in community-based programs, from $1,800 to $6,800 per participant, than treating them in prison where costs could exceed $24,000 per year to house them and more than $20 per day to treat them for SUDs.

Criminal justice advocates worry about the impact that private prison corporations will have on those rehabilitative efforts as for-profit companies evolve to take advantage of new sentencing reforms and potential markets created by those changes.

“While many sentencing reform efforts are geared toward keeping people out of the system and/or returning them to their communities as quickly as possible, the financial incentive for private prison corporations is to keep people in custody or under some form of supervision for as long as possible at the highest per diem rate possible in order to maximize profits,” the report said. “This creates the potential for a dangerous trend of “net widening” –  placing more people on stricter forms of supervision than is necessary, for longer than is warranted.”

The “Treatment Industrial Complex” study said that Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and GEO Group (formerly Wackenhut Corrections Corporation), two companies that profited greatly from the rise in mass incarceration in the United States, have spent millions on lobbying activities. Although both companies publicly denied lobbying on “sentencing or detention enforcement legislation,” they have benefitted from hiring former legislators and corrections officials and forging political ties by helping their past employees obtain government jobs.

According to the report, these investments have clearly paid off.

“CCA and GEO Group have turned incarceration into a multi-billion dollar industry. Combined, these two corporations operate more than 158 correctional and detention facilities with a capacity of more than 163,500 beds in the U.S. and three other countries,” stated the report. “Together, the companies’ revenues exceed three billion dollars annually.”

As shareholders cash-in, reports of prisoner abuse, poorly-trained and underpaid staff, escapes and wrongful death suits plague the companies. Criminal justice advocates are concerned that these companies will take those same practices into the treatment and rehabilitation arena with dire consequences.

“While the prison industrial complex was dependent on incarceration or detention in prisons, jails, and other correctional institutions, this emerging ‘treatment industrial complex’ allows the same corporations (and many new ones) to profit from providing treatment-oriented programs and services,” stated the report.

Some of those programs and services may be covered under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), a law that disproportionately benefits Blacks that go without healthcare at higher rates than their White counterparts, because it also covers mental health and substance abuse treatment.

As the “Treatment Industrial Complex” expands, the report said that additional research is needed to determine best practices and to guard against potential pitfalls that would have negative impacts on states and local communities.

The report continued: “When a state contracts with an organization or company to provide medical or mental health care, treatment or rehabilitation services, it is handing over control of an essential public function to a company that may have different goals and priorities than the government and public.”

The report recommended that state and local officials looking at the past success of private companies at administering care in the treatment industry, background monitor the mergers and acquisitions of companies, avoid occupancy guarantees and examine the corporate philosophies of companies seeking contracts.

“Corporations such as CCA and GEO Group are historically grounded in a “prison-mindset” that emphasizes custody, control, and punishment. The difference between viewing individuals in a facility as ‘inmates’ versus ‘patients’ or ‘consumers’ is vast,” stated the report. “Even when rebranded as healthcare companies, their original purpose of incarcerating ‘inmates’ remains.”

The report continued: “Large publicly held corporations should be viewed with scrutiny because they must continually produce increasing profit for their shareholders, often prioritizing their shareholder profits over quality, effectiveness and ethical and moral concerns.”

Caroline Isaacs, program director of the Arizona branch of the AFSC and author of the report echoed those concerns.

“With the profitization of treatment and alternatives, there is a perverse incentive to ensnare more individuals, placing them under increased levels of supervision and surveillance, for increasing lengths of time,” said Isaacs in a press release about the report. “This runs contrary to the best practices in the field.”

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