The Marshall Project

The Marshall Project sheds new light on the U.S. criminal justice system

An important new criminal justice resource has just come online: The Marshall Project, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization devoted to criminal justice reform.

The Marshall Project is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization founded on two simple ideas. In their own words:

1) There is a pressing national need for high-quality journalism about the American criminal justice system. The U.S. incarcerates more people than any country in the world. Spiraling costs, inhumane prison conditions, controversial drug laws, and concerns about systemic racial bias have contributed to a growing bipartisan consensus that our criminal justice system is in desperate need of reform.

The recent disruption in traditional media means that fewer institutions have the resources to take on complex issues such as criminal justice. The Marshall Project stands out against this landscape by investing in journalism on all aspects of our justice system. Our work will be shaped by accuracy, fairness, independence, and impartiality, with an emphasis on stories that have been underreported or misunderstood. We will partner with a broad array of media organizations to magnify our message, and our innovative website will serve as a dynamic hub for the most significant news and comment from the world of criminal justice.

2) With the growing awareness of the system’s failings, now is an opportune moment to amplify the national conversation about criminal justice.

We believe that storytelling can be a powerful agent of social change. Our mission is to raise public awareness around issues of criminal justice and the possibility for reform. But while we are nonpartisan, we are not neutral. Our hope is that by bringing transparency to the systemic problems that plague our courts and prisons, we can help stimulate a national conversation about how best to reform our system of crime and punishment.

After only a week online, the Marshall Project has brought us important journalism on the Death Penalty, ending the School to Prison Pipeline, and other essential criminal justice reform issues. SCSJ strongly supports the Marshall Project and all efforts to bring a racial justice lens to issues surrounding criminal justice and mass incarceration.

Post by SCSJ Deputy Director Shoshannah Sayers

using data to change police behavior

Activists Wield Search Data to Challenge and Change Police Policy

Press Clipping: 5 former inmates file suit against Lanesboro Correctional

By Tina Terry

ANSON COUNTY, N.C. —

This Anson County prison has been plagued by violence and controversy all year.  Now five inmates  are suing more than a dozen people including guards and administrators saying they failed to keep inmates safe from violent attacks.

READ: Lanesboro Lawsuit

Those five NC inmates are serving time for crimes like murder, rape, and armed robbery.  In their lawsuit they claim prison administrator David Mitchell failed to protect prisoners, “from assault by other inmates with contraband weapons.”

They also make the same allegations about more than a dozen others including correctional officers and sergeants.

Plaintiff Orlando Harshaw said he filed a grievance about possible staff gang activity. He said a unit manager took the grievance and shared it with “another inmate known to be actively involved with the Bloods.”  He said that endangered his life.

IMAGES: Former inmates file suit against Lanesboro Correctional Institution

Another plaintiff, Sean Smith, said an officer escorted him into the shower and allowed an inmate to attack him while he was restrained in handcuffs.

“They feared for their safety,” said Daryl Atkinson.  He’s an attorney for the plaintiffs.  He said his clients have been transferred to other facilities to serve their time.  He said they are asking to never have to return.  They’re also seeking compensatory and punitive damages and they want major changes at Lanesboro Correctional Facility.

“No matter what you may have done in society, you aren’t deserving of treatment that can render you in an unsafe situation.”

The Department of Corrections said it would not comment on pending litigation.  However, a spokesman said lawsuits by inmates are fairly common nationwide.

READ: Lanseboro Grievance

Channel 9 has reported on problems at Lanesboro Correctional Institute. In November an inmate accepted a plea deal after being accused of stabbing and killing a fellow inmate.

In October, investigators said the administrator was stabbed in the prison recreation yard.

Earlier this year, the Department of Public Safety asked the FBI to investigate gang activity at the prison. Agents took control of the prison because they believed inmates were using smuggled phones to plan attacks from inside.

This piece originally appeared on wsoctv.com on November 18, 2014.

Lanesboro

Press Clipping: Inmates sue staff of Lanesboro Correctional

WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

ANSON COUNTY, NC (WBTV) – Five former prisoners of Lanesboro Correctional in Anson County say guards at the prison helped gang-affiliated inmates get weapons and wage attacks. They are now suing the facility.

The five men say they filed the lawsuit because of their time at Lanesboro Correctional Institution. They are still serving time, but at different prisons. They are also asking never to serve time in Anson County again because of what they say happened there.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are Stacey Wynn, Orlando Harshaw, Sean Smith, Benjamin White and Tavieolis Hunt. They are serving sentences for different convictions, including murder, rape and robbery with a dangerous weapon.

No one is arguing that the men should not be in prison. But the lawyer for four of the men, Daryl Atkinson with the Southern Coalition for Social Justice based in Durham, says they should be safe.

“Irrespective of what people may have done, on or in society the punishment is imprison,” said Atkinson, “The punishment is not to be placed in an unsafe environment where you can be stabbed and cut and your medical conditions can be ignored.”

The stories the inmates have shared, outlined in the 45-page lawsuit, include circumstances where guards allowed inmates to be stabbed by other inmates who were gang members. They even allege a unit manager in the prison provided the weapons, and say a hidden bag of shanks was found in the ceiling of his office.

All five inmates filed formal grievances with the Department of Corrections, which is now called the Department of Public Safety. They claim those complaints were ignored and that they were sent back to live in dangerous conditions.

Some of the alleged attacks are documented due to hospital visits and treatment. Atkinson says they don’t want to go back to Lanesboro. He says the men want compensation for pain and suffering, and that they don’t want others to experience what they did.

“They wanted to make sure that a set of policy and procedures were put in place so other men wouldn’t be hurt in the future,” Atkinson said.

Atkinson says the listed defendants (Secretary Frank Perry, Administrator David Mitchell, Lawrence H. Parsons, Jr., Rodney Mauldin, John Harrington, Jeffrey Wall, Allan Kennedy, Rhonda Jackson, Jonathan Peguese, FNU McCoy, FNU Lawrence, FNU Andrews, John Doe Officers 1-7) will have to answer the civil litigation.

If no settlement is reached, the plaintiffs will have a period of discovery to gather more evidence.

Pamela Walker, a spokesperson with the Department of Public Safety, says they have not received the lawsuit yet. And even when they do, Walker says, they can not comment on pending litigation.

Walker did, however, review a list of the defendants to confirm if they still work for the prison system. Two of the men, Jonathan Peguese and Jeffrey Wall, were dismissed in 2013.

Below summarizes each plaintiff’s current prison term and what he alleges happened at Lanesboro to him.

Prison records show Stacey Wynn is now at Tabor Correctional. Wynn is serving his life sentence for first degree murder. His record lists that he has committed one reported infraction, damage to state/another’s property. The lawsuit states he was assaulted in November 2011 by a fellow inmate who worked in the kitchen. It alleges he was stabbed with a filet knife and struck with a chair. Wynn’s lawyer says he suffered serious injuries that were not addressed properly, leading to a permanent disability to his rotator cuff.

Prison records show Orlando Harshaw is now at Pasquotank Correctional. He is serving a life sentence for first degree murder. His record lists that he has committed dozens of reported infractions including substance possession, sexual act and disobey order. The lawsuit states Harshaw was attacked by a fellow inmate after reporting a unit manager gave preferential treatment to gang members. Harshaw claims on March 12, 2012, the unit manager showed the grievance to another inmate who later stabbed Harshaw in the ear with a shank and kicked him with steel-toed boots, rendering him unconscious.

Prison records show Sean Smith is now at Alexander Correctional. He is serving a 19-year sentence. His principal felony is robbery with a dangerous weapon. His record lists that he has committed eight infractions including fighting, misuse of phone/mail and involvement with gang. The lawsuit states Smith withdrew from a gang after completing a prison program. It says when gang members choose to dissociate themselves, their lives and safety are often threatened by active members. It says in April 2012, Smith told the prison administration he wanted to be transferred. Smith says on August 2012, another inmate took a razor and cut his neck, which sent him to the emergency room. Smith says two months later and after multiple requests for a transfer a guard walked him to a shower with his arms handcuffed behind his back and watched as another inmate attacked him with a sharp metal object.

Prison records show Tavieolis Hunt is now at Maury Correctional. He is serving a 30-year sentence. His principal felony is rape. His record lists that he committed ten infractions including possession of money/unauthorized funds, weapon possession and fighting. The lawsuit states he was assaulted and stabbed two times on March 25, 2012, and April 17, 2012. Hunt says in March 2012 when he was attacked he tried to escape by closing himself in a cell. Hunt claims the inmate on the attack instructed a guard to open the cell, and that the guard did. Hunt says he was stabbed multiple times with a weapon that looked like an ice pick. Afterwards, Hunt says he requested to to be transferred. He wasn’t and a month later, Hunt says he was attacked by two inmates in his cell and then by three inmates in the dayroom while guards did nothing. Hunt is the one plaintiff in this case being represented by lawyer Luke Largess of Charlotte.

Prison records show Benjamin White is now at Scotland Correctional. He is serving an 8-year sentence. His principal felony is habitual felon. His record lists that he committed eight infractions including profane language, involvement with a gang and assaulting a person with weapon. The lawsuit states White was attacked by several inmates who were allowed to enter his cellblock by guards and officers who supplied the weapons. White alleges the five attackers are gang-affiliated and that they sent him to the hospital with a cut on the left side of his face from his ear to his chin that required 16 sutures to repair.

This article originally ran on WTBT on November 18, 2014. Reporting by Pamela Escobar.

Lanesboro

SCSJ Files Suit Challenging Mistreatment at Lanesboro Correctional

Five men formerly held at Lanesboro Correction Institution in Anson County, NC have filed a federal lawsuit alleging that officers repeatedly helped gang-affiliated inmates get weapons and wage attacks. Plaintiffs in the case allege that they were violently assaulted by fellow prisoners wielding contraband weapons, and that corrections staff were aware of these attacks and refused to intervene or move the plaintiffs to safer quarters. The Lanesboro Complaint is available here.

“This case is about protecting the human rights and dignity of people who were held in Lanesboro Correctional Institution.  Our U.S. Supreme Court has held that a person’s punishment for committing a crime is imprisonment, not exposure to maltreatment and unsafe conditions,” said Daryl Atkinson, Senior Staff Attorney at the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, which filed the complaint in partnership with the NC Central School of Law and the law firm of Tin Fulton Waker & Owen, PLLC.

“The Supreme Court has made clear that prison officials have a duty under the Eighth Amendment to protect the people in their custody from violence at the hands of those who might do them harm,” said Ian Mance, an attorney at the Southern Coalition.  “The plaintiffs in this complaint were stabbed in their heads and throats by people armed with deadly weapons, some of whom, we allege, carried out the attacks while in areas of the prison where they had no business being,” said Mance.

“This lawsuit raises important concerns about how the administration at Lanesboro has jeopardized the safety of the people in its custody, its own employees, as well as members of the community at large,” said Scott Holmes, one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys and Director of the Civil Litigation Clinic at the NC Central School of Law.

Media coverage is available below.

 

WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Charlotte Observer

Lanesboro

Charlotte Observer Reports that Officers at Lanesboro helped gang members wage attacks

Five former inmates at Lanesboro Correctional Institution have filed a federal lawsuit alleging that officers at the Anson County prison repeatedly helped gang-affiliated inmates get weapons and wage attacks.

Some officers went so far as to open locked doors to allow attacks on inmates, the lawsuit contends.

The suit also maintains that supervisors at Lanesboro failed to take action when victims asked to be separated from their attackers or transferred to other prisons. Those inmates were attacked again after their requests were refused.

It’s the latest in a string of troubling allegations about Lanesboro. Located in Polkton, about 45 miles east of Charlotte, the high-security prison has repeatedly drawn scrutiny after violence, inmate deaths and claims of improper conduct by corrections officers.

Earlier this year, the N.C. Department of Public Safety asked the FBI to assist in a wide-ranging investigation into gang activity and other problems at the prison.

And last December, the Observer reported that the SBI was conducting a probe into accusations of official misconduct.

The plaintiffs in the latest complaint – inmates Stacey Wynn, Orlando Harshaw, Tavieolis Hunt, Sean Smith and Benjamin White – say they were violently assaulted by fellow prisoners wielding contraband weapons.

They’re seeking monetary damages, along with changes to ensure the safety of current inmates at Lanesboro. The inmates are doing time in different prisons now. In their suit, filed Nov. 7, they are asking for a court order prohibiting the state from transferring them back to Lanesboro or housing them in the same facility with their attackers.

The suit was filed against the current and previous administrators at Lanesboro, various officers at the prison and Frank Perry, the secretary of the N.C. Department of Public Safety.

A spokesperson for the state Department of Public Safety said the agency has not yet received the lawsuit and cannot discuss it.

Letting violence reign?

Among the suit’s allegations:

• On April 2012, two corrections officers at Lanesboro allowed an attack on White by opening a door to let five inmates from another housing area into his unit. The attackers cut his face with a weapon resembling a razor. Among those who allegedly watched the attack: unit manager Jeffrey Wall. The suit alleges that Wall knew the attack was going to happen and made it possible by “providing access to weapons and/or access for the inmate attackers to the unauthorized area.”

Earlier this year, an SBI agent and a prison captain searched Wall’s office and retrieved envelopes containing homemade weapons, according to a search warrant affidavit. Wall could not be reached for comment Monday. Earlier this year, he told an Observer reporter that he had been the subject of an investigation but had been dismissed from the prison for other reasons.

• In March 2012, another corrections officer allegedly opened a cell door to let two gang members attack Hunt. The gang members chased Hunt, overpowered him and stabbed him multiple times with a weapon resembling an ice pick.

The following month, after hearing that “a hit” had been placed on him, Hunt asked to be transferred to another prison. But prison officials rejected his request and sent him back to the regular population. Days later, Hunt was attacked again by other gang members with contraband weapons.

• After filing a grievance contending that corrections officers gave preferential treatment to members of the UBN gang, Harshaw was called into Wall’s office in March 2012. Wall then threatened Harshaw by telling him that he was exposing himself to physical harm and retaliation by complaining about corrections officers, the suit maintains.

Later that night, another inmate stabbed Harshaw in the ear with a homemade knife and kicked him repeatedly with steel-toed boots. He was hospitalized with serious injuries.

Attorneys for the five inmates contend that what happened to their clients violates the Constitution’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.

Anita Earls, one of the attorneys, said it’s bad enough when corrections officers are indifferent to violence inside prisons.

“It’s a step further when there’s evidence that they are creating conditions for violence,” said Earls, executive director of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice.

‘Unlawful control’

Said Charlotte lawyer Luke Largess, another plaintiff’s attorney: “I don’t think anybody believes the gangs should be running the prisons.

“… People are put in prisons because of unlawful conduct,” Largess said. “If they’re subject to unlawful control while they’re there, it’s something that needs to be addressed.”

Lanesboro has been the subject of many unflattering headlines since 2009, when an inmate alleged that he was repeatedly pepper-sprayed by corrections officers after requesting medical help. The state has changed the prison’s leadership several times since then.

In September 2012, the stabbing death of inmate Wesley Turner spurred an SBI investigation and led to charges against three former inmates.

Later that year, an inmate filed a federal lawsuit alleging that Lanesboro corrections officers cracked his skull with a baton and then destroyed a surveillance video that showed the assault.

Starting in November 2013, more than 800 inmates at the prison were put on lockdown for several months after an attack injured a corrections officer. Subsequent searches at the prison found numerous cellphones, improvised weapons and marijuana.

Alexander: 704-358-5060
This article originally appeared in the Charlotte Observer.
Federal Interagency Reentry Council

Formerly Incarcerated Leaders Have Historic Meeting with Federal Interagency Reentry Council

The civil rights movement had the Big Six – Martin Luther King, Jr., Ralph Abernathy, Whitney Young, and other visionaries – advocating for the end of discriminatory treatment toward black and brown people. On Monday, October 20th we saw the emergence of the Big Eight – formerly incarcerated leaders at the forefront of a new civil and human rights movement – ending the structural discrimination faced by people with criminal records. These leaders include Daryl Atkinson, Susan Burton, Pastor Kenneth Glasgow, Norris Henderson, Manuel LaFontaine, Glenn Martin, Vivian Nixon, and Dorsey Nunn. In the first meeting of its kind, these formerly incarcerated leaders met with senior officials of the Federal Interagency Reentry Council (Reentry Council) to advocate for a set of reforms to help end the 2nd class status of people with criminal records.

The Reentry Council, which represents over twenty federal agencies, was created by Attorney General Eric Holder in 2011 to remove federal barriers to reentry. SCSJ’s, Daryl V. Atkinson, a member of the Formerly Incarcerated and Convicted People’s Movement (FICPM), took the lead in organizing this historic multi-agency meeting. Among the federal attendees were Karol Mason, Assistant Attorney General, Charles E. Samuels, Jr., Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and Roy Austin, White House Domestic Policy Counsel. In total, representatives from over 13 federal agencies were in attendance at this historic meeting where leaders in the criminal justice reform movement advocated for the end to the structural discrimination faced by people with criminal records in employment, education, housing, and voting.

Atkinson focused on employment, highlighting Durham’s success around “Ban the Box”. Atkinson presented SCSJ’s new White Paper highlighting the case study of Durham’s successful “Ban the Box” campaign. The paper details the steps in creating and implementing a successful campaign, especially the importance of building power within marginalized communities. “We believe having directly affected people leading the campaign in every aspect, including the development of an effective policy, was a critical component to the successful hiring outcomes produced by Durham’s “Ban the Box” campaign,” said Daryl Atkinson.

The meeting was widely heralded as a success, and participants are hopeful that the lines of communication between formerly incarcerated leaders and federal policy makers will remain open. Click here to read SCSJ’s new white paper on the success of Durham’s Ban the Box campaign.

Left of Black

Left of Black: Mass Incarceration, Voting Rights & State Sanctioned Violence

Left of Black host and Duke University Professor Mark Anthony Neal is joined in-studio by Daryl Atkinson, Senior Staff Attorney at the Southern Coalition for Social Justice in North Carolina.  In a conversation about mass incarceration, the erosion of voting rights and State sanctioned violence Aktinson asserts that “the State sanctioned violence that we saw in Ferguson…cannot happen outside of the larger context of putting 2.2 million people in cages.”

Left of Black is a weekly Webcast hosted by Mark Anthony Neal and produced in collaboration with the John Hope Franklin Center at Duke University.
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Episodes of Left of Black are also available for free download in @ iTunes U
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Follow Left of Black on Twitter: @LeftofBlack
Follow Mark Anthony Neal on Twitter: @NewBlackMan

 

Follow Southern Coalition for Social Justice on Twitter: @SCSJ
Clean Slate Clinic Facebook Graphic

Clean Slate Clinic November 1 in Raleigh

Do you have a criminal record?  Has your criminal record held you back from getting a job?  There will be a free Clean Slate Clinic on Saturday, November 1 – stop by to see if you are eligible to clean up your record.  Attorneys will be on hand to speak with you directly. Clean Slate services are FREE and the event is open to the public.  There is no age limit, but we do not process juvenile records. The first 150 pre-registered people are guaranteed same-day consultation with an attorney; all others will be contacted after the event to schedule their free appointment to discuss their record with an attorney.

Please pre-register by October 24.

What: Clean Slate Clinic

When: Saturday, November 1 from 8am-1pm

Where: Capital Area NC Works Career Center
1830 Tillery Place
Raleigh, NC 27604

Who Should Attend: People with a criminal record who want to find out if they’re eligible for free legal services to improve their ability to secure employment, housing, education, and other services.

What is Clean Slate work and why is it important?

Involvement in the criminal justice system has negative side effects beyond a court case and possible conviction.  Arrests and convictions trigger an additional set of punishments known as collateral consequences. These consequences operate outside of the criminal justice context even after an individual has served his or her jail or prison sentence, paid fees and fines, and completed parole or probation. Unresolved legal matters impede an individual’s ability to get a driver’s and/or employment license, or access to public benefits.  Other barriers include exclusion from housing opportunities, extreme difficulty finding a job, and in some cases lack of access to higher education – all due to a criminal record. To combat this problem, SCSJ’s Clean Slate Program supplements the important services provided by our partner organizations with direct legal services and advocacy in the following areas: expungment and Certificates of Relief (COR), employment or occupational licensing hearings and driver’s license restoration.

csc nov 14

Learn more in our Clean Slate Clinic Handout. Download a copy of our Clean Slate Flyer to share with your community!

The November 1 event is our first Clean Slate Clinic in Raleigh. Please help us make it a success by registering now!

This event is presented by the Southern Coalition for Social Justice and our partners including Community Success Initiative and SpiritHouse Inc.

 

Martial-Law-thumb

From Mayberry to Martial Law: The Transfer of Military Surplus to Domestic Police

“The means of defense against foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home.” – James Madison, the Federalist Papers

As Americans, we’ve always been leery of using the military to police our citizens. But some critics say that the “militarization of law enforcement” is happening right in front of our eyes. Media coverage of the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, after the controversial police killing of teenager Michael Brown, displayed the St. Louis County law enforcement agencies as a well-armed paramilitary force. But if the Founding Fathers were so worried about a threat of domestic tyranny, how did we get here? We took a look to figure it out.

So what does local law enforcement have to do with the United States military?

In 1997, Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act. Tucked away in that law is the 1033 Program.

The 1033 Program allows the Law Enforcement Support Office to transfer excess Department of Defense property to law enforcement agencies across the United States and its territories.

The Law Enforcement Support Office (LESO) serves as a bridge between the U.S. military and local law enforcement agencies and is overseen by the Pentagon.

The 1033 Program started with the War on Drugs. Congress decided that if law enforcement personnel were waging a drug war, they needed to be outfitted like warriors.

In fact, the LESO slogan is: “Transferring Property from the Warfighter to the Crimefighter”

As well as: “Get with the Program”

 

How much surplus are we talking about here?

By the end of 2014, the 1033 Program will have transferred over $5 billion worth of military property to the police.

Through June of 2014, the 1033 Program had transferred almost $750 million (¾ of a billion dollars) worth of equipment.

  • That’s nearly double 2013’s entire yearly total of $450 million!
  • (But to really put it into perspective) It’s around the same dollar value as all of the equipment transferred in the program from the year 2000 until 2007!

At this rate, 1.5 billion dollars of military surplus will be transferred to domestic police forces in 2014 alone. That’s almost one third (30%) of the entire 17 years worth of transfers… in one year!

[According to the LESO, an original acquisition value “refers to the amount the military services paid for the property.”]

 

But the police departments only get what they need, right?

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, there’s around 18,000 total local law enforcement agencies in the United States.

  • The LESO claims that around 8,000 of those agencies (nearly half of US police departments) are involved in the program.
  • But the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) says that there’s actually around 17,000 agencies (about 94%) that have received property from the Department of Defense.

The ACLU might be on to something: The Department of Defense admits that the LESO records are far from accurate: An Inspector General logistics report took a random sample of equipment transfer records and found that 3 out of 4 (74%) were incorrect. Here’s the breakdown:

  • 43% – police received more property than they were approved for
  • 21% – no approval record at all
  • 8% – mismatched data entry errors
  • 2% – police received less property than they were approved for
  • Only 26% were correctly accounted for

This could explain the case of the phantom MRAP

  • During the Ferguson protests, a LENCO-brand Mine-Resistant-Ambush-Protected (or MRAP) “Bearcat” vehicle was photographed in the streets.
  • But Mike O’Connell, the communications director for the Missouri Department of Public Safety told Newsweek that he “does not know” where it came from since St. Louis County law enforcement agencies have not acquired any MRAPs through the 1033 Program.
  • This mystery MRAP wasn’t cheap, either: the vehicles come with a $733,000 sticker price.

St. Louis County police are not the only ones acquiring MRAPs.

  • There are over 600 MRAPs across the U.S.
  • Pine County Minnesota (Population: 29,218) acquired a MRAP in 2013 to use for search and rescue operations in Pine County’s swampy areas. It has since been used for a zombie apocalypse training event.
  • Ohio State University Police got one in order to provide “presence” on football game days.

But its not just MRAPs that local law enforcement agencies are picking up from LESO. They can acquire anything from small arms pistols to grenade launchers.

  • Bloomingdale, Georgia (population 2,713) received four grenade launchers through the 1033 Program. Bloomingdale Police Chief Roy Pike explains that it’s a way to send a message—that “officers are armed to meet any threat,” but admits that in the 20 years he’s served Bloomingdale, the police force has never “had to use deadly force against anybody.”
  • Police forces in Keene, New Hampshire (population 23,000) justified their acquisition of an armored tactical vehicle as integral to the town’s safety, saying they needed it to patrol the annual Pumpkin Festival “and other dangerous situations.”
  • The tiny farming community of Morven, Georgia (population 532) has grabbed over $4 million worth of surplus including three boats, scuba gear, rescue rafts, and dozens of life preservers. The town’s deepest body of water is an ankle-deep creek.

Don’t they need it to fight terrorism here at home though?

Oxford County in rural western Maine received an MRAP through the program along with six other law enforcement agencies across the state. Oxford County Sheriff George Cayer explained that “the western foothills of Maine … currently face a previously unimaginable threat from terrorist activities.”

It seems that $218 million wasn’t enough for Sheriff Cayer and the rest of Maine’s local law enforcement to fight against such “unimaginable” threats of domestic terrorism—that’s the amount of money shelled out by the Department of Homeland Security since the department’s inception in 2002.

In fact, the entire nation has received over $34 billion in federal grants to help local police forces combat terrorist activities.

How can these small towns afford three-quarter-million-dollar armored fighting vehicles?

The price tag is “FREE.”

All this equipment is considered surplus “there is no cost to local taxpayers since they’ve already paid for the equipment with their federal taxes.” The law enforcement agencies that receive it pay for the shipping and maintenance. That’s it!

The Pentagon says that more than 1/3 of everything transferred through the 1033 Program is brand new.

So instead of small towns across the nation paying sticker price, they’re receiving the equipment at a fraction of the cost.

Watertown, Connecticut (population 22,514) recently acquired its own MRAP for shipping and maintenance costs of $2,800. Talk about a fire sale—that’s an unbelievable 99.6% discount!

 

Isn’t it better to use this equipment instead of destroying it?

Not so, according to four-star Marine General Joseph F. Dunford, Jr.:

  • MRAPs cost around $10,000 to destroy in the field (in places like Afghanistan and Iraq).
  • But it can cost up to $50,000 to bring each one back to the States.

In other words, the tax payers could save $40,000 per MRAP by destroying them in the field!

With 600 MRAPs in the U.S., that’s a 24 million dollars loss for just one type of surplus product transferred.
[ (cost to ship:$50,000 x 600 = $30 million) – (cost to destroy:$10,000 x 600 = $6 million) = ($24 million) ]

 


Martial Law


Sources:

Martial Law
Source: CriminalJusticeDegreeHub.com