by Dave Maass
New York’s Attorney General charged six people for allegedly operating a crime ring as “sober home” providers. The homes were widely used by the state’s parole commission even as it suspected legal improprieties were ongoing.
PLN has previously reported on the sober house business [See PLN, May 2014]. Known as the “Brand Criminal Enterprise” in court documents, the accused run a trio of interconnected non- profit substance abuse programs- Narco Freedom, Canarsie, A.W.A.R.E. , and NRI Group. Charged are: former Narco Freedom CEO Alan Brand, Jason Brand, Jonathan Brand current Narco Freedom CEO Gerald Bethea, it’s controller Richard Gross, and John Cornachio.
They face between one and 25 counts of each of charges that range from enterprise corruption, grand larceny, and insurance fraud. According to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Narco Freedom receives nearly $40 million annually in Medicaid reimbursement. It is alleged the company stole at least $27 million from Medicaid through a variety of schemes, including companies the defendants created to bill, the non-profits for services, kickbacks, and insurance fraud.
Freedom Houses are mostly multi-story apartment buildings. The company housed up to 1,500 people in 21 such buildings at one point.
"Narco Freedom’s housing program is ...
by Dave Maass, Electronic Frontier Foundation
Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham City Jail” is considered by many civil-rights historians to be one of the seminal writings of the era, on par with King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. But while King’s moving oration at the Lincoln Memorial was delivered directly to thousands, his impassioned letter was composed in solitary confinement and would not have seen the light of day without the help of several brave and dedicated intermediaries.
In the spring of 1963, King was arrested after he and others in the racial equality movement defied a court injunction against public protesting. From behind bars, he obtained a copy of a joint-statement written by white religious leaders criticizing his methods. King felt compelled to respond. As the daughters of King’s attorney, Arthur Shores, explain in their father’s biography, King scribbled his response in the margins of old newspapers and on toilet paper and other paper scraps; his lawyers smuggled the notes out of the jail to be transcribed, then they smuggled the edits back into the jail for King to review. Eventually, the letter made it onto the pages of several influential newspapers.
If King were a prisoner ...
By Dave Maass
Facebook Rightfully Questions Claims That California Inmates Are Banned from Having a Social Media Presence
Up until last spring, Facebook had maintained a semi-secret channel for corrections facilities to file "Inmate Takedown" requests. A prison official could fill out a simple online form, hit submit, and Facebook ...
Vigilant Solutions, one of the country’s largest brokers of vehicle surveillance technology, is offering a hell of a deal to law enforcement agencies in Texas: a whole suite of automated license plate reader (ALPR) equipment and access to the company’s massive databases and analytical tools—and it won’t cost the agency ...
Hundreds of South Carolina Prisoners Sent to Solitary Confinement Over Facebook
by Dave Maass
In the South Carolina prison system, accessing Facebook is an offense on par with murder, rape, rioting, escape and hostage-taking.
Back in 2012, the South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC) made “Creating and/or Assisting with a Social Networking Site” a Level 1 offense, a category reserved for the most violent violations of prison conduct policies. It’s one of the most common Level 1 offense charges brought against prisoners, many of whom, like most social network users, want to remain in contact with friends and family in the outside world and keep up on current events. Some prisoners ask their families to access their online accounts for them, while many access the Internet themselves through a contraband cell phone (possession of which is yet another Level 1 offense).
Through a request under South Carolina’s Freedom of Information Act and other public records, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) found that, over the last three years, prison officials have brought more than 400 disciplinary cases for “social networking” – almost always for using Facebook. The offenses come with heavy penalties, such as years in solitary confinement and deprivation ...
Facebook Overhauls Its Inmate Account Takedown Process
By Dave Maass
Since at least 2011, U.S. prisons have had a special arrangement with Facebook. Prison officials would send links to profiles belonging to inmates that they wanted Facebook to take down. Facebook would then suspend the profiles, often no questions asked, ...
by Dave Maass & Kelly Davis
San Diego CityBeat
Bernard Joseph Victorianne was a 28-year-old black male with a ticking time bomb in his stomach.
Victorianne was arrested on September 12, 2012, less than two blocks from the San Diego Police Department’s Mid-City station on suspicion of driving under the ...
Report Says New Mexico Prison Phone Companies Still Gouging Families
by Dave Maass
The phone is ringing; you pick it up. An operator announces it’s a collect call – your spouse, sibling, child – from prison. Will you accept the charges?
Good luck finding out what those charges will be. ...