------------------------------------------------------------------- Arcata medicinal pot program serves as state model (The Santa Rosa Press Democrat says the core of a registry-card system administered in Arcata, California, by Police Chief Mel Brown is about to be adopted throughout Mendocino County and weighs heavily in the recommendations being drafted by a California state task force charged with implementing Proposition 215. One result of local support for patients has been the phenomenal growth of the nearly-500-member Arcata-based Humboldt Medicinal Cannabis Center, which is moving into a new two-story building just three blocks from the police department. Greg Allen, a 47-year-old lawyer who serves as the club's president said, "A lot of us have come to see the police as our friends.") Date: Tue, 1 Jun 1999 12:56:22 -0700 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Dale Gieringer) Subject: DPFCA: Santa Rosa Press Democrat on Arcata and other models Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: DrugSense http://www.drugsense.org/dpfca/ Arcata medicinal pot program serves as state model Jun. 1, 1999 By ANDREW LaMAR Press Democrat Staff Writer Mendocino County officials impressed After the November 1996 elections, Arcata Police Chief Mel Brown had one thing on his mind: what to do about the passage of Proposition 215, the measure legalizing marijuana use for medicinal purposes. In the liberal college town of Arcata, the measure won support from 74 percent of those voting, and after the election, local activists began talking about opening a cannabis club. That's when Brown knew he had to act quickly to prevent his small Police Department from becoming overwhelmed with marijuana cases. "There was such an interest, it was a matter of participating and managing the oncoming chaos or let it manage me," said Brown, a balding 53-year-old lawman who in the following months put together a groundbreaking program that has since attracted national attention and become a model for law enforcement agencies across the state. The core of Brown's program, in fact, is about to be administered in Mendocino County and weighs heavily in the recommendations being drafted by a state task force. "It was a matter of participating and managing the oncoming chaos or let it manage me." ARCATA POLICE CHIEF MEL BROWN that was appointed by Attorney General Bill Lockyer to study how to implement Proposition 215 statewide. The voluntary, prescreening program, completely run by the chief himself, issues photo identification cards to medicinal marijuana users. The users may then display the cards to police if they are stopped for smoking or possessing pot, and are protected from arrest. Brown verifies an applicant's basic information, that he or she is a resident of California and has a valid recommendation from a licensed doctor or medical aide to use marijuana. The cards are good for up to one year, at which time they must be renewed. "It's saved us all a lot of time," Brown said. Reducing the number of marijuana cases the agency sends to prosecutors means cutting officers' court appearances and therefore overtime costs, he added. Processing the applications and keeping them current takes the chief two to three hours a week. In all, about 75 people have current IDs. The simplicity and effectiveness of the program impressed Mendocino County's Sheriff Tony Craver and District Attorney Norman Vroman when they visited Brown months ago. "I think the main strength of it is it works," said Craver, who called Brown "a real hero" for initiating the program at a time most law enforcement agencies didn't know how to handle Proposition 215. Craver and Vroman have drafted a similar plan for Mendocino County. The proposal still must win the approval of the county counsel and if it does, as expected, could be up and running within two weeks, Craver said. "We've got all our ID cards printed, our forms put together. We're ready to go. All we need is the green light," Craver said. In Sonoma County, medicinal users must get approval from a Sonoma County Medical Association peer review committee. Once granted, it's up to the individual to contact the District Attorney's Office, which then decides on a case-by-case basis how much marijuana the person can have. Under the program, started in the fall, only one person has received peer committee approval but another eight or nine requests are pending, according to District Attorney Mike Mullins. He said he is aware of the Arcata program but can't judge how effective it is. In the Mendocino County version of the Arcata plan, medicinal marijuana users will apply to the public health department, which will verify the applicants' information and doctors' recommendations. Once the health department grants approval, the application will be sent to the Sheriff's Office, which will put information into a computer database that can be accessed by dispatchers. By putting basic information at dispatchers' fingertips, the Sheriff's Office will be able to quickly tell officers who stop marijuana users whether they have been approved for medicinal use. Craver said the database will include the medical marijuana user's name, a physical description of the person, his or her California driver's license or ID number, and the location where the person grows his or her own marijuana. The doctor's name will be kept confidential by the public health department. Craver acknowledged that the existence of such a database might irritate some who traditionally distrust government. "The whole thing here is to avoid a larger invasion of their privacy down the road," Craver said. "We're giving them an opportunity to avail themselves of a tool that will enable them to possibly avoid some hassles in the future with law enforcement." Under the plan, users can have up to two pounds of dried marijuana or 12 flowering plants. In Humboldt County, medicinal users are allowed 8 ounces or 10 flowering plants. Craver said he has no idea how many people will apply or whether other agencies, such as city police departments or sheriff's deputies in other counties, will honor the Mendocino County ID cards. In Arcata, city officials and medicinal marijuana users say they have no complaints with the Arcata plan as it comes up on its two-year anniversary this August. One result has been the phenomenal growth of the Arcata-based Humboldt Medicinal Cannabis Center, which is moving into a new 3,600-square-foot, two-story building just three blocks from the Police Department. The club has a membership of nearly 500. The prescreening program "allowed us to grow here without having to watch our backs," said Greg Allen, a 47-year-old lawyer who relocated to Arcata from Cupertino 10 months ago and now serves as the club's president. "A lot of us have come to see the police as our friends."
------------------------------------------------------------------- A Return To The Goal Of Reforming Inmates (The Los Angeles Times says two out of three California parolees get sent back to prison within two years, and some officials are reconsidering the discredited idea of rehabilitation - known these days by aliases such as life skills, job training, and drug treatment. Of the 160,000 inmates locked away in California's 33 penitentiaries, more than half will be getting out in the next two years. Whenever prison experts, victims and politicians debate crime and punishment, one of the assumptions is that rehabilitation has been tried and it failed. But the history of rehabilitation in California shows that even in its heyday it wasn't practiced on a wide scale.) Date: Sun, 6 Jun 1999 09:29:24 -0700 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US CA: A Return To The Goal Of Reforming Inmates Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Jim Rosenfield Pubdate: Tue, 1 Jun 1999 Source: Los Angeles Times (CA) Copyright: 1999 Los Angeles Times Contact: email@example.com Fax: (213) 237-4712 Website: http://www.latimes.com/ Forum: http://www.latimes.com/home/discuss/ Author: Mark Arax, Times Staff Writer COLUMN ONE A RETURN TO THE GOAL OF REFORMING INMATES Officials Reconsider The Discredited Idea Of Rehabilitation As Two Out Of Three California Parolees Are Back In Prison Within Two Years. CORCORAN, Calif. - The white prison van pulled up to the train stop in Corcoran, in the shadow of the big grain silos, and out walked two young inmates just released from the state penitentiary down the block. They were headed back home to Los Angeles, but there was one piece of business left to transact with the guard setting them free. They each put down their wrinkled grocery bag of worldly accumulations and reached out to grab an envelope with two $100 bills tucked inside. The wind blew one bill down the tracks and the tall inmate smiled nervously as he tried not to seem too anxious about picking it up. They had no words of wisdom about the toll of living inside America's deadliest prison or their chance for success on the outside. "I'm just trying to go home," said the shorter one, a barrio tattoo scrawled into his neck. He cinched his belt tighter as the Amtrak train came to a slow halt. Then the guard shook their hands and aboard they climbed, crossing the thin divide between prisoner and parolee, between ward of the state and your next-door neighbor. The same scene, more or less, plays out each day in prison towns up and down the state. Of the 160,000 inmates locked safely away in California's 33 penitentiaries, more than half will be getting out in the next two years. Their prospects - and by extension ours - are not bright. In almost every instance, studies show, the state is sending them home without the skills to succeed - often illiterate, hooked on drugs and lacking any education or job training to speak of. Many are going straight from maximum-security cells and round-the-clock lockdowns to a world of liberty without any real preparation or transition, just the $200 in "gate money." The chance of a parolee committing a new crime or violation in two years and crossing back over the line has been rising and is now more than two out of three, statistics show. In an effort to slow this revolving door of crime and the budget-busting growth of prisons, the idea of rehabilitation is making a comeback of sorts, three decades after becoming a dirty word. Known these days by different aliases - life skills, job training, therapeutic drug treatment - the notion of equipping inmates for success beyond bars is finding acceptance again among penal experts and politicians of all stripes. If the punishment pendulum hasn't quite moved to the middle, it has begun to quiver. For the first time in a generation, the state Legislature has significantly expanded inmate work and education programs, as well as in-prison drug treatment and community after care. The increased funding, though still slight, began in the Wilson administration and is projected to grow under Gov. Gray Davis. The shift comes in the wake of studies showing that inmate remedial programs do work. "Nobody likes folks sitting in their cells with nothing to do, and right now we have too many inmates who aren't involved in any programs," said Cal Terhune, director of state corrections. "But we are making progress. In the past few years alone, our drug treatment beds have gone from 400 to almost 5,000. "We're seeing a push from the Legislature and the administration to find some legitimate work training and educational programs that will cut down on the number of parolees committing new crimes." The deprivations of California's high-tech prisons - the recent push to take away more and more basic privileges and just plain human contact - makes inmates dismal candidates for good citizenship, corrections officials, legislators and inmates agree. Every few months, it seems, in San Luis Obispo one week and Rancho Cucamonga and Modesto the next week, another parolee is caught up in another heinous crime. And for every sensational headline, scores more never make the papers - drug offenders and petty thieves caught red-handed trying to feed their addictions and shipped back to prison to share cells with murderers and rapists. A Consensus Among Liberals, Conservatives California is hardly unique in churning out convicts whose only honed skill seems the ability to victimize again. Voices now urging a better balance between punishment and programs can be heard across the country. But because California boasts the nation's largest prison population and one of the highest recidivism rates, a consensus has begun to build among prison experts and top corrections officials past and present, liberal and conservative. They say that the state's focus on ever more harsh punishment - coupled with the absence of remedial programs - has served California poorly. In society's collective anger, they say, people seemed to have forgotten that they can't lock 'em up and throw away the key forever, at least not for the majority of convicts. At some point, sooner than later, they are ours again. The choice is stark: a fast-growing prison system that will gobble up spending for education and other cherished programs or one that makes a better distinction between violent and nonviolent criminals and pays more than lip service to drug treatment, job training and education. "To attack crime, we need apprehension, detention and prevention, and in recent years we've neglected prevention strategies," said state Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer. "We have two kinds of state convicts: the violent sociopath for whom no remedial effort will work and the screwup who can be reached through programs. Unfortunately, we've failed to distinguish between the two." But even as the Legislature and the Davis administration have dipped their feet in the waters of rehabilitation, some legislators want to make life harder for convicts. Believing that prison isn't punishment enough, a handful of Democrats and Republicans are trying to take away family visits and television. The state prison guard union supports television as an important pacifier for inmates, but Assemblywoman Sally Havice (D-Cerritos) has introduced a bill to ban TV and overnight family visits. The bill, which is stuck in committee, states that such privileges send the wrong message to crime victims and their families. "Prisoners are in prison to be punished," said Joseph Cruz, a legislative staffer who helped write the bill. Havice "also feels that TV isn't teaching these prisoners anything." Many corrections experts such as Ray Procunier, a champion of the death penalty who directed California prisons for Gov. Ronald Reagan, see this as a serious miscalculation. Neglecting inmates is one thing, he said, fueling a pentup rage is another. "The politicians got no business making rules for prisons, that's the job of the warden and the director," said Procunier, who went on to head four other state prison systems during a 33-year career. "When they're watching TV or exercising at least they're not stabbing anyone. Hell, we need some carrots as well as sticks to keep them in line." Whenever prison experts, victims and politicians debate crime and punishment, one of the assumptions is that rehabilitation has been tried - and it failed. But the history of rehabilitation in California shows that even in its heyday it wasn't practiced on a wide scale. What passed for inmate jobs in the 1960s were mostly janitorial tasks: sweeping tiers, bringing hot water to cells, taking out kitchen garbage. Less than 15% of the inmate population received academic education or vocational training. A 1969 legislative report detailed machine shop equipment that was "old and obsolete," the teaching of vocational skills that were "often antiquated" and prison jobs that offered "little more than idleness." Jim Esten worked as a vocational instructor teaching offset printing at Soledad State Prison in 1973 and later watched the program's demise. He said rehabilitative efforts did fall short but that today's programs don't even pretend to reform inmates. "Programs that utilize tools such as sheet metal and machine shop are now deemed a threat to the security and safety of the institution," Esten said. He said the vocational training of the past not only taught a viable trade but helped ease racial tensions, with blacks, Latinos and whites working side-by-side. "What was so amazing was seeing all these guys who would never think of eating together in the main dining hall suddenly sitting down next to each other in the vocational dining room," Esten said. "Work made them feel good about themselves and each other." Jerry Enomoto, corrections director from 1975 to 1980, said rehabilitation became linked with "fuzzy-headed liberals" and that criminologists, some working from half-baked data, began debunking programs aimed at reducing recidivism. "Nothing works" became an easy catch phrase. "Common sense just got lost in the turmoil of heinous crimes," said Enomoto, who oversaw a system of 35,000 inmates, a quarter the size of today's giant population. "In an environment of fear, it's hard for people to be anything but scared and hollering for longer terms and more prisons. Meaningful job and vocational training becomes hard to do." The death of rehabilitation came in the late 1970s in the move from indeterminate to determinate sentencing and the adoption of a system that classified inmates not by their potential to reform but by the security risks they posed. Overnight, as prisons such as Soledad took on a new role as keepers of violent and high-risk prisoners, the machine shop and other programs closed down because of security concerns. At the time, the move from fluid to fixed sentencing was a rare coming together of conservative and liberal voices. Conservative supporters of fixed sentencing pointed to convicts who had been paroled too early only to kill or rape again. Liberals had their own poster boys for fixed sentencing, inmates with perfect prison records but who had remained behind bars at the whim of the parole board. Corrections officials from that era say that determinate sentencing removed disparities. No longer was one inmate doing 25 years and another inmate five years for the same crime. Unfortunately, they said, it also removed judgment and flexibility from the process. In the old system, inmates tried to impress the parole board with shiny records of work and education. In the shift to determinate sentencing, many of the incentives to achieve are gone. Whether an inmate has proven himself, the clock typically dictates when he gets out. And no matter the crime, parole is three years of supervision by agents so overwhelmed with 80 or more cases that they often lose track of the parolee. Today, even if a convict is so inclined, the holes in job training and education are so vast that little meaningful rehabilitation takes place, according to interviews with inmates and corrections officials and government studies. The state's watchdog Little Hoover Commission concluded last year that politicians and the public have so demonized convicts and fixated on punishment that they have forgotten some basic math of public safety: Half the inmates in state prison get out every two years; two of every three come back before completing parole. A quarter of those returning have committed new crimes, the remainder have violated some term of their parole. Prison Population Is Soaring The prison population, swelled by the three-strikes initiative and other mandatory sentencing laws, is already double its design capacity, the study found. If present trends continue, the number of men and women behind bars will grow from 160,000 to 218,000 in the next seven years. "It was the fact that half the inmates get out and more than half quickly return, and the costs of those numbers, that really struck both Republicans and Democrats on the commission," said James Mayer, who wrote the report on the watchdog commission's year-long study. It is no wonder that parolees are failing, he said. Seventy-five percent have no job, 85% are substance abusers, 50% are illiterate. Recidivism is practically built into a system in which less than 20% of inmates are in academic programs or vocational training, the study concluded. Prison industry jobs - producing furniture, milking cows, grinding optical lenses - employ just 4% of the population. By far the largest share of "programmed" inmates work as cooks, cleaners and groundskeepers. Although the Department of Corrections measures every inmate for security risks, it fails to assess which programs could help them stay out of prison, the study found. The effort to help inmates make a transition back into the community is little more than a lecture about how to get a driver's license. "I've been back and forth to prison five times, done 16 years and what the system calls 'job training' and 'continuing education' is a pathetic excuse," said Johnathan Wilkerson, 40, who was paroled from Corcoran this year after serving 12 years for robbery and attempted murder. Inmates at High Desert State Prison in Susanville, for instance, say that their desire to get job training has been frustrated by repeated 24-hour lockdowns and a teacher shortage. Some inmates have waited more than a year to get into a high school equivalency class. To fill the librarian slot, the prison recently brought over the plumbing instructor. That forced the plumbing class to shut down. Gone, too, are the weight piles and the horseshoe pits and three sets of bleachers - all removed in the name of making the prison harsher. "When I want to read, I've got nowhere to sit because of the snow or the mud," one Susanville inmate wrote The Times. "So I just read walking in circles, as does everyone else." The penal system doesn't have to churn out inmates destined to fail, prison reformers say. Rehabilitation, if staffed properly and matched with the right inmates, does change lives and proof can be found at the R.J. Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego. In a corner of the medium-security facility, the Amity drug treatment program has cut deeply into recidivism rates, according to the Little Hoover Commission, the bipartisan agency that investigates state operations. Correctional staff were skeptical of the 200-bed therapeutic program based on the old Synanon model of group living and rigorous encounter sessions. But after several months, surprise drug tests showed drug addicts and gang leaders were staying clean even though drugs could be easily purchased through the prison underground. A year after completing the program, 66% of participants had stayed out of prison, compared with only 34% of inmates not receiving treatment, studies showed. State officials cited the program's success as a major reason for opening an 1,800-bed drug treatment facility at Corcoran two years ago. "If we can duplicate that success, the economic savings is huge," Lockyer said. Some respected criminologists and sociologists continue to cast a wary eye at programs designed to change the behavior of convicts, arguing that the criminal lifestyle is often deeply ingrained. Whether nurture or nature, the bent toward crime is not easily deterred, they say. Inmates who have succeeded on the outside say the public needs to understand that most convicts must be taught like children, and that prison is just about the worst environment to reform someone. Renny Jones, who spent seven years in prison for arson, has parlayed his inmate clerking skills into a good job with AT & T in Los Angeles. Married and the father of two sons, he coaches basketball and teaches at his church. But Jones, 40, said he never forgets that he is an excon, that he could slip up any time. "It's a daily battle. People have to understand that the skills needed to survive in prison are the very skills you have to give up on the outside." "In prison, if someone walks by and brushes your leg, you just can't let it rest or the next guy walking by is going to pinch you somewhere else. It's an environment where you just can't go in and do your time quietly. You have to answer every challenge, every single one. The first time you don't answer it, it will answer you," he said. Felix Gonzales, 46, has been clean for six years after being imprisoned nearly half his life for drug crimes. The Bay Area resident said he owes his survival to a residential drug treatment program for parolees in San Francisco. The Milestones program slowly reintegrated him into society. He now works as a roofer and a substance abuse counselor. "I was a maniac but most of all I lacked self-esteem," he said. "It took a lot of hard, hard work but I really enjoy my life today. Everything seems to be in great balance." James Park, a former assistant warden at San Quentin, said society has to stop looking for a magic bullet. A good education program might save five out of 100 inmates and a counseling program might save another 10. "Everything can work but nothing works 100%," he said. "Five percent here and 10% there and pretty soon you've got some real numbers adding up." [SIDEBAR] California's Revolving Prison Door More than two-thirds of felons on parole return to prison within two years. Most returning convicts have violated parole terms and go back to prison for an average sentence of six months. But a quarter of returning parolees have committed a new crime and get a longer sentence.
------------------------------------------------------------------- '3 Strikes' Policy On Drugs Near OK (The New Haven Register says the policy committee of the public school board in Cheshire, Connecticut, last week voted 2-1 for a "three strikes and you're out" rule for public school students who use alcohol or other drugs off-campus. If approved by the full board in July, the policy would permanently prohibit students who violate the "three strikes" regulation from participating in sports or other extracurricular activities.) Date: Tue, 1 Jun 1999 19:08:03 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US CT: "3 Strikes" Policy On Drugs Near OK Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Mike Gogulski Pubdate: Tue, 1 Jun 1999 Source: New Haven Register (CT) Copyright: 1999, New Haven Register Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.ctcentral.com/cgi-bin/w3com/start?ctcentral+FrontPage Forum: http://www.ctcentral.com/ Author: Evan Goodenow '3 STRIKES' POLICY ON DRUGS NEAR OK CHESHIRE - The Board of Education is close to approving a "three strikes and you're out" policy banning students who drink alcohol or use illegal drugs off school grounds from participating in sports or other extracurricular activities. "We have an obligation to provide an education. We do not have an obligation to provide extracurricular activities," Superintendent of Schools David Cressy said. "Since they're a privilege, students who misbehave can be excluded." In a 2-1 vote, the school board's policy committee last week approved the new regulation. The full board is expected to vote in July. Under the proposed policy, the first penalty calls for a three-week suspension from extracurricular activities, and for athletes, six contests or until the end of the current season. A second violation calls for suspension from activities for up to 180 consecutive school days, but that penalty can be reduced to 90 consecutive school days if the student participates in an "appropriate" chemical dependency program. "For third and subsequent violations, the student will be permanently banned from all co-curricular participation for the duration of his/her length of time remaining in the Cheshire public schools," the regulation states. Incidents involving several Cheshire athletes last year off school grounds - including an illegal beer party leading to the arrest of several members of the football team, and the arrest of star running back Jason Dellaselva for driving without a license - brought negative attention to the school. The current policy does not include a provision for a permanent ban. Students who are caught drinking alcohol or taking illegal drugs face disciplinary action on a case-by-case basis, up to a maximum of 12 weeks for a third offense. Board of Education Chairman Richard Lau insisted the new regulation isn't too punitive. "There's every right to at least suspend kids from privileged activities," he said. "It's not like we're telling parents what to do about it." Committee member Andrew Falvey cast the lone dissenting vote. Falvey couldn't be reached for comment, but according to the committee meeting minutes, he had concerns about the penalty for the first offense, as well as for a punishment carryover from middle to high school for a second offense. Falvey recommended the policy receive additional review.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Drug-War Supporters Turned Freedom Fighters (The June issue of High Times gives the monthly "Freedom Fighter" award to 54-year-old Cliff Thornton and his wife, Margaret, who try to educate the public about prohibition's failures with their group Efficacy, a human-rights organization they started out of their living room in Windsor, Connecticut.)Date: Fri, 23 Apr 1999 18:59:16 -0700 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US: Drug-War Supporters Turned Freedom Fighters Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Dave Bonan Pubdate: June 1999 Source: High Times (US) Copyright: 1999 by Trans-High Corporation. Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.hightimes.com/ Author: Ken Krayeske Section: Freedom Fighter of the Month (Highwitness news), P. 38 DRUG-WAR SUPPORTERS TURNED FREEDOM FIGHTERS Hartford, CT- Cliff Thornton hopes word of mouth will spread enough peace to end the war on drugs and freedom. Every time he pitches his common-sense message to a college class, an NAACP meeting or a Rotary Luncheon, he aims to convince one person of prohibition's failures. "If I get one now, it will be two next time, three the next time and then it will grow exponentially because they'll all tell their friends," he says, until public opinion shifts. Educating citizens is one of the main strategies the 54-year-old Thornton and his wife, Margaret, employ with Efficacy, the human-rights organization they started out of their living room in Windsor, CT, 10 minutes north of Cliff's native Hartford, and a bit farther from Margaret's native West Hartford. Efficacy evolved from radio shows they produced in 1992 at the University of Hartford. Each week, they researched and discussed social and racial issues. Tackling drugs took three shows: drug history, crime and violence, and Drug War economics. Initially, Cliff says, "we had no interest. But it sort of took on a life of its own." As the truth emerged, listeners wanted more and more: "They were astronomical figures, what we were spending. We were floored." They studied both sides of the issue, and by 1994 they'd formed Efficacy, with a philosophy of common sense and compassion. They kept their day jobs while they struggled for almost two eyars to earn 501(c)(3) nonprofit status from the IRS. The government lost their application twice and sent them crisscrossing the continent chasing nonexistent documents. The IRS granted the request in May 1996. Cliff suspects the mayhem was caused by Efficacy's stance against the military-narco-industrial complex, summed up in its motto, "Efficacy is the power to produce a desired effect. The effect we wish to produce is peace." Beating the IRS didn't satisfy Cliff Thornton. "My wife had been telling me I had more to offer. 'We don't have long on Earth,' she said. I looked in the mirror and I wasn't making a difference." So in September 1997 he left his $70,000 middle-management job to do Efficacy full-time. He writes for magazines and Efficacy's Website at www.efficacy-online.org, and they publish pamphlets, which are translated into Spanish, and send out 1,000 quarterly newsletters. In between pursuing a master's degree in counseling (on top of his MBA), Cliff plans regular television, radio and speaking engagements for both of them. It's good, says Margaret, because they have contrasting styles conveying the same message. Although it's tough to make ends meet, Cliff has no regrets. "We're not out to make money," he says. In fact, he says he never imagined he'd want to change America's draconian drug policies, considering that for a long time after high school, he wanted to eradicate drugs. As a self-described hot-shock jock weeks from graduation in 1963, Cliff says he had the shock of his life when a police officer plucked him from his grandmother's breakfast table one Sunday. The cop drove him to Hartford's North End to identify his mother's naked corpse. She'd been found under a car, dead of an apparent heroin overdose. "I thought all drugs should be wiped off the face of the Earth. This is what they caused," he says. "I changed my thought pattern because I watched Hartford, decade after decade, go downhill. It wasn't directly because of drugs, but as I looked, I saw drugs went hand in hand with the rise in crime and the downfall of local government, education, health care and race relations." The Thorntons are urging African-American leaders to address this socio-economic genocide, which hurts minorities and children most. Their own five adult children from previous marriages agree with their ideas, Cliff says. That's because when people confront the problem, they see that not even "harm reduction" solves it. The first step is legalizing marijuana and medicalizing heroin and cocaine, he says. "This reform has the potential to become the next civil-rights movement. It's about power, coercion, control and the use of fear to keep people separated.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Court Allows Drug Trafficking Trial (The Associated Press says the U.S. Supreme Court, without comment, turned away a double-jeopardy appeal today, allowing Kentucky to prosecute two men on cocaine-trafficking charges after having required them to pay a tax on the illegal drug. Joseph Nicholson and Robert Bird claimed their prosecutions, following payment of the drug tax after their arrests, would unlawfully punish them twice for the same crime.) Date: Tue, 1 Jun 1999 18:52:48 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US: WIRE: Court Allows Drug Trafficking Trial Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: EWCHIEF Pubdate: Tue, 01 Jun 1999 Source: Associated Press Copyright: 1999 Associated Press Author: Laurie Asseo COURT ALLOWS DRUG TRAFFICKING TRIAL WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court today let Kentucky prosecute two men on drug-trafficking charges after having required them to pay a tax on the drugs. The court, without comment, turned away an appeal in which Joseph Nicholson and Robert Bird said their prosecutions, following payment of the drug tax, would unlawfully punish them twice for the same crime. Nicholson and Bird were arrested in 1995 by Lexington-Fayette Urban County police and charged with trafficking in a controlled substance. Police had seized a small amount of powder cocaine. Using information provided by the police, state revenue officials assessed a tax, penalty and interest on the cocaine of about $4,000 for Nicholson and $6,000 for Bird. Kentucky law levies an annual tax on controlled substances, due at the time someone possesses a drug. The tax rate is two times the drugs' market value. People can pay the tax anonymously and receive a tax stamp to be attached to the drugs. If police seize drugs from someone and a tax stamp is not attached, the seizure is reported to revenue officials who assess the tax. That's what happened to Nicholson and Bird. After paying the tax, the two men asked a state judge to dismiss the cocaine-trafficking charges on grounds the prosecution would subject them to double jeopardy, which the Constitution's Fifth Amendment prohibits. The judge dismissed the charges, basing the decision on a 1994 Supreme Court ruling that barred Montana from forcing drug offenders to pay a tax in addition to criminal penalties. A state appeals court agreed, but the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled that Nicholson and Bird could be prosecuted on the cocaine charges. Unlike the Montana drug tax, Kentucky's highest court said, the Kentucky levy is more tax than punishment and is due regardless of whether a person has been arrested on criminal charges. In the appeals acted on today, lawyers for Nicholson and Bird said the drug tax and criminal prosecution both seek to punish the same conduct. The cases are Nicholson vs. Kentucky, 98-1297, and Bird vs. Kentucky, 98-1331.
------------------------------------------------------------------- The Assassin's Beeper Code Was 007 (A gangbusters Christian Science Monitor article gives a glorious but one-sided portrait of Bridget Brennan, appointed a year ago as New York's Special Narcotics Prosecutor. With a $12 million annual budget and a staff of more than 200, she heads the only office in the U.S. dedicated solely to investigating and prosecuting drug offenses, from street-level dealers in Washington Heights to sophisticated undercover operations that span the globe.) Date: Tue, 1 Jun 1999 08:09:33 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US NY: The Assassin's Beeper Code Was 007 Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: unoino2 Pubdate: Tue, 01 June 1999 Source: Christian Science Monitor (US) Copyright: 1999 The Christian Science Publishing Society. Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.csmonitor.com/ Forum: http://www.csmonitor.com/atcsmonitor/vox/p-vox.html Author: Alexandra Marks, Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor THE ASSASSIN'S BEEPER CODE WAS 007 Hired by the head of a large Colombia cocaine organization, his job was to kill a drug courier who'd abandoned his car - with a million dollars in the trunk. The courier was worried the police were watching him. They were. At the time, Bridget Brennan led an elite unit in the office of New York's Special Narcotics Prosecutor. She and her colleagues were listening over the wiretapped cell phones of the Colombian dealers and their American help. They heard when word came down that the dealers had kidnapped the courier and taken him to an abandoned stash house in Queens. Then, from Colombia, they heard the order "send him to heaven." 007 began his work and Ms. Brennan ordered the police to do theirs. "They'd just used a stiletto to cut the buttons off his shirt, and our cops banged down the door and rescued him," she says, smiling. "There's not going to be much more of a compelling case than that." The kind of cool decisiveness Brennan displayed under such pressures has helped win her the respect of local cops and federal drug-enforcement officials around the nation. It's also gotten her a job she'd never imagined having when she grew up, red-haired and blue-eyed in wholesome Wisconsin: New York's Special Narcotics Prosecutor. Appointed a year ago, she now heads the only office in the US dedicated solely to investigating and prosecuting drug offenses. With a $12 million annual budget and a staff of more than 200, she leads a team whose work takes it from the street-level dealers in Washington Heights to sophisticated undercover operations that span around the globe. "It sounds corny, but you really do have the ability to do right in this job. Everything's in your corner and you can make the appropriate decisions," she said in a recent interview in her wood-paneled Manhattan office. Dedicated to the job The first woman ever appointed to the post, Brennan is dedicated to beating the traffickers at their own game - one that has become much more sophisticated with the advent of the global telecommunications revolution. The small and medium-size traffickers of today, moreover, have become more inventive since the breakup of big cartels that once ruled the cocaine trade. But at the same, Brennan is working to increase alternatives to prison for low-level offenders who are also drug addicts. And her colleagues say she's got the leadership skills and determination to accomplish both. "She's a good effective partner, a good team player who has the ability to quickly see the big picture and develop strategies that will target the highest level of drug trafficker," says John Rice, head of the US Drug Enforcement Administration in New York. The story of Brennan's rise to New York's top drug enforcer is an unlikely one. Raised in a big Irish family in Milwaukee - she has 10 brothers and sisters - she started a career as a TV journalist after graduating from the University of Wisconsin. She loved reporting and the analytical skills needed to write a balanced story. But she didn't like the career track, "crawling your way" from small to medium-size markets. Brennan went to law school looking for a shortcut. She thought she'd develop a specialty and then go back to reporting. But just before she graduated, a professor left her a post-it note on the board. He wondered if she'd be interested in a job in New York as an assistant district attorney. It had never occurred to her. She'd never even been in New York. But her professor, Frank Tuerkheimer from the University of Wisconsin Law School, thought she was smart enough and tough enough for Manhattan. "In my trial advocacy class, Bridget gave a closing argument that was so good, I felt bad for the student who was opposing her," he says. Brennan decided to go for the interview. She loved the energy of the place, the "bodegas and the delis" all thrown together. She also wanted the challenge. She was offered the job on the spot and she took it. That was 1983. She was soon working on murder cases, and there learned the true destructiveness of the drug trade. "Sixty percent of the homicides were drug-related. Whether it was because someone was high on crack and killed someone else, or it was a deal gone bad, drugs were at the core." Battling dealers' ingenuity That set her on her current path, where the evolving ingenuity of the drug traffickers continues to challenge her. For instance, dealers no longer flashed their cash, which had made them easy to identify. The head of the Caliche organization who tried to kill the courier had ordered people living in the cartel's stash houses to conduct themselves like any other Americans - even though they were storing hundreds of kilos of cocaine. "That means subscribing to TV Guide, washing the car on the weekend, mowing the lawn once a week," says Brennan. The global telecommunications network also gives traffickers new tools, from cell phones that can easily be changed to Internet access. The sophistication level has increased so much, Brennan says, that law-enforcement officials searching the traffickers' homes in Colombia have found copies of her office's court requests for wiretaps. That keeps Brennan busy enough. But she's also got an infant son, a young daughter, and a husband. Now, with the crime rate and drug use both falling, she feels "more optimistic than I've ever felt." While the traffickers have more resources available to them than ever before, "so do we. We're attacking both the supply and the demand now." And the head of the Caliche group, the one who hired 007? He was caught, pleaded guilty, and is serving 27 years to life.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Pot Hoax (An editorial in Reason magazine by Jacob Sullum says the Institute of Medicine report released March 17 confirms marijuana is medicine. The IOM report also confirms it was the White House drug czar, General Barry McCaffrey, who was perpetuating a hoax during initiative campaigns in California and Arizona, rather than those who promoted medical marijuana reform or voted for it.) Newshawk: Doc Hawk Pubdate: June 1999 Source: Reason Magazine (US) Copyright: 1999 The Reason Foundation Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Address: 3415 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Suite 400, Los Angeles, CA 90034-6064 Website: http://www.reason.com/ Author: Jacob Sullum, Senior Editor email@example.com Note: For a copy of the IOM report that is much easier to read than the one at the site listed in this item, go to: http://www.drugsense.org/iom_report/ POT HOAX "Some dismiss medical marijuana as a hoax that exploits our natural compassion for the sick," notes a new report from the Institute of Medicine that details the therapeutic potential of cannabis. The IOM's experts discreetly refrain from adding that it's an opinion shared by the man who commissioned the report. "There is not one shred of evidence that shows that smoked marijuana is useful or needed," Barry McCaffrey, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, told the San Francisco Chronicle in August 1996. "This is not medicine. This is a cruel hoax." At a December 1996 press conference, McCaffrey was asked whether there was "any evidence...that marijuana is useful in a medical situation." His reply was unequivocal: "No, none at all." So it was odd that McCaffrey asked the IOM, a branch of the National Academy of Sciences, to review the evidence of marijuana's medical utility - evidence he had repeatedly claimed did not exist. Commissioned in January 1997 and released in March, the IOM report (available at www.nap.edu) confirms that it was the drug czar who was perpetrating the hoax. "The accumulated data indicate a potential therapeutic value for cannabinoid drugs [marijuana's active ingredients], particularly for symptoms such as pain relief, control of nausea and vomiting, and appetite stimulation," the report says. The authors find "there is no conclusive evidence that the drug effects of marijuana are causally linked to the subsequent abuse of other drugs." As for the idea that "sanctioning the medical use of marijuana might increase its use in the general population" - another of McCaffrey's favorite bugaboos - "there are no convincing data to support this concern." The report finds that "the adverse effects of marijuana use are within the range of effects tolerated for other medications," with one exception: Smoking it introduces toxins that may contribute to respiratory illness over the long term. For this reason, the authors conclude that the future of medical marijuana lies not in smoking the whole plant but in absorbing its active components through inhalers or other clean delivery systems.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Why Your Child Could Wind Up In Jail (The June issue of Redbook magazine says parents who are shocked to learn that their kids are hooked on drugs are even more shocked by what happens when they cry for help. For every three Americans in treatment, another six need help but can't get it. Only about a sixth of all prisoners who urgently need treatment receive it, and the treatment they do receive is inadequate. While criminal penalties aren't discouraging drug use, they are discouraging some users from getting help, even when it's a matter of life and death.) Newshawk: Support MAP! Source: REDBOOK Copyright: 1999 Hearst Communications Inc. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Editorial address: 224 W. 57th St., New York, NY 10019 Website: http://www.redbookmag.com Fax: (212) 247-1086 Pubdate: June, 1999 Author: Tessa Decarlo REDBOOK REPORT: WHY YOUR CHILD COULD WIND UP IN JAIL * Parents who are shocked to learn that their kids are hooked on drugs are even more shocked by what happens when they cry for help. Imagine that your child has a potentially fatal disease that's eating him alive. Now imagine that the only way to get him the treatment he needs is to have him thrown in jail. Even today, June Gertig, a lawyer living in Herndon, Virginia, can't quite describe how heartsick she felt when she had her drug- and alcohol-addicted son - then just 14 - arrested. "How do you feel when police - that you called! - come and take your kid away in handcuffs, and all your neighbors are watching?" she says. 'When you're wondering if your kid is going to be raped in jail? When you honestly do not know if you have done the right thing or some-thing so wrong that God will hold you in his sights forever?" Like most of us, Gertig had never given much thought to U.S. drug policy. She and her husband, Joseph, a social science researcher, live in a well-to-do suburb of Washington, D.C., and their two older children survived adolescence with no more than the usual bumps and scrapes. When their youngest turned unhappy and defiant in junior high, flying into rages and refusing to follow even basic rules, the worried couple took him to individual and family therapy and had him evaluated for depression. Even after they'd caught him drinking and smoking marijuana, they didn't want to believe that substance abuse was the source of his problems. And none of the therapists they consulted even raised the possibility. "We were exhausted, angry, ashamed, and utterly terrified"' Gertig says. "But drug addiction is so stigmatized, many parents prefer to believe their child has a mental illness." Meanwhile, their son was getting worse. He screamed obscenities at his parents and punched holes in walls. He rarely attended school and got into fights when he did. As his world fell apart, so did his family's. "Terrible things came to seem normal," Gertig says. "I used to say, 'But at least he's never hit me,' as if that were a measure of success. You look back, and you can't believe what you put up with." Finally, a therapist advised the Gertigs to send their son, by now a ninth grader, to a drug and alcohol treatment program. But they soon discovered that getting successful treatment is extraordinarily difficult. Programs are scarce and vary widely in philosophy and quality, so finding the right one can be a matter of trial and error. And treatment is expensive. Most health insurance plans either refuse to cover it or offer minimal coverage, limiting life-time benefits to $5,000, say, versus $1 million for other illnesses. And treatment often doesn't work the first, second, or even third time, particularly with adolescents. Within just a few months, the Gertigs had liquidated their retirement accounts paying for four different programs, including a one-week hospital stay, an intensive daily outpatient program, and 30 days in a facility for addicts. In treatment, the boy gradually revealed how out of control his young life had become. Besides using large quantities of alcohol and marijuana, he had taken psychedelics and committed a number of petty crimes his family prefers not to discuss. Yet no single program seemed to work. Periods of good behavior were followed by relapses and further treatment attempts. "Looking back, I can see that things improved, slowly and sometimes erratically," Gertig says. "But at the time it seemed like a roller coaster of dashed expectations." The desperate couple decided their son needed a longer stay in a residential program, but they'd already spent more than $50,000 trying to help him and couldn't afford the $30,000 or more that private treatment would cost. Luckily, their county is one of the few in Virginia to offer a publicly subsidized six-month residential program for adolescents. But - like most public programs - this one had a long waiting list, six months or more. The only way to get their son admitted sooner was to have a juvenile court judge send him there. The Gertigs by now knew enough about their son's activities to have grounds for calling the police, but first they had to struggle with their own anger and fear. "To get your kid what he needs to get better, you have to send him to jail-imagine if they did that for diabetes!" Gertig exclaims. "But at least my husband and I are white, middle-class professionals, and we were fairly sure that if we turned in our son he would get treatment, rather than prison time. If we were poor or black, I'm not sure we would have taken the risk." Even so, a treatment bed for their son didn't open up until three months after his arrest. Their son was furious about being left in custody during the long wait. "I didn't think we could keep him safe anywhere else," Gertig says. She was right to be scared. Six weeks after he was arrested, he was sent home under house arrest (against the Gertigs' wishes) to wait out the next month and a half. Despite his parents' vigilance, he managed during that time to "huff" inhalants to the point of unconsciousness. But when he finally did enter treatment, it worked - because of the longer stay, Gertig believes, and a better fit between patient and program. Now 19, her son has completed high school, is working full-time, and is going to college at night. He and his parents are proud of his recovery, but June Gertig is still angry. "The way our country deals with substance abuse is madness," she says. "We spend our resources on criminalizing drug use, not preventing it or helping people recover from it." A DISEASE OR A CRIME? For June Gertig, an important moral of her family's story is this: Addiction is a disease that can be treated successfully. There is extensive research showing that chemical dependency is remarkably similar to diabetes, high blood pressure, and other chronic ailments often caused by a combination of poor choices (unhealthy diet, smoking, lack of exercise) and genetic susceptibility. Recent studies show that addiction alters the biochemistry of the brain and that relapses are the predictable result, not of moral collapse, but of those biochemical changes. Further, when addiction is treated as a chronic brain disease, those changes can be reversed. Last year, a group of prominent doctors affiliated with Brown University presented conclusive evidence that addiction can be controlled with a mix of medication, therapy, and behavioral changes - and that such treatment works at least as well as similar strategies for treating diabetes and other chronic diseases. Whatever the scientific evidence, addiction still looks to many Americans more like a crime than a disease. Of the $17 billion federal anti-drug budget, only 20 percent is spent to help people stop using drugs; most of the rest goes to law enforcement. Drug arrests have pushed the U.S. jail and prison population to over 1.8 million people, of whom an estimated 1.2 million are alcohol or drug abusers. Few of these people are violent, high-level dealers: More than 90 percent of all drug arrests are of nonviolent offenders guilty only of possession or of dealing small quantities to support their own habits. While some families, like June Gertig's, must criminalize their loved ones in order to help them, many more people in the grip of addiction are being slammed with criminal penalties instead of getting help. When he was 19, Tim Bobby of Valparaiso, Indiana, discovered that his heroin sniffing had slipped into full-fledged addiction. He and his mother, Susan, had been trying to arrange for treatment when one of his friends called, begging for help obtaining drugs. It turned out to be a police setup, and Tim was arrested with two packets of heroin, each about the size of a pea. Though he'd never been in trouble with the law before, he was charged with felony drug dealing and threatened with 20 years in prison. Susan Bobby, a systems analyst and single mom - had enough savings to hire a good attorney - who got the sentence reduced to three years in prison (which Tim has just finished serving), plus four years probation. Unlike most prisoners (see "Treat or Punish? Do the Math," next page), Tim managed to get treatment behind bars and began working on a college degree. But his status as a convicted felon will brand him for life and bar him from realizing his ambition of becoming a lawyer. His drug offense will also disqualify him for federal college loans. "This isn't the way to deal with a kid's drug problem,' his mother fumes. "It's just a jobs program for jail guards.'" THE REAL CASUALTIES OF THE DRUG WAR Paradoxically, the get-tough approach has had little impact on the nation's drug problem. Over the past decade, the rate at which people are using and becoming addicted to drugs has not changed. And illegal drugs, says Ernest Drucker, editor of the medical journal Addiction Research, are "cheaper, more powerful, and more available today than at any time in the past 25 years." Even more alarming, the number of young people experimenting with heroin and other hard drugs has been rising steadily. "By the time they leave high school, almost 50 percent of kids will have tried at least one illegal drug," says Kendra Wright of Family Watch, which monitors the impact of drug policies. Criminalizing drug use, she argues, just compounds its consequences. "Does it make sense to ruin their lives over a few moments of rebellion and poor judgment?" Andy Baltzell of Yukon, Oklahoma, was caught with $90 worth of amphetamines after a friend who asked for help getting drugs turned out to be a police informant. The slight, sweet-faced 21-year-old had been arrested once before for being in a car with someone else who had a small quantity of drugs in his pocket; his second offense got him sent to prison for 15 years. "He wouldn't ever talk about it, but I believe he was gang-raped in there," says his mother, Judy Chancellor. He attempted suicide twice, then was moved to a maximum-security facility where he often refused to leave his cell for weeks at a time. He was released after four years for good behavior, but his ordeal left him deeply depressed. "He said, 'I don't feel like a man anymore,'" his mother recalls bitterly. "Ten months after he got out, he took his life." Chancellor now lobbies for mandatory treatment instead of jail for low-level drug offenders. "It's been six years since my son's passing, but I don't want to let society, lawmakers, any of them forget," she says. "The real crime is what we're doing to nonviolent offenders like Andy." While criminal penalties aren't discouraging drug use, they are discouraging some users from getting help, even when it's a matter of life and death. As a result, drug-related deaths have quadrupled over the past 20 years. One victim was Jared Lowry of Houston, who, like Tim Bobby, thought he could experiment with heroin without becoming addicted. When Jared tried to get help, his family discovered that their insurance didn't cover a suitable program, so Jared tried to quit on his own. Hoping to make a fresh start, he moved to Austin, Texas, found a job, and seemed to be doing well. Then, just a few weeks after his twenty-first birthday, his mother, Jennifer Daley, got the kind of phone call every parent dreads: Her son had died of a heroin overdose. She later learned that Jared's relapse probably wouldn't have been fatal if he'd gotten medical attention. But instead of calling 911, his friends had driven him around town for several hours trying to revive him. "They drove right by a hospital, but they didn't take him in," Daley says. "I think they were too scared of what might happen to them." Daley might have tried to get her son's friends prosecuted for his death. Instead, she is working with Family Watch on a memorial for Jared and other young overdose victims in Houston this fall, an event she hopes will draw attention to the dangers of punitive drug laws. "What's the point of making other parents unhappy by taking their kids away?" she says. "I'd rather try to change people's minds about the billions of dollars our country is wasting on policies that don't protect our children." THE VALUE OF A UFE Maia Szalavitz, now a New York writer and television producer, is a former cocaine and heroin addict whose drug use spanned the mid-1980s, when AIDS was in the headlines but little was being done to help addicts avoid the terrible risk they took each time they used a dirty needle. She points out that one of the most insidious costs of the drug war is the continuing spread of AIDS and hepatitis C by addicts sharing needles, which they often feel compelled to do because of laws against needle possession. Needle exchange programs, which provide drug users with clean needles, have been proven by a series of government funded studies to dramatically reduce the spread of disease without increasing drug use. There are now 113 such programs nationwide, but many politicians - including President Bill Clinton - oppose them, arguing that needle exchanges send a 'soft on drugs' message. Szalavitz did not contract HIV during her years of use, but she knows her escape was a narrow one and resents the assumption behind opposition to programs like needle exchange - that addicts are expendable, that they will never recover. "I was outraged that in their eyes my life meant so little." Jo Anne Engelbert, a college professor in Upper Montclair, New Jersey, says her son is a casualty of such callousness. He struggled with drugs during his school years, went into treatment after he graduated from high school, relapsed, and took off for the other side of the country. "He realized if he stayed here he was going to break my heart," she says. After five years in California, much of it spent living on the streets, he called his mother and asked her to help him reclaim his life. Fortunately, she'd continued to pay for his health insurance, which covered a second course of treatment. Her son has been clean and sober for ten years, but as a result of sharing needles he is HIV positive. Engelbert recently told her story at a rally protesting New Jersey governor Christine Todd Whitman's ban on needle exchange. "I spoke about the horror of a person wanting to give up addiction and coming out of this season of hell with HIV," she says. "I talked about how politicians like Whitman are willing to write off huge numbers of people who are dehumanized, demonized, and allowed to die. After I spoke, my son threw his arms around me and we both cried." NO MORE SECRETS One reason we may be slow to recognize the worth of these young addicts is that we rarely hear the success stories of people like Szalavitz. Secrecy is a tradition in the recovery movement, but it comes at a high cost. In 1996, a bill was introduced in Congress that would have required health plans to cover addiction and mental illnesses equally with other medical conditions. The mental health part of the bill passed easily, but parity for drug treatment was quickly jettisoned. "We were told that the mental health side got 3,000 phone calls," recalls Robin Ihara, friend of Gertig's who'd gone through a similar ordeal with one of her sons. "The substance abuse side got three." Recovered addicts and their families weren't seen as vote-casting constituency. That is beginning to change. In the fall of 1997, Gertig helped found the Substance Abuse and Addiction Recovery Alliance (SAARA), which quickly attracted several hundred members across northern Virginia and was among 18 fledgling groups in 15 states to receive a grant last year from the federal Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. Virginia may soon become the sixth state to pass a bill requiring insurers to cover drug treatment, thanks at least in part to support from SAARA members. (At press time, the bill needed only the governor's signature.) And though she is not a demonstrative person, June Gertig agreed to testify last summer before the U.S. Senate in support of a similar federal bill. While her story is one most families would probably prefer to keep to themselves, Gertig has come to believe that openness is essential to solving the drug problem. "If I can't say who I am, then I'm encouraging the stigma surrounding addiction instead of fighting it," she says. "People need to know that when they talk about addiction, they are talking about my family and people like us." [Sidebar] FOR HELP: Center for Substance Abuse Treatment www.treatment.org 800-662-HELP Drug Policy Foundation www.dpf.org 202-537-5005 Family Watch www.familywatch.org 703-354-4002 Lindesmith Center www.lindesmith.org 415-921-4987 November Coalition www.november.org 509-684-1550 [Sidebar] TREAT OR PUNISH? DO THE MATH For every three Americans in treatment, another six need help but can't get it. Only about a sixth of all prisoners who urgently need treatment receive it, and the treatment they do receive is inadequate. Annual cost to incarcerate One addict: $25,900. Annual cost to provide long-term residential treatment for one addict: $6,800. Cost to decrease U.S. cocaine consumption 1 percent by eradicating sources of supply: $783 million. Cost to decrease cocaine consumption 1 percent by increasing drug treatment: $34 million. Tax payer savings for every $1 invested in drug Treatment: $7.46. How much your insurance premium might go up if treatment for addiction were covered equally With other illnesses: 0.2%.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Silver Bullet Or Poison Chalice: The Biowar Against Drugs (The June issue of Scientific American critiques Congress's approval last year of $23 million for research on plant pathogens designed to eradicate coca, poppies and hemp. Article I of the 1972 Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention bans the development, production and stockpiling of biological agents intended "for hostile purposes or in armed conflict." The greatest concern, however, is that the development of drug-crop pathogens will inevitably provide expertise that could be applied in much more aggressive, offensive biological warfare targeting food crops.)Date: Thu, 20 May 1999 21:52:49 -0700 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US: Silver Bullet Or Poison Chalice: The Biowar Against Drugs Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Tom O'Connell Pubdate: June, 1999 Source: Scientific American (US) Page: 75 Copyright: 1999 Scientific American, Inc Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.sciam.com/ Note: This short article appeared as a sidebar on a longer article, "Biologicel Warfare Against Crops," by Paul Rogers, Simon Whitby, & Malcolm Dundo, all biological warfare experts from Bradford University in England. SILVER BULLET OR POISON CHALICE: THE BIOWAR AGAINST DRUGS Last year the U.S. Congress approved a $23-million antidrug program that includes research on plant pathogens. Among the target plants are those that produce narcotics such as cocaine, heroin and marijuana. Advocates of the program hail it as a potential breakthrough. Representative Bill McCollum of Florida, one of the co-sponsors of the legislation, said, "All of the indications are that this has the potential for making a big difference in the drug war.... This could be the silver bullet." Article I of the 1972 Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) bans the development, production and stockpiling of biological agents intended "for hostile purposes or in armed conflict." Also outlawed are biological weapons "that have no justification for prophylactic, protective or other peaceful purposes." Proponents of the use of plant pathogens against drug crops therefore point out that they would be used in cooperative proqrams with states in which the drugs are produced. Opponents of the plans have three concerns. One is that induced epidemics might, in some circumstances, spread to other plants. Another is that plant pathogens could be used in drug-proclucing regions without the consent of the state in question. Whereas such use might be popular with antidrug agencies, it would almost certainly breach the BTWC and also set a dangerous precedent. The greatest concern, however, is that the development of a capability to destroy drug crops with plant pathogens will inevitably provide a wealth of knowledge and practical experience that could readily be applied in much more aggressive, offensive biological warfare targeting food crops. - Paul Rogers, Simon Whitby, & Malcolm Dundo
------------------------------------------------------------------- A Crime Against Women (The June issue of Glamour magazine says Amy Pofahl's MDMA-kingpin husband cut a deal that dumped her in prison for a quarter century, and freed him after four years. She and thousands of other women guilty of relatively minor crimes end up doing more time than men due to a controversial federal law, the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, and particularly a 1998 amendment adding "conspiracy" to the list of offenses covered.) Date: Mon, 31 May 1999 22:02:35 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US: A Crime Against Women Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Support MAP! Source: Glamour Copyright: 1999 Conde' Nast Publications, Inc. Pubdate: June 1999 Contact: Letters@Glamour.com Fax: (212) 880-6922 Mail: Glamour, 350 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10017 Websites: http://www.swoon.com/ http://www.phys.com/ Note: Websites of mentioned organizations: Criminal Justice Policy Foundation http://www.cjpf.org/ The Sentencing Project http://www.sentencingproject.org Families Against Mandatory Minimums http://www.famm.org/ A CRIME AGAINST WOMEN You Be the Jury: Does This Woman Deserve To Be Locked Up For 24 Years? A harsh law punishes women unjustly and lets drug lords off easy. Amy Pofahl's Drug-Kingpin Husband Cut A Deal That Dumped Her In Prison For A Quarter Century - And Freed Him After Four Years. Glamour Investigates How She And Thousands Of Other Women Guilty Of Relatively Minor Crimes End Up Doing More Time Than Men Due To A Controversial Federal Law. HERE IS AN INTENSE CALIFORNIA SUN on the morning. I pass the two rows of gleaming razor wire, the metal-detector arch, the armed guards and two vault-like doors before arriving at a brick patio inside FCI Dublin, a low-security womens' federal correctional institution outside of Oakland. Amy Pofahl stands on the other side of the terrace, her feet next to a patch of pansies with a sign stuck in it that reads, "No Inmates Allowed Beyond This Point." She was once an exceptional beauty and a very wealthy woman, and even in her regulation beige work shirt and slacks, she is still striking - graceful and leggy, with silken hair that drapes her shoulders in countless shades of gold. With her top two buttons undone, revealing a glimpse of her simple white T-shirt, she looks like she is ready to leave on a safari, which couldn't be further from the truth. Amy last saw freedom eight years ago, when she was a 30-year-old nightclub promoter in Los Angeles. Now, the toll of her long incarceration shows on her face, particularly on her lazy eyelids, which are as creased as crackled pottery. As the warden's assistant and I approach Amy, he points to her neckline and commands, "Button your shirt." She complies with a slow hand. Later, she whispers to me, "Being in here is very much like that. Everything starts to focus on these little things like how to wear your shirt. And whenever you're trying to focus on something that's maybe going to get you free....." Then her eyes leave mine, and she flutters the long fingers of her right hand in the air, pawing for emotional control. Amy Pofahl broke the law, but she is not a hardened criminal. Like thousands of women in prison today, she is a once-productive member of society who made a series of bad decisions, all for a man she loved. Unbeknownst to Amy, for most of the time she was married to him, Charles "Sandy" Pofahl - a Stanford University Law School graduate and wealthy Dallas businessman with whom she exchanged rings when she was 25 and he was 44 - was the mastermind of a secret and illegal international syndicate that made and distributed the drug MDMA, or Ecstasy. Sandy revealed his involvement to Amy after his arrest on February 16, 1989, three years into their marriage. But then he begged her to handle some financial matters that she felt might be shady while he awaited trial. Out of love, she agreed. "I have the kind of personality that was just right for him to rely on," she explains. "It's a flaw in my character. I'll jump off and do things and ask questions later." It's bad enough that Amy became criminally embroiled in an operation her husband ran and had kept her in the dark about. What's worse is that Sandy Pofahl, an Ecstasy kingpin who directed nearly two dozen accomplices to smuggle millions of pills into America, served just four years in prison. Amy Pofahl, his blindly loyal wife who did nothing even remotely like that, got 24 years with no chance of parole. Women Bear the Burden It is a peculiar facet of the federal sentencing guidelines that women, many of them young, who are convicted in drug rings often draw much longer sentences than men. Almost always, their connection to the drug ring is as a gofer, delivery person or patsy for the men they love. As a result, there are more women in prison today than at any time in the nation's history. The latest data, from July 1998, shows that 146,507 women are serving time in federal, state and local facilities, up from 63,015 a decade earlier Nearly half of that increase is drug-related, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, part of the U.S. Department of Justice. This is certainly the most unanticipated and least logical consequence of the war on drugs. At the height of crack cocaine's terrible march through American cities in the mid-eighties, entire neighborhoods succumbed to crime of such violence and scope that it seemed as if the fabric of American civilization was in danger of unraveling. Congress responded by passing The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, which removed sentencing discretion from federal judges and established a schedule of mandatory-minimum prison sentences in drug cases, based solely on the type and quantity of drug involved. The only way defendants can earn a "downward departure," or reduced sentence, is to give substantial assistance in the prosecution of other drug dealers. The Anti-Drug Abuse Act has drawn sharp criticism, largely because it penalizes low-level participants and drug users as harshly or - as in Amy Pofahl's case - more harshly than people guilty of running major drug operations. The mandatory-minimum sentences established by the Act have been slammed by the American Bar Association, the U.S. Sentencing Commission, Supreme Court Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and an astonishing 86 percent of federal judges. Barry R. McCaffrey, the four-star general who heads the Office of National Drug Control Policy, has called mandatory minimums "bad drug policy and bad law," and decried the fact that they dominate the drug-war budget: Some $35 billion a year are spent on incarcerating drug convicts, many of whom McCaffrey considers mere foot soldiers for big-time dealers. Even the congressional staffer who wrote the law, Eric Sterling (now president of The Criminal Justice Policy Foundation, a Washington, D.C., think tank), works tirelessly today to undo his legacy. "The statute has been profoundly misused," he says. "The price has been a tremendous injustice and a tremendous tragedy for the [less culpable] individuals, their children, their parents, their siblings and their spouses." The Price of Loyalty The primary reason women have been hit hard by the Anti-Drug Abuse Act is that the original statute was amended in 1988 to add "conspiracy" to the list of offenses covered. Technically, a conspirator knows about criminal activity and has agreed to participate. But federal prosecutors have been able to convict people they believe simply should have known about the ongoing crimes, says Marc Mauer, an authority on crime trends at The Sentencing Project, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit group. Frequently, that means the wife or girlfriend of a dealer ends up behind bars, says Monica Pratt, of the national organization Families Against Mandatory Minimums. "Almost half of the women in prison today under mandatory-minimum sentences have been convicted of conspiracy. Taking messages for a drug dealer, driving him to a bank to deposit his money - that can make you just as liable as the dealer," she says. In part because of the crackdown on "conspirators," the female prison population is growing faster on average than the male population - 7 percent versus just 4.5 percent a year since 1990. Also, of the 8,207 women currently serving time in federal prison, 60 percent have been convicted of drug charges. Casualties of the drug war include women such as Kemba Smith, 27, a former Virginia debutante. She ended up facing the same stiff penalties as some of the principal dealers in her college boyfriend's drug ring, even though evidence at her sentencing showed that he beat her, and that out of fear, she sometimes participated in illegal activities for him. She was convicted not of specific crimes related to those few incidents, but for many offenses the drug ring had collectively committed. At the age of 24, she was sentenced to 24-and-a-half years without parole. By comparison, the average maximum sentences that state courts handed down for rape and robbery in 1996 were 11-and-a-half and eight-and-a-half years, respectively, while the average minimum state sentence actually served for rape was only six years, and for robbery, five. Why are women like Pofahl and Smith receiving such long sentences? Because when wives and girlfriends are caught in the net, especially, if they genuinely know little about the drug operation, they seldom have the kind of information to trade for a "downward departure." So the law that was meant to crush drug-world master-minds actually rewards them with shortened sentences, while their less culpable sweethearts are vigorously punished. Even if women have information to trade for reduced sentences, however, they often decline to cooperate out of loyalty. In 1989, Serena Nunn, now 29, refused to inform against her boyfriend, Ralph Nunn (no relation), a member of a Minneapolis drug ring. "I would not hurt someone else to save myself," Serena said. "I'm just not made like that." For her minimal role, she got a 16-year sentence. Had she informed on her boy friend, she might have received as few as eight months. Instead, Marvin McCaleb, a senior partner in the drug ring, informed on Ralph Nunn, who received a 25-year sentence. McCaleb, who had previously been convicted and served time for manslaughter, major drug dealing and rape, got seven years - less than half Serena's sentence. In response to such cases, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif ), a long-time advocate of Kemba Smith, introduced a bill in Congress last month to eliminate mandatory minimums. "If you had to define injustice at the turn of the century," says Eric Sterling, "these cases are Exhibit A: the girlfriends of king-pins who get sentences that are two and three and four times longer than the guys who head it all up." The End of Innocence Amy Pofahl was once a shy girl from little Charleston, Arkansas, where her mother was the newspaper editor and her father served a term as mayor. She preferred her 4-H Club activities to dating, and only begrudgingly attended her junior and senior proms. That changed when, after a year of college, she moved to Dallas, a 19-year-old with dreams of becoming a model. At a party in March 1985, she struck up a conversation with another guest, Sandy Pofahl. He was 19 years older, a balding businessman who reminded her of Gene Hackman. But he had tremendous magnetism. "I was feeling emotions I never felt before. I thought he was the greatest thing in the whole world," Amy says. A few days later, they met for dinner at Cafe Pacific, one of Dallas' finest restaurants, and he handed her an Ecstasy tablet. Although it was sold legally as a diet aid at the time, Ecstasy is a psychedelic drug, like LSD, that fosters feelings of intimacy and love. Popularized in the eighties by San Francisco marriage therapists, it was sold in night clubs and herb shops until it was outlawed in October 1986. Using the drug tightened the bond between Amy and Sandy. They were engaged within eight days and married before the year was out. "She called and said, 'You're just going to love him. He's my soulmate!'" recalls Amy's mother, Nancy Ralston. "When we met him and realized he was not a big, handsome man, I thought, It must be love!" He bought Amy a blue Mercedes and made her sales vice president of one of his businesses, Commonwealth Bancorp, specializing in home-improvement loans. She earned $4,000 a month plus commission. Sandy Pofahl was one of the frenetic entrepreneurial high-fliers who distinguished Texas in the eighties. He had graduated from Stanford before storming the business community in Dallas. By the time he met Amy, he owned or co-owned businesses including a mortgage lending company, an oil and gas business, a computer software company, a computer hardware company, a real estate brokerage and a half-dozen other concerns. He and Amy lived in a sprawling home in Highland Park, Dallas' most exclusive suburb, and traveled the world. "These were people who in Texas we call highfalutin," says an attorney familiar with the case. And though Amy says they never tried any harder drugs, the Pofahls continued taking Ecstasy at a time when it was exceedingly popular and entirely legal. Sandy entered the Ecstasy business in early 1985, several months before he and Amy were married. Together with Morris Key, Ph.D., a Dallas chemist, Sandy established Ecstasy International Export and Import Organization (EIEIO) and sank nearly a million dollars into start-up costs. Their main plant was in Guatemala, and they employed a network of above-board distributors. In October of 1986, however, Ecstasy was added to the Drug Enforcement Agency's (DEA) list of illegal drugs. Despite this, Amy says neither she nor Sandy stopped taking it occasionally. Still, Amy has consistently said she was unaware that Sandy and Key continued with their business, and her protestations seem credible: "Sandy went from one business meeting to another, all day long. It was impossible to keep up with his affairs," she says. "it was like being Jane Fonda married to Ted Turner." EIEIO eventually established production contacts in Germany, where it was easier to get the necessary materials, smuggling millions of ?pills? into America over the next two years, according to federal authorities. "I knew he had access to Ecstasy, and he had said he could get as much as he wanted, but I didn't think he was manufacturing it," Amy says. Meanwhile, their marriage was crumbling. Friends say Sandy had a drinking problem, which fueled grossly inappropriate behavior. "I couldn't stand him," remembered Cathy Johnston, a friend from North Dallas. "It seemed like anytime you'd even get close to him, he'd try to touch you, I found him obnoxious. But Amy was in love with the creep." In love or not, by January 1988 Amy had had enough of Sandy's drunken flirtations. She moved to Los Angeles, leaving Sandy behind. She thrived there, and was soon throwing such glamorous parties in her home that the owners of Tramp, the exclusive Hollywood supperclub that Jackie Collins opened, hired her as their promoter. She earned $80,000 a year and hosted celebrities from Jean-Claude Van Damme to Eddie Murphy. "She knew absolutely everybody," says a soap opera star who befriended her then and still keeps in touch. "I liked her independence; I loved that she was out there doing this on her own." But Sandy's spell was not easily broken. He wrote letters with lovelorn salutations like "Dear Better Than Bestest" and visited her often. He even signed the lease on a $42,000-a-year house in the Hollywood Hills to be close. His campaign worked. "If Sandy could get within a 20-foot radius of me, he could just completely melt my heart," she says. Amy agreed to move into the rented home with him, but before she did, Sandy left on a mysterious business trip to Germany. A week later, on February 16, 1989, he was taken into custody by German federal agents. Two days later, his partner, the chemist Key, was arrested in New York City and extradited to Germany for trial. When word of the charges reached Amy, she was blown away - not by her husband's criminal activity, but about the danger the man she adored was now facing. "I was going to do whatever I needed to do to help him. I didn't care what he'd done," she said. Kept in the Dark Other members of the EIEIO drug ring were rounded up by the DEA, but many didn't even know Amy Pofahl's name. When agents from the U.S. attorney's office interviewed her husband and Key in their German prison, both said that Amy - like all wives and girlfriends - was told nothing about the Ecstasy operation. Daniel Bernard, one of Sandy's main U.S. distributors, would later write in an affidavit: "I never believed Amy to be knowledgeable as to the particulars. Quite the contrary. I personally observed numerous attempts made by Mr. Pofahl to shield Amy from his MDMA enterprise, and I aided his endeavor to hinder Amy from knowing about the operation." But after Sandy's arrest, Amy, who had moved into the rented house alone, became very involved. Sandy anticipated (wrongly, as it turned out) that he would be offered a chance to post bail. So he sent his wife a series of coded faxes imploring her to help recover his hidden drug profits and cryptically telling her where to find them. Amy wanted him out on bail badly enough to take the risk. "What kept going through my mind is that incarceration is worse than losing someone to death," she says, fighting back tears. "You know that they're unhappy, and you know there's nothing you an really do." Besides, she convinced herself that as his wife trying to help him ferret out cash, she would not be breaking any laws. The crime, she reasoned in her distress, remained his responsibility. In any case, by the end of the summer of 1989, she had collected more than $780,000 from the various places Sandy had stashed it, and had hidden the cash in attics and shoe boxes in Dallas and Los Angeles. But then she found out that Sandy would not be offered bail, and she was stuck with the dirty cash. "The money," she says, "became this enormous albatross." Having secretly monitored Amy's actions, federal authorities descended on her one afternoon in September 1989. She arrived home to find agents rifling through her things. The list of seized items included six Ecstasy tablets found in one of Sandy's coats and $7,000 in cash earmarked for rent on the house, which, of course, was leased in Sandy's name. She recalls an agent saying, "You're in deep, sister." One who questioned her was Charlie Strauss, an assistant U.S. attorney from Waco, Texas. "She was told we were just interested in what knowledge she had, and we wouldn't use it against her husband," Strauss remembers. "Had she come to the table at that time - cooperated, been truthful, honest and candid - I would say there's a probability she wouldn't have been prosecuted." Amy says she didn't believe them. She says they wanted her to visit Sandy to collect incriminating information. (Strauss could not confirm this.) Out of love and respect for her marriage, she says, she refused. Sandy, it turned out, had fewer compunctions. In exchange for a promise of leniency, he soon told German and American authorities everything he knew about the operation, from the street dealers to the smugglers. He also offered information about his wife's handling of his money. Rewarding him for the assistance, German authorities handed him a six-year sentence. Sold Out and Set Up In a vague note he sent to Amy, Sandy told her he'd come clean about everything, and encouraged her to cooperate, too. She was livid that she'd covered for him for no reason, but she did nothing. She did not know how much trouble she was in. "Once they had him and he had told them everything, I was sure they didn't want me anymore." On the contrary, they were building a major case against her based upon her husband's sworn statements. Federal authorities seized her car and plundered her bank accounts, asserting that the money was ill-gotten. They even confiscated her wedding ring. Agents asked Tramp regulars if they'd ever seen her dealing drugs. Nobody had, but she lost her job anyway. For about 19 months, federal agents kept on the pressure, and Amy nearly broke down. Her bank account empty and her credit cards canceled by the bank, she started spending the money she had collected at Sandy's behest. Early in 1990, she says, she asked her attorney to tell the authorities that she would direct them to the remaining cash if they in return would stop investigating her. Strauss says the message never got to him. "Either she's lying, or she misunderstood, or somebody's given her some misinformation," he says. "But those overtures never came to us." Fearing that her arrest was imminent but still convinced of her own innocence, Amy fled. She recognizes in retrospect that this was a mistake, but at the time, she says, sitting around and waiting to be indicted was just too stressful. "Every time I tried to do something to make it better, I got in deeper. I never made a right decision in this whole thing." On the lam for about three months, she found her way to Florida. But the isolation from friends and family soon caused her to despair, so she headed back to Marina Del Rey resolved to fight. Agents from the DEA arrested her thereon March 27, 1991, and charged her with conspiracy to import and distribute MDMA and money laundering. She was shipped to Waco, Texas, to await trial. Her court-appointed attorney, John Hurley, urged her to plead guilty in hopes of a reduced sentence. She refused. "How would you like to be told you need to plead guilty to something you feel you're absolutely positive you didn't do?" she asks rhetorically. At trial, there was no evidence that she ever had direct contacts with Ecstasy manufacturers or importers or personally sold the drug after it became illegal. But her efforts to retrieve her husband's money were well documented. Sandy, still in his German jail cell, was not called to testify by prosecutors. He wrote to Hurley, pleading with the lawyer to be called as a witness on Amy's behalf. For some reason, Hurley did not take him up on the offer. (Hurley refused to comment for this article.) A jury of eight women and four men found Amy guilty on all counts. According to the mandatory-minimum sentencing laws, her involvement in the "conspiracy" made her just as culpable as if she had built the organization herself. Unable to weigh her relative conduct, a federal judge was forced to hand Amy a 24-year sentence. If she had been found guilty of money laundering alone - the only charge alleging her direct involvement - she would probably have received a sentence of just five years. Today, even the prosecutor, Charlie Strauss, seems chagrined that Amy received such a harsh punishment. "I don't think Amy was the linchpin here," he says. "If she were not married to Sandy, she would not have done this. She got involved through her association with him." Life Behind Bars At FCI Dublin, Amy Pofahl shares a closet-size room with another prisoner, their beds just a foot apart opposite a sink and an open toilet. Amy has been an exemplary prisoner with only two minor reprimands, the more serious for feeding sardines to the cats that dart between the squat prison buildings. Amy has had plenty of time to reconsider her actions. She now concedes that the government's money-laundering case against her, charging that she removed and spent money from Sandy's vaults, is valid. "From my soul, I knew that the money was illicit, and I did spend it, and if that constitutes money laundering, absolutely. Absolutely, I regret it," says Amy. "I've thought about the whole thing a million times," she continues. "It's going to sound phony, but it's really truth - I just feel now that my loyalties were displaced." Sandy Pofahl, meanwhile, served only four years and three months in a German prison, and although the authorities there expected him to serve another 17-and-a-half years behind bars in America, the Justice Department elected not to require more time because he had cooperated with U.S. authorities. He left prison in 1993 and spent two years in the Netherlands, while his attorneys confirmed that he would not be prosecuted in America. He returned in 1995 and has since rebuilt his legitimate business empire in Dallas. The first time Amy heard anything from him after her conviction was two years ago, when she was served with divorce papers. After 12 years of marriage, Sandy cited irreconcilable differences. In a guarded, hour-long phone interview with Glamour, Sandy Pofahl rejected any responsibility for Amy's incarceration. He put the onus on her, despite his well-documented pleas for Amy to retrieve his ill-gotten cash. (Sandy's faxes asking for Amy's help were used as evidence against both of them.) "She had a need to help," he says, explaining Amy's attempts to free him from a German prison. "I went over to Germany, and I truly don't know what happened when I was over there." Asked why he chose a divorce filing as his first contact with her after his release, he said: "I was considering getting married ... so I needed to divorce her. It was important for both of us to get our lives going." Sandy finally visited Amy a year and a half ago when he was in the San Francisco Bay area for a school reunion at Stanford. She agreed to see him because she had questions: Why had he told authorities about her role gathering up his funds? Why had he implicated her instead of protecting her, as she had protected him? They sat beneath a craggy pine tree on a terrace behind the FCI Dublin visitors center. He was nervous. She was suspicious. When he tried to kiss her on the side of the head, she pulled away. "It was heartless," Amy recalls. "I said, 'Sandy you could clarify a few things for me!' He was dead set against it and wanted to talk about surface stuff. I said, "In case you haven't noticed, there's razor wire around this little place where I live. Stop acting like we're sitting at a sidewalk cafe in Los Angeles, because I would really like to talk to you about some of the things that happened."' Sandy showed no sign of guilt or remorse, Amy says. Regardless, she harbors no anger - at her ex-husband, the prosecutor or anybody else. But it is harder for her mother, Nancy Ralston, to let go "I pray that I will not be bitter. But its difficult, it's very difficult." Endless Sentence Only one other target of the EIEIO prosecution besides Amy is still behind bars. Amy herself has filed two appeals citing incompetent legal counsel and plans to seek other remedies, but in truth, her chances of early release are slim. If she serves the full term of her sentence as expected, she'll be 55 years old when she gets out in 2015. Even if she were set free tomorrow, Amy would have already spent twice as many years behind bars as her husband, a fact she knows will never be changed. "I have regrets, of course I have regrets," Amy tells me on the last day of our prison visit, her voice heavy with emotion. "I'm getting to the period in my life where I just feel like I'm losing my youth and the opportunity to have children and to set up some kind of a future. I lost the prime years of my life. Nothing's worth losing that, nothing."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Snitch Culture (The June issue of Playboy magazine says snitch culture has become a crucial element of the war on drugs, and is so embedded in our judicial system that there is now an entire industry of convicts who buy information from other criminals or friends on the outside that allows them to rat and cut off years from their sentences. The November Coalition's Nora Callahan, an advocate for drug war prisoners, notes there are thousands of people in prison because of bought testimony, with no other evidence against them. According to a January 12 broadcast by Frontline, only 11 percent of drug prisoners are kingpins; 52 percent are users or low-level street dealers.) Date: Wed, 19 May 1999 19:13:39 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US: OPED: Snitch Culture Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: John Chase Pubdate: June 1999 Source: Playboy Magazine (US) Copyright: 1999 Playboy Enterprises, Inc. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.playboy.com/ Author: JAMES R. PETERSEN SNITCH CULTURE Again and again, the same situation occurs. In 1974 a jury convicted Joseph Green Brown for murder, rape and robbery. Testifying against Brown was Ronald Floyd. Several months after the trial, Floyd admitted he had lied at trial. He said he had testified to avoid prosecution for the murder and to receive a lighter sentence on another crime. Brown spent 13 years on death row before being released. In 1977 Randall Dale Adams was convicted of murdering a police officer. The prosecution's key evidence against him was the testimony of David Harris, who claimed to have been with Adams when Adams shot the officer. In return for Harris' testimony, prosecutors did not charge him with anything. Adams spent 12 years on death row before proving his innocence. In 1983 Anthony Silah Brown was convicted and sentenced to death for murdering a deliveryman. Another man who had been arrested for the same murder implicated Brown as an accomplice. This man was given a deal in return for his testimony. Brown served three years on death row before he was acquitted of all charges in a retrial. The witness admitted he had lied. In 1983 Charles Smith was sentenced to death for murder and robbery. The prosecution called as a witness a man who admitted to having been the getaway driver, and who claimed that Smith had committed the murder. It emerged at a retrial that the witness had testified after making a deal with the prosecution that allowed him to avoid a murder charge. Smith spent eight years on death row. In 1989 Joseph Burrows was convicted of murder and armed robbery. The prosecution's primary evidence was the testimony of the two men who also had been charged with the murder. Direct evidence implicated the two, but by naming an alleged accomplice they escaped the death penalty. Burrows spent five years on death row before a court reversed his conviction and dropped all charges. In each of these cases, and many more that were examined at the National Conference on Wrongful Convictions and the Death Penalty, an innocent man was convicted of murder and sentenced to die on the basis of testimony by a jailhouse snitch seeking reduced charges or preferential treatment. Witnesses lied to avoid the death penalty for crimes they themselves had committed. In each case it took years to unravel their deceit. The snitch culture is so embedded in our judicial system that there is now an entire industry of convicts who buy information from other criminals or friends on the outside that allows them to rat and cut off years from their sentences. And prosecutors go along. The snitch enables them to clear cases and to inflate their conviction rates. The snitch culture has become a crucial element in the war on drugs. For the past decade, the federal government has rewarded drug users and dealers with reduced sentences and cash - so long as they finger someone else. In 1986 Congress passed mandatory minimum sentences. Sell enough drugs and you face five years to life in prison. Two years later, the law was amended - anyone involved in a drug deal would get the maximum sentence. There didn't even have to be drugs exchanged. just talking about the sale of drugs was evidence of conspiracy. The only way to avoid the maximum was to turn on your confederates (or almost anyone else you could finger as a drug dealer) and provide "substantial assistance" to narcotics officers. Federal prosecutors have an overwhelming conviction rate in such cases, prompting Nora Callahan, an advocate for drug war prisoners, to note that there are thousands of people sitting in prison because of bought testimony alone, with no other evidence against them. It is an affront to justice, and to humanity itself. And it's important for people to remember that this could happen to anyone, to anyone's child." On January 12 Frontline broadcast a report on the fallout ftom mandatory minimums. Again and again, the same situation arose: Big-time dealers would lie to avoid maximum sentences. Drug kingpins received payouts, lighter sentences or complete freedom for turning in the little fish -- or in some cases people who were completely innocent. Only 11 percent of the prisoners serving time for drug crimes are kingpins; 52 percent are users or low-level street dealers. The report chronicled the case of Clarence Aaron, a college athlete who was paid $1500 to drive his cousin and some high school fiiends to meet people he knew were involved in drugs. Upon arrest, the cousin and his accomplices - all of whom had criminal records - agreed to "cooperate" for lighter sentences. The ringleader drew 12 years. Two accomplices served less than five years. The cousin went free. Aaron received three life sentences with no chance of parole. He didn't have anyone to turn in. Aaron's story is no aberration. Sonya Singleton, 25, was accused by the feds of money laundering and conspiracy to distribute cocaine. They offered her a deal and told her that if she would admit to wiring money to her boyfriend - whom the government claimed was the biggest drug dealer in Wichita - she would receive less than a year. Singleton refused, maintaining she was innocent. Indeed, the boyfriend was never prosecuted. Another drug dealer, seeking to lower his sentence, testified against Singleton. On the basis of that testimony, she was convicted and sentenced to 46 months in jail. Singletor's lawyer, John Wachtel, appealed, using an interesting argument: Offering leniency or sentence reduction for the right testimony violated the federal law against bribery. "Whoever directly or indirectly gives, offers or promises anything of value to any person, for or because of the testimony under oath or affirmation given or to be given by such a person as a witness upon a trial' shall be fined or imprisoned. A panel of three judges from the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with Wachtel: "Promising something of value to secure truthful testimony is as much prohibited as buying perjured testimony," it wrote. "If justice is perverted when a criminal defendant seeks to buy testimony from a witness, it is no less perverted when the government does so." For a moment it looked as though prosecutors would have to go out and investigate cases the old-fashioned way-with physical evidence, motive and opportunity. In January, the full Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the panel's decision, ruling in a 9-3 vote that enforcing the antibribery law would have made criminals of federal prosecutors. The panel's ruling, it said, was "patently absurd." For now, prosecutors are free to go after the big fish, the little fish and also the innocent.
------------------------------------------------------------------- When They Get Out (The June issue of Atlantic Monthly features a sequel to the magazine's December cover story, "The Prison-Industrial Complex." The politics of opinion-poll populism has encouraged elected and corrections officials to build isolation units, put more prisons on "lockdown" status, abolish grants that allowed prisoners to study toward diplomas and degrees, and generally make life in prison as miserable as possible. People haven't become more antisocial; their infractions and bad habits are just being punished more ruthlessly, without any thought about rehabilitation. Since fewer than 10 percent of prisoners are sentenced to life, we can expect that more than 90 percent of prisoners will be released. Without making contingency plans for it - without even realizing it - we are creating a disaster that instead of dissipating over time will accumulate with the years.) Date: Sun, 23 May 1999 20:15:57 -0700 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US: When They Get Out Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Tom O'Connell Pubdate: June, 1999 Source: Atlantic Monthly, The (US) Copyright: 1999 by The Atlantic Monthly Company. Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.theatlantic.com/ Author: Sasha Abramsky Page: 30 WHEN THEY GET OUT How prisons, established to fight crime, produce crime - a sequel to our December cover story, "The Prison-Industrial Complex" by Sasha Abramsky P0PULAR perceptions about crime have blurred the boundaries between fact and politically expedient myth. The myth is that the United States is besieged on a scale never before encountered, by a pathologically criminal underclass. The fact is that we're not. After spiraling upward during the drug wars, murder rates began falling in the mid-1990s; they are lower today than they were more than twenty years ago. In some cities the murder rate in the late twentieth century is actually lower than it was in the nineteenth century. Nonviolent property-crime rates are in general lower in the United States today than in Great Britain, and are comparable to those in many European countries. Nevertheless, horror stories have led to calls for longer prison sentences, for the abolition of parole, and for the increasingly punitive treatment of prisoners. The politics of opinion-poll populism has encouraged elected and corrections officials to build isolation units, put more prisons on "lockdown" status (in which prisoners are kept in their cells about twenty-three hours a day), abolish grants that allowed prisoners to study toward diplomas and degrees, and generally make life inside as miserable as possible. Marc Mauer, the assistant director of the Sentencing Project, an advocacy group based in Washington, D.C.. says, "Fifty years ago rehabilitation was a primary goal of the system." Nowadays it's not. "The situation we're in now is completely unprecedented," Mauer says. "The number going through the system dwarfs that in any other period in U.S. history and virtually in any other country as well." In 1986, according to figures published in the Survey of State Prison Inmates (1991), 175,662 people were serving sentences of more than ten years; five years later 306,006 were serving such sentences. People haven't become more antisocial; their infractions and bad habits are just being punished more ruthlessly. Crime, however, is a complex issue, and responses to it that might instinctively seem sensible, or simply satisfying, may prove deeply counterproductive. Locking ever more people away will in the long run increase the number of Robert Scullys in our midst. Robert Scully grew up near San Diego. in the affluent town of Ocean Beach. From a very early age he used drugs, and before he was a teenager, he had been on the streets and then in juvenile facilities run by the California Youth Authority. From heroin use and dealing he moved to robbery; by the time he was twenty-two, in the early 1980s, he was in San Quentin. In prison Scully degenerated, eventually using a contraband hacksaw blade to escape from his cell, and attacking another other inmate with a homemade knife. At about the same time, California began opening what it called maximum security facilities - dumping grounds for troublesome inmates. Scully wound up in solitary confinement in a prison named Corcoran. The guards there, as recently reported in the Los Angeles Times, are alleged to have taken it upon themselves to organize gladiatorial combat among prisoners in the exercise yard; they would sometimes break up the battles by shooting into crowds of prisoners. Scully was shot twice. He was placed in a "security housing unit" cell, where for close to twenty-three hours a day he was deprived of all human interaction. In 1990, soon after the "supermax" prison at Pelican Bay had opened in the redwood forests northeast of the old Victorian timber town of Crescent City, Scully was moved again, into a tiny bare cell with a perforated sheet-metal door and a hatch through which his food was served. In the supermax even exercise was solitary. He stayed there four years. At the time of his release, in 1994, he had spent the previous nine years in isolation. A month later he was arrested for violating parole by consorting with an armed acquaintance, and went straight back to Pelican Bay. Scully re-emerged on March 24, 1995, by now a human time bomb. He was picked up by Brenda Moore, the girl friend of a fellow inmate, and they began driving south, along Highway 101, toward San Diego, where Scully was supposed to check in with his parole officer. They never made it. Five days later they arrived in Sebastopol, a town an hour north of San Francisco. There, late at night, they loitered around a restaurant until the owner, fearing a robbery, called the police. The pair drove off to a nearby parking lot. Soon after, as they sat in their truck, Deputy Sheriff Frank Trejo, a middle-aged grandfather looking forward to his retirement, pulled into the lot. Trejo asked to see the woman's license, and as she fumbled for it, according to investigators, he suddenly found a sawed-off shotgun pointing at his face. He was made to back up until he was between the two vehicles and get on his knees, and Scully shot him in the forehead. Scully and Moore ran across a field, broke into a house, and took a family hostage. The next afternoon, with police surrounding the area, Scully negotiated his surrender. Robert Scully evolved into a murderer while housed in Pelican Bay. There he experienced some of the harshest confinement conditions known in the democratic world. Highly disturbed to start with, he was kept in a sensory -deprivation box for years on end. Psychologists and psychiatrists called in by his defense team believe that he simply lost the ability to think through the consequences of his actions. He became a creature of brutal and obsessive impulse. At Scully's trial Stuart Grassian, a psychiatrist who has spent much of his career studying the effects of isolation on prisoners, and who has testified in class-action lawsuits against departments of corrections across the country, argued that sensory deprivation and social isolation had caused Scully to regress until he was a violent animal capable only of acting on instinct, with no ability to plan beyond the moment. His incarceration had created what Grassian termed "a tremendous tunnel vision." Pelican Bay Chief Deputy Warden Joe McGrath estimates that every month thirty-five inmates are, like Scully, released from isolation directly back into the community. Since 1985 America's prison population, not counting the more than half a million people in jails at any one time, has increased by about six or seven percent yearly. Truth-in-sentencing laws mandate that many prisoners serve 85 percent of their sentences before being eligible for parole; all the same, figures over the past decade indicate that on average more than 40 percent of prison inmates are released in any given year. Assuming that these statistical relationships remain constant, we can make certain predictions. In 1995 a total of 463,284 inmates were released. To use a worst-case scenario, some 660,000 will be released in 2000, some 887,000 in 2005, and about 1.2 million in 2010. Even factoring in lower release rates because of three-strikes laws and truth in sentencing and even taking into account estimates that 60 pet-cent of prisoners have been in prison before, there will still be somewhere around 3.5 million first-time releases between now and 2010, and America by then will still he releasing from half a million to a million people front its prisons each year (not to mention hundreds of thousands more from short stints in Jail). That is an awful lot of potential rage coming out of prison to haunt out future. 0N a gray morning in September, with the tropical storm Frances hovering over the Gulf Coast, I rode with Larry Fitzgerald, the sixty-vear-old public relations officer for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, to a parking lot deep inside the Estelle Unit of the Huntsville Complex, seventy miles north of Houston. Surrounding the car was a landscape of rolled razor-wire fences, surveillance cameras, bleak watchtowers, and gray concrete buildings. Fitzgerald told me that he was tired; the previous evening he had attended an execution, his sixtieth in the five years he had been with the department. We got out of the car and flashed our IDs at the camera. A series of heavy electronically operated doors clicked open, one after another. We went through one, and it closed behind us before a second opened. We entered a sterile hallway lit by fluorescent ceiling lights, the air smelling the way one would expect it to smell in a place where the outside had been utterly banished. There the warden and several hefty corrections officers met us and we proceeded into the bowels of the prison, away from outdoor light, away from outdoor sounds, deep into the computer-controlled hidden hell at the heart of America's burgeoning incarceration establishment. There are up to 660 men living in isolation behind the metallic-blue and Plexiglas doors of the Estelle Unit's admininistrative segregation cells, the high-security facility at Huntsville that opened in August Of 1997. (Texas is currently developing five "Supermax" units that will eventually hold more than 3,000 people.) Depending on their status - there are three levels - men get from three to seven hours of exercise a week, and from two to eight hours of visits a month. The rest of the time they remain in their cells. "The scurity here," Fitzgerald told me with satisfaction. "is better than Alcatraz. Alcatraz didn't have the electronic things we have now. The art of incarceration has definitely improved." The inmates, disciplinary cases from the broader prison system, are men removed not just from the outside society but from the rest of Texas's 140,000-plus prisoners, as close to being vanished spirits as any resident of a medieval dungeon. On them is being performed one of the most astounding social experiments in America's history: isolated for about twenty-three hours a day in bathroom-sized quarters, fed through hatches in their doors, provided with virtually no sensory stimuli for months or years on end, deprived of full meals as punishment for breaking rules, made to dress in paper gowns if they dare to rip up their uniforms, many quite simply seem to go insane. While I was touring the unit, a desperate prisoner "self-mutilated," slashing at the veins in his hands until his blood spurted over the walls, the floor, and the steel seat of the cell he was in, like a peculiarly vivid Jackson Pollock painting. The inmates are often tormented by headaches. Many quite clearly can no longer focus their thoughts on anything. Some weep, others obsess; the more resilient, like David Prater, a twenty-six year-old lifer who has a degree in finance from the University of Texas, read as much and as often as possible to while away the days. But they are a minority. The average IQ of Texas prison inmate is 92, and many do not even know how to read. From what I could tell, many of those guarding them aren't much smarter. As prisoners from the nearby low-security unit mopped up the blood from the cutting, guards made jokes about the "mutiIator." An officer with the rank of captain assured me that all the inmates were pschologically assessed when they came into Estelle, that if they were mad they would be at the psychiatric unit upstate, and that since they were here, ipso facto, they weren't mad. As he completed this logical circle, the entire "Level 3" unit behind us was rent by the howls and screams of the close-to-naked inmates. It was a hideous sound that would have been familiar in the lunatic asylums of bygone centuries. For the French philosopher Michel Foucault, who explored the histories and social functions of both the asylum and the prison in Western culture, the similarity would probably have iluminated his notion that both institutions function at least in part to reassure the outside population of its "normality" in contrast to the horror caged within. WILLIAM Sabol, a researcher at the Urban Institute, in Washington. D.C., think tank, has recently begun studying imprisonment and release statistics for ninety metropolitan areas. Over the next few years he will focus on releases in Baltimore, a city with a very high incarceration rate, exploring the effects of release on different communities. For Sabol, the biggest concern is not that already devastated inner cities will be further damaged but that certain strugging blue-collar areas and middle-class black districts, of whose young men large numbers have been imprisoned during the war on drugs, wiII be unable to reabsorb the ex-cons while retaining their civic character. "When these men return," Sabol explains, "they're less likely to get jobs and there's a higher likelihood of disruption of the family. What we're interested in is will it tip the scales against those neighborhoods that are marginal?" Faced with a growing population of ex-felons. people with resources will probably flee these communities, thereby expanding the areas of devastation. Since fewer than 10 percent of prisoners are sentenced to life, we can expect that more than 90 percent of prisoners will be released. Releasing, over several decades, millions of people who either never acquired job skills or lost their skills in prison, and all will face employers' uspicion, is almost guaranteed to produce localized but considerable economic problems. Currently, among black men aged twenty-five to thirty-four with less than a high school education, the jobless rate is around 50 percent. If those in prison and jail are included, the figure rises above 60 percent. If incarceration rates ever start to drop, and fewer people are entering prison than are being released, then according to the most basic principles of supply and demand, wage levels in areas already suffering chronically high levels of unemployment will plummet as the competition for scarce jobs increases. The sociologists Bruce Western, of Princeton University, and Katherine Beckett, of Indiana University, are convinced that the economic problems of mass release actually run much deeper. In January of this year they published a paper titled "How Unregulated Is the U.S. Labor Market? The Penal System as a Labor Market Institution," in which they argued that one of the reasons America's unemployment statistics look so good in comparison with those of other industrial democracies is that 1.6 million mainly low-skilled workers - precisely the group least likely to find work in a high-tech economy - have been incarcerated, and are thus not considered part of the labor force. Rendering such a large group of people invisible, the authors claimed, creates a numerical mirage in which unemployment statistics are as much as two percent below the real unemployment level, and which has been made possible only by what Beckett terms an American "intervention in the economy - the growth of the prison system comparable financially to Western Europe's unemployment benefit and welfare programs." If mass imprisonment is what the urban scholar Mike Davis, in his book Ecology of Fear, terms "carceral Keynesianism - using prison building and maintenance as an enormous public-works program to shore up an economy in which blue-collar jobs have been exported to the Third World - then mass release may well prove its undoing." Eddie Ellis, a onetime Black Panther who was recently released after serving out a twenty-five-year sentence for murder, believes that the cities are sitting on volcanoes. Now a full-time organizer in the Harlem-based Cominunity Justice Center, Ellis told me when we met that starting around the year 2005, New York is going to see the release of wave after wave of inmates, at the rate of about 30,000 a year who were incarcerated after 1990. "That's when they began phasing out the programs (education in prison, vocational training, and the like). By 1994 to 1995 they no longer existed. These are the people we're talking about coming out in such a horrendous condition. The next wave that comes out, we're looking at a serious influx of people into a few communities that not only will devastate these communities but will have a larger consequence for the whole city." The welfare reforms of 1996 drastically curtailed felons' access to welfare money, and specifically barred addicts from access to Medicaid and many drug-rehabilitation programs. Ellis predicts rising epidemics, as ex-prisoners without work or Medicaid spread TB, HIV, and hepatitis. To complete a grim picture, wholesale incarceration decimates voter rolls. In all but four states prisoners convicted of felonies lose the right to vote. In more than thirty states they can reapply only when they're off parole. Those who find work while on parole will-like much of the black population of the pre-civil rights South-be paying taxes into a political system stern in which they have no say. In California alone, close to a quarter of a million people are disenfranchised by such laws. The situation is even worse in twelve states - almost half of them southern - where a felony can result in disenfranchisement for life. The history of these disenfranchisement laws can he traced straight back to the post-Civil War South: because of the dispropoitionate number of black men in prison today, the laws continue to affect not just individuals but the aspirations and political influence of entire communities. In a study released last October, the Sentencing Project and Human Rights Watch, an advocacy group based in New York, reported that theoughout the country two percent of adults, or approximately four million people, are disenfranchised: within the black nmale community the figure is 13 percent, or 1.4 million men. In seven states - Alabama, Florida, Iowa, Mississippi, New Mexico, Virginia, and Wyoming - fully a quarter of all black men are permanently, ineligible to vote. In Florida alone 204,600 black men, and in Texas 156,600 black men, have lost the vote. The political implications for the next century are troubling. Already the inner cities, where on an average more than a quarter of all black men are disenfranchised, have seen their power as voting blocs shrivel. And since today's young are tomorrow's old, the problem can only get worse. 1n 1997 the Justice Department estimated that 29 percent of black males born in 1991 would spend some time in prison. Only four percent of white males would do so. In some cities in the states in which convicted felons are pemanently disenfranchised, as older, pre prison-born blacks die out, the proportion of black men of all ages who lack the right to vote will rise to about one third by 2020. 1n certain parts of sonic Southern cities - Houston, Memphis, Miami and New Orleans, for example - it may be as many as half. Conceivably, an overwhelmingly black town could have an electoral register dominated by a white minority. Quite simply, mass incarceration followed by mass release into subcitizenship will undermine the great democratic achievements of the past half century. In effect, even if not in intent, after the brief interregnum of the civil rights years, the South, with the rest of the country in tow, is once again moving toward excluding huge numbers of African-Americans from the political process. Marc Mauer, of the Sentencing Project, says, "It's a wonder there's any black representation at all, given the numbers." RECENTLY I met several ex-prisoners in New York City who were putting their lives back together under the auspices of the Fortune Society, a nonprofit organization that runs one of the country's most successful and intensive post-release programs. Some of the people I met had done terrible things: others had merely taken foolish wrong turns. Regardless, talking with them gave each one a human face. It helped me to understand that most of these ex-cons are damaged people with hopes and fears and dreams that perhaps can be coaxed out of them in a nurturing environment like Fortune's. The most extraordinary of the people I met was a thirty-nine-year-old named Edmond Taylor, who had served a total of eighteen years in a variety of New York's toughest prisons for crimes ranging from drug dealing to violent assault. Out of prison for the past couple of years, Taylor has dedicated himself to change; he works full time as a counselor, helping other prisoners to adjust to life on the outside, and he is regarded by Fortune's executive director, JoAnne Page, as one of her great success stories. Taylor came to meet me straight from counseling a distrauaht woman who'd been told at a job interview that the company wouldn't hire her because she had a felony conviction. He said, "If I can save just one person a year, I'm happy." A highly articulate man, more capable than most of understanding what led him into violence and helped to destroy half his life, Taylor explained that he had spent nearly four years in "the box," some of that time in Clinton Dannemora prison, near the Canadian border, for being what he described as "a vocal critic" of conditions within the prison. Describing his reaction to being released from isolation back into the general prison population, he said. "First there's fear, then there's anger, and the anger takes over. It's violent anger. Very quick. No thought of the magnitude of the consequence of the violence. An individual bumped me rushing to get to the gym, and I rushed up behind him and hit him with a pipe. He went into a coma." Taylor went straight back into the box. I asked how long it had taken him to recover from isolation. He looked surprised by the question, and said,"Honestly, I've still not recovered. I've been out of isolation five and a half years. Ms. Page is my boss. If she was to confront me when I had a lot on my mind, anger would come up before rational thought. Anger. Strike back. Now it's not so much physical as verbal. In another situation it would cause me to lose my job." Then Taylor told me a shameful secret. Shortly after he got out of prison. he was living with his brother. His brother criticized him for some of the attitudes he'd brought out of prison with him. "I felt fed up, and I attacked him." Taylor said. "I grabbed him, choked him, lifted him off his feet, threw him to the ground. I pummeled him, causing him to get several stitches above the eye. I grabbed a kitchen knife - I don't remember any of this: he told me afterward - and put it to his neck and said, 'I should kill you. I hate you.' The realization that I put my hands on my baby brother, the only person at that time who'd ever been in my corner . . ." Edmond Taylor sees a future of violent chaos, with a large, uneducated army of enraged ex-cons flooding the streets of the inner cities. JoAnne Page adds, "There's an issue of critical mass. As you lock up a higher percentage of young men in a community, what happens when these guys come out, in terms of role models, crime, the safety of the community?" Prisons breed global rage. People come out loaded with so much anger that they're ready to blow up at a touch. She worries that many of them, lacking jobs upon release and having no access to state support, will resort to stealing just to eat. Many will also end up homeless with their best chance of finding shelter being to commit crimes and return to jail or prison. The Correctional Association of New York estimates that on any given day, 3,800 homeless people are in prison at Rikers Island and in other New York City jails. Without making contingency plans for it - without even realizing it - we are creating a disaster that instead of dissipating over time will accumulate with the years.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Marijuana Stolen From Pot Crusader (According to the Calgary Herald, multiple sclerosis patient Grant Krieger says the Universal Compassion Club has been temporarily put out of business by thieves who broke into one of the medical-marijuana club's Calgary premises early Monday morning and stole a stash of pot intended for seriously ill members.) Date: Tue, 1 Jun 1999 18:19:45 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: Canada: Marijuana Stolen From Pot Crusader Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: Tue, 01 June 1999 Source: Calgary Herald (Canada) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.calgaryherald.com/ Author: Brock Ketcham MARIJUANA STOLEN FROM POT CRUSADER The Universal Compassion Club has been temporarily put out of business by thieves who broke into one of the medicinal marijuana club's Calgary premises early Monday morning and stole a stash of pot intended for seriously ill members, the club founder said. Grant Krieger, a pot crusader who suffers from multiple sclerosis, said this setback has put the club out of action for the time being. He had intended to launch the club in mid-June, though it has been in operation for several months with a membership of about 25 medicinal pot users. Krieger said the thieves broke into the house overnight while he was away for a few hours. They took the pot, along with portions of a hydroponic crop he was growing. They even took a small amount of cash that a Calgary resident had donated to the club he said. However, Krieger said he will act quickly to get the club back on its feet again. Club members, meanwhile, will have to look at alternative sources of supply on the street, he said. Krieger, who gets most of the club's pot from local suppliers, said he will travel across Canada to line up alternative sources to ensure that a good inventory is always on hand. Cultivation and possession is illegal in Canada, but Krieger had said this won't stop him from delivering it to seriously ill people who find it provides dramatic relief. Patients with diseases like cancer and MS report that it helps them with pain, insomnia and nausea.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Does pot lead to politics? (A letter to the editor of the Calgary Sun says even if so many politicians admit to using marijuana - including Gore, Clinton and now, apparently, Canadian Health Minister Allan Rock - most people are unharmed by it.) From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Matt Elrod) To: email@example.com Subject: Canada: PUB LTE: Does pot lead to politics? Date: Tue, 01 Jun 1999 07:38:27 -0700 Lines: 16 Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org Source: Calgary Sun (Canada) Contact: email@example.com Pubdate: Tue, 01 Jun 1999 Author: Myron Von Hollingsworth Comment: Parenthetical remark by the Sun editor; headline by newshawk BUSH JR., Gore, Clinton and (possibly) Rock. These are but a few politicians whose past includes cannabis use. Cannabis reformers use this example by saying "Many cannabis users go on to be politicians." This is slander -- many people use cannabis for years and even decades and never suffer such adverse effects. Myron Von Hollingsworth (But they probably don't inhale.)
------------------------------------------------------------------- A Potted Rock (A staff editorial in the Toronto Globe and Mail says Canadian health minister Allan Rock has has been sounding out people as far away as England about he feasibility of buying medical marijuana from them. This sounds like the Scots searching for a source of medicinal Scotch in Morocco, or the French looking for a robust Burgandy in Sweden. The government's position is so obtuse that one's advice for what to do sounds like a simpleton's suggestion. Mr. Rock, put out a contract on medical marijuana to tender. Guarantee that bidders won't be prosecuted, then watch what a good source of medicinal-quality, cheap, home-grown drug comes rolling in. And, oh yes, while you're at it, you might just decriminalize Canada's world-famous marijuana in the first place.) Date: Tue, 1 Jun 1999 18:39:50 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: Canada: Editorial: A Potted Rock Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: herbman Pubdate: Tue, 1 Jun 1999 Source: Globe and Mail (Canada) Copyright: 1999, The Globe and Mail Company Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.globeandmail.ca/ Forum: http://forums.theglobeandmail.com/ A POTTED ROCK "What luck for rulers that men do not think." Hitler said it, but Health Minister Allan Rock might have been quietly hymning the words to himself as he tried to justify his government's hitherto fruitless search for a source of "medicinal quality" marijuana. The high-grade pot is required for clinical trials aimed at measuring the drug's therapeutic qualities. Where to get the vital raw material? Might it be British Columbia, where a clement climate and native industry have come together to produce a $3-billion to $6-billion underground economy based on the appeal of "B.C. Bud?" Described as the "champagne of marijuana," the B.C. pot -- the result of 30 years of illicit breeding experiments -- is so potent that U.S. gourmets are reputedly willing to pay ten times more for it than the once recherche marijuanas of Mexico. If you said yes to purchasing B.C. Bud, you clearly don't comprehend the mind of a politician. Buying a substance of which we are apparently a world leader in producing is too simple. Better is pretzel-shaped reasoning that argues: Because growing pot is illegal in Canada, let's just pretend it isn't grown in Canada. "Acceptable sources of drugs not approved in Canada may be found in countries where they have been approved," Mr. Rock has written about the situation. And, true to his pledge, his ministry has been sounding out people as far away as England as to whether we can buy high-grade pot from them. This approach, of course, should guarantee that we buy marijuana at the highest conceivable price. And given the fact that the greatest medical benefit in taking pot is believed to be linked with the highest levels of the chemical that makes people high, if we are really lucky, we can be buying a British plant grown from seeds first bred in British Columbia. Now if this sounds like the Scots searching for a source of medicinal Scotch in Morocco, and the French looking for a robust Burgandy in Sweden, you may be on to something. The government's position is so obtuse that one's advice for what to do sounds like a simpleton's suggestion. Mr. Rock, put out a contract on medical marijuana to tender. Guarantee that bidders won't be prosecuted, then watch what a good source of medicinal-quality, cheap, home-grown drug comes rolling in. And, oh yes, while you're at it, you might just decriminalize Canada's world-famous marijuana in the first place. If you find it politically dicey to announce that in a straight-forward way, why not simply redefine legalization as a "nation-wide experiment designed to measure the long-term effect of the non-medical use of the drug?"
------------------------------------------------------------------- Feds slow to act (A staff editorial in the Sudbury Star notes Canadian Health Minister Allan Rock has announced details of medical marijuana trials will be released in late June, but says such trials should have started before now. It has taken two years to transform the minister's sympathy into action.) From: email@example.com (Matt Elrod) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Canada: Editoral: Feds slow to act Date: Tue, 01 Jun 1999 07:32:41 -0700 Lines: 45 Newshawk: herbman Source: The Sudbury Star Pubdate: Tuesday, June 01, 1999 We Say: The federal health minister should expedite the start of test trials Feds slow to act The medical benefits of marijuana For many sufferers of serious illnesses, the treatment can be as difficult an ordeal as the illness itself. Smoking marijuana provides a means to ease the pain and side effects of such treatments as chemotherapy, according to those who advocate the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. Federal Health Minister Allan Rock has announced that details of testing trials to determine if anecdotal stories about the medicinal benefits of marijuana are true will be announced in late June. While such trials are necessary, they should have been started before now. When Rock took over the federal health portfolio in 1997 he said he was sympathetic to those suffering from painful disease but he wanted more than just anecdotal evidence. It has taken two years to transform the minister's sympathy into action. And during those two years, more patients have suffered. AIDS and cancer victims say smoking marijuana helps them cope with nausea caused by chemical and radiation therapies. Others believe smoking the drug can relieve pain associated with multiple sclerosis, as well as prevent epileptic seizures. But smoking marijuana can also result in charges, court appearances and fines for these patients -- hardly a compassionate way to allow people to recover from their illness. Patients can apply for exemptions from the Criminal Code, but it is a long, arduous process and legally obtaining the marijuana is nearly impossible. Only two people in Canada can legally grow and use marijuana without being charged. Both cases required lengthy court challenges. Such legal actions should have provided the impetus for the federal health minister to move forward on the issue. With the issue at the forefront of Rock's agenda, he should expedite the establishment of the trials and a distribution system for the substance, if the trials verify the anecdotal evidence.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Mandatory Drug Tests A Failed Idea (Christine Dirks, a columnist for the London Free Press, in Ontario, criticizes a proposal by the government of Premier Mike Harris to institute mandatory drug testing for welfare recipients. The Tory proposal isn't about true welfare reform. It's about bashing the poor, perpetuating stereotypes and dividing society along class lines. It's not about helping people on welfare become job-ready, it's about portraying them as low-lifes who abuse the system and deserve to be cut off.) Date: Tue, 1 Jun 1999 18:39:48 -0700 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: Canada: Column: Mandatory Drug Tests A Failed Idea Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Mike Maunz Pubdate: Tue, 01 Jun 1999 Source: London Free Press (Canada) Copyright: 1999 The London Free Press a division of Sun Media Corporation. Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.canoe.ca/LondonFreePress/home.html Forum: http://www.lfpress.com/londoncalling/SelectForum.asp Author: Christine Dirks MANDATORY DRUG TESTS A FAILED IDEA There is no proof that drug and alcohol addiction is a bigger problem with people on welfare than any it is with any other group. Nor is there proof drug and alcohol addiction is a greater barrier for them to find and keep employment than it is for any others. That hasn't stopped the government of Premier Mike Harris from proposing mandatory drug testing and treatment for welfare recipients. The Tory proposal isn't about true welfare reform. It's about bashing the poor, perpetuating stereotypes and dividing society along class lines. It's not about helping people on welfare become job-ready, it's about portraying them as low-lifes who abuse the system and deserve to be cut off. Had the Tories consulted professionals in the addiction field they would have known drug testing is rife with problems. Testing does not show how much of a drug was taken or in what form. It may reveal recent drug use but it does not reveal addiction. False-postive tests are not unusual with over-the-counter medications. The Tory proposal raises a serious issue. If someone is on welfare, have they lost the right to choose if, when and where to seek help? When one applies for welfare, questions about drug and alcohol use are not asked because they are "not relevant to entitlement" explained Bob McNorgan, administrator of the London office for Ontario Works. He said it is "inappropriate to ask those questions" about substance use. Why, then, would it be appropriate for the Harris government to demand testing and treatment later? Carolyn Nutter of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto said the centre is "very concerned" about mandatory testing and treatment. It sees thousands of people each year from all walks of life. "You can force anyone to do anything for a while," said Nutter. "Long-term, though, treatment won't work unless the person wants it to." Getting a person off drugs is one thing. Keeping them off is quite another. Drugs are only part of an addict's problem. Behaviour is the other part and it's far more difficult to treat. Behaviour change happens in predictable stages, even for people on welfare. You don't make someone urinate in a jar, tell them they have a problem, "treat" them and end the story. Addictions are more complex than that. "Because someone has been identified as having problems with addiction doesn't mean they intend to change their behaviour," said Linda Sibley-Bowers of Alcohol and Drug Services of Thames Valley. "Drug use," she said "and the desire to or not to change has nothing to do with socio-economics." The province currently spends about $110 million for addiction assessments and referrals, detox centres and recovery homes. That's around $10 million more than the Tories are spending on their election ads. Who knows what kind of "treatment" the Tories have in mind? But whatever it is, recovery is no quick cure. Homewood Health Centre is a private hospital in Guelph that treats thousands of in-patients and out-patients a year with substance abuse problems. Patients range from professionals to the poor. Spokesperson Ric Ament said, generally speaking, it takes approximately one year for an individual to "get a life back in order." There are about 13,500 welfare cases in the London and Middlesex area. What if Harris's idea is enacted and only one per cent of these people refuse testing or test positive and refuse treatment? That's about 135 new homeless walking the streets in this part of the province. What if that one per cent is provincewide? I'm no statistician but Harris has probably thought it through. Isn't he the one who has promised millions of dollars more for the homeless?
------------------------------------------------------------------- Drugs Freely Available In Jail, Con Survey Says (According to the Edmonton Sun, Reform Party member of Parliament Randy White charged yesterday in Ottawa that a national inmate survey he obtained shows it's just as easy to get crack, cocaine, heroin and pot inside Canadian federal prisons as it is on the outside. Corrections Canada's 1995 inmate survey shows that out of 15,000 federal inmates, 1,300 cons used crack or cocaine daily while another 1,300 admitted to using heroin and 5,400 to marijuana. Spot checks by Corrections show that drugs found in 1999 urine tests have dropped to 12 percent, from 39 percent between 1995-98.) Date: Tue, 1 Jun 1999 14:59:31 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: Canada: Drugs Freely Available In Jail, Con Survey Says Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: Tuesday, June 1, 1999 Source: Edmonton Sun (Canada) Copyright: 1999, Canoe Limited Partnership Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.canoe.ca/EdmontonSun/ Forum: http://www.canoe.ca/Chat/home.html Author: Mark Dunn DRUGS FREELY AVAILABLE IN JAIL, CON SURVEY SAYS OTTAWA - It's just as easy to get crack, cocaine, heroin and pot inside federal prisons as it is on the outside, Reform charged yesterday after calling zero-tolerance policies a "bad joke." Reform MP Randy White said a national inmate survey obtained through access laws shows that 1,300 cons used crack or cocaine daily while another 1,300 admitted to using heroin and 5,400 to marijuana. There are about 15,000 federal inmates. "My God man, prisons are supposed to be the safest places in Canada from that kind of thing," White said outside the House, where he distributed copies of Corrections Canada's 1995 inmate survey. "If there is unchecked drugs in prison, how on earth are we to fight it on the outside if the government doesn't even have the intestinal fortitude to fight it on the inside?" White said. Solicitor General Lawrence MacAulay admitted in the Commons that drugs are a major concern and that he intends to address the problem. Later, at a Commons committee looking at the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, he asked MPs for suggestions to help solve the epidemic. "I was shocked when I learned that almost seven out of every 10 offenders have serious problems with alcohol and drugs," MacAulay said. A spokesman for MacAulay said spot checks by Corrections have shown that drugs found in urine tests dropped to 12% from 39% between 1995-98. White said Corrections Canada has to lower the boom on drug abusers, including suspending conjugal visits, locking prisons down if drugs are found, cancelling prison visits and using drug-sniffing dogs to ferret out illegal substances. Other drugs inmates admitted to freely using included valium, amphetamines, LSD and anabolic steroids.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Drug Policy Called 'Bad Joke' (The Calgary Sun version) Date: Tue, 1 Jun 1999 18:39:52 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: Canada: Drug Policy Called 'Bad Joke' Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: Tue, 1 Jun 1999 Source: Calgary Sun (Canada) Copyright: 1999, Canoe Limited Partnership Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.canoe.ca/CalgarySun/ Forum: http://www.canoe.ca/Chat/home.html DRUG POLICY CALLED 'BAD JOKE' OTTAWA --It's just as easy to get crack, cocaine, heroine and pot inside federal prisons as it is on the outside, Reform charged yesterday after calling zero-tolerance policies a "bad joke." Reform MP Randy White said a national inmate survey obtained through access laws shows 1,300 of 15,000 federal inmates used crack or cocaine daily. Another 1,300 admitted using heroine and 5,400 use marijuana. "The government doesn't even have the intestinal fortitude to fight it on the inside," White said outside the House. "How on earth are we to fight it on the outside?" Solicitor General Lawrence MacAulay admitted in the Commons that drugs are a major concern and that he intends to address the problem.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Money Laundering Legislation Tabled (The Ottawa Citizen says the Canadian government proposed legislation Monday in the House that would plug some big holes that allow up to $17 billion to be laundered in and through Canada every year.) Date: Tue, 1 Jun 1999 14:59:49 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: Canada: Money Laundering Legislation Tabled Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: Tue, 01 Jun 1999 Source: Ottawa Citizen (Canada) Copyright: 1999 The Ottawa Citizen Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/ Author: Nahlah Ayed MONEY LAUNDERING LEGISLATION TABLED OTTAWA - Ottawa is proposing a new law that will discourage criminals from laundering dirty money within Canadian borders. Ottawa tabled long-awaited legislation Monday in the House that would plug some big holes that allow up to $17 billion laundered in and through Canada every year. Other G-8 countries have tougher rules that make money laundering more difficult. The bill would make it mandatory for financial institutions to report any suspicious transactions and require people to declare large sums they're bringing across the border or risk having them seized until Canada Customs is satisfied they're not proceeds of crime. "The areas the legislation will address are the two major deficiencies that a lot of critics have raised," said Mario Possamai, president of FIA International Research Ltd. Money launderers in Canada can charge less for their services than those in the United States because the risks are lower here, said Possamai. The legislation will likely jack up the price of laundering because the risks will be higher. While it will take a bigger bite out of drug and contraband profits, the new law won't necessarily mean there will be less laundering in Canada, said Possamai. "As long as you have large drug trafficking organizations . . . and a demand for contraband tobacco and alcohol, the criminals who operate those rings are going to need money laundering services. "It's a very important tool in fighting crime, but it's not going to address underlying crimes." RCMP Sgt. Andre Guertin said police welcome any tools to fight organized crime. The legislation would create an analysis centre, an independent government body to collect and analyse information about suspicious transactions and cross-border money movement. It would then make that information available to police. The agency would also watch financial institutions - including banks, currency exchange dealers, casinos and others - to make sure they comply with the legislation. Gene McLean, director of security at the Canadian Bankers Association, said the sector supports the legislation and is willing to comply. Banks have for some time been voluntarily reporting suspicious transactions to police, said McLean. He pointed out there will be costs involved in making the practice mandatory, including buying software and hardware, generating reporting forms and training employees. Ottawa was under pressure to introduce the legislation under commitments it made at an international task force on money laundering and last year's G-8 summit. It will take awhile for the legislation to become law, but Ottawa will be able to report progress to the G-8 meeting next month in Germany. A 1991 law only requires financial institutions to keep records of cash transactions over $10,000 for five years. Ottawa released a consultation paper one year ago on changes. "The money laundering bill has been in the works forever," said Reform critic Jim Abbott. "I have no idea why it's taken so long." -------------------------------------------------------------------
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