Preschools, Prisons and Deaf Inmates

By Jean F. Andrews

Seal of the United States Department of Education

Seal of the United States Department of Education (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Sunday’s New York Times (October 26, 2013), Nicholas D. Kristof wrote a compelling piece linking two ideas that seemed, at first blush, to be oceans apart–preschools and prisons. What comes to mind is an innocent looking, three year old playing with play dough next to a grizzled inmate who looks beaten down by poverty, low education and the system. What a contrast!

In his article, Kristoff quotes Education Secretary, Arne Duncan, that such a plan to invest in national early education programs would be a “magical opportunity.” Duncan is quoted as saying “It can literally transform the life chances of children, and strengthen families in important ways — NYT.” Kristoff also quotes a major new study from Stanford University that shows that the achievement gaps begin as early as 18 months.  “Then at 2 years old, there’s a six year-month achievement gap. By age 5, it can be a two-year gap. Poor kids start so far behind when school begins that they never catch up – especially because they regress each summer — NYT.”

What has this to do with Deaf inmates?

Lots.

English: President Barack Obama plays basketba...

President Barack Obama plays basketball with Education Secretary Arne Duncan at the U.S. Department of Interior, Washington, D.C., Feb. 28, 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In my testing of deaf inmates as well as test data reported by Dr. Katrina Miller, in her Huntsville study, the majority of deaf inmates suffer from poor achievement levels, most notably below 3rd grade reading levels.  Most never had early intervention in signing preschools.  Indeed, most learned sign language in later childhood or adolescence and had poor communication with family members as inferior as poor instruction in school.

There is a national need for ASL/English bilingual parent infant programs in preschools that encourage parents to learn sign as early as possible. This will help them to communicate with their children, to build their minds, their social skills and their emergent literacy.

We will have to confront the problems of poverty and underachievement sooner or later in the Deaf students’ lives, as Kristoff notes. Why not set up these early education programs so we can avoid jailing the troubled adolescent later, as he further notes. And we can parallel these ideas to deaf education, by setting up ASL/English bilingual preschools.  Like regular education, in deaf education  “[w]e face a choice between investing in preschools or in prisons — NYT.”

Jean F. Andrews is a Reading Specialist and Professor of Deaf Studies/Deaf Education at Lamar University.

When Death Comes as a Kindness

By BitcoDavid

Herman Wallace is best known as one of the Angola 3. Sites like Prisonmovement’s Weblog and Moorbey’z Blog have spent years trying to get him released from solitary confinement in Louisiana. Early on Friday, October 4th, Herman Wallace passed away, after a long battle with cancer. He was 71 years old.

Wallace was a writer, an artist and the figurehead of a cause. He spent 41 years in Angola’s solitary confinement.

Since January of 1974, Wallace has not seen the sun, experienced the joy of conversation or felt the heat of a woman. He lived what is for many of us, a lifetime, in a 6′ by 9′ concrete cell.

Mr. Wallace had originally been convicted on an armed robbery charge, and was housed in general population. During a prison riot, a corrections officer – Brent Miller – was stabbed and killed. Wallace and Albert Woodfox were convicted of the stabbing, and sentenced to life in solitary. There, they were confined with another inmate, Robert King. These three men became the subject of an Amnesty International report in 2011. Documentarist Vadim Jean directed the film In the Land of the Free, about the plight of the Angola 3. To the very end, Wallace swore his innocence, and both his family and his lawyer believed that the 3 were wrongfully convicted.

Most recent photo of Felix with Pat Bliss.  Image credit Pat Bliss

Most recent photo of Felix with Pat Bliss.
Image credit Pat Bliss

Wallace was released 3 days before his death, in what can only be described as a real life Dostoevsky novel. No justice, no closure – merely a glimmer of hope before the bitter end.

Wallace was born on Oct. 13, 1941. He leaves behind, five sisters.

Time marches on, and there is an urgency in peoples’ lives. If we don’t help people like Wallace now, when they need our help, it may be too late when we finally get around to doing the right thing by them. I bring this up because of Felix Garcia. The man I see in this picture has aged markedly. Felix has spent over 30 years, wrongfully incarcerated. If we don’t help him now, it may soon be too late.

After 41 years in the deepest recesses of Angola’s hellish solitary confinement, and the long-term agony of the most horrible of diseases, Mr. Wallace must have been glad to go. Surely for him, death came as a kindness.

My gratitude to the New York Times for help with this article.

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

A Mother’s Day Digest Post

By BitcoDavid

For starters, I’m a Bozo. I misspelled Appetizer on my last post. I’d have edited it out, but once you publish a post, the title stays permanent. WordPress will repost the edited title as a new post. So, my Bozo moment lives on the Internet, frozen in eternity. Thanks Spellcheck – you’re off the Christmas list.

Marsha Graham – as mentioned in the last post – fell down and broke her shoulder. Any broken bone is intensely painful, and slow to heal, but a shoulder has to be one of the worst. If you want to send some well wishes, you can post them to DeafInPrison.com, and I will be sure she gets them. Alternatively, you can go here. She needs our support.

***

Why Digest Posts? News happens so fast, I just can’t keep up with it. I’ll set out to do a single story post, but by the time I’m ready to start writing, a half dozen stories have come in. So, without further ado…

4 from the NYT:

English: Seal of Texas House of Representatives

1) The Texas Legislature is wrestling with a bill that will address that state’s overwhelming number of wrongful convictions. The bill is called the Michael Morton Act. Named after a man who wrongfully spent over 20 years in a Texas prison, this act would force prosecutors to share all evidence garnered in investigation – including any evidence that would serve to prove innocence. This is a significant step for a state known to be suffering greatly under the burden of wrongful conviction. Here’s the link from the Times.

2) Gail Collins did an op-ed comparing government corruption and malfeasance in NY government, with other states. She finds that NY, with 32 separate corruption cases pending, isn’t doing as badly in the race to the bottom, as one might think. Apparently Illinois, Arizona and Georgia also top that list. New Jersey however, received the highest marks. Who’d a thunk it? New Jersey is the least corrupt state in the Union. Live and learn. Here’s that link.

3) In Brooklyn, NY, a supercop detective – now retired – is having 50 of his highest profile convictions investigated. Apparently, he relied on a crack-addicted snitch as his primary source. Now, the Brooklyn D.A.’s office is questioning the legitimacy of those convictions. From the Region section.

4) Amanda Knox teaches us that sexism, sexual bigotry and wrongful conviction don’t just occur here in the U.S. This interview spoke to me so much that I decided to copy it, in full. Something I hardly ever do. Enjoy.

Which authors do you most admire?

Vladimir Nabokov, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Jonathan Safran Foer, David Foster
Wallace. . . . I like authors who experiment with narrative and delve
into very specific conditions within their characters in order to expose
universal truths about humanity. After reading, I like to feel that
I’ve experienced, learned, identified, been challenged and been provided
with insight.

When and where do you like to read?

I have two comfy chairs at home that I fall into when I’m reading, but I
probably read most when I’m in transit. I always carry a book with me
to read on the bus, and I tend to arrive everywhere early.

What was the best book you read while a student in Perugia, Italy?

Since I was in Italy for just a month as a student, the only book I was
able to finish before I was arrested was a new volume of modern Italian
poetry — the title of which I don’t remember. What I started to read and
most enjoyed while I was a student was an Italian edition of “Harry
Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.” I was trying to teach myself Italian
outside of the classroom by referring to the familiar. That’s exactly
what I ended up doing when I first entered prison, this time with an
Italian version of “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” that I got from
the tiny prison library.

What was your reading life in prison?

A friend jokingly told me once that I was doing in prison what he wished
he could do in his own life — take time off from everything (school,
work, responsibility) to read and read and read. Reading started out for
me as a means of passing the time and learning the language. Reading
became a means of escape, and then a means of identifying and affirming
who I was in the face of the prison’s oppressive environment. I looked
to books to stimulate my mind and create a daily sense of purpose.

Was there a particular book that helped get you through the experience?

Different books helped me through different periods in different ways.
For instance, over time the prison grew more and more overpopulated, and
at a certain point, I was struggling to cope with a cellmate who became
increasingly confrontational and violent. “The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s
Guide to the Galaxy,” by Douglas Adams, was a humorous distraction from
the tension.

Other books, like Marilynne Robinson’s “Housekeeping,” were helpful
because they explored themes, like loneliness and alienation, that I was
having to learn to cope with myself.

Have you kept up with your Italian? Do you continue to read in the language?

I have a few close friends with whom I can practice speaking Italian,
but I mostly maintain fluency through reading. At the moment I’ve
returned to Boccaccio’s “Decameron,” which is satisfyingly challenging
and fun.

Are there any Italian writers you especially like?

Umberto Eco. He’s meticulous, thoughtful, innovative, tending toward the
epic while also humanizing. I love his lists — and I can always trust
him to help me increase my Italian vocabulary.

What’s the first book you read when you got back home?

“A Confederacy of Dunces,” by John Kennedy Toole, which was recommended by my boyfriend, James.

What kinds of stories are you drawn to? Are there any you steer clear of?

I like fiction better than nonfiction, but beyond that it’s easier to
define the kinds of stories I steer clear of rather than those I’m drawn
to. For me, the qualifying factors of a good story — captivating
narrative, challenging, insightful perspective and credible, complicated
characters — can come in many forms. I avoid romances and most
thrillers, because thoughtfulness is often sacrificed for the sake of
sentimentality or “action.”

What were your favorite books as a child? Do you have a favorite character or hero from those books? 

As a kid I was drawn to fairy tales — Mother Goose, the Brothers Grimm,
Hans Christian Andersen. Also, fantasy series, like “Harry Potter” and
“Redwall.” Then again, I read almost everything my mom put in front of
me, and then I raided her bookshelves. I liked strong, adventurous
female characters (“Xena” was a favorite TV show) but also quiet,
introverted underdogs who learned to step up.

If you could require the president to read one book, what would it be?

“A Prayer for Owen Meany,” by John Irving. While a little more
idealistic than I personally feel capable of aspiring to, the philosophy
of this book strikes me as pertinent for a person in power. The hero is
physically small and yet larger-than-life. He makes a difference in the
lives of those around him and, ultimately, sacrifices his life for the
sake of a greater good. It’s a beautifully written, inspiring story.

What was the best thing about writing a book? 

Transforming my thoughts and memories into a tangible narrative. This
gave me as much a sense of relief as a sense of accomplishment. Writing
helped me process the experience. Also, I really enjoyed working with
and learning from my collaborator, Linda Kulman. I’ve adopted many of
her writing strategies. This was a raw, emotional process, and I felt
safe sharing the most painful memories with her.

The hardest thing about writing a book?

In reliving what I went through I was surprised to discover suppressed
feelings of intense anger and grief. They were feelings that I couldn’t
allow myself to experience while confronting adversities of
imprisonment, trial, conviction and dehumanizing helplessness. When I
sat down to write, though, I suddenly found myself in a position to
really reflect — be outraged and sad — much more so than I anticipated I
would be if I were to regain my freedom. I frequently had to stop
writing and take a walk or curl up into a ball for a while until the
panic and/or grief subsided and I could work again.

Would you like to write another book, and if so, what would you like to write about?

I would very much like to write another book and put to work what I’ve
learned. The pet project I have in mind is a novel inspired by and
exploring my Oma (grandmother) and Opa’s (grandfather’s) history —
certain drastic choices they made in the course of their lives together.
I look forward to sitting down and listening to my Oma to get a sense
of the time period she grew up in, and at the same time to have that
stimulate my imagination for a story that I see revolving thematically
around identity and sacrifice.

What do you plan to read next?

“How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone,” by Sasa Stanisic. Also, “Zorba
the Greek,” by Nikos Kazantzakis. I have so many books at home that I
can’t wait to read, and yet I couldn’t help but pull these down from my
friends’ and family’s bookshelves.

Here’s the link to the original.

3 from AlterNet:

1) For years, perhaps even decades, Ariel Castro kept women as captives – denying them clothing and forcing them to stay on all fours, wearing dog leashes. In this fascinating story, AlterNet asks why dozens of 911 calls and reports from neighbors went unheeded by police, while at the same time, SWAT teams are performing drug raids every day. A few marijuana plants used for medical purposes – a SWAT team and a prison term. Running a Texas Chainsaw Massacre style torture chamber and kidnapping women – we can’t be bothered.  Here’s the link on AlterNet.

2) In the School to Prison Pipeline department, we have a story about a Diabetic High School girl who was beaten and arrested by school cops – for falling asleep in class. AlterNet coverage, here.

3) Speaking of cops beating women, you gotta read this. In Baltimore, the cops were beating on – and arresting – a young man, when woman witness, whipped out her iPhone and started filming. The cops saw her, and went to work on her. They actually say, “You want to film something bitch? Film this!” They broke her phone, beat her up and arrested her. Here’s the link to this must read story.

Well, there you go. Happy Mother’s day and stay tuned.

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and
obesity related illness.

Digest Post 5/3

By BitcoDavid

OK, today’s digest post is huge. Let me start with a quick anecdote vis-à-vis this ear bud thing. A woman who fights at my gym, Kim – for whom I have a great deal of respect – is involved with the Team Blood project, and therefore contributes to numerous charities. She’s been holding a piece of gear for me, so I could make a small contribution. OK, now today – I wanted to tell her that I would be ready to make the purchase on Monday – but she was wearing her Walkman. I called her name twice, and upon getting no response, tapped her lightly on the shoulder. Now when you want to speak to a Deaf person, you lightly tap them on the arm or shoulder to get their attention. Not a good idea with Hearies – especially not trained, combative Hearies. Well, it was no problem once she realized it was me, but in a different situation, I could have expected a jab or two. Deaf people are used to touching and being touched. Hearies consider that a violation of personal space. Anyway, the point is ear buds do make you essentially deaf, but without the life history to prepare you to deal with that.

Adam Mordecai (Mordecai), Advomatic

Adam Mordecai (Mordecai), Advomatic (Photo credit: B.G. Johnson)

We have written a lot about the phenomenon of false confession. People really don’t understand what would prompt someone to confess to a crime they didn’t commit. New research shows that 25% of DNA exonerations involve false confessions. This link will take you to a video about Adam Mordecai, a young man who confessed to a murder he didn’t commit.

NJ.com, a news aggregator site for New Jersey, reports that the crisis of elderly inmates is becoming a tax burden on that state. They sat that the number of prisoners over 50 has jumped 90% in the past decade, now sitting at 3,000 individuals. They site mandatory minimums and 3 strike laws as the reason. Here’s the link to that article.

In Arizona, a residential community for the Deaf is coming under fire for discrimination. Yup, you read that right. Apparently, HUD, the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development is alleging that Apache ASL Trails, is discriminating against the non-Deaf. Here’s the link to NYT’s story.

A story that’s been all over the Web this week, is that prisoners are now creating reviews of their particular facilities on Yelp.com. Some of the reviews are actually quite good, while others – obviously – are not. And of course, one must bear in mind that you don’t get any choice where they send you, so a review isn’t going to make much difference. I mean it’s not like shopping for a used car. Here’s the story on WaPo.

The War on Drugs

The War on Drugs (Photo credit: Jason Verwey)

The NYT Editorial Board did a remarkable piece on drug treatment. They decry the inane War on Drugs®, put forward a cogent and reasonable argument for detox and other forms of non-destructive treatment. It’s really worth the read.

CCA has found it’s way back into the news again. Go figure. According to AlterNet, Corrections Corporation of America‘s latest act of unmitigated evil is referring to themselves – for tax purposes – as a real estate trust, and their unwilling charges as tenants. No really. I wish I was making this up, but its true. Nowadays, you don’t serve time for committing crimes, you relo to a loft space with roommates. This story would be almost funny, except that the IRS has allowed the exemption. Here’s the AlterNet coverage.

Jean Trounstine, with whom I collaborated on some Supporter Contributions a few weeks ago, published this article today, about death row inmates studying Plato. Plato, you may recall, was one of the 1st death row inmates, and now his writings and teachings are helping others to cope with the unimaginable angst of facing execution. Here’s that link.

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and
obesity related illness.

Digest Post 4/11/13

By BitcoDavid

Two weeks from today, I’ll be 56 years old. Who’d a thunk I’d ever make it this far? Worse, in 3 weeks, my marriage will be 19 years old. All the credit goes to Maureen. Woman’s a saint.  I wouldn’t have stayed with me, for a month.

I’m working on a new piece of gear, which will increase my blogging potential substantially – I’ll let you know more when it’s launched. I wrote an awesome Supporter Contribution for Jean Trounstine of Justice with Jean fame. It’s about the Gideon v Wainwright Ruling, and how states are trying to get away with denying legal representation to indigent defendants. Here’s the link on her site. There’s also still tons of video on the symposium to get to, plus several other Supporter Contributions and collaboration pieces, still in the mix.

***

Let’s get the tough stuff out of the way first. This video comes from my good friends at SolitaryWatch. There is some dialog, but it didn’t seem worth the effort to caption. What little dialog exists is covered pretty well after the break. Before you click on this bad boy, I should tell you that it’s a pretty tough video to watch. The subject is a mentally ill inmate, and the video contains language and graphic violence.

In the 24 minutes between Schlosser being sprayed and when he can wash the spray off his face, Welch strolls in and out of the cell holding the OC spray canister, telling Schlosser that if he doesn’t cooperate, “this will happen all over again.”

“You’re not going to win. I will win every time,” he says.

Welch says repeatedly, “If you’re talking, you’re breathing,” suggesting that as long as Schlosser was complaining, he was not in serious medical distress. Welch does call for a member of the prison’s medical staff.

At one point, he whispers to Schlosser, “Useless as teats on a bull, huh … What do you think now?” an apparent reference to an insult Schlosser directed at him two days earlier, according to the investigator’s report.

The investigator concluded that Welch’s treatment of Schlosser was personal.

“Welch continues to brow beat Schlosser and it looks like he has made this a personal issue,” said Durst in the report. “There is not one incident of de-escalation and in fact Welch continues to escalate the situation even after the deployment of chemical agent.”

In my discussions and interviews with Glenn Langohr, I have learned that the industrial strength pepper spray cops use, is much worse than what girls carry to ward off stalkers and drunks. The sprayer isn’t some little Binaca tube. It’s about the size of a small fire extinguisher, and it sprays a copious amount of a much more concentrated solution, Glenn told me that at one point, some inmates actually died from it. This officer is standing directly above the man, repetitively spraying right into his face. On top of that, the mask – called a spit mask - acts to trap the noxious substance in his face. When he complains he can’t breathe, I – for one – believe him.

Here’s the link to the SolitaryWatch story. They include a bit more coverage, and a second video of another extraction taken several years earlier.

***

You know how states have nick-names? The Sunshine State, the Keystone state etc.? Well, I’m convinced that Colorado and Texas are in a neck and neck battle for the name, the Nut-job State. This was brought to my attention on Lipreading Mom and Dads Network by Dan Schwartz. According to MailOnline, apparently, Dylan Quick – a Deaf student at a Texas community college – stabbed 14 other students. In a confession, he claimed to be trying to kill them all, but his knife broke before that could be accomplished. At least in prison, he’ll learn how to make a decent shank. Here’s the Brit’s coverage.

***

The SORT Team - CCA's Elite. Click the link to learn more about CCA's SORT teams.

The SORT Team – CCA’s Elite. Click this link to learn more about CCA’s SORT teams.

What would a DeafInPrison.com Digest Post be, without a slam on CCA? Think Progress published this story this week. In Ohio, at the nation’s first completely privatized state penitentiary, government inspectors failed the company on none less than 47 violations, ranging from fire safety to food distribution. Inmates sleeping on the floor, inadequate medical care, poor diet, overcrowding and dirty facilities were but a few of the complaints the auditors had. They added this bit, at the end.

Despite the many abuses discovered at private prisons all over the country, CCA and other industry giants have greatly benefited from cash-strapped states’ attempts to save money. However, recent studies show that private prisons actually cost more than state-owned ones. Undeterred, CCA has started offering states millions to buy state facilities like the Ohio prison. Ohio sold the prison to CCA last year to help balance the state’s 2012-2013 budget, and CCA recently offered to buy another one in exchange for the state’s guarantee of 90% occupancy for 20 or 30 years.

Again, here’s the link to TP’s coverage.

***

At the opposite end of the spectrum, California has been embroiled in a battle with the Federal government over control of their prisons, and in particular their inmates suffering from mental illness. My nemesis – the Gray Lady – has been covering the story for quite some time now. Here’s their latest update. Briefly – before I go get knocked around the ring for the next hour – the overcrowding situation and the use of semi-permanent solitary confinement forced the U.S. government to step in, assuming control of California’s prison system. Jerry Brown – Governor – has been appealing the decision via the courts. You really should go to the Times, and read this article. It’s an important case, and could have landmark implications.

Well, that’s it for me.

Peace. Out.

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

 

Digest Post – 4/5/13

By BitcoDavid

Well, our post-a-day streak was broken yesterday, but before you go thinking I dropped the ball, I want you to know I was busy drumming up some Supporter Contributions that will be going up this week.

Image courtesy of Pat Bliss

Image courtesy of Pat Bliss

In keeping with our editorial priority list, the first order of business in today’s digest post is a brief update on Felix’s case. From Pat Bliss:

Felix had a video interview by a
reporter from a major Florida newspaper, this week. His clemency
action is on track. He is now living in the Faith Dorm and is doing
quite well there.

I do wish I had a little more to report. Unfortunately, that’s all Ms. bliss sent. We have picked up a few new signatures on the petition site. This petition is still a necessary and powerful tool to help persuade Pam Bondi and the other members of Florida law enforcement – including Governor Scott, that Felix deserves the justice that has eluded him for the past 30+ years.

Attorney General Pam Bondi

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Please click the link – here – or on either of our sidebars, and sign this vital petition. Felix Garcia has served a lifetime in prison – a Deaf man – for a crime he has long since been proven not guilty of.

Again, here’s the link to our petition to grant Felix a full pardon.

***

In life – I believe – everybody searches for their own personal title fight. You go toe to toe with whoever or whatever comes along, but your end game is always that big fish. Everybody wants to bag the elephant. I use this to explain my ongoing love-hate relationship with the venerable Gray Lady - the New York Times. Now – I go to the Times for sources on posts, but there will come a day, when the Lady herself will not print a story without first checking DeafInPrison.com.

Anyway, directly from herself , comes this update on the Clements case.

But weeks after Mr. Clements’s killing, investigators are still trying
to sort out whether the death was in fact a gang-ordered hit or the act of a lone gunman whose years in solitary confinement may have nurtured paranoia and a hatred of prison officials.

One of the school's administrators - OJ Keller with the tools of the trade. Photo: White House Boys

OJ Keller holding his only two friends. Photo: White House Boys

They make mention of the fact that Clements was working on eliminating the use of solitary confinement in Colorado’s prison system – a fact that I find staggering in its irony. In every report I’ve read, Clements is described as a tireless reformer who has dedicated his career to making prison more humane for the inmates – the very opposite of a fire and brimstone – law and order type such as  O.J. Keller of the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys. An infamous, vicious torturer, and corrupt administrator.

In quoting James F. Austin, a consultant who worked with Clements in his efforts to improve Colorado’s prisons, the Times wrote, “This has just never happened before in the history of corrections,” Dr.
Austin said. “What would be the value of the gang doing that, except to
bring incredible heat both on and off the street?” He added that the gangs “like to do their thing without much attention,
especially with a director who is doing everything he could to make the
prison safer and more comfortable.” — NYT

But law enforcement officials said on Thursday that they could not rule out the possibility that Mr. Ebel — who died after he was wounded in a shootout and a chase with Texas police officers and sheriff’s deputies northwest of Dallas on March 21 — was acting on orders from the leaders of the 211 Crew.

A search is continuing for two members of the gang known to have had contact with Mr. Ebel recently, said Lt. Jeff Kramer, a spokesman for the El Paso County sheriff’s office in Colorado. He called the men, James Lohr, 47, and Thomas Guolee, 31, “persons of interest” but stopped short of saying they were suspects in the case. Both are also wanted on warrants for unrelated crimes, Lieutenant Kramer said, and are thought to be armed and dangerous.

Even in this great shot of the accident scene, no sign of a truck – or a trucker. Photo:NYT

And still, no word on the trucker whom Ebel t-boned in his 100mph escape attempt in Texas. A guy climbs into his rig one morning, and out of nowhere a psychopath driving what passes nowadays for a Cadillac, creams him. I’m just sayin’, it’d be nice to give him just one line, in the reams of coverage this story has gotten.

Here’s the story as covered by that other news source – the NYT.

***

 

Finally, a reminder that this coming Wednesday, H.E.A.R.D. will be hosting their public meeting at Gallaudet. Here’s the PDF embed.

 

This event is listed on our Events Page, and here’s a link to the above embed.

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives,
he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab
driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer.
He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and
obesity related illness.

Last Post for March – Digest Post

By BitcoDavid

English: New York, New York. Newsroom of the N...

Just one of the many offices here at DeafInPrison.com Plaza. I’m lying. Photo credit: Wikipedia

Our month long birthday celebration draws to a close. It’s been a phenomenal month for DeafInPrison.com – and for me, personally. As well as attending the stellar, Symposium for the Deaf and the Justice System, I gave birth to BitcoDavid’s BoxingBlog, attended a reunion show by one of the bands I used to mix back in Boston’s indie music heyday, built a great little single ended practice amp for a guitarist friend, and posted and wrote like Hemingway – without the monosyllabic words and general life sucks then you die, style that made him one of America’s great authors. All this, and I still got in all my ring time.

Ernest Hemingway in Milan, 1918

By the way – Hemingway was a Boxer, too you know – and nothing happened to his brain.

Anyway, tomorrow I’ll go into depth about all this in the March at DeafInPrison.com  recap post. Following that, we’ll be back to covering the Symposium. I still have about 4 hours of video left, and I’m working on getting hold of the PowerPoints and other active content that we shared, explored and discussed at this unique and informative conference.

Now, on to today’s Digest Post.

Marsha Graham sent me this via e-mail.

Long Prison Term Is Less So Thanks to Judge’s Regrets

From the New York Times:

When Denise Dallaire was arrested at age 26 on charges of selling a few ounces of crack cocaine here a decade ago, she was sentenced to prison for more than 15 years. Last month, shackled inside the same court and facing the same judge, she received an apology and was set free.

The reversal by Judge Ronald R. Lagueux highlights how mandatory sentencing guidelines, though struck down by the Supreme Court eight years ago, continue to keep hundreds of small-time offenders behind bars for longer than many today consider appropriate.

To see the rest of this article, go to the New York Times.

NY man cleared, free after 23 years in prison

 

Pat Bliss sent me this link to the story of David Ranta, the New York man who was wrongfully convicted of killing a Hasidic Rabbi, and just recently freed after 23 years. The story is interesting because he was not cleared by DNA evidence. This particular link is to NBC’s PhotoBlog on the story. Lots of great pictures, as well as some good reporting, but the story has gotten coverage throughout the media.

Finally, we have the following from the ACLU, via – again – Marsha Graham:

Prisons’ Outdated Technology Prevents Those with Disabilities from Communicating with Their Loved Ones

Imagine that someone you love is in prison. And, the only way she has to communicate to the outside world – family, friends, attorneys – is through Morse Code. Tap each letter out, one word at a time, painstakingly slowly … and try to understand the response that comes back in Morse Code as well. To add insult to injury, she will be charged a dollar for each minute she is tapping away.

This is essentially the situation for prisoners who are deaf, hard of hearing, or who have speech disabilities. They cannot use the standard pay phones in prison, and the only means of accessible telecommunication to the outside world is through a Text Telephone (TTY) machine. This machine has a modified keyboard, specific rules on how to use it, and it transmits each letter and word slowly.

When it was invented 50 years ago, it was useful. But its technology is so outdated that most deaf and hard of hearing households have never seen a TTY machine, much less used one.

You can click on the above link or here, to get to the rest of this story.

On a related note, one of the guest speakers at the Symposium was Massachusetts State Representative, Paul Heroux. Prior to his seat in Congress, he worked in the Prison system here in Ma. After his speech, I had a few minutes to talk with him, and I brought up the idea of using Video Relay for Deaf inmates, rather than the cumbersome and antiquated TTY. I will be reporting on our discussion as part of the upcoming coverage of that event.

Well, that about wraps ‘er up. Thank you all for helping me make March a truly awesome month, and for all your support. And thanks for all the Likes and Follows that we’ve received, as well as all the support on Twitter and FaceBook. See you in April.

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

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