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Sat Oct 9, 2021, 10:03 AM

The untold horrors of Rutherford County, TN

This went on for YEARS. Targeting children because of racism, for profit prisons incentivizing the abuse of children, charging kids with crimes that didn't exist, blatant violations of of the 5th amendment (due process) and 8th (excessive punishment).

Just imagine for a second even trying to do this ONE time to a white child at an affluent school. To charge them for not trying to break up a fight? When adults aren't even required by law to do the same?

DOJ needs to make heads roll... For profit prisons should be banned. You can't incentivize people to lock up children or guess what, they are going to lock up children.

Article:

https://www.propublica.org/article/black-children-were-jailed-for-a-crime-that-doesnt-exist

Twitter thread:

https://threader.app/thread/1446505198516535297

Three police officers went to an *elementary* school in Tennessee & arrested four Black girls.One girl fell to her knees. Another threw up. Police handcuffed the youngest, an 8 yo with pigtails.Their supposed crime? Watching some boys fight — and not stopping them. (THREAD)

2/ The police wound up arresting 11 kids in total, using a charge called “criminal responsibility.”The arrests created outrage. State lawmakers called the case “unconscionable,” “inexcusable,” “insane.”So how did this happen?

3/ These arrests took place in Rutherford County, which had been illegally jailing kids for years, all under the watch of Judge Donna Scott Davenport.

4/ Donna Scott Davenport is the only elected juvenile court judge the county has ever had.She oversees the courts.She oversees the juvenile jail.She directed police on what she called “our process” for arresting children.

5/ In this deposition, a lawyer asks Davenport about taking the bar exam.It took her nine years and five attempts to pass.Three years after she got her law license, she was on the bench.Sorry, your browser doesn't support embedded videos

6/ Davenport describes her work as a calling.“I’m here on a mission. It’s God’s mission,” she once told a newspaper.

7/ She says children must have consequences. She encourages parents to use drug-testing kits on their kids. “Don’t buy them at the Dollar Tree,” she says. “The best ones are your reputable drug stores.”

8/ Under Davenport, Rutherford County locked up a staggering 48% of children whose cases were referred to juvenile court.The statewide average was 5%.This graphic shows detention rates for juvenile courts in Tennessee. Rutherford County is on the far right.

9/ Lynn Duke, appointed by Davenport, is the county’s head jailer.Tennessee narrowly limits when kids can be locked up. But Duke had her own way: the “filter system.”Her jail locked up any kid deemed a “TRUE threat.”As for what’s a “TRUE threat,” her handbook didn’t say.

10/ In a videotaped deposition, Duke was asked when the filter system applied. “Depends on the situation,” she said repeatedly.A lawyer asked Duke, “Is it your policy or not?”“No. Yes. It — it’s a policy to use it when necessary,” Duke said.Sorry, your browser doesn't support embedded videos

11/ Duke reports monthly to county commissioners, who liken the jail to a business and ask often about the number of beds filled.“Just like a hotel,” one commissioner says in this video.“With breakfast provided, and it’s not a continental,” says a second.Sorry, your browser doesn't support embedded videos

12/ The police officer who investigated this fight was Chrystal Templeton. She wanted to charge every kid who watched. She believed charging them was helping them.By the time of this investigation, Templeton had been disciplined at least 37 times, her personnel file shows.

13/ To arrive at a charge, Templeton met with two judicial commissioners.In Rutherford County, these commissioners wield great legal power. They can issue warrants, set bail and conduct probable cause hearings — all without needing a law degree.

14/ One commissioner, who used to work in a post office, came up with the charge of “criminal responsibility for conduct of another.”The problem? There’s no such charge.These kids were charged with a crime that doesn’t exist. https://www.propublica.org/article/black-children-were-jailed-for-a-crime-that-doesnt-exist

15/ Of the 11 kids arrested in this case, four wound up being jailed under the “filter system.”The filter system was illegal. Yet it was written into the jail’s standard operating procedures for nine years.

16/ The Tennessee Department of Children’s Services licenses juvenile jails. It inspected Rutherford County’s jail every year. Not once did it flag the filter system.“There was very little graffiti,” an inspector wrote one year.“Neat and clean,” she wrote in three other yrs.

17/ Judge Davenport declined to talk to us for this story. So did Duke and Templeton. So did the Department of Children’s Services.In court records, Rutherford County has denied any wrongdoing. https://www.propublica.org/article/black-children-were-jailed-for-a-crime-that-doesnt-exist

18/ The county’s illegal jailing of kids came to a stop only when a federal judge ordered an end to the filter system.But the county is still jailing lots of kids.

19/ When forced to stop jailing so many of its own children, Rutherford County ramped up its pitch to detain kids from other places.The county charges $175 a day for each kid they jail. https://www.propublica.org/article/black-children-were-jailed-for-a-crime-that-doesnt-exist

20/ Check out this promotional video, narrated by Judge Davenport over saxophone music and B-roll of children in black-and-white striped uniforms.It’s titled, “What Can the Rutherford County Juvenile Detention Center Do For You?”

21/ To report this story, we filed 56 public records requests, got 38 hours of audiotaped interviews from an internal police investigation and watched >100 public meetings spanning 12 years.For more on our reporting process, check out the methodology section at the story’s end.

22/ @meribah and I want to thank the children and parents who shared their stories with us.You can can read the full investigation, published by @ProPublica and @WPLN, here: https://www.propublica.org/article/black-children-were-jailed-for-a-crime-that-doesnt-exist

23/ To get more @ProPublica stories like this, sign up for our newsletter: https://www.propublica.org/newsletters/the-big-story?source=social …You can follow @bykenarmstrong. (Source: https://threader.app/thread/1446505198516535297)

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Arrow 48 replies Author Time Post
Reply The untold horrors of Rutherford County, TN (Original post)
Takket Oct 9 OP
WhiskeyGrinder Oct 9 #1
dalton99a Oct 9 #2
Docreed2003 Oct 9 #3
SheltieLover Oct 9 #11
paleotn Oct 9 #16
Docreed2003 Oct 9 #32
evolves Oct 9 #44
momta Oct 9 #35
Aviation Pro Oct 9 #14
DFW Oct 10 #46
a kennedy Oct 10 #48
hatrack Oct 9 #4
dlk Oct 9 #5
brewens Oct 9 #6
yonder Oct 9 #17
soldierant Oct 9 #34
PatSeg Oct 9 #7
sinkingfeeling Oct 9 #8
Picaro Oct 9 #9
Lars39 Oct 9 #10
PatrickforB Oct 9 #12
OldBaldy1701E Oct 9 #37
ybbor Oct 9 #13
Johnny2X2X Oct 9 #15
Lonestarblue Oct 9 #18
paleotn Oct 9 #19
Farmer-Rick Oct 9 #20
Lars39 Oct 9 #25
Jon King Oct 9 #21
BSdetect Oct 9 #22
lonely bird Oct 9 #23
Alexander Of Assyria Oct 9 #29
OldBaldy1701E Oct 10 #47
spanone Oct 9 #24
ananda Oct 9 #26
Ka-Dinh Oy Oct 9 #39
catrose Oct 9 #40
Alexander Of Assyria Oct 9 #27
dchill Oct 9 #28
llashram Oct 9 #30
Snackshack Oct 9 #31
Hortensis Oct 9 #33
East-A-Squared Oct 9 #36
OldBaldy1701E Oct 9 #38
pansypoo53219 Oct 9 #41
Pepsidog Oct 9 #42
KY_EnviroGuy Oct 9 #43
czarjak Oct 9 #45

Response to Takket (Original post)

Sat Oct 9, 2021, 10:08 AM

1. All incarceration makes a profit; the system relies on itself to feed itself.

DOJ needs to make heads roll... For profit prisons should be banned. You can't incentivize people to lock up children or guess what, they are going to lock up children.
These prisons were run by the state. All incarceration relies on people in cages to thrive.

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Response to Takket (Original post)

Sat Oct 9, 2021, 10:10 AM

2. Judge Donna Scott Davenport

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Response to dalton99a (Reply #2)

Sat Oct 9, 2021, 10:14 AM

3. How did I know she's was going to look like Marsha Blackburn's sister...

Disgusting

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Response to Docreed2003 (Reply #3)

Sat Oct 9, 2021, 10:44 AM

11. This state is an international disgrace!

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Response to Docreed2003 (Reply #3)

Sat Oct 9, 2021, 11:17 AM

16. From a long line of racist, fascist women in Middle TN.

If you want a taste of the really crazy, look up Mae Beavers. She belongs in a mental institution.

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Response to paleotn (Reply #16)

Sat Oct 9, 2021, 01:13 PM

32. Oh yes, she's insane

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Response to Docreed2003 (Reply #32)

Sat Oct 9, 2021, 09:05 PM

44. Agree 100%

Certifiably NUTS!

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Response to Docreed2003 (Reply #3)

Sat Oct 9, 2021, 04:59 PM

35. Okay, that made me laugh.

Marsha Blackburn is a disgusting individual. And yeah, looks like her sister.

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Response to dalton99a (Reply #2)

Sat Oct 9, 2021, 10:58 AM

14. What a fucking horror show

And I don’t mean good in Russian.

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Response to Aviation Pro (Reply #14)

Sun Oct 10, 2021, 06:18 AM

46. I don't think even Alex and his droogs could have thought this one up

This seems to beyond even that. This is Beria country.

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Response to dalton99a (Reply #2)

Sun Oct 10, 2021, 11:21 AM

48. She looks like EVERY Karen in every horrible video EVER. 🤬 🤬 🤬

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Response to Takket (Original post)

Sat Oct 9, 2021, 10:18 AM

4. Nine years and five attempts to pass the bar exam?

This woman has the intellectual gravitas of a pile of dryer lint. Corrupt POS.

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Response to Takket (Original post)

Sat Oct 9, 2021, 10:29 AM

5. Using poor children as profit centers isn't just limited to private detention centers

Kansas was one of the first states to privatize children’s services and they have some really bizarre laws. The truancy law is written so that if a child has missed school for so many days, even if they are seriously ill and in a hospital, they are deemed truant. Then the system kicks in and a guardian ad litem and case manager are appointed by the court and the parents are brought before a judge and basically threatened. Depending how long the truancy (or illness lasts), this can take awhile. Of course, all of this is on the taxpayer’s dime.

Privatization is essentially the antithesis of democracy.

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Response to Takket (Original post)

Sat Oct 9, 2021, 10:29 AM

6. I'm still astonished that Idaho threw out the private prison corporation that was running our state

pen. Corrections Corporation of America I believe. The claim was it was a gladiator training school run by the inmates.

I think someone wasn't getting paid. With some of the agricultural and food processing concerns, maybe they weren't buying from the right suppliers? There is no freakin' way our state legislators just went and did the right thing for no reason! That can't happen.

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Response to brewens (Reply #6)

Sat Oct 9, 2021, 11:19 AM

17. I share that astonishment. There had to be another reason.

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Response to brewens (Reply #6)

Sat Oct 9, 2021, 04:28 PM

34. Corrections Corporation of America is now Core CivicAnd

and, as abhorrent as even the idea of private prisons is to me and should be to everyone, even I have to admit that with enough supervision from the state, and enough decent human beings for employees, they can actually do a good job.

I don't know whether the same is true of Geo Group (or whatever they are now) but it wouldn't surprise me if they could also.

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Response to Takket (Original post)

Sat Oct 9, 2021, 10:31 AM

7. It doesn't get much more evil than that

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Response to Takket (Original post)

Sat Oct 9, 2021, 10:40 AM

8. I could only read about half of that article last night. Then

I just wanted to drive to Tennessee and do something illegal. Anybody who thinks they're on a mission from God shouldn't be able to run anything

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Response to Takket (Original post)

Sat Oct 9, 2021, 10:41 AM

9. Strongly recommend

Long read, but worth it. Sad thing is that all the people that did this are still in positions of power

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Response to Takket (Original post)

Sat Oct 9, 2021, 10:42 AM

10. Follow the money....somewhere, somehow, someone is making money off of this.

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Response to Takket (Original post)

Sat Oct 9, 2021, 10:56 AM

12. If we want to end abuses like this, then we must, MUST, take the profit motive away

from prisons.

This is the root cause of these outrages.

As to Davenport, she's just another Evangelical dirt-bag.

Change the policy, get rid of her 'filtering system,' disbar, charge, try, and hopefully incarcerate her, expunge those kids' records, pay back their families for the horrors they had to endure, and stop the privatization of prisons nationwide.

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Response to PatrickforB (Reply #12)

Sat Oct 9, 2021, 05:23 PM

37. If we want to end abuses anywhere, then we must take the profit motive away.

Yet...

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Response to Takket (Original post)

Sat Oct 9, 2021, 10:57 AM

13. Thank you for posting

I just finished reading this, and I am appalled!

Well worth the read.





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Response to Takket (Original post)

Sat Oct 9, 2021, 10:59 AM

15. This is pure racist evil

And it’s widespread throughout the South.

And more than just ruining the childhood of many, it adds up for them, they have juvenile records that mean that if they make a mistake later they’re more likely to get slapped with a felony that can’t be plead down.

Mass incarceration of black boys and men is a way to prevent them from voting. That is one of the primary goals of these racist courts, to slap felonies on millions of young black men so they’re disenfranchised. It’s horrible, and is getting worse in the South, it’s Jim Crow extended.

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Response to Takket (Original post)

Sat Oct 9, 2021, 11:24 AM

18. For-profit prisons are an abomination. They should be outlawed at the federal level.

I assume red states can continue their abuse of children with no consequences. I’m really sick of states’s rights that allow corrupt, racist officials to abuse children and all non-white people with impunity. We need to be a country where the laws are federal and states are not allowed to be individual fiefdoms deciding who gets advantages and who doesn’t.

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Response to Takket (Original post)

Sat Oct 9, 2021, 11:25 AM

19. Heard about that yesterday and the interesting thing is....

It surprised me not one little bit. I grew up in the region. Outside of the pale, blue dot of Metropolitan Nashville, Davidson County, it's fucking crazy town. A reich wing nirvana. The sad thing is, I still have family down there, but wouldn't set foot in that state if my life depended on it. Luckily, there's quite a few of the paleotn clan in exile beyond the red curtain.

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Response to Takket (Original post)

Sat Oct 9, 2021, 11:53 AM

20. This happened in other states too

"In what came to be known as the kids-for-cash scandal, Ciavarella and another judge, Michael Conahan, shut down a county-run juvenile detention center and accepted $2.8 million in illegal payments from the builder and co-owner of two for-profit lockups."

From the same story seems the abusive judges were trying to get out of prison.

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. (AP) — A disgraced Pennsylvania judge who locked up thousands of juvenile offenders while he was taking kickbacks from the owner and builder of for-profit detention centers has lost his bid to be released from prison because of the coronavirus pandemic.

https://apnews.com/article/pandemics-pennsylvania-coronavirus-pandemic-wilkes-barre-courts-73983471fb75311725e31e2c1955e095

For profit any government function leads to corruption and abuse especially in a capitalist economy.

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Response to Farmer-Rick (Reply #20)

Sat Oct 9, 2021, 12:20 PM

25. In other counties in TN, too

Lived in one where one brother was juvenile judge, one owned the juvenile jail, and one was rep or senator for years.

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Response to Takket (Original post)

Sat Oct 9, 2021, 12:04 PM

21. Judges can be sued for civil rights violations.

Judicial immunity protects them from most suits in their official capacities. However they can be sued for civil rights violations. Everyone of these kids should sue and tie this judge up in court cases for the rest of her life.

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Response to Takket (Original post)

Sat Oct 9, 2021, 12:07 PM

22. k&r

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Response to Takket (Original post)

Sat Oct 9, 2021, 12:14 PM

23. God's mission?

Anytime I hear that I think that I have to reach for my wallet because some person is going to try and steal from me.

Arrogance, ignorance, self-righteousness and bigotry. What a wonderful combination to have in a judge and her underlings.

As for the “justice system”? There is no justice system. There is, however, a retribution system.

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Response to lonely bird (Reply #23)

Sat Oct 9, 2021, 12:51 PM

29. So many seem to have this direct pipeline to God, all seem to be Republicans. Strange God.

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Response to lonely bird (Reply #23)

Sun Oct 10, 2021, 08:00 AM

47. That, and be prepared to react

Because they are either going for your wallet or going for your life. And, no, we have not had a 'justice' system in this country for a long time now.

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Response to Takket (Original post)

Sat Oct 9, 2021, 12:18 PM

24. State lawmakers called the case "unconscionable," "inexcusable," "insane."So how did this happen?

State lawmakers are fucking insane here in Tennessee. They know how this happened.

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Response to Takket (Original post)

Sat Oct 9, 2021, 12:37 PM

26. And if they did try to break up a fight...

they'd be charged for that.

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Response to ananda (Reply #26)

Sat Oct 9, 2021, 06:13 PM

39. That was my immediate thought.

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Response to ananda (Reply #26)

Sat Oct 9, 2021, 06:21 PM

40. They arrested the girl who was telling the boys to stop fighting

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Response to Takket (Original post)

Sat Oct 9, 2021, 12:50 PM

27. And we worry about corrupt justice systems overseas?...start in the homeland.

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Response to Takket (Original post)

Sat Oct 9, 2021, 12:51 PM

28. She's "...on a mission from God." Just like the Blues Brothers.

I rest my case.

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Response to Takket (Original post)

Sat Oct 9, 2021, 12:56 PM

30. thank you for this and america

is still as racist. Except now black children still have substandard schools and resources. Therefore are robbed of the tools necessary to excel or are shot down or incarcerated so that these children have a record for the rest of their lives.

Giuliani, trump, Bannon, Miller proved to me just how racist America is in the 21st century. And that fact proven to me during 4 long years that have brought America's scum to the top of the sewage water. 1/6 showed me a lot of them. And for those obvious thousands, how many are in the shadows?

Vagrancy in another era was the go-to for officers of the law in the South after the civil war. USSteel was only one corporation out of many that profited mightily off the new post-civil war segregationist policies affecting African-americans during the post-slavery era between the forced bondage of African-americans and WW2. Thanks for the good research material

In fact, the vagrancy laws of the old-new south and elsewhere have ever been called "slavery by another name" in certain learned academic quarters.

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Response to Takket (Original post)

Sat Oct 9, 2021, 01:10 PM

31. There was a judge,

I don’t remember where but I remember reading about this at the time several years ago during the Obama administration, I think. A judge that got sent to jail because he was incarcerating juveniles for everything from jay walking, truancy to minor consumption etc. and it came out that he owned stock in the private company running the detention center and naturally if the place was full it made more money…

Also I remember reading about the contracts the Government was signing at the time with the private prison corps (CCA). One of the standard clauses in the contracts was that the prison was guaranteed by the government to be kept 90% or more full.

The incarnation of humans should never be a for profit enterprise. Humans are simply to susceptible to greed and will abuse the system. Especially if racism is involved where the human in charge sees other humans as less than…human.

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Response to Takket (Original post)

Sat Oct 9, 2021, 01:54 PM

33. Rutherford's in the center of the state, south of Nashville, and

by far most of the black Tennesseans live on the west border near the Mississippi. Republicans hold a supermajority in the state capital and a stranglehold on most local governments.

I was looking at the racial demographics, and black population in all but two of the counties around Nashville/Murfreesboro is in the single digits. Rutherford's 15.5%, a bit above the 13% national average, and the highest, close-by Davidson, is 27.7.

Black voter turnout is below the average across the nation. No surprise on reading what's going on in Rutherford. According to The Sentencing Project, more than 20% of black adults cannot vote due to a felony conviction (they have to pay off restitution and legal fees, impossible for many). That's compared to 8% of all TNans. Efforts to eliminate the fees were defeated by a judge.

Hopefully the publicity spotlight on what's happening in Rutherford, and elsewhere, will trigger more unified action by TNans. While looking, I saw that counterprotestors "overwhelmingly outnumbered" (800-1000 to 30!) a white nationalist rally and forced its cancellation. Another rally the same day drew an "antagonistic" crowd. They won't like this.

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Response to Takket (Original post)

Sat Oct 9, 2021, 05:19 PM

36. Sounds like slavery by any other name.

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Response to Takket (Original post)

Sat Oct 9, 2021, 05:28 PM

38. The Tennessee Department of Child Services

Do not get me started on them. Let's just say that the list of lawsuits is a long one. And, there is at least one more waiting in the wings. Worthless f**ks.

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Response to Takket (Original post)

Sat Oct 9, 2021, 06:54 PM

41. she is going to prison. right? RIGHT?!

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Response to Takket (Original post)

Sat Oct 9, 2021, 08:06 PM

42. I thought the video was a SNL skit. I can't see how our country survives.

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Response to Takket (Original post)

Sat Oct 9, 2021, 08:28 PM

43. ALL prisons, not just private, should have intense scrutiny by members of the public.

Anyone like myself who has worked with people in prison knows the human misery suffered by many, including neglect of health care, especially when public prisons farm out health care and food service. In addition, rehabilitation in the USA is mostly a cruel joke.

Abuse of human rights behind the bars is common around the world. "Out-of-sight/out-of-mind" is the driving principle that allows abuse. Private jails and prisons are even further away from public scrutiny.

If the the public wants people imprisoned for breaking laws then we must accept full responsibility for insuring humane treatment for all those we remove from our society.

KY rant done....

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Response to Takket (Original post)

Sat Oct 9, 2021, 09:36 PM

45. Cruel to be kind in their mind!

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