Thursday, February 28, 2008

More than 1 in 100 U.S. adults are in prison

Herald Tribune International

By Adam Liptak
February 29, 2008
Click here for original article.
For the first time in the nation's history, more than one in 100 American adults are behind bars, according to a new report.

Nationwide, the prison population grew by 25,000 last year, bringing it to almost 1.6 million, after three decades of growth that has seen the prison population nearly triple. Another 723,000 people are in local jails.

The number of American adults is about 230 million, meaning that one in every 99.1 adults is behind bars.

Incarceration rates are even higher for some groups. One in 36 adult Hispanic men is behind bars, based on Justice Department figures for 2006. One in 15 adult black men is, too, as is one in nine black men ages 20 to 34.

The report, from the Pew Center on the States, also found that one in 355 white women ages 35 to 39 is behind bars, compared with one in 100 black women...

"We aren't really getting the return in public safety from this level of incarceration," said Susan Urahn, the center's managing director.

But Paul Cassell, a law professor at the University of Utah and a former federal judge, said the Pew report considered only half of the cost-benefit equation and overlooked the "very tangible benefits: lower crime rates."

In the past 20 years, according the Federal Bureau of Investigation, rates of violent crimes fell by 25 percent, to 464 per 100,000 people in 2007 from 612.5 in 1987.

"While we certainly want to be smart about who we put into prisons," Professor Cassell said, "it would be a mistake to think that we can release any significant number of prisoners without increasing crime rates. One out of every 100 adults is behind bars because one out of every 100 adults has committed a serious criminal offense."

The United States imprisons more people than any other nation in the world. China is second, with 1.5 million people behind bars. The gap is even wider in percentage terms.

Germany imprisons 93 out of every 100,000 people, according to the International Center for Prison Studies at King's College in London. The comparable number for the United States is roughly eight times that, or 750 out of 100,000...

"We tend to be a country in which incarceration is an easy response to crime," she said. "Being tough on crime is an easy position to take, particularly if you have the money. And we did have the money in the '80s and '90s."

Now, with fewer resources available, the report said, "prison costs are blowing a hole in state budgets."

..."Getting tough on crime has gotten tough on taxpayers," said Adam Gelb, the director of the public safety performance project at the Pew center. "They don't want to spend $23,000 on a prison cell for a minor violation any more than they want a bridge to nowhere."

The cost of medical care is growing by 10 percent annually, the report said, and will accelerate as the prison population ages.

About one in nine state government employees works in corrections, and some states are finding it hard to fill those jobs. California spent more than $500 million on overtime alone in 2006...

Also see this analysis by Adam Liptak.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Are Oakland police aiding the murderer of Chauncey Bailey?

Police arranged jail conversation, but didn't record it. They admit officer is a friend of Yusuf Bey IV.

The Murder Of Chauncey Bailey
Was A Newspaper Editor Murdered To Keep A Story Out Of Print?

60 Minutes(CBS)
Feb. 24, 2008

Shot-gunned to death in the course of reporting a story, police say newspaper editor Chauncey Bailey was probably killed to keep that story out of print.

CNN’s Anderson Cooper reports.

(CBS) This story begins with a journalist murdered this past summer in Oakland, Calif., presumably because of a story he was working on.

His name was Chauncey Bailey, and just this past week he was honored posthumously with the George Polk Award - one of journalism’s most prestigious honors - for the story that may have cost him his life.

The story Bailey was working on was about, of all things, a bakery. But not any ordinary bakery: it’s called "Your Black Muslim Bakery," and as CNN's Anderson Cooper reports, it was once a multi-million-dollar business as well as a major religious and political power in Oakland.

But the bakery's leaders were known for using tactics right out of "The Godfather." Bailey was investigating some of those tactics, which made some bakery leaders angry.

And angering the bakery was risky business, as Oakland police knew all too well.


"Rumors about them killing people or, forcing them to do stuff that they didn't want to do, was rampant throughout the community," Assistant Chief Howard Jordan remembers. "People were scared to talk. People were scared to call the police."

Jordan has been an Oakland cop for 19 years. He says Your Black Muslim Bakery was on police radar for a long time.

It looks harmless enough on the outside, but at its height, the bakery employed about 200 people, many of them ex-convicts, who converted to Islam. And some of them didn't seem to spend too much time in the kitchen.

Your Black Muslim Bakery opened its doors in Oakland more than 30 years ago, selling bean pies and fish sandwiches. It was started by a man who called himself Yusuf Bey, a black Muslim who preached a philosophy of self-reliance and self-esteem.

Over the years, the bakery provided jobs and hope to hundreds of African-Americans in Oakland's inner city. But the positive outward image of the bakery never told the whole story. Inside the building, there were some very sinister things going on.

"It doesn't seem like many folks at the bakery were baking too many pies. It seemed to have just become a criminal enterprise," Cooper remarks.

"That's a fairly accurate statement," Jordan agrees. "It went from a business that was conducting legitimate business to a business interested in doing fraud, real estate fraud, assaults, robberies, vandalism, to promote a criminal cause versus a religious cause."

But in 2002, bakery founder Yusuf Bey was arrested on 27 counts of abusing and raping 12 and 13-year-old girls taken in by the bakery. He was accused of fathering children by them, and of stealing their welfare payments.

According to many reports, Bey fathered more than 40 children by different women at the bakery. As the Bey family, and its business, grew, they opened a dozen stores and owned a security company, a dry cleaner, a school, and properties in the area. In the process, the bakery became something of a law unto itself.

"A lot of Oakland cops told me that they left certain neighborhoods to the Bey family," says reporter Chris Thompson.

"Let them take care of business however they wanted?" Cooper asks.

"Yeah," Thompson says.

Thompson revealed the bakery's secrets in the East Bay Express, a weekly paper. He exposed a trail of "violence, brutality and fraud that stretches back almost a decade." Members of the bakery were furious.

After the stories were published in the paper, Thompson says somebody smashed out all their windows.

Asked if he personally received threats, Thompson tells Cooper, "Somebody would call up and say 'Mr. Thompson, we just want you to know that your days are numbered. Your time is up. You screwed up for the last time.' The creepiest thing was when they started following me home."

That's when Thompson decided to get out of town for a few months. While he was gone, the bakery's charismatic leader, Yusuf Bey, died. His funeral was attended by a thousand mourners, from all parts of Oakland.

After Yusuf Bey Sr.'s death, Howard Jordan says there was a power struggle within the organization. "There was a power struggle between the younger and the older Bey family members," he explains.

This was not your typical boardroom power struggle. Two of Bey's successors were murdered, and a third was wounded in an ambush. The last man standing was Yusuf Bey IV, the 19-year-old son of founder Yusuf Bey, and one of five sons he named after himself.

That's where reporter Chauncey Bailey picked up the story. Bailey was a veteran of Oakland newspapers and television, who worked for a weekly African-American newspaper called The Oakland Post.

In July, Bailey was tipped off to serious financial problems inside the bakery by a man named Saleem Bey.

"The story you told Chauncey Bailey, did that lead to his murder?" Cooper asks Saleem Bey.

"I believe that it led directly to his murder," he replies.

Saleem Bey is not one of Yusuf Bey Sr.'s biological children. He's one of the dozens of people Bey "spiritually adopted" who took the family name. Saleem Bey was a leader of the bakery, until he was forced out in that power struggle.

"I told Chauncey Bailey that the bakery was about to be shut down in an illegal bankruptcy," Saleem Bey explains. "This was the culmination of three years of the bakery being embezzled, and fraud and forgery, and different things that led to it being this way."

"You asked Chauncey Bailey to keep your name out of it. Why?" Cooper asks.

"I knew that it would be inflammatory, and that the people who would take it that way were dangerous," Saleem Bey explains.

Over the years, the bakery had earned a reputation for intimidation.

One incident, which they called a "show of force," was taped by San Francisco's CBS station KPIX-TV. Members of the bakery could be seen outside an Oakland tow-yard, demanding that a car be released. This was a smaller version of the close-order military drills that up to 50 bakery members would put on to intimidate the community.

Another "show of force" was caught by a security camera. Yusuf Bey IV and some of his followers were charged with trashing a neighborhood liquor store. Bey, who has pleaded not guilty, said the action was taken because alcohol was against Islamic law.

After taking over the bakery, Yusuf Bey IV went on a crime spree; he was arrested in three Oakland-area counties on five different felony charges.

"We saw a huge criminal enterprise starting to develop with the change in leadership when Yusuf Bey took over," Jordan says.

At the time reporter Chauncey Bailey was killed, Yusuf Bey IV was free on bail on all charges.

Asked if he thought Chauncey Bailey understood the risk, Saleem Bey says, "I believe that he thought it was more of a risk to myself than to himself. I don't believe that he really felt that he was in danger."

The danger was very real. While working on the bakery story, Chauncey Bailey was ambushed as he walked to his office at the Post. Witnesses told police a young black man wearing a ski-mask, pointed a shotgun at Bailey, and calmly fired three times at point-blank range. The shooter got into a white van idling nearby and sped off.

A day later, more than 200 heavily armed police raided the bakery to arrest Yusuf Bey IV and others on kidnapping and torture charges that had nothing to do with the Bailey murder.

And they arrested another man, Devaughndre Broussard, for killing Bailey. Broussard was a 20-year-old janitor at the bakery, who had converted to Islam after serving time for assault in San Francisco.

When 60 Minutes met him in county jail, Broussard told Cooper what he first told police: he didn't do it.

"I never heard about Chauncey Bailey. I never met him. I never seen him. The first time I heard about Mr. Chauncey Bailey was that night I got arrested," Broussard says.

While under arrest, Broussard continued his denials. And that's when police took an unorthodox step: they put Broussard in an interrogation room alone with his boss and spiritual leader, Yusuf Bey IV.

"He was saying like, 'You gotta help us out. You gotta take this fall.' He was saying like 'As your commanding officer, you gotta follow my orders,'" Broussard claims.

To convince him to take the fall, Broussard says Yusuf Bey IV played on his Moslem beliefs. "He was telling me how I was being tested by God," he says.

"He said that God was testing you?" Cooper asks.

"Yes, he did," Broussard says. "He was saying that, 'You gotta prove your loyalty' and what not."

"By saying you killed Chauncey Bailey, that was proving yourself to God?" Cooper asks.

"He were saying that most times, people don't realize when they being tested by God. 'I’m helping you out. I'm telling you that you being tested by God,'" Broussard says.

"But, I mean, this is a guy you trusted," Cooper remarks.

"Like they say, the people you love is the one that's going to hurt you the fastest," Broussard says.

Immediately after that conversation, Broussard confessed, telling police he was a "good soldier" who killed reporter Chauncey Bailey to protect the bakery. Did Broussard change his story because of what Yusuf Bey IV said to him? Police don't know, because they didn't listen in to that conversation or even record it.

"Mr. Broussard is saying that Yusuf Bey the IV told him, you know, 'Be a good soldier, take the fall.' Do you buy that?" Cooper asks Howard Jordan.

"No. I don't know what was said, but I don't I don't think that it's really relevant as far as what was said in that room," Jordan says.

"You don't think what was said in that room really matters?" Cooper asks.

"No, and it doesn't matter to us in terms of the end-product," Jordan says.

"But shouldn't someone have tape recorded that, or at least listened in on what they were saying?" Cooper asks.

"In a perfect world, yes, that, that should have taken place, but it didn’t," Jordan replies.

The lead investigator in the case, Sgt. Derwin Longmire, was the officer who decided to put Broussard and Bey IV together. But, in another strange twist, it turns out that Sgt. Longmire had been close to Yusuf Bey IV and the bakery for years.

Broussard realized just how close when he heard them talking at the police station.

Here's his account of what went on: "They was getting along like they really knew each other. The detective, he was saying like, 'We can't let Yusuf Bey the IV go down. He doing good in the community. He helping out black people,'" Broussard claims.

"The police said that to you?" Cooper asks.

"Police officer said that to me," Broussard says.

Chief Jordan does confirm that police knew all about Sgt Longmire's long-time relationship with Bey IV and other bakery leaders. "I don't have any problems with Sgt. Longmire's relationship with members of the bakery. I trust his integrity. I trust his credibility," Jordan says.

"It's certainly something, though, that's gonna be brought up during the trial, the fact that the lead investigator on the case turns out to be friends with Yusuf Bey the IV. It’s unusual, to say the least," Cooper says.

"It's unusual, but not unethical," Jordan says.

Today, Broussard insists he's not guilty and claims he knows who the real killer is.

Asked if he knows who did it, Broussard tells Cooper, "I'm gonna give all that info up when I go to trial."

Yusuf Bey IV, who is in jail on multiple unrelated felony charges, declined 60 Minutes' request for an interview. But he has denied any part in the Bailey murder.

"If anyone had a reason to be concerned about Chauncey Bailey writing something negative about the bakery, they would seem to be the guy who was leading the bakery," Cooper remarks.

"Correct," Jordan agrees. "That is a motive that, you know, we need to explore."

Police say the case is still open. But more than six months after Chauncey Bailey’s murder, Broussard remains the only one charged in the crime.

"Does it make sense that a low-level employee at this bakery, Devaughndre Broussard, would come up with this plan and execute it all by himself?" Cooper asks.

"It doesn't seem right. It seems highly unusual. But I don't know this young man. I don't know what he believes in," Jordan says.

"So it's possible he was following orders from somebody else?" Cooper asks.

"Oh, that's very possible. Yes," Jordan replies.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Man killed wife, then demanded law and order

LAPD make arrest in notorious '80s death

Associated Press
Feb. 23, 2008

LOS ANGELES - A Japanese businessman has been arrested on suspicion of murder more than a quarter-century after an infamous downtown shooting that left his wife dead and caused an international furor, police said.

Kazuyoshi Miura, 60, had already been convicted in Japan in 1994 of the murder of his wife, Kazumi Miura, but that verdict was overturned by the country's high courts 10 years ago.

Miura was arrested Friday while visiting Saipan, a U.S. commonwealth territory in the Pacific, after cold-case detectives from the Los Angeles Police Department worked with authorities there and in Guam, police said in a statement.

"A murder suspect who has been eluding (the) dragnet has been finally captured," the LAPD said. "Miura's extradition is pending."

Officer April Harding, a department spokeswoman, said no other details were available.

Miura's attorney, Junichiro Hironaka, told Japan's Fuji TV late Saturday that the arrest "astonished" him.

"My understanding was that the case was already closed both in Japan and the U.S., especially after their joint investigation," Hironaka said. "It's quite a surprise."

Miura and his wife were visiting Los Angeles on Nov. 18, 1981, when they were shot in a parking lot. Miura was hit in the right leg, while his 28-year-old wife was shot in the head.

His wife remained in a coma and was taken in an Air Force hospital jet to Japan, where she eventually died. Miura blamed street robbers on the attack and railed from his hospital bed against what he called a violent city.

The incident reinforced Japanese stereotypes of violence in the U.S. at a time when Los Angeles was preparing for the 1984 Olympics and was particularly sensitive about its overseas image. The LAPD vowed to find the killers.

Daryl Gates, who was police chief at the time of the killing, said Saturday that Miura was a key suspect even then.

"I remember the case well. I think he killed his wife," said Gates, who had not heard about Miura's arrest before he spoke Saturday afternoon. "We had Japanese police come over; they believed he was guilty, we believed he was guilty, but we couldn't prove it."

Miura, a clothing importer who traveled regularly to the U.S., had said he would write then-President Reagan and then-Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. and urge them to make the city safer.

"Many young Japanese will be coming to the U.S. with their dreams in their hearts," Miura said at the time, according to the Los Angeles Times. "I strongly hope this accident will never occur again."

In 1984, however, Miura's image as a grieving husband was tarnished by a series of news articles in Japan.

Miura reportedly collected about $1.4 million at today's exchange rate on life insurance policies he had taken out on his wife. In addition, an actress who claimed to be Miura's lover told a newspaper that Miura had hired her to kill his wife in their hotel room on a trip to L.A. three months before the shootings.

Miura was arrested in Japan in 1985 on suspicion of assaulting his wife with intent to kill her for insurance money in the hotel incident. He was convicted of attempted murder and while serving a six-year sentence was charged under Japanese law in 1988 with his wife's murder.

Miura was convicted of that charge in 1994 and sentenced to life in prison. Four years later, however, a Japanese high court overturned the sentence, throwing out a lower court's determination that Miura conspired with a friend in Los Angeles to kill his wife.

Kenji Yazawa, a Japanese consul in Saipan, said his office was informed of Miura's detention Friday but is waiting for permission from local authorities before meeting with him.

"It's been two days since he was detained, and we believe he has been given an explanation of his situation by now," Yazawa said. "I think we should probably discuss his situation now and what may come next."

Yazawa said Miura is believed to have visited Saipan previously and that he was "puzzled" by the unexpected development.

A duty official at Japan's National Police Agency said there was no notice from U.S. authorities before the arrest and that the news surprised him. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of internal policy.

News of Miura's arrest made front-page headlines in Japan.

"Why now?" asked the Mainichi newspaper.

Hideo Arai, president of Alpha Japan Promotion, an entertainment management company Miura is associated with, wrote on his blog that the arrest was "outrageous" because of the previous acquittal.

"Japan's Foreign Ministry should lodge a strong protest," Arai wrote.

After his acquittal in 2003, Miura often spoke publicly about false accusation and hounding media coverage.

He has been arrested at least twice since 2003, most recently on suspicion of stealing health supplements at a drugstore near Tokyo last year. Miura denied the charges and is free on bail. His trial is pending.


Associated Press Writer Mari Yamaguchi in Tokyo contributed to this report.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Deputy abused disabled man

Associated Press
Feb. 16, 20008
TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida sheriff's deputy who was videotaped dumping a paralyzed man out of his wheelchair onto a jailhouse floor has turned herself in.

Jail records show Charlette Marshall-Jones was booked into the Orient Road Jail early this morning.

It is the same jail where Marshall-Jones worked. She is accused of tipping 32-year-old Brian Sterner out of his wheelchair and searching him on the floor. He had been brought in on a charge of fleeing and attempting to elude a police officer after a traffic violation.

The Hillsborough County deputy has been charged with one count of felony abuse of a disabled person. She was released after posting $3,500 bail. An attorney for Marshall-Jones listed in jail records did not immediately return a phone message.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Guards punished other guards who threatened to report them.

Ex-Florida prison boss: Drunken orgies tainted system


Softball, drunken orgies and a prison system run like the mafia. That's what Florida's former prison secretary says he inherited when he took over one of the nation's largest prison systems two years ago.

McDonough revealed a startling list of alleged abuses and crimes going on inside Florida's prisons:

• Top prison officials admitting to kickbacks;
• Guards importing and selling steroids in an effort to give them an edge on the softball field;
• Taxpayer funds to pay for booze and women;
• Guards who punished other guards who threatened to report them.

"Corruption had gone to an extreme," McDonough said, saying it all began at the top. "They seemed to be drunk half the time and had orgies the other half, when they weren't taking money and beating each other up." Watch a corrupted prison system »

McDonough described a bizarre prison culture among those that ran the system -- one that he says seemed obsessed with inter-department softball games and the orgies after games.

"I cannot explain how big an obsession softball had become," he said. "People were promoted on the spot after a softball game at the drunken party to high positions in the department because they were able to hit a softball out of the park a couple times."

A Brooklyn, New York, native, McDonough says he witnessed the way the mafia worked in his youth and it provided him a keen insight into how his prison predecessor, James Crosby, operated.

"It reminded me of the petty mafia I saw on the streets of Brooklyn when I was growing up in the late 1950s, early 1960s -- petty, small-minded, thugish, violent, dangerous, outside the law, and completely intolerable for a society such as ours in the United States of America," he said...

And getting rid of this "cancer" is exactly what McDonough says he did. McDonough fired 90 top prison officials -- wardens, supervisors, colonels and majors -- claiming they were corrupt or, at the very least, not to be trusted. He demoted 280 others...

Among those arrested were seven officers accused of beating inmates, including five accused of forcing a prisoner to drink toilet water. All have pleaded not guilty.

Tina Hayes...said employees who didn't attend softball games or play on the teams were "isolated" and "pushed aside."

McDonough says the majority of the prison system's 28,000 employees were honest, hard-working people who weren't corrupt at all. But he says many of the top prison officials weren't and he believes he has weeded out "an organized vein of corruption."

"They were like frat boys out of control."