Scandal knocks Idaho State prison boss
out of job
State of Idaho's Correction's Director, James Spalding, resigned
March 16, 2001 following the disclosure of widespread mismanagement
and theft in the Division of Correctional Industries. According
to a Spokesman-Review story by Betsy Z. Russell - and posted
on Internet by Western Prison Project - a report released by
Idaho Attorney General Al Lance's 22-month investigation documented
"widespread instances of theft of division-manufactured
furniture and lack of control over prison inmates assigned to
the division. In one example, state prison inmates who were delivering
furniture to North Idaho were taken to a strip club at (Washington/Idaho)
State Line, and in another, an inmate spent a night in a North
Idaho motel rather than in the required county jail cell."
The investigation found no evidence that Spalding or Correctional
Industries Administrator Mike Yae profited from the irregularities.
Amazingly, a separate Idaho State Police criminal investigation
determined that criminal activity at Correctional Industries
was limited to the inmates and their direct supervisors, and
went no higher.
The investigation did find evidence of mismanagement, shoddy
record keeping and inadequate supervision at Correctional Industries,
as well as efforts throughout the department to stifle inquiries
that questioned them. Some employees may have been penalized
for raising questions, and, according to the Review's Russell,
"the report suggested Yae may have tried to obstruct the
investigation by firing workers who were under scrutiny."
From the investigation by Attorney General Lance's office, certain
inmates controlled the accounting for furniture made at the prison
industry center south of Boise and were diverting pieces to a
storage unit in Idaho Falls where it could be sold for their
profit by ex-convicts. The report also said inmates were essentially
running the industry program and intimidating guards into letting
them visit strip joints, use tobacco and alcohol, which are banned
in the institution, and have conjugal visits with wives and girlfriends.
"By placing civilian CI truck drivers in charge of inmates
on these trips, the drivers were successfully corrupted by the
inmates,'' Lance's review said. The inmates also are believed
to have smuggled cigarettes and drugs back into the prison from
their furniture-delivering jaunts.
Spalding notified staff he was resigning effective in June and
is on administrative leave until then. Yae submitted his resignation
about a month ago as the investigation was winding down, effective
in July. Spalding, who became director in 1993 after 28 years
in the Washington State Department of Corrections, said his resignation
was effective June 1, 2001, but department officials said Spalding's
departure was immediate. Correction Board Chairman Ralph Townsend,
a retired Air Force general who has been tapped for a number
of assignments by Gov. Dirk Kempthorne, will temporarily take
over day-to-day operations of the department.
Kempthorne said, "We must remember that Correctional Industries
was a very small element of the entire department. "This
is serious,'' he said. "It is activity which should not
have taken place, it is activity which has been put to an end.''
Kempthorne said that when he learned of the problems in 1999,
he immediately ordered the external investigation by the Idaho
State Police and attorney general Ada County Prosecutor Greg
Bower, according to published information, said that after reviewing
the Idaho State Police investigation, he decided against filing
any criminal charges. He considered filing charges against two
inmates and one supervisor, but inadequate records at the furniture-manufacturing
operation would have made the charges hard to prove. State Police
Capt. Don Van Cleave said the investigation, which started in
October 1999, found problems stretching back three years.
Correctional Industries is a business operated without tax support
by the Corrections Department that employs hundreds of prisoners
in Pocatello, Boise, Orofino and St. Anthony. It has a metal
shop and furniture and license plate manufacturing operations.
Yae was highly touted when he was hired by the department in
1997. He had a reputation for turning money-losing correctional
industry programs into profit makers. A 1999 report by correction
auditor Steve Bellomy on an audit of the furniture operation
found inmates had control over warehouse inventory and maintained
a separate tracking system from one introduced by Yae.
Van Cleave said the furniture was sold or given to inmates' families.
"We ran into some difficulties with paper trails and so
forth, resulting in the inability to determine how much property
left that area. We did recover some valued at $2,600,'' he said.
According to the attorney general's report on its investigation,
then-South Idaho Correctional Institution Warden Larry Wright
expressed concerns over Correctional Industries to Spalding,
but was told, "If you mess with my administrator, you mess
with my office.''
The report also stated, "Interviews with current and former
CI management personnel suggest that Director Yae may have attempted
to ob struct investigations by ordering the termination of CI
employees under investigation prior to their being interviewed
by investigators.' In one meeting, on Sept. 17, 1999, Yae is
reported to have ordered former industries transportation chief
Norm Mallonee to fire two drivers under investigation. Lt. Alan
Lee of the South Idaho Correctional Institution and Mallonee
objected, saying it would impede the review. Mallonee alleges
he was fired for his reluctance and has filed suit.
Wright, the former warden, contends his firing last October after
14 years with the South Idaho Correctional Institution was in
reprisal for his opposition to how an investigation of Correctional
Industries was run. He also went to court. The attorney general's
office has called for an even more in-depth examination of the
Correction Department and its division.
The Kentucky state establishes an Industrial
Hemp commission (IHC)
Kentucky state legislature has passed a bill that establishes
an Industrial Hemp Commission (IHC), and the bill was signed
into law by Gov. Patton. The IHC will consist of 17 members including
representatives of the governor, the state legislature, state
universities, law enforcement and the Kentucky Hemp Growers Cooperative
Association. The bill also authorizes an industrial hemp research
program to be conducted at one or more selected state universities.
HB 100 was passed by the Kentucky House on February 14th by a
vote of 66-32. On March 8th the bill was passed in the Senate
by a vote of 68-28. HB 100 was signed into law by Kentucky governor
Paul E. Patton on Tuesday March 20th. The full text of the bill
can be viewed at: http://www.irc.state.ky.us/record/01rs/HB100.htm
The consideration and passage of this bill was the result of
a major effort by the Kentucky Hemp Growers Cooperative, former
Gov. Louie B. Nunn and many other dedicated hemp supporters.
We congratulate them for their efforts and perserverance.
Gov. Ryan of Illinois recently vetoed a hemp study bill after
intense pressure and misinformation from anti-drug groups.
Please write Gov. Patton to let him know you support his common
sense action. You can easily send a pre-written and addressed
letter to Gov. Patton by visiting the Vote Hemp action Alert
page at: http://www.capwiz.com/votehemp/
Mississippi bans aerial spraying of herbicides
an original story by Arnold Lindsay, staff writer of the Clarion-Ledger
in Mississippi, the State's Department of Agriculture and Commerce
imposed restrictions on aerial spraying of three herbicides in
the Mississippi Delta and some adjacent counties on March 15
and in effect until April 30. One restricted herbicide is the
well-known Roundup, the same herbicide used by US/Colombian military
forces spraying food, streams, people and coca crops indiscriminately
in Colombia, South America.
During that same period of time in 2000, 98 complaints of herbicide
drift were received, according to the state agency. That was
the most concentrated number of such complaints on record, the
department said. Farmers whose crops had been damaged or destroyed
by drifting herbicides lodged the complaints, said Keith Davis,
branch director of enforcement and compliance programs for the
According to the news reports, the complaints filed last year
claimed winds carried the mist for miles in some cases, killing
off significant portions of crops of rice, soybeans and corn,
officials said. In some cases, lawns and shrubbery were damaged,
In 2000, 148 complaints of crop damage were filed, with 98 occurring
between March 15 and April 30, the early end of planting season,
Counties affected by the restriction are Bolivar, Carroll, Coahoma,
DeSoto, Grenada, Holmes, Humphreys, Issaquena, Leflore, Panola,
Quitman, Sharkey, Sunflower, Tallahatchie, Tate, Tunica, Warren,
Washington and Yazoo.
Will McCarty, Extension Service cotton specialist at Mississippi
State University, said applications made under "fairly calm"
wind conditions are safe, with some wind drift. But last year's
severely damaged crops were hit by a more concentrated dosage
of the plant killers selling under the trade names of Roundup,
Gramoxine and Touch Down, he said.
"The measure was put into place to try and protect nontargeted
landowners," McCarty said. "There has been some significant
damage and there will be some lawsuits filed from some drift
that occurred last year."
Davis said 72-hour emergency permits are currently being issued
to farmers or consultants for aerial applications when field
conditions are too wet to apply herbicides by tractor.
The permits will allow officials to pinpoint any wind drift damage
to a specific pilot, said Gibb Steele, part-owner of Longwood
Flying Service in Hollandale. "Being they granted us these
permits that you have to call in on a field by field basis, they
can know where to look," Steele said, adding that the restrictions
will have a minimal effect on business.
The complaints, which were verified through lab tests, were valid,
Davis said. "Last year we picked up some three to five miles
away from the application. Can it drift that far? Can you detect
it in a plant? Yes, you can," he said.
South Dakota: The Emperor's Tailor
By Bob Newland, a writer/publisher who lives near the
Last July, Sioux
Falls police arrested quadriplegic Matthew Ducheneaux at a concert
in Yankton Trail Park when he lit a joint. Ducheneaux said he
was using the marijuana as medicine, and produced a note written
on a medical prescription sheet by Sioux Falls physician Robert
Seidel: "Matthew is a quadriplegic. He uses marijuana for
muscle spasms caused by his paralysis."
Sixteen years ago, Ducheneaux broke his neck in a car wreck.
He can speak well and make facial expressions. Aside from that,
the only intentional movement he can make is with a couple of
fingers on his right hand. He functions with the aid of friends
and some pretty amazing technology.
"Spastic paralysis syndrome" is common among the paralyzed.
The nearly-completely-severed spinal cord sends erratic messages
to numb muscles, which then sometimes contract so violently that
they dislocate joints and tear muscles. For Matthew, as for thousands
of other "'plegics", smoking cannabis - marijuana -
makes the tremors stop almost instantly. No one denies this.
After his 1985 accident, Ducheneaux was prescribed prescription
drugs, like Valium, which stops the tremors. Valium has side
effects such as stupor, hair loss, and liver toxicity. Other
drugs effective for spastic paralysis are even more toxic. No
one denies this.
He learned of the therapeutic value of cannabis. Cannabis stops
the tremors and makes him feel better. Cannabis has no known
toxicity. It doesn't make one's hair fall out. To the degree
Matthew Ducheneaux can function in society with his paralysis,
cannabis is an aid. Almost no one denies this.
Three medical cannabis users testified to South Dakota legislative
committees less than two months ago about their personal knowledge
of cannabis' ability to reduce nausea from cancer radiation therapy,
reduce general pain due to a dislocated spine, and reduce anxiety
and seizures associated with post-traumatic stress syndrome.
A credible poll of South Dakota voters in January 2001 found
that 81per cent believe that South Dakota law should reflect
the obvious common sense in allowing sick, disabled and dying
people - under a doctor's recommendation - to use whatever medicine
works for them, including marijuana. Ninety-five per cent said
that medical cannabis users should not be jailed for such use.
A just-released poll in New Mexico, commissioned by the Lindesmith
Center, found remarkably-similar results.
In 1988, Matthew Ducheneaux applied to the Drug Enforcement Agency
for consideration as a "compassionate use" exemption
from government's official position that "marijuana has
no known medical use". That program currently supplies 300
government-grown joints per month to each of eight patients in
the U.S. He was accepted, on the condition that he find a local
pharmacy to store and dispense the cannabis.
The DEA required that the pharmacy provide a 24-hour armed guard
for its cannabis, which would be stored in a safe alongside the
pharmacy's drawers full of methamphetamine, Quaaludes, Demerol,
cocaine, and morphine (which do not require an armed guard).
Sioux Falls pharmacists all declined the honor.
All legal common-sense avenues closed, Ducheneaux provided for
the day when he'd be busted. He found a compassionate, sensible,
knowledgeable and courageous family physician who would at least
provide some slight cover - a note that he was aware of Matthew's
use and implicitly agreed with it. An outright "prescription"
by a doctor for marijuana is illegal.
Knowing all this, Minnehaha County Prosecutor Dave Nelson continues
to attempt to punish Matthew for trying to feel better. However,
there is one note of encouragement on the Ducheneaux case.
On March 8, Sioux Falls Magistrate Patricia Riepel seemed disposed
to grant a defense motion to allow a "greater necessity"
defense strategy to Matthew. Essentially, this will allow Matthew
and medical experts to testify that the use of marijuana, in
this instance, prevents a greater harm. Her opinion hopefully
will mean that the defense can present the jury with the facts
at his trial in June. Then, we taxpayers will simply be left
with a bill for a case that never should have been prosecuted.
See more about Matthew Ducheneaux at http://www.sodaknorml.org/.
Bob Newland's journey is published at http://www.nakedgov.com/.
Wisconsin to hold prison system accountable
response to growing public pressure, Wisconsin Attorney General
James Doyle and State Senator Gwendolynne Moore (D-Milwaukee)
have called on the State Legislature to broaden the authority
of the Attorney General to allow the State's top law enforcement
official to intervene directly and prosecute if the civil rights
of any Wisconsin citizen are violated.
At a Milwaukee news conference in late-March 2001 Doyle and Moore
addressed concerns about the state of prison health care in Wisconsin
and expressed the need to provide additional protection against
the violation of inmates' civil rights. In their call to action,
Doyle and Moore cited a recent series in the Milwaukee Journal
Sentinel that recounted inmate deaths and health concerns in
the Wisconsin prison system as well as possible violations of
the civil rights of inmates.
According to a March 27th press release from Doyle's office,
Wisconsin has excellent civil rights laws on the books, but there
is no adequate method to enforce those laws. Wisconsin's Attorney
General should have the power to investigate alleged civil rights
violations. When appropriate, the Attorney General could then
seek fines and criminal penalties when a person's civil rights
"Citizens and families often ask me to investigate violations
of their civil rights," Doyle said. "They are entitled
to a fair investigation and just prosecution, and the Attorney
General's Office should be allowed to provide that service to
protect the civil rights of Wisconsin residents." Doyle
and Moore are also proposing that lawmakers give the Attorney
General the power to call public inquests to investigate the
death of a prison inmate. Under current law, only the local district
attorney in the county housing the prison is authorized to call
for an inquest, and that could cause a conflict of interest.
"It should go without saying that each and every human being,
despite that person's mistakes, vices or crimes, deserves to
be treated like a human being," Moore said, who has agreed
to sponsor legislation to grant the Attorney General additional
authority during the next legislative session. "When we
allow one person's civil rights to be compromised or violated,
we permit the subtle erosion of that which we have worked so
diligently to achieve and maintain."
Moore has asked Attorney General Doyle to review the legality
of the Wisconsin Department of Corrections' (DOC) practice of
denying prisoner records regarding the health care and deaths
of prisoners housed within Wisconsin and prisoners being housed
in out-of-state private prisons. Doyle agreed that greater public
access to information on the corrections system can lead to an
objective review of the prison health system by the public, and
he supports increased openness by the state.
The intent of Doyle and Moore's proposal is to safeguard the
civil rights of Wisconsin citizens against even the rarest examples
of abuse. Doyle said, "It is the foundation of our country,
and it enforces the constitutional Bill of Rights for all of
our citizens wherever they live and regardless of their income."
Doyle also cited the need to prevent more crime from occurring
and to reduce the prison population by focusing on the needs
of children at a young age. "Research shows that more than
80 percent of the people in prisons grew up in violent homes.
If we want to reduce prison populations and curb violence on
the streets and in our neighborhoods, we need to reduce domestic
violence in our homes. Children are seriously harmed when they
witness violence and often grow up to commit the same kind of
violence later in life. It is time that we launch an all-out
attack against violence in the home to protect children and stop
the intergenerational cycle of violence."
Attorney General Doyle has proposed a new law that would make
it a crime, punishable by up to two years in prison and up to
a $10,000 fine, to commit an act of domestic abuse in the presence
of a child. In short, Doyle talks softly about prevention, still
promoting punishment as the means to prevent violence.
For more information contact Mitch Henck of Attorney General
Doyle's office at 608/266-1221. Send requests for more information
Additional information about the crisis in health care within
the Department of Corrections can be found at the Milwaukee Journal
Sentinal website (www.jsonline.com)
under "Wisconsin's Death Penalty," by Mary Zahn and
Jessica McBride, October 22-24, 2000.
Texas Court strikes down drug testing policy
early-March, 2001 a federal judge in Lubbock, Texas struck down
a school district's mandatory drug testing policy in a case brought
by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of a father and
his 12-year-old son. The ruling is the first of its kind in the
nation to apply to every student. "The court's ruling sends
an important message to school districts across the nation that
they cannot treat students like suspects," said Graham Boyd,
Director of the ACLU's Drug Policy Litigation Project.
"The Texas policy was unique because it targeted every single
student, not just athletes or participants in other activities,"
Boyd added. "The court agreed that the school went too far
with this unprecedented policy." Larry Tannahill lost his
job and became an outcast in his Texas hometown of Lockney after
suing his son's school over the rule. Someone even shot his dog
with a paint gun and left a note saying, "Next time it won't
be your dog."
Tannahill said he knew his son Brady would pass the drug test
but opposed it on principle. Under the policy, any student who
tests positive or declines to be tested is subject to punishment,
including in-school suspension and suspension from extracurricular
activities. Unlike other policies that have passed constitutional
muster, the court noted in its opinion, the Lockney School District
tested all students, not just athletes, and failed to present
evidence of serious drug use in the school.
In his ruling, federal district judge Sam R. Cummings said that
he understood the motives of the school district, but found that
its mandatory, suspicionless drug testing violated the Fourth
Amendment. "Such an intrusion also comes at a great price
to citizens' constitutionally guaranteed rights to be secure
in their 'persons, houses, papers and effects,'" he said
in the March 3rd decision.
Significantly, Judge Cummings cited case law from the U.S. Supreme
Court and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in rejecting the
policy. "Numerous cases have also made it clear that general
concerns about maintaining drug-free schools or desires to detect
illegal conduct are insufficient as a matter of law," the
opinion said. That finding, said the ACLU's Boyd, could make
it difficult for the school district to appeal the case to the
Fifth Circuit, which includes Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi.
Tannahill and his wife Traci were the only parents in the school
district who refused to permit officials to test their 12-year-old
son for drug, alcohol and tobacco use. Tannahill himself, as
well as his father and grandfather, was a student at the school
his son now attends. Tannahill has said that many of his neighbors
have told him privately they oppose the policy but don't feel
they can speak out.
An ACLU special feature on student drug testing is online at: