Crime and Prisoner Law News
Prisons Get Harder Now
of disproportional criminalization, sentencing, incarceration, judicial failure, recidivism, bankrupting costs
Contact George Hook
for case dockets (federal/state), documents, and status
attorney referrals, other inquiries.
WELCOME TO THE PGHN WEBSITE AND BLOG--dedicated to providing news and analysis of federal and States criminal law, and prison conditions, including their impacts on recidivism, the family, and government.  PGHN has been created to provide useful services and information to a Community of caring, sharing persons, including  the accused, their attorneys, their families, (or, in the case of entities, their officers, directors, shareholders, partners, trustees, employees—pejoratively "white collar criminals") prosecutors, legislators, college and graduate school professors and students, whose interests are education, forensics, law, political science, psychology, psychiatry, sociology, related disciplines, other interested intellectuals and professionals, and the general public, who are as impacted by crime, criminal law, and imprisonment, as all of the usual subjects, even though they may not realize it until too late, except, hopefully, as they gain awareness through our Community.--WHAT'S THAT WORD? COMMUTATION--a subset of the President's Pardon Power under Article II, Section 2, Clause 1 of the Constitution.  It affects the punishment rather than wiping out the conviction as does Pardon.  Too cowed by the prior universal opprobrium heaped on Clinton for pardoning Rich, Bush used it  instead of Pardon, solely to eliminate prison time for Scooter Libby [Marking Time, pp. 229-30, 237]. Obama now uses it to shorten life sentences for six, and 20+ for two other drug offenders, to time served, while also granting Pardons to 13 mainly drug offenders, a bank robber, an embezzler, and including two convicted of those catch-alls mail fraud and money laundering, but whose much lesser sentences had already been served (between 15 and 32 years before) so commutation would have been cruel jokes.  Except in Scooter's case, the reasoning behind commutation may be the President's conviction that the conviction was justified, whereas the sentence is not.  Despite Obama granting his commutations just before Christmas, all but one will remain in prison until April 17.  This may not be as heartless as it seems.  After all those years in prison, release in Winter may mean no warm place to stay.  Obama should not have worried aoubt 6 of the 8 because, despite  life sentences, their sentencing judges either had the foresight, or lack of understanding as to the meaning of life, to impose lengthy terms of supervised release folloiwng "completion" of their life sentences. So these would likely have acces to government shelter until Spring, at least, and thereafter until a superviable place were established.  MERRY CHRISTMAS, MR. PRESIDENT.


Innocent must serve full unlawful sentence and wait five years before pardon!
1-excuses of  DPA
2-explanation by GCH
3-PA's reply
(Also Remission of Restitution) 
Letter to President
Petition Form

Crime and Prisoner Law News


by George Hook on 06/18/13

 Currently, 26 State prison systems have prison education programs, much of it very limited, and 24 States have none at all, essentially an even split.  The "haves" are Alabama, California, Connecticut, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.  That's 25.  I have not included Georgia, number 26 in that list, because it provides education for women only, and that education is confined to religious preparation only.  The "have-nots" are Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

What impact does the absence of prison educational programming have on recidivism rates?  No one can know for sure because each prisoner may be impacted differently based upon individual characteristics and circumstances.  Anecdotally, the results are probably better than inconsequential, and, presumably, never bad.  But anecdote is merely a sampling of some prisoners' individual assessments, and probably not mathematical nor scientific enough to be credited by academia, or even legislatures, for that matter, as the appropriate basis for continuing support.  

State by State statistical results might give the academes and legislators some greater assurance.  Such an exercise was reported in 2011when The Pew Charitable Trust completed its study of State by State recidivism rates, in which it compared 1999 and 2004 data.  According to that study the aggregate recidivism rate of the "have" States was 41.22%, and the aggregate recidivism rate of the "have-nots" was 39.96%.  Based on this alone, the conclusion would be that prison education has a 1.26% negative impact on recidivism rates.  However, taking the difference between the 1999 rate and the 2004 rate as a measure of educational consequence, the aggregate change for the "have" States is a 22 point decline in recidivism, and the aggregate change for the "have not" States is 17 point increase in recidivism.  Attributing the entire decline in returns to prison to the presence of prison education and the entire increase in returns to the absence of prison education, admittedly an ambitious assumption, it would appear that statistically prison education makes a significant difference.  However, this does not allow for individual cases—location, individuality, circumstance--the very things that anecdote supplies. 

Academia will probably take their comfort from statistics tending to show that prison education is beneficial and worth the cost.  Legislators will probably take their confirmation from anecdotal stories their constituents tell them.  Based on both, the result should be continuation of prison education where it exists and commencement where it does not.


Tell a friend about this page
Join Our Mailing List
Join Our Mailing List
Archive: InmateCorner<CrimeLaw><EliminatingCrime>PrisonConditions><PrisonEducation>PrisonFamilies


your html snippet
your html snippet
HEADLINE NEWS: The Judge in a recent episode of The Blacklist reputedly metes the same punishment to those responsible for causing the punishment of petitioners deemed innocent.  Common belief is that The Judge is an urban legend.  Reddington knows otherwise, but not The Judge's identity.  When a befuddled AUSA reappears after many years, Reddington suggests to Liz that this AUSA was released by The Judge upon sentence completion by the AUSA's innocent victim.  Liz gathers clues which lead her to a secret repository of appeals to The Judge, including one by an Inmate on Death Row because of his confession beaten out of him by Cooper, her Special Ops Boss. "Good Night, Mother," Liz hears this Inmate utter to Ruth Kipling, his spiritual adviser, also in attendance at his execution, upon administration of lethal injection.  "Good Night, Mother," says the befuddled AUSA during Liz's visit to him.  Her surmise that Kipling is The Judge is confirmed when she, Reddinton, and an army of agents descend upon Kipling's farm and find Cooper strapped to a chair for electrocution.  They release him in the nick of time.  onathan Shapiro & Lukas Reiter are the co-authors; first episode for Shapiro, one of several for Reiter.  Both were involved with The Practice and Boston Legal, in which Spader starred.  Wonder what influenced creators of The Judge; Dickens' Miss Flite comes to mind.  Are there any other influences?  Have had in my draft inventory for some years now something along those lines, but somewhat different from Flite and Kipling.  Wonder what the AUSAs, FIBers and Judges who put innocent people in prison might think about such a Judge meting justice as to them?
Headline Updates:  Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (the Boston Marathon Bomber)—US has decided to seek the death penalty.  Death Penalty Defense Attorneys David Bruck and Judy Clark are appointed. Upcoming events:  discovery motions postponed from 3/12/14; motions to suppress still by 4/9/14. any other motions addressing other legal issues still by 5/7/14; motion to change venue still due by 6/18/2014; final pre-trial conference set for 10/20/2014 10:00 AM in Courtroom 9 before Judge George A. OToole Jr;  jury trial set for 11/3/2014 09:00 AM in Courtroom 9 before Judge OToole.  Motion practice so far has been limited to complaints about limitations on attorney access via US' SAM impositions.  US' main premise therefor seems most implausible—that Joker is some sort of well connected terrorist mastermind who can direct further mayhem from solitary confinement and suicide watch.  Joker's defense team should succeed in moderating the SAM.  As for any move to change venue, they are unlikely to try, and if they do, unlikely to prevail.  After all, the Boston Marathon is an International event with world-wide participation and media coverage; its bombing abhorred as much anywhere else as in Boston.  Oh, and there is one other thing, related perhaps.  US is trying to force expedition as to Joker's death penalty mitigation statement.  Joker's attorneys are complaining, the Death Penalty Team having only recently been completed.  None of the usual mitigations, including lack of mental capacity, the Patty Hearst syndrome, coercion, would seem to apply, and where they are, almost never succeed.  That one other thing that may benefit Joker is that since Massachusetts has no death penalty, the sentencing judge will have to  determine pursuant to 18 USC 3596  what other State's manner of imposing death will be called upon to dispatch the Joker.  Terre Haut FSP in Indiana is the only federal death facility for men.  So, the judge might select Indiana law.  Indiana Code 35-38-6(a) prescribes execution of the death sentence "by intravenous injection of a lethal substance or substances into the convicted person"   Subsection (d) provides "The department of correction may adopt rules under IC 4-22-2 necessary to implement subsection (a)." However, the department appears not to have done so.  So, for an Indiana execution to be copasetic, a proposed rule would have to go through the Indiana administrative code process, which includes publication and public comment, and be adopted before any lethal substance could be administered.  Even without a rule, Indiana asserts in its lethal injection protocol "sodium pentothal, saline, pancuronium bromide, saline, and potassium chloride" are to be injected in that order.  How much time will Indiana need to get its death cocktail authorization in order?  Until it does, I would suggest that US not rely on Indiana's process.  US is hardly in any position to assert that crimes against humanity were being committed merely because orders were being followed (the "Nuremberg Defense").  Also, sodium pentothal is no longer available for executions, the one US source, Hospira, having declined to provide it due to prohibitions enacted by the EU and its own corporate moral grounds.  Its refusal to participate in executions may counsel others to eschew any participation as well.  That is not to say that sodium pentothal cannot being obtained surreptitiously via other formulators.  Either of the other two cocktail ingredients would be sufficient to kill, just more painfully, as sodium pentothal renders one unconscious, albeit arguably for only a short, insufficient while.  The statutory provision for "intravenous injection of a lethal substance" might be deemed sufficient authorization of method even without Indiana having properly authorized any particular lethal substance.  If not, US' facility in Texas could be designated. It is where US currently executes its women. Texas' deadly cocktail is very flexibly whatever is prescribed for injection by the director of the correctional institutions division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice as authorized by Article 43.14 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure as long as it is not in violation of Article 43.23, which provides that no unnecessary pain shall be inflicted in the execution.  Absent sodium pentothal, there may be too much pain.  So the Joker may have to be executed elsewhere by means other than fatal injection.  Since US has only injection facility, it may have to rely on State authorities to execute by other means—electric chair (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia), firing squad (Oklahoma, but only if lethal injection and electrocution are held unconstitutional), hanging (Delaware, New Hampshire, Washington), gas (Arizona, Missouri, Wyoming).  All these States have lethal injection as their primary method; the good reason therefor: all other methods may constitute cruel and unusual punishment and be unconstitutional, the fate of lethal injection too if sodium pentothal is not used to render the convict unconscious. Which do you think US should choose?
Conrad Barrett—No federal indictment yet.  Not in BOP or Texas custody, according to their records.   In detention, however, according to Court record.  No indictment yet.
Paul Ciancia—Released from hospital where he underwent surgeries for his gun shot injuries.  Not in BOP or California custody, according to their records. However, at West Valley Detention Center, a San Bernardino County jail facility about 45 miles east of Los Angeles, according to Court record.  The diminutive Ciancia opened fire in Terminal 3 of Los Angeles International Airport on Nov. 1, killing TSA officer Gerardo Hernandez and injuring several others.  Indicted 12/1713 by a federal grand jury: one count of premeditated murder of a federal officer, two counts of attempted murder of a federal officer, four counts of violence at an international airport, one count of use of a firearm causing death, and three counts of use of a firearm during a violent crime. Ciancia has pleaded not guilty.  No decision by US to seek death penalty. 
Eldo Kim—Released on Bail. Nothing more has happened since.
Aubrey Lee Price—Struggles on with Brady discovery, other issues, and despite his being characterized as a fugitive from justice, the BOP does not list him as being in detention. 
So, there is no record of Joker, Barrett, Ciancia or Price being currently in BOP custody, or ever having been, when they must be and have been!  What gives?  Has The Judge got them?  "Good night, Mother!"
COMMENTS TO HEADLINE NEWS: OKL/ "In order to obtain releasable information regarding specific individuals, please visit and submit a request under the Freedom of Information Act/Privacy Act Section, Office of General Counsel, Room 841, Federal Bureau of Prisons, 320 First Street, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20534." Sam Chat: "Are you on to something? A very BIG SCANDAL?  Is US becoming a deceptive Platinum Curtain?" 
HARBINGER OF SPRING. (俳句#36 from More Hooked on Haiku)  Unlikely that prison inmates will experience our so common sign of Spring from prison cell or even prison yard, as birds tend not to tarry or even land in bleak and scary places.  Even so, less snow and more sun and warmth will be welcomed by them.  One consolation of their confinement is that this Winter has not been as brutal for them as for the rest of us because of their confinement and the fact that everything is provided in situ. 
Glimmer of Spring at Gilmer FPC--Weather hasn't been good here. Can't remember when I've seen so much snow. The only thing the weather really affected here would be the outside recreation.  Not really a lot to do out there in the winter anyway.  The track is closed by the time I get off from work but now that the time has changed, so has the track time. I walk mostly because of my bad feet and set around and shoot the breeze with some of the fellows.  Too far from home for visits so weather is no factor in that.   I got in a lot of overtime which keep me busy.  We're waiting on the higher ups to work the bugs out of the job contracts.  We are going to have plenty of work to get me through this apprenticeship program. The way they are talking, should last well over a year. 
Talladega FCI-- The weather here hasn't been too bad. Really isn't much of a winter down this way ever. It's been sort of cool.   There is a lot of rain all the time which alters one's ability to go outside and get any recreation being that there isn't any inside recreational facility. Three men to a cell is uncomfortable and, I believe, illegal.  Health care is miserable.  I attribute two recent deaths to it: one a stroke, the other a heart attack, both went unattended by medical staff despite ample prior warnings.  I try to mind my own business about what doesn't concern me. Most of these imbeciles down here are super nosey, and I wouldn't talk to them about nothing. I'm willing to bet they are truly like Sammy the Bull, so I stay free of them and don't want to meet anyone, nor venture into any of their get rich thoughts or schemes 
Marking Time--Clement was in the Lawberry several times a week. He also found a way to get up on the roof on Sunday afternoons, in addition to his own Floor time, when the work cadre was up there, so he and I would do wind sprints; walk and talk one way and then sprint back. That way we both kept in shape and kept each other informed of what was going on. How he could have such freedom eluded me, but I did not inquire. There are things in prison about which one should not inquire.  Clement, I, and a few other hardy souls like Masaccio, Sipuchini, Roosterman would be the ones roofing every chance we got all Winter. That‘s how I discovered that Roosterman needed a pacemaker. I kept badgering him until he got examined and ultimately got one. Like all of us, he had learned to distrust US and was reluctant to put himself in the hands of BOP medical staff. Occasionally, other White Venusvillians would join us as well. None of the Blacks, who comprised most of the MCC population, would venture outside in that season, or, indeed, except during the hot Chicago Summer, and those few hot Summer-like days in the Spring and Fall. Despite my frequent references to their special need for vitamin D, either from sun or milk, on average, they would partake of neither in any season where it might be especially important. [from Marking Time, p. 76]