Extra Extra : Social issues

Extra Extra Monday: National Guard cronyism, forfeiture abuse, a web of lawyers

Racial bias, cronyism tearing apart N.J. National Guard, senior officers allege | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

The New Jersey National Guard prides itself on rigor and readiness, and, from its sprawling base southeast of Trenton, its members became a beacon of help after Tropical Storm Irene and Hurricane Sandy ravaged portions of the state. But internal records obtained by NJ Advance Media show the Guard now faces a storm of its own, with at least four senior officers, including two top minorities, alleging a "toxic command climate," fueled by racial discrimination and retaliatory actions.

Iowa forfeiture: A ‘system ...

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Oregon man commits no crime, but held in jail for 900 days

A material witness in a murder case has been held in jail pending trial for nearly 900 days, according to a report by The Oregonian. Benito Vasquez-Hernandez, 58, spends his days like any other inmate at Washington County Jail, despite the fact he’s not charged with any crime.

Florida's migrant laborers forced to live in squalor

An investigation by the Sarasota Herald-Tribune has found that thousands of Florida’s migrant laborers are forced to live in dormitories and mobile homes where sewage backs up into kitchens, where leaks turn to mold and broken windows expose tenants to Florida’s extreme weather and pests. The state health department regulates these facilities, but they rarely issue the strictest punishments and often let violations go uncorrected for weeks at a time. 

300,000 Oregonians depend on an addiction treatment system that’s broken

More than 300,000 people go untreated for alcohol or drug abuse in a state that has little knowledge about the effectiveness of its treatment clinics, The Oregonian found.

The paper spent months reviewing government records and interviewing officials and recovering addicts in Oregon. It found that while treatment clinics frequently report patient statistics to the state’s Addictions and Mental Health Services Division, the agency never uses the data.

The Oregonian looked at the numbers and found abysmal success rates. The ineffectual system costs nearly $6 billion a year, the paper found.

Some non-profit mental health providers spend heavily on administrative costs despite service cuts

Despite a decline in public funding, many non-profit mental health agencies have continued to hand out six-figure salaries and bonus-and-incentive packages.

The Arizona Republic reviewed financial records for 28 non-profit mental health providers and their clients and found that administrative costs at these underfunded agencies have climbed while services dwindle. Families said they have been denied services or waited months to get them because of the cuts in funding.

Illinois sends state wards to residential centers despite attacks, abuse

In residential treatment centers across Illinois, juvenile state wards are assaulted, sexually abused and running away by the thousands — yet state officials fail to act on reports of harm and continue sending disadvantaged youths to the most troubled and violent facilities, a Chicago Tribune investigation found.

Reports of patient-on-patient sexual assault are commonplace at some of Illinois' largest and most relied-on facilities. Child prostitution schemes take root. Vulnerable children are terrorized by older ones and taught a life of crime. Some are preyed on sexually by the adults paid to care for them. And staggering numbers of wards, some as ...

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Extra Extra Monday: Baby boomers, school shootings and health licensing boards

Review shows health licensing boards voted improperly | The Boston Globe

Four Massachusetts health licensing boards met nearly three dozen times over five years without enough members present, casting a legal cloud over numerous votes on disciplinary proceedings, license applications, and investigations, according to an internal audit by the Department of Public Health.

The review, which confirms concerns first raised by the Globe a year ago, found the boards of pharmacy, physician assistants, dentistry, and perfusionists (who operate heart-lung machines during surgery) held 465 votes without a quorum from January 2008 to May 2013. Two observers said they were shocked by ...

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Federal records shed light on ‘staggering disparity’ in U.S. arrest rates

While police in Ferguson, Missouri arrest black people at a rate almost three times higher than people of other races, an analysis by USA TODAY found that trend extends to cities across the country. At least 1,581 police departments arrest black people at rates even more lopsided than in Ferguson. USA TODAY based its findings on arrests reported to the federal government in 2011 and 2012.

Jacksonville children are in detention longer than Florida law intends

Florida juveniles are being locked up in Jacksonville-area detention centers longer than in any other part of the state and longer than the law intends, according to a Florida Times-Union investigation.

The wide-ranging look at the area’s juvenile detention system also found that kids are sometimes held in overcrowded conditions. The troubling conditions are draining taxpayers’ wallets and raising concerns about the legal system’s handling of juveniles.

Extra Extra Monday: Uneven assessments, National Guard misconduct, Chicago migration myth

Across Wisconsin, uneven property assessments fly in the face of fairness | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

By measure after measure, in cities, towns and villages across Wisconsin, property assessors are discounting uniformity and trampling on fairness, while officials with the state Department of Revenue do little to rectify the disparities, an investigation by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has found.

In dozens of communities, 20% or more of residential property taxes are being paid by the wrong people, according to the Journal Sentinel's analysis of Department of Revenue records for each of the state's 1,852 municipalities. The analysis considered communities ...

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