Tuesday, 21 April 2009
Sarah Palin, Joe Schmidt, prisoners...
A few weeks ago I wrote about Joe Schmidt, Sarah Palin's ex-boyfriend and present Corrections Commissioner. Schmidt is also third in line to replace the governor, should Sean Parnell or Sarah Palin become unable to fulfill their duties.
If the rumours that are circulating prove to be correct, Schmidt would soon become lieutenant governor. Apparently, Sarah Palin may be thinking of putting Parnell's name forward for the position of Attorney General since her other choice, WAR, proved to be utterly unsuitable for the job.
Another consequence of the above would be the Corrections Commissioner post being up for grabs and yet another appointment being made by Sarah Palin.
Are there any other ex-boyfriends from Wasilla High School ready to step into Joe Schmidt's boots? Would he fare better than Joe, who managed to get a vote of no confidence by the Alaska Correctional Officers Association with an overwhelming majority six months into the job?
There are further issues facing the Corrections Commissioner at the moment, regardless of who will have to deal with them. The budget appears to have been screwed somewhat.
There is a private facility in Arizona, Red Rock Correctional Center (total bed capacity: 1596), that houses 850 Alaska prisoners. I mentioned the facility in the Prisongate post, regarding the death of an Alaska Native prisoner from tuberculosis.
Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano and the Arizona Senate passed a bill in February 2008 changing some rules regarding private prisons:
• Have to comply with capacity and construction standards.
• Immediately notify the state Department of Corrections about any major incident at a prison and allow state officials to investigate the incident and inspect the facility.
• Not be allowed to house inmates who are classified as maximum custody, were convicted of a sexual offense or any offense that would be a Class 1 or 2 felony in Arizona (such as murder), have a history of escape or rioting or are infected with HIV, hepatitis or tuberculosis.
• Not be allowed to release another state's inmates in Arizona.
• Have to provide the Department of Corrections with more information on each inmate, such as convictions.
• Face penalties for not complying with the law.
125 of the 850 Alaska prisoners in Arizona didn't meet the new criteria and had to be returned to Alaska and replaced by more suitable prisoners. The cost involved in the switch would have run into at least $250,000, as the cost of transporting an Alaska prisoner to or from Arizona is $1,000 one way.
Considering the existing problems in Alaska prisons, such as staff shortages, health and safety issues and a finite budget, the extra expenditure would almost certainly mean that less money would be available for rehabilitation projects and prisoner welfare.
Where did Joe Schmidt find money to fund his much trumpeted rehabilitation programs if he had to spend money repatriating inmates from Arizona and replacing them? Is he exaggerating his success in the area of rehabilitation a little bit?
Sarah Palin considers funding for education as being superfluous and one would expect that she rates children above criminals, so there isn't much hope of money being spent on prison services, unless it's for making prisons bigger and more secure...
The Arizona portion of this post came from links generously provided by PP in a private e-mail. Thanks, you know who you are!
Rumours: Mudflats, Shannyn Moore
Jean Napoletano: Alaska Pride
Red Rock: CCA