The Execution of Manuel Pardo

     In 1979, after having served four years in the Navy, 22-year-old Manuel Pardo graduated from the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) academy at the top of his class. Following his involvement in a Miami-Dade County ticket-fixing scandal in…

     In 1979, after having served four years in the Navy, 22-year-old Manuel Pardo graduated from the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) academy at the top of his class. Following his involvement in a Miami-Dade County ticket-fixing scandal in 1980, Pardo was kicked out of the FHP. Shortly after his discharge, Pardo secured a job with the police department in the small Miami-Dade County town of Sweetwater. In 1981, Pardo and four other officers faced numerous complains of police brutality, charges that were quickly dismissed by a local prosecutor.

     The following year, Officer Pardo, after saving a two-month-old boy's life by reviving him with CPR, was awarded a public service medal. Manuel Pardo, in the fall of 1983, graduated from a local community college with a two-year associates degree in criminal justice. Just when officer Pardo's future looked the most promising, his career in law enforcement came to an abrupt end when he committed perjury at the 1985 trial of a drug dealer.

     From January to April 1986, the ex-cop embarked on a deadly crime spree in the Miami area. Within a period of three months, in the course of robbing dozens of drug dealers, Pardo murdered six men and three women. He documented his execution-style killings by taking crime scene photographs of his victims, and writing up detailed accounts of the murders in his diary. Pardo also put together a scrapbook comprised of newspaper clippings of his crimes. It was during this period that Pardo collected Nazi memorabilia, and professed a deep respect for Adolph Hitler.

     Because Pardo used his murder victims' credit cards, homicide detectives in Miami-Dade County quickly identified him as the man behind the drug dealer robbery/murders. Pardo's killing spree came to an end with his arrest in 1987. Eager to take credit for, and even brag about his murders, Pardo confessed to nine homicides.

     At Pardo's 1988 trial, his defense attorneys raised the insanity defense which fell apart when the defendant took the strand on his own behalf. Jurors couldn't believe it when he told them that, "I'm ridding the community of this vermin and technically it is not murder because they are not human beings. I am a soldier, I accomplished my mission and I humbly ask you to give me the glory of ending my life and not let me spend the rest of my days in the state prison."

     The jury found Manuel Pardo guilty of nine counts of first-degree murder. The judge then granted the defendant's wish by sentencing him to death. Pardo became a death row inmate at the Florida state prison in the town of Starke.

     Instead of his life ending gloriously with a quick execution, Pardo, thanks to his anti-death penalty attorneys, languished on death row for 24 years. In filing their appeals in state and federal courts, Pardo's lawyers argued that because this killer had not been mentally competent, he should never have been tried in the first place. Over the years, the various appellate court judges rejected this argument and upheld Pardo's conviction and death sentence.

     In 2012, as Pardo's execution date approached, his attorneys, in a last ditch effort to save him, tried a new appellate approach. The state of Florida had recently altered the combination of drugs used by the executioner to dispatch condemned prisoners. The lawyers argued that if prison officials improperly mixed the lethal concoction, the anesthetic effect of the lethal dose might be compromised. If this happened, the execution might be painful, and therefore inhumane and in violation of Mr. Pardon's civil rights. A federal judge rejected the appeal. That meant that Pardo's execution would go forward as scheduled.

     At 7:45 in the evening of Tuesday, December 11, 2012, the executioner at the state prison in Starke, injected the 56-year-old Pardo with the lethal cocktail of drugs. Since the new combination did its job, we will never know if Mr. Pardo felt any pain. But one thing is sure, this sociopathic murderer did not die in glory.

     

from http://jimfishertruecrime.blogspot.com/

Is Probation Set Up To Fail?

DC Court House Observations Is probation merely an instrument to inexpensively process millions of offenders? Within 3 years, 46 percent of felony probationers had been sent to prison or jail or had absconded. Felony cases went from 50 percent of the probation population in 2005 to 57 percent in 2015 Author Leonard Adam Sipes, Jr. […]

DC Court House Observations Is probation merely an instrument to inexpensively process millions of offenders? Within 3 years, 46 percent of felony probationers had been sent to prison or jail or had absconded. Felony cases went from 50 percent of the probation population in 2005 to 57 percent in 2015 Author Leonard Adam Sipes, Jr. […]

from https://www.crimeinamerica.net

Prison Population Declines Need Explanation

Observations Prison populations fell considerably. Why? What are the impacts for crime and criminal justice policy? Author  Leonard Adam Sipes, Jr. Thirty-five years of speaking for national and state criminal justice agencies. Interviewed multiple times by every national news outlet. Former Senior Specialist for Crime Prevention for the Department of Justice’s clearinghouse. Former Director of […]

Observations Prison populations fell considerably. Why? What are the impacts for crime and criminal justice policy? Author  Leonard Adam Sipes, Jr. Thirty-five years of speaking for national and state criminal justice agencies. Interviewed multiple times by every national news outlet. Former Senior Specialist for Crime Prevention for the Department of Justice’s clearinghouse. Former Director of […]

from https://www.crimeinamerica.net

The Un-great Escape Of a Convicted Murderer

     On May 12, 2002, 34-year-old Steven L. Robbins got into a fight at a party in Indianapolis with a man from Kentucky. During the altercation, Robbins shot 24-year-old Richard Melton to death. Eighteen months later, the Gary, Indiana …

     On May 12, 2002, 34-year-old Steven L. Robbins got into a fight at a party in Indianapolis with a man from Kentucky. During the altercation, Robbins shot 24-year-old Richard Melton to death. Eighteen months later, the Gary, Indiana native was found guilty of first-degree murder. The judge sentenced him to sixty years in prison. (Robbins wasn't eligible for parole until 2029.)

     On Tuesday, January 29, 2013, Robbins, now 44, was transported from the state prison in Michigan City, an Indiana town 50 miles east of Chicago, to the Cook County Jail. Robbins had a court hearing the next day pertaining to a 1992 Illinois felony charge.

     On Wednesday, after the judge informed Robbins that the old charge against him had been dismissed in 2007 (why did they summon him to Illinois to tell him that?), the prisoner was returned to the Cook County Jail.

     Corrections officers responsible for hauling Robbins back to Indiana, on Thursday, January 31, called the Cook County Jail to alert officials that they would pick up Robbins for his trip back to prison. That's when the Indiana authorities learned that Robbins had been released from custody the previous evening at seven o'clock. Because no one at the Cook County Jail knew that Robbins was serving a sentence in Indiana for murder, he simply walked out of the massive lock-up through the main door.

     The fact that Steven Robbins had been transported to Chicago to face charges that were dismissed five years ago, suggested there was something profoundly wrong with the corrections bureaucracy in both states. It went without saying that some major corrections SNAFU led to Robbins' easy escape from the Cook County Jail.

     On February 1, 2013, police in the southern Illinois town of Kankakee arrested Robbins at the home of a friend. He was watching TV. The Cook County Sheriff, in an unusual move, took responsibility for the foul-up. "We let people down, no mistake about it." Fortunately, while loose, Robbins did not commit any serious crimes.  For Robbins, the easy part was getting out of the Cook County Jail. Staying out proved more difficult. 

from http://jimfishertruecrime.blogspot.com/

The ‘Chaos’ of Arizona Prison Health Care

An Arizona public broadcasting investigation finds that the state and Corizon Health, its privately contract health care provider, haven’t lived up to the terms of a 2015 settlement with Arizona inmates over alleged flaws in dental, medical and health care in the state’s 10 prisons.

More than two years after the State of Arizona and Corizon Health, a privately owned correctional health care company, settled a lawsuit claiming poor health care conditions in state prisons, at least 100 stipulations agreed to in the settlement have not been met, according to an investigation by the Arizona public radio station KJZZ.

A federal judge is now threatening to fine the state millions of dollars for what the station alleged was the continuing “chaos” of mental, dental and health care in Arizona’s 10 state prisons, the station said.

After the investigation aired last week, an Arizona magistrate who said he was “shocked” by the findings demanded a public hearing.

“I’m standing literally this morning because I am standing up for the inmates in Arizona prisons,” said Magistrate Judge David Duncan during a hearing in federal court last week.

In a 15-minute address to the court, Duncan described an email uncovered during the investigation alleging Corizon Health’s avoidance of fines as a potential “smoking gun.”

He said his staff had received calls from Corizon employees telling him “it is so much worse than you think.”

The KJZZ report cited Dr. Jan Watson, a former prison doctor worked at Arizona State Prison Complex-Eyman in Florence, and the daughter of Walter Jordan, an inmate who died of cancer while incarcerated.

Watson said her requests for medical treatment for inmates were repeatedly denied.

Judge Duncan questioned whether there was corruption within the system.

“I have used words like shocked and flabbergasted, but I have run out of words,” he said.

Judge Duncan set a hearing for Feb. 9 to investigate the allegations made in KJZZ’s report.

The state’s contractor, Corizon Health, has not been able to fill the number of provider-level physicians required in its contract. The company also struggles to find outside providers to treat inmates with specialty care.

Corizon and the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC) said the reasons for this include the fact that doctors don’t want inmates in their waiting rooms.

ADC assistant director Richard Pratt testified he recently learned of a potential bankruptcy of Arizona Oncology Network, one of Corizon’s oncology subcontractors, which generated a large backlog of requests for cancer treatment.

In a sharp exchange with Pratt, Duncan demanded, “Who at the state is responsible for this?”

“A large amount of patients are having their oncology care delayed. Is it on your shoulders, Mr. Pratt? Who has trouble sleeping at night? Is there anyone in the state employ who worries about this?”

“I worry,” Pratt responded.

Jimmy Jenkins is a senior field correspondent for KJZZ, and a 2017 John Jay/Measures for Justice Fellow. This story was also reported by Sky Schaudt and Phil Latzman. The complete version and broadcast reports are available here. Readers’ comments are welcome.

from https://thecrimereport.org

The Painful Lessons of a Corrections Crisis

When the Washington Department of Corrections learned a software programming error led to the erroneous early release of 3,000 prisoners, it took three years to address the problem. That led to at least two deaths—and some hard lessons about the need to recognize non-traditional emergencies before they became crises, according to a case study published this month.

Correctional institutions are usually well prepared to address serious emergencies like prison riots, but what happens when they encounter a crisis that staff and authorities never imagined could occur?

That was the situation which confronted the Washington Department of Corrections (WDOC) when authorities learned a software programming error had led to the erroneous early release of over 3,000 inmates between 2002 and 2015.

According to a case study analyzing the WDOC’s belated response, the episode made clear that correctional and other public institutions need to develop the “situational awareness” to deal with crises for which they had little training.

The study, published this month in the Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, showed that authorities could have headed off the crisis earlier if they had responded to a 2012 inquiry from a father who believed the perpetrator of a crime against his son had been released too early.

A request for a “fix” was sent to the Information Technology Unit (IT), but the WDOC failed to address it until 2015. Meanwhile, several of the erroneously released inmates had committed crimes, and were responsible for at least two deaths.

The sentencing miscalculation arose in 2002 following a Washington Supreme Court decision, In re King, which ruled that the WDOC had not awarded “good time” to inmates for the time spent in jail awaiting trial and during trial. But a change in the software programming used to recalculate each inmate’s release date to accommodate the ruling unwittingly led to total earned- time credits that exceeded the statutory maximum.

This resulted in inmates being released, on average, 55 days early.

WDOC’s failure to deal in a timely manner with the error once it was pointed out turned an “emergency into a crisis,” said the study.

Two of the three authors of the study, “The Making of an Institutional Crisis,” were key players in the episode. Dan Pacholke, the state’s Secretary of Corrections, led the emergency response. Sandy Felkey Mullins served on the governor’s staff as his senior policy advisor on public safety and government operations. Bert Useem of Purdue University conducted many of the post-crisis interviews with WDOC staff who had to decide whether and how to bring the inmates back to prison.

The WDOC leadership decided that bringing back offenders post-release to serve additional time on their sentence after several years of liberty would be “fundamentally unfair,” unless the offender had committed a class-A felony.

Specialized WDOC community response units accompanied local law enforcement to arrest inmates who it was decided did need to return to prison to serve out the remainder of their sentence. Unsurprisingly, the legitimacy of the arrest was often challenged by the former inmates—who argued they were being asked to “bear the burden of WDOC’s error” of being released and returned again.

Specialty teams for disturbance control were placed in prison facilities around the state in the event of possible unrest, though no noticeable inmate response arose. And a public communications strategy was developed.

Following the crisis, the WDOC redeveloped its IT procedures and issued instructions requiring anyone on headquarters staff who identified an issue that impacted public safety or critical operations to immediately inform his or her supervisor.

If the issue was not addressed, they were to go directly to agency leadership.

The principal lesson drawn from the episode, according to the study, was that large public agencies must train senior staff to have the flexibility to deal with incidents that are not part of their normal crisis training.

An agency needs to “develop in its culture the alertness not to solve, but rather to recognize, a crisis emergency and quickly mobilize a non-traditional response,” authors concluded.

“Agencies ….must develop situational awareness – thinking through the broad features of the situation and what must be done.”

TCR news intern Brian Edsall contributed to writing this summary. The full journal article is available for purchase only and can be downloaded here. Journalists can obtain free access by contacting TCR Deputy Editor Victoria Mckenzie at Victoria@thecrimereport.org

from https://thecrimereport.org

The Painful Lessons of a Corrections Crisis

When the Washington Department of Corrections learned a software programming error led to the erroneous early release of 3,000 prisoners, it took three years to address the problem. That led to at least two deaths—and some hard lessons about the need to recognize non-traditional emergencies before they became crises, according to a case study published this month.

Correctional institutions are usually well prepared to address serious emergencies like prison riots, but what happens when they encounter a crisis that staff and authorities never imagined could occur?

That was the situation which confronted the Washington Department of Corrections (WDOC) when authorities learned a software programming error had led to the erroneous early release of over 3,000 inmates between 2002 and 2015.

According to a case study analyzing the WDOC’s belated response, the episode made clear that correctional and other public institutions need to develop the “situational awareness” to deal with crises for which they had little training.

The study, published this month in the Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, showed that authorities could have headed off the crisis earlier if they had responded to an inquiry from the father of an victim in 2012 who believed his son’s perpetrator had been released too early.

A request for a “fix” was sent to the Information Technology Unit (IT), but the WDOC failed to address it until 2015. Meanwhile, several of the erroneously released inmates had committed crimes, and were responsible for at least two deaths.

The sentencing miscalculation arose in 2002 following a Washington Supreme Court decision, In re King, which ruled that the WDOC had not awarded “good time” to inmates for the time spent in jail awaiting trial and during trial. But a change in the software programming used to recalculate each inmate’s release date to accommodate the ruling unwittingly led to total earned- time credits that exceeded the statutory maximum.

This resulted in inmates being released, on average, 55 days early.

WDOC’s failure to deal in a timely manner with the error once it was pointed out turned an “emergency into a crisis,” said the study.

Two of the three authors of the study, “The Making of an Institutional Crisis,” were key players in the episode. Dan Pacholke, the state’s Secretary of Corrections, led the emergency response. Sandy Felkey Mullins served on the governor’s staff as his senior policy advisor on public safety and government operations. Bert Useem of Purdue University conducted many of the post-crisis interviews with WDOC staff who had to decide whether and how to bring the inmates back to prison.

The WDOC leadership decided that bringing back offenders post-release to serve additional time on their sentence after several years of liberty would be “fundamentally unfair,” unless the offender had committed a class-A felony.

Specialized WDOC community response units accompanied local law enforcement to arrest inmates who it was decided did need to return to prison to serve out the remainder of their sentence. Unsurprisingly, the legitimacy of the arrest was often challenged by the former inmates—who argued they were being asked to “bear the burden of WDOC’s error” of being released and returned again.

Specialty teams for disturbance control were placed in prison facilities around the state in the event of possible unrest, though no noticeable inmate response arose. And a public communications strategy was developed.

Following the crisis, the WDOC redeveloped its IT procedures and issued instructions requiring anyone on headquarters staff who identified an issue that impacted public safety or critical operations to immediately inform his or her supervisor.

If the issue was not addressed, they were to go directly to agency leadership.

The principal lesson drawn from the episode, according to the study, was that large public agencies must train senior staff to have the flexibility to deal with incidents that are not part of their normal crisis training.

An agency needs to “develop in its culture the alertness not to solve, but rather to recognize, a crisis emergency and quickly mobilize a non-traditional response,” authors concluded.

“Agencies ….must develop situational awareness – thinking through the broad features of the situation and what must be done.”

TCR news intern Brian Edsall contributed to writing this summary. The full journal article is available for purchase only and can be downloaded here. Journalists can obtain free access by contacting TCR Deputy Editor Victoria Mckenzie at Victoria@thecrimereport.org

from https://thecrimereport.org

84 Percent of Young State Offenders Recidivate-New Federal Report

Overview A new federal report offers comparisons of recidivism as to age and a variety of additional factors. For offenders age 24 or younger at the time of release, 63.2 percent of federal prisoners were rearrested within five years compared to over four-fifths (84.1%) of state prisoners. Author Leonard Adam Sipes, Jr. Thirty-five years of […]

Overview A new federal report offers comparisons of recidivism as to age and a variety of additional factors. For offenders age 24 or younger at the time of release, 63.2 percent of federal prisoners were rearrested within five years compared to over four-fifths (84.1%) of state prisoners. Author Leonard Adam Sipes, Jr. Thirty-five years of […]

from https://www.crimeinamerica.net

Non-Whites Comprise 55% of Private Prison Inmates: Study

An Oregon State University professor says his comparative study of prison demographics supports critics who say private prisons “skim the best inmates with the lowest needs in attempt to minimize costs.” The study found that inmates in for-profit institutions serve disproportionately shorter sentences than the general incarcerated population.

Inmates of private prisons are disproportionately non-white compared to incarcerated state and federal populations, according to a study published this month in the International Journal of Law, Crime and Justice.

The study author, Brett C. Burkhardt, Ph.D., an assistant professor of sociology at Oregon State University’s School of Public Policy, compared the demographics of private prison inmates and employees to those in state and federal prisons, based on 2005 data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics Census of State and Federal Adult Correctional Facilities—the most recent figures available.

According to the study’s findings, white inmates make up 53 percent of the adjusted population in state prisons, but only 45 percent of the population in private prisons.

 Just as significantly, Burkhardt says his findings show that private prison inmates serve shorter sentences on average than their counterparts in federal and state institutions.

“Critics have long suspected that private prison firms skim the best inmates with the lowest needs in attempt to minimize costs” wrote Burkhardt, noting that they operate according to a “business ethos” that directed them to maximize revenues and minimize costs.

Contractual arrangements between a government and contractor specify the types of inmates that may or may not be received by private prisons. But because public record laws typically do not apply to private prisons, these documents are not readily available, Burkhardt wrote.

“This is unfortunate because the private contractors are providing a service that is fraught with potential violations of inmates’ constitutional rights and because taxpayers are paying the price,” Burkhardt added.

Some states have stipulations about the kinds of inmates eligible for detention in private prisons, he noted. Private prison contracts in Arizona, for example, mandated that high-risk inmates or those with high medical needs were sent to state or federal prisons.

In Minnesota, one private prison did not accept offenders over the age of 60, or anyone with mental health orders.

Historically, he observed, private prisons have fared poorly on a variety of performance measures, including access to health care and work assignments.

Compared to state-run prisons, inmates in private sector prisons have limited access to disease prevention programs, are guarded by staff with less training, and have more grievances.

The study also found that private prisons are typically non-unionized workplaces that disproportionately hire female workers and women of color. Staff workers in private prisons also receive lower wages than those in the public sector.

The demographics for private prison employees show similarly imbalances when compared to state and federal prisons. Some 40 percent of the staff  in private prisons are African American, compared to 22 percent in state prisons; 11 percent are Hispanic, compared to six percent in state prisons.

Women make up roughly half of the prison staff in private prisons, but only about 25 percent in state and federal prisons.

To the extent that private prisons hold and employ different populations, they should be viewed as an auxiliary piece of the prison system, not a direct substitute for traditional state or federal prisons, suggested Burkhardt.

The study raises questions about the process by which inmates are assigned to private vs. public prisons.

Typically, policy makers have viewed private prisons as engines for economic growth.

“But given documented pattern of poor compensation and instability in private prison jobs, the true result is likely to be an employment model that takes advantage of existing market insecurities among historically marginalized groups of workers,” the study said.

That model, concluded Burkhardt, “is not the robust economic engine that civic leaders might hope for.”

The study is available for purchase here, but journalists can obtain a free copy by contacting Victoria Mckenzie, deputy editor of The Crime Report at Victoria@thecrimereport.org

This summary was prepared by TCR News Intern Megan Hadley. Readers’ comments are welcome.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Technology and Law Enforcement-New DOJ Report

Observations Technology has not had a game-changing impact on policing in terms of dramatically altering the philosophies and strategies used for preventing crime, responding to crime, or improving public safety. The bottom line of technology? It’s very labor intensive for it to be effective. Author  Leonard Adam Sipes, Jr. Thirty-five years of speaking for national […]

Observations Technology has not had a game-changing impact on policing in terms of dramatically altering the philosophies and strategies used for preventing crime, responding to crime, or improving public safety. The bottom line of technology? It’s very labor intensive for it to be effective. Author  Leonard Adam Sipes, Jr. Thirty-five years of speaking for national […]

from https://www.crimeinamerica.net