3 p.m. update: Hey, Joe Ganim will be home soon.
If you go to www.bop.gov you can check on the release date of federal inmates. Joe’s release date is now July 2010 but he’ll be out sooner should he accept halfway house time which would be available to him in January. The former mayor participated in a BOP-approved substance abuse program that shaved a year off his time. The program is available to inmates that have identified a history of alcohol or drug abuse in their pre-sentence report compiled by the U.S. Probation Department on behalf of a federal judge to determine sentencing factors. The pre-sentence report is not a public document. Final eligibility for the substance abuse program is determined by BOP staff.
If Joe accepts halfway house, he’ll likely be placed at the Watkinson House in Hartford. Federal inmates in halfway houses are allowed to work and drive a vehicle to work. Once Joe completes a three-day period of orientation at Watkinson he is eligible to drive to work and attend church. He’ll sign out for approximately 10 hours and halfway house staff will call his place of work to make sure he’s where he’s supposed to be. The halfway house will take 25 percent of his pay. Yes, all halfway house clients, residents (that’s what they’re called) must kick back 25 percent to the halfway house which are generally operated by private organizations hired by the BOP.
All residents must pee in a cup a few times per week to make sure they’re clean. No drinking or drug consumption (unless medically related) is allowed in or outside of premises. After Joe settles into the place, in a few weeks he’ll be eligible for home confinement. That means when he’s not working, he must be home, unless approved for church, shopping or other activities authorized by the halfway house social worker.
Somewhere between midnight and 2 a.m., the phone (from a hard line) will ring where Joe is staying to make sure Joe’s where he’s supposed to be. It must be on a phone that has no call forwarding. No cell phone. Just an old fashioned hard line with nothing on it. Ring … (clear voice)
“This is your phone check. What is your identification number?”
Joe rattles off his assigned number and that’s it. He goes back to sleep. That will happen every early morning and maybe twice, just in case someone is thinking about slipping out the door.
Joe’s been in the joint since September of 2003 following his conviction on corruption charges.
Gee, why do I know so much about this subject? I guess all this knowledge and wisdom about the BOP just comes naturally.
Nice To Have Lots of Homes
Elenore, gee I think you’re swell … and you really do me well … you’re my pride and joy, et cetera … Elenore, can I take the time to ask you to speak your mind … –The Turtles
This is just too funny. Yeah, I know I’m beating this to death but here’s what Civil Service Commission President Eleanor Guedes told Keila Torres of the Connecticut Post about her Bridgeport residency, or lack of … perhaps part time … or maybe not at all?
Guedes said she doesn’t want to be perceived as someone who was trying to be “sneaky” or trying to trick city officials or residents by having multiple residences. “If it means that I’m doing something wrong then I didn’t know it and that’s the truth,” she said. “I do it [voluntarily serve] because I really enjoy public service. If it’s perceived as something bad, I’d rather resign. And I can step down with pride knowing that I did a good job on that commission.”
Well, I’m sure that Ralph Jacobs, the former personnel director whom Eleanor fired for something called breach of city loyalty, wouldn’t mind her resigning. Me, I hope Eleanor stays on. This is too much fun.
Eleanor, gee I think you’re swell …
News release from Gov. Rell
Governor Rell: New ID Theft Protections, Expanded Bottle Bill Among Laws in Effect October 1
Governor M. Jodi Rell today highlighted a number of new state laws that take effect October 1, including significant new protections for victims of identity theft, increased rights for residents of nursing homes and an expansion of the “bottle bill” to require deposits on containers of water and flavored waters.
A fourth new law permits the establishment of enforceable trusts so that pet owners can ensure the care of their animals after their death.
“These new laws help make our state a safer, more secure and more beautiful place for everyone,” Governor Rell said. “We are sharply increasing the penalties for those who would steal personal information and use it for illegal purposes, while establishing a fund to help the victims of such crimes resolve the lingering consequences. We are also putting new safeguards in place to protect residents and their families when making decisions about long-term care – a time when families are under enormous stress and potentially vulnerable to unscrupulous practices.
“Expansion of the bottle bill – the first major expansion of the nearly 30-year-old program – has the potential to remove nearly 500 million containers a year from Connecticut landfills, protecting the environment while reducing litter,” the Governor said. “And the pet trusts legislation means new peace of mind for dedicated pet owners who want to make permanent arrangements for the treatment and welfare of their beloved animals.
“Each of these new laws is a ‘step in the right direction’ for the people of our state,” Governor Rell said. “I was proud to sign them into law.”
The new identity theft law, proposed by Governor Rell, builds on reforms the Governor has advocated since shortly after taking office. In 2005, she formed an Identity Theft Advisory Board, bringing together state agencies and organizations to identify vulnerabilities, develop remedies and establish much stronger penalties for criminals who misappropriate the identifying information of others, including Social Security numbers, credit card numbers and other personal data. Since then the state’s laws protecting personal information have been significantly strengthened and the penalties for identity theft sharply increased.
The provisions taking effect October 1 broaden the definition of identity theft, increasing the penalties for criminal impersonation and creating the crime of unlawful possession of personal access devices, such as card readers or scanners, account numbers, personal identification numbers or PIN numbers. It also establishes a fund from forfeited assets to help individuals whose identity has been stolen.
The new law also extends from two years to three years the period in which a victim can sue for damages against a person convicted of stealing their identity. The bill also requires, rather than allows, a court to issue orders correcting public records. And the new law also includes tougher penalties for those convicted of victimizing senior citizens. A suspect now faces first-degree identity theft charges – a class B felony – for victimizing anyone older than 60 and stealing assets and valuables over $5,000.
“Identity theft is an incredibly destructive crime,” Governor Rell said. “It not only robs victims of assets, it can have devastating, long-term effects on everything from personal credit to security clearances. And elderly victims can find it especially difficult to recover from identity theft because of the complexity and red tape involved. This new law goes a long way to help victims get redress and ensure that justice for would-be identity thieves is sure and severe.”
The nursing home legislation strengthens the rights of Medicaid-eligible nursing home patients and their families by prohibiting nursing homes or chronic care hospitals from requiring money, donations or gifts in addition to Medicaid in order to be admitted or extend a stay. The law also ensures that a nursing home patient’s right to sue for deprivation of care or benefits cannot be rescinded or reduced by a waiver of liability.
“Making decisions about nursing homes or long-term care for a critically ill family member is an enormously stressful process for everyone involved,” Governor Rell said. “These new protections help reduce the risk that someone will take advantage of that situation.”
Expanding the state’s bottle deposit bill takes even more recyclable material out of the waste stream, reducing the amount of garbage and litter generated every year. The law requires a 5-cent deposit on most containers of bottled water and flavored, non-carbonated waters. It exempts containers of 3 liters or larger, containers made from high-density polyethylene and containers from manufacturers who bottle and sell less than 250,000 noncarbonated beverage containers a year and who obtain an exemption from the state Department of Environmental Protection. Unclaimed deposits – called escheats – will return an estimated $17 million a year to the state.
“A generation of Connecticut residents has grown up with recycling as the law of the land. They’ve learned to pick up, pack up and properly dispose of bottles and cans,” Governor Rell said. “Adding water bottles to the recycling mix instead of our landfills is a natural move.”
The pet trusts law permits the creation of enforceable trusts to ensure that the animals are not neglected or euthanized if an owner can no longer take care of them. Previously, trust arrangements were considered honorary since animal beneficiaries have no standing in courts to enforce them.
“Kindness and love are truly the only things pets ask of us. Ensuring they are cared for after we are gone is the humane thing and right thing to do,” Governor Rell said. “Anyone who has ever loved an animal and made it part of their home and family understands that sometimes we are better humans because of the companionship of such sweet creatures.”
News release from Connecticut Voices For Children. For Bridgeport stats check out … www.ctkidslink.org/censuspoverty.html
POVERTY INCREASE IN CONNECTICUT WAS LARGEST IN NATION, CENSUS DATA SHOW
City & county poverty estimates reported; CT Voices calls for increased support for families to help manage effects of recession
New Census data from the American Community Survey reveal that the economic recession has hit Connecticut families hard, as the percentage of people in poverty in Connecticut in 2008 increased over 2007 levels by the largest margin of any state in the country. In 2008, 9.3% of Connecticut residents (314,806) had incomes under the Federal Poverty Level, up from 7.9% in 2007. Among Connecticut children under age 18, 12.5% (99,580 children) lived in families with incomes under the Federal Poverty Level in 2008, up from 11.1% in 2007. These increases in poverty for all people and for children in poverty were the largest estimated increases of any state in the country that experienced a statistically significant increase in poverty rates. (For a two-parent household with two children, the poverty level was $21,200 in 2008.) Despite Connecticut’s official goal of cutting the child poverty rate in half by the year 2014, the state is losing ground in the fight to reduce poverty.
Poverty rates for residents of the cities of New Haven, Norwalk, and Stamford increased significantly between 2007 and 2008. The estimate of child poverty also increased in Norwalk. Poverty increased significantly for residents of Fairfield, New Haven, and Windham counties, as well as for children in Windham county.
Connecticut Voices for Children, a research-based think tank that analyzed the Census data, pointed out that the 2008 estimates measure poverty only during the first half of Connecticut’s recession, which began in March 2008. The organization suggested that the poverty rate may become worse in 2009, given that the state experienced its worst unemployment levels since 1977 this year. Connecticut’s unemployment rate rose from 6.1% in August 2008 to a peak of 8.1% in August 2009.
In response to the findings, Connecticut Voices called upon the Governor and General Assembly to avoid budget cuts that would worsen the impact of poverty and to increase support for Connecticut families through a state earned income tax credit, expanded support for education and training, improved access to the HUSKY health insurance program, and funds for more affordable housing.
“Connecticut needs a comprehensive plan to reverse these trends for our families and rebuild our economy,” said Jamey Bell, Executive Director at Connecticut Voices for Children. “At the least, we should avoid state budget cuts that would undermine families just when our economy has failed them the most.”
Estimates of poverty rates varied significantly across Connecticut’s cities: Bridgeport (21.6%), Danbury (9.9%), Hartford (33.5%), New Britain (18.2%), New Haven (27.3%), Norwalk (9.6%), Stamford (12.3%), and Waterbury (19.6%). The percentage of children under 18 in poverty in Connecticut cities was also reported for Bridgeport (28.0%), Danbury (13.7%), Hartford (46.1%), New Britain (30.0%), New Haven (34.1%), Norwalk (16.9%), Stamford (14.3%), and Waterbury (30.7%). Poverty estimates are only available for cities with populations over 65,000. The American Community Survey also provided poverty estimates for Connecticut’s counties and Congressional districts. (See attached fact sheet for details on statistically significant changes in city, county, and Congressional district estimates between 2007 and 2008.)
With the establishment of the Child Poverty Council in 2004, Connecticut became the first state in the nation to set a goal of reducing child poverty — by half by 2014. In 2003 (the baseline year for the Council), 10.8% of Connecticut’s children in families (“related children”) had incomes below the poverty line. The state set a goal of reducing the poverty rate to only 5% of children in 2014. Connecticut’s 2008 poverty rate for children in families (12.1%) has worsened over the last several years (indeed, the 2001 rate was 9.7%). To meet the goal of reducing child poverty by half, Connecticut must reverse course dramatically, according to Connecticut Voices. (“Related children,” who might also be considered “children in families,” are those related to the head of household. Because data collection methods for “all children” in poverty changed in 2006 for the American Community Survey, comparisons for all children in poverty should not be made between estimates after 2005 and earlier figures.)
The Federal Poverty Level is an inadequate measure of what families actually need to meet the cost of living in Connecticut, according to Connecticut Voices. Census data indicate that one in four children (25.6%) in the state lived in families with income under 200% of the Federal Poverty Level in 2008, which roughly corresponds to Connecticut’s Self-Sufficiency Standard, an official state measure of the income necessary for a family to meet basic needs. (This measure was established by Connecticut law.)
“Connecticut’s leaders have set a goal of reducing child poverty by half, but without concrete action, we may continue heading in the opposite direction,” said Joachim Hero, Research Associate at Connecticut Voices.
Nationwide, the American Community Survey estimated that 13.2% of all Americans (39.1 million) live in poverty, while 18.2% of children (13.2 million) live in poverty. There was a statistically significant increase in poverty among all Americans – from 13% in 2007 to 13.2% in 2008.
“It is highly disturbing that child poverty has risen from 2001 to 2008, and overall, the wealth gap continues to widen in Connecticut,” said Jim Horan, Executive Director of the Connecticut Association for Human Services. “Connecticut has failed to implement sound policies and strategies that give people the tools they need to move into the middle class.”
“Health and health care reform are critical pieces to solving the poverty puzzle in our state and in our country,” said Juan A. Figueroa, president of Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut. “Many of the people suffering the plight of poverty work two, sometimes three jobs and do not have adequate health care to keep themselves and their families healthy,” he said.
“These numbers are alarming and further evidence that the economic downturn is hitting residents of the state hard. With the predictions of a jobless recovery, we may not see improvements any time soon. We need to take steps to shore up the safety net for our most vulnerable families,” said Jane McNichol, Executive Director of the Legal Assistance Resource Center of Connecticut.
“Childhood poverty has a long-term, negative impact on child well-being. Poor school performance, dropping out of school and poor health are strongly influenced by living in poverty. Child poverty must be addressed to ensure a level playing field for all children,” said Barbara Edinberg, Acting Director of the Bridgeport Child Advocacy Coalition. “We are disturbed that child poverty remains so pervasive in Bridgeport. The recession is also having a profound effect in southern Fairfield County. We are concerned about the significant increases in poverty in Stamford and Norwalk.”
This news release and fact sheet, along with links to additional national, state, and local data on demographic, social, and housing indicators from the American Community Survey are available through the CT Voices site at www.ctkidslink.org/censuspoverty.html. See the attached CT Voices fact sheet for detailed survey results for Connecticut, its counties, Congressional districts, and cities; evaluation of the statistical significance of changes in local, state, and national estimates; and background on the measures. Note: Unless a change in Census estimates over time is statistically significant, it is not accurate to say that poverty has increased or declined in a city, county, or state.
Connecticut Voices for Children is a research-based policy think tank that works to advance strategic public investment and wise public policies to benefit our state’s children, youth and families.