Since Workers World received this letter, the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections has confirmed nearly 7,000 cases of COVID-19 among prisoners and over 2,500 among staff, who are not subject to mandatory testing. Many prisoners who report COVID-19 symptoms have been placed in restricted housing units, reviled as “the hole.” Prisoners faced with the psychological torture of solitary confinement are less likely to report when they are sick, allowing for further spread of COVID-19.Reports of deaths from COVID in Pennsylvania prisons vary widely — from 49 to over 65. It is difficult to verify since the PA DOC will only release the name of the first incarcerated person to die in each prison. In many cases, family members are not even being notified. The following is a letter from an incarcerated trans woman.By Miley Selena FletcherSCI Forest, Marienville, Pa.For eight months the State Correctional Institution (SCI) Forest, where I am incarcerated, did not have any COVID-19 cases. The institution’s administration was impressed by the zero numbers. But at the beginning of December 2020, the virus hit SCI Forest. A lot of us are asking: “How did this happen?” After I sat and reviewed how it may have happened, reality set in.The only way it could have happened — the guards and staff brought it in. There were also massive transfers into SCI Forest during the pandemic. Even though SCI Forest has a quarantine block, it was not enough. It seems that guards and staff were the main transmitters.Now inmates are testing positive for the coronavirus. What bothers me is they brought it in to us, but we are being forced to adjust to restrictions. All of a sudden, we are in forced lockdown in our cell, with only 20 minutes to use the phone, take a shower and use the kiosks to email your contacts. No yard time for fresh air; no time to actually go through every day like that?One block pod took two and a half days to complete such a process. Some waited three days. You know how stressful? How that pulls on someone’s mental instability? How frustrated people get?If a prisoner goes and stands in front of someone’s cell, we’re given misconduct for unauthorized area. Once that happens, the prisoner is then given cell restrictions. Where is that justified?Now the prisoners are being placed with more restrictions. We wouldn’t be on this forced lockdown — full of restrictions — if they hadn’t brought the virus in to us.The PA Board of Probation and Parole are even giving prisoners “hits” on their minimum dates, not releasing them. They are giving prisoners a year or two year hits, making them stay in prison. A lot of prisoners I overhear say, “It’s safer in prison than going out there in the streets right now.” But it irks me that we’re given these restrictions passed down from the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections Secretary of Corrections John Wetzel. And it’s his guards and staff alike who have brought COVID-19 into the prison! FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare this
Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago Sheila Bair will take on her new role of Chair of the Fannie Mae Board of Directors on November 20, 2020.Fannie Mae announced on Wednesday that Sheila C. Bair will take on the role of Chair of Fannie Mae’s Board of Directors. The Board unanimously passed a resolution appointing her Chair on October 28, and Bair will be starting her new role on November 20. She succeeds Jonathan Plutzik, who will remain on the Board of Directors.“Sheila’s deep well of experience will provide strong leadership as Fannie Mae works with the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) to exit conservatorship while simultaneously fulfilling our mission to provide access to safe, affordable mortgage financing,” Plutzik, the outgoing Chair of the Board, said in Fannie Mae’s announcement. “I note with pride the progress Fannie has made in all aspects of its operations since the last financial crisis and commend my fellow directors and Director Calabria for their unwavering commitment to making Fannie Mae a truly outstanding housing finance company.” Plutzik first joined the Board after the 2008 financial crisis and has served on numerous committees, including the Risk Policy and Capital Committee, the Strategic Initiatives and Technology Committee, the Compensation Committee, and Vice-Chair of the Board before he became Chair in 2018.“Fannie Mae appreciates Jonathan’s strong leadership over the last eleven years,” Chief Executive Officer Hugh R. Frater said. “He played an integral role in our response to the Coronavirus pandemic and has helped Fannie Mae improve its risk management capabilities, its governance, and meet important milestones as we work to exit conservatorship.”Bair became a member of the Fannie Mae Board of Directors in August of 2019 and has served as a member of the Community Responsibility & Sustainability Committee, the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee, as well as the Risk Policy and Capital Committee.“Sheila is the perfect person to lead the Board and help guide the company as we continue to transition out of government control,” Frater said. “She will help chart a course forward for the company while making sure we never forget our mission to support mortgage financing in a safe and sound manner.”Bair is currently a member of other boards, including the Board of Directors of Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc. and the Board of Directors of the Bunge Limited. She also serves as Chair Emerita of the Systemic Risk Council, a public interest group that monitors progress on the implementation of financial reforms, and on the boards of Paxos Trust Company, LLC, and its parent Kabompo Holdings, Ltd., and the Volcker Alliance. She previously served as the Chair of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and has a distinguished background of leadership in higher education and government.“I am pleased and honored to be selected as Chair of this outstanding board and grateful to Jonathan Plutzik for his leadership,” Bair said. This is a pivotal time for Fannie Mae, and I look forward to working collaboratively with my colleagues in service of our ultimate client, the public.” Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, Headlines, News Share Save Home / Daily Dose / Meet the New Chair of Fannie Mae’s Board of Directors Previous: Habitat for Humanity to Congress: ‘Act Now for Housing’ Next: Should Consumer Protections Account More for Fintech? Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago November 5, 2020 1,774 Views Print This Post About Author: Cristin Espinosa The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago The Week Ahead: Nearing the Forbearance Exit 2 days ago Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago Board of Directors Fannie Mae Housing Industry News Sheila Bair 2020-11-05 Cristin Espinosa Meet the New Chair of Fannie Mae’s Board of Directors Tagged with: Board of Directors Fannie Mae Housing Industry News Sheila Bair Cristin Espinosa is a reporter for DS News and MReport. She graduated from Southern Methodist University where she worked as an editor and later as a digital media producer for The Daily Campus. She has a broadcast background as well, serving as a producer for SMU-TV. She wrote for the food section during her fellowship at The Dallas Morning News and has also contributed to Advocate Magazine and The Dallas Observer. Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago Sign up for DS News Daily Related Articles The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago Subscribe
When these failures occur, they reinforce what traffickers around the world commonly threaten their victims with: law enforcement will incarcerate or deport them if they seek help. This backward outcome is why governments are doing well in committing to modern comprehensive anti-trafficking laws or international standards for victim care. Government must guarantee victims their rights and protection, but passing laws is only a first step for governments that take victim identification seriously. The success of victim identification will often depend on who that trafficking victim first encounters—whether a police officer, immigration agent, or labor inspector. Labor inspectors or immigration officers sometimes are confronted with indicators of human trafficking but fail to recognize the indicators as such or don’t see trafficking as falling under their authority. Maritime officials focus on whether the condition of a fishing vessel and its equipment complies with environmental or safety regulations and miss the gross abuses inflicted on the crew. Vice squads and judges may see people in commercial sex as irredeemable and fail to look beneath the surface or acknowledge their suffering. To prevent such lapses, government efforts to identify victims must go well beyond laws guaranteeing certain mechanisms, rights, or status. By Dialogo July 30, 2013 According to the U.S. Department of State’s 2013 Trafficking in Persons Report, when adequate anti-trafficking laws are enforced, identification of a person as a victim must begin with a process that respects their rights, provides them protection, and enables them to access services to recover from the trauma inflicted by traffickers. On the other hand, when authorities misclassify or fail to identify victims the victims not only lose access to justice, but may be misidentified as undocumented immigrants or criminals deserving punishment, and even unfairly subjected to additional harm, trauma, and punishments, including arrest, detention, deportation, or prosecution. Identifying a victim of human trafficking allows these victims to be more than simply a complainant in a prosecution. Unfortunately, the report also shows that government officials do not yet have the training they need to proactively identify victims, and as a result, wait in vain for victims to self-identify. Case after case has emerged in which government officials come in contact with a trafficking victim and fail to recognize the characteristics of the crime. Officials often fail to recognize male victims of forced labor, for example, even when these describe the severe exploitation they endured, because the officials assume that trafficking only happens to women. These may including government officials who inspect or have access to establishments where trafficking may occur; private sector employees in establishments employing potential traffic victims, such as hotels, restaurants, bars, beauty parlors, and grocery stores; law enforcement officers who are on the front lines of crime and are often those who have primary contact with trafficking victims, including all police, immigration officers, and border guards; health care professionals who often see trafficking victims; transportation professionals who often encounter trafficking victims either being transported or otherwise exploited—truck, taxi, and bus drivers; train attendants; flight attendants; and employees at truck and rest stops, and education officials who are uniquely positioned to identify children who are being exploited—principals, guidance counselors, teachers, and school nurses. Governments need to seek to implement proactive systematic identification strategies designed to fit the wide range of settings and circumstances in which victims have been or might be found. Formal anti-trafficking training is essential to ensure that law enforcement, prosecutors, the judiciary, first responders, and other government officials have a common understanding of the elements of trafficking crimes, the evidence necessary for a conviction, and factors for special consideration such as trauma and dependency. Protocols and training curricula should align with this shared understanding. Training efforts should be based on policies and procedures that provide trainees with clear guidance for action: what to do when encountering an individual who may be the victim of human trafficking or a situation characterized by indicators of trafficking. It is also essential that agencies collaborate with overlapping areas of responsibility and with social services agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and international organizations (IOs) that provide assistance to victims. Sound policies on victim identification must include planning for access to comprehensive services.
Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion In the March 18 letter to the editor, Jacqueline de Witt pleaded for [continued] federal protection of wolves to help them spread into New York. She indicated that this is needed to “perfect the ecological order.” In the western United States the reintroduction of wolves has decimated elk herds, taking hunting opportunities away from a wide variety of humans, from professional guides to lower income individuals for whom a freezer full of elk meat (or lack thereof) has a substantial economic impact. Federal protections continued long after wolf numbers far exceeded the reintroduction targets. Further spread of wolves will further decimate game animal populations.Human hunting is regulated by seasons and limits designed by wildlife biologists to maintain healthy herds. Wolves are not regulated, and unlike humans, wolves feast when new calves or fawns are born. Omitting a description of canine hunting, does anyone claim that a wolf kill is ever as humane as a well placed gun shot?Wolves avoid human contact in proportion to the threat that humans pose. Predatory attacks on people were once common in Europe and have happened sporadically in North America. “Child lifting” by wolves is still a problem in India. Protected wolves will be emboldened and risks to our rural margins will increase.I must ask Ms. de Witt: in a world with many hungry humans, is your aesthetic sense of ecological order so important that we should ignore those risks and squander a fully sustainable supply of organic, free-range protein to canine predators?NORMAN PERAZZOGlenvilleMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the census