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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Jackson County Commission Regular Session - More on the Court Referral and Community Corrections Issue

Jackson County Courthouse, south side (photo by G. Morgan)

AGENDA for the
Tuesday October 13, 2015 Jackson County Commission Regular Meeting


Jackson County Court Referral and Community Corrections Issue

In today's "The Clarion," a revealing article by Heather Garner was published regarding the Jackson County Court Referral and Community Corrections. http://www.theclarion.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=9605:commission-requests-application-from-court-referral-&catid=42:clarion-rotation-stories&Itemid=142

 I have requested an interview with Mike Brown, Director of the agency, and Gene Cleckler board member and Executive director of private corporations where Jackson County court referral does business, as of this writing I have received no reply.

Highlights from the Clarion article relating to public records inspections:
1) According to Jackson County Probate Court records on October 9, 1998 Articles of Incorporation for the Jackson County Community Punishment and Corrections, Inc. was filed. These articles included corporation members consisting of Mike Wells, Betty Gilliam, Thomas Davis, John Black, and president of the corporation, Donald Word. According to Jackson County Commission records, on October 13, 1998, a resolution was passed by the Commission allowing Dennis Crownover to present to the state an alternative sentencing program for Jackson County inmates. There is no record of the approved application in the commission minutes and one could not be located according to county attorney John Porter, by the commission, the Alabama Department of Corrections or the Jackson County Community Corrections office.

2) "According to accounting records of the Jackson County Commission in 2013-2014 funds in the amount of $32,145 were received and $31,100 in 2014-2015 were received. Inmates are charged 30 percent of their net wages while on work release. Ten percent goes to the county, 10 percent goes toward the inmate’s fines and 10 percent goes to the Jackson County Court Referral and Community Corrections office." In addition, there is a $10 dollar fee collected upon each participant in the Community Corrections program. Example of a receipt is posted, note $10 is indicated as going to the County Commission, personal identifying information is redacted.

3) Code of Alabama 15-18-174 stipulates that an annual audit is required if public funds or grants are received to insure accountability. A private auditing firm may conduct the audit, there must be a copy of the audit available in accordance with state law. “ Clarion - All audits shall be completed as soon as practical after the end of the fiscal year of the board. One copy of each audit shall be furnished to the board, if established, the Department of Corrections and the Alabama Chief Examiner of the Department of Public Accounts. Copies of each audit shall also be made available to the press.”  The Clarion reports - "However, audits were unavailable according to the Chief Examiner of Public Accounts, since 2003 no audits have been filed."

4) "Clarion - As a result a public records request for the audits was made and a compilation of financial records was received. The compilation shows liabilities and equity in the amount of $57,008.66, and service income in the amount of $310,987.16 as of June 30, 2015. Salaries for officers are reported at $89,059.51 and other salaries and wages are reported as $77,134.59."

5) 2013 IRS Forms reveal as reported: Regarding the Jackson County Community Punishment and Corrections, Inc. Board Memebers per 2013 IRS records per the Clarion - " William Brady, Rannie Childress and Gene Cleckler;" Childress (Clinical Director) and Gleckler (Executive Director) are officers for the Family Life Center, a 501(c)3 non profit. Jackson County Court Referral and Community Corrections has a contract with Family Life Center for counseling services and drug testing. Family Life Center link of personnel listings - http://familylifecenter.ws/personnel-listing/ 
There is the appearance of a conflict of interest where the board members of one organization,  Jackson County Court Referral and Community Corrections, are the paid officers of a contracted organization with  Jackson County Court Referral and Community Corrections. I called Family Life Center to arrange a discussion with Gene Cleckler. The person answering the phone stated, when I asked if Mr. Cleckler is a paid employee, the reply was, "he is the owner."

Family Life Center in Scottsboro. The Family Life Center has offices in several Alabama Counties 

This is not all - Cleckler is also the owner/Executive Director of the drug testing company utilized by the corrections and community referral program while sitting on the board of community corrections of Jackson County. http://www.dtpm.com/about-us/  and   http://www.dtpm.com/

6) 2013 Revenue per IRS forms as reported regarding Jackson County Court Referral and Community Corrections - "... revenue in the amount of $372,040 and expenses in the amount of $393,153, assets totaling $20,136. According to Section A of the forms; regarding public support during the years of 2009-2013, a total of $1,681,964 in gifts, grants, contributions and membership fees..."
There are 2 separate programs within the Jackson County Court Referral and Community Corrections - 1) Court Referral, part of the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC), reference Educational Programs: http://www.alacourt.gov/Sections/CSIT/EducationalPrograms.aspx   2) Community Corrections, part of the Alabama Department of Corrections - http://www.doc.state.al.us/CommCorrections.aspx  Requirements may be found at the link listed.
Concern and Summary
This is my concern and summary related to the Court Referral Programs or Community Corrections where Substance Abuse Treatment is required. Do patients receive the best treatment possible to insure they become productive members of the community by maintaining their sobriety drug or alcohol free?
Discussion - Locally, within Jackson County, it is my opinion patients enrolled in the pseudo IOP, Intensive Outpatient Care, do not receive qualified medical care nor counseling needed to overcome substance abuse. Further, it is also my opinion that the patients, which are not called patients, they are called either clients or defendants, are being shorted in a so called faux outpatient care program. I question whether strict guidelines are followed regarding DSM-IV criteria. Described as follows in the AOC guidelines.  "Level 3 Treatment Overview - A Level 3 referral is a referral to treatment. Most Level 3 referrals are sent to a community mental health center for a full assessment utilizing the DSM IV-R criteria. Level 3 consists of inpatient or intensive outpatient treatment. IOP is individual or group treatment and other therapeutic activities, including self-help, occurring during scheduled operating hours. While in treatment the following topics are discussed, explored and addressed: alcohol/other drugs & their effects, patterns of use, triggers, relapse, effective communication skills, stress and anger management, etc... "
The Administrative Office of Courts Court Referral program requires the programs to be accredited either by the Alabama Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation or the Joint Commission for the Accreditation of Hospital Organizations (JCAHO). The only accreditation for patient care acceptable should be the JCAHO accreditation which sets strict standards in health care facility accreditation and standards for credentialed patient care providers.
Within the Jackson County Court Referral and Community Corrections there is the appearance of a conflict of interest which effects, or may effect, the quality of care and substance abuse treatment provided to those community citizens who require substance abuse treatment, particularly Level 3 treatment.
There is a Board of Directors which has been identified by local media, per Official Records Request, and described above. Some members of the Jackson County Community Punishment and Corrections, Inc. Board are either executives or have an ownership role in the drug and alcohol treatment corporate entity and the drug testing company. This is relative as board members are receiving money from a contractor performing a service for the government and non-profit entity. There are reports circulating that substance abuse program patients, who cannot afford legal representation or confirmation testing, have been intentionally flunked at the end of their treatment period when in reality there was no substance abuse for the purpose of extending the participant's drug tests and faux outpatient treatment. This creates a problem when officers of the drug testing contractor are one in the same as the Jackson County Community Punishment and Corrections, Inc. Board. Medical Oversight and a forensic audit with follow-up governmental action are needed immediately.
What is an effective drug abuse treatment program?  Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition) 13 steps - https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/principles-effective-treatment and https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/treatment-approaches-drug-addiction
 It is my opinion that the current, local Jackson County program fails to properly identify the level of abuse of substance abusers and a proper course of treatment, specifically those enrolled in the so called "faux out-patient" treatment program.

UPDATE - Nov 9, 2015 Excerpt from Administrative Records Request to Community Correction and Court Referral - "records no more subject to inspection than that of the First Baptist Church." It also turns out that the same law firm representing Court Referral and Community Corrections represents clients in the community corrections and court referral program.


Anonymous said...

I think it's sad that they are taking advantage of the very ones that so badly need the help!!! The wonder why nobody trust those of authority. Some changes need to take place if any think is to get better!! Jackson county is know for not doing what they say their going to do! They change things last minute!!! It don't matter what kind of deal they made with you!!!

Garry said...

Thanks for your comment. I have interviewed many citizens who have received treatment or are parents of those receiving treatment. No one has stated a substance abuse program is not needed.

I'm appalled concerning some of the statements I have heard regarding abuses by staff connected to the local substance abuse programs. The people I have discussed these matters with include ex-patients, patients, concerned citizens, attorneys, police officers and public officials. All report abusive practices to include the submission of false statements originating from Court Referral and Community Corrections resulting in false arrests. False arrests based on false statements by public officials is a felony criminal act which should be investigated by state or federal law enforcement.

I' m interested in your story, post it here if you want as an anonymous citizen or contact me for an interview at 256-259-6608. If there is no answer, call back later.

Anonymous said...

I have been on court referral for 6 years on and off and I am still on it. It is all about money. They keep me on it for a year at a time over something as small as rolling papers. I have no felonies and the most serious charge I have is drug paraphernalia. They absolutely do not care about helping anyone.. They only want your money. A family member of mine was on it and they tried to say he failed a drug test on a day that he didn't even go down there. And I know he didn't because me and him hauled off scrap metal that day. I do agree that people need to get off of drugs and a lot of people need help. But drug testing people and taking all their money only makes them want to use drugs more. Instead of helping people with their drug problems they just throw you in jail if you fail a drug test or if you can't pay. Just people getting rich off of drug addicts. Pretty sad. I do believe in if you do the crime then you do the time. But I don't believe people should have to go work 40+ hours a week and still be broke.. Just to pay for Brandon Brown and his court referral officers to drive brand new Tahoes and Navigators.. just my opinion. . And thank you fór finally standing up and saying something about their crooked ways it's time someone did

Anonymous said...

All I know is that my loved one was charges twice with FELONY ESCAPE for not showing up for color code each charge carries a 10 year sentence and he has had no new charges since the origional charge of felony drug possession in 2006. He currently pays community corrections $200 a month we have no idea where that money goes but with 20-30 years hanging over his head he will continue to do what evwe they ask of him and jump threw the hoops for them. Thank you for looking into this

Anonymous said...

If one has been "on and off Court Referral for SIX years," that person CLEARLY has a problem. A problem with drugs, a problem with authority. Did you ever think you might be broke because of all those drugs and paraphernalia that you buy?? If you keep testing dirty, then yes you may spend some time in jail, you know....as a consequence to your actions! It's nobody's fault, but you're own. Maybe if you weren't so burnt out from drugs, your brain could acknowledge that. Court Referral's goal is to help people stay clean and not dependent on a substance.

Ellen Hogan said...

Court Referral may have been set up to snowball most undereducated members of the Jackson County area. It is a racketeering program. When a man that pleads guilty to catching a fish under weight is sent directly from the judges bench aera to the drug court area for a drug testing at his own dime is completely ridiculous. This was in early 2000s I recall this. Imagine from that period to now. Not to mention Erica from community corrections just today took it upon herself to expedite an inmates paperwork to LA for extradition and his sentence in Jackson Co Alabama isn't fulfilled just yet. He took a plea with a sentence of six months at the county jail with work release and six months house arrest. Today completed his six month jail sentence. Before releasing him to continue his time agreed upon plea deal by judge Graham. Erica faxed his paperwork to LA pardon and paroles extradition area. I do not have a degree in law but have made it a life long hobby to study and advocate where I can. To my best knowledge to be extradited to another state to complete a partial sentence you must first finish the sentence of new charge in different state. Plus when said person was incarcerated in Alabama in July of 2015 he only owed LA four months on his sentence. I spoke with Mr Smith of LA interstate extradition area back in July and was informed until Jackson County is finished with him will be when LA will decide to extradite or not. We are not stating that if he owes time to LA that he isn't responsible to the commitment our complaint is Erica from Jackson County Community Corrections jumped the gun. He still has six months house arrest to complete his Alabama sentence then LA should be notified.

Ellen Hogan said...

First I would like to introduce myself. I am Ellen Hogan former Jackson County resident thank God to becoming an Army Wife over ten years o I found my way out of the dead end street that county has to offer. I do not have a law degree but it has been a life time hobby of mine to study and advocate when able. I recall back in 2002 being in Judge Grider's court room when an African American gentleman went before the judge for catching a fish underweight. The accused pled guilty to the said charge and was then ordered by Judge Grider to go with Mike Brown to submit a urine sample to test for drugs at his own dime for testing. I recall then I thought something is wrong with this picture. Possible racketeering? I was home in Jackson County from November 2014 until November 2015. With the work I do and friends I have in the African American community shared insight with me that the organization of the Jackson County Community Corrections and Drug Court has a problem with misuse of power. Another thing I find puzzling is how the Brown name still pops up everywhere and how they seem to be very offended by you Mr. Morgan, that seems to lead me to think the Brown's stand to loose money in the bank with your digging and challenging of this propped up program. I will be contacting you first thing in the morning to discuss my possible help of exposing the corruption of this county and its officials plus to address a matter at hand dealing with one of the persons I advocate for.

Garry said...

Ellen, thank you for your comments, they are appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Hey you guys, i have a few questions if anyone knows the answers to them, please let me know. How does Jackson County go about their testing? Is it an EMI screen and then confirmatory GC/MS test at family life center? And how long do they wait after a positive result to inform you that you have failed a test or diluted? And also what happens if you fail a test?

Garry said...

To Anonymous - The requirements of any governmental sponsored drug testing program may be found in the laws of Alabama. Alabama's laws are very specific regarding employee drug testing. If you test positive on a urine sample provided you must be informed within 5 days and given the opportunity for a retest, at the employers expense. Family Life Center is not a testing company, Drug Testing Program Management (DTPM) is a private testing company associated with the Board of Directors and Executive Management of Family Life Center and Jackson County Community Corrections; DTPM not to does meet state nor Federal Requirements for employee drug testing. A company must be a certified lab per state law, there are no certified labs in Alabama. All testing must be sent off to a certified lab that meets legal requirements. Code of Alabama Drug Testing Law part(d)(1) No laboratory may analyze initial or confirmation drug specimens unless: a. The laboratory is approved by the National Institute on Drug Abuse or the College of American Pathologists. Reference Code of Alabama 25-5-335 (d)(1)a.

Additionally any person taking urine must meet the requirements as stipulated by law, reference:25-5-335 (5) A specimen for a test may be taken or collected by any of the following persons:a. A physician, a physician's assistant, a registered professional nurse, a licensed practical nurse, a nurse practitioner, or a certified paramedic who is present at the scene of an accident for the purpose of rendering emergency medical service or treatment. b. A qualified person certified or employed by a laboratory certified by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the College of American Pathologists, or the Alabama Department of Human Resources.

(6) Within five working days after receipt of a positive confirmed test result from the laboratory, an employer shall inform the employee or job applicant in writing of the positive test result, the consequences of the results, and the options available to the employee or job applicant.

I have made a presentation to the Jackson County Commission regarding these requirements, currently they do not meet the requirements of law. They know this as I have made a public presentation about this very subject.

Code of Alabama may be found at this link: http://alisondb.legislature.state.al.us/alison/codeofalabama/1975/coatoc.htm

Anonymous said...

This is very valuable information, however, I am more concerned about the JC court referral side. I have heard that they sometimes wait a long while after receiving g a positive result and then arresting them out of nowhere and I have also heard that after a positive result, the person who failed the test will receive a letter in the mail to notify that person. So I'm just wondering about how they actually go about a failed urine sample.

Garry said...

You are right, it is true they wait an extended period of time prior to arrest. It is also true that when tests are requested to be confirmed they submit them without a chain of custody, and without requiring a split sample. That is not counting the $50.00 charge but issue of a $30.oo receipt, seen that cash control problem before. IOP submitted an alcohol test 5 days after initial test specimen is taken to the confirmation test lab. There is no Medical Review Officer, and Court Referral's IOP's protocols are broken and violate all legal standards. What is new, it is a racket and I cannot stop it alone. The problem is not only the Court Referral it is the Family Life IOP, the prosecutor and all involved. When false statements are made and people are arrested based on false statements there is a serious problem.

I'll get back to the racketeers and begin sending letters to everyone except God All-Mighty soon. The only reason I can't send him a packet with evidence, the postage requires an after life stamp, with Gods Blessings I'll have to wait on the delivery. Currently, there is the problem with sexually harassing-ignorant city officials, which has created a momentary distraction in my pursuit of racketeers in the court referral/drug testing system.

Garry said...

My apologies, you ask how do they notify for a positive test, often it is by an arrest, without a notice of violation or a chance to conform or challenge the test. See above for the rest of the story.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Gary. I was wondering if I could get your email address? I looked for it on your profile but I couldn't find anything. There are a few things that I would like to talk to you about without other people seeing if that is possible.

Anonymous said...

Is this facility being looked into still or under investigation? Seems like a money racket.

Anonymous said...

I've heard Court Referral and all the Agencies tied to them are being investigated AGAIN. Is this true?
What happened with this investigation Garry? I'd like to know the status.

Garry said...

Note http://arklite.blogspot.com/2017/11/jackson-county-commission-regular.html