"A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives."


Saturday, December 23, 2017

Scottsboro, Alabama December 21, 2017 The Continuing Saga of Court Referral - Alleged Procedural Failures in the Drug Testing Program - Pitfalls of Substance Abuse, Hardships on Family. Protest on The Jackson county Courthouse Square

The Continuing Saga of Court Referral - Protest on The Square - Family Hardships -Alleged Procedural Failures Relating to Urine Collection for Testing 
(photos by G. Morgan)

Family members of Court Referral clients tell stories of hardship to Jackson County Sentinel Reporter Will Whaley (Photo by G. Morgan)

Family members 'Protest signs' claim Court Referral places extreme hardships on families, forcing some into homelessness and going without food. (Photo by G. Morgan)

One lady related that a person had been placed on color code drug testing because a poor citizen did not have the money to pay for garbage collection in the county.

Allegations were made that Court Referral personnel had solicited for a "special treatment program" where clients would be placed into the program on Lookout Mountain when Court Referral personnel would be paid $1500.00. Allegations were also made regarding failed procedural/legal requirements in the security of urine specimen collection, transport and testing.

Hardships include being placed into extreme indebtedness, claims family members assisting in paying relatives fines. (Photo by G. Morgan)


One of my Facebook friends, Kim Rice, ask me what do I think is the perfect solution to problems at CR/CC, Court Referral Community Corrections, below is my answer and my reply to her question on Facebook.
Thanks for asking Kim.  A comprehensive Medical Treatment program with long term follow ups is a solution to substance abuse treatment. Perfect solution to a government structured program such as we have locally is not possible; however, there are solutions and programs in conjunction with courts and medical treatment that is better than the current local program.
1) Abolish the non-profit program, the current non-profit status is being abused to hide disclosures which would normally be available under a government sponsored program. Another solution would be to keep the non-profit program but actively recruit funders to provide 90-120 day inpatient treatment with a yearlong follow-up outpatient program. Cost share program - The substance abusers are currently paying for their testing, once released from inpatient care, which should continue.Government agencies, pharmaceutical, alcohol manufacturers and distributors should contribute to funding programs. So should a portion of law enforcement seizures.
2) Follow standards of lawand commonly accepted national protocols and procedures regarding treatment and legal standards described within this link: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-abuse-treatment-criminal-justice-populations/principles Note Principle #3, minimum 90 day inpatient treatment which must have an extended outpatient treatment period, to be effective, normally 1 year.
3) Currently, our current drug testing programs available to CR/CC do not meet Federal Standards. The current local legal standards of drug testing within our Court Referral System do not meet the standards of employment law. Other words, the current local standards within the Jackson County Courts System do not meet the standards of employment law or DOT testing standards. The folks who fail drug testing may be incarcerated by a legal standard less than employment law or the standard lower than a Commercial Truck Driver drug test. That is wrong. Guidelines may be found at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA); there are no SAMHSA certified labs in the state of Alabama. https://www.samhsa.gov/workplace/drug-testing  
The problem with what I am saying is money, money and more money. The current CR program diverts money from clients into the hands of attorneys, court system, managers of the CR/CC non-profit System. More money must be placed into treating the problem medically long term, not enriching program managers, attorneys (which are not patient care providers), drug dealers and government War on Drug Agencies which have proven ineffective. Note this, what kind of medical treatment and follow-up could have been provided with the Trillion Dollars spent on the War on Drugs? Note 1) above.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Jackson County Commission Regular Session, December 18, 2017 - 2 Part Video - Part 1 Public Hearing on County Rd 96 and Drainage Problems, Part 2 Session Agenda

Jackson County Commission Jingle Bells Trail Tree Photo by Jackson County Commission on Facebook, Fair Use for non-profit news reporting and commentary.


Part 1
Jackson County Commission Regular Session, Part 1 of 2. Part 1 being a Public Hearing on returning to the County Road Inventory from the TVA part of County Road 96, adjacent to the former Widows Creek Steam Plant. There were no comments regarding the Public Hearing from the Public or the Commissioners. There were two items related to drainage issues where citizens spoke. The first was Mr. Matthews from Section, Al. regarding drainage and flooding in Section. The second issue was in regards to flooding on CR 531 and CR 737. Discussion ensued, at times heated, between the Wasylow family and a Mr. Campbell, both residents and neighbors in the area.


Jackson County Commission Regular Session - Part 2 of 2 Business Session per Agenda.


Scottsboro City Council, Triple Session,Regular Session - No Quorum From 12-11-17-Regular Session; Work Session and Regular Sessions December 18, 2017

Scottsboro City Hall (photo by G. Morgan)

Regular Session Makeup from 12-11-17

Monday, December 11, 2017

Jackson County Commission Regular Session December 11, 2017

Jackson County Courthouse Gazebo, photo by Carol Ann Hancock Cisco - Jackson County Courthouse (Government Building) site on Facebook - Fair Use for non-profit news reporting.



Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Scottsboro City Council - Liability Insurance for Contractors - and Jackson County Alabama Commission - Homelessness - Work Sessions Agendas and Videos - December 4, 2017

Scottsboro City Hall during Christmas from a few years ago. Photo by G. Morgan

Scottsboro City Council Schedule during the 2017 Holiday time frame: December 11, Regular Council meeting; December 18, a combined meeting, work session followed by a regular meeting. December 18, 2017 will be the last meeting until January 8, 2018

City Council Agenda for December 4, 2017
There was considerable discussion regarding requiring Liability Insurance for all contractors. There seemed to be a problem with some city council members requiring contractors doing business in Scottsboro Alabama having Liability Insurance before doing business in Scottsboro. 

Their argument was this places an undue burden on the contractor performing a job. This is one of the more ridiculous claims I have ever heard from a government entity. Attempting to justify why a business doing contracting work within the City of Scottsboro or the city government entity itself, SHOULD NOT have liability insurance. Some of the council members indicated it was the business or individual hiring the contractor to provide their liability insurance. Would any citizen hire a home building contractor without liability insurance; would a business hire a contractor to perform remodeling, electrical or plumbing work which does not have liability insurance to perform a contracted job?? 

Maybe the City Council has failed to explain themselves regarding NOT requiring a contractor to have liability insurance and how it is not a business friendly requirement. There is no way any person or business should contract another to perform a job without that person or business having required licenses and necessary insurance for their business. 

Lets think about this for a moment, what would have happened if the contractor performing an architecting job for the city did not have the appropriate insurance when city hall collapsed? What would occur if a contracted trucking company performing a job for hauling materials crashed and killed others in the performance of their driving job; "Hey, the City of Scottsboro says we ain't got to have liability insurance." Will the citizens of the City of Scottsboro pick up the damages for exempting contractors within the City of Scottsboro from liability insurance?????????  Just the discussion by the government entity of this absurdity seems to incur risk for the citizens of Scottsboro. 


                             County Commission Work Session
Jackson County Courthouse Winter Scene, photo by J. Holt on Facebook - Fair Use for non-profit news reporting.


Life Resource Services, agenda item 1 - Discussion of homeless folks transportation on County Bus Services. Request for grants or donations to pay for bus tickets for the poor and homeless. Tickets are $5.25 for round trip for persons under the age of 65, while round trip ticket costs for persons over 65 are $4.25. It was stated that most of the trips for the homeless were to and from health care appointments or visits. Discussion about providing funds for 100 tickets from the commission. Information regarding Life Resource Services http://whnt.com/2017/01/16/life-resource-services-brings-a-new-beginning-to-the-homeless-of-jackson-county/ 


Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Scottsboro City Council Regular Session November 27, 2017

Scottsboro City Hall (photo by G. Morgan)

Agenda Item 3 - Rec Com Pool HVAC replacement bid was approved for $427,260.00; engineering fee was for 7.8% costing $33,326.00. This money will be paid out of the Bond Issue for the Rec Com pool improvements previously voted upon and approved.


Jackson County Commission Regular Session November 27, 2017 RECYCLE

Jackson County Courthouse, North Entrance (photo by G. Morgan)
Commission web site - https://jacksoncountyal.gov/

Fair Use for non-profit news reporting - IWANTTOBERECYCLED.ORG


                                    Video Capture Photos
Alabama 5th Congressional District Candidate Clayton Hinchman answers questions and discusses national and local issues after the commission meeting.

Left to Right - Jackson County Commission Attorney John Porter, Commissioner Melinda Gilbert, and Commission Chair Mike Ashburn, back to camera. 

Clayton Hinchman, Alabama 5th U.S. Congressional District Candidate

Monday, November 20, 2017

Scottsboro City Council Work Session, First Storm Shelter Site Chosen, November 20, 2017

Scottsboro City Hall (photo by G. Morgan)

First Storm Shelter location announced - to be built behind the Randall's Chapel Methodist Church. Property lease usage terms, a 20 year lease for $1.00 per year. Construction to begin 2-3 months by City of Scottsboro, Scottsboro Electric Power Board and Scottsboro Water Sewer and Gas will participate in the construction. (Photo credit - Inside an Alabama storm shelter; FEMA Grieg Powers, Fair Use for non-profit news reporting.)



Facebook Live Video link of Reports:   https://www.facebook.com/garry.l.morgan.5/videos/10214634121830449/

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Scottsboro City Council Regular Session 11-13-17

Scottsboro City Hall photo by G. Morgan



                                              Video Photo Captures
From left to right, City Council President Tony Wallingsford, City Attorney Steve Kennamer, Council Member Patrick Stewart, Council Member Jessica Butler considering issues before council. 

Council Member Smith comments about cost overruns of projects.

Mayor Robin Shelton, left, discusses project cost increases in Goose Pond Walking Trail and decreases in expenses, Council Member Stewart looks on.

Jackson County Commission, Regular Session - Meeting Continued Until Thursday, November 16, 2017 Regarding Court Referral and Community Corrections, Special Video on Agenda Item 14 - UPDATE - Agenda Item 14, Community Corrections Court Referral Issue, November 16, 2017

On going issue regarding a non-profit arm of Department of Corrections and Jackson County Courts - Community Corrections and Court Referral.

UPDATE - November 22, 2017 The Clarion Article
EMAIL - County Commission requested CPA Examiners Statement
(Click on image for an expanded view.)

Daily Sentinel Article (must subscribe to receive full article)

UPDATE November 18, 2017 
Regardless of the comments of political, judicial or officials of Community Corrections/Court Referral there is no  Federal Certified Laboratory for drug testing in Jackson County Alabama or the entire State of Alabama. There needs to be local improvements, drug abuse is a mental health care problem, more so than a legal problem. Mental health care funding in Alabama has decreased and Medicaid funding is not provided under the Affordable Care Act in Alabama.

In Jackson County Alabama, the acceptance of drug testing laboratories whose standards do not meet Federal Standards, and where the local legal standards do not meet the standards of employment law nor Department of Transportation requirements of drug testing is ridiculous and not supportive of a just legal system. This problem is simple to correct, there is no will to do so as it would mean following a set of just legal standards which insure a system of checks and balances not present currently regarding drug testing of those clients in the Court Referral system in Jackson County. Laboratories meeting federal legal standards of drug testing laboratories: https://www.samhsa.gov/workplace/resources/drug-testing/certified-lab-list  

The failure to require Court Referral clients testing positive to not be called in and informed of test results immediately when a positive test is demonstrated is a failure of due process. The failure to not have two sealed sample containers with urine as is the standard of practice is not only a failure of due process of law and a violation of standards of practice but an excuse to incarcerate without due process of law. To wait weeks, over a month, before notification after a known positive test result is ridiculous and demonstrates a failure of our legal system involving Court Referral. The bottom line - there needs to be improvement regarding drug abuse treatment and the organizations involved in drug testing in Jackson County Alabama.

Here you will find the facts and figures and what is needed: https://www.samhsa.gov/criminal-juvenile-justice  and  https://www.samhsa.gov/gains-center

UPDATE: November 16, 2017 
Agenda Item 14 on the County Commission Agenda - Community Corrections resulted in a continuation of Monday’s meeting today at 10:30 AM. The meeting lasted approximately one and half hours.

The Jackson County Commission will consider whether to change the Court Referral - Community Corrections status from a non-profit organization to an organization under the purview of the Jackson County Commission.

Concerns have been brought forward regarding accountability and procedures of the Court Referral Program. The issue was further tabled to be discussed and decided upon at another meeting. Interviews by WHNT-TV of Judge Holt and Commissioner Guffey were aired on the 5PM News cast. Link: http://whnt.com/2017/11/16/jackson-county-commissions-continues-a-two-year-investigation-on-the-countys-corrections-system/

The Court Referral Program falls under the Code of Alabama http://codes.findlaw.com/al/title-12-courts/al-code-sect-12-23-4.html    
Community Corrections is governed by Alabama 2003 Department of Corrections Act  http://sentencingcommission.alacourt.gov/Legislation/cc_summ.htm   
Administrative  Procedures and auditing http://www.doc.state.al.us/CommCorrections.aspx

Commissioner Jeffrey Williams from the Alabama Department of Corrections was present and made a comprehensive presentation; Judge Jennifer Holt, Presiding Judge Jackson County Circuit Court; Jackson County District Court Judge Donald Word: Jackson County Courts Clerk Donna Barksdale; Director of Community Corrections Mike Brown; Director of Court Referral Brandon Brown were present; Jennifer Lackey from the Lackey Law Firm who are the attorneys of record for the Jackson County Community Corrections and Court Referral Office; Parker Edmiston of the Edmiston Law Firm attended.

Videos, Part 1 & 2 November 16, 2017 Commission meeting continuation

Department of Corrections Commissioner Jeffrey Williams makes presentation to commissioners. (photo by G. Morgan)

Presideing Circuit Court Judge Jennifer Holt  discusses her concerns with Commission; Commissioner Tim Guffey in foreground listens. (photo by G. Morgan)

Community Corrections Director Mike Brown answers questions. Commission Chair Mike Ashburn on right; Attorney Jennifer Lackey of the Lackey Law Firm and District Judge Don Word. 
(photo by G. Morgan)

VIDEO (Nov. 13, 2017)
Regarding Agenda Item 14, Community Corrections Court Referral

Scottsboro, Alabama November 13, 2017 Jackson County Commission Agenda Item 14 Motion to Discuss Community Corrections.  Motion was made to go into an Executive Session to discuss Good Name and Character. "Incompetent . . . Incomplete" says, in part, requested report by Jackson County Commission referring to Community Corrections accountability. I was informed by a confidential source that Judge Holt was present prior to the Commission meeting to express alleged displeasure with agenda item 14, Community Corrections. Mr. Porter, County Attorney, was asked if Judge Holt was present during the Executive Session on agenda item 14, he stated "no comment."

Commission Meeting was continued until Thursday, 16 Nov. 2017 at 10:30 AM regarding Agenda Item 14;  Department of Corrections will be present. Blog posts regarding Court Referral and Community Corrections:   http://arklite.blogspot.com/search/label/Jackson%20County%20Community%20Corrections%20and%20Court%20Referral



                                    VIDEO PHOTO CAPTURE PHOTOS
Mr. Johnson, County Engineer, discusses best option for bridge project on CR 92.

Dr Reyes, Superintendent Scottsboro City Schools, discusses schools with Commission.

Commissioner listens to presentation on employee health insurance plans.

Commissioners discuss going into Executive Session regarding good name and character involving Court Referral - Community Corrections issue.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Scottsboro City Council Work Session November 6, 2017

Scottsboro City Hall photo by G. Morgan



                                   VIDEO PHOTO CAPTURES
From left to right - Scottsboro City Clerk Whitney Phillips; City Council President Tony Wallingsford; Scottsboro City Attorney Steve Kennamer

Scottsboro Mayor Robin Shelton discusses square renovation cost overruns.

Scottsboro City Councilman Keith Smith asks questions about contract cost overruns.