Saturday, January 27, 2007

Tent Jail Phoenix Arizona

Vacancy Sign hanging from guard tower over Jail
My brother and I took a couple of days off to visit Phoenix and Tucson. High on the places we wanted to see was the tent jail that Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio runs. Now, the Maricopa County Sheriff department has a number of jails and about eleven thousand inmates. The best known jail however is the tents that he houses inmates in. You are unable to see the tents from the road so my brother, Alan, walked up and asked if we could go inside to see them. To our surprise they said yes and gave us a tour that lasted over an hour. The above photo shows the vacancy sign that is on a guard tower over the tent jail.

This is a photo of part of the tent complex. I was up in the mobile guard tower when I took the photo. This happens to be the female tent complex which has about 200 female inmates. Each tent holds from 20 to 40 inmates. Double click photo to enlarge it and see the pink sheets and pink towels used by both male and female inmates.

This is the inside of a Tent. The flaps are closed on the tent at night, but during the day for security reasons, the flaps have to be pulled up. It was about 40 degrees at the time I took the photo.

This is another view of the tents. In order to stop people from stealing sheets the sheriff had the sheets, towels and underwear dyed pink so they wouldn't be stolen. At the time I was there the inmates (male and female) were wearing pink thermo underwear, which was noticeable because the striped convict uniform is short sleeve. Our tour guides would not let me take photos of the inmates. Again click on the photo to enlarge it. You will see in the right corner what looks like a pile of blankets in bed, it is an inmate rolled up in blankets to keep warm.

They use these as Mobile Guard Towers.

My Brother, Alan, getting in the Mobile Guard Tower. Our tour guides were; Lt. Alcala, Sgt Noble, and Officer Jones. They gave a great tour.

The guard house entrance to the tent jail.

The complex holds about 700 male inmates and 200 female inmates. They only use 12 correctional officers, a shift, to guard that number of inmates. They told me the tents last about 2 years before they have to be replaced. The desert sun eats them up. The tents are military surplus so they get them free. They use donated and government surplus food so it costs them 64 cents a day to feed an inmate. This can be compared to the Wicomico County Detention Center which pays about $3.15 a day per inmate. What isn't shown or often spoken about is there is a large building with a day room for females and a day room for males which holds 200 or more in each dayroom. The inmates eat in and bath in that building. It is a normal masonary building and it is kept at 65 degrees. The inmate can go into this day room anytime day or night. They are not forced to to endure 115 degree heat or 10 degree cold all day and night. I understand a couple of northern states are trying the tent jail concept for spring, summer and fall.

What disturbs me is Maricopa County houses Federal inmates and illegal immigrants for the Federal Government the same as Wicomico County. The Federal Government will not allow Federal prisoners and illegal immigrants to be housed in the tent jail. These same tents are the ones that our military is currently using in Iraq so they are good enough for our soldiers, but not good enough for an illegal immigrant to sleep in. Maybe Wicomico County could use tents for the "normal" prisoners in the spring, summer and fall and that way they could double the federal inmates they are holding for INS in that time period.

There are many many pages of internet stuff on Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a simple google search will provide you with a wealth of info. For two quick links go to Tents City and Sheriff Joe

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Blackwater Creek Project is approved

The Blackwater Creek project, west of Delmar, was approved by Sussex County Council yesterday. I, for one, am in favor of it. It brings a possible 1,179 additional homes and businesses to an area that could use the development. It was good that our town councilpeople Michael Houlihan and Diane Buckley attended the Sussex county meeting. They seem against it, more from the point, that they have no control over the development. The development would have an impact on facilities located in Delmar such as School, Library, Fire Department, Post Office etc., but the town has no control over those facilities currently so the additional development shouldn't be a bother to the town.

Nationwide Provident - Another Dumbass Company

In today's News Journal was an article about Anthony Omolewa who left the employment of Nationwide Provident but continued to send in time sheets to them, from which they paid him $75,108.60 over two years until they discovered it. First, you have to ask yourself what kind of poorly run Wilmington company is Nationwide Provident. The lost they suffered will be passed on to their customers and no doubt their CEO will receive a bonus. What is worst Anthony Omolewa, age 30, because of District Judge Joseph Farnan decision will receive no jail time and will pay back the $75,108.60 at the rate of $200 a month. At that rate, without interest added to the original amount, it will take 31 years for him to pay the amount back. Does anyone really think that amount will be paid back?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Angela Platt - Trust No One

In today's "Daily Times" was a short article about Angela Buckorough Platt, who was charged with embezzling 6.9 Million dollars. Now, even on the Eastern Shore, it is not uncommon for people to be in the newspaper for embezzlement. The amount of $6.9 million however is uncommon. That puts it in the range of some CEO company ripoffs. Most embezzlement cases never make it to the newspaper or to law enforcement officials. The person from whom the money was stolen from simply want to get it back and are willing to make whatever deals they can. Regretfully, in my years in accounting I have seen, or heard from other accountants, entirely to many of these stories. If you put the embezzler in jail or bring a court case against them frequently the money just disappears. John Ferrera was the owner of J & J Materials Corporation in Massachusetts, a company that sold Bluestone Patio Blocks. It was really several companies that combined had revenues of $25 million. He put his faith in his accountant, Angela Platt. Angela had came to his company in 1999 from a temp agency and she worked her ass off for him by doing a really good job. This is a classic method used in fraud and embezzlement cases. She started out small, stealing $30,000 in the year 2000, and by 2005 she was up to stealing $3.4 million a year. The owner hired an audit firm to look in to what was happening to the cash but gave control of audit firm to Angela Platt. John Ferrera was lucky in the fact Angela Platt did not do drugs, she mainly purchased things. About a third to a half of what she stole can be recovered. The original article in the Boston Globe spoke of her stealing $9 million so perhaps the $6.9 million is the part he did not recover.

As the article pointed out she had a 104 acre farm in Vermont, a horse riding operation and several houses. The Boston Globe described the log cabin on the farm in Vermont as having "an African hardwood floor in the living room (along with a 9-foot-tall stuffed bear), a marble floor in the kitchen, and designer bathrooms attached to each of the four spacious bedrooms. In the basement, there was a media room, a second full kitchen, and a hand-carved pool table that cost more than $120,000."

For the full September 2006 Boston Globe story click here;
The Inside Job

Monday, January 22, 2007

First Snow

Well it wasn't much of a snow. My daughters are after me to drag the sleds out of the garage, I doubt they are going to use them in this little bit of snow.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Delmarva Model Railroad Club Open House

Some Photo's of the Delmarva Model Railroad Club Open House held today.
The Delmarva Model Railroad Club has been in existence since 1984. They are currently in the Saint Stephens Church Hall (103 East State Street Delmar Delaware). The club has open house three weekends a year. The next open house will be December 1 & 2nd 2007, January 12, 13, 19, & 20 2008. It is quite the thing to see