Wednesday, February 29, 2012


LOVE LIFE: The Tale of Steve Fugate from Erin Henning on Vimeo.

I am going to change gears here for a post. I usually don't cover non-detention/immigration related matters on this blog. However a few weeks ago I received a link to the video posted above from one of my good friends and a fellow Vero Beach High School classmate from many, many years ago. After watching it I have thought about it a lot over the last week or two. I have posted it above and I would like to encourage you to take a few minutes and watch it. Mr. Fugate's son, Stevie Lee Fugate, was also a Vero Beach High School classmate. While I did not know him well I do remember that he was a friendly and nice person.

This Saturday Mr. Fugate completed walking over 30,000 miles through 48 states in honor of both his children in Oakland, California. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw a story about him completing his walk on our local Dothan stations website. My understanding is that while his walking days might of ended he is currently fundraising to purchase a vehicle in order to keep getting his very important message out. If you wish to support him you can purchase LOVE LIFE merchandise from here. Mr. Fugate's website can also be found here.

Imagine how great the world would be if we all were so passionate about a message of are own that addressed a problem in the world. My message for the last few years has been immigration abuse. Mr. Fugate's message is an even more important and powerful one of loving life. What's your message? Don't have one? Why not?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

CCA or GEO will not get Florida Prisons!


Florida has just voted 21-19 not to hand over south Florida's state run prisons to a private for-profit company. The full story can be found here. I wonder if CCA and GEO regret all those donations to Florida Governor Rick Scott's Inauguration and campaign now. Apparently donating to a Governor's election fund is not as effective in getting prison business as financing a anti-immigration law through membership in a group like ALEC.

In my opinion if this legislation had passed then those state of Florida correctional officers probably would no longer have a starting salary of $34,000 a year. Instead it would probably drop to the $20,000-$25,000 range that these cut-rate for-profit prisons seem to like to pay. It's also worth noting that these same Florida state Correctional Officers have gone 6 years without a raise. Recently at the Stewart Detention Center employees also had to go several years without raises themselves. Unlike the state of Florida (who is having extreme budgeting problems) CCA was posting profits of millions of dollars and spending millions more buying back stock. Not to mention executive compensation of millions of dollars to the chosen few who lord over all those reduced rate correctional/detention officers from the companies palace corporate headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee. From what we heard CCA rewarded as many as sixty (60) of  Stewart Detention Centers loyal Detention Officers with termination papers for not passing credit checks after those same officers went years without raises. It's really a no-brainer that employees in one of the poorest counties in Georgia who have gone years without raises would have bad credit. In my opinion that is just a natural consequence of the recession and cut-rate pay with no raises from a shady for-profit company like Corrections Corporation of America. I wonder why CCA could not understand that this would be a problem? Perhaps they should of been honorable and given there loyal staff some notice before exploiting them for years without a raise and then handing them a pink slip. At least in this bill getting defeated Florida state Correctional Officers won't be getting a loyalty bonus like that from CCA or GEO!

All opinions expressed here are just that. Please cross check anything you read before forming your own opinion.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

CCA Has An Escape While Leasing Inmate Labor To A Nursing Home

Originally found here.

Area Civil Rights Museum/Black Culture Center Celebrates First Anniversary This Weekend

This weekend I will be attending celebration activities for the first Anniversary of the "Dee and Doc Melton Senior Black Culture Center." A ceremony will held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11, 2012 at Shiloh Baptist Church, located at 2113 Southern Ave. After the ceremony a free dinner will be held at the Neighborhood Community Center on South Central Avenue. If you are free I would encourage you to attend.

The "Dee and Doc Melton Senior Black Cultural Center" was established by  Rue’Nette Melton (the daughter) and James “Bob” Washington (son) of the late Daughtry Benjamin “Doc” Melton Sr. and the late Ella Dora Alexander Melton. It’s located at 1006 Doc Melton Sr. Drive in Tifton, GA.

The late Doc Melton was very involved in the struggle for civil rights in Georgia. He paved the way for African American politicians in Tift County when he became the first African American to seek public office in 1966. In a past article by The Tifton Gazette, Melton at age 87 stated that he wasn’t trying to take over the Tift County government. “I just wanted to be a part of it,” Melton was quoted as saying that the election for county commissioner in 1966 brought a lot of black and white people together. “It was really hard, but it opened the way for other blacks,” Melton said at the time.

According to a February 18, 2011 story in the Tifton Gazette, “People lined up at the courthouse to see if he would qualify,” Rue’Nette stated. “He felt compelled to do what he was called to do. He was a visionary and an unselfish man. He was guided by God and continued to go after what he was led to do. He took a stand when no one else would. He believed in equal rights and knew of the injustice going on here and in surrounding towns back then. My mother encouraged him to take the grocery money to qualify for county commissioner.”   

In 1967 "Doc" also organized the first NAACP branch in Tift county.

Dee and Doc Melton's legacy now lives on through outreach activities conducted by their children at the museum and cultural center named in their honor. His children are also involved in fighting for civil rights and taking a stand against injustices. I am proud to of met and marched with them both at the recent protest against abuses in the immigration detention system at CCA's Stewart Detention Center in November of 2011. I look forward to seeing them both again this weekend as we celebrate the continuing legacy of their parents as well as there own accomplishments in the local community.