Blue Is The New Black

Since my incarceration, I frequently get the question, “have you seen Orange Is The New Black?”

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I hadn’t seen it before my imprisonment, but have binge-watched 2 seasons since my release. Unlike other series, it didn’t take long to get burned out on the tedium of this show. Yes there are similarities with the show and real life incarceration, but keep in mind the series is about prison life and even though the terms are often used interchangeably, prisons and jails are different.

The United States has approximately 1.8 million people behind bars: about 100,000 in federal custody, 1.1 million in state custody, and 600,000 in local jails. Prisons hold inmates convicted of federal or state crimes; jails hold people awaiting trial or serving short sentences. The United States now imprisons more people than any other country in the world—perhaps half a million more than Communist China. The Prison-Industrial Complex

RAMSEY COUNTY CORRECTIONAL FACILITY

Once you arrive at RCCF, you are photographed, fingerprinted and charged a $20 booking fee. Once you’re booked and given inmate attire, you’re assigned to a housing unit. There are 3 different dorms for women. The main one has cells vs. bunk beds in an open room. I was assigned to the top bunk in Cell #7 and had 10 different “cellies” during my 4 months.(Oh and no pillows unless you have a medical reason to have one).

          “Blues & Shoes” Ramsey County Correctional Facility Female Inmate Uniforms

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You can’t bring any hygiene items, electronic devices, or other personal items in, but you can purchase items from Inmate Canteen for outrageously exorbitant prices. RCCF inmates are given a hygiene bag after being admitted which includes a plastic cup, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, comb, an elastic hair tie and flip flops. No jewelry is allowed.

toothpasteRCCF Toothpaste (also worked well as glue)

Pepsodent was the “real” toothpaste that you could order from Inmate Canteen and Suave products were like gold! Shampoo and conditioner was only 4 bucks a bottle. If you had it, you shared it with the dorm. Because I was on the lower tier, I constantly had people knocking on my cell door to “borrow” things, including water from my sink for their ramen noodles.

The 89¢ rubber pen

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  • No makeup is allowed but inmates do get creative with colored pencils. The pencils also have to be purchased through Inmate Canteen unless you win them as  a prize for attending the Learning Center. The Center provides adult basic education programs in reading, writing, math, and GED prep as well as classes on personal finance, job seeking and retention, career exploration, computer skills, and driver’s license preparation and testing.
  • Lights on at 6:30am and lights out at 10:30pm (the lights are never really off, just dimmed).
  • Inmates are required to stand for count at 11:05am, 5:05pm, and 10;00pm. That means that you are locked in your cell and you must stand by the window in your door to make sure everyone is in the dorm.
  • Inmates cannot enter others cells or loiter in front of cell doorways.
  • No food from meals can be brought into your cell.
  • No note passing or canteen items between dorms.
  • Razors can only be used after 6:30pm
  • Inmates are allowed 4 books, I bible, and 4 magazines (Perk for working in the library was getting newer magazines before pages were torn out for recipes, decorating ideas, etc.)
  • Inmates are only allowed one 20-minute video visit per week using a phone and video camera.
  • Inmates get one free, 60-second phone call after being admitted. Legal calls to lawyers and probation officers are free. A listing of free calls is provided to all inmates. Other calls may have a fee that is charged by the minute. Inmates are allowed to make collect calls. The Prison Policy Initiative found that families pay $1 billion annually to call relatives in prison, and until 2013, calls could cost $17 for a 15 minutes (the FCC cracked down on this and those calls now cost $3.75). What Incarceration Costs American Families
  • No volume on TV. Must purchase $30 headset to listen.
  • $5 to see the nurse
  • $15 to have a tooth pulled

Rule violations may result in loss of good time, time spent in security, administrative segregation  restitution and/or upward departure of established sanctions


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Cash or Credit? Paying for Your Time: How Charging Inmates Fees Behind Bars May Violate the Excessive Fines Clause

Excessive Fines Clause of the Eighth Amendment The Eighth Amendment provides “[e]xcessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.” I guess the majority of judges didn’t get the memo!

 

“Over the last 30 years, for-profit prison corporations, such as Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and GEO Group (formerly Wackenhut Corrections Corporation), have benefited from the dramatic rise in incarceration and detention in the United States. Since the advent of prison privatization in the early 1980’s, the number of people behind bars in the US has risen by more than 500 percent to more than 2.2 million people.   Image result for treatment industrial complex

The result is an emerging “Treatment Industrial Complex” (TIC) — the movement of the for-profit prison industry into correctional medical care, mental health treatment, and ‘community corrections.’ Community corrections include corrections programs outside of jail or prison walls: probation and parole services including halfway houses; day reporting centers; drug and alcohol treatment programs; home confinement; electronic monitoring; and an array of supportive services such as educational classes and job training. Community corrections is a huge business, with three times as many people under “community corrections” programs as currently incarcerated in prison facilities.

While the prison industrial complex was dependent on incarceration or detention in prisons, jails, and other correctional institutions, this emerging “treatment industrial complex” allows the same corporations (and many new ones) to profit from providing treatment-oriented programs and services.

As a result, this emerging Treatment Industrial Complex has the potential to ensnare more individuals, under increased levels of supervision and surveillance, for increasing lengths of time—in some cases, for the rest of a person’s life.  How For-Profit Prison Corporations are Undermining Efforts to Treat and Rehabilitate Prisoners for Corporate Gain


Law enforcement agencies can also get extra money from federal grants US prison industrial complex (PIC) and its relationship to the non-profit industrial complex (NPIC),

Community Corrections – Grants and Funding Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA)

BJA supports law enforcement, courts, corrections, treatment, victim services, technology, and prevention initiatives that strengthen the nation’s justice system. BJA offers a Grant Writing and Management Academy and provides funding through a number of programs for corrections.

Federal grants are never free and they almost always come with strings attached. Federal “assistance” allows the feds to dictate state policies and even what the states do with large chunks of their own money.


The bottom line is whether it’s jail or prison, people are being incarcerated for non-violent and non-criminal offenses. It’s the money that drives this system and there is a lot of money to be made from criminalizing nonviolent activities and jailing people for nonviolent offenses.


The essence of nomocracy, the rule of law, is limitation of the discretion of officials, and providing a process by which errors or abuse of discretion can be corrected. Some discretion is unavoidable, because law cannot anticipate every eventuality or how to decide which law may apply to a given situation. What guidance the law cannot provide is supposed to be provided by standard principles of justice and due process, reason, and the facts of each case. Ideally, officials should be mutually consistent and interchangeable, making similar decisions in similar cases, so that no one can gain an undue advantage by choosing the official or exercising undue influence on the official or on the process he operates. We trust officials to exercise such discretion as they have with wisdom, justice, and competence, to avoid government that is arbitrary, insolent, discriminatory, prejudiced, intrusive and corrupt.     Abuse of Judicial Discretion~ Jon Roland 

We’re definitely past the point of avoiding government that is arbitrary, intrusive and corrupt. The good news is that people are waking up and wising up and starting to demand a governance  that will preserve, protect and promote truth, justice and liberty.

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NOTICE OF APPEAL

MN Judicial Branch

Photo of the members of the Minnesota Court of Appeals

Image@mncourts.gov

Minnesota Court of Appeals

The Minnesota Court of Appeals provides the citizens of Minnesota with prompt and deliberate review of all final decisions of the trial courts, state agencies, and local governments. As the error-correcting court, the Court of Appeals handles most of the appeals, which allows the Minnesota Supreme Court to spend time resolving difficult constitutional and public policy cases.

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BACK FROM THE BIG HOUSE

article-0-1a2fd9c1000005dc-219_634x470So. . . there’s 120 days of my life that I’ll never get back!

Most of you know that my trial was scheduled from September 26th-September 29th, 2016.

The trial went forward despite my arguments regarding witness tampering and obstruction of justice due to illegal withholding of a portion of my evidence. Also, the evidence I did receive was not disclosed in time to afford me the opportunity to make beneficial use of it. (Received on September 1st and trial was scheduled for September 26th).

Judge Asphaug also demonstrated prejudicial judicial conduct by granting the State’s motion to have substantial exonerating evidence not introduced in the trial.

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                        Image courtesy of suphakit73 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I did not have a settlement conference and was offered a plea deal on the first day of my trial. As I’ve said numerous times before, the goal was always to have me plead guilty or be found guilty without access to all of my evidence. After I declined the plea deal, the attitude of the prosecutor and the judge changed significantly and became quite hostile. Here’s the thing, a statement must be free and voluntary, not extracted by any sorts of threats or promises, however slight. Judge Asphaug indicated that if I lost by having a jury trial, she would have the ability to impose a harsh sentence which is exactly what happened. Plea bargaining extorts guilty pleas and the trial tax is just another way to tilt the playing field in favor of the state.

Below is an excerpt from Trial Tax And Plea Bargaining   BY  

“There’s no law written saying that exercising your right to a jury trial and losing will cost you more. There’s this euphemism in legal land called a “trial tax.”  If you exercise your constitutional right to a trial and lose, you typically get reamed even harder than if you took a plea deal.
Why? The incredible amount of unnecessary and unjust laws you could break bog down the courts. Rather than give every defendant his day in court, plea deals are offered. Courts use the “trial tax” as an excuse to discourage jury trials.  Judges, prosecutors, and court staff perceive this fundamental right of our American republic as an inconvenience and intimidate the accused into taking deals struck in back rooms.
Remember this next time it is presumed that our courts and laws are fair: Court personnel consider due process a punishable offense.”

Also, I was originally charged with two felony counts and four additional charges were added. This dirty trick is called charge stacking. Read more about this tactic below:

Prosecutors, Charge Stacking, and Plea Deals 

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As Attorney Michelle MacDonald once told me, “This is a process of torture where heavier and heavier weights are placed on the chest of the defendant until they either suffocate or confess.”

I did not suffocate nor did I confess to criminal behavior that did not exist.

Below are my special conditions of probation:

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Below are two additional conditions that were not in the community corrections document.

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roa0002It’s clear that this was a malicious prosecution and that I was deprived of the right to a fair trial before an impartial judge. This was also a manipulation of public opinion by false media reports and retaliation for putting the system on trial.

Stay tuned for further updates.

Wave Of A Gavel

Sandra Grazzini-Rucki is sentenced in domestic case

by Michael VolpeSep 23, 2016

Sandra Grazzini-Rucki has been sentenced to six years’ probation plus one hundred and eight days in jail for her role in her two daughters’ running away.

HASTINGS, Minnesota, September 23, 2016- Sandra Grazzini-Rucki has been sentenced to six years’ probation and an extra one hundred and eight days in jail for her role in her two daughters’ running away.

Grazzini-Rucki was to serve thirty days immediately and fifteen days each of the next six years on the anniversary of the date authorities found her two daughters, November 17. However, Grazzini-Rucki chose to serve the sentence all at once, a total of as long as 233 days, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Judge Asphaug handed down the sentence even though the prosecutor, Kathryn Keena, asked for only the probation and no jail time. Keena said she was fulfilling a promise made to Grazzini-Rucki’s daughter, Samantha, one of the two daughters who ran away.

Judge Asphaug imposed the unusual sentence after disallowing nearly all of the evidence Grazzini-Rucki intended to use in support of her affirmative defense. Grazzini-Rucki argued that she hid her daughters to protect them from an unsafe environment.

The criminal record of Grazzini-Rucki’s ex-husband, David Rucki including a bar fight, road rage incident, numerous incidents of stalking and numerous violations of orders for protection, were all disallowed.

Child Protection reports, including one made by Nico Rucki in which he claimed his father held a gun to his head, were also disallowed.

Judge Asphaug’s chambers directed all calls to Beau Berentson, public affairs officer for the Minnesota courts, who did not respond to an email for comment.

David Rucki made a victim impact statement which included the following statement:

“She is not the same woman I married twenty-five years ago. Sandy, that woman, is gone. She doesn’t realize how blessed she is. She cannot comprehend the pain and trauma on her children. We need to free Sandra from her distorted reality. How Sandy thought alienation of the family was a good plan? Nico was forced by Sandy to write false statement on Facebook. They were not the truth they were his mother’s words.”

Rucki thanked several people including the Lakeville Police Department, his sister Tammi and Brandon Stahl of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

The Lakeville Police Department has declined all comments on the case directing all questions to the Dakota County Prosecutor’s Office which did not respond to several CDN emails for comment. An email to David Rucki’s attorney, Lisa Elliott, was also left unreturned.

Stahl wrote an explosive story on the case in April 2015 when Dale Nathan first revealed that he was in the care of Grazzini-Rucki on April 19, 2013. Nathan would repeat this story several times including on ABC’s 20/20. Stahl wrote the story on the two-year anniversary of the girls’ disappearance. Curiously, however, Stahl confirmed to CDN that this was the first story he’d written on the case.

CDN learned that a third party approached Stahl in January of 2015 asking that he write about Sandra Grazzini-Rucki but Stahl declined saying the presence of Nathan posed a problem since he was a disbarred lawyer at the time. Stahl declined to comment when CDN asked why Nathan’s presence was no longer an issue.

Stahl has also declined to provide details of David Rucki’s voluminous criminal and violent history. Stahl also declined to write about Samantha Rucki’s June 30, 2016 police interview when CDN provided it to him.

In that interview Samantha Rucki said she was pressured into recanting by her father, running away was her idea, and she reiterated her father was an abuser .

Read more at http://www.commdiginews.com/life/sandra-grazzini-rucki-sentenced-71420/#jtxfFIM17yZU85bi.99

THE ULTIMATE HYPOCRISY

 

Grazzini-Rucki sentenced to jail, probation

Published September 21, 2016 at 10:49 am

Dave Rucki shares victim impact statement in court

Sandra Grazzini-Rucki was sentenced to 250 days in jail and six years probation after a jury convicted her in July of six felony counts of deprivation of parental rights.A Lakeville mother who hid her two teen daughters for more than two and a half years during a custody battle was sentenced in Dakota County court today.

Grazzini-Rucki, who was given credit for the 133 days she has already spent in jail, will serve the rest of her jail sentence in 15-day increments for the next six years, reporting to jail on Nov. 18 – the day her two daughters were found by law enforcement – starting in 2017.

She was ordered to pay two $944 fines – the dollar amount is the number of days the two girls were missing.

Grazzini-Rucki will participate in the sentence-to-serve program for 12 days each year for the next six. If she fails to show up for any of the days, those days will be added to her jail time.

Grazzini-Rucki was smiling as she was arrested in court at the end of sentencing hearing and was ordered immediately to serve a 34-day jail sentence.

The children’s father David Rucki said he felt the jail time was appropriate.

“It’s not about retribution,” Rucki said. “It’s about being accountable … that’s all I’m looking for is accountability.”

Continue Reading: http://sunthisweek.com/2016/09/21/grazzini-rucki-sentenced-to-jail-probation/