Healthy Marriage~Responsible Fatherhood & Faith~Based Grants . . . We Know What the Game Is!


Let’s Get Honest! Blog

Absolutely Uncommon Analysis of Family –and “Conciliation” — Courts’ Operations, Practices, and History

Note To Readers: See New Page “Just HHS, Just Georgia, Just HMRF” grants

Publicizing my new pageHHS Grantees, Just Georgia, Just HMRF (CFDA 93086), May 13, 2016, Report Run. Take a look!  You will see it in the right sidebar, atop a list labeled “Vital Info/Links.” Scroll or “page-down” below a green-background rectangle of text (“Contributions Appreciated” section) to find “Vital Links.”

Also see this related (or, “what inspired it”) 5/12/2016 post:  Despite Truly Funky Tax Returns, HHS Remains Loyal (2010-2015) to One Faith-Based (under Two Diff’t EIN#s, ONE of which the IRS acknowledges#) in Stone Mountain–or is it Conyers?– Georgia

But first and FYI in the cream-colored, fine-print, maroon-bordered box right below, I also put a link to a “Congressional Research Service” (CRS) 12/11/2012 Report showing the Origins of HHS, certain Presidential Powers, and some Recent Developing Trends, and possibly already passed, House and Senate bills re-instituting those Presidential Powers (odd capitalization there deliberate).

Recommended Reading:  This CRS link, “Presidential Reorganization Authority, History, Recent Initiatives, and Options for Congress” (Henry B. Hogue, Dec. 11, 2012), has a Summary which explains a request to renew this authority was made January 2012 by President Obama, and explains how we got the “Federal Security Agency –>>  Health Education and Welfare ==> Health and Human Services  + (separately) Department of Education.

[An extended version of this box recurs below, while I talk some about the situation]…

I might start posting this link at the top of ALL posts until the message sinks in that existing federal agencies are in a state of constant transition, and sometimes re-organization, and we ought to get a basic read on where they came from — and in which direction they are now going.  For, example, does this direction EVER include reducing budgets based on having actually solved any problems they were set up to solve, or curtailing grants streams the grants streams were set up to resolve? And if not, does that not reflect (badly) on either the operation of, or perhaps even the original intentions of, those who pushed for the funding streams in the first place? (“Who” entails both individuals and corporate, often nonprofit “persons” run by certain individuals).

Or, are we going continue, as we do now, sponsoring an UNENDING stream of funding for the behavioral/mental health/social control categories** relating to the family court systems:

Batterer Intervention Programming seeking to further classify Batterer typologies, and simultaneously and opposing the concept that battering is actually “bad,” while attempting to behaviorally modify the batterers, AND, co-parenting coaching in an UNENDING stream attempting to change the behavior of the spouse or parent that protests battering, AND an Unending stream of grants encouraging teenagers to abstain from sex as a way out of poverty (using money diverted from funds that might otherwise more directly help their parents out of poverty, i.e., “TANF”) (“Abstinence Education”) AND so forth.[*as opposed to “medical research and development” or “curtailing the outbreak of contagious diseases” category under which the public health system originated..]

Thus, through these self-contradictory funding streams, the public is forced to separately fund under the banner of men’s rights (to their families, i.e., families as property rights), and women’s rights to not be assaulted or subjected to violence in the name of family (i.e., women, including mothers and the children they have given birth to NOT as an adjunct form of property owned by the men, including fathers), and the institutions (family courts) in which the staged custody battles take place, propped up in part (and — I do show this — the larger part) by Healthy Marriage/Responsible Fatherhood funding, and at that point NOT significantly protected by the Domestic Violence Prevention funding.

Meanwhile, as this built-in funding and “federal policy position” conflict facilitates generation after generation of children growing up witnessing abuse and experienced adults somewhat confused on whether or not it’s a crime, or a social disease, or the fault of their mothers’ or fathers’ lack of “communications skills,” obviously, there is from the USDOJ a Defending Children’s Initiative, plus Task force on Children Exposed to Violence.

Some of these children then, periodically, may run away, which then can be blamed on the mother and generate more criminal cases.  She can be hunted down, or they can be hunted down, at which point the Reunification Services can be ordered — a good deal, if you’re in that business.

The runaway children, and I’m talking now about those  running away from the abusive households to which the family courts “re-aligned” them under Promoting Healthy Marriage, Access and Visitation (etc.) at times MAY enter the foster care system (more HHS funding), OR, they may become runaway youth and end up, temporarily, in a transitional housing for youth shelter.  FYI, one of mine, shortly after reaching the age of majority and having apparently, outlived her fiscal and psychological utility for my “ex” (i.e., reducing significant child support arrears), the family court system (ordering more personnel — a GAL — into the mix, and engendering through poor decision-making, the “left-behind” parent’s [in my case, that was me, the mother] need to keep coming back to court hoping to regain contact with the separated children), which itself then “supports” the rationale to further streamline procedures, reduce legal protections to due process, based on “the courts are overloaded.”

Meanwhile, and I am still talking primarily HHS funding — the “smart ones” who may not necessarily have a strong overlap with the “honest” ones or those with a high personal sense of ethics regarding their own accountability, or understanding of the downside of diverting private nonprofits with private agenda — these “smart ones” (or, politically connected ones) — instead of choosing “just one of the above” can — and my Georgia-based page SHOWS (Excerpts below also validate in part) — are simply positioning themselves, AS ARE STATE AGENCIES, to say, “come through us, government — come to us, clients” and take Abstinence Education, Responsible Fatherhood/Healthy Marriage, AND Family Violence Prevention.

For a reminder (I did post on this in 2016), the “FVPSA” (Family Violence Prevention Services Act) dates back to 1984 and involves primarily the agency HHS.   By contrast, the Violence Against WOMEN Act, was in 1994, and is commonly associated in the public mind, and in general, with the USDOJ’s “Office of Violence Against Women” which exists to implement grants from that Act.  BUT, organizations are free to take from both the USDOJ and the USDHHS, as they are free to take from apparently equal and apparently opposing sides from the staged “gender wars.”

At a certain point, it’s time to call those in the game — at the highest levels, not the lowest levels– at this game, and let our Congressmen and women know that we know what is that game.

In order to do that, I recommend those approaching Congress not show up dumber-than-dirt on who is the HHS, what is “Presidential Reorganization Authority” historically, and a few things about 1996 PRWORA welfare reform as it pertains to HMRF funding as administered through HHS.

So, you might want to bookmark this link and get back to it, and you might want to also mark out some time to read my confrontational and, in general, NOT popular among the domestic violence groups OR protective mothers’ groups* BLOG.

*Why not?  After all, I am indeed a survivor of domestic violence, becoming through those court actions, a “protective mother,” and even though several years down the road, after it became clear that the family court would facilitate a state of ongoing disruption, minus enforceable safety boundaries from the same individual, until suddenly, and temperamentally, switching custody.  Right now, I just discovered leading feminist jumping in to promote the term “Mothers of Lost Children” (and her book) and the same professionals which I have documented, refused to seriously discuss the “HHS / HMRF” factor in between their laments about badly behaving judges, GALs, and custody evaluators.

I learned, over time, that to perpetuate any form of abuse — and economic control is essential to trapping people in abusive relationships, marital or other — the art of, pardon me, bullshitting the bystanders– is an essential part. They need to call it something else — like “Marriage” or “Family.”  There also have to be effective means, utilized at the same time,  of silencing future outcries (dissents), just in case, some bystanders might DO something about the abuse, and cut into the privilege — and profits– involved in exploiting other human beings in the name of some social benefit.

Recommended Reading:  This CRS link, “Presidential Reorganization Authority, History, Recent Initiatives, and Options for Congress” (Henry B. Hogue, Dec. 11, 2012), has a Summary which explains a request to renew this authority was made January 2012 by President Obama, and explains how we got the “Federal Security Agency –>>  Health Education and Welfare ==> Health and Human Services  + (separately) Department of Education.  It also explains the relationship of this particular authority to how forms of it were perpetuated under the Wartime Powers Act (for WWI and WWII) and that, among other things, such agencies as FEMA, the EPA and (as above) HEW were originally formed. This is a fairly neutral report, bipartisan, intended for members of Congress (CRS = Congressional Research Service) of the larger context of one of the largest grant making federal agencies, whose activities I continue report, particularly after learning how badly the policies compromised my personal family line, and kept them in danger, needlessly, for years, based on re-classifying “danger” from existing criminal definitions, to membership in a socially targeted as “dangerous” demographic group, i.e., single-mother=-headed households.

I do not know yet, whether Congress in 2012 did, in fact, reauthorize this “Reorganization Authority” but every thing I can see at the observational level is that a consolidation of federal DEPARTMENTS (HUD, HHS, etc.) programming is taking place under HHS programs targeted to HMRF funding — and the HMRF funding itself, along with funding to “Prevent Family Violence” — is also (at least in Georgia, this page shows) being centralized to go to just a very few organizations, with the former “Statewide Coalitions Against Domestic Violence” (CADV groups), themselves a symptom of centralized control of battered women’s shelters and services to help victims, are getting a small percentage of what the state agencies are getting.

Now, about that New Page, HHS Grantees, Just Georgia, Just HMRF (CFDA 93086), May 13, 2016, Report Run. Take a look!

That approximately 10,000 word PAGE (not post) is meant as an example, and a point of reference to how states are handling both the HMRF funding AND (as it turned out) the DV Funding, and just how centralized it is possible to become over time.  It currently is on top of my list of “Vital Links/Info” on the sidebar.

It is informative, and it does some detailed lookups on the very few grantees at this time, receiving straight CFDA 93086 grants.  As it turns out, some of these are also receiving the bulk of the “Family Violence Prevention/DISCRETIONARY” grants also, and as such have delivered coordinated control of that field over to the same agencies (and there are TWO referenced, which you will see, ONE of which also is handling the Healthy Marriage/Responsible Fatherhood grants).

Again, Title of the page:  HHS Grantees, Just Georgia, Just HMRF (CFDA 93086), May 13, 2016, Report Run. Take a look!

BY THE WAY — I could use some help looking up some of these corporations, from people willing to write-up and provide links to their efforts.  

Contact me through a comment if interested, but expect to make a time commitment if you’re serious about asking my time to again, review how to do this.  If this leads to other posts on this blog, that might also be good….

Why bother?

Well, it’s rewarding and enriching personally to SEE what is happening and there IS no better way to learn it than by starting to look at the evidence first-hand, and let that evidence speak to you.  Listening to the narratives of others who have looked it up and are talking about it, qualifies you as a second-hand witness, not an eye-witness.  Listening to others (including reading their accounts) is no real substitute for the real thing to get the “gray matter” working. It will raise some hard questions which, then, by even attempting to answer, will put anyone in a better position to understand more of current events in this country, including probably (especially, if you’re family-court-involved) in your life also.  There are all kinds of corollary benefits to following the money trail where public funds are involved. Understanding increases exponentially.

One of the hard questions that may come up should also include: “Why haven’t others — why haven’t “the experts” we’ve been reading advocating for Family Court Enhancement (or, Fixing), or about making family courts safe for children, or about stopping domestic violence, or about the issues of “parental alienation” either as a reality, or as an “unsound psychological theory” — talking about the same things Let’s Get Honest and just a few others, over many years, are talking about?

Ideally, if pursued, this might awaken one to the reality of how much national public policy is public relations-driven, i.e., the “Freud’s nephew factor” (Edward L. Bernays). This should then lead to a consideration of who controls the technology on which the media is based, which again, ought to lead RIGHT BACK to, “who owns this place, anyhow?” WHO controls it fiscally, WHO controls the operational infrastructure, and who controls most of the assets in the United States of America.

Continue Reading:

Mom Investigated For Letting Kids Play in Backyard

Child and Family Services worker interrogates mother, inspects home

Criminal Complaint Against Corrupt Dakota Co. Attorneys

Re-blogged from Lion News

Lion News is a local grassroots media outlet. Lion News focuses in on local corruption.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Criminal Complaint Against Corrupt Dakota Co. Attorneys: James Backstrom, Philip Prokopowicz & Kathryn Keena For Illegally Withholding Readily Available, Free, Electronic, Public Data & Discovery For Rigged Case No. 19HA-CR-15-4227 State Of Minnesota VS Deirdre Elise “Dede” Evavold? Dede Was Sent A Fraudulent Bill For $210.00, Wasn’t She? She Was, Wasn’t She? Dede Is The Victim, Isn’t She? She Is, Isn’t She? 02-22-16 Update: Corrupt Lawyer’s Professional Responsibility Board Acknowledges Reciept Of Dede’s Complaint?

Bryan Schafer, Chief of Police                 February 21, 2016
101 4th Street East
Hastings, MN 55033
Phone: (651) 480-2306

Emailed on 02-19-16 to:

Re: Criminal complaint against Dakota Co. Attorneys: James Backstrom, Philip Prokopowicz and Kathryn Keena for illegally withholding readily available, free, electronic, data.

This is my criminal complaint against Dakota Co. Attorneys: James Backstrom, Philip Prokopowicz and Kathryn Keena for illegally withholding readily available, free, electronic, data in violation of the Minnesota Government data practice act (Chapter 13.09) and criminal misconduct of a public official (Chapter 609.43(1)).

On December 12,2015 I emailed my data request and discovery request (see attached) to Carol Renn, Dakota Co. Court Administrator and Philip Prokopowicz, Dakota Co. Chief deputy assistant attorney. I requested that the following readily available, free electronic, public documents be emailed to me: the Dakota county’s Sheriff’s dept’s 2015 Lexipol policy and procedure manual; the 2015 Lexipol custody manual; the 2015 prisoner handbook; the 2015 Dakota county personnel handbook; the 2015 Dakota County data practice manual; the Licensing and Service Quote, Master Software License Agreement, Vendor Questions, Public Safety Software System Recommendation Report and proposals for the the following Dakota county software vendors: Tritech and BCA for eCharging and my discovery for 19HA-CR-15-4227. Prokopowicz willfully refused to respond. Not only that, Renn willfully refused to register my discovery request in my rigged case. On December 30, 2016 I emailed a notice of non-compliance (See attached). Both Renn and Prokopowicz willfully refused to respond. Now I have proof that my case is being rigged, don’t I? I do, don’t I My case is being rigged  so I will automatically be found guilty, isn’t it? It is, isn’t it?

This is especially damning for the reputation of the rigged court since one of rigged court’s documents (See attached) that I received clearly indicated that Dakota Co. is mandate to eFiling. The whole purpose of submitting my December 30, 2015 data request/discovery request was to have my evidence and public data to prepare for my first appearance on January 11, 2016. Neither Dakota Co. judicial officer Karen Asphuaug, Dakota Co. Court Administrator Carol Renn, Dakota Co. Attorney James Backstrom, Dakota Co. Chief deputy assistant co. attorney Philip Prokopowicz nor Assistant Dakota Co. attorney Kathryn Keena wanted me to be prepared for my rigged first appearance, did they? They didn’t, did they?

Case No. 19HA-CR-15-4227 State of Minnesota vs Deirdre Elise Evavold 01/11/2016    First Appearance (9:00am) (Judicial officer, Asphaug, Karen) 01/11/2016 Waiver of Time Requirement for Hearing
02/02/2016 Demand/Request for Discovery  Doc ID# 5
03/07/2016 Omnibus Hearing  (9:00 AM) (Judicial Officer Asphaug, Karen)

At my first appearance on January 11, 2016 Assistant Dakota Co. attorney Kathryn Keena neither handed me my discovery nor did she hand me my readily available, free, electronic, pubic data before or after the rigged hearing. It was clear that to me that the the whole purpose of this malicious scam was to force me to plead guilty without ever seeing my evidence nor my  my readily available, free, electronic, pubic data.

Foolishly, on February 2, 2016 I faxed a discovery request to Renn and Keena. I say foolishly since instead of receiving my readily available, free, electronic, pubic data and my discovery I received a fraudulent bill (See attached) in the mail for $210.00. First of all, there is no law that requires Page 1 of 4

Backstrom to charge me anything for my readily available, free, electronic, pubic data nor my discovery. Second, there is a law that requires Backstrom to give (email) me a free electronic copy of their data practice manual. Third, there is a law that requires Backstrom to justify his fraudulent bill. Fourth there is a law that prohibits Backstrom from mailing fraudulent bills. Fifth, there is a law that limits Backstrom charge for any data to me to actual costs. (Actual costs for a CD is only (2) two cents – not $15.00, right? Plus, (6) six CD can fit onto one (1) DVD, right?) Apparently, Backstrom thinks and acts like he is above the law since he has willfully refused to justify his fraudulent bill and willfully refused to provide proof that he is in compliance with the data practice laws. Instead, Backstrom just had  his minion, Keena, send me another harassing letter. I have no confidence that I will receive a fair trial. I have a reasonable suspicion that rigging court cases is standard operating procedure in Dakota County. The real victim is the person who is on trial. There is no justice in Dakota County, is there? That must be why Samantha and Gianna Rucki ran away, huh? The only reason I am filing this legitimate criminal complaint is to prove that the Hasting Police department is just a much of a joke and the corrupt Dakota Co. attorney’s office and the corrupt Dakota Co. Court.

Deirdre “Dede” Evavold
3015 30th St. Ct. S.
St. Cloud, MN 56301
Phone: 320-293-6233

Trial-by-ambush can be very effective if you are are the party with all the aces up your sleeve, but many worthy persons believe justice suffers in the process. George R. Dekle, Sr, Prosecution Principles: A Clinical Handbook (Thompson/West: 2007). page 144.

“We have held that when the State suppresses or fails to disclose material exculpatory evidence, the good or bad faith of the prosecution is irrelevant: a due process violation occurs whenever such evidence is withheld.” Illinois v. Fisher.² 2. 540 U.S. 544, 547, 124 S.Ct. 1200, 1202 (2004). George R. Dekle, Sr, Prosecution Principles: A Clinical Handbook, Page 145.

Effective July 1, 2015, attorneys, government agencies, and guardians ad litem are now required to electronically file and serve documents in all court cases filed in the 11 eCourtMN pilot counties. This includes all cases filed in Cass, Clay, Cook, Dakota, Faribault, Hennepin, Kandiyohi, Lake, Morrison, Ramsey, and Washington counties. eFiling now mandatory for attorneys, agencies, GALs in 11 pilot counties, effective July 1 Posted: Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Subd. 4. Availability. The responsible authority shall make copies of the policies required under subdivisions 2 and 3 easily available to the public by distributing free copies to the public or by posting the policies in a conspicuous place within the government entity that is easily accessible to the public or by posting it on the government entity’s Web site. 13.025 GOVERNMENT ENTITY OBLIGATION.

(d) … Any fee charged must be clearly demonstrated by the government entity to relate to the actual development costs of the information. The responsible authority, upon the request of any person, shall provide sufficient documentation to explain and justify the fee being charged. 13.03 ACCESS TO GOVERNMENT DATA.

Copy Costs Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 13, allows, but does not require, government entities to charge for copies of government data

If we have the data, but the data are confidential or private data that are not about you, we will notify you within 10 business days and state which specific law says you cannot access the data. Data Practices Policy for Data Subjects – If your entity adopts this model policy, it must notify the Commissioner of Administration per Minnesota Statutes, section 13.073, subd. 6. Please use the notification information at the end of this model policy. Page 4

In situations in which the requester clearly identifies the data sought, and the data exist (other than the compilation of the policy letters), the only thing that seems to be required of the government entity, in order to meet its statutory obligation, is to photocopy the data and provide it to the requester. A response five weeks later is neither prompt nor reasonable. Although the Department did not provide information about its data practices policies and procedures, in instances like this one, those procedures ought to provide for a response within a matter of days, not weeks.

We will provide electronic copies (such as email or CD-ROM) upon request if we keep the data in electronic format. Data Practices Policy for Data Subjects – If your entity adopts this model policy, it must notify the Commissioner of Administration per Minnesota Statutes, section 13.073, subd. 6. Page 5  Actual Cost – These can be included: Cost of media (paper, CD ROMs, DVDs, etc.) … Entities cannot charge search for and retrieval time when the requestor is the data subject.

Notice to Commissioner of Administration: Adoption of Model Policies [Name of entity] has adopted the Commissioner’s Model Policy for the Public and Model Policy for Data Subjects. This notice to the Commissioner satisfies [name of entity]’s obligation under Minnesota Statutes, section 13.073, subdivision 6. . Data Practices Policy for Data Subjects – If your entity adopts this model policy, it must notify the Commissioner of Administration per Minnesota Statutes, section 13.073, subd. 6. Page 10

Mail fraud. The use of the mails to defraud is a federal offense requiring the government to prove a knowing use of the mail to execute the fraudulent scheme. U.S. v. Dondich (C.A. Cal.), 506 F.2d 1009. Elements of “mail fraud” are a scheme to defraud and the mailing of a letter for the purpose of executing the scheme. U.S. v. Scoblick, D.C. Pa.,  124 F.Supp. 881, 887. Black’s Law Dictionary 5th Edition, page 858.

Using mail to to defraud.  The elements of this offense are the formation of a scheme or artifice to defraud, and use of mails for the purpose of executing or attempting to execute such a scheme or artifice; the later element being the gist of the of the offense. 18 U.S.C.A. 1341. Stryker v. United States, C.C.A.Colo., 95 F.2d 601, 604, 605. The crime complete when mails are used in such scheme, and what happened subsequently is not controlling. United States v. Ames D.C.N.Y., 39 F. Supp. 885, 886. Black’s Law Dictionary 5th Edition, page 1383.

Willful. Proceeding from a conscious motion of the will; voluntary. Intending the result which actually comes to pass; designed; intentional; not accidental or involuntary. Black’s Law Dictionary. 5th Ed..  Page 1434.

13.09 PENALTIES. (a) Any person who willfully violates the provisions of this chapter or any rules adopted under this chapter or whose conduct constitutes the knowing unauthorized acquisition of not Page 3 of 4

public data, as defined in section 13.055, subdivision 1, is guilty of a misdemeanor. (b) Willful violation of this chapter, including any action subject to a criminal penalty under paragraph (a), by any public employee constitutes just cause for suspension without pay or dismissal of the public employee.  609.43 MISCONDUCT OF PUBLIC OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE. A public officer or employee who does any of the following, for which no other sentence is specifically provided by law, may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than one year or to payment of a fine of not more than $3,000, or both: (1) intentionally fails or refuses to perform a known mandatory, nondiscretionary, ministerial duty of the office or employment within the time or in the manner required by law; or Page 4 of 4

02-22-16 Update:

From: Burns, Pat []
Sent: Monday, February 22, 2016 7:11 AM
Subject: complaint against Dakota County Attorneys

Ms. Evavold,
Mr. Hird has forwarded to us your complaint against several Dakota County Attorneys.  We will review that complaint to determine whether to investigate.  For future reference, complaints against attorneys should be sent directly to this office rather than to individual members of the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board.  Complaints may either be mailed to us or submitted via our web site:

Patrick R. Burns
First Assistant Director/Acting Director
Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility
1500 Landmark Towers
345 Saint Peter Street
Saint Paul, MN 55102

My email to “Special Star Tribune Correspondent” Michael Brodkorb:

from:    Lion News
date:    Sun, Feb 21, 2016 at 7:41 PM
subject:    News Flash: Dede Evavold files criminal complaint against corrupt Dakota Co. Attorneys: James Backstrom, Philip Prokopowicz & Kathryn Keena?

Michael Brodkord, Special Correspondent with Star Tribune (612) 234-7154:

Just so you know, Dede Evavold filed a criminal complaint against your favorite corrupt Dakota Co. attorneys James Backstrom, Philip Prokopowicz & Kathryn Keena on Sunday, February 21, 2016. Did you get a secret decoder ring with your title of “special correspondent”? Inquiring minds want to know, don’t they?

Terry Dean, Nemmers (320) 283-5713

P.S. I’ve successfully thrown monkey wrenches into more than one felony case, haven’t I?

Criminal Complaint Against Corrupt Dakota Co. Attorneys: James Backstrom, Philip Prokopowicz & Kathryn Keena For Illegally Withholding Readily Available, Free, Electronic, Public Data & Discovery For Rigged Case No. 19HA-CR-15-4227 State Of Minnesota VS Deirdre Elise “Dede” Evavold? Dede Was Sent A Fraudulent Bill For $210.00, Wasn’t She? She Was, Wasn’t She? Dede Is The Victim, Isn’t She? She Is, Isn’t She?

More to come . . .

Nazi Germany ~ I Mean the United States (Same Difference)

Reblogged from ActivistPost.Com

Nebraska Is Torturing Incarcerated Youth for Having Too Many Books, Passing Notes

prison-370112_1280By Carey Wedler

A report released by the Nebraska American Civil Liberties Union this week reveals the state’s extensive use of solitary confinement for children across multiple juvenile detention centers. Solitary confinement is considered a form of torture by the U.N., and in recent years, has been outlawed and scaled back in the United States. In Nebraska, however, children are being forced into isolation for offenses as minor as having too many books or passing notes.

According to the Center for Constitutional Rights, in the early 19th century, the United States pioneered solitary confinement as a form of punishment. After its damaging psychological effects became apparent, however, it was discontinued. Though the practice recently regained popularity, it has once again been skewered as excessive and dangerous.

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan Mendez, concluded in 2011 that “even 15 days in solitary confinement constitutes torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and 15 days is the limit after which irreversible harmful psychological effects can occur.”

“Considering the severe mental pain or suffering solitary confinement may cause,” Mendez said, “it can amount to torture…when used as a punishment, during pre-trial detention, indefinitely or for a prolonged period, for persons with mental disabilities or juveniles.” Mendez, an Argentinian human rights activist and attorney who was personally tortured by the military in his native country in the 1970s, urged an “absolute prohibition” on solitary confinement for juveniles and those with mental illness.

Experts stress that because children are not developmentally mature, the effects of torture may be more pronounced. The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatrists opposes the practice altogether, though Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative recommends it be used for no more than four hours — a guideline Nebraska facilities routinely violate.

Reports from recent years indicate many states are taking efforts to reduce the extent of the practice, including many of Nebraska’s neighboring states.

Even New York’s Rikers Island, notorious for its abuse of prisoners, moved last year to discontinue the use of solitary confinement for inmates under the age of 21. A successful class action suit filed in 2015 on behalf of California inmates at the Pelican Bay State Prison had sweeping effects on the state’s solitary confinement system.

Nebraska, however, has not followed this trend, in spite of the psychological consequences and multiple violations of constitutional rights that come along with it.

Concerned by previous findings on the state’s use of solitary confinement on children, the Nebraska branch of the ACLU examined written policies from different facilities on the practice. It also issued open records requests to obtain logs detailing the implementation of the punishment.

The ACLU found, “A young Nebraskan’s experience with solitary confinement is completely arbitrary and dependent upon the facility in which he or she is placed.”

For example, two facilities run by the Department of Health and Human Services, located in Geneva and Kearney, had individual stays in solitary that lasted at most 5 and 5.1 days, respectively. Both institutions have policies limiting confinement to five days, though this duration is still longer than experts recommend. A county facility located in Sarpy had relatively low numbers; its longest stay was less than half a day. Interestingly, it does not have a policy dictating limits on the practice.

The longest stay at the state’s Nebraska Correctional Youth Facility, located in Douglas County, was 90 days — 75 days longer than the maximum recommended for adults. That facility’s shortest stay was a full day, also longer than the recommended duration for children. A county facility located in Madison County, the Northeast Nebraska Juvenile Services Center, had at least one solitary sentence lasting 52 days. Its shortest, like the Douglas facility, was one full day.

The length of the average stay often exceeded the recommended length of time at each facility (four hours), as well. Kearney and Geneva averaged confinement durations of 20.8 and 50.24 hours, respectively. Others were slightly lower, as in the case of a county facility in Lancaster, which averaged 14.15 hour stays. However, employees at Lancaster likely sentenced a higher volume of children to confinement, considering the total number of days spent in solitary at the facility was 455.85; though the stays were relatively short, they were distributed across a high number of students and were still longer than recommended. The ACLU noted Lancaster’s solitary logs “demonstrate the seemingly often arbitrary and subjective use of solitary confinement as a form of punishment.”

The Nebraska Correctional Youth Facility in Douglas County, which ranked highest for its longest individual stay — 90 days — ranked second highest in the average length of punishment: 187.66 hours, or nearly eight days. Children spent 2,021.04 total days in solitary confinement. Further, Madison County’s state-run Northeast NE Juvenile Services Center had the longest average stay: 189.16 hours. The total days spent in solitary by all juvenile inmates was 1,064.

According to the ACLU, this problem disproportionately affects minorities. Though only 20% of youth in Nebraska are “of color,” the ACLU reports, they make up 55% of the juvenile detention population in the state.

Regardless of race, the ACLU suggested the overuse of the punishment occurs because “The lack of statewide standards leaves facilities with far too much discretion, often resulting in the use of solitary confinement for improper or unnecessary purposes.” While some facilities allow students to attend educational activities while in solitary, others enforce complete isolation. The inciting activities of students are equally arbitrary.

Citing official logs detailing children sentenced to the punishment, the Nebraska ACLU noted one student was sent for rummaging through garbage to look for cookies, failing to stop when asked. Another was doing pull ups on a window ledge. One passed a note in class, yet another was caught talking in the hallway, and one deviant had a thread from a sock in their mouth . Most egregiously, two instances of solitary confinement were prompted after children were determined to have an “excessive” number of books. Often, the punishment excludes the child from attending educational classes or so much as socializing with other children, further limiting their ability to learn.

Jacob Rusher was held at the Douglas Correctional Youth Facility from the age of 15 to 17. He told the ACLU he was placed in solitary confinement for three months on multiple occasions. First, it was for his own protection after he broke his ankle. Then, he says he was placed in solitary after being attacked by older detainees: “It was 23 hours a day alone, no TV or radio,” he said. “You were in there with one book, a blanket, a mat, and a toothbrush. No art materials, no hobby items — everything was considered contraband.”

Solitary confinement can have staggering consequences. As the ACLU report detailed:

For adults, the effects can be persistent mental health problems, or worse, suicide. And for children, who are still developing and more vulnerable to irreparable harm, the risks of solitary are magnified – protracted isolation and solitary confinement can be permanently damaging, especially for those with mental illness.

Yet in one case study, the ACLU found a female inmate who threatened self-harm was subsequently placed in solitary confinement. Lisa, now an adult, recalled her experience. “Ironically (because I was in solitary for self harm), I survived my time alone by just falling back on hurting myself,” she said. “I’d bite my own cheeks and tongue, banging my head on the wall.”

Though it seems the world is evolving past this form of cruel and unusual punishment, Nebraska’s practices demonstrate there is still work to be done. The ACLU offered several recommendations to scale back and standardize solitary confinement, including using it as a last resort, ensuring due process — such as letting the inmate know why they are subjected to it — and mandating staff members be educated in youth development, mental health, and de-escalation techniques.

As Lisa observed:

What are the facilities trying to accomplish? If it is to manage somebody’s behavior so they don’t harm themselves or someone else, it doesn’t work — it just creates more isolation, anger and separation and hopelessness. We need to be cognizant of how many traumatic and difficult, violating experiences these youths have already had. Solitary just re-traumatizes them. Much of what was done to me was out of ignorance, not evil, but I want people to recognize that we can change things for the better.

This article (Nebraska Is Torturing Incarcerated Youth for Having Too Many Books, Passing Notes) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Carey Wedler and Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific.