A very sad story which, when you look at Oklahoma politics and budget cuts, isn’t really a surprise — and isn’t just happening in Oklahoma:
A Waukomis woman pleaded guilty Friday to contributing to the death of her 15-year-old daughter, who overdosed while using methamphetamine with her mother at a family reunion last summer.
Linda Tucker had 10 times the lethal dose of the drug in her system when she died, a state medical examiner reported. Authorities said she had taken the drug with her mother, older brother and her mother’s boyfriend. She lay unresponsive in the back seat of a vehicle for several hours before her mother went for help, but it was too late.
[...] child welfare services were contacted nine times with claims Rigsby was using drugs and neglecting the children, according an Oklahoma Commission on Children and Youth report. The complaints were investigated, but there was never an effort to remove the children from Rigsby’s care, said Sheree Powell, spokeswoman for the state Department of Human Services.
She said there were no substantiated allegations of abuse or neglect.
Waukomis woman pleads guilty to contributing to death of her daughter
What’s that have to do with politics? Consider this:
A week later:
APRIL 22, 2011: “Oklahoma is about to become the public health joke of the country,” Health Commissioner Terry Cline told members of a House health appropriations subcommittee.
[...] It’s expected, he said, a 10 percent cut would mean about 24,000 fewer Oklahomans would benefit from Health Department services. That would be in addition to about 11,000 people who were not served after the agency processed a 7.5 percent budget cut during the current 2010 fiscal year.
Cuts to state health departments affect public health, nursing services, nursing home and restaurant inspections, immunizations, investigations, flu shots, newborn screenings, and mental health and substance abuse.
[...] Mental Health Commissioner Terri White told panel members about 8,000 Oklahomans will be less likely to get mental health or substance abuse services if her agency receives a 10 percent cut in the 2011 fiscal year…
White said she expects a 10 percent cut would result in more children being placed in foster care, and the state’s jail and prison systems would see an influx of about 2,600 inmates, whose only crime would be that they were unable to obtain services to treat their illnesses.
About 33 percent of the clients served by the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Department have a previous arrest history, she said.
With fewer services available, she said, it’s expected cases of abuse and neglect would increase in the state. In Oklahoma County, an estimated 1,200 cases of substance-involved child abuse and neglect occurred last year, she said.
Sounds like Oklahoma’s incarceration rate is about to increase. Coincidentally,
Private Prisons with Oklahoma Inmates (Corrections Corporation of America — CCA)
Private Prisons without Oklahoma Inmates (Corrections Corporation of America — CCA)
It could be said that spending cuts which directly effect certain segments of the population becomes a financial advantage to private prisons:
FEBRUARY 12, 2009 | Judges Plead Guilty in Scheme to Jail Youths for Profit: …the judge, Mark A. Ciavarella Jr., and a colleague, Michael T. Conahan, appeared in federal court in Scranton, Pa., to plead guilty to wire fraud and income tax fraud for taking more than $2.6 million in kickbacks to send teenagers to two privately run youth detention centers run by PA Child Care and a sister company, Western PA Child Care.
MAY 24, 2011 | Ohio Proposal Would Lock Up Profits for Private Prisons: Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who pushed through legislation privatizing the state’s economic development functions, now wants to do the same for its correctional system. The Governor has sparked a controversy by proposing the sale of six state-owned prisons (including one juvenile detention facility) to private corrections corporations, which would then operate the facilities under contract to the state.
So what’s that have to do with Governor Mary Fallin or Sarah Palin?
APRIL 30, 2010 | Fallin leads fundraising race in first quarter: During the first quarter, Fallin received $35,000 from political action committees, including the maximum $5,000 each from Associated Anesthesiologists of Tulsa, the Oklahoma Society of Anesthesiologists, Marathon Oil, Corrections Corporation of America and Seaboard Farms, which operates a large hog-raising and processing plant near Guymon.
2008 PRESIDENTIAL RACE — CCA CONTRIBUTIONS: John McCain (R) – $5,000, Fred Thompson (R) – $5,000, Bill Richardson (D) – $5,000.
AUGUST 31, 2008 | Palin, like McCain, keeps lobbyists close at hand: Sarah Palin received $1,800 in campaign contributions from Hutchinson during her gubernatorial campaign. Hutchinson made three contributions of $500 and one of $300, according to the records. Hutchinson’s clients, according to Commission records, include Alaska Airlines, ACS Media, Alaska Communications Systems, American Insurance Association, and Corrections Corporation of America.
Prisons for profit — watch video >>
Isn’t this what is called income redistribution: taking tax payer money from the Health Department and giving it to private prison corporations by creating more prisoners?
* * * UPDATE * * *
And in case you were wondering, the Koch Brothers are involved:
AUGUST 10, 2010 | Private Prisons — The New Hot Investment! (Brought to you by Koch Industries and Corrections Corp of America CWX!!):
Would you look at who is sponsoring the big hype? That’s right the Reason Foundation, which gets a majority of its funding from the Koch Brothers and Richard Mellon Scaife (aka the Mellon Boy). This would be the same group of people behind the Tea Party Movement. How funny to see them in bed with CCA, which is raking it in off the corporate-sponsored illegal immigrant hysteria…
With Koch Industries’ help, CCA is lobbying hard now so that they can present privates prisons as a budget-wise, job-creating alternative on the state level as well. With profits exceeding last year’s by 12%, CCA stands to gain a great deal from crime paranoia, especially as they have now, in their rush to profit through their ICE and federal prison contracts, created far more prison beds than the actual criminal population requires.