WASHINGTON, DC — The National Association of Counties (NACo) and the National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA) recently announced the formation of a joint task force to reduce jail inmate recidivism through continuity of health care services.Middlesex Sheriff Peter Koutoujian, who has been a leading voice in both the local and national discussions regarding the intersection of behavioral health and the criminal justice system, has been selected to serve on the task force.The task force, made up of NACo and NSA members representing county leaders, law enforcement, judges, prosecutors, public defenders, behavioral health and veterans’ services, will explore the impacts of the national mental and behavioral health crisis and the Medicaid Inmate Exclusion Policy (MIEP), which strips federal health and veterans’ benefits from individuals upon admission to jail – not upon conviction – leading to increased recidivism.“Stripping federal health benefits from those jailed but not convicted, and are presumed innocent, is a violation of their constitutional rights,” said NACo Executive Director Matthew Chase. “By providing continuity of health care to those most in need, counties can help break the cycle of recidivism exacerbated by untreated physical and mental illnesses and substance use disorders.”“This task force will work tirelessly to remove the roadblocks people face in getting the care they need,” said NSA Executive Director and CEO Jonathan Thompson. “These experienced people will fix this problem and help the thousands of mentally ill citizens trapped in Americas’ jail without the proper care.” Members of the new task force will explore the impacts of existing federal policies on recidivism and health outcomes of local jail inmates. A focus will be placed on those individuals suffering from mental health, substance use disorders and/or other chronic health illnesses.An issue plaguing sheriffs and jails throughout the United States is that of the increasing number of inmates with substance abuse and co-occurring disorders. Due to the lack of community resources, jails have become the de-facto mental health hospitals and treatment facilities and have assumed the liability as well. Across the nation, there is growing reliance on local jails to serve as “one-stop” treatment centers for these afflictions. Under current law, those who can afford bail keep their health care while those unable to pay – who are most susceptible to illness – face a gap in coverage. Research shows gaps in coverage lead to higher rates of recidivism resulting in over-incarceration.The double standard created by MIEP is putting undue strain on local judicial, law enforcement, public safety and human services systems leading to increased health care costs and poorer health outcomes. Having access to federal health benefits for non-convicted individuals would allow for improved coordination of care, while decreasing short-term costs to local taxpayers and long-term costs to the federal government.The suspension of federal benefits for pre-trial detainees not only presents constitutional challenges but also unjustly increases the fiscal impact on sheriffs and counties to pay for needed medical and mental health care, that but for their incarceration, the federal government would cover. These monies, if reinstated, would increase sheriffs’ ability to provide additional programming and resources to inmates and allow for a smoother transition into communities for the inmate without a lapse in benefits and medical care.Read more about the need to reinstate federal health care benefits for non-convicted justice-involved individuals here.Members of the Task Force:Co-Chair: Hon. Nancy SharpeCommissioner, Arapahoe County, Colo.Co-Chair: Hon. Greg ChampagneSheriff, St. Charles Parish, La.Delrice AdamsExecutive Director, Cook County, Ill. Justice Advisory CouncilHon. Michael AdkinsonSheriff,Walton County, Fla.Hon. Kathryn BargerSupervisor, Los Angeles County, Calif.Hon. Roy Charles BrooksCommissioner, Tarrant County, TexasHon. Brett ClarkSheriff, Hendricks County, Ind.Hon. Jerry ClaytonSheriff, Washtenaw County, Mich.Hon. Thomas DartSheriff, Cook County, Ill.Hon. Jerry DemingsMayor, Orange County, Fla.Hon. John FlynnDistrict Attorney, Erie County, N.Y., Member of the Board of Directors, National District Attorneys AssociationHon. Daron HallSheriff, Davidson County, Tenn.Hon. Michael HeldmanSheriff, Hancock County, OhioHon. David HudsonJudge, Sebastian County, Ark.Hon. Clay JenkinsJudge, Dallas County, TexasHon. Peter J. KoutoujianSheriff, Middlesex County, Mass.Hon. Steven LeifmanAssociate Administrative Judge, Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida, Miami-Dade County, Fla.Nick MacchioneDirector, Health and Human Services Agency, San Diego County, Calif.Hon. John McMahonSheriff,San Bernardino County, Calif.Hon. Gabriel Morgan Sr.Sheriff, Newport News, Va.Hon. Christopher MossCounty Executive, Chemung County, N.Y.Hon. Eric SeversonSheriff, Waukesha County, Wisc.Hon. Helen StoneCommissioner, Chatham County, Ga.Hon. Tim SvensonSheriff, Yamhill County, Ore.Hon. Janet ThompsonCommissioner, Boone County, Mo.Hon. Errol Toulon, Jr.Sheriff, Suffolk County, N.Y.Hon. Jenny WilsonMayor, Salt Lake County, UtahEdward ZacharyDirector, Veterans Service Office, Medina County, OhioAbout The National Association of Counties & National Sheriffs’ AssociationThe National Association of Counties (NACo) strengthens America’s counties, including nearly 40,000 county elected officials and 3.6 million county employees. Founded in 1935, NACo unites county officials to advocate for county government priorities in federal policymaking; promote exemplary county policies and practices; nurture leadership skills and expand knowledge networks; optimize county and taxpayer resources and cost savings; and enrich the public’s understanding of county government. www.naco.orgThe National Sheriffs’ Association is one of the largest associations of law enforcement professionals in the U.S., representing more than 3,000 elected Sheriffs across the nation, and with a total membership of more than 20,000. NSA is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising the level of professionalism among Sheriffs, their deputies, and others in the field of law enforcement, public safety, and criminal justice. Throughout its seventy-eight year history, NSA has also served as an information resource for all law enforcement, as well as State governments and the Federal government.(NOTE: The above press release is from the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office.)Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? 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Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi delivers a speech to the nation over the Rakhine and Rohingya situation, in Naypyitaw, Myanmar September 19, 2017. Reuters File PhotoMyanmar’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi is the latest in a long line of Nobel Peace Prize laureates to disappoint many of those who once applauded her, and probably won’t be the last, a cautionary tale for the 2017 laureate who will be named next week.Suu Kyi is facing international criticism, including from fellow peace prize winner Desmond Tutu, for not doing more to stop what the U.N. says are mass killings, rapes and the burning of villages taking place in Rakhine state. The violence has forced 421,000 Rohingya Muslims into neighbouring Bangladesh.That is a turnaround from 1991, when the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded her the prize and praised “her non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights”. Once awarded, the prize cannot be withdrawn.“This has happened many times before that laureates have been criticised,” said Professor Geir Lundestad, who was the secretary of the Norwegian Nobel Committee from 1990 to 2014.Lundestad said the prize remains a force for good, even if some winners later fall short of its ideals: “Aung Sang Suu Kyi was a very important spokeswoman for human rights in Burma and much of Asia. You cannot take that away from her.”The Nobel prizes were established by Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, whose fortune came in part from making and selling arms. The peace prize, worth 9 million Swedish Krona ($1.1 million) will be announced on Oct. 6 and can go to one or more individuals or organisations.A number of winners of the peace prize have gone on to launch wars or escalate them.Israeli leader Menachem Begin ordered the invasion of Lebanon in 1982, four years after sharing the Nobel with Egypt’s Anwar Sadat for their Camp David peace accord. Sadat was assassinated by an Islamist army officer in 1981.Palestinian leader Yassir Arafat shared the 1994 prize with Israel’s Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres for the Oslo accords, which have not brought a lasting settlement to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Rabin was assassinated by a far-right nationalist in 1995 and Peres was voted out of office eight months later. Arafat later presided over the Palestinians during the second intifada, a violent uprising against Israeli occupation.Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, awarded the prize in 1990 for his role in bringing the Cold War to a peaceful end, sent tanks in 1991 to try to stop the independence of the Baltic countries, though he later let them become independent.U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger shared the 1973 prize with North Vietnam’s Le Duc Tho for what turned out to be failed efforts to end the Vietnam War. Tho declined the award, the only laureate ever to do so, accusing Washington of violating the truce. The war ended in 1975 with the fall of Saigon to the North Vietnamese.When U.S. president Barack Obama won in 2009 just months after taking office, even he said he was surprised. By the time he came to Oslo to collect the prize at the end of the year, he had ordered the tripling of U.S. troops in Afghanistan.“I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the considerable controversy that your generous decision has generated,” he said in his speech. “I’m responsible for the deployment of thousands of young Americans to battle in a distant land. Some will kill, and some will be killed. And so I come here with an acute sense of the costs of armed conflict.”PRICE TOO STEEPAmong Suu Kyi’s critics is Tutu who, in a Sept. 7 letter to his “dearly beloved younger sister” writes: “If the political price of your ascension to the highest office in Myanmar is your silence, the price is surely too steep.”On 19 September, Suu Kyi condemned rights abuses in Rakhine state and said violators would be punished. While Western diplomats and aid officials welcomed the tone of her message, some doubted if she had done enough to deflect global criticism.Dan Smith, the director of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, said the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize might even have harmed the Rohingya.“She has an aura,” he said of Suu Kyi, adding that maybe her stellar international reputation “masked the true awfulness” of abuses over many years of the Rohingya.“When she responded to questions about the Rohingya by saying ‘why are you focusing on them, not on other issues?, people were inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt.”Suu Kyi was the rare winner, like Nelson Mandela, to rise from political prisoner to national leader. Mandela stepped down after five years as South Africa’s first black president with his reputation largely unblemished, but some of his allies from the apartheid-era liberation movement faced scandals in office.“Maybe it’s this move from the image of the bold, heroic defender of human rights and ordinary people … into what is inevitably a more grubby world of politics where compromises are made” that tarnishes reputations, said Smith.SAINTS AND SINNERSEven saints face criticism. Mother Teresa, the 1979 Nobel winner canonised by Pope Francis last year, was faulted in 1994 by British medical journal The Lancet for offering neither diagnoses nor strong pain killers to dying patients in her Calcutta hospice.The decision to give the award in 2012 to the European Union was criticised at the time. Brussels was then imposing tough financial bailout conditions on member Greece that many economists said destroyed livelihoods. Tutu, among others, also faulted the EU as an organisation that uses military force.The risk of disappointment arises because Nobel committees pick laureates for the hope they carry or a recent achievement, rather than the sum of a career, said Asle Sveen, a historian of the Nobel Peace Prize.“It is always a risk when they promote somebody, because they are getting involved in politics,” he told Reuters. “And they cannot predict what is going to happen in the future.”“That is what makes the Nobel Peace Prize different from all the other peace prizes,” said Sveen. “Otherwise you would give the prize to very old people just before they die.”Among the favourites are parties to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, such as Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini and John Kerry, the U.S. Secretary of State at the time.The deal, which saw Iran agree to curbs on its nuclear programme in return for the lifting of international sanctions, has been criticised by hardliners in both Tehran and Washington. U.S. President Donald Trump called it “an embarrassment to the United States” in a speech at the United Nations this month, and has suggested Washington could repudiate it.Experts on the prize say it is precisely the sort of breakthrough among foes that the committee tends to recognise.“This is the first time that a country subjected to Chapter VII (of the U.N. Charter) has seen its situation resolved peacefully,” said Henrik Urdal, Director of the Peace Research Institute Oslo, referring to how Iran’s nuclear programme is no longer labelled a threat by the U.N. Security Council.“Focusing on the EU and Iran would also be a signal to the United States that the Iran nuclear deal has a broad support base,” Urdal told reporters.Other possible contenders are Pope Francis, Syria’s “White Helmet” rescue crews, the UN refugee agency UNHCR and its high commissioner Filippo Grandi. UNHCR has already won twice.Last year’s prize went to Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos for his efforts to end half a century of war that killed a quarter of million people.
A Prothom Alo IllustrationA suspected robber was killed in what the law enforcers called a gunfight with them at Jorda in Bera upazila of Pabna early Thursday.The deceased is Waliullah, 31, an alleged member of an inter-district robber gang and son of Akbar Ali of Shanila in Sadar upazila. He was wanted in eight robbery cases, reports UNB.Shahid Mahmud, officer-in-charge of Bera police station, said the police arrested Waliullah on Wednesday and later conducted a drive along with him to recover arms around 3:30am.Sensing the presence of the law enforcers, the criminals opened fire on the police, forcing them to retaliate that triggered a gunfight.At one stage, the police added that Waliullah suffered bullet wounds while the others managed to flee.Waliullah was then taken to Bera Upazila Health Complex where doctors declared him dead.According to the law enforcement, one pistol, one shutter gun, two magazines, six bullets and 17 phensidyl were recovered from the spot.