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A Simple, Ugly Fact: America's Jails Are Crammed with the Poor and Unhealthy

March 7, 2015 in Blogs

By Julia Stasch, The Guardian

Our jails are not equipped to treat the mentally ill.


Jail is not supposed to be where you put the mentally ill or those too poor to pay bail. Nor is it supposed to be where African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans and Asians go for crimes that don’t land white people behind bars. But that is what they are increasingly becoming.

The primary purpose of jails, unlike prisons, is to be a temporary holding space where those who are a danger to the public or are a flight risk can await court proceedings. But they now hold many who are neither. Too often, jails are warehouses of low-risk individuals who are too poor to post bail or too sick for existing community resources to manage. 

Many jails today are being asked to do the job of mental health institutions, even though they lack the resources and expertise to treat people suffering from mental illness or substance abuse. Research shows that serious mental illness affects an estimated 14.5% of men in jails and 31% of women – rates that are three to six times higher than in the general population. 

Jail time is also being served by nonviolent offenders who can’t afford bail or a wide variety of criminal justice system fees, while wealthy defendants buy their way out. In New York City in 2012, 31% of non-felony defendants confined in jail until their cases were resolved were unable to make bail of less than $500. People are locked up – for months – as a result of driving with an expired license, or for a minor drug offense. 

While incarceration starts locally in county and city jails, it of course doesn’t stop there. Research shows that even a few days in jail before trial or release can increase the likelihood of receiving a sentence of incarceration – and can increase the harshness of that sentence. 

Unnecessary and inappropriate jail stays can cut off residents from their jobs, children and much-needed support like mental health counseling or drug treatment. It can send them into …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Man Can't Sue Applebee's For Burning Himself While Praying Over Fajitas

March 7, 2015 in Blogs

By Travis Gettys, Raw Story

He claimed he was served hot food.


New Jersey man cannot collect damages for his injuries after he was burned while praying over a hot fajita skillet at Applebee’s, an appeals court ruled.

Hiram Jiminez claims the waitress failed to warn him that the sizzling platter was hot before he bowed his head over the skillet in prayer during a March 2010 visit to the chain restaurant, reported NJ.com.

Jiminez said he heard a loud sizzling noise as his face was bowed just inches from the freshly cooked meal and then was burned by grease popping in his eye and face.

The diner said he panicked and knocked the piping-hot steak fajita onto his lap, which caused more burns.

Jiminez did not suffer any scarring from his burns, but he sued the restaurant for damages, claiming the eatery negligently served him hot food.

A lower court dismissed the case, finding the danger posed by the fiery fajita should have been “open and obvious” before Jiminez bent his face toward the smoking cast-iron skillet.

The appeals court agreed with the lower court’s decision, saying “the danger posed by a plate of sizzling hot food was self-evident.”

 

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Dating Site Kicks Off Thousands of Members For Gaining Weight

March 7, 2015 in Blogs

By Colin Gorenstein, Salon.com

3,000 people were told, “It is a necessary evil in order to maintain the beautiful community.”


BeautifulPeople.com, the elitist dating website that aims to connect only the genetic cream of the crop with matches, is under scrutiny today after ousting 3,000 members it deemed had “let themselves go,” according to N.Y. Daily News 

 

This isn’t the first time the crazed husband-and-wife duo behind the website, Genevieve and Greg Hodge, have laid down the law in such a way. During Christmas of 2010, 5,000 members who had packed on some holiday weight from Thanksgiving were sent packing their bags after uploading new photos to the website that weren’t up to snuff. The site’s founder, Robert Hintze, said in a statement that year, “Letting fatties roam the site is a direct threat to our business model.”

Oh, but if it’s any consolation: BeautifulPeople.com’s co-owner Genevieve Hodge said in a statement following the recent purge that she gets no satisfaction out of kicking these people to the curb — it just has to be done! “This may sound harsh, and it is the most difficult part of managing the business,” she said. “We take no pleasure in removing members, but it is a necessary evil in order to maintain the beautiful community and our prized business model.”

According to Greg Hodge, the two main reasons for removing members was weight gain and “graceless aging.”

To curious onlookers this community might seem like an absolute joke — but it’s certainly not one to L.A.-based actress Tawmie Lynn, who underwent plastic surgery after being kicked out of the exclusive community the first time. Following the procedure she was accepted back in, and has become somewhat of a loyal banner-holder for the website.

She told the Daily Mail: “If the management failed to maintain the quality of the site by polluting the gene pool, most members would leave. It would make Beautiful People just like every other dating site  – full of the kind of people you wouldn’t want to share an elevator with, let alone date.”

  <!– All divs have been put onto …read more

Source: ALTERNET