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News Roundup

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Seven inmates were killed and many others were wounded during a prison riot in South Carolina on Sunday night.  Columbia newspaper The State reports that a disagreement over gang territory and contraband erupted into a massive and violent fight that spanned three dormitories at Lee Correctional Institution, a maximum-security facility located between Columbia and Florence.  The report from The State paints a bleak picture of Lee Correctional and other South Carolina prisons, saying that the state’s prisons as a whole “are rife with violence, illegal weapons, and gangs.”  The incident is the nation’s deadliest prison riot in 25 years.  Keep reading for more news.

Understaffing.  The News Roundup previously has noted that understaffing is a problem in North Carolina prisons and contributed to the deadly escape attempt at Pasquotank Correctional Institution last year.  Another report from The State says that understaffing contributed to the riot at Lee Correctional, and that South Carolina Department of Corrections staffing levels last year were at “crisis levels.”  Insufficient compensation is said to be the primary driver of the staffing problem.

Sessions.  Attorney General Jeff Sessions visited Raleigh on Tuesday to meet with law enforcement and federal prosecutors.  In his public remarks, Sessions discussed the ongoing opioid crisis, telling the crowd that the number of people who died from opioid use in 2016 exceeded the seating capacity of Carter-Finley Stadium.  He later spoke privately at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Raleigh.

Deputy Shot.  A Harnett County sheriff’s deputy who was shot in the face over the weekend has been moved out of intensive care but still requires multiple surgeries, according to WRAL.  Corporal Eric Cook was shot twice by 16-year-old Mario Alexander Garza III, who Cook had located after Garza was reported missing; Cook’s bulletproof vest stopped one of the shots.  Best wishes to Cook for a speedy recovery.

Hege.  Last month, the News Roundup noted that former Davidson County Sheriff Gerald Hege had announced that he would run again for his old job, but that there was some question of whether his expunged convictions for felony obstruction of justice would be an obstacle to his candidacy.  This week, the Winston-Salem Journal reported that the Davidson County Board of Elections voted 3-1 to allow Hege’s candidacy to proceed in the face of a challenge by a county resident.

Starbucks.  Starbucks believes in having “a positive impact of the communities [it] serves” and in offering its stores “as a place for public conversation and elevating civic engagement.”  These professed beliefs are a stark contrast to the actual experience of two black men who arrived at a Starbucks in Philadelphia this week for a business meeting and were quickly thereafter arrested for trespassing and held in custody for eight hours before the charges were dismissed.  The incident has sparked quite a bit of “public conversation,” much of which has involved “civic engagement” immediately outside Starbucks locations.

This is (a) Fine.  Wells Fargo’s commitment to customer service is well known – the bank was once so eager to provide savings and checking accounts that it fraudulently signed customers up for accounts without their authorization.  That business practice resulted in a $185 million fine in late 2016.  Reuters recently reported that the bank now is facing $1 billion in proposed penalties related to auto insurance and mortgage lending abuses.

Nose for Contraband.  Thinking of bringing a load of invasive seeds and potted plants into the United States from Syria?  Got a hankering for prohibited fruits and nuts from Ghana?  Don’t run your agricultural smuggling operation through the Charlotte Airport folks, Sheila the beagle is on patrol and doesn’t play games.

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One comment on “News Roundup

  1. There remains a great hunger for incarceration as a punishment for crime large and small. Unfortunately there is little appetite for paying for this preferred method of sanction. And sadly there is next to no hankering for funding the sorts of programs that will keep people from going back to prison.

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