The Pantagraph from Bloomington, Illinois on June 7, 1999 · Page 6
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The Pantagraph from Bloomington, Illinois · Page 6

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Monday, June 7, 1999
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Imfcto The Pantagraph Monday.June 7, 1999 Private medical prisons growing trend in corrections Some see cash saver; others question quality ; .WOODLAND, Pa. (AP) For the county jails, state lockups and federal prisons within a short drive of this central Pennsylvania nowhere, Norm Cox has a pitch: Send me your sick, and I'll save you millions. '. , His Corrections National Corp. is building a 700-inmate medical prison here. It's the nation's second private lockup designed to deal with the ever-increasing ranks of sick inmates and those over age 55 in this era of three-strikes-and-you're-out sentencing. CNC is one of several private corrections companies venturing into medical care .with promises of big savings for cash-strapped public jails and prisons. -CNC and Just Care Inc., which opened the first private medical prison in Colum bia, S.C., in October, are following the lead of many state governments. ' From Ohio to Louisiana to California, states are investing in wards and entire hospitals to treat prisoners. About 100 miles south of the CNC site, Pennsylvania already houses about 400 inmates, most sick, at its Laurel Highlands State Prison. These public efforts please budget watchdogs and advocates for elderly inmates. But -the same groups are wary of the private firms' foray into medical care. Their concern is oversight: When states deliver their sick to private wardens hundreds of miles away, how will they make sure their prisoners are getting good health care? "I have mixed feelings, frankly, about private geriatric units," said Jonathan Turley, founder of the Project for Older Prisoners. "There is the added need to generate profit, and that could potentially interfere with care and security." Like Just Care's Columbia Care Center, CNC's $45 million prison would not handle emergencies or surgery. Instead, both companies target prisoners who need nursing attention, but not hospitalization. Inmates recovering from surgery, AIDS patients, hepatitis sufferers, paraplegics, mental patients all would be candidates. These are prisons' costliest burdens, and more are on the way. . The federal and most state governments don't have an exact number of prisoners over 55, but the generally accepted figure is about 50,000. Pennsylvania now houses 1,586 of them and expects the number to triple by 2005. At 55 years old, inmates are more likely than the general population to have chronic illnesses, experts say, because of the ravages of doing time and, in many cases, drugs. Sick inmates, on average, cost three times more to house than those in the general prison population. At Laurel Highlands, the annual cost-per-inmate is $77,649, compared to $23,776 at Pennsylvania's other prisons. That cost can be much higher. If a prison system has no medical center, it must send inmates to hospitals. South Carolina has a contract with Richland Memorial Hospital, which charges $1,048 per day for a bed, plus $288 per day for a respirator and $880 per day for intensive care. Add wages for 24-hour security, and the cost tops $2,000 per day. Just Care will provide the same services for $460 per day. For a state that spends $35.5 million a year 15 percent of its corrections budget on health care, that's too good to pass up. Gail Fricks, a deputy corrections director, was enthusiastic about the center after a 30-day trial, and South Carolina plans to send more prisoners there. "It was wonderful," Ms. Fricks said. "Security loved it, and I loved it." While large states are building their own medical prisons, Tull Gearreald, Just Care president and a former Merrill Lynch, investment banker, thinks county jails and prison systems in small states will be just as eager as South Carolina to contract out. States facing prison crowding can get more beds for their buck by putting up a general population prison and leaving it to the private companies to build the more expensive health care jails. D-Day anniversary sees WWII veterans visiting Normandy :; COLLEVILLE-SUR-MER, France (AP) Some stood still on Omaha Peach, staring poignantly at a tide once turned red by the blood of their comrades. Others avidly shared war tales in bunkers once occupied by enemy snipers. While NATO and Yugoslav gener-al&discussed a peace deal for Kosovo, American World War II veterans gathered Sunday along France's Normandy coastline to commemorate the 55th anniversary of the D-Day landings, the first breach of Hitler's Atlantic wall. !Now gray-haired and many needing canes for support, an estimated J.OO0 U.S. veterans, accompanied by C least 1,500 family members, re-IBiced some of their steps along beaches, cliffs and roads where thousands were gunned down in a deafen-Bg hail of German machine gun fire md mortars. Proud of their exploits, many nev-Etheless said they wouldn't wish SJufare on anybody. "War is the greatest catastrophe tTiown to mankind," said 81-year-old Belton Cooper, a member of the Jhird Armored Division who waded ashore onto Omaha Beach in 1944. "It BSust be avoided at all cost." !Len Lomell, a Ranger from New itersey who scaled cliffs at Pointe du Bbc on D-Day to knock out German Bin emplacements aimed at the Epde-named Omaha and Utah beach-as, said: "War is insane. Ridiculous. I fion't want to see one American boy die in the Balkans." j; There are 9,386 American servicemen buried on the Normandy bluff; 13,000 others were exhumed and retried back home at the wish of their families. Pristine white crosses and Stars of David stretch across a 172-acre memorial just above Omaha beach, the deadliest of the D-Day beachheads. German gunners poured 100,000 rounds a minute on it over a two-hour period after the landings began on June 6. Troops lunged off landing craft and through water. The lucky ones made it, and then had a deadly sprint across the sand to the seawall. Kenneth Russell, from Louisville, Tenn., parachuted in behind German lines on June 5, only to get entangled on a gargoyle on a church in the small town of Sainte-Mere-Eglise where German gunners shot at him from below. On Sunday, he came face-to-face with one of them. "He broke down in tears and so I just embraced him," said Russell. "I said I wasn't mad at him. It was a long time ago, so I said I loved him." Russell was one of four veterans returning to France with U.S. historian and author Stephen Ambrose, who will use their testimony as recorded material for the National D-Day Museum, which will be opened in June 2000, in New Orleans, La. About 60,000 Americans landed on the Normandy coastline on D-Day, most of whom had no experience of combat. They arrived and fought alongside thousands of others from Britain and Canada. Flags of the three countries, and the French Tricolor, were draped along Normandy streets Sunday. On Saturday, active U.S. troops staged a symbolic amphibious landing, following in the footsteps of the D-Day warriors. On Sunday, Rangers from the 2nd Batallion, 75th ': , & r- - ' ( : : : f- ii yIl - - v - x- " h .s ( J W ."r. Oh jfJ' "r Tt . If : AP British World War II veterans attended a ceremony Sunday in the British war cemetery of Bayeux, Normandy, to mark the 55th anniversary of the D-Day landings. Ranger Regiment, scaled cliffs at where wreaths were laid and a 21- ''I ask the children here today to France, paid tribute to U.S. and other Pointe du Hoc. gun slaute boomed into the sky, said, look around you are in the compa- NATO troops currently based in,, The U.S. ambassador to France, today's "democratic, propserous Eu- ny of real heroes," he said. Macedonia, and could possibly be de- Felix Rohatyn, wrapping up a cere- rope is the finest monument," to the Rohatyn, who as a 12-year-old Jew- ployed to oversee a Kosovo agree-" mony at the American cemetery veterans' exploits. ish boy escaped Nazi-occupied ment. Kurds: Turkey's peace linked to Ocalan's fate -ISTANBUL, Turkey (AP) Like wiany of his fellow Kurds, a shop-Efceper named Emin says he has Jp en abiding by a call for peace from imprisoned rebel leader Abdullah Dcalan. ZThe streets of the largely Kurdish pcighborhoods of Istanbul and of southeastern Turkey have been qui-af as Kurds patiently watch pcalan's trial on charges of treason. But they warn fliat the court Jfill be choos-jng between war and peace jfvhen it decides whether Z)calan will Jiang. 1 "It will mean more war, and 'What will happen if I die? The organization will send out thousands of fighters, and hundreds of thousands of people will die.' Abdullah Ocalan more death" if calan is sentenced to the gallows, Said Emin, who refused to give his Jull name for fear that he could be wrested for speaking out in support H the rebels. Z More than 37,000 people, mostly Kurds, have already died as a result f the 15-year struggle between Sirkish forces and Ocalan's Kurdis-J5n Workers Party, or PKK. Z. For most of last week, Turks were raptivated'by images of the stocky tbel leader addressing a courtroom Eh the prison island of Imrali, 35 Tniles south of Emin's impoverished Xtanbul neighborhood of Gazi. In his first public address in Turkey since his rebels took up wins, Ocalan called for peace and offered to help bring his fighters down Horn the barren mountains of jputheastern Turkey. "We held out the olive branch," Emin said. "Now it's up to them to .lake it." Turkey dismisses the rebels as lerrorists who want to destroy the rountry, and has refused any talks 1-Iany Turks have said Ocalan's of-Jfcr is merely a tactic to avoid a death jentence. The court hearing Ocalan's case rejected requests Friday from his at-lorneys to invite politicians to testi-JJ- that he had been seeking peace. Some have questioned whether jjie rebel leader, who was humiliated when he was abducted by Turk-2h commandos in February, even jas enough authority with his vbels to forge a peace process, icalan is widely expected to be sentenced to hang. If parliament endorses his sentence, he would be the first person executed in Turkey since 1984. Many of Turkey's 12 million Kurds have assimilated into Turkish society and do not support the rebels. But analysts warn that hanging Ocalan would alienate most Kurds from the state. "It would institutionalize the no-tion of vendetta between Turks and Kurds," said Baskin Oran, a political scientist at Ankara University. Ocalan has death would be warned that his avenged. "What will happen if I die?" he asked the court. "The organization will send out thousands of fighters, and hundreds of thousands of people will die." For years, Turkey has portrayed Ocalan as a ruthless killer, and it would be difficult for authorities to show any leniency. Turkish authorities "don't accept that there is a war in Turkey and they don't accept that there is a Kurdish side," said Ragip Zarakolu, a columnist for Bakis, a daily that concentrates on the Kurdish issue. "This is their last chance." Authorities, however, see the fight in the southeast as a struggle against terrorism and view Ocalan's capture as a move that is likely to break the back of his organization. The court has refused to hear from the families of slain guerrillas, but has allowed weeping relatives of Turkish war dead to speak about the pain they have suffered. Some have attended the trial draped in red Turkish flags. Most carry pictures of slain relatives. "The guerrillas have mothers too!" said Kemal, a retired construction worker who also refused to give his full name. "When they speak up, they get beaten and arrested; the mothers of the Turkish martyrs are given flowers and are on television." Ocalan's trial is scheduled to resume Tuesday, when prosecutors are to begin their final statements. Defense lawyers said they will ask , V; . if S " . . - 'f "', f 'I ' k vY - i km India resumes airstrikes BIMBAT, India (AP) Indian fighter jets resumed airstrikes Sunday as troops pushed back guerrillas occupying strategic heights in the disputed Kashmir region, military officers said. Fighting flared in the Himalayas after Indian troops encircled the rebels in areas pounded earlier by Indian jets and helicopter gunships, Press Trust of India news agency reported. The news agency quoted unidentified officers as saying the military has mounted a major offensive against the-rebels. The fighting has increased tensions between India and Pakistan, hostile nuclear-armed neighbors that have fought two of their three wars during the last 52 years over the Himalayan territory. India controls two-thirds of Kashmir, Pakistan the rest, and both claim all of it. The territory is divided between them by the Line of Control, a cease-fire line that India is accusing Pakistan of trying to alter. , India maintains the guerrillas are Afghan mercenaries and Pakistani soldiers who have crossed from Pakistani-controlled parts of Kashmir. Pakistan denies this, claiming the guerrillas are residents of Indian-controlled Kashmir who are fighting for independence. Pakistan says it endorses their efforts. "The armed intruders are trained and indoctrinated people and they are giving resistance," Brig. Mohan Bhandari, a military spokesman, told reporters in New Delhi. A Turkish soldier handed documents to Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan as he sat behind bulletproof and bombproof glass between Turkish soldiers on May 31 , the first day of his trial on the prison island of Imrali. for a month's suspension to prepare the defense and to allow Ocalan to review thousands of pages of material. Defense lawyers on Sunday complained that the court was actively working to foil Ocalan's defense. They have faced endless procedural restrictions in court and have only been allowed to meet with Ocalan two hours a week with masked security officials present. Retirement living with Style! ADELAIDE fjPI APARTMENTS A Heritage Manor Retirement Community 505 N. Adelaide, Normal (309) 452-0743 mi HOURS CLOSED TUEsI I kAPlnZSJiZ!i II Georgia Super Sweet I JOMATOES ASugarDrippin1 f Our customers Bi-Color . J about them PXP CORN PEAC H ESv STRAWBERRIES fC PEACHES, CJj Available j peaches vrrrTi , w W Large Selection HJrJ HANGINQJ PERENNIALS Jm 12 GAL at4 nJ olyL $A96? 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