Prison Guards's Private Group, Denver Police: Patch Partner News

Every day, Patch brings stories to its readers from more than a dozen news and information partners. These organizations contributing to Patch range from Kaiser Health News to the Racine County Eye to Chalkbeat – and others, both local and national.

As much as a news organization, Patch is a publishing platform that would love to share your thoughts, ideas and information, too. Here is just a sample of some recent posts. If you’d like to appear on the Patch platform, and have your work be among the stories that attract more than 80 million reads each month, contact colin.miner@patch.com.

Prison Guards Mocked Transgender Inmates In Two Private Facebook Groups

By Injustice Watch

At least 25 Illinois Department of Corrections employees have taken part in online conversations that mocked, demeaned, or disclosed personal and medical information about transgender inmates — including calling transgender women “it” and “he” — in two private Facebook groups, an Injustice Watch review has found.

The posts were written by low-level officers, sergeants, lieutenants, and other correctional staffers — including a counselor and a parole officer — from across the state. The posts included comments degrading transgender women and outing other LGBTQ prisoners. They openly discussed private information about inmates, including alleged sexual acts and medical treatments they received.

The degrading comments are coming to light as the department is embroiled in a series of pending lawsuits, including a class-action claim brought by six transgender women contending they received inadequate medical treatment while in prison.

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Study: Detroit Students With Best Attendance Travel Farthest To School

By Chalkbeat News

African-American students in Detroit with the highest attendance rates also travel farther to get to school.

That surprising finding comes from a new study that looked at an often-ignored group: The 20% of Detroit students who show up to class 99% of the time.

The research could help shape the response to the absenteeism problem that has hit Detroit harder than any other major American city. More than half of the roughly 100,000 students in Detroit miss 10% of the school year, according to the researchers at Wayne State University who authored the report. Many miss much more.

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Denver Considers Removing Cops From Mental Health-Related 911 Rescues

By Kaiser Health News

Every day that Janet van der Laak drives between car dealerships in her sales job, she keeps size 12 shoes, some clothes and a packed lunch — a PB&J sandwich, fruit and a granola bar — beside her in case she sees her 27-year-old son on the streets.

“‘Jito, come home,” she always tells him, using a Spanish endearment. There he can have a bed and food, but her son, Matt Vinnola, rarely returns home. If he does, it is temporary. The streets are easier for him. Home can be too peaceful.

But the same streets that give Vinnola comfort are also unsafe for a man battling dual demons of drug use and chronic paranoid schizophrenia.

Police and criminal courts often intervene before Vinnola gets treatment or care. Since his first diagnosis of severe mental illness in 2014, Vinnola has collected a litany of charges from misdemeanors to felony trespassing and drug offenses. Over the past four years, Vinnola has been charged in four separate Colorado courts and arrested multiple times almost every month either for new offenses or on warrants for failing to appear in court.

But soon, he might encounter mental health professionals on the street instead of cops. Denver is one of at least eight cities considering an Oregon program called Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets to decriminalize and improve the treatment of people with severe mental illness — while saving the city money. The 30-year-old CAHOOTS program diverts nonviolent, often mental health-related 911 calls to a medic and a mental health professional instead of law enforcement.

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Descendants Of Gandhi, King Gather At Stanford For Inaugural Conference

By Stanford Daily

Hundreds gathered at CEMEX auditorium for the opening symposium of the inaugural Gandhi-King Global Initiative (GKGI) Conference on Friday. The event brought together the families of historic nonviolent changemakers Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Cesar Chavez, as well as prominent scholars, figures and honored guests, including Sister Helen Prejean and James Lawson.

The conference, which commemorates the 150th anniversary of Gandhi’s birth, consisted of a three-day series of lectures and events across campus aimed at evaluating Gandhi, King Jr. and Chavez’s legacies in a modern context and sparking a larger discussion about human rights issues and inequities that still exist today. Their descendants took the lead on Friday, opening the weekend and presenting their perspectives and stories in a panel format.

One of the messages all the panelists echoed was the power of every individual to make the world a better place.

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Make A Difference In The Life Of A Student Today!

By Volunteer Square

Throughout October we are highlighting volunteer opportunities for teens on our blog as we prepare to accept submissions for our 7th Annual High School Essay Contest. If you are a high school student in CT that likes to give back to your community, tell us in 500 words or less “Why volunteering and making an impact on your community is important to you?” Submissions will be accepted from November 1 – November 8, 2019. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Our friends at Family & Children’s Agency are looking for individuals to make a difference in the lives of middle school students by volunteering for their ASPIRE after school program. You will join a dynamic team of committed volunteers who provide guidance and homework help for the program that located in Norwalk’s old Benjamin Franklin School building. No experience is necessary and volunteers can choose to volunteer one afternoon a week, Monday through Friday from 3:30pm -5:30pm, for a minimum of three months (academic year preferred). This is a wonderful community service idea for high school and college students looking to work with children and be more involved in their community.

Through the ASPIRE After School Program, FCA seeks to improve the lives of Norwalk’s middle school students by enabling their successful transition into high school and increasing their ability to be productive, independent young adults. This is accomplished by providing a safe and community-based program to improve academic performance, develop character, and promote healthy peer interactions and lifestyles.

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