Entries Tagged as 'prisons'

Kasich Cuts Costs With Prison Reforms

July 15th, 2011 at 5:19 pm 11 Comments

The world is currently gripped in a push towards austerity. From the debt-ceiling debate, to the Eurozone crisis, to state shutdowns, it seems almost every governing body is forcing itself to make cuts. Those fighting against cuts label them “painful” and “immoral” while those pushing for lower spending characterize them as “necessary” and “ultimately beneficial.” However, as Ohio Governor Tom Kasich is showing, this may, in certain instances, be a false choice.

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The Lockerbie Bomber Story Continues to Unravel

David Frum September 6th, 2009 at 9:31 am 9 Comments

Most of the doctors who examined convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdelbasset al-Megrahi concluded that he had some time to live, up to a year. Scottish Justice Minister Kenny McAskill opted instead to rely on a minority of doctors who estimated Megrahi’s life expectancy at less than three months. This mattered, because under Scottish law only those with less than 3 months to live qualify for compassionate release. Now Britain’s Daily Telegraph reports this:

Medical evidence that helped Megrahi, 57, to be released was paid for by the Libyan government, which encouraged three doctors to say he had only three months to live…

Megrahi is suffering from terminal prostate cancer. Two of the three doctors commissioned by the Libyans provided the required three-month estimates, while the third also indicated that the prisoner had a short time to live.

This contrasted with findings of doctors in June and July who had concluded that Megrahi had up to 10 months to live, which would have prevented his release.

Professor Karol Sikora, one of the examining doctors and the medical director of CancerPartnersUK in London, told The Sunday Telegraph: “The figure of three months was suggested as being helpful [by the Libyans].

“To start with I said it was impossible to do that [give a three-month life expectancy estimate] but, when I looked at it, it looked as though it could be done – you could actually say that.” He said that he and a second doctor, a Libyan, had legitimately then estimated Megrahi’s life expectancy as “about three months”. A third doctor would say only that he had a short time to live.

This weekend it was reported that Megrahi was moved out of an emergency care unit in Tripoli.

Far from an individual act of perhaps misguided compassion by one Scottish minister, the case increasingly looks like a deceitful connivance between the British, the Scots and the Libyans to cut short the imprisonment of a convicted mass murderer for commercial reasons.

The only consolation is that the British press has pressed for the truth and exposed their government’s true role. Meanwhile on this side of the Atlantic, an uncurious American press has accepted the Obama administration’s account at face value. Possibly that story is true. But given the level of lying in London and Edinburgh, it would be unrealistic to put much faith in Washington. What we need now are congressional hearings to discover:

  • When did the Obama administration first hear of London’s desire to see Megrahi released – not formally learn, but actually learn.
  • How did the administration respond? Did it protest? How forcefully?
  • Did the Obama administration have any role in the Libya-U.K. negotiations? Specifically – did the Obama administration agree to downplay its complaints (i.e. Obama’s ultra-mild description of the release as a “mistake”) in exchange for commercial considerations for U.S. firms or interests?
  • What consequences going forward will Britain’s attitude have for U.S.-U.K. relations and especially for U.S.-U.K. criminal justice cooperation?

There are many other questions to ask too as we seek to discover how the man who was convicted for killing 180 Americans was allowed to escape the full sentence for his crimes.