Valcent has zero marketing and their approach, or lack thereof, towards gaining any serious regonition/traction that generates value for the Company and it's shareholders clearly does not work. This has been clear for quite some time. It's frustrating. What the heck is management doing besides sinking the company?
I apologize in advance if I sound completely ignorant. Can anybody summarize why Western Refining had a 52-week high in the $60s and now has dropped so significantly? I am new to trading and the refining industry. I initially find WNR attractive because the stock has dropped so significantly and I question whether or not there is a good buying opportunity around $10 - $11. Is this company headed towards bankruptcy? If the oil companies are doing so well, why is it that the stock price of refining companies such as WNR has dropped so significantly? Are they getting ripped off like the general public is? Don't the big oil companies need the refiners to some extent or are they doing their own refining? Is there a correlation between the price of oil remaining high and trending upward and the value of refining companies spiraling downward (pretty much seems like there must be)? Why has WNR's gross profits plummeted in Q1'08 and operating expenses increase significantly? Has WNR's profit margins been demolished? Thank you for your time!
LINK TO FULL ARTICLE: Arizona Star 10/25/2007 (http://www.azstarnet.com/sn/dailystar/208133.php)
Illegal border crossers arrested along Arizona's stretch of U.S.-Mexican border will soon find themselves facing two weeks to six months in jail, which now is reserved only for repeat crossers and those with criminal records.
The sector is working toward a zero-tolerance program known as "Operation Streamline" that is now used in the Yuma and Del Rio sectors, U.S. Border Patrol Tucson Sector Chief Robert W. Gilbert told a U.S. House of Representatives Homeland Security subcommittee Wednesday. The program is also set to start soon in the Laredo Sector.
The program creates a deterrent that dramatically alters the dynamics along the border.
First-time offenders would be charged with a misdemeanor "entry without inspection," which carries a jail sentence of 15 to 180 days. Repeat offenders could be charged with felony re-entry and imprisoned up to two years.
Most illegal entrants from Mexico apprehended here are currently allowed to return home voluntarily unless a records check shows they have been detained repeatedly or have a criminal history. Only a small fraction of the illegal crossers are prosecuted.
Officials are in the process of meeting with representatives from the U.S. Attorney, U.S. Marshals, U.S. Magistrate and Public Defenders Office, among others, to iron out the logistics of implementing the new policy. Officials hope to implement the program it as soon as possible, preferably within the fiscal year, which began on Oct. 1, he said.
Officials in both the Del Rio and Yuma sectors have reported dramatic decreases in apprehensions since launching the operation.
In Yuma, which implemented it in December 2006, apprehensions decreased by 68 percent in fiscal year 2007, said Jeremy Schappell, Border Patrol Yuma Sector spokesman. Officials there attribute that to additional fencing, lighting, agents and Operation Streamline.
SACRAMENTO -- California's Legislative leaders on Wednesday hammered out a compromise for expanding the state's severely crowded prisons.
The two-phase plan would spend $7.7 billion in mostly bond money to add 53,000 beds to existing prisons and county jails, create new community facilities, and fund rehabilitation programs.
It will be brought to the Assembly and Senate for approval today.
Orange County accounts for about 12,000 or 7 percent of the state's 172,000 prisoners. State prisons are intended to hold, at most, about 155,000 inmates. The plan could add beds to Orange County's jails and create a local "re-entry" facility to ease prisoners back into the community.
The plan includes $7.4 billion in funds from lease-revenue bonds, which don't require government approval, to add 16,000 beds in state prisons, 16,000 beds in community "re-entry" facilities, 13,000 beds in county jails and 8,000 beds for health care needs.
The deal also allows Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to continue his strategy of transferring thousands of inmates out of state.
The plan would add 25,000 fewer beds and costs $3.2 billion less than a proposal pushed by the governor in December.
The governor and Legislature are under pressure to solve overcrowding in California's prisons, with federal judges threatening early release of inmates if they do not.
The building program and other reforms would be in two phases. If the second phase isn't under way by 2014, authorization for the money would end.
In addition to the new space for prisoners, lawmakers want to tap the state general fund for $350 million to pay for infrastructure improvements and $50 million for rehabilitation, drug treatment and vocational education programs. The deal also would create a California Rehabilitation Oversight Board to ensure inmates get the help they need to transition back to society.
The deal would accommodate a state inmate population that is expected to swell to 190,000 by 2012, the legislative leaders said.
Legislative leaders said they wanted to present a prison-reform plan to U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson of San Francisco by mid-May. Henderson is one of three federal judges forcing prison reform in California, and each has scheduled June hearings to decide whether overcrowding is violating inmates' constitutional rights.
The judges could stop convicts from being sent to state prisons or order the early release of inmates if they are not satisfied that the state is taking adequate steps to ease the overcrowding.
A variety of lawsuits has placed many aspects of California's prison operations under federal oversight, including employee discipline, parole and the treatment of sick and mentally ill inmates.
Federal judges have said the persistent overcrowding is at the core of many of the system's problems, especially its poor health care and a high rate of inmate suicides.
In October, Schwarzenegger took a step to help solve the overcrowding when he ordered inmates shipped to private prisons in other states.
A Sacramento County judge subsequently ruled that the transfers overstepped the governor's emergency powers and violated a provision in the state Constitution that prohibits using private companies for jobs usually performed by state workers. The administration is appealing the ruling.
The plan reached Wednesday gives the governor permission to transfer up to 8,000 inmates out of state for up to three years. It was not immediately clear what effect that would have on the court case.
Friday, December 22, 2006
Sentencing review proposed
Schwarzenegger proposes a 17-member commission as part of his strategy to reform the California prison system.
The Associated Press
SACRAMENTO � Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Thursday that he will seek a review of California's prison sentencing guidelines, a politically risky undertaking that is part of a wide-ranging plan to address the state's burgeoning prison crisis.
The governor also is proposing an $11 billion building program to add space for thousands of additional inmates and changes to the state parole system.
Schwarzenegger characterized the state's prisons as in crisis and "in deep need of reform."
"My administration inherited a system that was dangerously overcrowded, poorly managed and out of control," he said during a Capitol news conference to release his plan. "Now we are at the point where if we don't clean up the mess, the federal court is going to do the job for us. As governor, I cannot let that happen."
His proposals come as pressure is mounting on the administration to fix a system widely seen as dysfunctional and dangerous to both inmates and guards.
Federal courts have taken authority over many aspects of prison operations, from inmate health care to treatment of the mentally ill. Judges have threatened to reach into the state treasury if lawmakers fail to fix the problems.
Last week, a federal judge gave the administration a June deadline to ease crowding that is aggravating violence, suicides and poor inmate health care. If it fails to meet it, the courts could order inmates to be released early or cap the prison population.
Schwarzenegger proposed a 17-member commission that would include four legislators, the attorney general, the corrections secretary, a judge and representatives of law enforcement and crime victims' groups. They would serve four-year terms.
Commissioners would spend their first year examining whether California's mandatory three-year parole period could be safely shortened for some ex-convicts.
The prison system is designed for about 100,000 inmates but houses 174,000. Many convicts are being held longer at county jails, overwhelming that system as well.
Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Stewart County officials have signed a service agreement to house and care for detainees in the privately-built, 1,524-bed Stewart Detention Center near Lumpkin. Occupancy should begin Oct. 1.
The $45 million prison, built by Corrections Corporation of America of Nashville, Tenn., never has been occupied since it was essentially completed in 2004.
It will employ about 311 people and is expected to be substantially occupied during 2007, said Steve Owen, CCA's director of marketing.
"This is the biggest thing to happen to Stewart County since I've been here," Stewart County Commission chairman John Stonie Patterson said Monday. "Everything's been leaving rather than coming in the 10 years I've been here. The biggest thing this will do is provide jobs for the county and the area."
CCA and Stewart County signed an agreement with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, that runs through Dec. 31, 2011, with an indefinite number of renewals.
"We are grateful to be able to assist ICE by providing a viable solution in its efforts to consolidate and create some efficiencies in managing their detainee populations," said John Ferguson, CCA president and CEO.
Under the agreement, ICE will pay the county $54.25 per day per inmate housed there, with that money to be turned over to CCA, the owner/operator of the prison. Patterson said he hopes ICE can work out a means of directly paying CCA.
Jail's size doubles with new contract
The private contractor will get about $2 more per day per inmate. It plans to expand to house twice as many.
Published September 14, 2005
INVERNESS - To combat crowding at the Citrus County jail, the Corrections Corporation of America says the facility needs to be renovated and expanded.
The County Commission approved a renewal of its contract with the private company Tuesday afternoon, clearing the way for the $18.5-million project.
The expansion will nearly double the jail's capacity, a move that county and CCA officials say is necessary to deal with a growing number of inmates.
"These numbers jumped up pretty quickly," said Commissioner Jim Fowler.
"(Incarceration) is a growth industry," he said. "We'd rather see them in jail than on the street."
Commissioners listened Tuesday afternoon as County Administrator Richard Wesch, Public Safety Director Charles Poliseno and CCA officials described the planned addition, which will add 398 beds to the 360 beds at the jail as well as a courtroom to help the county manage an increased number of criminal cases on the weekly dockets. The jail's kitchen, laundry room and medical facility will be renovated.
The company hopes to begin construction by December. The work is expected to take up to 15 months.
CCA will foot the bill for the expansion and renovation, not taxpayers, commissioners said.
Under its contract with the county, the company is in charge of such projects. The county provides some utility and safety services, such as fire sprinklers, to the jail.
The issue of jail expansion came up during contract negotiations with CCA, a private contractor hired to run the county jail, Wesch said. The Nashville company, which has operated the Citrus County jail since 1995, runs corrections facilities in 19 states and Washington, D.C., according to its Web site. Its current contract with the county ends Oct. 1. The county staff negotiated with the company on the terms of the 10-year contract renewal.
The county is pleased with the work of the private contractor and planned to continue to allow CCA to run the jail, Wesch said.
Commissioners also touched on the increased daily cost of housing inmates, which has gone from $52.64 to $54.74 per inmate.
The company will continue its practice of leasing out unoccupied beds at the jail to the U.S. Marshals Service, Wesch said.
But, as Commissioner Joyce Valentino pointed out, "Inmates from Citrus County will be the priority."
Two residents spoke at the meeting, including Morris Harvey, fiscal watch chairman of the Citrus County Council. Harvey asked why the expansion wasn't projected in the Capital Improvement Plan.
Commissioners told Harvey the jail expansion wasn't in the plan because it's difficult to predict when expansion will be needed.
Another man suggested the county house the inmates in tents at the jail, rather than building onto the current facility.
Here's the breakdown of SMA's additions:
- completing 6,400-square-foot Design and Development Center at 2853 Directors Cove, in Nonconnah Corporate Center.
- also adding 9,000 square feet in Avilla for its trauma and spine instrument facility.
- new 22,500-square-foot facility to develop knee surgery instruments in nearby Claypool, Ind.
- addition of 22,000 square feet to Symmetry's plant in Sheffield, England for the production of knee, hip and shoulder implants.
U.S. Prison Population Soars in 2003, '04
By SIOBHAN McDONOUGH : Associated Press Writer
Apr 25, 2005 : 3:18 am ET
WASHINGTON -- While the U.S. crime rate has fallen over the past decade, the number of people in prison and jail is outpacing the number of inmates released, the government reports.
The population of the nation's prisons and jails has grown by about 900 inmates each week between mid-2003 and mid-2004, according to figures released Sunday by the Bureau of Justice Statistics. By last June 30 the system held 2.1 million people, or one in every 138 U.S. residents.
Paige Harrison, the report's co-author, said the increase can be attributed largely to get-tough policies enacted in the 1980s and 1990s. Among them are mandatory drug sentences, "three-strikes-and-you're-out" laws for repeat offenders and "truth-in-sentencing" laws that restrict early releases.
"As a whole most of these policies remain in place," she said. "These policies were a reaction to the rise in crime in the '80s and early '90s."
Malcolm Young, executive director of the Sentencing Project, which promotes alternatives to prison, said, "We're working under the burden of laws and practices that have developed over 30 years that have focused on punishment and prison as our primary response to crime."
He said many of those incarcerated are not serious or violent offenders, but are low-level drug offenders. Young said the prison population could be lowered by introducing drug treatment programs that offer effective ways of changing behavior and by providing appropriate assistance for the mentally ill.
According to the Justice Policy Institute, which advocates a more lenient system of punishment, the United States has a higher rate of incarceration than any other country, followed by Britain, China, France, Japan and Nigeria.
There were 726 inmates for every 100,000 U.S. residents by June 30, 2004, compared with 716 a year earlier, according to the report by the Justice Department agency. In 2004, one in every 138 U.S. residents was in prison or jail; the previous year it was one in every 140.
In 2004, 61 percent of prison and jail inmates were of racial or ethnic minorities, the government said. An estimated 12.6 percent of all black men in their late 20s were in jails or prisons, as were 3.6 percent of Hispanic men and 1.7 percent of white men in that age group, the report said.
Roundup Nabs More Than 10,000 Fugitives
By MARK SHERMAN, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON - More than 10,000 fugitives, many wanted for violent crimes, were rounded up over the past week in a coordinated nationwide effort led by U.S. marshals.
Officers from 960 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies took part in the concentrated search, which coincided with Crime Victims Rights Week, officials said. The dragnet caught 10,340 people, some of whom had two or more outstanding arrest warrants, Justice Department officials said.
More than 150 who were arrested were wanted for murder, another 550 were sought on rape or sexual assault charges, and more than 600 had outstanding arrest warrants for armed robbery, officials said. Among those captured were 150 gang members and 100 unregistered sex offenders, they said.
One armed suspect was found beneath a trap door in his kitchen, they said.
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and U.S. Marshals Service director Ben Reyna were to announce details of the roundup later Thursday.
Codenamed "Operation Falcon," the dragnet was the largest ever in numbers of arrests and involved local, state and federal authorities, said Marshals Service spokesman David Turner.
Turner said previous coordinated roundups resulted in arrests in the hundreds, but did not involve as many officers or agencies.
For all of last year, marshals arrested more than 36,000 people wanted on federal warrants, and worked with state and local authorities in catching another 31,600 fugitives, according to the Marshals Service's Web Site.
Among those arrested were escaped prisoners and criminal suspects who did not turn up for court proceedings.
Congress gave the Marshals Service more money and authority to go after fugitives when it refocused the FBI's mission toward stopping terrorism in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, Turner said. The Marshals Service now has five permanent regional task forces to search for fugitives, he added.
Here is some more information on the Georgia facility Indian Cycle mentioned.
Comments by Brian Owen (Executive Assistant to DOC Commissioner James Donald), Ralph Kemp (Warden) and Wheeler employee on the possible close of a Georgia facility:
Owens: Many discussions are left to be held, he said, before a final decision is made. "This is a worst-case scenario". "It's way too early for anyone to be concerned. I'm cautiously optimistic we can avoid it."
Kemp said he was informed via e-mail two weeks ago that budget plans called for closing one private prison, which could be either Wheeler, another CCA prison in Coffee County or a prison in Folkston owned by Cornell Corp.
Kemp argues that the state shouldn't close any prison, even the one owned by CCA's competitor.
"All of these prisons are in small, rural communities," Kemp said. "It's going to have a tremendous economic impact."
The idea of closing a private prison, Owens said, bears no reflection on the performance of private prisons.
A state monitor is at the prison full-time to make sure all regulations are being followed, Kemp said. He also noted that the prison has not had escapes or serious assaults. "All we've had are a few fights," he said. "I would put our facility up against any in the state.
"We fought a long time to get this prison here, not to have to go outside the county to work," said Tina Hodge, a quality assurance manager at the prison, whose husband also works there. "I can see the economic impact on several local businesses."
She and her husband worked in the state prison system, and she said they like working in a private prison better. "It's like one big family," Hodge said. "The state doesn't have that camaraderie-type atmosphere."
BILLINGS (AP) (8/17/04) � The Teamsters union filed an unfair labor practice complaint with the state Board of Personnel Appeals Monday, accusing the city of Billings of violating state law by firing probationary employees who refused to cross a picket line.
The city's refusal to guarantee the rehiring of those fired workers reportedly was the only remaining point of contention. The strike by more than 300 city workers began Aug. 7.
William O'Connor, a Billings lawyer representing Teamsters Local 190, said state law prohibits public employers from firing workers because they have taken action in support of a labor union.
Rick Harden, human resources manager for the city, said the union's complaint was being discussed with city attorneys and declined further comment.
Bill Slaughter, Corrections Department director, said the plan represents an attempt to change what government does with criminals.
��We want a strategy to deal with them in a cheaper and more effective manner than prison,'' he said.
Currently, about 75 percent of the 10,347 adults under supervision of the department are in community corrections programs, and most are nonviolent drug offenders. Slaughter wants that increased to 80 percent.
The increase for the next two-year budget would represent about a 17 percent growth from the current level of $104 million. That's in response to a projected annual increase of 4.5 percent in the corrections population over the next three years, to nearly 11,800.
Slaughter said $12 million would be used largely to pay the cost of additional cells at the privately run Crossroads Corrections Center in Shelby. The state wants Corrections Corporation of America to double capacity of its prison to 1,000 inmates. The state has about 400 prisoners there.
Joe Williams, who heads the department's centralized services office, said the agency is negotiating terms with CCA. The company wants a guarantee that the state will fill a minimum number of beds and the state wants a daily rate that gradually declines as inmate numbers rise, he said.
Williams said he hopes a deal can be struck with CCA by October, with the first 250 new cells at Shelby available by next summer.
Jim MacDonald, Crossroads warden, did not return a phone message left at his office.
Eventually, federal prisoners would use about 200 of the new beds, and transferring state inmates from county jails would fill about half the remaining 300 beds, Slaughter estimated. That would free space for law enforcement to begin serving arrest warrants for thousands of criminals who remain free because jails are full, he said.
Williams said the $6 million for community corrections would be used to add about 100 beds at existing prerelease centers and a new center in Bozeman, and to hire 19 additional parole and probation staff.
Some money may go to the Department of Public Health and Human Services to match with federal aid that can finance mental health and other services for criminals in community corrections programs, Slaughter said.
Despite plans to build more cells and accommodate additional criminals outside prison walls, Slaughter acknowledged it will be only a matter of time before the system will overflow once more and Crossroads will expand again to its maximum of 1,500 inmates.
He also knows that corrections will be competing again with education for scarce money in the Legislature. But, Slaughter said, ensuring public safety should be an equally important part of the politically popular push for economic development in Montana.
��If we're going to maintain any kind of business, visitor and vacation environment, that has to be there,'' he said.