Loose Lips

Mayoral Hopefuls Duped by Prison Myth

LL doesn't normally play fact-check police, but he has to step in now that the mayoral field is falling for a common myth about prisons. And no, it's not the one about how to make pruno.

Illustrating the connection between crime and a lackluster education, at-large councilmember and mayoral hopeful Vincent Orange has claimed repeatedly at candidate forums that prison systems decide how many prisons they need to build based on third-grade reading scores. It's a line Orange has been using since at least 2012, and it's apparently so good that Orange rival Andy Shallal has started using it, too.

At a January fundraiser featuring "Puff the Magic Dragon" songwriter Peter Yarrow, Shallal sounded a lot like Orange.

“They’re starting to do studies now on third-graders to see how they’re doing in school because that determines how many prisons they can build later on," Shallal told his would-be donors.

Both Shallal and Orange will need new bon mots, though, because there's no evidence that correctional departments plan their prison-construction schedule based on elementary school reading scores. It's a silly idea on its face—prisons don't take such a long time to build that they have to be built with a 10-year lead time—but it's one that's popular with politicians across the country. Despite attempts by The Atlantic, PolitiFact, the Washington Post, Factcheck.org, and The Oregonian, though, no one has ever been able to find a prison system that actually bases prison plans on elementary school reading rates.

Orange sent LL some articles that he bases his claim on, some of which were already disproved in the articles above. One, from the Nevada Department of Corrections, claims that California bases its prison plans on reading progress. But California Department of Corrections spokesman Jeffrey Callison tells LL that Nevada and Orange are all wrong.

"It is untrue—and so obviously untrue I find it hard to understand why some people continue to believe it,"  Chua writes in an email.

That's easy to understand, whatever your reading skills.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

  • Tight Lips

    I don't expect for any prison system to confirm any of their methods in determining their future population.

    We also heard that the recording industry has ties to the prison system however, no one will ever confirm that information as well.

  • Tom M

    A firm "that is not correct" or even a decline to confirm is now confirmation of any wild and crazy urban myth. Strap on the tin foil hats....

  • Brian Poese

    Sounds to me like the reading level - or at least the comprehension level - of these morons is at the 3rd grade level. What they failed to understand is while the average reading level of adult prison populations may well be at the 3rd grade level, any studies that may have been done on these adults who read at the 3rd grade level have nothing to do with matching the reading level of current 3rd graders to accomplishments or failures later in life. No doubt the prison population supposedly being studied is the stereotypical prison seen in movies or on the news, but what about white-collar crime prisoners? A study on those prisoners would indicate the number of high reading scores and college degrees will result in a certain number of criminals. While there may be an average number of good readers who become criminals, no one would argue that reading well in the third grade will result in later criminal activity.

  • Typical DC BS

    And yet Orange will continue to be re-elected and Andy Shallal will be taken seriously by the uber-left.

  • Tight Lips

    @Typical sounds about right. Afterall you voted for Fenty over Orange in the Mayor race last time and voted for the Criminal Mastermind of SE Kwame Brown over Orange in the chairmans race.

    Orange will stay in politics because lets be frank. I wouldnt trust any of those dimwits if it were Orange vs them on a ballot.

    Quite funny yet sad how everyone tries to paint a picture with Orange being the most corrupted crooked politician on the council.

    Do you think he is more corrupt that Harry Thomas & Kwame Brown? Both who were held in high regards and bamboozled the people into thinking they were the next up in DC Homebred politicians.

  • Tbonebullets

    Idiots.

    So DC. Should be a hashtag for DCFAIL.

  • Will Sommer

    @Tight Lips The problem with this claim isn't just that the prisons all deny it, it's that there's no primary source behind it. It's based on occasional op-eds that mention it, not any actual news story or research. There's no reason to think it's real.

    I forgot to mention in the story that one of the articles Orange articles send me supporting his position, this from the NY Post (http://nypost.com/2014/02/14/carmen-farinas-mythical-case-for-pre-k/), is actually about how bogus the 3rd grade/prison myth is.

  • http://Ward3 Ward3er

    While not buying the 3rd grade reading line I wouldn't bet the ranch on the Prison and Rap music link --which came from a letter that started going around in 2010 or so that made such a claim.

  • Ward 5 Voter

    @WillSommer I lived in Ward 5 from 1996 - 2005. Orange used that term prior to 2012. It resonated with the community because DCPS students were complaining that they havent received their textbooks nor do they feel like their education benefits them.

    Just food for thought.

  • Alan

    Will, I've listen to and relistened to Andy Shallal's comments at the Peter Yarrow event. The quote you attribute to Andy simply isn't there.

    Listen for yourself: http://dl01.twitcasting.tv/andy4dc/download/36400637?dl=1

  • noodlez

    SO WHAT ABOUT THOSE THAT READ ON THE 3RD GRADE LEVEL THAT DON'T GO TO PRISON?

    I'M SICK OF BAMMA ASS VINCENT ORANGE NOT ONLY SHOULD HE BE MAYOR HE SHOULD NOT BE ON THE COUNCIL. PERIOD. TALKING THAT WACK ASS SHIT.

    WHAT IS HE DOING ABOUT IT OTHER THAN TALKING ABOUT IT?
    HOG HEAD MUTHA FUCKA NEED TO TAKE HIS MONEY GRUBBIN ASS AND ALL HIS DEGREES' BACK TO DENVER OR WHEREEVA THE FUCK HE CAME FROM.

    DC FOREVER

  • Tight Lips

    @noodlez he tried to give people like you a respectable living wage, but your bamma ass One City One Bar of Soap Mayor told Wal-Mart to forget the people and screw us over real nice...

  • Son of Washington

    Tight Lips you are dumb as hell. First off Orange didn't try to give folks a living wage for any reason other than trying to grandstand to get the Union Endorsement. Further if it was so great why was he only pushing it on Wal-Mart? Even crazier it it was such a good idea then why wasn't he demanding that UFCW members get the same wage? You see the unions have never negotiated a contract that high for the employees at Safeway, Giant or Shoppers. But if you not in the Union you gotta pay more. Sounds like a camapign move to me.

    Next lets talk about the 32 money orders in row that Orange had in his campaign from folks linked to Thompson that the Accountant and Tax Lawyer didn't find odd.

    Next lets look at his Mayoral campaign. It started out with a guy being his treasurer and then went to Ayana Chase who ended up as the person who managed the Harry Thomas, Jr theft from his office.

    Then lets look at the fact that one of his sons waas convicted of unemployment fraud a few years back. Yeah, lets look at him getting in trouble a year or so ago for fighting for a camapign donor to keep their rat infested food distribution center open. Or even more lets look at the folks out of MD who donated $10k to his campaign through John Ray who he was pushing for on the Council to get a contract they didn't deserve.

    Yeah, you are correct, Orange is good and clean.....

  • noodlez

    HE TRIED TO GIVE PEOPLE A RESPECTABLE LIVING WAGE?
    WHAT???

    YOU JUST LOST ALL CREDIBILITY WITH THAT SHIT.

  • Correct Facts

    @Son of Washington, I know his son personally, he was never convicted of unemployment fraud, that was a mistake on DC Gov part where employees laid off from WHC were overpaid benefits, VOs son is doing quite well and is an executive with MedStar Health, and recently earned his masters at GW, if he was convicted as you suggest do you think he would be running physician offices for the top health care entity in DC.... You can bash DC pols all you want, but I think it's triffling to lie on peoples children...

  • Tight Lips

    @SonOfWashington you sound ignorant and I'd like to inform you why I think you are stupid:

    1. Your opinion as to why Orange wanted to give people a higher wage is stupid. You have someone vouching for residents to get paid more, but you sit here and whine all day about the intent? Tell me one sane person who would see a problem with receiving a raise?

    2. Since when do you care some damn much about Safeway, Giant, and other establishments. Son of Washington, are you for the people or for the establishment? Wal-Mart has a great track record of ripping of their employees and putting a choke hold on their benefits. Documentaries, testimonials, and legal rammifications all highlight Wal-Mart's bad behavior. Unions do not negotiate those type of deals because Unions dont have much bargaining power when it comes to that. You either get with the program or you dont work.

    Orange has the balls to stand up to Wal-Mart and say if you make all the money you claim you do, then YOU WILL PAY OUR RESIDENTS A RESPECTABLE WAGE. While DC Residents being the loyal idiots they are got on the news and said "we would rather Wal-Mart come to town than for us to receive higher pay and the threat of them not opening a store". Other cities took the same blueprint and followed suit after Orange, wanting higher wages.

    You didnt say anything when Obama increased wages for federal contractors. Its baby steps to a bigger goal, but your dumbass doesn't have the mind capacity to understand that.

    3.If you ask campaigns come reporting time, their biggest goal is to have all the money they received documented and filed for the report (Everyone except Muriel Bowser who cheats the numbers to make it seem like she has more in the treasury pot, but you don't want to talk about that because you seem to think everyone is an Angel except Orange). If your a candidate running for office, your main goal if running, not having to deal with everything else. Once the money orders were brought to their attention, Orange checked them and provided the information needed to finish the investigation.

    OCF said Orange was in good standings. If you have a problem with that, take it up with OCF. But you keep harping on these money orders when your vouching for Mayor Gray, who Sulaimon already said was corrupt, the evidence is there, his people have gone to jail and tainted the image of DC. Perhaps the reason why Orange is still going strong today is because he is a Lawyer and an Accountant and was able to identify the money order situation instead of taking advantage of it like Kwame and Vince Gray.

    4. The treasury situation you mention doesnt carry any weight. The guy?? You clearly are just blowing up smoke right now. Ayanna Chase didnt start doing corrupt stuff until she got with Harry Thomas. That's not on Orange, that's on Harry Thomas and Chase. Ask anybody in Ward 5 how Ayanna was under Orange, and they will tell you that it was Thomas who got her caught up in all that foolishness.

    5. What does Orange's son have to do with anything? That doesnt stand in the way of what Orange's job is to the residents of DC. Another attempt by you to make a big deal out of nothing.

    6. Distribution Center Ordeal - Did Orange get in trouble or did he have to attend an Ethics class? I consider trouble as being locked up or having a federal investigation pending on your ass. Orange has the courage enough to fight for something. I can't say that for the rest of those bums on the council. You also probably eat more bad fast food than food coming out of that center, but where is your fight or protest against McDonalds, KFC, Taco Bell, and Carry Outs?

    7. Anita Bonds used to work for a Construction Company, Mary Cheh is a professor at GW, and both Jack Evans/David Cantania hold outside employment for two major consulting companies that do business in the city. Now all of these CMs have pushed contracts to their friends and those who show support. That was Fenty's whole foundation as a Mayor in the city. Just because its Orange, you take a liking to making his situations bigger than what they are, and give the other CMs a pass for their shortcomings.

  • Tight Lips

    @noodlez Vincent Orange wanted workers to recieve $11.50/hour.

    Vince Gray threatended to veto the bill, and said he would prefer if they were paid $10/hr.

    The minimum wage at the time was $8.25

    Orange essentially wanted a $3.25 increase while Gray only wanted a $1.75 increase.

    Now noodlez, show everyone how uneducated you are and tell me which deal sounds better?

    I don't lose creditability. I build it chump!

  • SE Slim

    I like Gray, but he hasn't taken care of his people while being the Mayor. Bowser got the WaPo endorsement which is the "Kiss of Death" for candidates.

    I supported Orange's fight against Wal-Mart. I do not think they should have 4 stores in DC anyway.

  • DCPeopleWhoThink

    We, the citizens of DC agree that Vincent Gray has failed the people for four consecutive years, who voted to put him into the Mayor's position, as we have acquired limited employment, housing, training and development opportunities, as he still remains unable to accept constructive criticism.

    It is interesting, to hear Gray claim how he never knows anything, which should be his MOTTO. At the metro board hearing this week, he never knew about this mega business establishment termination of ex-offenders -- not saying that ALL are qualified, but to share with the community that he was just learning this INFO for the first time has become a part of his professional agenda.

    Truly Orange would be an major improvement over GRAY, as some people are unable to remove themselves from his embarrassing failures with quality care services for Black Americans, who are committed and tirelessly work to sustain a decent life in DC.

  • Typical DC BS

    Love hearing the nonsense from the Orange backers. Just as ignorant and crooked as he is.

  • Will Sommer

    @Alan Your video cuts out too soon. Shallal said this in the Q&A portion--if you have video of it, look at the second question.

  • Tight Lips

    @Typical lol you know its true. You call Orange corrupted, but you dont think that Catania & Evans having outside employment for a job that oversees the betterment of ALL DC RESIDENTS corrupt?

    The fact that all of Vince Gray's folks got arrested yet HE STILL CLAIMS TO NOT KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THE SHADOW CAMPAIGN corrupt?

    You think Bowser is fit to be the Mayor of DC when she needs a deputy mayor for EOTR?

    If you still would vote for that Candidate and consider Orange more of a threat to the betterment of DC than those situations, then we deserve bad politics, gentrification, and to NEVER EVER BECOME A STATE!

  • noodlez

    @OPENLIPS-THE ONLY THING YOU CAN BUILD IS A PILE OF FERTILIZER WITH ALL THE SHIT YOUR COMMENTS PROVIDE.

    SO HE TRIED TO GIVE FOLK A RESPECTABLE WAGE BY MENTIONING SOME GRAND DESIRES WITHOUT DOING ANYTHING ABOUT IT??

    YEAH I CAN SEE IT NOW BUSINESSES FLEEING DC BECAUSE THEY ARE MANDATED TO PAY A 40% INCREASE IN WAGES BECAUSE HOGG HEAD IS LOOKING OUT FOR THE LITTLE MAN. NIGGA PLEEZE.

    YOU SOUND LIKE SOME REDNECK PROMOTING BACON ON EVERYTHING THAT IS EDIBLE WITH YOUR SORRY ASS POSITIONING AND PROMOTING OF VINCENT "BAMMA ASS" ORANGE.

    ONE CITY

  • Tight Lips

    @Noodlez "so he tried to give fol a respectable wage" Yea, you were WRONG CHUMP. He gave people a legit chance to be able to purchase a home and live in DC.

    YVETTE ALEXANDER & VINCE GRAY blocked it because Wal-Mart threatened to close their projects because of the wages...

    NOW NOODLEZ IMMA WRITE IN CAPS JUST TO INSULT YOU EVEN MORE. CLEARLY YVETTE AND GRAY ARE SIDING WITH WAL-MART & NOT THE RESIDENTS. BUT NO ONE GOT MAD ABOUT BRINGING WAL-MART TO SOUTHEAST AND PAYING THE WORKERS SHITTY WAGES.

    Orange worked for Pepco and people say he supported their increases, DURING A TIME HE DIDNT WORK FOR THE COUNCIL & PEPCO WASN'T HIS OUTSIDE EMPLOYMENT, but he considered a "Pepco Pimp".

    Now how in the world is it that we dont criticize Gray & Alexander for not vouching for employees to get higher wages (DC RESIDENTS AT THAT) but you call Orange Corrupt all day and night because he was in favor of the rate increases.

    NOT TO MENTION YOU TALKED ABOUT BUSINESSES FLEEING BECAUSE OF THE Wages situation?

    Dude are you for the people or are you for the establishment.

    Clearly you dont know the difference and you dont understand that the people you are supporting do less for your community that the people you bash.

  • HUAlum71

    IF ORANGE WAS SO SMART AND CAPABLE OF BEIMG MAYOR, WHY DID HE CHOOSE B. TOLSON AS HIS CAMPAIGN MANAGER??????

    Some of the commenters on this thread are highly articulate and intelligent sounding except for the fact they back Orange who clearly defined himself as a clown with his not-so-long-ago performance in live and living color.

    The Orange Crew are all pimps and hos as far as I'm concerned.

  • STICK2YOURGUNS

    I see bowser has David Jannarone as one of her top people working with her campaign, isn't he the one who helped Fenty and his frat brothers steal all the money or should I say get all that money under the table for giving all the city contracts to his frat brothers....yet she screams her hands are clean...looks like she starting early with the swindles

  • noodlez

    JUST LIKE VINCENT "BAMMA ASS" ORANGE AND ALL HIS DEGREES YOU ARE ALL OVER THE PLACE. MAKE YOUR MIND UP IS IT ABOUT WAGES OR BUYING HOMES?

    THE BAMMA ASS ONLY WAS MAKING NOISE ABOUT WAGES BECAUSE IT CAME OUT OF HIS COMMITTEE FOR HIM TO GRANDSTAND ON LIKE THE BAMMA HE IS. VINCENT ORANGE HASN'T DONE ANYTHING FOR THE PEOPLE BUT ACT AS IF HE DID. TAKE YOUR TIRED ASS RHETORIC AND FIND HIS LEGIT CAMPAIGN WEBSITE AND POST ON IT IF YOU CAN FIND IT.

    THERE IS A NATION WIDE CLOWN SHORTAGE I DONT KNOW WHY WITH JOKERS LIKE YOU POSING AS IF YOU ARE NOT ONE.

  • HUAlum 71

    Saw ole Homey VO standing on the corners of Blair and Piney Branch road Saturday afternoon. He had about 5 butt sniffers with him. He was waving like a damn fool and nobody, NOBODY honked or waved back. Well...to be charitable, maybe one car honked.

    I was so busy watching the mother run out of the back gate of the corner house and snatch up the child who had wandered out there and was standing there staring at the CLOWN who showed up right outside of her backyard.

    You would have thought John Wayne Gacy was out there the wat the woman ran out and snatched up her kid. Not that I blame her. But the kid was so young it made one wonder how she got outside the tall fenced gate in the first place.

    BTW: I didn't recognize VO. He has lost an awful lot of weight. Makes him look much better. Now I see why he thinks he's the cat's meow. Might have been okay lookin' in his day.

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