Thursday, April 30, 2015

Report: Oxford House operates with little oversight.

 An online news website  reports Oxford House is operating a string of homes for recovering addicts in Mississippi with government funding yet receives little, if any supervision from the Mississippi Department of Mental Health. even reports that  Oxford House is attempting to recruit "clients" from jails for their homes that are located in residential neighborhoods.  Steve Wilson writes:

A group of taxpayer-funded halfway houses in Mississippi for recovering addicts — including many ex-convicts — receives minimal supervision from the state agency responsible for them.

With Oxford House International admitting that 76 percent of residents have served prison time and 16.7 percent of their residents have relapsed, one would think the Mississippi Department of Mental Health would provide rigorous supervision for the homes and the outreach coordinators who fill vacancies for them.

But detailed oversight isn’t part of the bargain, according to the monthly reports filed with the MDMH by Oxford House employees paid from a grant from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

The reports are repetitive and lacking the most important details, with cheerleading praise such as “residents are stepping up and holding each other accountable,” without any documentation.

State Sen. Will Longwitz, R-Madison, told Mississippi Watchdog he’s concerned with the perceived lack of oversight by MDMH.

“The state department of mental health chose Oxford House to spend this federal grant money in Mississippi,” Longwitz said. “That gives me and anybody else in this state the right to ask these kinds of questions. The one thing that is a real concern is the recruitment by paid recruiters — paid with federal grant money — from jails. They’re proud of it.”

In the chain of monthly reports dating from August 2014 to March 2015, not once is there a mention of recovery, attendance of members at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings or any inspections for property damage or cleanliness.

The outreach coordinators mentioned 26 times that Oxford House residents “are working hard to try to get into local jails” to recruit new residents.  Rest of article.


Anonymous said...

$3500 in rent per month......this is a most profitable scam.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the Oxford House residents receive tax payer funds to buy fresh eggs from their landlords.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like this is not always about addiction. It's about a prison- to single family neighborhood pipeline, all paid for with federal money. Ex-felons are not a protected class, so they just call them addicts so they will be a protected class?

Anonymous said...

Steve Wilson is a wonderful reporter (along with KF of course!). Thank goodness you guys are around.

Anonymous said...

And I heard last week from a very credible source that more Oxford Houses are to come in Mississippi. Five more I believe by the end of the year.

Anonymous said...

Greed is one of the 7 deadly sins.

The House of Stephens is starting to crumble. The investigation into tax fraud from the chicken coup, FDA violations etc and now the word on the street is that JA decided it was in their best interest to part ways with Anna.
Tic toc... The crumbling has begun.
I predict they will be living in Canada by the end of summer

Anonymous said...

It is rather amusing that Longwitz voted for funding all of this, and is now upset about it. The boy sure knows how to stick his finger in the air and feel the direction of the wind.

Anonymous said...

A full investigation by the Governors Task Force on No Bid Contracts MUST take place. THIS IS FRAUD!

Governor Bryant - when will you direct an investigation into this fraud?

Anonymous said...

Outstanding KF! Hoooah. Again breaking the story that we NEVER get anywhere else.

Anonymous said...

HMMM -- a Brief overview of the MS Dept. of Mental Health website indicates it is chaired by the following person:

Sampat Shivangi, M.D., Chair

Sampat Shivangi, M.D. of Ridgeland is the president and CEO of US Info Systems of Mississippi. From 2005 – 2008, Dr. Shivangi served as the Advisor to the US Secretary of Health and Human Services. He is the past president elect of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin. He is the founding president of the American Association of Physicians of Indian origin in Mississippi and is the past president and chair of the India Association of Mississippi. He previously served on the Mississippi State Board of Health. He also served as a house delegate in American Medical Association Chicago, IL. Dr. Shivangi represents the Medical Physician category on the Board of Mental Health.

We might want to follow the thread from Oxford House to US Info Systems of MS (whom it appears has requested and received green cards and visas for I believe computer designers and programmers -- guess we don't have any of those here in town!)

Also --- he worked as an advisor the US Secretary of Health and Human Services -- wonder if Oxford House has any influence with there????????

Follow the money --- follow the power! This isn't just that the "Stephens" figured out a great business model -- somewhere, someone is supporting this, and it is my supposition that it is embedded in the MS Dept. of Mental Health.

Anonymous said...

With respect, you are mistaken. All OH funds are federal block grant funds, not state appropriated funds. No MS Legislator had a vote on the federal funds MDMH uses to contract with OH for recruiters and house seed money; it's all Fed grants, but administered by the State.

Anonymous said...

MDH, Oxford House and the Stephens are to blame, not Senator Longwitz and the rest of the individuals who are trying to help. I appreciate them trying. More than you are doing, 3:30.

Anonymous said...

MDMH administers the Federal grants, but of course has the discretion not to seek the federal grants for OH, or to use the funds for a different vendor for outreach workers, hopefully who will spend more time actually monitoring the houses, instead of visiting the prisons for more people with criminal records to populate NEJ neighborhoods with.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget that public school districts in Mississippi are spending tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars annually to pay for DORE quack science site licenses.

Anonymous said...

The Stephens are self-righteous brats who think they are above authority and better than everyone else. They will not stop until they are forced to.

Anonymous said...

Upon reading the Oxford House web site, it seems like a giant pyramid scam.

These are boarding houses. They need Board of Health as well as Mental Health inspections.

I seriously doubt the 16.7% relapse stat. They "vote" people out who are not following rules. Do those expelled get counted? How can they possibly track people who have moved on with their lives? Is it an honor system type of "If you relapse, please send in this post card"? Get serious.

Sen. Longwitz is to be complimented for trying to find an equitable solution for homeowners and for people trying to achieve recovery from addiction.

Their web site clearly states that they try to work with zoning restrictions. This was not the case in Jackson.

Anonymous said...

@2:36 The Feds have different definitions for different departments of our "regulators" in chief. The social security administration and the veterans do not normally consider addicts as disabled. HUD and the DOJ do consider addicts as disabled. Go figure. There are over 10 definitions of what is alcohol and/or drug addiction. They can't even agree on that.

Anonymous said...

RE: "...yet receives little, if any supervision from the Mississippi Department of Mental Health."

Why in the world would the dept of mental health have anything to do with people recovering from addiction?

How would any of you recovering professionals feel about having to answer to the state dept. of mental health? Perhaps you need a little "supervision" from the great State of Mississippi?

Anonymous said...

It is of no surprise that the almighty Stephens are involved with a scam to help them profit. What is sad is that it is less surprising that they claim it to be a "ministry". Really? I have never known a family to be more corrupt or unethical, and this I know for a complete fact. They have stood on what grandfather Stephens made with Milcreek for far too long. Oxford House Inc. seems to be a questionable (to put it mildly) organization itself, but the Stephens are from our own backyard. They KNOWINGLY did all of this. Why? Because they believe they are above the law, consequences and cannot be touched. I have seen firsthand the depraved depths the are willing to stoop to just to make a buck. It would make all of this seem trivial. Anyone ever heard of commingling of funds? Perhaps one should visit the Secretary of State's website and see just how many LLC's Joseph Neal Stephens and Joseph L Stephens have. They would prostitute their own family to make a dollar. And Dore? A joke. A laughable joke. That our tax dollars now pay for statewide instead of paying for EMPERICALLY VALIDATED interventions for children like mine.

Anonymous said...

I am totally grateful to Sen. Longwitz for being willing to address this problem. He is the lone elected official that I've seen trying to help. I did not know who he was til this happened, but he is at least trying.
The whole thing is a sham - they pay people to "recruit" new residents - that's their job. The residents are not asking for this, they're being used as a means to make some dollars off the taxpayers.

Anonymous said...

6:08 p.m. --- it's about SUPERVISION of the FEDERAL and STATE FUNDS that are being SPENT to create these scam homes for addiction recovery.

As taxpayers, we spend money on this stuff (whether we want to or not, through state and federal agencies). We deserve to have oversight of HOW our money is spent. I can promise you, if YOU received a GRANT from the US government, you would be REQUIRED to report fully on how you spent the money.

In this case, someone is dropping the ball, and full and complete reporting is NOT occurring. My suggestion would be a GAO inspection of how these grants are being disbursed at the Federal level and a state investigation of WHY Oxford House was chosen by MDMH for funding. I'm sure there were many other options to support addiction recover, but this one was chosen almost as a sole source contract.......why??????? Who has a vested interest in this and has a position of power in the state to basically hand over millions to Oxford House with minimal reporting? A good starting point would be the MDMH Board.

In addition, recovering addicts taking care of themselves should NOT be required to have oversight, HOWEVER IN THIS CASE these addicts are recovering on OUR DIME, so we have the RIGHT to OVERSEE.

Sounds like you are from OH Headquarters.

Anonymous said...

You can talk all you want about federal block grants, but nothing gets to the MDMH without being blessed one way or the other by the legislature. Sometimes their only option is to turn the federal money away, but no state agency spends money without it being appropriated to them by the legislature. Longwitz may honestly be trying to help - after all, it's an election year - but whether he knew it or not he had a hand in the money getting to MDMH, and that's a fact, Jack!

Anonymous said...

Hey, 8:15, I noticed your buddy, unlike his opponent, decided not to allow comments on his fundraiser paid advertisement. That kitchen can be a hot place, can't it?

Anonymous said...

You people are ridiculous. And by "you" I mean the 5 crazed hate mongers who keep this blog alive. All you desire to do is try to keep someone else down by trying to prove they are different from you. You come from the same stock that fought integration. "They" are good people, as long as "they" aren't in MY neighborhood. Now you 5 jump up & start posting your hater messages below. Get lives. This is a fight that you & your "champion" Longwitz ain't gonna win. Peace

Anonymous said...

RE: "6:08 p.m. --- it's about SUPERVISION of the FEDERAL and STATE FUNDS that are being SPENT to create these scam homes for addiction recovery."

Well, that is not the bailiwick of the state dept of mental health. Nor is supervision of people in recovery.

BTW...a recovery home is not intended to provide folks in recovery with supervision like you would find in a prison.

Recovery homes are designed to place people who are going thru the recovery process with an environment in with others who are going thru recovery - and who also understand the challenges faced by people in recovery. Its call a support network. Supervision is htere kind of like supervision is at the front desk of a hotel when you check in.

Oh, and folks in recovery and living in group homes are not de facto "crazy", "criminal" or "dangerous".

NOTE: this is not an effort to defend the Stephens.

Anonymous said...

RE: "Greed is one of the 7 deadly sins...The House of Stephens is starting to crumble..."

And for a community that is widely committed to the teachings of Christ(or used to be), it is really hard to read the words of so many people in the community that are nothing short of envious, gloating and piling-on.

Is this really Jackson?

Anonymous said...

This is a fight that you & your "champion" Longwitz ain't gonna win.

We haven't even started yet, scooter.

Anonymous said...

Hey April 30th at just described pretty much every person that is pissed off at them....

"The Stephens are self-righteous brats who think they are above authority and better than everyone else. They will not stop until they are forced to."

It's the NE Jackson way. You greedy bastards are just mad you didn't think of it first.

Anonymous said...

11:12 p.m. -- You obviously were not at the same meeting I attended. could only wish! There are committees, sub committees, etc. Organized only scratches the surface -- and we're prepared for the LONG fight on this one.

6:52 a.m. -- You're still not getting it -- forget the house -- it's the core funding that is being abused by a group from Maryland who are not filing legal reports which are valid, reliable, and quantifiable. Grow up and understand -- OH is abusing Mississippi and other states and making money all the way to the bank. The real problem is those (e.g. OH and the Stephens family) making money off recovering addicts. $3500 in rent -- PLEASE --- that's obscene and there is no way you can justify it.

When PUBLIC money is spent, we the PUBLIC deserve to have a report that goes beyond......WE ALL GET ALONG AND WILL NOT VOTE EACH OTHER OFF THE ISLAND IN THE HOUSE" --- quantifiable relapse, arrest, and financial issues directly related to each HOME should be made PUBLICLY available since PUBLIC funds are being used to recruit tenants into these homes.

It should be mandatory -- not Kumbaya we all get along and keep sending the money.

Longwitz is our champion --- Thank you Will!!!!

Anonymous said...

If we do not redirect the federal funds now to better alternatives than OH that are zoning compliant, you will watch OH recruit from the prisons into boarding houses into every neighborhood in the State with the local sponsorship of MDMH and backed by preemptive federal law under the FHA and ADA. It is a hard fight. MDMH is making administrative fees and the landlords secure rents. But the safety and security of every neighborhood in the State is now at stake. What will our top political leaders put up with? The backlash is just starting.

Anonymous said...

7:14am...well you damn well better go ahead and start. They started decades ago, and they are not going to stop (not just OH, but this type of "program" baited by the feds and swallowed by the states). Social engineering has been happening right before your eyes since we quit being a republic under FDR.

Like I said, you better get started.

Anonymous said...

6:52 a.m. -- Oxford House on their website indicates 78% have served Jail time -- hmmmm -- that means a criminal record to me. Normally when you have a criminal record, that equates to UNSTABLE actions, and poor decision making.

6:58 --- First we acknowledge that you were up early in Maryland attempting to challenge all of us, locally. Second -- try the "Christian" argument somewhere else. I cannot imagine one of us is ENVIOUS (of what?? two immature children who are arrogant in their pursuit of profit?) -- GLOATING (???????) and PILING ON (Nope -- this is called majority rules and majority opinion is important -- just because we disagree does not mean we are piling on -- we are utilizing FREE SPEECH to outline our position). It's still America and we have this right, until you all out of state attempt to take it from us.

Go back to jail and recruit some more people on the OH (oops -- that would be FEDERAL) dime. Liberals are always interesting -- they want all of us to pay for their beliefs, and keep our mouths shut!

Anonymous said...

"Why in the world would the dept of mental health have anything to do with people recovering from addiction? "

Who should supervise the recovery of drug addicts - Division of Motor Vehicles, perhaps?

Culled Comment said...

The Fish can't admit he got scooped this morning by the Ledger.

Anonymous said...

Good idea. At this point I'd trust the DMV to do a better job protecting our neighborhoods than MDMH. MDMH applied for the federal grants and directed them to OH which is using the money to recruit from the prisons straight into the R1 areas across the State. As Will has said, MDMH is mighty proud of what they are doing. Thank you Will for your courage as our Champion!

Anonymous said...

Interesting mention of the revolving loan fund to purchase properties in the document posted at the linked story.

Anonymous said...

The Department of Mental Health should NOT be supervising people in recovery. They do not need the government involved in recovery at all. If the Government truly wanted to help, they would establish a means to seek treatment. People in normal half-way houses should be learning responsibility, have a job, go to meetings, giving up old ways of coping, and meeting new friends who do not use. Anything the Government feeds grows more expensive. I want them in our lives less; not more. AA has been doing it without Government help since 1935. AA does not keep statistics on who or how many stay sober. Sobriety is for those who WANT it, not for all those who need it. Sobriety is hard work and requires supervision by those who have longterm experience in staying sober. The new cannot learn from the new. This is FACT.

Anonymous said...

2:14 --- I think we are in agreement with your less government not more, however, you are overlooking a very important issue. Oxford House is receiving federal funds through a state agency here in Mississippi, based on supposedly supporting recovering addicts. Should we just walk away and not oversee what these funds are supporting? How they are being spent? The success rate of the funding? THIS IS OUR MONEY!!!

Until we cut off the funds, whether we like it or not, the government, both state and federal, is already in the business of looking over the shoulder of addicts just by funneling money to this scam, Oxford House, who is raking in the federal funds and using them against communities. What we need to decide is whether the federal and state governments are doing an adequate oversight job or just shoveling TAX money to a group (Oxford House) who has figured out they have the key to the candy store.

We must work to cut those funds off at the federal level.

Sobriety IS and SHOULD BE a personal issue -- Oxford House and the United States Government, along with people like the Stephens, have made it our business as taxpayers, now.

Anonymous said...

5:21 Agreed. Accountability is extremely important for taxpayers. And for recovering addicts, LOL. Do the ones coming out of jail have to report to parole officers? Just curious.

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Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

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There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

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