Rough and Tough is not Justice. The Press & Sun Bulletin ignored this letter a year ago and again now, so if a resident of Broome County attends a Public Safety legislative committee meeting, they are not allowed to speak. So what is John Q. Public to do?
Everyone can agree that someone who commits a crime should take responsibility for their actions and be accountable. But does accountable mean inhumane and demeaning treatment especially when you have not been convicted. Committing a crime does not mean everyone in the jail is violent. You know the saying, “to a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” …
According to civilrights.findlaw.com, even the most chronic or hardened inmates have basic rights that are protected by the U.S. Constitution. If you are facing incarceration, or if you have a family member or friend who is in prison or jail, you should know about inmates’ rights.
The rights of inmates include the following:
- The right to humane facilities and conditions
- The right to be free from sexual crimes
- The right to be free from racial segregation
- The right to express condition complaints
- The right to assert their rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act
- The right to medical care and attention as needed
- The right to appropriate mental health care
- The right to a hearing if they are to be moved to a mental health facility
So what is the problem? a separate police kingdom within the county with lack of public oversight. You can try to bluff the public just so long. You can continue to pander to discrimination, prejudice, abuse and stigma or you can take the blinders off. There are serious injustices occurring locally. Just mentioning that can bring retribution against all inmates because the powers that be want to maintain secrecy. There was another death at the jail a few weeks ago and inmates were told not to talk about it to visitors.
There is a County Criminal Justice Advisory Board but there is a token “public” member and no one knows when or how often it meets. There needs to be more diversity of membership and accountability for the county correctional facility.
Fear and retribution should not be the mandate at the jail. Instead there should be basic human decency.