Jail, The Killing Fields

The election is over and time to return to looking and posting on society and the problems that need attention.

We have been bombarded with the tragic deaths of people that are being taken into custody by the people……the protests are justified….the violence, in my opinion, is justified by the protesters for those sent to “control” protests are showing NO mercy to the people or their rights.

However there is a part of this story that goes virtually under reported…..deaths will accused are in jail awaiting trial……nearly 5000 deaths in a decade of accused dying in jail for various reasons….

7,571 inmate deaths Reuters documented in an unprecedented examination of mortality in more than 500 U.S. jails from 2008 to 2019. Death rates have soared in those lockups, rising 35% over the decade ending last year. Casualties like Hill are typical: held on minor charges and dying without ever getting their day in court. At least two-thirds of the dead inmates identified by Reuters, 4,998 people, were never convicted of the charges on which they were being held.

Unlike state and federal prisons, which hold people convicted of serious crimes, jails are locally run lockups meant to detain people awaiting arraignment or trial, or those serving short sentences. The toll of jail inmates who die without a case resolution subverts a fundamental tenet of the U.S. criminal justice system: innocent until proven guilty.

The Reuters analysis revealed a confluence of factors that can turn short jail stays into death sentences. Many jails are not subject to any enforceable standards for their operation or the healthcare they provide. They typically get little if any oversight. And bail requirements trap poorer inmates in pre-trial detention for long periods. Meanwhile, inmate populations have grown sicker, more damaged by mental illness and plagued by addictions.


This is unacceptable….but do I need quote the Constitution? 

Damn silly question!

Of course I do!

The U.S. Constitution grants inmates core rights, but those provisions are hard to enforce. The Fourteenth Amendment guarantees fair treatment to pre-trial detainees, but “fair” is open to interpretation by judges and juries. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel punishment forbids “deliberate indifference to serious medical needs of prisoners,” but proving deliberate negligence is difficult. The Sixth Amendment assures speedy trials, but does not define speedy.

Don’t trust me…then I suggest you look it the fuck up!

Here is one proposal…..

End pretrial detention for most defendants

Problem: Many people who face criminal charges are unnecessarily detained before trial. Often the sole criteria for release is access to money for bail. This puts pressure on defendants to accept plea bargains, even when they are innocent, since even a few days in jail can destabilize their lives: they can lose their apartment, job, and even custody of children. Pretrial detention also leads to jail overcrowding, which means more dangerous conditions for people in jail, and also drives sheriffs’ demands for more and bigger jails — wasting taxpayer dollars on more unnecessary incarceration.

Solutions: States are addressing this problem with a variety of approaches, including bail reforms that end or severely restrict the use of money bail, establishing the presumption of pretrial release for all cases with conditions only when necessary, and offering pretrial services such as postcard or phone reminders to appear in court, transportation and childcare assistance for court appearances, and referrals to drug treatment, mental health services, and other needed social services.

Any thoughts?

Learn Stuff!

I Read I Write You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

6 thoughts on “Jail, The Killing Fields

  1. We also have a rising death rate in prisons and young offender institutions. It appears that most are suicides. I say ‘appears’, because we only have the authorities word for that.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  2. This is the type of crap that happens when we have a system that focuses on punishment and not rehabilitation. Great for getting folks off the streets for a while, lousy for actually doing anything positive to prevent recidivism or further crush one into poverty. Well over half the country would be SOL if a $400 medical emergency were to happen; I can only imagine how bad a stint in jail (or marks on the record hindering employment opportunities, custody issues, housing, etc.) would cause a life to implode.

    Overcrowding, fear, tempers, some folks likely in pain going through withdrawal in those cells… That’s a recipe for disaster, and no wonder the numbers are going up as more get locked up. So many things need reforming. This can’t go on.

      1. Guess we’re gonna have to learn how to be good citizens and be more civically engaged. We gotta get used to holding these folks’ feet to the fire and letting them know we’re watching. It angered the hell out of me when Mitt Romney would go “this is what the people want, they voted for us to do what needs doing” and he and Paul Ryan would go “we’re gonna do what we want now, what we think is best regardless of what you say.” Well, when everybody thinks their job is done on election day, then yeah, I can see why they think that.

        I’m gonna learn all I can about other ways to be more civically engaged. I just have no clue where to start, really, and with this transition period (starting?), I guess i got some time to learn.

      2. See I do not think it is something we need to re-learn….it should be drilled into us in school…I think Civics is one of the most important subjects. chuq

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