This site is devoted to increasing public awareness of police misconduct and detainee abuse in addition to providing support for victims of police misconduct and detainee abuse. If you or someone you know have witnessed abuse or have been abused, please let us know.


This site is an archive of older content.

Please feel free to visit our new effort at

Thank you for visiting.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

DOJ Report Cites Constitutional Violations at King County Jail

If anyone doubted my claims that prisoners have been tortured in the King County Jail; seems the US Department of Justice has found enough evidence of it to threaten suit...

The United States Department of Justice has just released a report which has found that conditions at the King County Jail in Seattle rise to the level of a violation of prisoners' constitutional rights, specifically in the area of medical care, use of force by guards, sexual abuse by guards, and suicide prevention measures.

The DOJ report specifically states that these violations have directly contributed to the preventable death of at least one pretrial detainee. The official response from city government and the jail is "we might have some room for improvement, but it's not that bad, these aren't abuses of civil rights."

Preventable deaths of pretrial prisoners in your custody "isn't an abuse of civil rights?" The utter disregard their reaction to the report shows for the safety of pretrial prisoners at this jail is unconscionable. These people they are killing and abusing haven't even had their day in court, they are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, but the jail is punishing them before hand, even killing them, anyway.

The constitutional violations at KCCF (King County Correctional Facility) are not errors, they are intentional abuses, this is what makes them so egregious and frightening... Combine this report with the continuous reports of unpunished police misconduct and it's easy to see that prisoner abuse occurs as a pattern of collusion between the SPD and the KCCF. It also becomes clear that this pattern of intentional abuse is encouraged from the top down, especially when considering the city's response.

The only problem I have with the report is that it didn't discuss the cases where withholding medical care at the jail is an intentional act meant to punish prisoners, not an accidental oversight. It doesn't try to connect the dots between the patterns of SPD misconduct and civil rights abuses at the KCCF.

It also seemed to miss other cases of intentional prisoner abuse, including one case was when two prisoners were taken outside in the snow and shackled there without blankets for hours just for the minor infraction of talking after lights-out and another when guards intentionally ignored one prisoner as he repeatedly kicked another prisoner in the head while he was laying in his bunk.

The local officials have already denied that the problems are as severe as the federal investigation has revealed, thus meaning that they intend not to improve all the problematic conditions cited or the underlying causes of prisoner abuse in the jail despite the report citing these conditions as the direct cause of at least one death at the jail.

Remember, jails are not prisons, when abuses that cause fatalities occur at a jail it means that a potentially innocent person who has not yet had their day in court may have been murdered or tortured at the hands of the people who have been put in charge of their care.

Those people who have died at the King County Jail will never have their day in court, we will never know if they were innocent or if the crimes they were accused of really merited such a harsh sentence; like a slow painful death from preventable infection.

One example from the Report:

The most egregious example of KCCF's systematic failure to adequately assess and treat inmates (medically) -- and the grave harm that can result -- is a recent inmate death, which we found was likely preventable.

The incident involved an inmate with a history of alcohol withdrawal seizures and with skin infections on his legs who was admitted to the jail and sent the same day to the emergency room at Harborview Medical Center, where he was diagnosed with multiple abscesses, anemia and either cellulitis (a potentially serious bacterial infection).

Although arguably the hospital should have admitted him, it did not do so, instead, the inmate was returned to the jail, where he was not examined by a doctor even though he should have been and was forced to wait more than 30 hours for his first dose of the antibiotics prescribed for his infection.

When the inmate requested care and finally was checked by a doctor, the examination detected abdominal tenderness, indications of intestinal distress and "highly abnormal and unstable vital signs." But the doctor did not send him back to the hospital.

The following day, his third at the jail, the inmate experienced severe abdominal pain and was sweating and doubled over. Still, it was seven hours before he was re-examined by a doctor, who sent him to the hospital, where the inmate died -- apparently of a perforated gastric ulcer.

KCCF's inadequate diagnosis and inordinate delays in providing treatment likely contributed to this inmate's death.

A full copy of the DOJ report can be found HERE

News Reports at:
Justice Department Lambastes KCCF for Abuses
Justice Report Blasts King County Jail
DOJ Finds Life Threatening Abuses at Seattle Jail
Report Details Dangerous Conditions at King County Correctional Facility

No comments:

Clicky Web Analytics