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Wednesday, March 5, 2008

While DOJ Investigation Continues... So Do The Abuses

As negotiations between the US Department of Justice and the King County Jail continue over findings of deadly constitutional rights violations that the DOJ investigation found to have occurred at the Seattle jail in November 2007, we've continued to receive credible reports that those same abuses are still occuring at that facility.

As recently as last week we have received reports of pre-trial detainees being denied medical care and suffering needlessly before even getting their day in court, including at least one case where a needlessly mistreated detainee was later cleared of wrongdoing. This type of abuse goes against everything the United States is supposed to stand for and illustrates how these inhumane abuses are clear violations of constitutional rights for pre-trial detainees... detainees that should be considered and treated as innocent citizens prior to their day in court.

Such ongoing cases of mistreatment in the King County Jail clearly illustrate how King County's public relations efforts are clearly just attempts to whitewash the problems that still occur at the facility and how their belief that such abuses are not a violation of constitutionally protected rights directly affects detainee treatment.

After all, if the county government and director of the department of corrections believe that detainees have no rights, then the corrections officers will not see any reason to treat detainees humanely. This also makes statements by Reed Holgeerts, the director of the Department of Adult and Jeuvenile Detention, that offering officers OPTIONAL training is a valid solution for mistreatment clearly mistaken.

Unfortunately, these ongoing incidences of mistreatment also seem to indicate that the DOJ is not continuing to monitor the jail while negotiations over the findings continue, which indicates that they would not likely continue to monitor the jail after reaching an agreement with the county. This essentially allows the county to continue abusing pre-trial detainees and denying them their constitutional right to protection from cruel and unusual punishment while being investigated for doing just that.

Our sympathies to all who continue to suffer needless abuses at the deadly King County Jail.

*updated 2:08pm with correction to clarify that we've received reports of abuse (see comments).


Anonymous said...

"As recently as last week there have been incidences of pre-trial detainees being denied medical care and suffering needlessly before even getting their day in court, including at least one case where a needlessly mistreated detainee was later cleared of wrongdoing."

Can we get a source on that claim? This had been a credible blog that I'd hate to see undermined by unverified statements.

Packratt said...

We try to be very careful about protecting the identities of people who send us reports of abuse or misconduct and try to be mindful of other implications associated with such cases.

Therefore, we tend to be very careful about posting accounts of abuse and misconduct when they come directly to us, as I would hope our readers understand.

Currently we are waiting on confirmed permission to post an account of alleged abuse and working on verifying a case being filed against the KCCF in another recent MRSA related incident.

If it comes out that the stories are discredited or cannot be confirmed we'll post a retraction or correction, as we've done when such cases occured previously. Otherwise it is not a misstatement to say that we've received reports of abuse as recently as this week.

Sound fair? After all, we are always eager to hear how we can do a better job of getting information out to people in a timely and credible manner, so your feedback is greatly appreciated!

Thanks for the comment!

Anonymous said...

Speaking of alternative places to report prison / police abuse since the OPA is worthless...

RateMyCop for the SPD

I just stumbled across this site, there doesn't appear to be any ratings for officers in Seattle yet. But since some of the SPD's "finest" read your blog I'm sure some positive astroturfing will soon commence.

Should be easy to spot the fakes.

Packratt said...

Thanks for the link, anonymous. I've seen that and I'm not sure what to make of it yet. Give it some more time and I'll probably post something about it once we see how it plays out.

However... Cops in a few cities, and thier unions, (San Francisco was one department), are already pushing for legislation to kill the site and sites like it, citing "privacy concerns".

Scary, they now want to make it illegal to say anything bad about bad cops.

Packratt said...

BTW, here's the link to the RateMyCop story:

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