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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

King County Jail Inquest

The case of Lynn Iszley's slow and gruesome death in the King County Jail was first cited by the US Department of Justice Civil Rights Division as one example of inadequate medical care at the King County Jail in it's investigation of that facility that ultimately slammed it for it's potentially deadly constitutional rights violations. However, while being a stark and very frightening example of a deadly lapse in the protection of the rights of those in custody by the King County Jail, his case was not the only one.

On the heels of a damning review by the King County Ombudsman into Iszley's death in custody, the case may now be the subject of a state inquest into the doctor who was the last to examine Iszley before his death. While this should be expected, the problem runs much deeper than one single doctor and the doctor in question has already resigned last year.

While we do support an inquest action and are not surprised by the jail's efforts to fight an inquest and keep it's details a secret from the public who pays their bills, we do not believe that it will lead to any significant improvements at that facility while the people who are in charge stated publicly that they do not believe such torturous deaths and conditions are a violation of anyone's civil rights.

Unfortunately, while DAJD head Holgeerts and King County Executive Sims are in charge, nothing will change there because the people of King County refuse to be outraged by what is happening in that jail... Furthermore, human rights and civil rights groups have remained quietly on the sidelines about these issues.

As this prevailingly permissive attitude towards torture prevails, county officials will not have any incentive to change a thing... So, indeed, these people will continue to suffer and die in our names... and limiting an inquest to a single doctor will only serve to produce a scapegoat to cover for the deeper systemic problems which still continue at that jail.


Anonymous said...

And a lot of folks also refuse to be outraged by Iraq, warrantless wiretapping, etc. It's sad, really. I hope the recession kickstarts America into paying attention to the news.

One 'm' in Sims.

Packratt said...

Unfortunately, people just seem really desensitized to a lot of problems going on. I don't know whether it's just cognitive dissonance from an overload of negative news or just a general lack of compassion and empathy... but there definitely seems to be a lack of interest and drive to fix the problems that are going on, and not just the ones I address.

For the issues covered in this site though, it was really hard to understand how the problems at the King County Animal Shelters generated so much more media and public outcry than the problems at the King County Jail. It was quite stunning for me personally, something I have a hard time getting over.

Thanks for the comment, and the correction... don't know why I keep wanting to give him an extra M.

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