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Monday, November 24, 2008

Detainee Abuses Continue A Year After DOJ Investigation

This month marked two anniversaries that, unfortunately, remind me of things that I would rather forget and that happen to be oddly coincidental.

First, in November of last year the US Department of Justice released the findings of an investigation they performed into the treatment of detainees at the King County Jail (KCCF) that found, what they termed as, egregious and potentially deadly civil rights violations occurring at that facility which included the denial of medical care, physical abuse, and sexual abuse against detainees.

It’s been a year since those findings were made public, and yet there has still been no actions taken against King County or any agreements between the US DOJ and King County about how they would address and correct these problems. Meanwhile, I still get reports from people who have been denied medical care at that jail, many of those I won’t print at the request of those senders, but for whom I try to help as much as I can.

That brings me to the second anniversary marked by the month of November, that being the 2nd anniversary of my own mistreatment that I suffered while I was held at the King County Jail for a crime I had not committed and for which I was later found innocent of by police investigators and the King County Prosecutor’s Office. I endured weeks of agony suffering from injuries that were left untreated while being refused even the simplest of medications like Tylenol or Aspirin.

So, it’s frustratingly personal for me to see no progress made in regards to detainee treatment at the KCCF in these last two years, all the while having to try and do what little I can to be there for the people who, even as recently as this month, are still being made to suffer there for no real reason at all who write me when it becomes clear that there are no other resources out there to help them.

I still do what I can, I’m still there for anyone who suffers needlessly there, but it’s not enough, something needs to be done to stop the abuse there… I just wish more people cared enough to speak out about it. My one voice just seems too small to make a difference sometimes, especially when other voices who are supposed to speak out against such abuses, like the ACLU, the press, and the US DOJ, still remain silent.

For now, all I can do is keep hoping that, next year; I won’t need to mark these anniversaries with the same message, begging for something to be done for those who are not able to speak for themselves by those who are supposedly entrusted to speak on their behalf.

After all, simply being accused of a crime should not result a potential death sentence through mistreatment.

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