OK. It's easy for us editorial writers to sit here and say someone else should do a better job.
It's also necessary.
- Fix the jails
Erie County's two jails have seen three suicides, 13 attempted suicides, more than 70 incidents of inmate-on-inmate violence (including assaults encouraged by authorities), beatings, shoddy medical care, sexual assaults against inmates and other abuses. So says a new report by the U.S. Justice Department.
Erie County Executive Chris Collins counters that the county won't be "bullied" into providing "hotel room standards" for inmates. Sheriff Timothy B. Howard [right] dismisses the allegations as "all of the negative things that have been said . . . about our jail."
We're not sure what hotels Collins is staying in lately -- inns that advertise themselves as unlikely to provoke suicide or where guests are probably not going to be sodomized? -- but Collins and Howard need to get real about this. These aren't "negative things," they're abominations against humanity.
Erie County might get a little guidance from a similar experience in St. Louis, explained in this Post-Dispatch article:
It hardly looked like the start of a productive partnership in the spring when the American Civil Liberties Union issued scalding criticisms of St. Louis' jails that the city at first said weren't worth a response.
Yet eight month later, the ACLU and the city Department of Corrections are working together to make the lockups safer and fairer. And they are closing in on an agreement for a civilian oversight panel.
"We all want the same thing, a better corrections system," said Charles Bryson, whose role as city director of public safety includes overseeing management of the jails.
and lauded in this P-D editorial:
If this productive talk leads to action, the constructive critic and the target itself both will be due some serious credit.
- Do a jobs bill right
Democrats, simultaneously eyeing the national unemployment rate and the election calendar, are clamoring for a new jobs bill. Such an undertaking is probably worthwhile, regardless of elections, but if they’re going to do something, the bill needs to be more carefully crafted than the one they passed early this year.
Speaking of the bill passed earlier this year, here's the scorecard as kept by the White House, and by the new non-profit investigative journalism outfit ProPublica.
Hey. Just doin' our jobs.
-- George Pyle/The Buffalo News
taggedCurrent Affairs | Editorials