Minimum Standards Unmet

11 Mar

You may recall this post that Marc Odien wrote the other day in response to repeated claims being made by the county administration that its jail system lives up to – or exceeds – minimum state standards.

But the state has taken issue with the county’s claims, and ordered the county to take corrective action in March 2009, claiming that conditions at the jail were unsanitary, unhygienic, and otherwise substandard. The county balked, and the state Commission of Corrections took the county to court.

And won.

So far, the anti-agenda, anti-status quo folks have lost every time they try. Tim Howard? In 2006, the state concluded that Ralph “Bucky” Phillips’ escape (and subsequent cop-killing) was thanks to the Alden Correctional Facility not meeting the state’s minimum standards.

This is getting to be a habit.

The Sheriff was trying to cut corners by classifying different prisoners in the county jail differently. For instance, if you get popped for disorderly conduct in Hamburg, you might get kept in a lock-up until the first available arraignment time. That’s usually a very short time frame measured in hours, not days. Town lock-ups that detain people pre-arraignment are not considered “jails”. The jails, however, are considered jails. A 2002 law permits towns to ship inmates awaiting arraignment to the county jail.

Sheriff Howard wanted to treat pre-arraignment detainees differently from post-arraignment detainees who are held for longer periods awaiting trial.

All this over toilet paper and toothbrushes.

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