This article is kind of suspicious for what it lacks: more info on the atrocious care people received because of gross medical negligence and incompetence, indifference among guards when prisoners have been sick and begging for help, and the overall environment in the jails creating life-threatening emergencies. This version of this report would have us thinking that the only thing causing Correctional Health Services’ to fail in providing even the basic constitutionally mandated standards of medical care to prisoners, in fact, is their lack of modernization and efficiency.
If it weren’t so criminal it would be almost comical to watch MCSO make themselves out to be the victim who was left out of the loop, here - they were really trying to improve health care services and championing prisoners’ rights in there, I’m sure. Sheriff Joe has staked his reputation on how cheap he be, how cruel he can be, and how racist and misogynistic he is in a way that so bizarrely appealing to some people that even a handful of Latinos and a whole lot of women adore him.
Adore him. Hmm. He’s as sweet and cuddly as a slave holding minister who pays someone else to do the whipping while he and his buddies Thomas and Pearce figure out how to rein in the ones they can’t enslave - especially us women...hmm. Criminalization and mass incarceration seems to have been working pretty well for them – why veer from that plan? That “Safe Cities” thing Pearce has got going on - It’s scary. Kind of Red Scary. Read about it a couple of posts down.
All this about the communication problem, by the way, is smokescreen: the real problem at the jail across the board is the dehumanization of prisoners and the county's unwillingness to provide people with the medical care they need despite being so quick to deprive them of their freedom. They don’t even provide them with basic daily necessities, in fact, if they don’t feel like it.
Here’s dinner conversation from the women’s jail, to give you a good sense of just how dehumanized they are over there. Not long ago a firend went to visit her daughter there, and found her wearing clothes that had been blood-soaked for two days. She didn't have money in her jail account to buy personal hygiene supplies, so she was at the mercy of guards (who undoubtedly mocked her) as to when she received even a napkin, a shower or fresh clothes. Guess she pissed the wrong one off. Or maybe they really just collectively didn’t give a shit, or do that kind of thing for entertainment. Toilet paper is rationed and must then be paid for, too. And, of course, you get a bill for your room and board as you leave.
That kind of humiliating treatment sounds like the rule there, not the exception - if you're a poor woman, anyway. How can they treat women that way and there not be outrage in this community? Is it really ignorance? If so, then I think it is by choice, and the media has played along. Something is wrong with the women in power, here – with all of us - to be letting this happen to our sisters every day without lifting a collective voice in resistance to it. That’s a fundamental violation of basic human rights - leaving a prisoner that way, without the resources to even keep herself clean. We would be outraged and calling the US State Department if they did that in Burma to our comrade Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. They're doing to our sisters and moms and daughters right here.
Then there's the fact that such gross neglect also puts every single guard and prisoner in there at risk. If this is standard operating procedure for the MCSO, public health had better expect more of a HEP C problem than they already know about. What exactly is the jail policy about disinfecting and containing areas affected by blood and bodily fluids? Surely they have one. Surely it is also in their policies that “women prisoners should have unrestricted access to personal hygiene items as needed to prevent risk of bloodborne disease transmission when menstruating.” Simple enough. Feel free to use that, Joe, if you don’t quite know how to word it. You’ve got about a week to make sure that doesn’t happen again.
As for the rest of this article – of course the county bureaucrats and administrators don’t care about those of us who are really struggling out here. Except Mary Rose Wilcox. She gets credit for kicking Sheriff Joe’s ass even though he’s trying to imprison her.
Anyway, we bought medical care for prisoners on the cheap because the feds made us, otherwise they’d get no care at all. The same with the state (actually, they pay far more than they should for what they get, but you know how important it is to let business turn a little profit - who cares at whose expense they make it?). So, we got what we paid for, and we were just fine with people dying it until the program was disaccredited. I guess that increases the probability of a lawsuit.
MCSO tried to shut prisoners up when they complained before it got that bad, but there’s still a mile long trail of grievances and lawsuits reflecting a pervasive pattern of neglect and recurrent, avoidable injury and deaths. MCSO has been party to it all along - as has the rest of county government, it appears. They knew exactly what was happening to our prisoners, and they let it happen anyway, as if once we're criminalized - or even just accused - we're all suddenly disposable people. They should all take responsibility for changing that. We are also human.