After a third inmate in three months was accidentally released from jail last week, King County Executive Dow Constantine appointed an outside investigator to review the county’s inmate-release policies at both the county jail in downtown Seattle and the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent.
The FBI is looking into possible civil rights violations in Cleveland’s Cuyahoga County jail, where six people have died this year. A judge is refusing to send non-violent offenders to the facility over concern for their health and safety.
Law enforcement officials in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area convene a meeting and agree, “We can’t arrest our way out of the problem.” More than half of inmates in the Hennepin County Jail in Minneapolis have a mental health problem.
More than 500 women and teenagers will be bailed out from New York City’s Rikers Island jail as part of a national campaign to dismantle a bail system that activists say discriminates against minorities and the poor. The effort is being spearheaded by the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights group, which plans to raise $5 million to fund the releases.
According to a press release from the victim’s attorney, Thomas Hamm, a visitor to the Rikers Island facility, was beaten by two corrections officers hurling anti-gay slurs. Earlier this year, the Jail’s Action Committee released a report maintaining that conditions for visitors to Rikers “continue to be discouraging at best and traumatizing and violent at worst.”
A mentally ill inmate whose death prompted community protest was ignored for more than three hours before he was found dead inside his Rockdale County, Ga., cell, even though deputies were required to check his condition every 15 minutes.
A special “population review team” in Ohio’s Lucas County explores ways of reducing jail time for new or low-level offenders. “Maybe jail isn’t the right place” for many of them, explains Gene A. Zmuda, a common pleas court judge.
Locked in the Mineral County Jail for failing to pay traffic tickets, Kelly Coltrain asked to go to the hospital. Instead, as her condition worsened, she was handed a mop and told to clean up her own vomit. She died in her cell less than an hour later.