October 12, 2006
POLITICS: Clinton Justice Comes to Massachusetts
Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Deval Patrick insisted, during his years in the Clinton Justice Department, on inserting the federal government into the following state and local prison complaints:
In one 1994 Department of Justice letter, Patrick chastised correction officials in Syracuse, N.Y., for not providing "sufficient sporting/recreation equipment to afford prisoners the opportunity to participate in large muscular activity." Among the injustices cited by the DOJ were "under inflated basketballs" and "only 1 operative basketball hoop." . . .
+In a 1995 letter to Lee County, Miss., prison officials he complained that air conditioners in individual cells "do not provide minimum ventilation for the purposes of fresh air supply, air exchange and overall cooling." The jail was also cited for not serving juice or milk.
+In a July 1995 letter to Grenada City, Miss., jail officials he called for clean linens weekly. A month later Patrick sent another letter to Virginia jail officials saying clean linens should be provided three times per week.
+Tuna sandwiches were served too warm in a tiny jail in Dooly County, Georgia.
+Meals at a Mitchell County, Georgia., jail were served too cold in styrofoam or plastic containers "not designed to maintain proper food temperatures."
+Virginia Beach officials failed to provide white underwear to inmates.
One of Patrick's sharpest attacks was on the Maryland prison system for alleged mistreatment of inmates at the state's "Supermax" facility, which at the time housed 105 killers and 19 rapists. The facility includes solitary units where violent inmates are sent for jailhouse violations, including attempted escapes and assaults on staff.
In a 1996 letter obtained by the Herald, Patrick slammed Maryland prison officials for serving "lukewarm" food and denying inmates their rights to "exercise," "fresh air" and "natural light." He also complained about a requirement that psychiatric visits be supervised by guards, a rule put in place because inmates masturbated in front of a female doctor.
Now, I'm all for trying to solve the genuinely serious problem of prisoner-on-prisoner violence, including gang violence and sexual assault in our prisons (although it's still questionable whether this needs to be a federal rather than a state issue); the blithe societal assumption that prison time includes prison rape really goes further than a decent society should allow.
But prison rape is one thing; lukewarm tuna fish sandwiches are entirely another. You would like a governor who knows the difference.
I know, I know...He's a Democrat, and worked for Clinton, so he must be bad. This is what you come up with?!?
If these are civil rights complaints, wouldn't that bring the Feds in? And I'm sure this study had to cover a lot of ground, and had to address complaints large and small.
Oh, and "too warm" tuna sandwiches can lead to food poisoning...just sayin'
I'm no fan of federal intrusion into state matters, but there's a time and a place.
And, as I always argue, the guys are incarcerated. That's their punishment. There's no reason to deny them basic needs. Maybe they don't need 72 degrees and color TV, but working A/C in Mississippi or mayonnaise not infected with staphilococcus hardly seems like the 4 Star treatment, Crank.
I use Sherriff Joe in Maricopa CO, AZ. While many can argue that Joe goes to far, and maybe he does, the correct arguement is "if you can't do teh time, don't do the crime." It is punishment and and convicts shold not be coddled.
We in Massachussetts face a lesser of two evils choice, so for the first time, I am supporting a 'protest candidate' - Christy Mihos.
Kerry Murphy Healy, the spawn of the failed and fraudulent Romney administration, brings a nonexistent resume to the race.
Mitt chose her in 2002 to handicap his candidacy after he muscled the then GOP female governor out of the race and as he prepared to face a female Democratic opponent.
What's worse is Mitt's administration has been a colossal disappointment. After his recruits failed in the mid-term elections to gain any seats in the legislature, he pouted for a year and grew excited again only after setting his sights on the White House.
Patrick on the other hand, with his affinity for ambitious (read: expensive) programs, lacks executive experience and holds a soft stance on taxes.
Nothing on his resume leads me to believe he's ever seen a balance sheet or had to worry about expenses exceeding revenues. He worked for the Clinton justice Department, practiced as a partner in a prestigious law firm, and sat on the Board of some very large companies that wanted to clean up the record of dealing with minorities.
That leaves Christy Mihos - the Ross Perot of the 2006 Massachusetts Governors Race.
Deval Patrick plus an overwhelmingly Dem General Court (legislature) will be a disaster for MA. He is leading in the polls because of Romney's unpopularity and the independent candidacy it spawned. Too late the people of MA will discover that the divided government of recent years has given the Commonwealth relatively good government. I hope the Dems win both houses of Congress this year and we will enjoy the benefits of a divided federal government for at least the next two years. It could go on for another 8 years if the GOP nominates Rudi.
Even leaving aside the argument that incarceration functions primarily to keep felons off the streets where they can harm people, Sheriff Joe forgets a key point: The Punishment is the incarceration! They've lost their liberty.
Anything beyond that is sadism. maybe some people want sadistic treatment of felons. I can certainly understand that view. But is that a job fo the state?