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Inmates are nonetheless individuals

Alleged abuse at Hazelton have to be investigated

Most all the things we’ve seen within the headlines lately associated to jails has been in regards to the (nonetheless ongoing) staffing disaster. However Hazelton federal jail in Preston County made headlines this previous week for a really totally different — and disturbing — purpose.

U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito was one among three senators (two Republican and one Democrat) who wrote a letter to U.S. Legal professional Common Merrick Garland asking for an investigation into alleged misconduct at Hazelton.

“These experiences,” the letter mentioned, “mixed with public reporting on FCC Hazelton’s dire staffing shortages and proliferation of weapons contraband, paint a grim image …”

“Grim” is one solution to describe it.

Among the many allegations are: a gaggle of inmates escaped from the jail camp and supervisory workers tried to cowl it up; supervisory workers falsified paperwork, inspired inmate abuse and lined up alleged abuse and escapes of incarcerated people; workers members used restrictive housing (previously referred to as “solitary confinement”) as a punishment in violation of Bureau of Prisons coverage, and workers engaged in a sample of bodily abuse of inmates residing in Particular Housing Models (a sort of restrictive housing); workers repeatedly directed racial slurs towards minorities in the direction of different workers members and incarcerated people; workers urinated on prisoner property; workers compelled inmates to urinate and defecate on themselves as a situation of being launched from restrictive custody; and workers assaulting an inmate, breaking the person’s ribs.

The allegation of falsifying paperwork particularly contains altering or fabricating medical assessments, incident experiences, responsibility rosters and time and attendance sheets, together with requests to tamper with safety cameras to cowl up inmate escapes.

We’re becoming a member of Capito and her colleagues in calling for an investigation into these severe allegations. Particularly the claims that Hazelton workers basically tortured inmates bodily (by assaulting them) and mentally (via isolation and humiliation). Significantly regarding is the pointless and extreme use of what’s basically solitary confinement, which research have linked to elevated suicide and violence amongst inmates, in addition to elevated chance of reoffending as soon as launched.

Any investigations into the alleged misconduct at Hazelton have to be carried out by an impartial occasion. It can’t be trusted to any form of in-house “inner affairs,” as a result of because the senators’ letter says, “The staff engaged in these practices haven’t been disciplined, and, in some instances, acquired promotions, regardless of open investigations into their misconduct.”

These claims have to be totally investigated and, if any show to be true, the culprits have to be faraway from Hazelton and safeguards put in place to stop such travesties from taking place once more.

Being convicted of a criminal offense and despatched to jail doesn’t — and shouldn’t — imply that somebody is stripped of their humanity. If we would like offenders to reform and rejoin society as productive and law-abiding residents, then they’ll’t be handled as less-than-human throughout their incarceration.