posted by Mike on May 14th, 2008

WoMag jail story
It used to be hard (but not uncommon) for the weekly Worcester Magazine to scoop the daily Telegram & Gazette. Yesterday, via the power of the Internet, WoMag beat the T&G by 8 hours in their coverage of a recent federal report on problems at the county jail.

The report (PDF) makes a few dozen recommendations on improving conditions, because:

In defining the scope of inmates’ Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights, the Supreme Court has held that corrections officials must take reasonable steps to guarantee inmates’ safety and provide “humane conditions” of confinement. . . . The “humane conditions” standard is satisfied when a corrections system provides for inmates’ basic needs for safety, medical care, food, clothing, and shelter. . . . As discussed below, the conditions at the Jail do not comport with these legal standards.

This part has already provoked comment:

The Jail’s grievance process is difficult for inmates to access. As an initial matter, inmates do not have direct access to grievance forms and must obtain them from the housing unit captain. Once a form is completed, inmates must “complete and forward the form in an envelope, with postage, addressed to the (‘Facility Inmate Grievance Coordinator’) by way of the outgoing facility mail.” Pursuant to the Jail’s policy, inmates must file a grievance form within ten days of the incident at issue, although the grievance officer told us that he does not enforce this rule. Inmates are subject to these same rigorous requirements if they wish to appeal the grievance officer’s decision.

The inaccessibility of this system is reflected in the low number of grievances that are filed.

Deputy Superintendent Jeff Turco:

There’s nothing in the Constitution that says a jail can’t have a cumbersome grievance process … [or] any process.

Buck Paxton:

Apparently some people think the right to petition for a redress of grievances is just part of a Seinfeld sketch.

I’d be curious to see how this report compares with the reports issued to other jails these days, or Worcester County in the past.

Meth lab at slaughterhouse
At a notorious kosher slaughterhouse, according to accounts of a recent immigration raid there. “Last November, the search warrant said, ICE agents interviewed a former Agriprocessors supervisor who said some employees were running a methamphetamine lab in the plant and were bringing weapons to work.” Erik Marcus notes: “I had no idea that crystal meth was part of a deep religious tradition.”

Interview with Louis Rodemann of KC Catholic Worker
Haven’t listened to it yet, but here it is: mp3#1, mp3#2.

Profile of Dagmar Hoxsie of the Yankton (SD) Catholic Worker

Hoxsie said she is often asked why she puts her future at risk to accomplish what some people see as very little.

“My sister said to me at one time, ‘You don’t accomplish anything. Why don’t you just give it up?'” Hoxsie recalled. “I told her, ‘Nobody stands up against evil – just a few people. I want to be one of them. I want to belong to the people who say this is wrong.’ When you’re a woman of faith, I feel like I don’t have a choice.”

Animal protection turnabout
The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, “really just an arms and bowhunting industry front group,” convinced the Meijer department store chain to break off an agreement with the Humane Society of the United States “to provide relief to pets abandoned during the foreclosure crisis.” As you might expect, HSUS used this incident to raise much more money than was part of the original deal, and raise a smaller pool of money for lobbying against the worst abuses supported by USSA.

“Bill Donohue is not the Batman of Catholicism”
And other John Hagee-related observations.

Quotes ‘n’ stats

“Overall, since 1970, bicycle output has nearly quadrupled, while car production has roughly doubled.”

NYT op-ed: Burger King spies on student activists

1958 letter to the Village Voice: “Why don’t you buy The Catholic Worker once in a while and find out there’s a hell of a lot of things in this world beside blasé idioms, booze, jazz, saloons, chino pants, and Fire Island?”

Dave Barton’s list of beautiful things

Published in: Items, Worcester | on May 14th, 2008 | Permanent Link to “Items” | No Comments »

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