Inside the jail
With the jail mostly full again, tensions within escalate from all sides. Inmates and officers alike can feel the uncertainty that permeates the air; fuel for inevitable eruptions. The current strategy our city and county officials are pursuing seems to focus more on making money off of holding indigent inmates on bond for felony charges than seeing them rehabilitated. This only serves to cause even the most reserved individuals to act out. The atmosphere becomes spiritually and emotionally toxic. While we're being juggled back and forth between dockets and Public Defenders, we have no idea what our fates will be. The only way we have to contact our attorney is by post, and the Public Defender never responds.
Being put off for four to six weeks every time we go to court and hearing nothing more than an "automatic plea of not guilty" smacks of incarceration for convenience rather than necessity. Especially when the requirements for bonding on our own recognizance are needlessly vague or impossible.
Those of us who are trying to pursue drug court, rehab or behavioral health treatment in lieu of prison time or excessive probation have no way of knowing how successful our attempts are until the Prosecutor deigns to acknowledge us after two or three Omnibus Hearings. Something has got to give.
We're being treated more like lambs to the slaughter. Like dollar signs or statistics. Not the human beings that we are. Not the friends, family and neighbors that we are. Confined and pent up until we're forced to take a plea we don't want to just to taste freedom and go right back to what we were doing before because we feel like the system has abandoned us. Sending us back out into the world without keeping us informed at least isn't healthy for anyone.
What would Jesus do?
Garland County Detention Center
Editorial on 09/06/2019
Print Headline: Friday's Letter to the Editor