Saturday, January 10, 2009
THE GUARDIAN read all 20 pages of the ACLU filing against Canyon County Commishes and the County Top Cop. The meat of this starts on page 5 and ends with item number 50 in the filing.
Jail and prison overcrowding is an endemic (means everywhere) problem. Neglect, mismanagement and poor maintenance of a public asset is another matter. A thorough read of the ACLU filing against Canyon County is a clear slap at how the Commishes and Sheriff have managed our jail, as well as their responsibility to be good stewards of the physical plant and inmates in their charge. The entire jail facility, including the old jail, passed every Idaho Sheriff's Association inspection it ever had as well as monthly inspections by the incumbent Commishes under former Sheriff George Nourse.
THE GUARDIAN worked in the Dale Haile Detention facility and knows the layout and features as well as design shortcomings in the facility.
Management systems, procedures, resources of materials and staff were not issues until the recent crop of Commishes and Sheriff took office several years ago. The place was cleaned on a schedule much the same as a US Naval ship (been there and done that too).
The previous Sheriff had two full time maintenance staff people during the day and one on call for night time issues. The Supply staff in the jail kept cleaning supplies and painting issues up to date constantly. Pest control services were on a contract to provide weekly services. Toilets and showers were not allowed to go unrepaired for weeks and months at a time. Fire systems were maintained and tested regularly and fixed promptly. Fire drills were held at a minimum of annually and deputies were well trained in evacuation procedures.
The environment inside the jail was maintained at a constant temperature all four seasons. Daily inspections were made by the Assistant Jail Commander of all living units. Ventilation systems kept the jail warm in the winter and air conditioned in the summer. County maintenance staff kept filters, air handlers and controls maintained on a regular basis. The jail was never allowed to be an unclean place for inmates. A schedule based on rotating bunk assignments was established with a designated number of inmates doing the cleaning of their unit on a daily basis. Inmates were never denied access to the inmate handbook or printed rules and policies. Grievances by inmates were dealt with on a fair and consistent basis. Jail management was keenly aware of potential abuses of power at the hands of those in charge of living units.
Staffing and turnover of manpower were issues from time to time. A constant effort to promote from within and entry level hiring were dealt with as ongoing issues to resolve while providing opportunites to promote from within the department. Management issues cropped up from time to time and once defined were dealt with quickly by Sheriff Nourse via employee surveys by staff on their bosses. One such survey resulted in the termination of the jail commander and a significant number of other management staff.
If you take the time to read the ACLU filing, it is clear the Commishes and Top Copper have abdicated their fiduciary responsibilities as "SERVANTS OF THE COURT" and stewards of our jail assets. Overcrowding is one issue but filth, mold, mismanagement, poor maintenance, lack of staff and their training are things they need to be held accountable for to us the taxpayers.
The ACLU filing, with the exception of overcrowding, is a punch list of things that can and should be corrected immediately (if not sooner).
Posted by Paul Alldredge at 11:27 AM