It's well known that the US has one of the highest incarceration rates in the world. And also that keeping people in jail is really, really expensive. Many jails are run by private contractors, leading to a break down that becomes in humane.
I just read a story about the death of a mentally ill inmate at Rikers Island in New York. After being left without food or water for six days, he went into cardiac arrest and died. In the past, the same inmate was left without insulin (needed for his diabetes) for 11 days. How is this okay?
According ot the official report, 57 different visits to the inmates cell were made in the days before his death. Knowledge of the horrible stench coming from the cell, his banging on the cell doors and more was known among the officers and guards there. And nothing was done.
And now, what is the charge? There isn't one. One of the chiefs (through the private contractor) was transferred to a smaller prison, but not demoted. Who can be held responsible for this neglect, and more than that, how can we fix it?
I wish this was an isolated case. But, really, this isn't the first time. There's been stories of inmates who tried to kill themselves because they were being starved for days and days. Joseph Ponte, the correction commissioner in this case, would not say whether any officers were fired or disciplined. “We continue to investigate and have adjusted our practices to ensure that a similar tragedy does not happen again,” he said in a statement.
What? So absolutely no one who apparently knew that this man was lying in his cell dying is going to get any sort of reprimand? That's absolutely disgusting.
Can we fix a penal system that seems like it will never work?