Monday, March 8, 2010
Sheriff Frank Anderson Continues to Ship Violent Inmates to Low Security Jail #2; Looks The Other Way While Dangerous Situation Continues
Marion County Jail #2, located on Washington Street, is run by Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). Marion County Sheriff Frank Anderson is responsible for overseeing the medium security jail and making sure the private vendor (and his campaign contributor) complies with its contract and runs a safe facility. For Sheriff Frank Anderson the best way to fulfill that job responsibility is to look the other way.
The other day, I spoke with a former CCA inmate who just left the facility. He told me that he had bunked next to someone who had strangulation charges against him. He said that when the lights go out at the facility, the inmate dormitories erupt into chaotic violence, inmates regularly attacking one another. He said that CCA guards are nowhere in sight. He was personally attacked and received two black eyes. None of the attacks and acts of violence is documented by CCA officials and any videotape of incidents won't last long before being erased. After all, the facility's rating and staff bonuses are based on their not being "incidents" at the facility. Everyone has an incentive, including the Sheriff, to keep things quiet.
The former inmate told me that the CCA corrections officers were hanging out the the other day smoking pot. He said the turnover among low paid staff is incredible. Many of the corrections officers come from the same neighborhood as the inmates and know them. Trafficking and sexual relations between staff and inmtes are common. The inmate told me that none of the inmates take the CCA correctional officers seriously because they know they are not deputy sheriffs and won't turn them in.
Inmates continue to be denied medical care and medicine despite CCA's contractual obligations. Inmates get hurt and sometimes die. The facility remains a security nightmare - radios and tv monitors not working, unarmed employees who are not trained to do so are required to escort inmates throughout the facility. Razor blades are left in open wastebaskets where they are fished out and fashioned into weapons. Dormitory windows have holes through which inmates can lower strings to the ground to pull up contraband from friends on the outside.
None of this is exactly news. Sheriff Anderson has known about these problems at the facility for years. His response? To look the other way. In nearly eight years, Sheriff Anderson has not done a single audit of the facility or investigated a single wrongful death or injury at the facility. He has not ordered the first CCA employee fired for not doing his or her job, though doing so is within his contractual authority. Sheriff Anderson's tenure has been one of complete neglect of his oversight responsibilities. He does love the commissary and inmate telephone money he's gotten from the jail though, which he's used for an assortment of expenditures not authorized by law including paying his law firm (and political contributor) millions of dollars.
One of the things Sheriff Anderson is supposed to be doing is ensuring that people who might be violent or a security threat are housed at higher security Jail #1 rather than sent to stay at the much lower security dormitories of Jail #2. I did a sample search of surnames housed at CCA Jail #2 to see if this was true. Here's a sample of CCA/Jail #2 inmates and their charges:
Inmate J. Johnson: criminal confinement, robbery, and intimidation. 11 charges pending, of which 7 are felonies.
Inmate A Smith: robbery and criminal confinement; 4 felonies pending.
Inmate J. Davis: battery w/injuy, strangulation; 11 charges pending, including 7 felonies.
Inmate C. White: criminal confinement, robbery
Inmate J. Robinson: rape, strangulation, criminal confinement, battery w/injury
Inmate Allen: strangulation, battery w/injury
Inmate R. Wilson: robbery, battery w/injury; 9 charges pending, 7 are felonies.
Inmate J. Williams: strangulation, battery w/injury, criminal confinement; 5 pending felonies
Inmate Young: strangulation, criminal confinement, domestic battery, sexual battery; 5 pending felonies
Inmate Ruiz: robbery, intimidation, criminal confinement; 5 felony charges
Inmate Daniels: robbery, criminal confinement, battery w/injury; 10 pending charges, 9 of which are felonies
Inmate Viha: battery w/injury, strangulation, criminal confinement; 19 charges, 9 are felonies
Inmate Vanderburg: strangulation, battery w/injury, sexual battery, criminal deviate conduct; 22 charges, 10 are felonies.
Obviously Sheriff Anderson is not doing his job to ensure that potentially violent inmates are not not housed at Jail #2.
Whoever is elected Sheriff needs to clean up the problems at Jail #2 caused by Sheriff Anderson's for eight years neglecting his responsibilities.