Saturday, July 27, 2013

Privately-Run Marion County Jail II Sharply Limits Attorney Visitation to Make More Profit

Marion County Jail II
I discovered today what I believe reflects a major change in policy affecting criminal defense attorneys.   Marion County Jail II, which is run by the Corrections Corporation of America, now limits attorney visitation to 8 am to 5 pm, M-F.  No weekend visitation.  No visitation after 5 pm.  I have many time met with clients at Jail II after 5 pm and on weekends.  Many criminal defense attorneys find it easier to meet with clients after 5 pm or on weekends because there is less demand that they return to their offices for appointments and attorneys never know how long it will take to get in to see an inmate.

On the other hand, Jail I run by the Marion County Sheriff's Office describes its attorney visitation hours as on its website as this:
Attorney visiting hours are generally 7:00 A.M. to 11:15 A.M., 1:30 P.M. to 5:15 P.M., and 7:30 P.M. to 9:30 P.M., seven days a week.
Thank you Sheriff John Layton by doing your job and making the effort to ensure attorneys' schedules are accomodated.  But I would add that you also oversee the CCA contract with Jail II.  I believe Jail II should have the same hours for attorney visitation at Jail I and, if that means CCA makes a little less profit because it has to pay an extra worker or two, so be it.   CCA knew its responsibilities when it signed that contract to run Jail II.  It should not be able to change the rules post-signature to increase its profits.

Finally, before I have people going off on a tangent about how these people have no rights because they've committed a crime, it is important to note that most of the people in jail (unlike prison) are only accused of a crime and haven't yet been found guilty.  In Jail II, in particular, you have less serious offenders than in Jail I.  These people aren't in prison where shorter attorney visitation hours would be justified.


gt said...

I encourage you to check if the law library there meets the standards for a jail. I think you'll find it doesn't.

Paul K. Ogden said...
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Paul K. Ogden said...

gt, not the first time I heard that. There are a lot of things that have been wrong with Jail II over the years...unarmed nurses escorting inmates throughout the facility, radios that don't work, tv monitors that don't work, staff having sex with inmates, trafficking via holes burned in windows with inmates lowering strings down to the ground, razor blades being thrown into waste baskets that can be fished out for shivs, inmates being interviewed by medical personnel about their medical history in front of other inmates, inmates interpreting for other inmates during medical interviews (both violate confidentiality rules), CCA personnel that make sure inmates can never complete the grievance process so that any inmate lawsuit against CCA gets thrown out of court. Then you have those bogus ACA audits which are the biggest joke ever.

During Sheriff Anderson's tenure I am not aware of any investigation he ever did with respect to deaths or injuries at Jail II. We constantly alerted him to problems and he refused to investigate or take action. He consistently ignored his duty to oversee the contract with CCA.

While I'm out of the loop now, I've seen Sheriff Layton take immediate action when there has been a problem at one of the other privately run jails, Liberty Hall. While more needs to be done to make these private companies follow the rules in running the jails, I have a lot more confidence that Sheriff Layton is more likely to do that than Sheriff Anderson.

Privatized correctional just doesn't work. My guess is Sheriff Layton would prefer Sheriff Deputies run all the Marion County jails and to get rid of these private companies The Sheriff's Department is very professional in the job they do. The claim that there is savings with the private companies running the jails is rarely true once you consider all the costs.

Marycatherine Barton said...

I am sure that John appreciates your commendation of him, Paul. We are all praying for you right now, 10:00a as your hearing begins. Sorry I am not there.