Sunday, October 23, 2005

Delaware, Trapped In Its Own Prison

Now that summer is over, do you think maybe it's time for Governor Minner to go back to work? I mean sure, she pops up at events all over the state to cut a ribbon here or shake a hand there. But the state is again taking a pummeling over what happens inside its prisons and there's no leadership to be found.

The Wilmington Snooze Urinal (I keed, I keed!) totally destroyed the prison system with a series of articles that would have you believe that once you're able to get through the chain links and barbed wire fences you immediately enter a third world country. While most state lawmakers are admitting that things may not have been totally accurate, they tend to agree that the substance of them are true.

Senator Charlie Copeland has been out front about this, joining the list of Republicans around the state trying to jockey for position as they look towards higher office (indeed I'm also a cynic), and I tend to agree with him about some of the proposals he's calling for (and what is it about Delaware's Democratic leadership which makes me agree with Republicans so often? Or maybe Delaware's Republicans smell less than some of the national ones? No matter, that's too far off tangent) in terms of cleaning up the filth.

Why is it that the state appears to be doing nothing about the fact that diseases that were close to erradicated in this country, illnesses like TB and such, are festering inside its prison walls? Copeland is right in arguing that things need to change quickly, since 95% of the criminals inside Delaware's prisons are back out on the street someday. The high recidivism rate matters not, since even five minutes with something like TB or an untreated grapefruit sized tumor coming from the back of your head is five minutes too damn long.

But the most galling aspect, and one I haven't heard that much about, is that many of the prison guards in Delaware aren't getting vaccinated or even protected against some of those filth-produced disease. Guards that walk amongst us every day, that have kids who mingle with our kids, aren't getting the very basic of protections.

And where is the governor in all this? Well at the conclusion of the News Journal's series a terse press release denouncing the series and chiding the paper for not printing a letter from Commissioner Stan Taylor was it. This is leadership? Are you serious?

Sometimes with the stories I've heard about her, I wonder if the governor feels as if she's entitled to her office. As if she thinks she paid her dues as a state senator, as Lt. Governor and such, and that she deserves to be governor because of it. I hope I'm wrong. But I'm not completely convinced I am.

The chairman of the House committee that handles issues revolving around the state prisons has been heard saying that even though things may not be as dire as the paper's series claimed, Stan Taylor still has got to go. Since speaking out initially he's since been rather quiet on the issue while other Republicans continue to slam the Minner administration for its inactivity. And rightly so we might add.

Is it possible that Republicans continue to bat on this issue in part because it allows them to gain politically? Most definitely. But while Governor Minner transitions from summer vacation into her fall break (and remember, the holidays are just around the corner!) someone needs to step up and demand accountability and responsibility. It's sad that the governor either thinks there's no problem at all, or that a terse and dismissive press release sufficiently addresses the issue.

2 Comments:

At 6:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let the prisoners rot. To me, a grapefruit sized cancerous boil is just as good as an execution.. better cause it's slower. You and the News Journal and your liberal bias. Makes me want to choke on my own pudding.

 
At 9:34 AM, Blogger Dickie Dunn said...

Spoken like a caring, compassionate conservative, Christian republican I'm sure. How about when the prison guards bring TB home, give it to their kids, and then they take it to your kid's school. Maybe then the worthless governor can do something about it?

 

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