Friday, November 23, 2007

Lights out at the Dallas County Jail ... for four days

Earlier this week I went to visit James at Suzanne Kays. I noticed that, behind the visitation area, the jail looked strangely dark.

It turns out it was dark, as the lights in some sections of the jail weren't working.

I asked how long the lights had been off - turns out the blackout lasted for almost five days. No explanation was given, so I think it's safe to assume that the Deliberate Indifference code of conduct was in force as usual.

Considering that the jail has no clocks or calendars, and that sitting in the dark is not good for anyone (Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is one form of proof), I cannot help but wonder if forcing inmates to be stuck in almost-total darkness for over four days can't help but damage their physical and psychological health.

"Brent Van Dorsten, Ph.D., a behavioral health psychologist at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center explains: “While SAD’s exact cause is unknown, it is generally accepted that nerve centers in the brain that moderate mood and energy are affected by the eye’s exposure to bright light. During darkness, the pineal gland produces the hormone melatonin, which increases drowsiness. Light halts production. People with SAD may have longer periods of melatonin production and higher daytime levels in winter. Extended darkness may also be associated with decreased production of the neurotransmitter serotonin.”

The taxes on the house I bought in 1999 have literally doubled since I moved in. Why can't a few of those be applied to providing inmates with basic necessities - like lights?

1 comment:

ravenslvr said...

the fuses got blown and it was 3 days. i work there but believe me, im on your side. but i do have to say, they were trying to fix them only because they feared a riot and it was an inmate that blew the fuse. it was only in 2 sections