Sunday, January 27, 2008

Programs? What inmate programs?

While searching for a reference to jail commissary profits and what these profits allegedly pay for - seems they're supposed to fund inmate programs, but I can't find any proof of this line - I happened upon this at Lupe Valdez' re-election Web site.

I should point out here that I do NOT, and have never, blamed Sheriff Valdez for past conditions at DCJ. But I'm disappointed that the jail is still failing inspections (including last week's inspection). Also, she seems to keep an oddly low public profile.

Anyway, here's that Web page excerpt - I've left the typos as is:

Saving Taxpayers Money

Though reforms to the Dallas County Jail can be expsensive, Sheriff Valdez and her staff are always mindful of costs, and work diligently to save and maximize taxpayer dollars.

  • Sheriff Valdez overhauled the jail commissary contracting system, canceling "sweatheart" contracts set up by her predecessor. The commissary contract now brings in $1.5 million a year and these funds are used to improve programs for inmates in the Dallas County Jail System, offsetting costs that would otherwise be borne by taxpayers.

The problem is that neither James or anyone else have noticed any "improved programs" in the jail at all. Instead, inmates bribe trustees to sneak them a second or third blanket as it's been near-freezing in the jail.

When I visited James last Thursday, he sat there and literally shook the entire time. He wasn't allowed to bring a blanket with him (these days, most prisoners wear at least one blanket at all times).

In addition, if this commissary system is saving taxpayers money, why are taxpayers having to send more money to their friends and family members in jail?

If you'd like to read more about the current sheriff's accomplishments, real or otherwise, here's her re-election Web site.

No comments: