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Sunday, August 29, 2010

AP Story, Prison Beating

Scranton is in the news again, and this time it has nothing to do with 'The Office'.

Associated Press story, "Vicious Attack Leaves PA Inmate Comatose" linked HERE.

One of the more troubling aspects of this report is the fact that there are credible allegations that the inmate was grossly mistreated over an extended period of time, a fact which has yet to be reported at any level of detail in the local media.  From the story:

A former inmate who lived on the same block as Pinto confirmed the abuse. The inmate, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he fears retribution against family members who hold local patronage jobs, told The Associated Press that he saw guards brutalize Pinto.

"...hold local patronage jobs..." that phrase alone should send shivers down your spine.  A man was being raped and people kept quiet because they had relatives with patronage jobs.  Gee, what else would they turn a blind eye to in order to protect the status quo?

The article also touches on details of Father Pickard's warning to prison authorities:

Pickard wrote a letter to the Lackawanna County commissioners on March 30 of this year complaining that prosecutors had failed to look into Pinto's allegations, "resulting in additional sexual assaults and continued denial of medical treatment."

Father Pickard continues to be banished from the prison, despite a quarter century of ministry to the jail's population.

Again, the fact that the AP provides so much more detail than the Scranton Times has to date is nothing short of astounding.  

You think the prisoner having the baby on the jailhouse floor shook things up at the jail?  Hell, that was minor league stuff compared to what will happen as a result of this incident.  Mr Pinto was not a good man, and for his crimes he deserved to be punished.  Let me be perfectly clear though with how I feel:  NO ONE deserves the treatment this man received.  His blood is on the hands of everyone in that jail who was in a position to intervene, be they guards, prison administrators, the warden or the Prison Board.  The investigation as to what happened here needs to reach into all operations of the Lackawanna County jail and the county District Attorney's office.  No sacred cows, be they unionized guards, the prison warden or  the District Attorney's office. 

There was recently an uproar when a lady threw a cat in a dumpster.  Weeks later and the cat is doing fine.  Mr Pinto had his head stomped in 15 times.  Weeks later and he is probably going to need intensive care for the rest of his life.  Do the societal math.

Finally, I know that there are some out there that say this man "got what he deserved".  Funny, I wonder how many of those folks revile in disgust when they hear of people getting stoned to death in Islamic countries?  In my estimation, what happened to this inmate is basically America's version of Sharia Law.

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