Search This Blog

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Knowing When to Hold & When to Fold

For the record, I don’t play cards. Hell, I don’t even play the lottery. About the only games I do play involve the Xbox 360 and something called the “First Person Shooter”, a genre of games best suited to 13 year old boys and psychopaths. Oh, and I’m 46.

Anyway, it seems that the Lackawanna County Prison Board consists of some players, as they apparently have decided to stop holding and start folding, at least as far as the county prison administration is concerned. I am referring specifically to the article in today’s Scranton Times (link HERE) where it is noted that county prison warden Janine Donate has apparently resigned her position…or was asked to resign her position.

Is this right? Is this fair?

Well “right” is a subjective term, least as far as politics are concerned. This is, by the way, as much about politics as it is anything else. This firing has some of the stink found during the whole Iraq prison scandal, you know where the sergeants got jail time, but the generals got to walk. While Ms Donate is organizationally far above a sergeant, the fact remains that the generals…in this case the prison board members…get to walk. That’s a shame.

The greater shame will be if the departure of Ms Donate is somehow intended to be a kind of deflection from the real mess at the county jail. What real mess? Clearly there are problems at the facility, as one nearly vegetative former prisoner proves. Also and as I’ve noted on several occasions, the banishment of Father Pickard from the prison (conveniently after he warned the administration that a certain prisoner was in physical danger), in a position he held for nearly a quarter of century, is definitely a red flag that things stink behind bars. Make no mistake about it: Father Pickard spoke far too much truth to a group of administrators who prefer a squishy version of the truth. Unfortunately a human skull isn’t so squishy when it is being stomped on.

In my opinion, probably the biggest impediment to real progress at the county jail lies with the board itself. They, as the functional equivalent of a corporation’s board of directors, are ultimately responsible for what happens in the jail, not just Warden Donate. That accountability can not and should not be deflected by the departure of anyone below them. I’m not sure what by-laws govern the naming of board members, but perhaps it is time to take a fresh look at who is really running the Lackawanna County prison.

No comments: