No Longer Will We Stand By
Act Now to Reform the System
1) Separate the positions of Sheriff and Coroner. There is a natural and unavoidable conflict of interest anytime there is a custodial death or other death involving the Sheriff’s Office. The manner in which Sheriff Parkinson utilized a compromised medical examiner to render “natural causes” determinations underscores the problem.
2) Hire a professional to run the jail. Sheriffs are largely elected for their perceived law enforcement credentials and rarely, if ever, is any consideration given to the fact that they are also the County’s jailers. With state-mandated realignment, the jails have become increasingly like prisons and Parkinson and other Sheriffs often times appoint individuals with no correctional experience to oversee the jails. It’s time to put a professional in charge.
3) Citizen oversight. Institute an independent citizens’ oversight committee to provide transparency and accountability until the jail can deliver constitutional minimum standards of health care and humane treatment.
4) Develop a dedicated psychiatric hospital to treat mentally ill inmates and provide competency restoration. Our current system of indiscriminately placing the mentally ill in jail for crimes arising from their mental illness is broken and simply does not work.