“I think the overarching question is, ‘What can and should we do to provide some oversight to make sure something like this never happens again?'” said Supervisor Simitian. I read this statement earlier today and I remain confounded at the reality the Board of Supervisors is ignoring in regards to Sheriff Laurie Smith.
The Sheriff’s Office immediately released to the public a statement claiming, “Before they stopped the alleged assault, corrections personnel heard a disturbance in a lower-tier cell and responded immediately, according to the sheriff’s office.”
Every source I have spoken to says an immediate response was not the case. That the beating went on for 15 minutes, a corrections deputy heard it, called his partner back from dinner break, but no one responded the cell to stop the beating until his partner came back, 15 minutes later. Yes, the beating was still going on, as reported, when the deputy arrived at the cell, meaning this beating went on for about 20 minutes. What is the policy that enabled this situation to occur like this, and why does it seem the sheriff is lying about it already? This is the only unit with a 2 deputy assignment, and if there is a “2 deputies will respond to all incidents” type order on this unit, why isn’t there always 2 deputies immediately available with someone filling in for the individual on break? Every other unit has a single deputy assigned and if there is a problem, a radio call goes out and all available deputies respond immediately. Why didn’t this happen here, what is different with the policy that the sheriff is trying to hide? Is there a flaw that should have been identified by someone conducting a knowledgeable review? Since we have no camera to document what happened, what was the radio traffic for this incident? who made the call for assistance? The deputy in the dorm or the deputy returning from their lunch?
The radio traffic should be reviewed, but here’s the problem, it doesn’t exist. We may never be able to prove what happened via radio traffic because the sheriff and the county still haven’t addressed the issue that it’s not recorded. Isn’t this another form of public record? Don’t we see transcripts and hear audio recording of police radio transmissions? Yet there’s no police radio transmissions that are recorded in Sheriff Laurie Smith’s jails. Why? If the corrections personnel had decided to back the sheriff’s lies, rather than reach out to me and people in the media and tell us there are still problems, how would we ever know? There is no oversight, there’s no tangible independent record, and the County and Sheriff have kept your attention diverted from major failures that they are still creating these types of problems with the manner they’ve conducted the recent closing of MJS.
According to my sources, what I’m hearing is the sheriff is already lying to the public about this incident. According to the news, the Board of Supervisors is going to allow her to lead the investigation without any independent, non-politicized oversight to ensure she’s telling the truth. This after making such statements as the one above acknowledging the BoS know oversight is still a problem.
Oh wait! They must only mean oversight of the deputies. Apparently the sheriff, her failed minions, the contractor who is supposed to be guiding policy that doesn’t seem to exist in units like M5, they don’t need oversight. We apparently can trust them. Lord knows we haven’t seen the sheriff and her administration lie to us in the past, right?
The Board of Supervisors can’t fall back on the argument she’s an elected official, because again, Laurie Smith was not elected to run the jails, she was appointed by the Board of Supervisors rather than find an independent individual who had knowledge of how well managed jails work.
Since the last election, at least 5 people have died from Smith’s negligent practices and now have another on life support, with some sources saying they’re already brain dead. A full year after the Blue Ribbon Commission, people are still suffering and dying from her negligence and the Sheriff and Board of Supervisors, after all this time, still have no expert oversight lined up, nevermind already on the job. Policy is still non-existent or poorly crafted. What policy there is still poorly implemented via memo, without training. I’m also being told there is no single repository for the internal memos. And need I point out again? Yes, it can’t be said too many times. People are still being unnecessarily injured and dying. They are jumping off unsecured second tiers, they are beating each other to death in cells, they are sawing cell bars and escaping like from a cartoon jail, they are trying to kill each other during program time (time out of cells). Cells aren’t being searched, inmates aren’t being classified properly again, and this seems like deja vu all over. Little has improved, and what did improve is going backwards with they way they’ve handled closing MJS. But they sure have spent a lot of time and money on making you believe things are advancing significantly.
It’s critical they get someone in the jails with the resume and proven skill set to look at problems and correct them, unlike the contractor they’re paying a fortune for and the sheriff who’s best experience still comes from the last time these jails were put under control of the courts.