April 28, 2023
Yesterday I posted an article about the female side of the jail closing. Then late last night I read an article with statements made by the County Manager. I thought to myself…Really, really???
They are upset that the very young, newly elected Sheriff may not have had the training to run the jail. Well DUH! No one that is elected to a position that has not held that position before knows everything involved in the office.
Ellenburg has networked with other Sheriff’s in the area to learn what is expected and attended training to help him figure out what needs to be done. We have seen the increase in drug arrests. His social media account shows that. He appears to be trying to get up to speed on the jail disaster he inherited.
Why in the world did they not help him transition into this position? They have managers, maintenance people, etc. that could have helped with ordinances, maintenance, etc. They knew the jail has multiple problems before he was even elected.
Now comes the real kicker. The Commissioners (excluding Benfield) toured the jail themselves before I did on March 3rd (over 55 days ago). They actually walked through that decrepit cesspool on the female side. They smelled it, they saw the mold, the women crowded on the floor. They felt the heat and saw the walls dripping with moisture, the many layers of paint peeling off the bars, and the rust everywhere.
Why in the world did they not tell the Sheriff to get those women out of there that day? These good Christian elected officials saw the squalor and conditions that day themselves. I told the Sheriff the day I toured that the women needed to be moved ASAP. Our shelter animals live in much better conditions than these women.
Yet the Commissioners decided that the subject of moving them needed to be “studied”? It all comes down to money. It would cost money to move them. MONEY…doesn’t it always seem to come down to money?
What about humanity, what about those women’s constitutional rights? I sat in my car and cried for fifteen minutes after my tour. I cried that any human being would be housed in such situations in my own county. I cried that no one seemed to care enough to do something. These were mothers, daughters, and sisters. I cried that my elected officials had allowed this to happen.
The Commissioners had fifty-five (55) days that they could have moved these women yet they did not do so until forced to by state inspectors. I am appalled by their apathy and inaction. These are not the men I thought they were.
Now they want to “blame” the Sheriff who has been in office for less than four months? This did not happen in four months time. Former Sheriff Francis had let this go on for years. Why did County Maintenance not notify the county about the conditions when they went in there to work on things? Why did past inspectors not do anything? (that’s for another article)
Why did NO ONE seem to care? Was it was because they were women? I thought we were past that kind of thinking. Obviously not it seems.
At this point they are out of there but there is still the fact that their constitutional rights were violated during the time they were there. That will be a federal matter that must be dealt with. The fact that officials allowed this to go on for so long hurts my heart deeply and makes me want to examine all the reasons why.
I have been heartbroken over this since March 3rd. I will never forget the inmate standing in the shadow of her cell saying, “Please help us.” I think “some” of our good Christian leaders have forgotten the teachings that we are all ALL God’s children.
This situation is far from over. Stop blaming and start helping. It will take everyone to help fix this mess. The problems have been identified so now address them as a unified government body. We as a community deserve no less.