Inmates’ basic rights being violated

Published 10:27 am Friday, March 18, 2016

I am writing this letter after visiting my son in Lawrence County jail. Along with others, I waited outside against the wall of the building until it was time to enter. The wait was not long today, because census was low this week. There was another mother waiting, who gets around with help from a seating walker.

The rain had stopped right on time, or we would have gotten drenched, waiting in the rain. When visitation starts, we are searched, and directed towards a cell area to see whomever you want to visit. Time allowed is 15 minutes, talking via a small opening and a small visual area to see your loved one. You get to see a little of what the environment is like in their living area.

Where we, as visitors, stand is clean and well lit. There is no frank odor or debris anywhere. However, for the inmates, the living quarters and shower facilities need much improvement in order to maintain proper sanitation for the men and women incarcerated. I’m not saying the place should be like the Holiday Inn or the Ramada.

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But their basic rights are being violated. I’m writing for all the mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, wives/husbands or significant others. “We see,” they say, but things stay the same. What can be done? Emphasis has always been on the overcrowding issue. But my concern is, what have these men and women been exposed to while housed in the county jail? It’s classified as being “the worst of the worst!” Maybe this issue does not concern you, but you never know.

We have friends, neighbors, family, church and work friends. This drug and/or crime scene increase affected us all. Also, in a closed facility without outside recreation, proper maintenance, of sanitation and grouping of peoples — many organisms causing sickness and disease can thrive and do harm. Since many of the inmates are taking medication, the will be little continuity of care, medically.

Recently, an article in The Herald-Dispatch spoke about what is being done in the state of Ohio to help the mentally ill, who are in jails throughout Ohio. Many counties were given start-up money for plans and ideas. An application had to be submitted – I was informed that Ironton/Lawrence County never applied.

Please vote and write to our Congressmen/Senators/Judges and voice your opinion. Something can be done to improve the situation; something can be done to improve awareness; something can be done to let Northern Ohio realize we have some serious problems here in Lawrence County that are neglected. It has been said, we need to get up off our “APATHY!” I serve a God who wants us to care about all peoples. Please vote in the election. Make a careful selection when voting for our commissioners.


Bonnie Ford Holmes