Who deserves to be jailed?
Ask anyone involved in criminal justice and you’ll hear the same response. Most of the people who end up in jail aren’t so much hardened criminals as they are people who suffer from mental illness or substance abuse.
We want to be just as tough on crime as every candidate who’s ever run for office, and we recognize the difficult and often dangerous public service provided by everyone involved in law enforcement.
That’s why it’s so troubling to learn of the death of a Marion County inmate known to have a history of being suicidal but not monitored as closely as her history might have suggested.
We aren’t part of the radical fringe clamoring to de-fund police. We know a huge percentage of those who work as deputies, officers, troopers, jailers, dispatchers, and others consider themselves as much social workers as they are law enforcement officers. And we know all humans can make mistakes.
The problem is, mistakes by people in these lines of work can have life-and-death consequences, as can mistakes of physicians, nurses, and emergency medical technicians, pilots and truck drivers, plumbers and electricians, and a host of others in whose usually capable hands we often trust our fate.
Since the tragic suicide this weekend, rumors have been more rampant than facts. Those we could not confirm have not been printed in this week’s paper, but if true several would make this situation even more tragic than it is.
We call upon the KBI and the sheriff’s department to be totally forthcoming and to have the courage to take responsibility for any errors that may have contributed to this needless death.
We know we can’t expect perfection from everyone at all times, but we can hope for candor, honesty, and assurances that all steps possible to prevent a similar tragedy will be taken and that the incident will be treated with the grave sense of seriousness it merits.
— ERIC MEYER
Last modified Dec. 10, 2020