The Grand Traverse County Commission is considering spending $15,000 to reduce privacy in the jail. Proponents say that reducing privacy will also reduce suicides because it makes it more difficult for an inmate to find a secluded place if they’re going to attempt suicide. It’s possible that’s true.
What I want to know is what the basis is for thinking that this change is going to improve safety? Are there studies that say that smaller shower barriers reduce attempted suicides? Is there a jail design professional organization out there that’s recommending these changes, or is this based on Sheriff’s Bensley’s hunch? Because the only thing that’s been verified to have been amiss about the jail at the time of the suicides is employees not doing their jobs and the systemic failures of corrections officers to provide medical services, mental health services and basic needs for inmates. Smaller shower stalls aren’t going to do much if the jail isn’t fixing the real problems. So my question is whether there’s any real authority that smaller steel barriers are going to help, or if this is just the corrections people wanting to come up with something to say.
In other news, Mexican restaurants are dropping like flies in Traverse City. Whatever will we do without delicious tacos?!?!