Thursday, November 19, 2009

Insane And In Charge...!

Looks like the inmates are indeed in charge of the asylum!

After reading this piece in the pages of the Houston Chronicle...I'm left to wonder just where, exactly, are we getting the folks that are supposed to be in charge of the so-called "secure" lock up facilities?

This is completely and totally insane! These people are supposed to be professionals, right? God help us all, if this is the best that they can do...!

Nathan Lindstrom For the Chronicle
Video footage of a 16-year-old accused of smuggling a loaded gun in to the Harris County Juvenile Detention Center earlier this month shows the teen flashing the gun in his palm while two guards talked to co-workers instead of watching him.

“There's one point in the video that show the gun in his palm and kind of in his pocket,” Juvenile Probation Department Executive Director Harvey Hetzel said Wednesday. “He kind of flashed it to another kid.”

Hetzel described the video at a lunchtime meeting of the County Juvenile Board where members blasted him over revelations the teen got the loaded pistol to his cell after passing through a metal detector that appears to have been unplugged for the past month, as well as a “strip search” in which a guard was to watch the boy undress in a bathroom. The video Hetzel detailed was of that search.

Board members gave Hetzel 48 hours to explain how the security lapse happened.

“The day you learned about this, you should have pulled an all-nighter,” County Judge Ed Emmett told Hetzel. “Somebody has failed miserably.”

Members of the board, most of whom are state district judges, said they were frustrated by a lack of answers from Hetzel and Bob Husbands, the agency's director of facilities.

The two estimated the metal detector was unplugged for more than a month in the detention center's basement booking area, but neither knew for certain how long it had been out of service.

“I'm ultimately responsible; the buck stops with me,” Hetzel said afterward. “I hope that my job is not on the line, but the bottom line is that I am responsible for this.”

‘We're very lucky'

Hetzel told the board the machine was malfunctioning and was unplugged rather than fixed. He did not know who unplugged it or who authorized it.

He said dozens of people work in that area during the 24-hour work day. “The deputy director has brought in all those supervisors and no one has ‘fessed up,'” Hetzel said.

“It looks like a whole lot of people knew that the metal detector wasn't working and they let it go,” Emmett said. “What's particularly unacceptable is, here we are two weeks later and we don't have any real answers.”

The county judge said he expects to hold an emergency meeting next week to discuss Hetzel's findings.

“We're giving him 48 hours to come back to us and tell us what they found out.” Emmett said. “We're very lucky somebody didn't get killed.”

Juveniles are brought to the facility at 1200 Congress. Other juveniles, clerks and guards are in the processing room, which contains several holding cells. Juveniles go through a single metal detector situated just inches from a clerk's work station.

For privacy, juveniles undress in a bathroom while a security guard watches from a doorway about four feet away. The procedure, which Hetzel called a “strip search,” is to ensure that no adult is never alone with an unclothed juvenile.

Guards on suspension

On Nov. 9, authorities discovered a .25-caliber semi-automatic in the 16-year-old boy's cell.

Two security guards have been suspended without pay for two weeks because they searched the juvenile when he was booked in two hours earlier but did not find the loaded gun.

Precinct 3 Commissioner Steve Radack said an outside agency, like the Harris County District Attorney's Office, should investigate to determine who is responsible for the oversight.

“Wouldn't most department heads that had something like this occur try to get to the bottom of it within minutes, maybe hours?” Radack said. “Everyone who was found to be involved needs to be terminated.”

A 33-year veteran of the department, including six years at the helm, Hetzel announced his retirement in March 2008 after Emmett sought a special board meeting to review his performance. Hetzel rescinded his resignation three months later after the board voted to ask him to stay.

Now they're talking about firing these people! Instead, they should be bringing criminal charges against them!

C'mon...let's get some coffee and discuss how scary this whole thing is!


Ken said...

...mornin'Jim,seems events like these are more the rule than the exception huh ? one cares,drugs and knives EZ on the inside,now 'shooters' are gettin'in !?'s gettin' worse

(kinda unrelated)it's gonna take me a week to

HermitJim said...

Hey Ken...
Good to see you, buddy! Crazy is the operative word for it. Maybe we should just give them all guns when they go that they can protect themselves!

Good to have you back...and thanks for coming by for a visit!

Beth said...

Waiting for answers??? Do they really think anybody will "fess up"? If there had been something good that came out of this everybody would be standing in line saying "I did it".


Did it MY way said...

Weld his cell with him in it. When he get's hungry enough he can eat the lead.

See Ya

Anonymous said...

You gotta stop reading the Houston Chronicle and all these problems go away;) We canceled our subscription.

Enjoy the coffee.

JoJo said...

Good Morning My Special One, many yrs ago I worked for a drug and alcohol rehab for kids, it is amazing how much gets by these people. We had them show up at the home with weapons and even sickness that, put us all in danger. I think most of these people are uneducated to the problems of these kids. And today it has gotten much worse and the people who should be in charge are even less qualified. And this guy isn't going to find out who else is responsible because he doesn't care he can go on SS now anyway.
Lets have some coffee and settle down.

Rae said...

Sure makes you wonder what they were thinking. There is no explanation that would be satisfactory. It was plain stupid.

Kyddryn said...

Mister Hermit, sir, my first thought on reading your post title was "Oh, no, who put me in charge??"

There's a National Geographic television series called "Locked Up" that explored the prison system here in Georgia. It was...illuminating. The training and resources available to the guards is minimal...laughable, really. They are outnumbered, overworked and underpaid; it's no wonder some of them become apathetic!


What a system we've made from the simple Quaker belief that a man should be left alone to contemplate his crime and commune with God until he sees the error of his ways (which is ultimately where our current prison system is rooted).

Shade and Sweetwater,

vlad said...

(My 1993 letter to the editor.)
Newspaper editors are not the only ones who hate the NRA and love Sarah Brady.
Mr. Arrogant Scumm, recently paroled from prison, likes gun control. He says people should not be allowed to own guns at all. He is a realist. He knows that an anti-gun law is an anti-self-defence law. Mr Scumm does not have a dull job, Sears charge account and a 30 year mortgage. He takes what he wants from the old, the weak, the timid. He prefers them unarmed, scared to death and eager to please.
In prison Mr Scumm ate well, got plenty of rest, and developed powerful muscles lifting weights. Psychologists tried earnestly to help him. They succeeded. Mr Scumm embraced rehabilitation with religious fervour. He was a model prisoner and got early parole.
Soon Mr Scumm will burglarize the home of an elderly widow, rape and murder her, help himself to money and her late husband's guns and be on his way to high adventure. When Mr Scumm is arrested again the police must use gentlemanly restraint. Judge William Wayne Justice and I insist. Mr Scumm has rights.
You say that it is not entirely Mr Scumm's fault? You are right. As a stupid parent allows his child to be a brat, society stupidly allows Mr Scumm to get away with it. We know what he is. We not only let him live, we keep letting him out again to do his thing. Parole from prison is like Spring Break.
We have one million people in prison. That costs $27,000,000 every day, $10,000,000,000 a year. It is only tax money. Don't worry. Be happy.
We fight crime by raising taxes, spending billions to build new prisons, and hiring psychologists. Editors bleat for more gun laws. Sarah Brady and Ted Kennedy are thrilled to be of service. Crime marches on.
How do other countries fight crime? In Arabia thieves have their hands chopped off; and rapists and murderers are beheaded in public. During the recent Gulf War it was officially announced that anyone threatening the security of the Kingdom of Arabia would be executed, or have one hand and one leg chopped off. So far as I know not one person was willing to threaten the security of the Kingdom.

HermitJim said...

Hey Sis...
No one wants to accept responsibility, but then what's new about that in the world of "public employees?"

Just makes you sick!
Hey, thanks for coming by today!

Hey Tony...
Probably as good a solution as any!

Thanks for the visit, buddy!

Hey Kris...
I think you're right aout that! Time to find another news source!

I sure do appreciate the visit today, my friend!

Hey JoJo...
When they took prayer out of the schools and discipline out of the hands of the parents...many problems were created.

Sort of makes you wonder about our future, doesn't it?

Thanks, sweetie, for coming by!

Hey Rae...
Stupidity seems to be a way of life in some quarters now days!.

Common sense seems to have taken a permanent vacation!

Thanks for the visit, Rae!

HermitJim said...

Hey K...
It isn't only in Georgia, dear lady!

Every state is fighting the same battle, that's for sure! I don't know what the answer is, but anything has to be an improvement over what's going on now!

Thanks for coming by today and sharing some thoughts with us, my friend!

Hey Vlad...
Excellent letter, my friend! Pretty much says it all, I'm thinking!

I appreciate4 you sharing it with us and also your visit!

The cottage by the Cranelake said...

Things like these really makes me angry! I can´t understand why people just stops to care, especially on a place like that!

The word unfriend does exist over here :-) I would say that it´s a weaker word than enemy, but clearly tells that someone isn´t a friend of mine.
Have a great day now!

HermitJim said...

Hey Christer...
One can only guess at what the guards were thinking when they weren't paying attention to the prisoners. Guess thy feel that 16 year olds aren't dangerous. WRONG!

Hey, thanks for coming by, buddy!

Anonymous said...

Hey , Now I know where I can go to get a good deal on my next gun purchase. Those kids probably sell me an AR-15 for a carton of cigaretts.

HermitJim said...

Hey OGT...
Yep! I reckon you could probably at the very least, get a lead as to where to go to get one cheap!

Just a sign of the times, I guess!

Hey, thanks for coming by, buddy!

Tatersmama said...

I can't think of a word to say... My mind just can't seem to get wrapped around this one.

HermitJim said...

Hey TM...
Hard to understand, isn't it? Crazy...just crazy!

Thanks, my friend, for coming by!

Danish said...

Hey Jim,
Let the insanity proceed. I think perhaps that the feeling the guards
have of being overworked and underpaid is pervasive. I think it's probably true to some degree or other all over; even here in Canada.
But I also feel that they then become so convinced in their own minds that this is so; they demoralize themselves into lethargy ( talk themselves into it, in other words). The result is an " I don't give a S*** "
attitude. And situations like this are the result. Since they all feel the same, no one is willing to point the finger at the real culprit. So nothing really happens to correct and improve things.
'Cover Your A**' is in full deployment...all the way to the top.

But the insanity doesn't stop there.
I believe I just recently read that it is now legal in Texas to walk into a Bar and smack 'em back
while wearing a concealed weapon.
NRA notwithstanding, that is STUPIDITY at its finest.


Bullseye said...

Now that's about as messed up as it gets. Guns on the inside !!

Oh yeah, when I first saw the title of this post I though is was about me. hehehe !!

Anonymous said...

As I do beleive there will be some problems at first in some clubs with guns being worn into bars. I think some clubs will make it policy to keep guns out of the clubs. not legislated but by choice for insurance reasons. I beleive it evens up the odds criminals with guns now have to worry about law abiding people. I have no problem with that.

some dont understand that a criminal type doesnt care if the law says no guns in bars. at least now the THUG might think he will get shot if he trys pulling his anticts.

HermitJim said...

Hey Danish...
With all the folks looking for work, I'm sure these guards could be replaced without a problem! If this is how they do their job...they need to go!

As far as the guns in bars, here in Texas the safest way to survive is to just take it for granted that everyone is armed! Then you can act accordingly!

Thank for the visit!

Hey Bullseye...
Guess that someone will open a gun club inside soon!

Glad to see you were paying attention to the title...!

Hey, thanks for coming by, buddy!

Hey OGT...
Most club owners will enforce the "no gun" rule, just in case. I do think that the thugs are starting to find out locally that more people are carrying...and using firearms for protection!

Bad guys, BEWARE!