Saturday, May 06, 2006

Jail death needs an inquest

The death of Steven Bublitz, of Butler, in the Milwaukee County Jail demands an inquest. Bublitz died by choking on his own blood. His sister said Bublitz told family members he had been throwing up blood for four days but jail personnel didn't give him his prescriptions given for ulcers and high blood pressure. Jail staff refused to accept medicine from the family.

These allegations shouldn't be brushed aside -- they are too similar to undisputed allegations in an earlier lawsuit that resulted in a judge finding the county in contempt of court for the appalling conditions at the jail.

That lawsuit, filed by Legal Aid Society and the ACLU, amply documented Sheriff David Clarke's incompetence, neglect, and gross mismanagement in running the jail. The lawsuit also alleged the county withheld medication from inmates. You can read about it here and here.

The plaintiffs are appealing the judge's decision not to award monetary damages.

District Attorney E. Michael McCann needs to take action in this latest case. The public needs to be assured that being in the Milwaukee County Jail is not a death penalty offense.

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