The feds agree that conditions are awful in the House of Correction, the JS reports today.
That's certainly been no secret. House employees have appealed repeatedly to the County Board for assistance -- County Supervisor Lynne DeBruin says that one of those meetings included some of the most gut-wrenching testimony she has heard in years.
County Executive Scott Walker's response to the feds' report -- that the problems at the House are "longtime institutional challenges" -- is unacceptable. The broken House of Correction is absolutely Walker's problem to fix. He simply hasn't done that -- he hasn't even tried. His proposal to close the Downtown work-release center was just a gimmick, a proposal made without a thought behind it other than fooling property taxpayers for another budget season.
Walker's neglect of this issue is not benign. He knows exactly what he is doing and the impacts it has on the House's staff and inmates. It's pretty alarming that he is willing to sacrifice both to his political theatrics. Walker is inviting a lawsuit or, even worse, a disaster at the House. Both are avoidable, but it looks like Walker isn't willing to do what is necessary to avoid them. Let's hope the County Board is.