Stories blaming Sheriff Clarke and (now) Scott Walker for inmate deaths at the Milwaukee County House of Correction are becoming common place lately. These stories ignore easily obtainable facts that put the blame for inmate deaths squarely on the INMATES themselves--or at worst, on mistakes made by medical staff under contract with MKE co jail. So because I care a lot and really want to help these (ahem!) "reporters" do their jobs to the best of their ability, I submit the following:
The medical contract is decided by the county executive (Chris Abele), and the costs approved by the Milwaukee County Board. Clarke has nothing to do with the selection of the contract, hiring the staff or setting the policy of the medical contractor. One more time: the inmate who had his water turned off had it turned off because he kept flooding his jail cell. He was given bottled water to drink instead. He refused to drink the water. He also refused to have his ongoing serious medical issues addressed by doctors outside or inside the jail. Missing those problems is on the medical staff attending to him, not Clarke or Walker. Clarke and Walker aren't "wardens" of the county jail. They don't sit in an office, Green Mile style and oversee operations. Michael Hafemann is the superintendent of the MKE co. jail system and oversees daily operations. But he is also not a doctor or responsible for the contract, medical staff, or medical policy.
As for the other inmates who died..., they were all in extremely poor health and autopsies did not find that jail staff or medical personnel were responsible for their deaths. And lastly, the MKE co jail actually performs on par with or better than other county facilities in WI. In fact, MKE co jail has received excellent inspection ratings from the oversight authorities in the state of WI.
These stories are pure trash. Designed to use the death of inmates to smear Clarke (mostly) and Walker (because he's running for reelection). It is obvious that the people who hate Clarke and Walker hate them with a profound passion. But this is beyond the pale, even for them.
And by the way, on the question of Governor Walker saying that it is up to VOTERS to decide on Sheriff Clarke, Walker has been CONSISTENT there. When he was asked to remove the woefully corrupt John Doe witch hunt leader, Milwaukee Co. DA John Chisholm, Walker said the SAME THING.
Special thanks to Matt Kittle, formerly of Wisconsin Watchdog, now with the MacIver Institute for being the one actual reporter trying to get the real story.