County Makes Another Jail Problem Go Away

Albuquerque Journal Editorial
Wednesday, May 12, 2010

How nice former jail guard Roslyn Juanico won’t have incarceration clogging up her summer schedule or an ankle bracelet snagging her strappy sandals.
Meanwhile, Avery Hadley will spend his summer with permanent brain damage, the victim of a brutal jailhouse beating videotaped on Juanico’s watch, in Juanico’s pod, at the Metropolitan Detention Center.

Pat Davis, spokesman for the District Attorney’s Office, says the office discovered the most Juanico could be charged with was a misdemeanor of compounding a crime/failing to act. State District Court Judge Charlie Brown signed off on her no jail/no supervised probation plea deal. Juanico’s attorney, Mark Fine, says Hadley and Juanico are both “victims of mismanagement at MDC.”

Amid the too-common refrain of “everyone did everything they could,” county taxpayers are left wondering why someone like Juanico wasn’t handed any jail time, or an ankle bracelet, or a deal that precludes her ever being a jail guard again. That’s despite the fact authorities have said the prisoner who almost beat Hadley to death was Juanico’s “enforcer.”

And taxpayers are left wondering if an inmate-to-guard ratio of 64-plus to 1 is worth a life irrevocably damaged or the cost of dealing with lawsuits.

There’s also the guard having sex with an inmate, having his baby and having him move in upon release; another beaten and hospitalized inmate; a guard-on-inmate rape case; and a videotape of guards slamming shackled inmates to the floor.

Back in June, on the heels of the Hadley beating, the County Commission asked for a list of names of possible investigators to look into problems at the jail.

Almost a year later, it’s status quo at MDC, where one guard is left in charge of up to 96 prisoners with just a video monitor for backup when things go wrong.
Experience shows things all too often go very wrong at MDC. Taxpayers might never know if adjusting training, staffing or supervision would have prevented Hadley being kicked in the head 20 times or the other inexcusable events at the $90 million lockup.

But they deserve answers before another person ends up in the hospital or worse courtesy of MDC, another case winds up in court, and lawyers, prosecutors and judges repeat a chorus of “everyone did everything they could.”