Setting serious priorities

Published 6:39 am Wednesday, August 1, 2018

A motion to intervene in relation to two deaths at Piedmont Regional Jail (PRJ) recently filed contains disturbing accounts of two people who succumbed to serious injuries and health issues in 2017 while inmates at the jail. More disturbingly, the argument is that both deaths could have been prevented. Their families experience the unimaginable pain of their loss because of neglect, of failing to act, or taking care of those who most need it.

The full document filed to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia was 20 pages in length. Mark Dix, attorney for Commonwealth Law Group, PLLC, representing the mother of Jason Sisson, one of the inmates who died, provided insight for some of the more complex legal terms in the document. Some of the details were clearly understood but difficult to read.

In light of Jason Sisson and Thomas Cubbage’s deaths, I’m a little baffled by the position of the jail to not be in agreement for the motion to intervene. Yes, the jail is expected to fulfill the requirements of its settlement agreement in October.

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Yes, a motion to intervene and a potential lawsuit following the motion would set back the jail’s deadline, maybe considerably. However, in light of the lives that are at risk, particularly as the federal case that necessitated the settlement agreement was due to concerns that the jail wasn’t adequately providing inmates with proper medical or mental health care, it seems like a enormous departure from what the priorities of the jail should be. This doesn’t address other serious concerns about the jail, including why the public was not notified until a day later that a federal inmate was inadvertently released and wanted.

This organization should focus on humane treatment of its inmates, rather than being released from the surveyance of the U.S. Department of Justice.

EMILY HOLLINGSWORTH is a staff reporter for The Farmville Herald and Farmville Newsmedia LLC. Her email address is Emily.Hollingsworth@