Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, who was seen leaving Trump's golden tower recently, may be being considered for Secretary of Homeland Security. The well-known right-wing talking head has long been an opponent of criminal justice reform. He has held that the criminal justice system is fine the way it is and has shown disdain for Black Lives Matter, making him a hugely popular figure on the right.
According to reports however, there have been four deaths in the Milwaukee County jail since April. Two of the most shocking deaths that occurred under Sheriff Clarke's watch were that of a newborn and a man who died of dehydration. The infant was born to a mentally ill inmate unbeknownst to the staff and found dead from "fetal suffocation" a full day later. Unsurprisingly, the man who died was also mentally ill:
Four people, including a newborn baby, have died at the Milwaukee County Jail since April. One man, a 38-year-old with mental health issues, died of “profound dehydration.” For a facility with a population cap of 960 that previously averaged a couple of deaths per year, the string of deaths is concerning.
While Clarke was busy appearing on Fox News in New York and taking cruises with the National Review, his jail was undergoing a review by a court-appointed medical monitor. The court-appointed monitor, Dr. Ronald Shanksy interviewed employees at Clarke's understaffed jail to try to get to the bottom of the rash of deaths. Shanksy's report cites vacancies in the medical staff of the jail that ranged from 30 percent in May to 37 percent in November. The "most disturbing" shortages were in licensed medical positions, such as nurse practitioners and registered nurses: "3 of 4 psychiatric nurse practitioner positions are vacant," he reported.
Erik Heipt, a lawyer for the family of Terrill Thomas, the man who died of thirst in an American jail, said:
“Sheriff Clarke has time to promote his radical ideas on Fox News, far rightwing radio stations, and other conservative outlets. He has time to blog, tweet, and wrote op-eds to advance his divisive agenda. Yet, while he’s doing all of this self-promoting, his own jail is understaffed in in dire need of leadership."
"American citizens are dying unnecessarily in his jail, and it would be nice if he could take some responsibility for it and address the problem."
This does not appear to be the kind of man who should be entrusted with our security. If he is incapable of running his jail without people dying from easily preventable causes, it is unclear why he is deemed fit to run the Department of Homeland Security. Donald Trump, the President-elect, seems to be shopping for loyalty over ability.... again.