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Denver magistrate separates mother from breastfeeding infant. Jail refuses pump, as they do common decency.

DENVER, COLORADO- A heartbreaking scene unfolded yesterday when Denver Magistrate Kate Boland decided to impose a $10,000 bond on a domestic violence detainee, against the recommendations of the husband (victim), the public defender, and even the city prosecutor, who all wanted the 35-yr-old mother of five released on personal recognizance. Most critical, no consideration was paid to the family's month-old infant who is breastfeeding. Neither by Boland, nor the downtown detention center, known for its systemic disrespect for the rights and needs of its inmates. You might not care how poorly criminals or their children are treated, but the inmates of jails are suspects, not convicts. They are unconvicted detainees held on some officer's probable cause. They're suspected of a crime, but have a right to a fair trial (under the 6th Amendment) and a right not to be punished before conviction (under the 14th). Depending on who calls 911, they could be YOU. For those reasons (and the Golden Rule and the social contract), jails have to show a semblance of concern for the still innocent lives disrupted in their care. Denver's Van Cise-Simonet Detention Center has a famously outlandish record in that regard. Marvin Booker and Michael Marshall are two well known extremes to which Denver sheriffs deputies have disrespected inmates' lives. A rare survivor, Jamal Hunter, was awarded $3.25 million for beatings he received there. Unfortunately his settlement was contingent on burying the evidence of broader misconduct, thanks Jamal. Those cases have generated reviews and reforms, but abuses persist. Isn't it amazing that after repeated court-ordered overhauls, the public could still be told "the detention cenver has no protocols for breastfeeding mothers." Magistrate Boland made no allowance for the accused mother to maintain her feedings. After the morning hearing, friends learned the jail didn't care to accomodate the mother either. That afternoon Baby Thomas became ill and began vomiting, so the father brought the baby to the visitor's lobby hoping emergency visits could be arranged. The jail said no, though after some persuading, a sergeant agreed to convey a breastpump to the mother if one was supplied. A device was purchased and submitted, but the jail recinded their offer. This time a charge nurse named "Monica" explained she was under no obligation to comply, that she'd called her boss at Denver General who confirmed it. Without a court order, she said, the jail had no further responsibility. By now activists with Denver Court Support were agitating online about the plight of Baby Thomas. The jail was innundated with telephone calls. The sheriffs cleared the public lobby, cancelled visitations, and put the facility in lockdown in anticipation of a rally. Nevermind feeding Baby Thomas, release his mother immediately. Activists had raised the monies needed to hire a bondsman to post the bond. The jail was urged to expedite the mother's release once bond was posted. Shouldn't inmates be release when they've paid to have their freedom? This is where the Van Cise-Simonet's disrespect is arbitrary, punitive, and universal. Time to process inmates,

Denver Detention Center a user’s guide

The Denver Detention Center came under scrutiny after the county had to pay out over $6 million to the family of street preacher Marvin Booker who was killed by sheriff's deputies while in custody. Reforms may or may not have been implemented; the deputies were neither charged nor dismissed; and the facilities remain defiant about disrespecting your rights. I had the opportunity to visit the DDC recently and I can report the experience was miserable. While the public often thinks that inmates deserve the worse the better, a county jail houses suspects not convicts, protected by the 14th Amendment from punishment before a fair trial. As a detainee not an offender, you are not supposed to suffer handcuffs tightened like tourniquets, left fastened for hours as you wait in isolation cells. Those innocent until proven guilty should not be made to endure sleep deprivation in the booking area as you wait between EIGHT OR TWELVE hours for your fingerprints to "clear", waiting supposedly for Interpol in another time zone to pop a new roll of thermal paper into their fax machine. Although a bond may be listed next to your charges on your public file viewable through the Sheriff's online inmate search, your do not become bondable until your fingerprints clear. If you become bondable, but someone hasn't reached the bonding desk one hour before your scheduled court appearance, you must wait not just until court, but until after the entire docket has cleared and the paperwork is put into the system. Once your bond is posted, the release procedure can last up to eight hours. If the magistrate checked a box on your documents requiring "pretrial services" your release will be delayed until the next morning. County workers explain that these delays are not unlawful detention but are due to regular computer inefficiencies. I haven't even started on the jail experience.

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