Your view: Investigation into prison deaths needed

August 27th, 2017 3:30 pm

On Aug. 22, I made a motion during the voting session of the Luzerne County Council to initiate the investigative powers of council, as provided in Section 2.09 B9 of the Luzerne County Home Rule Charter.

The council majority did not support my motion. This is serious because the events leading to the deaths of three LCCF female inmates are not known.

Are these women victims of an efficient medical department within LCCF? None of these women were under any suicide prevention protocol, which was admitted by Warden Rockovich.

Times Leader reporter Jennifer Andes wrote: ” Two of the three recent deaths were ruled suicides. The county coroner’s office concluded inmates Brooke Griesing and Tricia Cooper died from asphyxiation due to hangings that occurred June 8 and July 25, respectively. The death of Joan Rosengrant on July 7 was ruled accidental; it was caused by the combined affect of prescription drugs complicated by her unspecified physical condition.”

A formal investigation must be conducted. The district attorney serves on the County Manager’s Prison Task Force.

She has a conflict of interest.

Recently, a handwritten, seven-page letter was sent to council, giving reference to the lack of involvement of psychiatrists in the facility, lack of contact with the inmate’s treating physician and the inadequate screening of inmates after being booked.

Council cannot ignore it.

Time and tide waits for no one.

Testimony given under oath would reveal the truth and guide corrective action within LCCF.

There are members serving on council so close to the administration that they walk with their eyes closed.

Does Council need another tragic incident to open the majority’s eyes ?

It was stated my motion was premature by some members. I say, we cannot wait and sit on it.

Kathy Dobash

Luzerne County councilwoman