Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Man with DD jailed 8 days

Every resident of McHenry County should be outraged at the length of time that 44-year-old Anthony Punzio was confined at the McHenry County Jail! See yesterday's story in the Northwest Herald.

Who is running that jail, anyway? Well, you know, Sheriff Bill Prim. OK, so he doesn't have his hands directly on the jail every day, but he has an administrator in charge of the jail every day, and that person should have been overseeing Punzio's confinement and reporting every day to Prim. Was he?

Punzio is charged with misdemeanor domestic battery, as the result of an incident on November 23 at a Pioneer Center-operated group home. Punzio is an adult with developmental disabilities (DD) stemming from his diagnosis of Down syndrome.

With all the CALEA plaques hanging on the walls at the sheriff's department, didn't anyone bother to study the section on incarceration of adults with disabilities? Apparently not.

The case finally reached Judge Weech's court. Judge Weech is an excellent judge with a huge heart and a caring attitude toward defendants. This does not mean he is an "easy" judge. I was in Judge Weech's courtroom many days to observe proceedings. Judge Weech has ordered that this case be on his docket every day until it is resolved.

Has much changed in the McHenry County Jail since Bill Prim replaced Keith Nygren as Sheriff of McHenry County? I've been sitting on information provided to me recently about the jail. Taxpayers, interested parties and County officials should be taking an in-depth look at Jail operations.

While the jail may be saving money by not having ten extra officers sitting around on overtime doing nothing, have administrators added more supervisors and specialty positions? Did not even one of them notice a disabled man sitting in the holding cell near the booking office for a week? Wasn't anyone brave enough to ask some hard questions?

What do those in the Training Division really do? Anything? Is there any worthwhile training conducted for corrections officers?

And what about scandals? Wasn't a female corrections officer recently fired or "asked" to resign for having a relationship with an inmate? Apparently the inmate has been released, and the female corrections officer may be pregnant with his child. It shouldn't take a rocket scientist to calculate the date of the "act". If the inmate is the father (easy to determine through DNA) and was incarcerated on that date, didn't the CO commit a felony?

Is Sheriff Prim investigating that?

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