The buzz we are hearing out of the county complex is that Interim County Administrator George Touart plans to fight the Department of Justice findings regarding the under-staffing and longstanding abuses. His consultant appears to be, but we haven’t confirmed yet, Dennis Williams who ran the Escambia County Jail from 2001-2006.
Then-Sheriff Ron McNesby finally had to transfer Williams out of the jail as the death count mounted. The jail had three unusual deaths in less than 10 months in 2005-2006–Robert Boggon, Hosea Bell and Jerry Preyer. It was Williams that privatized the jail healthcare, costing the taxpayers millions and leading to the problems in mental health treatment cited by DOJ.
What I find ironic is when McNesby and Williams were finally put under fire by the community for the deaths and sexual assaults in the jail and for the lack of proper care for the mentally ill in their facility, what did they tell the county commissioners and the PNJ?
- The county commissioners needed to fund the jail better,
- The jail was understaffed by 42 officers, and
- Starting salaries for correction officers needed to be raised.
Touart won’t be able to cover up the jail issues this time and the blame won’t be placed on Sheriff Morgan. This paper won’t let him rewrite history.
BTW Touart was the county administrator when Williams ran the jail.