Wednesday, December 12, 2007

More on online news comments

Great column at Poynter by Steve Myers: When Comments Cross the Line. It focuses on the comments on stories at the Washington Post, Miami Herald, and ESPN on the Sean Taylor murder, but also touches on the larger problem that news sites have in moderating the vitriol that some commenters express online. In one case, in Cincinnati, the paper changed comment policy to require registration. The Post and ESPN have that policy; the Herald does not, but online news editor Casey Frank told Myers "some have talked about changing that policy".

At the Herald, comments have been allowed for a short time but the reaction has been shocking on some stories. I've mentioned these a couple times in the past, particularly when a Miami blogger called for their total removal.

It's a tough question. We all want to be part of the conversation, but what do you do when the conversation turns ugly. Herald multimedia editor Rick Hirsch says
it's clear that "people want to talk about stories. There is bad there, but there's a lot of good. ... There are times they make me think about things I wouldn't have thought about."

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  • Winnebago County Jailhouse Blues
    They treat the inmates very inhumane, in ways people wouldn’t treat a wild animal. My son has been incarcerated for the past month awaiting trial. He was put in jail because when his girlfriend gets angry, she calls the police and lies just to punish my son. I have heard so many of the same stories from other people too. My view on the new jail is not good. I believe they are arresting people for very petty things and taking them away from their families, causing them to loose their jobs out of nothing but greed. They need to keep that new huge jail full somehow. We all know that the crime rate here is not worse than Chicago and the only thing that makes it look like that, is because of all the unnecessary arrests made here.

    Sheriff Meyers wants to purchase kiosk system machines so the inmates can get their own commissaries with out a jailer handing them out. The jail processed about $540,000 worth of commissary purchases in 2009, with more than $190,000 of profit made off of the inflated price they charge the inmates. They admit that they made over $190,000.00 on commissions in just one year, let that money buy those machines. I don’t want to hear that they have to raise taxes again to pay for the kiosk systems.

    The food portions in the jail are not enough to get full and I hear are worse than dog food. I would hope that we wouldn’t treat a dog this way and I cant understand why they think its OK to treat a human this way. For example, the jail charges $1.00 for one bag of Ramon noodles, They actually cost 10 cents in the store. That’s a hefty profit. The inmates only buy that junk because they are still hungry after they are fed the dog food. They don’t get a plastic bowl or spoon either. They get the bag of noodles, they have to carefully open the side, fill the bag with hot tap water and wait a half hour before the noodles are soft enough to drink from the bag by then its good and cold. I wouldn’t feed my dog like that. Other states actually feed their prisoners enough food to get full and guess what? There is less violence in those jails too. Common sense only tells you that.

    Another way they make money off the inmates is from commissions from the highly inflated cost of collect phone calls the inmates and their families pay for. Do you know Illinois jails made almost $6,000,000.00 last year on phone commissions alone?. The high phone costs does nothing but hurt families and the children that want to speak to a parent or talk to a dieing friend, but cant afford to because the cost is so inflated. Other states don’t charge enormous amounts of money for phone calls or food and they realize that keeping in touch with their families only helps the inmate get back into the world in a positive way. This state does everything it can to hinder anything positive. In this broke economy we need stop wasting tax dollars by putting people in jail on petty things. Check out

    Inmates have the right to medical care, yet my son slipped and fell and hurt his leg that he crushed 3 weeks ago. He has requested to see a doctor and I have called to get him seen, yet after 3 weeks he still has not been seen. He is in an enormous amount of pain and all he gets is an aspirin? This is cruel and inhumane. That jail needs to be shut down or ran by people that know constitutional rights. We wouldn’t let an animal live in pain yet they are purposely letting my son live in pain. He needs a cast and crutches, yet he is expected to walk on his broken leg with no pain medicine everyday. These people that run that jail have no business running it. The jailers are rude and nasty, yet they expect respect. How can anyone respect anyone who is cruel, rude and inhumane?

    I hope that people start speaking up and tell the world how the Winnebago county jail truly is. They need to be exposed for their ugliness.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:08 PM  

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