Seems like the Middlesex jail in Cambridge is a nasty, over-crowded facility, or “cramped and isolated”, as Leslie Walker, executive director of Prisoners’ Legal Services, describes it.  Such a shame.  Can’t really expect our penal colonies to perform without ceiling to floor windows, central air and a day spa.  What’s a perp to do?  Almost makes one want avoid the place at all costs.  Go figure.

Yes, but was it a clean sheet?

Does protocol require a clean sheet?

John Burbine was one such visitor.  You remember ole’ Johnny, don’t you?  He’s the level-one sex offender who worked in his wife’s unlicensed day-care, raping thirteen children including one who was eight (not a typo) days old.  Seems ole’ Johnny won’t be down for breakfast after reaching room temperature last Friday.  Mr. Burbine was awaiting his trial, scheduled to start May 1st this year.  When he was originally incarcerated, his lawyer informed us that the sensitive Mr. Burbine was suffering greatly, distraught and often in tears.  Guilt has a way of doing that you know.  The only amenity the place had was probably the bed sheet which Saint John wrapped tightly around his neck.  Karma reared its ugly head and John took his last breath ten hours later after being rushed to Mass General with his wife and accomplice, released from house arrest, at his side.  Pity he never regained consciousness; maybe he could have given her some tips.

And now of course, we need to investigate how such a tragedy occurs.  Can’t really have those who should be executed offing themselves against our better judgment now can we?  Cambridge city councilor Nadeem Mazen wants to get to the bottom of the issue.  Mazen is concerned with overcrowding at the facility and feels that these are not “unrelated issues.”  He’s hoping for answers and transparency about the incident.  Neat-o.  I wonder if he’s had any thoughts on transparency and answers about DCF lately.  You know, the agency that can’t seem to keep kids alive, let alone locate them once they’re in the system.  We must protect our level-one sex offenders from themselves dammit.  The kids?   Shit, let them fend for themselves.  Don’t look too deeply into DCF; you might cost someone their well-connected political appointment.  Yeesh Massachusetts, get a friggin’ clue.

Let’s see if the protocol at the Middlesex lock-up wasn’t followed.  Or is it even in place?  Once we figure this all out, will heads roll?  Am I reaching here?  The intersection of the DCF and the Middlesex jail protocol may be vague; I don’t see it that way.  In a state that can’t even track its level-one sex offenders, to the point where they’re fully employed day care providers, to the DCF who employs convicted sex offenders to mentor at risk children but can’t locate a missing five-year old in their care, one gets the feeling that legislators and city councilors have some serious issues with priorities.  In all seriousness, awaiting trial shouldn’t put you at risk.  Even at your own wretched, child-abusing hands.  But if we’d have thrown this miscreant butt-nekkid into a concrete box with only a slab of steel for a bed and a hole in the floor for his waste, some concerned city councilor would still be looking into “protocol” and hoping for “answers” and “transparency.”

Meanwhile, five year-old Jeremiah Oliver, who was missing for months before the DCF even noticed, is very likely dead, probably at the hands of someone quite like Mr. Burbine.  Therefore, we must investigate how Mr. Burbine was able to give himself a bed-sheet neck-tie and hold someone accountable.  No one was held accountable for his ability to slip through the cracks and abuse a days-old infant in the first place.  No one is being held accountable for the death of Jeremiah Oliver.  Indeed, the citizens of Massachusetts don’t seem too particularly alarmed.  I could be wrong.  But I haven’t seen any protests, let alone torches and pitchforks.  Where is the outrage?

If it takes Mr. Burbine playing the part of the Middlesex jailhouse Piñata to get justice in this world, well it works for me.  There are however, bigger issues in the state than protocol and transparency over the suicide of someone who pretty much did us all a favor.  Let see which way the political winds blow in Boston.

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