Opinion

French toast torture and tater tot inhumanity

Photo of Rick Robinson
Rick Robinson
Author, Writ of Mandamus
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      Rick Robinson

      Rick Robinson has spent thirty years in politics and law, including a stint on Capitol Hill as Legislative Director/Chief Counsel to then-Congressman Jim Bunning (R-KY). He has been active in all levels of politics, from advising candidates on the national level to walking door-to-door in city council races. He ran for the United States Congress in 1998.

      Rick’s first book, The Maximum Contribution, was named a “Finalist” in the 2008 Next Generation Indie Books Awards in the genre of political fiction. It also won an Honorable Mention at the 2008 Hollywood Book Festival. Sniper Bid, was released on Election Day 2009 and opened on Amazon’s Top Seller list at #46 of political fiction. Sniper Bid earned 5 national awards: Finalist USA Book News Best Books of 2009; Finalist Best Indie Novel Next Generation Indie Books Awards; Runner-up at the 2009 Nashville Book Festival; Honorable Mentions at the 2008 New England Book Festival and the 2009 Hollywood Book Festival. Throughout 2009 both books appeared on Amazon’s Top Seller List on the same day.

      Rick’s third offering, Manifest Destiny, was released in the spring of 2010. It was named Best Fiction at the Paris Book Festival, a Finalist for Best Fiction in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards, Best Fiction at the New York Book Festival, a Finalist as Best Thriller in the Indie Excellence Awards, and won Honorable mention in the Beach Book Festival, the Hollywood Book Festival and the San Francisco Book Festival.

      A graduate of Eastern Kentucky University and Salmon P. Chase College of Law, Rick currently practices law in Ft. Mitchell, Kentucky with the law firm of Graydon Head & Ritchey LLP. Rick, and his wife Linda, live in Ft. Mitchell with their three children, Josh, Zach and MacKenzie.

This week two organizations, the Heartland Alliance’s National Immigration Justice Center and the National Coalition for Human Rights, issued a joint report entitled “Not Too Late for Reform” calling on the Obama administration to close several immigration detention facilities. The two organizations are advocacy groups that assist immigrants (they don’t use the term “illegal” on their websites) by several methods, including by providing direct legal services.

The report declared a “human rights crisis” and called upon the Obama administration to eliminate detainment facilities, establish alternatives methods and release “low-risk” individuals who pose no risk to society.

Much to my surprise, the Boone County Jail, a Kentucky facility located in my backyard, was held out as one of the worst offenders of human rights in the country.

As a lawyer who occasionally practices in Boone County, I was shocked and appalled. I’ve known the jailer for years and, as a libertarian by nature, was deeply disappointed to discover he was alleged to be violating the human rights of detainees at his facility. I quickly downloaded the entire report. Unfortunately, it was beyond vague. The allegations against the Boone County facility were mostly based upon statements that could not be readily confirmed.

So, I dropped by the Boone County Jail — a convenience of having a national story occur in your local community. Unless eating French toast and tater tots for breakfast is considered inhumane, I did not find anyone being tortured. No human rights were being violated, no inmate was wanting for any necessity of human life.

I did walk away with an education

The Boone County Jail is one of the larger facilities allowed to hold illegal immigrants for longer than 72 hours by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The detainees come to the jail in one of several ways.

Most illegals at the facility were arrested for an offense in a location where the local facilities did not meet the rigid guidelines required to hold them longer than 72 hours. In other words, they were arrested somewhere else and then transported to Boone County.

A second group of detainees had their statuses discovered following arrests in Boone County itself.

The members of the final group were lodged in the jail because their illegal statuses had been discovered as a result of a direct ICE investigation of immigration violations.

The jail facility is the subject of regular inspections by ICE to ensure it meets some pretty stringent standards. These inspections are in addition to the ones done by other federal and state agencies. Every time I’ve been to the Boone County Jail, the place has been impeccably clean.

Contrary to the allegations in the report, ICE detainees at the Boone County Jail get free medical assistance in a well-equipped infirmary where sick calls are made four times each day. They have phones in their cells to call lawyers. They get regular visits from advocacy groups and can read about them via special postings on the jail’s in-house cable television system.