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IQ: Behind bars

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The El Paso County Jail is a world unto itself, and it's lately been a deadly one: Since Michael Lewis died after being strapped face down to a restraint board on May 7, 1998, 12 other prisoners have died in custody, two of them within the past month. So far this year, nine inmates have attempted suicide -- one of them successfully.

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Bob Slaughter
Environmental specialist
Woodland Park

What should be done about the high number of inmates dying and/or attempting suicide in the county jail? I haven't the faintest idea.

What do you think about full-body restraints for prisoners? If there's a safety issue involved, I could see where it might be at least suggestible.

Why should we even care about this issue? It's a human rights issue. Just because they've been convicted or not convicted and are incarcerated doesn't mean we shouldn't care what happens to them.

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Larry Rodriguez
Attorney
Northeast

What should be done about the high number of inmates dying and/or attempting suicide in the county jail? They need to be monitored more carefully; they need to have better-trained personnel to respond to inmates who are having psychological problems.

What do you think about the fact that most of them weren't convicted of any crime? I'm not too concerned about that; I'm more concerned about [the question], Why weren't they able to bond out? Why were they being held pending the finding of guilt?

What do you think about full-body restraints for prisoners? I'm not really in favor of them. There are other alternatives that are much more reasonable.

Who is responsible for inmate safety? The sheriff.

Why should we even care about this issue? It could be happen to any one of us. We could be arrested falsely, and I think we all want the same protection.

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Maggie Chumbly
Student
Downtown

What should be done about the high number of inmates dying and/or attempting suicide in the county jail? I have no idea.

What do you think about full-body restraints for prisoners? I don't think about it ... now I'm thinking about it.

Why should we even care about this issue? Because they're on the margins of society.

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Julie Goldsticker
Public Relations, USA Boxing Rockrimmon

What do you think about the fact that most of the inmates who have committed suicide or otherwise died in jail weren't convicted of any crime? It's difficult; you have to have them somewhere until you know whether they're innocent or guilty.

What do you think about full-body restraints for prisoners? I don't know.

Who do you think is responsible for inmate safety? The warden and the prison staff.

Why should we even care about this issue? If you have innocent people in there, you don't want to put their lives at risk while they're awaiting trial.

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