As if being incarcerated wasn’t bad enough.
Budget cuts + jail fights = less visitation.
Are Civil Rights being violated? Does reducing hours amount to cruel and unusual punishment? Probably not. There’s no Constitutional right to have visitors. It’s also difficult to label this as cruel/unusual punishment when unfortunate economic circumstances lead the Sheriff’s Office to lay off jail staff who assist visitation.
Nevertheless, the situation is loathsome. I represent many clients housed in Whatcom County jail. Many of them cannot make bail. Some of them have family and friends who consistently visit. It’s important. Visitors are the only lifeline to the “free world” these inmates have. And now, these guys — the ones who aren’t fighting — are suffering because of decreased budgets and hotheaded inmates.