Ireland: A different path

I am Don Bird’s (former jail administrator) wife. This letter represents my own opinion. I formerly worked as a detention officer under both Dick Kienast and Bob Braudis. 

I do not intend this as a character examination of either Michael Buglione or Joe DiSalvo. It is my belief that we all are capable of great kindness, and that we also possess character flaws. 

When I worked at the jail, we had a poster with a Dostoevsky quote that read, “The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.” Our goal was to send inmates forward as mentally healthy as when they arrived and hopefully, more so. Accomplishing this meant treating people with dignity and respect.

Those who remain in jail after being charged with a crime are most often those who can’t afford to bond out. They are in a vulnerable position, without much personal agency, while in our care. It becomes more important than ever to respect their humanity during their time in custody. 

I believe that, philosophically, Joe has chosen a different path than his predecessors. Hiring the wife of Lou Vallario as jail administrator is one example. Advocating for a new, larger, non-direct supervision style jail is another, as is housing inmates at the Garfield County Jail. 

Lou Vallario, in a letter to the editor recently, said of former employees: “There’s a reason they are no longer employed.” A wise person — having lost the vast majority of their staff soon after the jail administration change — might look within oneself. Likewise, one might examine the dramatically-altered work culture for the reasons behind the employee exodus. 

Michael Buglione believes in the dignity of the employee and of the inmates who would be in his care, which is why he’s earned my vote.

Molly Ireland