Americana: Crime and Punishment

Conditions got so bad in the overcrowded county jail in El Paso, Texas, that U.S. District Court Judge William Sessions decided a year ago to order improvements. Little happened. A $17 million bond issue for a new jail was proposed; the voters turned it down. Then there was an attempt to rebuild part of the old jail, but that petered out amid charges that Sheriff Mike Sullivan was using construction workers to make improvements on his own home. This month, finding the jail still overcrowded. Judge Sessions declared Sheriff Sullivan and five other county officials in contempt. Instead of jailing them,...

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