Critics Say Deval Was Out To Coddle Cons: Crusaded For Prisoner Perks Under Clinton

Dave Wedge, Boston Herald, October 11, 2006

Democrat Deval Patrick has championed the constitutional “rights” of convicted rapists and murderers, demanding they be given juice, clean sheets, cold tuna sandwiches, white underwear and properly inflated basketballs, records show.

While working as President Clinton’s top civil rights lawyer in the mid-1990s, Patrick sent letters to prison officials in several states, alleging violations from inadequate air conditioning and insufficient recreation time to denying cons juice or milk at lunch and requiring inmates to make $2 medical co-payments.

In one 1994 Department of Justice letter, Patrick chastised correction officials in Syracuse, N.Y., for not providing “sufficient sporting/recreation equipment to afford prisoners the opportunity to participate in large muscular activity.” Among the injustices cited by the DOJ were “under inflated basketballs” and “only 1 operative basketball hoop.”

Other alleged constitutional violations cited by Patrick:

  • In a 1995 letter to Lee County, Miss., prison officials he complained that air conditioners in individual cells “do not provide minimum ventilation for the purposes of fresh air supply, air exchange and overall cooling.” The jail was also cited for not serving juice or milk.
  • In a July 1995 letter to Grenada City, Miss., jail officials he called for clean linens weekly. A month later Patrick sent another letter to Virginia jail officials saying clean linens should be provided three times per week.
  • Tuna sandwiches were served too warm in a tiny jail in Dooly County, Georgia.
  • Meals at a Mitchell County, Georgia., jail were served too cold in styrofoam or plastic containers “not designed to maintain proper food temperatures.”
  • Virginia Beach officials failed to provide white underwear to inmates.

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In a 1996 letter obtained by the Herald, Patrick slammed Maryland prison officials for serving “lukewarm” food and denying inmates their rights to “exercise,” “fresh air” and “natural light.” He also complained about a requirement that psychiatric visits be supervised by guards, a rule put in place because inmates masturbated in front of a female doctor.

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In a statement last night, Patrick said he “is proud of his work on behalf of President Clinton.”

“As head of the Civil Rights Division in the Clinton White House, Deval Patrick was responsible for protecting the rights of all American citizens, no matter how popular that may be,” the statement reads.

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