ShareThis Page
Editorials

Editorial: A need for correction

| Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018, 11:21 a.m.
Allegheny County Jail
Allegheny County Jail

As long as we have people, we will have crime.

As long as we have crime, we need to have consequences.

And if one of those consequences is incarceration, we need to make sure that the people holding the keys are held to the highest standards.

Allegheny County Jail Warden Orlando Harper is in the midst of another issue surrounding allegations of sexual harassment by others in his working environment.

Three women who worked for him in the District of Columbia Department of Corrections say they asked him to intervene when they were being sexually harassed. Their 2013 lawsuit alleges he did not.

This suit follows the Trib’s own reporting in June that pointed to the Allegheny County Jail, under Harper’s leadersip, falling down on multiple aspects of the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act, including having blind spots where three other women say they were sexually assaulted by a former guard.

Harper has his critics. Some, including former guards, question his safety protocols and sexual harassment responses. He has also gotten good marks from the American Correctional Association, which just gave the jail a three-year accreditation renewal in February.

It might be easy to count this as one more #MeToo moment. But prison rape, like sexual harassment of women in the work place, is nothing new, and neither can be tolerated.

As long as we have prisoners, we must treat them humanely, especially in a county facility where many still await trial. As long as people work together, they must feel safe and believe their superiors will take things like harassment seriously.

We have to decide how we hold everyone accountable for making that happen, and it’s not just something that happens in Hollywood or New York or Washington. We have to make it about what matters here, too.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me