Crime and punishment for everyone

In the private sector, a night watchman caught failing to make his rounds and falsifying documents to make it appear he had probably would be fired. Perhaps he could get a new job in the Ohio prison system.

After Ariel Castro committed suicide at the state Corrections Reception Center in Orient, Ohio, officials launched an investigation. Castro, who kidnapped three women and imprisoned them in his Cleveland home for about a decade, hanged himself on Sept. 3.

Part of the investigation was to determine whether mistakes by three corrections officers on duty the night Castro killed himself were responsible for the death. The officers were Caleb Ackley, Matthew Gleason and Ryan Murphy.

Investigators determined Castro’s death probably could not have been prevented. He had been checked just a few minutes before he killed himself.

But it also was learned that Ackley, Gleason and Murphy had failed to make rounds of cells, as they were required to do. In addition, they falsified electronic logs to make it appear they had done their jobs.

The three had been suspended with pay. After the investigation ended, state officials placed the guards on “last-chance agreements.” That means they are on strict probation for two years.

It does not appear the trio lost a day’s pay. They were allowed to take several days off work – while still receiving paychecks. Their offenses were punished with a severe “don’t do it again,” in effect.

This is part of a pattern in government at all levels. Incompetence is punished by reprimands – if even that. Criminal misconduct means probation. No one ever seems to be fired. No one ever seems to be prosecuted. All too often, unacceptable performance in one job means a transfer to a new one at higher pay.

Apparently, that is seen as “good enough for government work.”

Well, it isn’t good enough. It isn’t even acceptable.

If elected officials won’t penalize incompetence and punish crimes, perhaps voters should put people in office who will do so.