The public’s right to know Shortly after reading the article, “Youth still suffer in jail,” by Justin Fenton, 3-28-15, Baltimore Sun,  I was asked to visit a prison inmate in the Baltimore County Department of Corrections. My curiosity was peeked. I wanted to see if any comparisons or contrasts could be made between prison conditions in the city and the county. And then what do you know. Not long after the prison visit, the article appears, “Mayor pays surprise visit to inmates at Baltimore jail, by Justin Fenton, 4-4-15. To ascertain any similarities and/or differences between the city and county detention centers, I decided to turn the visit into a fact finding mission. Hence I spoke to the Deputy Director of the Baltimore County Department of Corrections on the phone. He promised to meet with me to enable me to gain a better understanding of how the facility treats its inmates. As a result of our phone conversation, I prepared a set of questions which I gave to him on the day of my trip to the prison. Fact Finding Mission by the Jaffe Truth Squad # 1 - How many inmates are in your facility? # 2 - How many prison guards are in your facility? # 3 - How many adult prisoners are in a cell? # 4 - What is the number of juveniles in a cell? # 5 - What is the starting salary of a prison guard? after 5 years? after 10 years? # 6 - What is the turnover rate among prison guards after 5 years? # 7 - What is your policy regarding Kosher food for Jewish inmates? # 8 - Given any day, how much time in a day do you - Mrs. Richardson and Mr. Fitzgerald, interact with the inmates? Much to my dismay, the Deputy Director forwarded the questions to Donald Mohler, the Chief of Staff for Mr. Kamenetz. To this day, my students and I have not received answers to the questions. I spoke to Mr. Mohler on April 6th and he refused to answer any of the questions, but emphatically asserted he was satisfied with their treatment of prisoners. Mr. Mohler has no clue as to what prison reform is all about nor does he demonstrate any knowledge of ethics. Determined not to close the book on this matter, I brought the matter up with the Baltimore County Ethics Commission only to be told they have no jurisdiction over Mr. Mohler’s refusal to answer my questions. If that’s the case, why does this group of people call themselves the Baltimore County Ethics Commission? Makes no sense to me! Currently, I’m waiting to hear from Mr. Kenneth Clark, the Assistant United States Attorney who works for Mr.Ron Rosenstein, the United States Attorney for Maryland. Perhaps, he will be able to elicit the answers that were originally submitted to the Baltimore County Department of Corrections. I find it hard to comprehend why these government agencies are not willing to disclose the answers to the questions. Are they trying to hide something? Doesn’t the public have a right to know? The program described in the article about the Mayor’s visit to the inmates, is a positive step in the right direction. The inmates have hope. However, the real answer is to prevent people from going to jail in the 1st place. In actuality what is needed are a good father and good mother or surrogates and dedicated teachers at the elementary school level who are committed to teaching their students how to make good decisions concerning what is wrong and what is right. Ralph Jaffe, TeacherBaltimore