Dogs Bite Men

Most reports and studies have no impact. But one released just this week has already resulted in a change in state policy. Human Rights Watch ...
by | October 13, 2006
 

Most reports and studies have no impact. But one released just this week has already resulted in a change in state policy.

Human Rights Watch released a report on Tuesday pointing out that prisons in five states use dogs to intimidate prisoners and roust them from their cells. One of the five, Iowa, announced Thursday -- just two days after the report came out -- that it would end the practice and use dogs only in life-threatening situations.

The governor's office concurred with the corrections department's decision. No wonder, after Abu Ghraib. But if Iowa officials were all so quick to recognize and abolish a bad policy, why did they wait to do so until news leaked out through this report?

Jean Basinger, a member of a prisoner advocacy group in Des Moines, tells the Register that she reported the use of dogs to the governor's office nearly a year ago.

"They just said, 'Well, why do you believe prisoners?'" Basinger told the paper.

Sometimes it takes a credible, outside voice to highlight a problem. An outside voice that knows how to get its claims into the media.

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