May 30, 2023
Audio Features
Bernstein With a Twist
This is a weekly program with commentary on current issues.
By the time RivCo Chief Deputy Sheriff Steve Thetford returned my call one morning last month, a “tank” housing 96 male inmates at the Banning jail had been without heat for five nights.

During that Wednesday-Sunday span, overnight Banning temps had plunged into the low 30s and high 20s. The 96 inmates at the Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility had been given extra clothes and blankets. Period.

I had called the Sheriff’s Department after receiving an e-mail:

“How inhuman…the Larry D Smith Correctional Facility SNOWING with 28 degree weather and no HEAT… Might as well throw whole bunch of animals out in the freezer and let them freeze, cuz thats whats happening at this facility. How INHUMAN is this?”

Five nights without heat as the repair crew tried to get the right part.

When I asked Chief Deputy Thetford, the man in charge of Sheriff’s Department “building facilities”, why he didn’t bring in portable heating units, his answer was chilling.

“Excellent question. I wasn’t aware of this before this morning.”

That’s right. He’d only heard about it shortly before he called me. He was getting ready to head out to Banning to see this mess first-hand.

“I’m not too happy,” he said.
Episode Date: December 31, 2008
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