Last night's local TV reports and this morning's Joplin Globe featured a story about a 37-year-old Barton County Jail inmate who committed suicide.
Sheriff Shannon Higgins did not release the name of the deceased, deferring to the family's wishes. While you have to have sympathy for the man's family, any time a death takes place in a taxpayer-funded facility, the family's wishes need to be secondary to the public's right to know.
How did this happen? Why did this happen? Get the facts out in the open as quickly as you determine what they are and you maintain the public trust. While I have no doubt that the sheriff's actions in this case are out of concern for the family, that concern is misplaced. I am sure that the man's name has already circulated around Lamar and Barton County. That means that the only place the information did not come from is the one place that should have provided it.