Larry Trent was 54 years old when he was arrested on July 5th of 2013. He lived in Kentucky. The citation from the day of his arrest reported that Trent claimed to have had about four beers and some mouthwash.
So it was that Larry found himself in jail for operating a vehicle under the influence. The story should end there, with whatever reasonable punishment Kentucky feels is suitable if guilt is established. It doesn’t though. His story isn’t big news, but it should be. It is one more story that has become part of the fabric of a justice system that is in a shambles.
There is poor justice, and there is wealthy justice. Those are two different things. The system is set up that way. Larry Trent did not have the funds to post bond, so he stayed in jail. If Larry Trent were wealthy, he would not have remained behind bars. Larry received the poor man’s justice.
Four days after his arrest, Larry was murdered by two deputies. One of the deputies is reported as standing 6’6” tall and weighing over 400 pounds. The indictment stated that Larry was killed by the deputies striking, kicking and restraining him while he was at the Kentucky River Regional Jail. According to Ken Howlett, News Director at K105, Larry wasn’t only beaten down to the floor, one of his attackers stepped back into his cell to kick him in the head after he was left on the floor. Medical attention wasn’t called in for about four hours, only after another employee discovered the body.
As reported in the articles below, the deputies responsible for Larry’s death were actually staff trainers. These men coached other employees on how to behave at the jail. After Trent’s death, the jail did not make note of any training failures or a need to reevaluate existing training.
A lack of accountability, the practice of turning a blind eye, and – as one corrections employee termed it to me – the good ole’ boys’ club are all a part of our corrections system. Those are the things that led to a man who was too poor to post bond being beaten to death by jail staff. It has happened before, and it will happen again.
We aren’t the first society to find a way to accommodate a population that encourages survival of the fittest, most talented, most graceful. But – let’s call it what it is. Acknowledge it. It isn’t going to change unless people are aware of it.
It’s an election week. I have seen commercials with politicians spouting how they will be ‘tough on crime’. I had one actually knock on my door as he canvassed the neighborhood looking for votes. It’s time they quit standing on a statement they think works – ‘tough on crime’ – and got their heads out of the sand. A 54 year old man was murdered by deputies that were staff trainers while in jail on drunk driving charges. It’s time to be ‘smart’ on crime.
Downs, Ray. “Kentucky Jail Guard Sentenced to 10 Years for Beating Inmate to Death.”UPI, UPI, 1 Nov. 2017, www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2017/11/01/Kentucky-jail-guard-sentenced-to-10-years-for-beating-inmate-to-death/1941509584733/.
Dunlop, R.G. “Trouble Behind Bars: When Jail Deaths Go Unnoticed.” Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting, 22 Nov. 2016, kycir.org/2015/10/05/trouble-behind-bars-when-jail-deaths-go-unnoticed/.Howlett, Ken. “Former Deputy Jailer Sentenced to over 10 Years in
Howlett, Ken. “Former Deputy Jailer Sentenced to over 10 Years in Prison for Beating Inmate to Death.” K105, www.k105.com/2017/11/03/former-deputy-jailer-sentenced-to-over-10-years-in-prison-for-beating-inmate-to-death/.