My focus up until now has been the injustice that has been shown to Jamie, and to all other prisoners as well. It’s about the injustice shown when he was a teenager, locked up for nine months that became 4 years, when they finally had to let him go because he turned 21; to the injustice shown him when he was picked up for the charge of ‘aggravated assault’ because he was with someone who decided to use his gun to rob a place. When he tried to run away and got caught there was the injustice of never having any justice at all. His woefully inadequate public defender, who is in the pocket of the district attorney knew it was his job to scare him enough so he would take the plea. he was told if he didn’t, he could get up to 99 years. What would you do if you were faced with that? You’d probably take the plea, too. Then there are the years he spent in solitary confinement being treated as a subhuman species who wasn’t deserving of human rights of any kind. He is still there – again, because that is where they want him. He sat there hoping against hope that nothing will go wrong that will stop him from getting to the level of G2 and finally being allowed to make his very first phone call ever, to his son, since the day he was born. That’s a lot of injustices, isn’t it? That has been my focus. Sonni’s added note: He made it to G2 for a few weeks until they found another reason to lock him up. That’s what they do. Finding yourself in ad seg is pretty easy. Ad seg is short for admistrative segregation, also known as solitary confinement. He will probably be there until spring on 2016 unless he gets very very lucky)
(Dec 23 – I wrote this over a month ago. Reading back over this today I started thinking about what happened to Michael Brown. This crime was so infuriating to an entire race of people. This man unnecessarily died and the man who killed him wasn’t prosecuted, because he was a cop. Jamie has sat in a prison cell for 9 years because he’s black and had no money for an attorney because he’s on disability for epilepsy. Is there anything fair about this? There’s no need to answer that question.)
But there really is another side of the story and it’s one I’d like to explore a bit. In all fairness, even though the prison system itself is genuinely very corrupt, filled with people and corporations looking to make a buck any way they can, even if it means hurting people, because after all, aren’t these the people that society threw away? The security guards aren’t to blame for the rotten way the prison industrial complex takes advantage of these people who they try to make sure end up behind bars for as long as possible. The security guards aren’t the ones who line the pockets of the government agencies and politicians so that the vote goes for the corporations and against the people. Corporations have been getting their way for a long time and there hasn’t been a whole lot anyone has been able to do to stop it. Money goes a long way in keeping information about their abuses from getting into the wrong hands and used against them, but even if it does and they have to pay off the lawsuits people bring against them for wrong doing, they still made more money off the backs of the people than what it costs them to pay up, so I guess it’s worth it to them.
I could go into a long tirade against the corporations that cheat the inmates by not providing the care they so proudly proclaim they do on their website, http://www.cca.com cheat the government and cheat people out of years of their lives all for the sake of a buck, but that isn’t my focus today. I want to focus on the prison guard himself. What kind of man or woman becomes a prison guard and what kind of nature does a person have to have that allows him to justify his actions and tell himself that what he/she is doing is ok? The prison says it’s ok if they torture inmates, so why not? But how do they live with themselves when they have participated in inhumane treatment of human beings? How can they do it and go home to their friends and family and tell them about their day? Who were they when they started and who did they become? Was that nature there all along and all it needed was a shove in the right direction? But still. I know that not everyone who works in a prison is like this. There have to be some good people who work there, too.
There are some careers where you have to turn off your emotions. If you can be affected by the environment you work in, it could take you into a very dark place. i think many of the guards live in very dark places. having the authority to treat other human beings with indignity can be very addicting if you already have a low life condition. How do they go home to their wives and children after a day of abusing inmates? Is being a prison guard a role that is played that has a costume that goes into a locker when they leave the building, like the way an exotic dancer puts her costumes in her suitcase and walks out the door at the end of a shift? Is a prison guard always a prison guard? When does it become an identity instead of a job?
Another profession that abuses the right to hurt people are the very people who are supposed to protect and serve the people of our communities. We read the news. We watch it on TV. We aren’t surprised any more when we hear of one more case where the bounds of the law were stepped over and yet another person was needlessly taken advantage of or hurt in some way. We would be shocked if it all stopped and the law was actually used to help us instead of control us. The days of Andy of Mayberry are long over.
I know all police and all prison guards are like this, but there are enough who think they have the right to treat people as if their lives don’t matter.
The government has insisted that “there is no systematic use of solitary confinement in the US.” How can they say that and who believes them? On Nov. 12 and 13, the practice of holding incarcerated people in prolonged isolation will come under international scrutiny when the U.S. government goes before the United Nations Committee Against Torture in Geneva. It’s part of a periodic review to assess if this country has been compliant concerning the guidelines of the Convention Against Torture and the first U.S. review under Obama’s administration. I think we know the answer to that. I think anything said will just be lip service and they will continue to do things exactly the way they have been doing it.
But I’m getting off the subject. I want to find out who the people are who actually enforce the rules of behavior that says it’s ok to treat people so badly that they sometimes die from the abuse. What kind of prison guard can stand by and watch that happen? Apparently quite a few. So here begins my new focus. Look for more to come.
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