DO PRISONERS HAVE THE RIGHT TO LIFE?


Sonni Quick

Recently I watched a Conservative/Catholic news station on TV.  There was an interview with the executor of a religious political group. I failed to write down the names. There was a video of a meeting he participated in with Trump. This man’s concern was if there was enough protection for the right to life beginning at conception. I understand people are very divided on this issue and each side has their own reasons. This is not about that debate. Although I see validity in each reasoning,  neither side is going to convince the other.
This is my question. Do people – after they are born, have the right to life as well? Who cares about these babies after they are born that were forced to be born, especially to people who don’t want them, don’t give them up for adoption, abuse and neglect them and life gets no better from there. Where are the right to lifers then? What have these people done beyond wanting the babies born? Which of these children have they helped love, feed and protect from harm? Words are cheap and have no value.
Let me carry this a little father. Do prison inmates also have a right to life? If a man who is deathly ill that needs a programmed regiment to stay alive have the right to have that regiment followed in prison, because if it isn’t he will die – and he does, in a very short period of time? Does Corizon, a prison medical corporation have the right to claim they aren’t responsible? It’s not their fault? Really? You will find this article further down.
There are many examples of prisoners who obviously also don’t have the right to life. Their lives don’t matter. Why? They were conceived. They were born. Many are imprisoned by being forced to take a plea. Many are imprisoned longer than they should because of mandatory minimums. Many are innocent, and many are guilty. Many are mentally ill, and many should never get out because they are dangerous, often made that way by inhumane treatment while they are locked up. Isn’t that criminal.
But no matter the reason, many are sick with a variety of diseases. Some were already sick when they were jailed or incarcerated. Some were made sick over time from years of extremely poor quality of food with the lack of good nutrition. Some people became mentally ill because of being of being in prison often from being isolated. Regardless, they don’t get the treatment and medication they need. Anything that costs money, and they can get away with not providing it, they don’t. The bottom line is the lack of caring by people who work in these institutions. Many people commit crimes of all kinds but don’t get caught. These people did get caught or were unfairly locked up, but they are all looked at with disdain and are not treated with compassion even if they are at death’s door, as if it serves them right if they died. 815 people have died in jails since Sandra Bland’s death in 2015. ( See the article below from Prison Legal News.)

My experience is with what Jamie, the man at the center of my writing, has been through with epilepsy. He knows what seizure medication works best in controlling his seizures and they won’t supply it. I tried to intervene and talked with the medical unit to no avail. One separate problem he had diagnosed concerning his heart – pericarditis – wasn’t being treated. When I questioned them about the medication he was supposed to take I was told, what problem? It had been taken out of his file completely. That’s an easy way to get rid of an illness – erase it.

Further down the newsletter are some examples of what the medical corporations get away with, as well as poor medical care in the jails and juvenile detention centers. It’s inexcusable. Where are the right to lifers now? These people started out as babies. Many babies born now will end up in foster care. 80% of prisoners were raised in foster care. That percentage is scary high. The right to life should apply to everyone. It is not just about unborn babies, it’s about human beings. More people need to be aware humans come at all ages. No one should be swept under the carpet.

This is an interview with a half dozen or so inmates talking about the conditions inside prisons. I’ve heard these same stories from inmates everywhere about brown watar coming from the faucets, undercooked food from dirty kitchens, diseases that are prison wide and untreated medical problems. It’s an interesting interview. Also, check out their facebook page


When I started the ITFO newsletter during 2016 it was for a couple reasons. It is important to me to help educate people on issues with the prisons they may not know about.  Sometimes, on the facebook page, JamieLifeInPrison I will get comments that show me the person didn’t understand what was going on. But maybe that person didn’t know anyone who went through the system and relied on what certain media outlets telling people what they wanted them to think. They would write comments like, ” If they don’t to get treated badly, they shouldn’t have committed a crime.” or “If they do the crime they have to do the time.” That means they are unaware of how unfair our justice system is toward non-whites. It doesn’t mean there are no whites inside, but the percentages of the population on the inside should mirror the percentages on the outside – unless they believed the propaganda that black people have a gene that makes them more likely to commit a crime, which is bizarre, unless you were racist and wanted to believe it..
We are learning now, through other things that are happening in our government that it takes people getting mad and standing up, to change the wrongs that are happening. The youth stood up during the Viet Nam war, but for the most part a large segment of society has not fought back against injustice. Now this government wants to make criminals out of protesters because they don’t want people to fight back.  This time, finally, people aren’t laying down and taking it.  Do you remember the movie years ago, I think it was called “Network”? Everyone opened their windows and yelled outside, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”  That is how I feel. People in the prisons are being hurt, abused and starved. When the effects of that treatment causes medical problems, or if they entered the prison with illnesses and they get away with not giving them the proper care they deserve as human beings, it makes me angry. I have seen what that inhumanity has done.
I have family and friends who ask me why I spend so many hours of day doing something they think is pointless because what can one person do? But if you go through life with your head in the sand or maybe not doing something because it would take too much effort, I don’t call that living. I feel the only true legacy we leave behind is the effect we have on others. If it helps change someone’s life and they carry it forward then that part of you lives on.
Jamie Cummings has been a part of my life for over a decade.  We came into each other’s lives for a reason.  It hasn’t been one-sided. I have witnessed him growing from a boy to a man, helping to teach him things he didn’t have an opportunity to learn.  I teach him hope.  I teach him it is up to him to create the life he wants and not just let life slap him around. He knows I will be there for him when he gets out. Unfortunately, society is not forgiving of x-felons.  It is like the word ‘felon’ is tattoo’d on the forehead. Even if a sentence is completed they often have to keep paying.
I am doing my best to write a book worth reading, one that will bring benefit into his life – and mine.  Through the sales, and this is book one of 3, it has the possibility of helping him get the education he needs and possibly using the books to get through the doors where he can help others with his experience. There are books written by inmates about the crimes that put them in prison and even how bad they were during the years in prison, but that is not what this is about. It is about the human element and how those children raised in lower income neighbors have been pushed down the pipeline created for them with the end result already written for them, filling a prison bed. This book examines that pipeline from the first breath he takes.
Chapter one takes place sometime in a present year in prison to set the stage of where he ended up.  Chapter two goes back to his birth, which was traumatic because he was having an epileptic seizure coming out of the birth canal and wasn’t expected to live. Book one goes until age 22 when he is sent to prison.  The second book is more detail of prison until he reaches close to getting out. Book three is the process of getting out and what happens after.  Obviously it will take some time before all books are written.  I hope enough interest will be created for people to want to find out how he fares and what he accomplishes. He was first locked up before he turned 17.  He is now 34.  He will be almost 40 when he gets out, so book three will take him into at least his early 40’s.
I need your help.  I’m hoping you will share this with people on your own social media accounts.  I know many of you share blog posts from his blog at mynameisjamie.net.  I need very much to keep increasing my mailing list to reach people who are not already connected to me somehow. Anytime you share a newsletter or a blog post you have my sincere appreciation. When the book is done, those people on the list will be able to get the ebook version for free.

SOURCE LINK

The message they are sending to striking workers is, we will only give you coverage if things turn ugly


Image result for china prison

Thousands of prisoners in over 24 states began a labor strike on September 9, the 45th anniversary of the Attica prison uprising, to demand better conditions and healthcare, the right to unionize and what one organizing group calls an “end to slavery in America.” But one would hardly know it watching major U.S. media, which has mostly ignored the largest prison labor strike in history. One week on, the New York Times, Washington Post, NBC News, ABC News, MSNBC, Fox News, CNN, and NPR have not covered the prison strikes at all.

In the same time period since the strike began, CNN has run stories on Clinton’s “body double,” the New York Times ran a piece on women getting buzzcuts and ABC News had an “exclusive trailer” for its parent corporation Disney’s upcoming film. There was certainly enough airtime and column inches to mention that workers had coordinated a national strike of unprecedented scale, but for these outlets the coverage has been nonexistent.

A handful of national outlets have covered the strike: The Nation, City Lab,Engadget, Money Watch, Buzzfeed, and as of Thursday, the Wall Street Journal, but every other major publication, network news and cable network has thus far been silent.

When we spoke by phone, Azzurra Crispino, media co-chair of Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee, one of the strike organizers, was hesitant to be too hard on the press out of hope the strikes would lose coverage in the future. But after some prompting, the four-year prison abolitionist veteran listed a few measured grievances at the media. Her most consistent theme was that to the extent the strikes were being covered, the focus was on spectacle over substance, and in doing so the media was making nonviolent resistance all but impossible.

“I’m a pacifist, I would like to see the strikes remain nonviolent,” Crispino told AlterNet. “Yet in terms of the mainstream press coverage when there’s blood on the ground the prisons have to fill out reports that guards were hurt so then they can’t deny strikes occurred,” she said in reference to the stonewalling of prison officials. The few reporters Crispino had spoken to said most prison spokespeople denied any strikes were taking place. “Between prisoners and TDCJ [Texas Department of Criminal Justice], who do you think reporters are going to believe?” she asked.

The power asymmetry and the media’s default position of siding with government officials over those seen as criminals creates just one more barrier to coverage. At its core, coverage of the prison strikes, as with any protest action, has an inherently perverse incentive structure that puts a premium on acts of violence and property damage and overlooks non-telegenic peaceful activity, such as hunger strikes and labor stoppages.

This dynamic was seen in the Standing Rock incident on September 3, when private security sicced dogs on Native American activists protesting an oil pipeline, and pictures of injured protesters went viral on social media. At the time, only Democracy Now, a relatively small left-wing news show, and AP and UPI filed original reports on the incident. Days after what the media called “clashes,” articles appeared with far greater frequency, including in major outlets like New York Times, CNN and NBC.

This warped incentive structure is even more pronounced in prisons, which are by definition cut off from society. The only time anyone bothers to notice prisons is when demonstrably violent action takes place.

“Which of the strikes are getting the most attention? Florida because they’re violent,” Crispino says, in reference to the September 7 uprising at Homes Correctional facility in the Florida panhandle. “They can’t deny in Florida because prisoners are setting things on fire and there’s been so much structural damage they can’t deny strikes are occurring.”

A similar dynamic is at work when prisoners are in solitary confinement or engage in body mutilation or destruction of property, often by flooding their cells or covering them with feces or blood. Similarly, Crispino contends, each time the media ignores peaceful activities, it tips the scales further in the direction of fires, property damage and rioting.

But this reason doesn’t fully explain the lack of mainstream coverage. A few outlets, as noted, have covered the strike to the extent they could, especially in the buildup to the protest, so it’s not as if there wasn’t enough information to compile a story.

One possible reason is that some of corporate media’s biggest advertisers use prison labor, so the disincentive to shine a light on the problem is high. AT&T, Bank of America, Chevron, Eli Lilly, GEICO, McDonald’s, and Walmart all use prison labor and all are sponsors of corporate media so much we can recite their commercials by heart. One corporation that uses prison labor, Verizon, even owns major media outlets Yahoo and Huffington Post.

Russia Today, a Moscow-funded media outlet, was the only cable news network to speak with Crispino, and to the best of her knowledge, the only one to cover the strikes. When Donald Trump appeared on RT last week, there was a frenzy of outrage by mainstream pundits, with some questioning why Trump would give credence to “Russian government-controlled propaganda.” RT’s position has always been that it covers stories the mainstream press doesn’t, and while some may see this as a cynical marketing ploy, in the case of the prison strikes it also happens to be true.

Another issue for IWOC is that all the coverage thus far, even in sympathetic outlets, has ignored their broader political aims, which is prison abolition, not reform.

“The IWOC is an abolitionist organization,” Crispino said. “Abolition is pretty much completely ignored. It’s interesting because people ask questions about that and they ask what would you do instead, but no one wants to hear that and they never write about it.” That the media is allergic to ideology, to having deeper discussions about our society’s core axioms and why the U.S. has 25% of the world’s prison population but 5% of the total population, is perhaps too knotty for a 800-word writeup but for those working in the trenches it can be frustrating.

As the strike enters its second week, perhaps major media outlets and cable news will take a cue from activist media and the Wall Street Journal (whose report is worth reading) and shine a light, if only briefly, on the largest prison strike in history. If not, Crispino feels other tactics will eventually become more commonplace.

“I almost want to say, the mainstream media is complicit if there’s violence. The message they are sending to striking workers is, we will only give you coverage if things turn ugly.”

Adam Johnson is a contributing analyst at FAIR and contributing writer for AlterNet. Follow him on Twitter @AdamJohnsonNYC.

CONTINUE READING…

BREAKING: Death Sentence for a $96 ticket (NJWEEDMAN)


NJ WEEDMAN reads a letter from a prisoner who turns in jail for a wrongful death.

Published on Feb 10, 2014

special thanks to http://njweedman.com/ for bringing us this story.
In this video Luke Rudkowski interviews Ed Forchion the NJ Weed Man after he was recently released from jail and was given a shocking letter from a fellow inmate.

The letter details gross misconduct and neglect on behave of correctional officers which some are saying resulted in the murder of a fellow inmate.

The inmate who released the story to the public was put into solitary confinement for writing this letter.

 
Show your support by writing the whistle blower inmate at
Sean C. Turzanski # 90248
Burlington County Jail
54 Grant St.
Mt. Holly NJ 08060

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Pennsylvania Lawmakers Hear Testimony on the Torture of Solitary Confinement


September 22, 2012 By

Well over one hundred people filled a conference suite at Temple University in Philadelphia on Tuesday, September 18, to hear testimony on the effects of solitary confinement. They included survivors of solitary, family members, community members, advocates, and lawmakers. The hearing was held by the Democratic Policy Committee of Pennsylvania at the request of Representative Ronald G. Waters (D-Delaware/Philadelphia), a member of the committee. It comes in the wake of the first ever Congressional hearingon solitary confinement, held by a subcommittee of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee in June, and serves as yet another marker of how the widespread practice of solitary confinement in American prisons and jails is quickly becoming a mainstream human rights issue.

The hearing also followed a rally on Monday at Philadelphia’s Love Park, organized by the Human Rights Coalition. About 150 participants listened to speakers describe their experiences in solitary confinement, while holding signs and banners that read “Jobs Not Jails,” “Fund Schools Not Prisons,” and “End Torture in Pennsylvania.” One banner listed the names of a group of prisoner who have been held in extreme isolation for from ten to thirty years.

All twenty-seven Pennsylvania state prisons have solitary confinement units, called Restricted Housing Units, and collectively they hold around 2,500 of the country’s 80,000 solitary confinement prisoners–about 5 percent of Pennsylvania’s total prison population of approximately 50,000. Stays in these RHUs can last for months, years or even decades. In general solitary confinement units in Pennsylvania look much like those across the country: units of tiny cells, lit 24-hours a day, with only food tray slots as portals to the outside world, that are used as warehouses for the mentally ill and politically active. These units have seen three suicides in the last two years as well as the death of John Carter in April of this year, allegedly at the hands of guards who used pepper spray and stun guns on him during a violent ”cell extraction.”

The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections has a specific designation for those prisoners that are placed in solitary confinement for indefinite periods of time: the Restricted Release List, a program that grew out of what used to be known as the Long Term Isolation Unit.  Those on the list can only be released from solitary confinement with the approval of the department secretary; they often have not committed any offense in years, and are given no notice of their grave designation.

The hearing consisted of four panels: mental health experts, legal experts, survivors of solitary confinement, and family members with loved ones in solitary confinement. The first panel consisted of Dr. Terry Kupers and Dr. Craig Haney. Both men are psychologists who have done extensive research on the topic of solitary confinement, and Haney testified at the Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing in June.

 

Dr. Kupers began by telling the narrative of how solitary confinement and the idea of the supermax came into prevalence in the United States; a story told and lamented throughout the hearing. Kupers stated that the United States made what he called “a historic wrong turn” in the 1980s when prisons across the country cut funding to rehabilitative services, and began to see a rise in prison overcrowding and recidivism. Instead of reassessing the system itself, the nation’s response was to expand the prisons and propagate the idea that all of the problems of the system hinged on “the worst of the worst,” those prisoners who needed to be locked away in isolation.

Both psychologists emphasized the well documented proof that solitary confinement leads to, and greatly exacerbates mental illness. In response to the testimony Rep. Ron Waters asked, for the first of many times, how he could convince his fellow lawmakers that current policies and the use of solitary confinement is a policy of “tough on crime” rather than “smart on crime.” The representative also pointed out that Pennsylvania taxpayers pay $33,000 per year to imprison one person, and they deserve a “healthy, productive” citizen in return, not a mentally ill victim of torture. His remarks were in response to Terry Kuper’s explanation of someone maxing out of prison and being released straight from solitary confinement back to the community.

The second panel consisted of Jules Lobel of the Center for Constitutional Rights, Marc Bookman of the Atlantic Center for Capital Representation, Angus Love of the Pennsylvania Institutional Law Project, and Robert Meek of the Disability Rights Network. Lobel, the first to testify, via telecast, has represented prisoners in multiple cases challenging the conditions of solitary confinement, including his current representation of prisoners at Pelican Bay state prison in California. His testimony focused on how and why solitary confinement does not achieve its stated goals, using mainly examples of who it is that ends up in these units–certainly not the “worst of the worst.”  “Instead, race, political affiliation, religion, association, vulnerability to sexual abuse, and challenging violations to one’s rights all too frequently play a role in which prisoners are sent to solitary confinement.”

The testimony of Angus Love and Robert Meek refocused the discussion towards the causal link between solitary confinement and mental illness. Statistics from research into Pennsylvania prisons, Meek explained, showed that 800 prisoners registered as having mental health issues are currently serving time in solitary confinement units in the state, while beds at the state’s mental health facility, State Correctional Institute Waymart, sit empty. Meek’s testimony called for what he referred to as “robust” psychosocial treatment for prisoners with known mental health issues and more oversight and consideration of mental illness in punishing a prisoner with solitary confinement. One of Pennsylvania’s prisons, SCI Cresson, is currently under investigation by the Department of Justice for their failure to provide adequate mental health treatment for prisoners. All four of the panelists urged that though programs for treatment and true rehabilitation may cost the state money in the short term, their cost-cutting effects in the long term would be great, and that in order to fix the issue of prisons in our state they must break the cycle of mental illness and incarceration.

The response from the delegates to the testimony presented by the panel of legal experts was thorough and indicated that several members were truly engaged in the subject of abolishing solitary confinement. Representative Vanessa Lowery Brown (D-Philadelphia), reflected on a recent visit to a Pennsylvania prison when she was told by staff that she “didn’t understand” why long term isolation was necessary. The testimony on Tuesday reinforced her belief that it was the staff at Pennsylvania’s state prisons that didn’t understand. Once again the representative implored the panelists to explain how they thought they should go about fixing the issue. The response from the three men present was unanimous: stop locking so many people up. Marc Bookman, whose testimony focused on the death row in Pennsylvania, pleaded that the lawmakers “stop feeding the Prison Industrial Complex” and “get smart on crime.”

As the hearing began nearing its scheduled end time, four solitary confinement survivors began the third panel. Robert King, a member of what is known as the Angola 3, who spent 29 years in solitary confinement in Louisiana, was the first to testify. A dedicated activist and public speaker, King simply talked about his experience in prison, and the effects that long term isolation can have on the mind. Most memorably he stated that he never once would have told you that he wasn’t crazy during his time in solitary confinement. “No one asked me; if they did I would have told them, of course I feel crazy.” The other two members of the Angola 3 are still in prison, convicted on questionable evidence of the 1972 murder of prison guard Brent Miller.

The second testimony was from Shujaa Graham, wrongfully accused of the murder of a prison guard in California which caused him to spend years in solitary confinement on death row. After a fourth trial his conviction was overturned in 1981, and he was freed after eleven years in prison. His voice shaky but sure, Graham’s testimony was some of the most emotional of the whole hearing. He stated that he felt he could never truly recover from the effects of isolation and that he only survives today “in spite of the system.” At the end of his testimony, with the applause of the audience, he told the representatives to stop nickel and diming the people they represent, to “do the right thing” and stop torturing people in Pennsylvania’s prisons.

The last two previously incarcerate people to speak were Hakeem Shaheed and LuQman Abdullah. Shaheed spent time in the federal prison system, including time at the infamous Marion prison, a federal supermax facility in Illinois.  His testimony focused on the corruption within the federal prison system. Shaheed himself was placed at Marion, he said, as retaliation to his speaking at an inmate event and offering an indictment of the torture and abuse within federal prisons. Before his testimony Shaheed circulated his laptop, which displayed a still shot from a video in which guards brutalized him following the September 11th attacks because of his Muslim beliefs.

LuQman Abdullah spent eleven years in Pennsylvania prisons after being wrongfully accused of murder. He spent much of his time in prison in solitary confinement, given misconducts for his involvement with political groups and indictment of the planned execution of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His testimony was a series of stories of the torture he survived, like being strapped naked to a bed without a mattress and left for days, and also of triumph and lessons learned. When housed at SCI Green, Abdullah was housed next to Russell Maroon Shoatz, whose teachings and friendship he said “saved his life.” For the second time during the hearing Maroon’s long-term isolation was called into question and a plea was made to the lawmakers to release the 70-year-old  with failing health into general population.  Abdullah also brought up the name of Charles Graner for the first time during the hearing; Graner was a guard at SCI Green who was found guilty of the torture of Iraqi prisoners at Abu-Gharib prison.

The final panel of the day was four women, all with loved ones in solitary confinement. Shandre Delaney, whose son Carrington Keyes has been in solitary confinement in Pennsylvania for ten years, told how her son was placed in solitary confinement as retaliation for his political actions and beliefs. Ms. Delaney is an advocate with the Human Rights Coalition and corresponds regularly with prisoners who suffer similar fates to her son’s.ay and demanded that the representatives take the necessary steps to set up an outside organization that can monitor the Department of Corrections because from her experience “prisoners are not requesting special treatment but fair and humane treatment.”

Theresa Shoatz, the daughter of Russell Maroon Shoatz, was the second panelist to speak. Theresa told her story of growing up with a father being tortured in prison. Like Delaney, Shoatz is not solely an advocate for her father, but for all prisoners suffering a similar fate to his. Near the end of her testimony Shoatz pulled a five -allon bag of prescription pill bottles from her purse, telling the representatives that if they wanted to see the effects of her fight for her father they need to look no further than that bag, which was full of medications for stress-related illness. (A video interview with Theresa Shoatz can be viewed here.)

As representatives began to slowly leave the conference room the last two panelists spoke. Patricia Vickers, an advocate with the Human Rights Coalition, read testimony submitted by her son Kerry Marshall (Shakaboona), who has spent seventeen years in solitary confinement. The letter she read was a pointed and concise evaluation of the need for an outside organization to be formed in order to ensure oversight of the retaliatory and tortuous practices of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. Vickers’ own testimony echoed this need for an un-biased monitorial group. The final panelist was Barbara Fair, the founder of My Brother’s Keeper. Pushed for time, the lawmakers asked that she be brief, so she gave a five-minute testimony in which she simply re-stated the message of the day: “Solitary confinement is meant to break the spirit and shatter the mind, and there is no use or need for it other than that.” Her remarks were followed by a burst of applause from attendees.

Representative Ronald Waters ended the hearing, reminding the audience once again how hard it will be to bring everything they had learned that day back to the rest of the lawmakers in Pennsylvania and gain any meaningful change. ”Its too easy to go along with the narrative of tough on crime, you see the stories that make the newspapers,” he said. Representatives who had stayed an hour and a half beyond the scheduled time greeted some of the panelists and filed out of the conference room, having received a clear message that the uphill battle to end solitary confinement in Pennsylvania is one worth fighting.

CONTINUE READING….

 

Written by: Roxanne Greschner RE: Prison System


Written By Roxanne Davenport Greschner M.A. 707-568-1082
THE DYNAMICS OF INCARCERATION

Written By Roxanne Davenport Greschner M.A. 707-568-1082

We can create a better more efficient prison system by demilitarizing the system that we have.

We need to disable the power of the guards union and to stop the development of organized crime linked with that power. The creation of the supermax or military social control model of incarceration has disabled the prisoner population, by creating an oppressive abusive violent environment that harms the prisoner population in many ways, impacts profoundly the communities where family members live, and hinders the folks who become advocates for the prisoners. This is done as retaliation against the fight for the freedom of the prisoners with the intent to abuse and to weaken the support system of people who are invested in protecting the rights of their loved ones and friends.
After all, the power of intimidation reaches only the quiet individuals who are not drawn towards crime and has no effect on the hardened ones who need to be softened (Albert Camus 1961).
Some examples of the retaliation that is done to many prisoners and their wives are the separation of those prisoners from their families.
Often the women who marry men in prison who are famous, or are deemed by the system to have political power within that system, are separated within their own communities to isolated areas, housed with people who are in collusion with the prison system. The women are interrogated by folks whose only purpose is to obtain information from them about the criminal activities of their newly wedded husbands or like in my case the intention of their husband in an up and coming trial.
Albert Camus (1961) reminds us, “police states have never been suspected of opening schools of law in the cellars where they interrogate their subjects.” At times the women are shuffled around from prison to prison constantly harassed by the guards and some of the other wives of the prisoners who have affiliations that are different especially when there are rival gang members involved. Arson is committed to create homelessness for those women who take up the banner of freedom for their husbands and other prisoners, to oppress the fight for freedom, and maintain a sense of struggle within this poverty stricken class of women.
Albert Camus (1961) reminds us that ‘freedom is the concern of the oppressed, and her natural protectors have always come among the oppressed.” Even when a prisoners’ family lives close to a prison, the community in which the prison is located also is home to many correctional officers who for the most part have lived in the community all of their lives. The communities are usually poverty stricken, small with very little or no employment opportunities for the ladies who relocate to visit their loved ones at the prison.
The family members of the correctional officers who were raised in the prison town also have many of the belief systems of their sisters and brother or cousins who work in the prison and all of them know what goes on in the town. The women and their children are treated by some of the families of the correctional officers like criminals because of their association with the prisoner population by marriage and by other members of the community with distance and detachment until they become part of the community, which actually takes a couple of years. All the while the women are poverty stricken because of the lack of work that will effectively help them better their economic situations. Because the women are vulnerable they often become the targets for the correctional community.
Especially when that community is corrupt and has correctional officers who are criminals in their own right.
I have witnessed many occurrences of sexual harassment as well as manipulation for privilege, which amounts to exploitation, perpetrated by correctional officers. While living near the Substance Abuse treatment Facility (SATF) located in Corcoran California, some of the wives of the lifer population were harassed or bribed into making my life miserable because of the history of my political activities, and my husband who is a prisoner has been denied his basic rights under their own policies i.e. the right to work, attend programs, to further his goal of parole.
This manipulation is usually done to weaken the solidarity the women should have to survive being the wives of the lifers. An example of this manipulation is when a young correctional officer approaches a young wife of a lifer and he bribes her into organized criminal behavior along with other women who are bringing in drugs, to burglarizing the home of the targeted prisoner’s wife.
Some of the wives who participate are allowed to bring in drugs and their husbands are rewarded by getting jobs working in the prison, if they co-operate with the correctional officers who are corrupt, harming the wife or family member of a prisoner whom they do not like or who has the goods on that guard.
After all “the society of money and exploitation has never been charged, so far as I know, with assuring the triumph of freedom and justice.” (Camus, 1961)
The correctional officers will send their own family members under the guise of checking up on some of the prisoners wives to case their homes for valuables, rob and terrorize those women who try to have their husbands released from prison. Many women have to leave the area because to stay would be counter productive for their husbands freedom further separating them from their husbands by distances and support. Once targeted by this corrupt organization of people who work for the State of California, the individual’s life becomes a disaster. Their personal possessions are stolen and they are told that they have no rights, and that they have to prove that they own their possessions, all of this harassment is just that, harassment, and means nothing, especially when the targeted couple have the power to go to a higher authority, and puts a stop to the violence.
Reporting the criminal activities puts the wives and their husbands in a precarious situation, because most of the time the reports are ignored by local law enforcement that receive kick backs for the crimes such as the jewelry belonging to the prisoners wives. All of these activities can be considered organized criminal behaviors and are perpetrated by the very people who are supposed to be rehabilitating the prisoner population and protecting their community members, the pseudo-wannabe peace officers that work at the prison and the local police.
This happens when we live in a “Military State.”
The women are forced to depend upon the Federal Government, Aid to Dependant Children, members of the local social system who are not equipped to deal with the expansion of violence the people of our society have slowly witnessed and experienced since the 1970’s because of the introduction of the supermax (military social control) model of incarceration that began in the mid 1960’s. Since the introduction of the supermax model of incarceration our society has created laws to accommodate the expansion of the prison system.
To further create a military class of people who are trained in military social control, not only to control the prison system, but also to control the crime free citizens, who are connected to that system by marriage and family relationships.