|Vacation is Over: Picture an Island Resort Behind Bars|
|By Contrenia C Fann|
National headlines were made when pictures surfaced of a Georgia Department of Corrections’ inmate who had been allegedly beaten by fellow inmates. One of his eyes were swollen shut, he was on his knees with a leash around his neck, two inmates stood behind him throwing up gang signs with their hands, and one inmate took the picture. This picture was apparently posted on Facebook with the use of a camera phone by the inmates. Parents and loved ones are frantically asking questions such as “How does this happen?”, "Where were the officers?, "Why are they allowed to beat one another?"; They are making statements such as “That is my baby!" and "He shouldn’t be abused!" and "I didn’t realize it was that rough in prison”.
Public views are mixed across the country. Discussions are being held with subject such as “This is prison, these incidents may happen when you put a group of criminals who have committed heinous crimes on innocent victims together, what do you expect?, It is the survival of the fitted., and Staff need to do a better job because if it happen to me I will sue.” Internet or social media have made a lot of people famous. These four individuals in this image are famous now. Each is famous in his own light.
Prisons, Institutions, Jails, and any confinement that houses offenders or inmates for any period of time were labeled with the assumptions that they were like a resort, vacation or someplace to send someone who broke the law to do timeout. At least this was the view of a majority of taxpayers. Former inmates bragged to their love ones, friends and associates about their accommodations. They would often say they could get anything they wanted while they were behind bars. Therefore, their presentation of three meals and a cot was really a stay at the Hilton for free. They had a roof, lights, cable television, gym, movies and education behind bars. They had all of this on taxpayers’ dime.
Some staff has complained that inmates had it made. Wishing that hard labor be imposed or implemented again and maybe the recidivism rate would come down. Vacation is over. The rise of crime rate and the aspiration of citizens and law enforcement to clean the streets of criminals have created a city behind bars where the statement that “There is no honor among thieves” and “the survival of the fittest is true”. Inmates are being beaten and raped by fellow inmates. The Prison Rape Elimination Act 2003 was formed and passed to protect inmates. There has been an increase of staff that have been assaulted and murdered by inmates. Inmates have placed hits out on staff to cause fear. As the public cries to rid society of crimes, Prisons are filling up with a breed of inmates that are predators. Staff being employed are younger and not experienced. They are being placed in compromising situations that is causing some to fall and become an inmate themselves.
Why is it a resort?
While institutions present a military structure, corruption of staff has taken a toll on facilities. Staff are being fired, terminated and prosecuted for bringing in contraband. Contraband such as weapons, guns, cellphones, drugs, and paraphernalia are purchased astronomically prices. Inmate families and loved ones are being arrested for throwing these contraband items over fences and smuggling them through visitation. Females and males staffs are having sexual relations with inmates inside prison walls, while on duty. Fellow inmates are indulging in sexual acts with one another. Inmates attempt to wear uniform in a manner to look like an individual from other inmates. A weak attempt to makes the apparel look like Versace and Gucci. They petitioned medical for shaving and soft shoe profiles in order to wear facial hair and name brands sneakers and tennis shoes such as Nike, Adidas, and Reebok. They do not want to wear state issued boots and generic or no name sneakers and/or tennis shoes. Because cellphones have been entered in illegally, prisoners have connected themselves to the outside world through the use of social media (Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat). On Facebook, Georgia Department of Corrections states that more than 767 Civilians and 179 staff have been arrested as of April 6, 2015.
Living a Lie
Over the decades, inmates have returned home living in a denial state. They are living a lie. Honestly, who wants anyone to know that they may have been attacked, made to be someone's love slave or had their personal items stolen? Doing time is not a cake walk. Statements such as I can do “probation or vacation” or “parole or penal”. It takes a real man or woman to be bold and say this happened to me and I do not want this to happen to you. There have been a few that have been bold enough to tell the truth. The true reality of what happens behind bars. At least they can tell the information that they were privy to. The accounts that they saw or knew could possibly happen.
Why it is a fact that without offenders there could not be a jail, institution, or prison? It is a fact an individual would not be employed. It is a fact that officers are sworn in under an oath that states “I will protect and provide safety to inmates, the public and their selves”. But as my experience as a former officer and Sergeant, it is inhumanly possible to supervise 100 to 300 inmates without incident. Whether it is an incident you know about or don't. You just cannot see everything. But the things and incidents that you know about, as officer you should report and make your supervisors aware of. As my grandfather stated years ago “if someone wants to do something they will get behind a dime and do it.” There are a lot of great officers that do their jobs with the principle of being fair and consistent. These officers are being judged because of some bad apples.
You should be afraid for Little Johnny and Dontae and Little Susie and Leasha
Being raped, beaten, or murdered has plagued the prison systems forever. Behind the bars their food, personal items and commissary have been taken. Inmates are been exhorted. Families are paying for protection of their loved ones behind bars by putting money on inmate’s books. In some incidents inmates are forbidden to go see their loved one. Wardens, superintendents, mentors, pastors, families, friends, staff of families, former, past and present offenders or prisoners need to be vocal about the reality of being incarcerated. While facilities are working hard across our nation, it will never be fool proof. The one way for this to work is to become a law abiding citizen and not break the law. Just like getting in your car, going down the road, you may have an accident. Nobody knows the future.
Being famous by reason of innocence, accident, arrogance and ignorance.
The four individuals in the aforementioned image lives have changed. Allegations have come out that this may have been a gang initiation. Allegations have been stated it was a failed attempt at exhortation. Allegations have been stated that this was to send messages to rival gang members. Whatever the reason, one of the hidden codes of a convict was "never bring attention". Security has been beefed up. The two inmates in the picture standing up and the one taking the picture may have been dealt with through security, fellow gang members, or rival gang members. The one on the leash will possibility obtain a lawyer and blame the Department. The one on the leash may have been the one who initiated the incident and just came out on the wrong end. No one will never know the whole truth.
The truth is no parents or loved ones want to see this type of image. No parents or loved ones want to see an image of their loved one being the victim of a crime whether it is on the streets, in a neighborhood, in the suburbs, or behind prison walls. Vacation is Over.
Corrections.com author, Contrenia C. Fann, is the author of "Commonsense: Do Not Play Games With An Inmate" and the soon to be released "Common Sense: Misconduct Between Staff and Supervisors; ‘Do Not Get Your Honey Where You Get Your Money’”. She is a sought after expert and frequent panelist on correctional issues and has appeared at nationwide conferences to include: the National Association of Hispanics in Criminal Justice, National Association of Black in Criminal Justice, International Association of Correctional Training Personnel, Women in Corrections Conference, and the Southern States Corrections Association Conference.
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