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Sunday, August 9, 2015

Squalor and Abuse in Flordia Prisons: This is a Pro-life Issue!

inmate Harold Hempstead
Inmate Harold Hempstead reveals the horrible and inhumane conditions of Florida Prisons. Miami Harold reports that
Hempstead had already seen the inside of almost half of Florida’s 49 state-run prisons, and to him, Dade really wasn’t any worse than the others.By that time, he said, he was used to seeing horrible things in Florida prisons: inmates being starved, beaten, sexually assaulted, mentally tortured by officers and gassed for no reason. Officers putting laxatives in inmates’ food, urinating on their clothing and toothbrushes and paying inmates to attack other inmates. Sick inmates begging for medical care, only to be told they were faking. Even basic necessities like soap and toilet paper were often rationed to make their lives more miserable."
In mates of Dade were subject to all kinds of abuses, such being locked in a scalding shower. At least
inmate Darren Rainey [deceased]
one person, 50 year old Muslim inmate Darren Rainey, died as a result of this torture.
I read this and it breaks my heart. Mental and physical torture, systematic starvation, forcing prisoners to participate in the abuse of other inmates, and I'm not alone. When Hempstead was moved from Dade Correctional to another facility, psychiatrists at the new facility reacted with horror and disbelief, and less than a week refused to talk about the subject of Dade Correctional with Hempstead  any longer. He, and every other inmates brave enough to to report what was going on were met with bureaucratic walls at every turn. Often, even threats. 
This is not something a pro-life Christian can ignore! We know now some extent of the horrors of Flordia's prisons, but what about the rest of the US? Why aren't we demanding investigations and reviews everywhere? When the level of corruption and horror is this high, it's foolish to believe it's isolated. This was born out of a widespread culture of death and contempt, and prison guard culture of self-righteous power. 
We joke about inmates. When we see or hear of someone convicted of a crime we laugh about all the fun they'll have on the inside. If they're poor, we joke that "now they'll be fed, courtesy of the state!" If they're sexual criminals, we have joked about prison rape. And when they finally get out and can't find a job, we quip "well you shouldn't have destroyed your life by being a criminal!" 
But we don't really believe these jokes. Or, at least I hope to God no one really means them, because only a monster could laugh at this if they thought it really happens. The fact is, breaking into a house or taking drugs isn't what destroying a life looks like. This is, and our taxes are paying for it. 
Even if some employers are willing to give second chances, many know that men can come out more messed up than when they went in. Does that sound like our goal here? Is that a legitimate method, to rehabilitate by breaking all scruples? Tell me, what lesson does having to mix and pour chemicals on the faces fellow inmates serve for when they get out? 
The state has had report after report after report, and only now are they looking into what's been going on. They can't be trusted to correct all these problems alone. We need to call for a congressional investigation into the system as a whole and federal investigation into the crimes of these correctional officers. 
Raise a ruckus! And pray, don't forget to pray. Getting caught in the middle of a bad decision shouldn't mean that you're forgotten. 


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