Are There Any Good Guys? by Michael Henderson
Is Amerika preparing its children for a life in prison? According to the modality used by Sheriff Bob Gualtieri and his staff at the Pinellas County Jail to deal with violent inmates who prey on society, and then are housed with the general population inmates — the answer is absolutely, unequivocally, yes.
CNN reported today that a young girl who was being bullied by a group of troubled classmates was removed from her school’s roster and transferred to another school. As the parents filed suit, the school back-pedaled and said what amounted to – her punishment was for her benefit.
Here at the Pinellas constabulary, the method of dealing with violent, destructive bullies is to move them from housing unit to housing unit, maybe give them a time out, and then move them right back into general population to allow the cycle of violence to begin all over again.
There are a couple of disturbing factors that need to be examined in the penology mentality here and probably the most frightening is that if an inmate attempts to circumvent the cycle and protect himself with any kind of preemptive action — like getting staff involved to deter actual, physical harm by the violent predator — the inmate will likely be punished, as the story of the young girl reported by CNN.
This, like all my other accounts of life on the inside, is drawn from personal experience, and has happened to me recently. Equally frightening is the endemic culture of lies perpetrated by staff in order to cover what amounts to very personalized and branded justice. I have commented before on what could easily be construed as subjective reasoning for objective consequential happenings — but another issue that never gets talked about in Amerika’s dungeons is the brand of racism suffered by what arguably is the minority in prisons, the white or light-skinned prisoners. We hear all about the sufferings of black- and brown-skinned people, but here in the penal colonies the tables are often turned. That is precisely the case I have for your consideration.
An inmate who has been thrown out of every pod (housing unit) for aggressive, violent behavior, and threatening, abusive language was placed in our pod. I sought staff intervention for my own safety, as I’ve been the target of this young man before. The resulting action taken by Corporal Taylor was to tell me that it was my white ass that is the problem and I received a disciplinary report, was removed from my housing unit, and will be given time in confinement for supposed “manipulation of housing.”
This may not have been significant but for the fact that both Corporal Taylor and the violent inmate are black men. Why would a man with violent history not have had to be vetted before being placed with men he had been aggressive with in the past? The bigger question is why was the man who never had a violent incident in his life impugned and ultimately punished? The answer lies in the systemic divide and conquer mentality propagated by the staff at Pinellas County Florida’s jail and the statement made to me by Corporal Taylor.
There is no such thing as reverse racism. Racism is racism. Addressing these issues is never easy for either party when the very system that is supposed to be neutral and unbiased propagates for its own nefarious reasoning, the volatile environment that breeds hatred here in Pinellas Florida.
In closing, it should be noted that the inmate I was trying to stay safe from only lasted four days before having a violent, explosive outburst and was taken from the pod in handcuffs, while my pleas for justice are claimed to be lies from the top soldiers like Lieutenant O’Brien in Sheriff Gualtieri’s army.
Let’s open our eyes and watch this one!