Correctional Staff: Harbingers of Genocide

Written by Jacob Schmitt

I had fallen so far from what I wanted in life that I was prepared to do anything to gain acceptance and approval. What I ended up with was 30 years in prison — having never shed a drop of blood in my life. For many, that is where the story would end, but for me — that’s where it began. I can be a good person whether I am in prison or not. The truly beautiful thing about this realization is that its true for all of us. Every man and woman incarcerated has the ability to be in prison without allowing prison to be in us. Granted, it takes courage and commitment to stand in the face of an environment as inherently negative as prison and say: I will be more than this. But we can do it.

April 9, 2020

From Inside the Wire

Local and national news has carried coverage informing us that roughly 100 incarcerated individuals at the medium security unit (MSU) of the Monroe Correctional Complex “rioted” last night.

We should all vehemently reject the application of the word “riot.” It is not a “riot” when correctional staff are trying to murder us — and the face of every unmasked correctional staff is the face of someone attempting to murder all prisoners. It is not a “riot” when there is a clear and direct threat to our lives — it’s called survival. For the men at MSU it’s too late. The deadly COVID-19 virus is among them — and the horror of death moves inexorably towards everyone of them.

MCC is infamous in Washington for poor and nonexistent medical care — with 7 prisoner deaths the last 3 years — and everyone of the incarcerated individuals at MSU knows this. In fact, every prisoner at MCC knows that “medical” care is a farce — touted to the public as a real thing, but for us it’s part of modern mythology.

Q13 news just carried an announcement from Gov. Inslee. DOC will be partnered with other state agencies on how to limit the spread of COVID-19 within Washington prisons. What about the single incontrovertible fact that the focus should have been on stopping COVID-19 from getting into our prisons?

Had Gov. Inslee (and DOC Secretary Sinclair) taken the threat to our safety seriously before the event last night, then staff would have been required to wear masks at all times while within a Washington prison. I woke this morning to the face of officers and medical staff without masks on. These are the faces of death.

I hope that it’s not lost on everyone that last night DOC used weapons designed to target the respiratory system. “Tear gas” (which was more likely OC pepper spray) causes violent coughing, spitting, and nasal mucus production. So. Rather than communicate to help reduce the fears these men were/are overwhelmed by, DOC used weapons in an attempt to crush their most natural instinct: the desire for life.

I’m not usually a gambler, but I’d bet it all on this: when DOC staff went among those coughing, choking, spitting, and snot dripping prisoners last night, those fuckers wore masks.

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