Daily Prison Life Series: How To Fix What We Refuse To Acknowledge Is Broken

Written by Michael Henderson

November 13, 2021

In a real world of problems and solutions it is generally practiced to recognize where a problem exists and to seek a resolution to the problem. Enter the incredibly inaptly named world of the Florida Department Of Corrections. The misnomer doesn’t only stem from the fact that there is absolutely zero correcting the behaviors of the wards of the state, but also it stems from the need to acknowledge the department’s inherently flawed inabilities to police itself and seek solutions to the problems that come from a need to cover up the behaviors of the very people charged with correcting the behaviors of the wards of the state.

Let me see if I can un-convolute this for you with a couple of situations.

The process for a prisoner to redress a problem is known as the ”grievance process.’ In Florida this is a three step process that must be completed before a person in prison can exercise his constitutional right to seek redress from the courts. Thanks be to the U.S. Supreme Court for consistently viewing prisoners as less than human. No matter, the grievance process simply doesn’t work anyway. Knowing this, I use this process only to bring attention to the problems that are rampant with the people who run this show. It is decidedly so that the system will spend a million dollars to save a dime.

This brings me back to the great sock caper. If you remember a couple of weeks ago I reported that the top ranking officer at dormitory inspection essentially helped himself to socks that I had in of all places… my laundry bag. For reasons unknown, the major emptied my laundry bag onto the middle of my bunk and made away with another mesh bag we use for canteen shopping that I had meant to throw away, and three brand new pairs of socks. I received a property form for the canteen bag but alas not the socks. The following is a verbatim copy of the grievance that followed and the response.

This informal grievance is in accord with F.A.C. CH 33-103.001(1)(2)(4), 33-103.002, 33-103.005, 33-103.010, 33-103.011, 33-103.014. On Feb 10 20211 during dorm inspection Major Crawford emptied my laundry bag onto my bunk. For whatever reason the major confiscated a trashed canteen bag and three brand new pairs of quarterly order socks with gray toe and heel. If these socks were taken because there were other socks, those were all the state socks with holes that I could not get replaced from laundry. Hence my family had to purchase those socks. The major could have taken the state socks. Later that evening Sgt Cooper brought to me a property slip for only the canteen bag. He knew nothing about the socks. It will be evident on camera that Major Crawford left with the socks and most of the dorm witnessed him with the socks. The remedy sought is to return the 3 pairs of brand new quarterly order socks or apply to risk management for a refund of the amount of purchase as per F.A.C. ch. 33-602.201(14)(a thru e).

(Response from someone named Washington): Informal is vague and cannot be clearly investigated. You’ve failed to provide the time of this incident therefore video cannot be reviewed.

This is a tactic frequently employed by the department of corruption in order to avoid owning up to the completely flawed system that allows for the lack of professionalism and the recycling of criminal behaviors that fuels recidivism and mass incarceration. Never mind that dorm inspection is every Wednesday at approximately the same time. Defend and deflect.

Again, do you want your cities to be safer? Do you want your incarcerated loved ones to become productive members of society? We have to have professionals who act professionally. We have to make punishment subordinate to rehabilitation. And we must acknowledge the inherent and problematic methodology of penology that is more akin to Abu Grab than the treatment of our own citizens.

The only real effect the flagrant lies spewed onto the grievance response served was to piss me off. My only recourse is to continue the grievance process with an appeal to the creators of the mess in Tallahassee at the head office, which will invariably be denied thru either the same or some other contrived nonsensical reasoning, then go on to file a small claims court suit in which FDC will spend copious amounts of money to not admit that the offending employee was in fact wrong, also requiring them to replace six dollars worth of socks. Obviously a route 99.99% of inmates are not willing to travel. So with the blessing of the dysfunctionality of a system designed to not only allow, but to perpetuate itself thru the permissible subterfuge of supposedly keeping the public safe, men and women are abused, sometimes to death, women are impregnated, and even juveniles suffer atrocities at the hands of so-called professionals and all are left with a method of redress known as ” the grievance process” that is not just simply ignored, but actively thwarted by it’s inherent design. If all you show a man is corrupt methods of existence, in order to sustain the same system that calls itself the department of corrections, that’s all a man will learn. Dysfunctional corruption. Teach a man to fish.

This picture I’m painting is as representative as I believe anyone could paint no matter how outlandish it may appear. There is absolutely nothing rehabilitative about the penology employed by the Florida department of corrections. As I suspect is true in other departments throughout the U.S. as well rendering the rate of return to prison commensurate with the need for jobs to stir the economy in a state that depends on being pretty to sustain the lavish lifestyle of the few.

We’ve yet to discuss the nonexistent medical care in the Fla. department of corruptions, a subject that will I think require an installment all its own.
On a final note, I’m no longer at Columbia correctional, I’ve been transferred to Lake correctional, an institution purportedly scheduled to be torn down. Your guess is as good as mine. The topic shall be commented on in future postings.

Until then, much peace and love. Namaste.

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