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Under the Guise of Safety and Security

Commentary on Lyle May's article "Measures meant to make North Carolina prisons safer are doing the opposite" Scalawag Magazine, Oct 2018 . We apologise for the delay in posting this response.

With only 2% of the world’s population, while also having 25% of the world’s prison population, the truth about what this country is and has always been based on, should be plain for any rational person to see; Industry.

What other Constitution-based Federal Republic, or any other nation for that matter, has an Amendment in their Constitution allowing involuntary servitude and slavery? What other “free democratic society” has stock market shares available to buy, sell and trade, for privatized prisons? Which is the only industrialized country in the entire western hemisphere that has a death penalty? These are just a few of the many ways in which the US is a true world leader.

One of the ways in which the US propagandizes and touts itself as a world leader is morality. This is forcefully displayed by its military (“world police”) occupational presence on nearly every continent.

Under the guise of promoting safety and security, people are neglected, tortured and murdered, both abroad and domestically. The Prison Industrial Complex is actually a highly profitable and functioning entity in this country, so why, from a government standpoint, should anything change?

Through Mr May’s diligent research and factual examples of cause and effect, he gives us an accurate picture of what we experience here, but what people should realize is that this is a national systematic problem.

With mandatory minimum sentencing, no guaranteed appeal rulings, no incentives, education or job training in which to better a prisoner’s attitude and life, why should conditions inside these prisons improve for the prisoners or staff?

While pay and benefits for staff remain low, the high turnover rate of “qualified” employees will continue. So why would the State invest in the thorough education and needed training that anyone thrust into this hostile environment should require?

It doesn’t, and it’s also reluctant to dismiss, much less investigate and criminally charge those employees who violate their own “policy and procedure”, along with the so-called “rights” of the prisoners.

The “millions” Mr. May referenced as being proposed by the State for recruitment, training and equipment, will likely go into the hole in the same way that the mental health services allocation did. Improved facilities and equipment to be shown on TV to the public but with still the same turnover of poorly trained undereducated staff. More prison facilities to house more prisoners that require more tax money to pay for the same problems that perpetuate this vicious circle.

No accountability, no rehabilitation and no incentive = NO CHANGE. Which is exactly what the lobbyists, politicians and lawyers (who all profit from the business that is the Prison Industrial Complex) want.

While Mr. May and I do not agree on what true prison reform should be, we do acknowledge the underlying reasons for it. We feel if you the reader will take a few moments to look into what we have commented on, then you may well acknowledge them too.

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