Correctional Officers And Jailers
With all of the focus on police brutality on America’s streets, another place full of injustice exists beyond the reach of cellphone cameras or accessible eyewitnesses — America’s jails and prisons. They are chewing people up and spitting them out. While cell-phone videos of police officers behaving badly are now all over the Internet, video footage of abuse committed by correctional officers is far rarer. A civilian can hold up his or her cell phone and record a cop in action, but the only witnesses to the misbehavior of jail staff are other employees and the inmates—and inmates are typically prohibited from having cell phones. Many jails and prisons now have security cameras, but the presence of cameras is no guarantee that every abuse will be captured on tape.
Working in a prison gives you the advantage of understanding the environment between correctional officers and jailers, where the blind spots are and some guards make it a point of waiting until an inmate is outside the view of cameras —in the stairwells, or in the school area—before inflicting physical punishment. Even when security cameras do catch guards mistreating inmates, there is no incentive for jail officials to make that footage public —and yet videos of guard abuses have begun appearing on the Internet. In jails and prisons, security-camera footage can be used to figure out who is telling the truth: whether it was the inmate or the guard who threw the first punch. Often, though, the video documentation of a conflict goes unwatched, or at least ignored, unless someone on the outside gets access to it.
There are human beings living in these prisons for decades just trying to find some meaning and purpose in their lives. Most of them have been forgotten. The public needs to know that more abuse happens daily in prisons than anywhere else in America. This country has more prisoners than anywhere else in the world. China and India both have populations that exceed 1 billion and they don’t lock up people like America. People need to learn that the prison system is a very important institution in the economy and choices to incarcerate have a price.
—Augusta Correctional facility prison inmate Askari Lumumba—
Nuwla contributor – Dr. Shewanna Johnson aka Imani Seshat Maat
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Tefnut Seshat Maat resides in Charlotte, NC. She is a wife, a mother and a Clinical Psychologist with a natural desire and dedication to uplift the black community diaspora. Tefnut is a Howard University, Tennessee State and University of Phoenix grad working now on her P.H.D. in Psychology. You can like her page on Facebook by clicking https://www.facebook.com/BlackPowerQueens/?fref=ts