Rodney Fenner

Searched, by Rodney Fenner

Hello world. I’m sure most have heard about this by now, however, I was compelled to write about it anyway because I just saw it on the news yesterday. Last month, an 8 year old girl was strip searched at Buckingham Correctional. Needless to say, I was appalled to the highest degree. From my understanding, proper procedure wasn’t followed. As a person who just left that facility in August, I’m not at all surprised about that because half of them don’t know procedure and the other half don’t care. So, the drug dog sat down on the girl and the lady who brought her (the inmate’s girlfriend). They were separated and strip searched. Consent of a parent or legal guardian is required to search a minor and the woman who brought the girl was neither. They were both searched and nothing was found. She was allowed to visit her father and after the visit was over she immediately texted her mother, “Hey mom I’m so mad the jail had to strip me from all of my clothes…”. The governor found out and suspended all searches of minors in prisons until he could come up with something different. Okay, so first, what the fuck? As a prisoner, I’m not a stranger to the inconsiderate, unsympathetic, inhumane things that the puppets of the system do to people, but I never would’ve guessed something like this would happen. Having been around these “trained” dogs for years, I can say from first hand experience that they are very often wrong just like the dog was in this case. The common sense thing to do would’ve been to allow a different dog to do the test and see if he also flagged them. If that were the case, they should’ve been told that they couldn’t visit because the minor couldn’t be searched. What kind of person executes a strip search on an 8 year old girl anyway? For the sake of arguement, let’s say that the C.O.s were in the right (as far as policy goes anyway) about searching the girl. What chain of thoughts goes through your mind as a human being to rationalize it being okay to do that to a little girl? Especially, if you are a person who has a child? Even if you don’t have a child, something in you should’ve known you were overstepping boundaries. That’s a humiliating and degrading experience for an adult. Imagine how much more so it is for an 8 year old child who just wants to see her father and is afraid that she won’t be able to if she doesn’t get naked in front of strangers. Imagine how traumatic that is and how long she will carry that devastating experience with her through life. Even with therapy, this utterly unnecessary scar may never disappear. It’s obvious this policy should change along with many others. In my opinion, the people who okayed, performed and oversaw that search should be fired for a legion of reasons, but the ones I want to cite here is their gross lack of common sense and morals. These are the kinds of people they have working in these prisons. Not all of them, but a good portion are idiots. Imbeciles. On the flip side, I hope their insanely moronic behavior brings about a real change. Those searches are one of the primary reasons people are deterred from coming into these places to see us and physical visits are imperative to the incarcerated. Who wants to willingly subject themselves to something like that though? Not every person gets strip searched when they enter, however, there’s always that chance of a “random” search or a drug dog “flagging” you. What if it was your sister or girlfriend? What if it was your grandmother or in this case, your child? Where does it stop or where do people even begin to at least question what goes on in these places? D.O.C. issued a statement basically saying that the strip searches have been used to keep the prisons safe. From what exactly? No weapons are being brought in like that. Drugs? It’s a known fact that the vast majority of the drug in prisons are being brought in by their own overworked and underpaid C.O.s, but they don’t want you to know that. So that drug argument is invalid. Again, what exactly are you keeping the prisons safe from? Our visitors? Our sense of togetherness with our families? D.O.C. says their mission is to help bring families together, but they do things like this. What do you call a person who does the opposite of what they say? A boldfaced liar. It’s really sad that this had to happen for people to see and understand the way the system treats people. That’s really just the tip of the iceberg. Imagine the things they could do when a person has no access to an avenue to expose them. Think about how easily they could cover their tracks since the word of a prisoner means less than nothing to most people and how some people believe that everyone in prison deserves anything and everything that happens to them in here. People have to understand that being in here is our punishment. Separation from society and separation from everything we know and love is our punishment. We don’t come here to be further punished at the whim of prison guards and administration. At what point is it too much? Apparently, even extending the treatment to our visitors isn’t too much to them. In their eyes, once you’re behind these walls, you’re not a person anymore and that obviously goes for prisoners AND visitors. My question is, why does something this extreme have to happen before these people are checked? Why is it that the hundreds or thousands of complaints of prisoners aren’t enough to warrant some kind of change? This could’ve easily been avoided if people would listen. Hell, it could’ve been avoided if the C.O.s had any damn common sense. The good news is that prison reform has been a hot topic among Democrats and Governor Northam has been doing everything to regain favor with the African-American community after his black face incident. So, something may actually get done. Hopefully it does, however, the course of history hasn’t made me optimistic. What do YOU think? Peace.

Rodney Fenner
DOC #143637

Categories: Rodney Fenner

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