The Black Lives Matter movement has gained so much momentum this past year with the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor,Tamir Rice and Ahmaud Arbery by the hands of police officers that have sworn to protect and serve. I would like to take a moment to call attention to the brutality and injustices on this side of the fence by correctional officers who take a similar oath of care, custody and control. There has always been brutality and abuse within the corrections system I suppose, but to witness it first hand and to experience it on a daily basis makes it so much more real. Just recently an inmate “won” a 4 million dollar settlement against the Department of Corrections. Sounds great but this inmate is also now paralyzed from the neck down and her lawyer’s and medical fees are included in the settlement. Does this sound like she really “won” to you? Let’s take a moment to remember the young lady who wrote home to tell her family goodbye because she knew the officers were going to beat her to death, and they did. Or the inmate who was left in a scalding hot shower and died of first degree burns. Let us not forget to mention the verbal and psychological abuse that takes place on a daily basis. Inmates being ridiculed and humiliated just because the officers can get away with it. So the next time you prepare to protest in a march, sign a petition or share a hashtag…remember that inmates lives matter too!
Noni J. Stinson