Administrative prison officials and authority

Curtis, Denton Brantley

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“Administrative Prison Officials and Authority” In the month of September the year (2000) I was twenty-one years of age, making my departure from the Guilford county jail to a youth prison called “Polk youth Institution” located in Butner, North Carolina. I had received a twenty-five to twenty-eight year prison sentence. I had never been arrested for any crime this whole situation was new to me. As I entered Polk youth institution my heart was still broken as I pondered on the fact(s) that I had sinned against God, against humanity, and thirdly I was engaged to be married to the woman of my dreams but I knew within my heart she would eventually depart from me due to my present situation. Most men who came to prison like I did were in the streets caught up in the game. So when they come to prison for a long period of years. They lost the game. However, when I came to prison, I did not lose the game (I never had it), but I lost love and the pain from losing love is far greater than the pain of losing the game (streets). Two things I have found to be true: Everyone needs love, and everyone needs to love somebody! Growing up as a man I was never under any authority my grandmother raised me and as a Christian woman should, she brought me up in the ways of the church, however, the hand of authority and discipline never gripped me. When I arrived at Polk Youth Institution the inmates housed there were very reckless and indifferent towards each other. The level of violence was unspeakable and never ceased. I knew that this type of behavior amongst the inmates there was common, however the correctional officers displayed a type of attitude and aggression that although this was my first time in prison. I knew that how they treated the inmates there was nuts in accordance with policy pertaining to a correctional officer’s conduct. I can remember at night in our beds when the lights were turned off there could be no talking, yet you always had one or two inmates that rebelled. So a correctional sgt. Entered the dorm with about eight other correctional officer made all of us (inmates) get out of bed, pack all of our property into a mattress cover and stand outside in the cold holding our property for forty-five minutes to an hour. Not to mention that some inmates only had boxers and t-shirts on as they stood out in the cold as punishment. On several occasions I witnessed correctional officers physically assault inmates to the point of bloodshed. In every situation I witnessed, no correctional officer had been justified in their actions toward assaulting an inmate. The right authority when exercised within a prison places things and people in order, while yielding the fruit of a moderate (balanced) environment that functions within the policies and procedures established. The wrong authority wen exercised within a prison allows inmates and correctional officers to conduct themselves in a way that is contrary to prison policies and procedures, while yielding the fruit of an immoderate, chaotic, and uncontrolled environment. When administrative officers abuse their authority it can contaminate an entire prison from the office of the superintendent, to medical staff, to the chaplaincy, to the units and dorms. Eighty-five percent of Administrative officers in North Carolina’s prison system use authority to be vindictive towards inmates they personally dislike due to the crime that an inmate has committed and/or they consider inmates to be less than human, so like measures used by these types of administrative officials are inhumane. A prison located on the western region of North Carolina in Spruce Pine, North Carolina called Mountain View Correctional is most notorious for being inhumane towards inmates. I can recall nighty-eight percent of the prison staff being white (pertaining to race) and thought hatred without partiality was shown to most of the inmate population. There was no hesitation towards the inmates that were not white. I can remember the yard (recreation time) opening up, and in most prison’s the yard doors remain open so that inmates may exit the yard when they’ve had enough recreation time. At Mountain View Correctional inmates that enter the yard must stay out on the yard for an entire hour then they may return to the dorm. The only problem is that a lot of inmates had medical conditions. Some had issues with their kidneys or prostate making it impossible for some inmates to hold the flow of urine or control bowl movements so the same inmates would defecate on themselves. When it was brought to the attention of prison staff and administration, the same inmates were given an infraction, through in segregation (isolated cell) and beaten. I’ve witnesses other inmates pass out (faint) and have seizures because they had to stay out in the yard for an hour and did not have access to their medication. These inmates were also thrown into segregation, beaten, and given an infraction. Please note that I don’t have a problem with rules or authority and my prison record confirms that. I must say that a lot of the rules, policies, and procedure instituted by some prisons in North Carolina are not being used as preventative methods optimistically, but are intended to keep the spirit (influence) of confusion, hatred, and violence, between inmates and correctional officers alive. It is my belief that prison is never supposed to be a joyful experience. There should be no special treatment for any inmate, however, neither should an inmate be willfully, maliciously mistreated under any prison authority, in any manner more so vindictively. The prison term given to an inmate by the judicial system is sufficient. Any administrative official (correctional officer) who has some personal interest towards any inmate whether good or bad for any reason should not be allowed or employed within North Carolina’s prison system. Across North Carolina there are many prisons that are guilty of abusing inmates through authority. I’ve only named two that I experienced as perfect examples of Administrative officials and how they use their authority, in the wrong manner. Out of the eight prisons in North Carolina where I have served my prison term all of them failed in exercising authority. Make no mistake I am not saying that all prisons should be flawless in how they treat inmates or without error as pertaining to authority, however this standard for exercising authority should be high and steps taken to secure ever effort to meet that standard. This is essentially seeing that people’s lives are at stake, and (though inmates) their lives still matter to God, and to the household they come from. When I came to prison in the year 2000, the administrative officials (correctional officer) had quality of character and they fulfilled that which a correctional officers job requires nothing more or nothing less, they were neutral! At that time the North Carolina prison system was called the Department of Corrections. However, between and/or December 2011 and January 1, 2012, the North Carolina prison system was no longer called the department of corrections. The name was changed to the department of public safety. It is my opinion that around this time the North Carolina prison system became a business that made primary two things: currency and keeping the public safe. Yes the prison system has always been about money, however its purpose used to be the rehabilitation (creating the right conditions for inmates to change) process as an inmate carries out his prison term. However now presently (2016) North Carolina’s prison is all about incorporating means for financial (money) while making sure most of the inmates either spend the rest of their lives in prison or die in prison. For an example, now presently (2016) when an inmate receives an infraction, he doesn’t just lose privileges like the phone, visitation or canteen, the administration also takes ten dollars from the inmate. This happened when the North Carolina prison system changed from D.O.C. to D.P.S. The cost to go to medical became greater, the price of everything became higher, however the amount of cents an inmate makes from job assignments did not change. So what does and inmate do, he gets on the phone and asks his family to send him money, which is what the prison system wants. The inmate who does not have moral support from family and friend suffers greatly. I am familiar there was a time during my prison term that all the support I had morally was from my grandmother, however through the years my heavenly father has blessed me with a real big family who loves me and supports me in every way. The amount of inmates that I’ve witnessed die thought my prison term is heartbreaking. The minority die from natural causes, the majority die from administrative officials and authority misused!

Author: Curtis, Denton Brantley

Author Location: North Carolina

Date: April 21, 2017

Genre: Essay

Extent: 15 pages

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