I am currently a North Carolina state prisoner

Green, Robbie Switzer



NO TITLE I am currently a North Carolina state prisoner who has seventeen years of incarceration thus far. I have been housed at fifteen (15) different State Correctional Facilities. -This is my non-fiction essay intended for researchers and the general public, to help them to see and understand prison conditions in the state of North Carolina, ways of coping, healthcare, causes of violence and some ways to reduce violence, education, employment conditions, visions of a better way to operate (personally, politically, institutionally, etc.), dealing with time on the inside, the challenges of physical and psychological survival, what works and why it works and what doesn't work and why it doesn't work (i.e. practical views on reform). -This is my first hand testimony of facts and my experience of being exposed to the living and working conditions of confinement and pollutions of environmental concerns of inhuman living conditions. - You will probably have questions arise such as: how is it that when it comes time for state inspections and audits at state correctional/prison facilities throughout the state of North Carolina, that these are serious issues and concerns that need to be addressed but why and how are they not? These are serious hazards and OSHA violations that are plain to see. It's simple. The people employed who are in the audit and inspections field are not doing their jobs fully, much less to even know the issues to inspect and look for. -Offenders sent to state prisons are being set up for failure and an eventual return to prison. There is no rehabilitation/education being enforced in North Carolina prisons. -As far as education in prison, when I started doing time in 1996. If you came to prison and didn't already have a high school diploma or G.E.D., it was mandatory to be placed in G.E.D./A.B.E. class's to obtain your G.E.D./A.B.E. before you could either obtain an incentive wage job making two dollars and eighty cents a week, or further education and enroll in Community College courses available at all prison facilities. It is not this way anymore- far from it!! -Now, it has come to, we see being released back out to society uneducated, raising recidivism rates by 50% and less likely to obtain any education/vocational training at all. -According to an April 2014 recidivism report by the Bureau of Justice statistics, 49.7% of offenders return to prison within three years after release and 55.1% returned within five years. Clearly, most state facilities do a poor job of "correcting" prisoners and preparing them for release, which puts an even greater burden on halfway houses to supply reentry services. -We need to focus on five (5) areas that have proven to deliver the best results: 1) Education, 2) Employment, 3) Support, 4) Resources, 5) Empathy. -Loosely defined as a "halfway" point for prisoners between incarceration and freedom. Halfway houses have experienced a number of problems that indicate the industry is in need of systemic improvements. -Halfway house residents often have few current ties to the community to which they are released, and even if they do, may not have family or friends to assist them. They need viable reentry services, including job placement and housing assistance. -A critical component of all our work is a focus on helping our residents obtain meaningful employment. Through employment, our residents repay their debts to society and become responsible, independent citizens, taxpayers, parents, and contributors to the community. -It is clear that too many halfway houses are run more with an eye on profit than on services and program that prisoners need to ensure a successful transition back into society-a process that should begin when offenders first enter the prison system, not just a short time before they get out. -Other than North Carolina's recent efforts to tie halfway house contracts to reductions in recidivism rates, there has been little interest in ensuring that reentry facilities meet the many challenges faced by soon-to-be-released prisoners. -Politics has also played a damaging role in the halfway house industry, as contracts are sometimes influenced by political connections and lobbying rather than outcomes or performance measures. -Government officials appear to be more interested in reducing expenses by placing offenders in halfway houses rather than investing in the resources necessary to ensure stable post-release housing and employment-services that residents need to successfully return to their communities. -For those offenders who are putting forth noticeable efforts for change should be noticed that we are those who are closest to the problem and closest to the solutions, but furthest from power and resources to survive when one has absolutely nothing or family to be released too. -Upon entry of the prison system, offenders still have their constitutional amendment rights to the United States Constitution (due process, equal protection, free from cruel and unusual punishment, etc.) Most offenders are either uneducated to the law and their rights and don't know how to go about drafting up their claims, arguments and violations or they're to scared or lazy too. In fear of being retaliated against. -North Carolina's prison systems medical staff (med. techs) charges offenders a five dollar co-pay (was three dollars) for non-emergencies and a seven dollar (was five dollars) co-pay for declared emergencies for every time we need medical attention. Every time that an offenders prescribed medication(s) expire for chronic conditions are charged. We have to pay again and over again when our medicines are suppose to be automatically reordered without co-pay. The way prison medical staff looks at is, "medical did not discontinue offenders chronic or non-chronic care medications. The prescriptions ran out. Offenders prescribed medications by dermatologist do not fall under the DPS Chronic Care Policy. An offender must access the sick call process to be assessed for a non chronic care issue. Speaking for myself, I was born with a "chronic" skin disease called Ichthyosis Vulgaris which no known cure has been found and therefore "chronic" means ongoing, lasting a long time or recurring: said of disease. -When offenders file and appeal their grievances to Raleigh North Carolina's Inmate Grievance Resolution Board, the examiner always concurs with the specified institutions step response in saying, "Policy provides that medical decisions are best left to the "clinical judgement" of the professional health care providers," and the offenders grievance, "is dismissed for lack of supporting evidence." North Carolina's prison system have very poor medical care. We also have prison and jail doctors who don't have licenses to practice medicine, or have disciplinary records. The percentage of offenders dieing in prisons and jails due to inadequate medical care is at an all time high due to medical negligence. -During my stint in prison I have witnessed several offenders die. Prison medical staff would give the offender the state's miracle drug called non-aspirin and send the offender back to their housing unit to die instead of following protocol between Heads of State or Diplomatic Officials, and send the offender to the nearest hospital emergency room. -Prisoners are entitled to sanitary facilities, proper trash procedures, and no roach and rat infestations in the state of North Carolina's prison system. But, we are not. There is roach and rat infestations, hundreds of Geese and Pidgons leaving their droppings covering prison recreation yards, large levels of flooded water ponds around the recreation yards and outside cell windows, biohazard toilet water of urine and feces running down the cells walls and dripping from ceilings on offenders beds, from flooding of cells contaminated discolored water seeping through years of clogged drain(s) pipes from top floors and clogged foundation floor drains and rusted and painted over exhaust vents, very old rusted roach infested lockers, holes in window screens that birds and spiders enter through. -North Carolina state prisons have toxic contaminations in the soil surrounding the living conditions and in the soil around the outside of the cells and recreational yards. All of the above is dismissing my value as a human being. -Inmate and guard brutality are triggered by common issues the ways offenders are spoken to and acted towards and treated by favoritism, racism, an offenders charges, laziness, inconsiderate, and unfair treatment. -Correctional officers should be forced to wear body cameras as our street police officers and this should be enforced for every North Carolina prison and to have cameras installed in every dormitory, hallways and kitchens to secure evidence purposes, and should be held in contempt violation when the facilities heads does not abide.

Author: Green, Robbie Switzer

Author Location: North Carolina

Date: January 16, 2018

Genre: Essay

Extent: 13 pages

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