A Department of Corrections doesn’t exist in the reality of things. I will say over and over, we need a prison system. We need a place to keep people that threaten the physical well being of others until we can figure out if and how to rehabilitate them. And I don’t know what it should be called. We currently have something called ‘Corrections’, as if there is some type of system ‘correcting’ a problem. There isn’t.
We have an entire society of people locked up for, quite simply, absurd sentences. We are actually turning people who, in a different type of system might have hope for a positive future, into criminals. We are destroying their faith in humanity, cutting them off from their loved ones and putting them in the care of understaffed and often undertrained institutions. That is a fact. It is irrefutable. It’s a system built from the bottom up on misery.
It reaches beyond the walls we can’t see through. I read someone else’s thoughts the other day and asked if I could copy and paste it here. This is what Dotty had to say.
Just got off the phone with the hubby. He told me tonight that he did the math, and for a telephone call in Kansas State Correctional Facility, Larned – there is a note by the phones, stating that a 15 minute call will be raised from $2.55 to include an additional 18.2% tax carrying fee, making the total $3.01.
Not bad, you say, compared to other states…but here is where mass incarceration comes into play here in Kansas. Budget cuts in medical, state healthcare programs and many other places have caused the state to tax us three times…18.2% to connect…18.2% during the call…and 18.2% imposed at the end of the call. What good do federal guidelines do to curb the dishonest greed, when clearly we are helping pay to fix a state budget.
The prisons in Lansing are housing men on the floors and some who desperately need to be transferred closer to home are forever denied because prisons in Kansas are overflowing. We speak of needing Prison Reform at state levels as well as federal levels. What good is making a federal law when the states impose whatever they want. For seven months, Larned has had a billboard up regarding a need for correctional officers. There is nothing around for miles and good help is sadly needed there on the very huge campus grounds. It is also the location of the state mental hospital where inmates who are severely mentally and sexually unstable are housed. They use the term ‘work camp’ there to literally work minimum custody inmates in the laundry room and kitchen of the Mental facility. It’s a forced issue among many inmates. They must go to work there if told. Otherwise, they are subject to threats of good time taken, custody levels rolled back, write ups and yes, sometimes segregation.
It will be 10 months till my hubby can see anyone but me and his kids and his brother. None of us can make it that far often enough to help Darian have the support he needs from his family. Not with taxing the phone time 4 times. Yes, he is taxed also to buy phone time now. Darian has a rap sheet a mile long on the inside. His first felony resulted in his first prison term, felony driving without a license. Hardly the hardened criminal they have in there.
This is why we fight in the Prison Reform movement. They just want to do the time they have been given, without harassment and without hostile environments from wardens, guards, medical staff, food service companies, counselors and others that are hired to aid the inmates.
We are in the digital age. Our story is no worse than others. It does not stand out. There are so many cases and stories of abuse that occur within those walls, that no single website holds every account of them. It takes many voices united to make a tough stand to correct what is being done to so many lives. Tonight I will continue to fight for them all and to share their stories until they are heard.