Monday, March 1, 2010

#75 Prison Abuse (Retro)

In case of Prison Abuse…

Earlier tonight I was checking out some sites and reading some posts from other people, and I ran across one where a person strongly feels that her loved one was beaten by prison officials. I read the post and looked to see if anyone had any ideas as to what to do. I wanted to respond, but because I was only allowed one post, and one under 5000 characters, there was no way I could explain what I can here.

So I will talk about that here.

Getting right into this, what do you do when you believe your son, boyfriend, or husband has been physically abused by the prison? This folks is a very serious act of inhumane standards by the prison, and it happens more than you know.

The first thing you better get out of your head is apathy. So many people sit there hiding under chairs and tables when it comes to this, because they feel that “if I say something, then something worse might happen”. Let me put this very straight and plain to you…it can happen whether you do something or not…but doing nothing takes no heart at all.

I wish people were not so full of fear about whether to do something when they KNOW they should do something. If you son has been abused in prison, you accomplish absolutely nothing sitting there wringing your hands and hoping something will change. It’s like watching a child drown and yelling to somebody to save them, when you have every bit of ability to do the same.

I say this to you as seriously as I can folks, you must DO something or else you may lose someone you really care about. And after that happens, don’t cry and scream about what you “coulda” and “shoulda” done.

So, what do you do if you strongly think your loved one has been physically abused by the prison? The first thing you need to do is pray.

This is no joke folks.


Get immediately into action by finding a quiet spot and praying a prayer for the safety of your son, husband or boyfriend. When you are in a position where the life or physical well-being of your loved one is threatened, you need to start the actions of help by going to Someone Who can help.

And when you pray, make very sure you are praying not in fear, but in faith. This can be hard because you are worried about your loved one, and I can understand that. But it is critical that when you start your actions to help your loved one, that it begins with faith that God WILL, not MIGHT, look after your loved one. If you know and believe that the Bible is God’s living word to us, then Psalms 72:12 says that God will deliver the needy when they cry, the poor also, and him that has no helper. This is God’s word that when you have nobody else to turn to, you can go to Him.

You can also know from Proverbs 21:31 that even as we prepare ourselves, the true safety comes from God. It is critical that you have some foundation of your prayer, because if you just fall on your knees and cry in fear, that is not prayer, because faith is not there. You have got to believe now, not tomorrow, but NOW, that as you pray in faith, God will not only hear, but answer. Believe that Mark 10:27 says that with men there are things that are impossible, but not with God, because with Him all things are possible. It is impossible for you to be there, or know all the details, but you know God already knows.

And if you have the faith, believe Mark 11:24 that says that whatsoever you desire, when you pray, believe that you have it, and you shall have them. Again, this is faith, believing that if you prayed to God for help and not just falling apart, then the battle has already been won.

You see just in that how I was able to find scriptures that reinforce my faith that if a situation happened to a loved one, there is foundations for help. I am telling you, it has to start here because you have no idea what has really happened, nor can you even go see him at that moment. So it is critical to set in motion God moving for you and him.

Now, what do you do after you pray?

Prepare to fight.

“What? I thought God would take care of that”

Yes, He will, but you still have to take actions for what has happened. This means moving forward and taking steps to get answers. Now, a word to those of you that don’t believe in faith in prayer…it won’t work for you.

So many people go about this in panic and worry and extreme stress, and rightfully so in the natural. But if you believe there is a God, then CALL FOR HIM! If that isn’t what you believe, then well, good luck, because that’s what you will be relying on.

But if you have prayed, and found a bit of confidence, the next step is to prepare for action. When you start out, take a moment to gather yourself, and get details of the situation. Call the prison, document every person you have talked to. If your son or husband or boyfriend has told you anything, document it. Get names, and I don’t mean “officer X”. That is a cowardly way of letting the prison off the hook. If an officer struck your loved one, he must be held accountable for that.

And let’s get this straight too, this isn’t about “tough love” or “deserved actions” because they are inmates. The punishment that the law of the United States says for convicted felons is incarceration, not prison officer brutality. No law in the country would support it, so why do we sit there and allow it?

Document everything you can get because you may need it. You have to establish your beliefs with names, places, and dates from as many sources as you can. And you have to work as fast as you can. If a prison tells you they don’t know what happened, document that. If warden Smith says he does not know what is going on, document that. If case manager Jones says “she’ll look into it” and a week passes, document that. Everything must be documented as you gather facts on your end.

As you get the facts, sort them out and start drafting a letter. This is where a lot of people will lose it, because they are too worried to take care of the details, but I promise you this…the prison will. If you strongly believe there has been prison abuse, believe me when I tell you that the prison will do everything in their power to cover up the situation, which means denying everything, and finally shipping the inmate to another camp. Believe me folks, I know how this works.

It is critical that you document all this, and as soon as you get as much as you can, draft a strong letter of concern. Lots of you think that it won’t do any good…I disagree. I say this as an ex felon who has been kicked out of several prisons because I DID write. Prisons fear the inmates who know how to write letters, how much more will they fear those on the outside that can write letters?

When you get a strong letter, and if the matter has not been resolved to your satisfaction, it is time to fire those letters out. Understand folks, calling and talking to people will get you the runaround because prisons are trained to keep you spinning while they cover their tracks. If you called the prison 2 or 3 times and get the same response, trust me when I say they are quite aware of your concern, and if they are at fault, they are fixing it without even telling you. But they are fixing it to their advantage, not yours.

Once you get the letter done, get a rouge’s list of people to send it to. See, lots of people think that one letter, maybe two is enough. Heck no. That’s why there are copiers at Staples!

I say to you, if you send a letter ONLY to the warden of the prison, then the problem stays under his roof. If you truly believe he is at fault, this is no longer under his thumb, nor should it be. When I wrote letters about prison issues, I didn’t send it to just the warden. I sent it to him, one or two other administrative officers of the prison, the Inmate Grievance Resolution Board, the Department of Corrections, the Division of Prisons, the Governor, and several state senators and representatives. Why?

Because my goal is to ring every bell I can about this, because we are talking about somebody I care about, and obviously somebody the prison does NOT care about. I would let the prison know that not only am I very concerned and disappointed in how this has gone about, but I have also sent letters OVER THEIR HEADS, that will be answered. Now, some of you think the elected officials won’t care…maybe, and maybe not. But the protocol of such letters is a secondary effect that will help you…delegation.

If the Governor reads the letter and decides he can’t or won’t do anything about it, he will DELEGATE it to his people. They will look at it and will likely delegate it to others, and it will make it’s way to the DOC.

When the officers of DOC get it, they will know that their superiors have read it, and they then have a direct obligation to resolve this problem, or else the superiors will seen negligent. So DOC delegates it to the prison, and the warden will see that HIS superiors now know the situation, and they in turn are forced to do something.

This puts everybody on alert that this situation is no longer under the prison roof, and thus can’t be swept under the rug. Now, under these same circumstances, you can see how this also creates a protection for your loved one. If the warden got a letter from Senator Jones or Governor Johnson, they know that they must tread carefully in how they deal with this situation.

But if you just sent it to the warden, he can discard it and go business as usual. What you are creating is a check and balance, which puts the odds in your favor. But it can’t work unless you sent out a number of letters, and those letters must be well written and well documented.

There are other things you can do at the same time, such as contacting a lawyer and even drafting a letter to send to the local media. The idea here is that you must stack the odds in you favor because the prison is doing the same against you and your loved one.

Awhile back, I helped write a couple of letters for a few people on similar situations, and if written well, it will stick. But as I said before, it must be well documented (as best you can) and written intelligently, and sent to the right people. Even before that, it helps to pray on this, so you can have the wisdom to know what to do.

“But I thought if I prayed to God, I won’t have to do anything?”

It is possible that you may not, but there is also a scripture that goes, “faith without works is dead”. You are going to have to do something to help your faith along, and physically what you are doing in the natural is giving yourself a reason to take action. It is quite possible that things may resolve after you pray, or before you are able to send the letters out. If so, great. But as you act in faith that this will eventually be resolved for the better, your faith will be increased.

This does not mean that everything will go perfectly, because you may be tested by the prison refusing to cooperate, or your faith being tested. But you’ve got to stick it through to the end. This is your loved one we are talking about, you cannot give up on them. That cannot be an option. It simply CANNOT be an option. But if you stick with this, be strong and have just a bit of faith, while applying documentation and writing, you will be able to help (or save) your loved one.

I know what it’s like folks…I know what prisons will do, and I know how important writing can help. I also know God changes things too, if you will believe. If you have a loved one that you believe has been physically abused or neglected. Don’t go about reading somebody else’s posts and just worry. DO SOMETHING!.

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