PRISON ABUSE IN THE USA condoned by US Government and US Citizens
 ------ Original Message ----- 

From: shirley dicks

Sent: Friday, June 04, 2004 9:48 AM

Subject: [patrickcrusade] article

And here is my original article sent to the papers

Medical Abuses in the prison system kill more prisoners each year than the death chambers, and the Jeff Dicks Medical Coalition is one of the few organizations that addresses this important issue. They don't condone criminal activity, but believe that neglect of inmates'
medical needs, particularly where this has the effect of causing or hastening death or disability is a serious breach of government
responsibility and of human rights. It is against national and international law. It is unethical, unprofessional and unacceptable.

President Bush is taking a big interest in the prison abuses in Iraq, and has stated that the abuse in Abu Ghraib prison "doesn't represent
the America I know." That is simply not true, and the JDMC hopes he will turn and look at what is going on in American prisons because they hear stories and abuses daily from these prisoners and would be glad to let him or anyone else know about them. As a tough-on-crime Texan, Mr. Bush knew that this treatment was being done in his own home state. The Texas prisons are one of the most brutal in the United States, and on October, 1999 a story in the Austin American Statesman detailed how female prisoners in Texas were regularly kept in portable detention cells for hours at a time in summer heat with no water. In fear of more time in the cages, the article explains, "many women submitted sexually to their oppressors and were raped, molested and forced to perform sodomy on their captors."

Again, In 1996, a videotape that surfaced that year depicting prison guards brutalizing inmates in the Brazoria County Detention Center in Angleton, TX. The tape, which was originally shot for use as a training video, showed riot-clad guards beating prisoners (arrested on
drug violations) and forcing them to crawl while kicking them and poking them with electric prods. Mr. Bush was the Governor of Texas and knew that prisoner's attorney Donna Brorby had described Texas super-max prisons as the worst in the country, where guards reportedly gas prisoners and threw them down on concrete floors while handcuffed. Horrific abuses, some similar to those revealed in Iraq, regularly occur in U.S. prisons with little national attention or public outrage. When articles or stories of these abuses are brought to the media's attention, they do not print them. Is it because the world is watching the abuses in the foreign country? Or is it because no one cares what goes on in American prisons and the media is afraid to print about them?

Shirley Dicks, president of the JDMC says, "I'm appalled that the killing, raping, beatings and tortures that American prisoners face
each day is overlooked and accepted as a natural way of life here in the US of A. We who demand human rights of other countries sit back and let our own prisoners be abused as a right because they committed a crime. Their punishment is loss of freedom and not to be beaten, raped, denied medical care and killed just because no one seems to care or notice. It hardly raises an eyebrow when the newspapers report on some of them and surely no one is brought to trial for these deeds and if they are, they not convicted. I'm surprised at the very quick trial and sentence of one of the solders in Iraq who was held for some of the abuses. Less than a month after photos were shown to President Bush and the offender was sentenced to prison. It's been happening for years here, worse than anything that's happened there and no one is going to trial, no one is sitting in prison for abusing prisoners. What's wrong with this picture? It's a way of life for our prisoners to try and survive the brutal and horrific treatment they receive from their captives. 

Why are guards, medical personnel and others who are committing these acts of torture in our own prisons not being brought to justice as well? They are no better than the prisoners they are mistreating. They are criminals themselves when they rape, beat, torture and deny medical care to those under them, and as such should be tried and convicted the same as those soldiers are going to be. It may be that the most serious cost of prisoner abuses to society is that it takes non-violent offenders and turns them into people with a high potential for violence, full of rage and eager to take vengeance on the society that they hold responsible for their utter humiliation and loss of manhood.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, in an unannounced visit to Iraq, declared that allegations of prisoner abuse by U.S. soldiers were "a body blow to us" but vowed that those responsible would "be brought to justice." I wonder if Mr. Rumsfeld would visit our prisons
and talk to prisoners here that are being abused and would he state here that, "those who are responsible will be brought to justice."

I could quote you hundreds upon hundreds of cases of physical abuses, rapes, killings and medical neglect cases, much worse than we've seen done overseas. A few cases in point: A 73-year old woman in a wheel chair was down in the surgery unit, she was reported to be immensely bloated (her stomach being the size of a basketball) and was wheeled back to her room where she was left alone in the dark vomiting. 

A man entering prison with two artificial legs had them taken away because they "could be used as weapons," then guards gave him a top bunk and a kitchen job to amuse themselves. A cancer patient so sick he qualified for the compassionate release, but when they discovered him with 1/10th gram of cannabis trying to stop vomiting, they said and meant, "You can just die here."

A lady in her mid-fifties went to the prison medical staff complaining of her heart. They gave her Tylenol and told her, "Don't come back unless you're bleeding." She died in the night of a heart attack and when the screaming brought the medical staff, the guards shoved the dead woman with their knees saying, "Get up from there, you aren't hurt." These few cases are not the isolated cases that people would like to believe, and anyone who would like to know more can contact me. We are not a caring and loving society in the US, but brutal, cruel with no regards to human life.

The US condemns China, Peru, and others for inhumane treatment of their prisoners, yet crimes against humanity in the US carried out on their own people are unrelenting and unabated. The guards break demarcations of cruelty and ignorance. They instigate rage, bitterness and resentment. This is what we deal with. This is the product of your tax dollar...paying for their profits and guaranteed recidivism. This is the ideology you are voting for. Funny but I don't hear the outcry against it, no one is talking about how cruel and inhumane the treatment is. I don't hear of the guards being sentenced for their crimes against the prisoners. I don't hear our President demanding that we clean up our prisons. Tell me, what is the difference? Is this the land of the free? That is a myth perpetrated by the rich and powerful in our country who can do anything even commit murder and get by with it. 

No prisoner anywhere should be treated in such a manner and I also agree that this kind of treatment needs to be stopped. Prosecute those who continue to treat these human beings in such an inhumane way.  Look into our own back yards and fix our problems, which are many. Times have not changed much since we burned witches at the stake. Let's hear it from the newspapers, announcers, talk show hosts and our President about how horribly inhumane treatment and abuses are going on in our US prisons. I invite Mr. Bush and Mr. Rumsfeld to check into these cases, to go to the organizations who know what is going on such as the JDMC, Amnesty, CURE, and many others who try to bring it to the public but it's hard to do when the media refuses to print the other side.

Laurie Dicks, sister of Jeff Dicks had this to say. "Personally, I am offended that people in prison are tortured, humiliated, and killed
while free world people celebrate it. I'm offended that people are thrown to the curb when looking for help, and blamed for not receiving what they need and then In turn killed with our government's blessings. I'm offended at all that I see the families of inmates are put through. I am offended every time I know a family will spend the day in the death house with their loved one waiting to be killed. I am offended at the way my brother and countless others have died with no one being held responsible."
Shirley Dicks

I had been sending articles to the newspapers about the abuses in our prison system, and it seems as if one at least was printed and in
Arizona...if anyone sees any articles I've written in the papers, would you cut it out and send it to me...thanks. Here is an email I got from one angry lady....and I'll put my answer as well....What I'd like is for anyone who has suggestions on what to include in the
article I wrote which I included here at the bottom, or in my answer to anyone else who might write in complaint of it....thanks send it to Shirley

To Shirley
What is worse? 3,000 innocent lives lost in WTC and Pentagon or what comes after those fanatic murderers did to America here in our beloved land with people flying straight down to their death and those burnt beyond recognition? Are you so maligned with the truth and seek only justice for the present? Where is your sense of rationale? Maybe the next time a bomb explodes in your neighborhood, you might cry out and ask "Why hasn't our President done anything to stop these craziness?" Maybe you sleep tonight and rethink your position at this very moment in time, my children are breathing free and never to worry about another attack here in our land. No wonder you are saying what you don't understand about human lives. They are precious and no one gives those criminals the right to come and kill innocent people just as they are doing now at other places in the world. War is hard and we all don't want it but how else are you going to stop this stupidity and your candidate, JF Kerry don't even have the answer. Just think of it.

 Manny Wong 
Phoenix, AZ

Here is my answer....any pointers or thoughts on a better answer if I get more would be appreciated...

One issue doesn't have anything to do with the other. What they did was wrong and I feel every bit as strongly about them as you do.
However, I don't feel that we can over look the abuses done to prisoners in our own country. They are dying here as well and being
abused and yet no one is sentenced. Do you want someone living next to you that works at a prison and does things worse than some of the prisoners he cares for? Do you want that person who rapes a prisoner to live next door to your children? Do you want someone so cruel to the abuses he heaps on prisoners to be near you, or do you want them to stand trial for what they are doing?

Violence is wrong when others do it, and violence and abuse is wrong when Americans do it on each other. Not everyone in the prison system is guilty, which is brought home every day with DNA testing. If you care about human lives, everyone in the prison is a human being who have families who love them....some are there for nothing more than driving on revoked license, or smoking pot.

If you want to live next to decent human beings, then those who are raping, beating, and killing prisoners need to be brought to justice.
Just because someone makes a mistake and does a crime, and most who are in the prison system are non-violent crimes, does not make them inhumane. I fight for the right of these people, the same as I'd fight for the right of every person living today. Only God has the
right to take a life. We don't have the right to do these things to any one else.

I'm not saying that what those people have done to us is right, but who knows if the prisoners that they are abusing are the ones who
committed these acts, and being Americans who fight for the right of everyone else, and who condemns every other country who does
atrocious crimes, what kind of a signal does it give when our own Americans are doing just as bad if not worse to others and right in
their own country.

I'm not sticking up for anyone who has committed a crime. They need to pay for their crimes and loss of freedom and being in prison is
that punishment. We are supposed to be decent human beings in America who does not do these kinds of crimes and yet, when we do them, it's covered up. What I said is, if you are going to punish the American soldiers for abusing prisoners over there, then look in your own back yard and punish the guards here in the US who are doing much worse.