The rehabilitation program for abused dogs at Perry Correctional Institution (PCI) is commendable. Prisoners have the primary responsibility to care for and rehabilitate abused animals. Selected prisoners have dogs assigned to them and they literally spend all of their time with these dogs; they even have to share a 6 by 10 foot cell with them. This is a remarkable program wherein prisoners are allowed to show love, compassion, and empathy for their fellow creatures.
Being that these dogs have been abused, it is expected that it will take some time for them to be fully rehabilitated. It is also expected that these animals remember their former abuse and at times may become scared, agitated, and even dangerous. Example in point: At least two of the K-9s in the program here at PCI (Shep and Pippin) have bitten people. Nevertheless, instead of these dogs being euthanized, they are allowed to remain in the rehabilitation program and even to be sent to live with families out in society. The program organizers and the prisoners themselves realize that real rehabilitation takes time, patience, compassion, love, and understanding. In contrast, there are many prisoners here (including myself) who have been given Life Without Parole (LWOP) under South Carolina's two-strikes law, who may never see their families again.
It is no secret that a large number of imprisoned people come from families and homes where abuse has been rampant. Why is there no rehabilitation program for them? Do we not afford human beings equal rights with dogs? The truthful and troubling answer is no.
Here at PCI prisoners see staff members hugging and kissing the dogs, but they themselves are not given common or even professional courtesy. And in fact, we are disrespected on a daily basis, from the warden all the way down to new officers who haven't even been certified yet.
The dogs are fed with expensive dog food such as Purina, while the South Carolina Department of Corruptions (SCDC) brags about feeding prisoners for less than a dollar a day. The dogs are given brand new mattresses stacked up to sleep on, but a prisoner has to damn near go through an act of congress to get anything new around here. The dogs have new stainless steel bowls to eat out of, while we have plastic trays that are peeling so bad that each time someone eats in the mess hall, they are assured a healthy diet of plastic.
I've complained continuously about the peeling trays to several staff members (Lt. Church, Lt. Wilson, Cpt. Williams, food service employees J. Husband and B. Olsen) and even filed a grievance. But we are still eating plastic.
I believe that animals are a source of therapy for human beings, especially those human beings who are denied the basic rights of humanity itself. We love these abused animals, because we know their plight and can feel their pain. And as these dogs are being rehabilitated so that they can be placed in loving homes, we are being treated worse than dogs.
How is it that people can rationalize and believe the rehabilitation of a dog, but not a man? It is a shame and a travesty that there is a genuine rehabilitation program here at PCI for dogs, but not for humans.
The dogs have People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Why don't prisoners have People for the Ethical Treatment of Humans (PETH)? The simple truth of the matter is that the landlords of these gated communities don't believe in rehabilitation for the human residents.
MIM(Prisons) adds: This comrade's off-the-cuff proposal for a People for the Ethical Treatment of Humyns (PETH) organization underscores an important point about capitalism: it is based on treating humyns as nothing more than labor to create profit, or worse, as an obstacle to stealing resources. There are many compassionate people in the First World who devote much time and money to bettering the treatment of animals while ignoring the plight of people around the world suffering in truly unlivable conditions, without clean water, access to medical care, sufficient food, and often all this while in danger from a war initiated by the imperialists to gain greater control of strategic resources.
MIM(Prisons) is a part of this PETH battle, in the broader context of opposing the imperialist system that is fundamentally inhumyn. We are fighting for a world where no people have power to oppress other people. In these conditions we will be able to create a society where people do not die unnecessarily, and do not suffer so that others can profit. This will only be possible when we overthrow imperialism, the imperialists won't make these changes out of the kindness of their hearts because the exploitation and oppression of humyns is an integral part of the profit system.