Debating Tactics to Fight Corrupt Officials
I'm writing in response to one of your statements in the May/June 2012 issue of Under Lock & Key. In your ULK you erroneously stated "Many prisoners write about the horrible things happening to them with the mind-set that once the outside world finds out, their problems will be over and the perpetrators punished. This expectation is a myth..."
You're wrong. It's not a myth. I've heard about, and have seen, corrupt officials get walked off the unit. Once proper complaints (i.e. step 1 and step 2 grievances) have been filed and family, friends and/or representatives continue calling the director with complaints, an investigation is conducted. The rest is history. It may take a while before action is taken against corrupt officials, but with outside help, justice gets served!
Thank you for your time and concerns. Please continue the struggle.
MIM(Prisons) responds: We agree that it is sometimes possible to get individual corrupt prisoncrats removed from jobs through public pressure and complaints. But this comrade demonstrates the truth of what we wrote: just writing about horrible things happening is not enough. You need outside support, which is not something many prisoners have. Even when outside supporters call in to demand investigations, this is not necessarily enough to cause change. The prisons do respond to public embarrassment, and we can win some small victories this way. But with all the individual cases and abuses out there, there is just not enough energy and resources among people who care to fight each of these instances. Similarly, punishing one bad prison employee does not change the fundamentally repressive system. One repressive prison worker will quickly be replaced by another. Until we change the criminal injustice system fundamentally we will not have a true system of justice. In the meantime we must focus on battles that can mobilize prisoners around their common interests.