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Worthy...not worthy

Updated: Nov 29, 2021

Blog 1: 11/21/2021

Every day is the same for the incarcerated citizens that I'm in contact with. They are blasted awake, they dress in the same clothes that they wear everyday. They're herded like cattle to the cafeteria where they eat the same breakfast as the day before. They feel dehumanized as they are seen only as property. And they are, property of the state.

The noise level in our nation's correctional facilities threatens their sanity. One formerly incarcerated man shared that he made sure he was awake before the loud buzzer startled him awake every morning. The violence threatens their safety. A young woman here in my home state of Indiana was found unresponsive in her cell just two months ago. She had been forced to drink cleaning supplies; the investigation continues. The neglect threatens their health. An exonerated man shared that by the time he saw medical, his minor condition had turned into a major one that required serious surgery.

Many inmates do not receive medical treatment at all. Others, who struggle from addiction or mental issues, do not receive treatment. The abuse that this population is subjected to comes not only from other inmates, but from prison staff. The neglect they face comes not only from prison staff, but from friends and family that have moved on with their lives. One man I spoke with, from New York, attempts to phone his sister every day, but she never answers. He doesn't receive letters or cards from anyone.

While some facilities offer curriculum, many don't. Nor do not offer any type of physical or mental stimuli. Inmates who do not have something positive to focus on, are likely to develop mood swings, anger issues, and suicidal tendencies. Facilities lack in providing even the basest of needs, such as tampons, band-aids, and deodorant. The supplies they do offer are miniscule in comparison to what we take for granted on a daily basis. The soap, according to a former inmate in Maryland, is the size of a post it note. It is expected to last for days and is used as laundry detergent, shampoo, and body wash. The food they are served, which is minimal, is often outdated or is not made for human consumption.

Look forward to more blogs from myself and others as we delve into what is happening within our nation's correctional facilities and the need for restorative justice. You will learn about those who have lost loved ones via the death penalty, those who have been exonerated, and what leads many to a life of incarceration.

Sandy C. Freese

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