And if the previous story did not piss you off enough, this surely will. Read Radley Balko’s interview with Richar Paey, who was convicted of drug trafficking for his own legally prescribed pain treatment, given a 25 year mandatory minimum sentence, and then promptly hooked up to a morphine pump in prison to give him FAR MORE painkillers than he was convicted of “trafficking.” A sample:
reason: You mention getting transferred to Butler Lake, the maximum-security prison across the state, several hours further away from your family. That transfer happened shortly after your interview with John Tierney of the New York Times. Do you think the transfer was retaliation—punishment for talking to a journalist?
Paey: That’s what I was told. That’s what a friendly prison nurse told my wife after the interview. And just after the interview, one of the prison officers who was on good terms with me told me that the guard who sat in on my interview with Tierney had gone to his captain about writing me a disciplinary report—which is the first step toward sending someone to solitary. He said I had said thing in the interview that I shouldn’t have said, and that they were going to act on it. There are designated “transfer days” when they move inmates between facilities. About two weeks later, on a day not scheduled to be a transfer day, the sergeant came up to me at around midnight and told me to pack my things. I was being shipped out to Lake Butler. They had no explanation. I couldn’t decline the move. It wasn’t medical in nature.
The move was tough. The sun was up by the time they moved me. It was of those insufferable July days. The van they transfer you in has no air conditioning, and only the driver’s window opens, and only about an inch. So I’m dying in the back of the van, strapped down in my wheelchair in this suffocating heat, where you can’t move, and there’s no air circulating. I ended up falling over, and they had to drive back and do it all over. They ended up taking me an ambulance a few days later.
reason: You say you were put in solitary confinement at Lake Butler. Was that for your health—to keep you from other inmates? Or was that punishment, too?
Paey: Laughs. When I got up to Lake Butler, they didn’t know why I was there. They had no paperwork on my transfer. This is going to sound absurd. Even now I find it difficult to believe. But when my wife Linda began calling the Department of Corrections about my transfer, they told her that a particular doctor had ordered my transfer. Linda called this doctor, got her on the phone. The doctor looked at my transfer order and said, “I didn’t sign that. I don’t know who signed that. Somebody used my signature stamp to sign that. I had no part in this transfer.”
Now, what’s going on, here? I’m being moved out of my permanent camp, which is close to my home and family, I’m being moved to the Siberia of the Florida corrections system, and they put me in solitary confinement once I got there. And nobody knows who authorized it? And the doctor the paperwork says ordered it says she never ordered it? So where do you go from there? What do you do?
This is the toxic combination of a lack of accountability, an authoritarian mindset, a disregard for human suffering (while getting ourselves worked into knots about embryos), an unwavering faith that our justice system is “good” (think about this the next time people are talking about the death penalty), a lack of transparency, a general erosion of your civil liberties, and the hysteria of the drug wars. Add in the profound political cowardice of politicians in both parties who always want to look “tough on crime,” and this is what you get- Turkish prisons in middle America.
And I mean no disrespect to Turkish prisons.
This country is so majorly screwed up right now, it is hard to figure out where everything went so wrong. I would start assigning blame at the drug war and with the big money to be made building prisons. Things are so out of control right now I am honestly shocked there is not rioting on a daily basis. maybe things have just been screwed up for so long that people are used to it by now.