Saturday, January 28, 2012

Scandal @ Butler County Prison

I can't say I was surprised when the Butler Eagle ran a story about alleged indiscretions on the part of staff at Butler County Prison. As someone who has unfortunately spent a lot of time at the facility I have heard many rumors over the years about guards, counselors, and even administrators taking advantage of their positions at the jail. It's common practice in that world for a bad seed to creep through once in a while...and it doesn't take a genius to calculate supply & demand in jail is higher in such a restricted environment. But strangely enough the scandal at Butler County Prison doesn't involve staff bringing in drugs...or any money making at all. No, BCP is embroiled in an even slimier situation. We have us a sex scandal.

Anyone who knows me knows that I have ALWAYS been of the mind and the opinion that the less I know about that sort of thing the better. Especially when doing time...I DON'T WANT dirt on the staff, it's a dangerous road to be on. That doesn't stop me from now having an opinion on the matter. And I definitely have a little something to say about the goings on at the old BCP. Of course ALL I have is OPINION, I know NOTHING first hand about the allegations, don't know the people making the allegations and have no interest in the accused.

Over the years I have heard of staff having inappropriate relations with female inmates. In general I ignore these that's what I take them as, stories. It's hard to dismiss allegations however when they consistently involve the same one or two staff members, and the same story over and over again.

For the sake of my readers who are not privy to the Butler Eagle, or Butler County and don't know the story I will lay out a brief version of my understanding of it: Recently some female prisoners have come forward claiming that as of now unnamed guards/counselors have approached the prisoners for sex, engaging in sexual relations with some of them. At some point the FBI became involved in the investigation and is currently pursuing the case.

That, as loose as it is, is what I know. Regardless of the outcome of the investigation, and what happened with who I think that the bigger picture here is the attitude of dominion that is fostered by the staff at the Butler County Prison. When individuals are given unchecked power over other individuals it creates a scary dynamic. In this situation, without the involvement of the FBI I have serious doubts that the investigation would have gone anywhere. In most jails, but more so @ BCP staff's word is taken as gospel, while anything any prisoner says is assumed to be untrue.

As I have mentioned, I have spent significant time at the Butler County Prison. I am a convict, I have made bad decisions, and owned my wrongdoing. I think this makes me more honest of a person. My mistakes are laid on the table...out in the open. I do not have the luxury of pretending to be infallible. I came up in the old school...word is bond and all that, and I live by that. To me a person's word is a valuable asset.

Bear with me while I build an example of the scrutiny one's word is put under by the staff at BCP.  Some years ago a friend of mine introduced me to the Krsna Consciousness movement. I have since then studied Krsna consciousness in an effort to positively change my life. It is an ongoing process, but it has effected me deeply as an individual. Part of the Krsna consciousness movement, a staple of it really is that one does not eat meat. This  is not an idle gesture, according to the law of karma, all life is precious...I do fall down but I try to keep my diet meat free. Upon being incarcerated last year I attempted to acquire a vegetarian diet while in Butler County Prison. I understand that this would come as a surprise to many of the staff there who know me as a street kid, when I was going to trial in o5, I had no spirituality. I was a trouble prisoner, in for aggravated assault, and spent much time in the hole. Coming back in 5 years later, much in my life had changed...Krsna consciousness had a profound effect on my demeanor, as had time. I went through literally MONTHS of meeting with various staff from guards to administration attempting to explain my conversion and my need to be on a vegetarian diet. Not only was I eventually flat out denied, the staff made it a point to express to me that they thought that I was lying about my beliefs simply to "get over" on the system by receiving vegetarian meals. Though I provided them with references to back my story, as well as receiving literature and studying Krsna consciousness daily, they scoffed at my claims. In the end a captain explained to me that though he was "familiar" with my beliefs they would not accommodate me because if they did, other prisoners might jump on the band wagon and request vegetarian diets.

I laid all that out simply to illustrate that no matter what, a prisoners word is going to be scrutinized...ultimately looked at as a lie no matter how irrational it would be for the prisoner to lie. So what we have is an environment where the staff knows that a prisoners word means basically nothing. To the average ethical individual this means little...but for a corrupt person this knowledge could give them a sense of security that they can do whatever they want with little or no chance that they will ever be caught. After all its their word against the prisoner's word.

So now we have this scandal where guards and/or counselors are being accused of sex with prisoners. Do I believe these allegations? I don't I mentioned before I have consistently heard a few staff member's names come up in the same type of stories for years, and I have witnessed that these people answer to no I think its possible.

To me it comes back to the attitude of dominion. Many of these prison workers feel that they are untouchable...unfortunately now for them the FBI is involved, and something will come out of it. And I think that its a shame that it has gotten to this point. There are many good people who work at BCP, hardworking and ethical men and women who will now be scrutinized because of a minorities indiscretion. But I guess thats a karma, no?

In closing I have to say that the staff at BCP would do better to police itself instead of turning a blind eye to misconduct. Have some pride in you character, and keep in mind that dirty laundry does surface...

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