The following report was posted Nov. 1, 2017 on sccondemedvoices.wordpress.com by a prisoner inside McCormick. We’re mirroring it in full as backup and to increase circulation.
No One To Save South Carolina Department of Corrections
Lets start with some facts, aprox 6 different institutions in the state of South Carolina experienced prisoners uprisings in the last year, aprox 15 prisoners murdered in same year, Atleast 35 correctional officers assaulted in year, including 88 prisoners assaulted. On Top of all them facts lets add the fact that South Carolina department of corrections is also dealing with the worse staff shortage in the nation.So these facts onliy could easily equate CRISIS.
“A Crisis”ok, the department of corrections will step up and address the crisis, right? Well what if the department is not equipped with anyone to properly address the crisis, so logically next step will be a disaster,right? Something like the recent prison headlines , “SOUTH CAROLINA CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS MURDERED IN PRISON UPRISING”( headlines in Delaware, North Carolina).
Now claiming the department isn’t equipped to address the crisis could be argumentative, but lets go to the facts again the facts beinging with Fact 1: The commissioner of the department of corrections, Bryan Stirling does not have any experience/education in corrections nor penology, Fact 2: Absolutely no member of the ten member judicial committee South Carolina corrections and penology committee has experience in the committee they sit on CORRECTIONS & PENOLOGY( profiles at sc.gov.doc.com) So, I stand by the claim,that the state of South Carolina has no-one educated to address their current Crisis.
Sadly with the detiration reaching down to the core of the prison system a systematic failure has occurred. At this point a professional or educated person might have a difficult time saving South Carolina from failing in thier governmental responsibilities .
So lets take a look at some of the consequential effects that are currently unfolding within the South Carolina prison system, due to not having a educated leader. Lets begin with the devils head “STAFF SHORTAGE“.
Not having an educated leader the, judicial committee was ill advised on the measures needed to sufficiently address the staff shortage. Relying solely on, pay increase as their only move in addressing crisis, they quickly came to learn that obtaining recruits was not the underlining problem, KEEPING THEM BECAME THE NEW DEVILS HEAD. Unfortunately even with pay hike and a steady flow of recruits the department is experiencing 8 out of 10 dropout of new recruits.
One of the uneducated moves of Mr.Bryan Stirling’s commission, was that of bringing the standards of being a correctional officer in the state of South Carolina down to the lowest level of a simple HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA with PASSING A URINE TEST/Criminal backround check. Meeting these requirements laymen recruits were then immediately placed within high level maximum security prisons to work.
With lowering the qualifications and professional standards of becoming a correctional officer Mr.Stirlings directed his strategy at recruiting new recruits in the black communities by utilizing a black owned television station BounceTv of SC to force feed commercial after commercials with the slogan, “SCDC NOW HIRING,Medical Benefits.” For anyone who resided in SC experienced the bombardment of these commercials while watching BounceTv.It was these laymen recruits that Mr.Stirling was going to utilize to rescue his department from the crisis.
REALLY MR.STIRLING DID YOU BELIEVE YOU COULD MANAGE THE PROFESSION OF CORRECTIONS/PENOLOGY WITH NONPROFESSIONALS?
It is ludicrous for Mr.Stirling to think that he can place laymen on the FRONTLINE OF SOUTH CAROLINA PRISON CRISIS.
New recruits quickly realized that FRONTLINE was attempting to control prisoners that were being forced to live in grave conditions such as, solitary population, ie.,
thousands of prisoners isolated to one housing unit, very limited movement within unit, majority time prisoners confined to individual cells, no job opportunity, nor structure, nor purpose, nor hope.
The experience needed to manage so many men in a prison environment that lost all structure for a prisoner to obtain rehabilitation/productive growth, was to overwhelming for a simple laymen recruit and thus they abandoned their post or simply showed up to thier post and stayed out the way.
Mr.Stirling, it is frightening to think that you believe it’s appropriate to have non-trained, non-qualified individuals to handle and deal with people’s wellbeing. Your recruiting tactics do not involve anyform of psychological testing for these laymen. Mr. Stirling do you honestly believe that your department’s mission can be upheld using laymen and laywomen, A MISSION SUCH AS;
Safety, Service, Stewardship
The mission of the South Carolina Department of Corrections is: Safety–we will protect the public, our employees, and our inmates. Service–we will provide rehabilitation and self-improvement opportunities for inmates. Stewardship–we will promote professional excellence, fiscal responsibility, and self-sufficiency.
SO HERE WE ARE STILL IN CRISIS WITH NO STAFF.
With the shortage of staff crisis baffling Mr.Stirling, he has now been forced to deal with a prison environment that is hostile and grasping for air. Sadly with the staff shortage crisis the mission to provide every prisoner an opportunity to rehabilitation has been abandoned and in turn he has began isolating thousands of prisoners to isolation cells.
In panic Mr.Stirling has reduced all management of prisoners services (ie.,Clothing,Feeding & Housing) to levels that raise question to whether or not they are of a constitutional minimal or even humane.
Clothing of prisoners:
No longer will indigent prisoners be provided Bo-Bos (tennis shoes) to participate in work or recreational activities,instead prisoners will be provided foam clogs to wear for all- purposes, including showers. ( note that the clogs are designed with openings all throughout the clog therefore during incliment weather prisoners feet are wet and exposed)
. The Health question to this new policy of only clogs, is prisoners are experiencing heavy cases of fungus due to foam clogs not being antibacterial material. Also consequential to the all foam clogs is that prisoners can no-longer participate in recreational activities. The new policy of foam clogs is discriminate in nature as well due to the fact that prisoners with financial support from family and friends can purchase tennis shoes or boots.
The discriminate nature of this policy has caused an increase in violence within the prison environment due to poor clog wearing prisoners robbing prisoners that are privileged with tennis shoes. Also concerning is the fact that poor prisoners with clogs must defend themselves from a possible assault from privileged prisoners that are wearing tennis shoes or boots, a task almost impossibe. It is appalling for Mr.Stirling to think that a man shouldn’t be given or need proper footwear in facing a difficult task/journey, such as doing year after year in prison. South Carolina is the only state to place thier condemned in clogs, other then another country such as North Korea.
Thousands of prisoners being unable to participate in recreational programs are clearly being denied the opportunity to learn very valuable lessons to assist in their rehabilitation, such as sportsmanship, focus, & physical therapy.
Another policy of clothing that has been allowed to deterate and cause a disruption within the prison population is that of coats. No longer are South Carolina prisoners afforded insulated coats. Instead prisoners are issued a “material coat” ie, a coat made out of two layers of clothing material absent hoodie,or pockets,or insulation.
With prisoners being required to stand in line outdoors basically for all service regardless of weather conditions, including server weather, a prisoner should have a moral right to have protection let alone a constitutional right. Yet Mr.Stirling, wonders why prisoners have so much hostility toward his staff. YOU ARE FORCING THOUSANDS OF YOUR MEN TO STAND IN RAIN, SLEET, AND SNOW WITH OPEN TOE FOAM CLOGS AND A SHEET FOR A COAT. NO DIGNITY, NO PEACE.
Also indefer to clothing that Mr.Stirling has shown is that of presentation. No longer does the department wash prisoners clothing in detergent, instead prisoners clothing is washed with a odorless soapwater and processed through a machine designed to kill bacteria by way of vibration. The result of this process is body oil remains within clothing and bodyoil excubs from clothing. With no other clothing issued, prisoners live sleep and play in uniforms. No longer are prisoners issued longjohns,T-shirts, or shorts.
FEEDING OF PRISONERS;
South Carolina department of corrections website states that prisoners are fed in accordance with a master menu that is prepared by a nutritionist. Reading it, one will see that it says prisoners are receiving meals like, spaghetti with hot rolls,butter,string beans,cake,tea,or something like meatloaf,steamed rice, blackeye peas,cornbread,juice,cake.
Well not only is this very misleading, but it very much a lie. The state of South Carolina department of corrections no longer adheres to any master menu especially with the staff shortage crisis. Currently prisoners are being fed grounded up bird carcass inwhich they purchase for 30 cent a pound from chicken companies. It is purchased by the prison in bulk and stored in prison warehouse for up to six months and distributed to their prison throughout the state.
Prior to South Carolina prisoners consumeing the bird carcass this product was shipped to pet companies(known as pet grade meat). This bird carcass is served everyday except occasionally when once out the month prisoners may receive tuna, or actual chicken.
Though the USDA approves human consumption of this product, it insists that this product be cooked at higher temps then normal and more thourghly due to high risk of bacterial matters. This important necessity is often forgotten or disregarded due to no supervision of food preparations with the staff shortsge. Untrained prisoners often cook the bird carcass thus many times its raw. When prisoners complain to much about rawness of carcass, prison staff will then gravitize it so one can’t tell color of carcass. With no staff to supervise food the department of corrections no longer includes ingredients such as sugar,salt, or pepper. With staff shortage feeding prisoners has become a free for all with bird carcass and cabbage.With no staff supervision inside chowhall it has become the most hostile spot in the department, with many prisoners not getting fed and conflicts arising. The department nolonger serve its prisoners real beef, or fruit.
As the commissioner of the department Mr.Stirring is aware that a third of his population is at a 6th grade level in education but yet the prison school building that can seat hundreds of prisoners is basically empty with ten or twenty privileged prisoners. Its heart breaking to see so many men grown men who can barely read but desire to but theres no outlet. The state of South Carolina is giving young teenagers 30 40 years then send them back in the hole and deny their mind and soul, growth other then the growth in hostilities towards the ones who stand in their way of ever changing his life for the better. In the thirty years I’ve been incarcerated have I never seen the prison be out of supplies of books for prisoners to read. Now the only books that floataround the ppenitentiary are held together with tape. This abandonment of books and prison library is stsyematic with staff shortage. At all five of South Carolina’s maximum prison their library and school building is serving less then 5% of its population. Each day in South Carolina prisons thousands of men wake up each day with nothing but solitude with the spot they find amongst the chaos around them within the units. With no staff to support any programs the only activity a prisoner will get is the pacing back and forth in the units.
Never in thirty years until now have I ever seen a problem with prisoners having a chance to participate in playing basketball or hand ball, or just sitting under the sun reflecting on self. With no staff, recreation within the entire system is only ever blue moon..
The important fact here is that everybody understands that we are talking about thousands of men with idle hands each day in the belly of the beast and Mr.Stirling is scratching his head asking himself why all his max institutions have uprisings.
Before I get into this topic lets put what ive said in perspective somewhat. Mr.Stirling doesn’t properly cloth his prisoners, he doesn’t properly feed his prisoners, and he doesn’t give them nothing but solitude life, and now he wants to force prisoners in their cell indefinite and while he is forcing you in, he is sealing your only window up,only sunlight out, with steel a piece of slab.O’Yeah lets not forget he just hired Bob off the couch to to be in control of this environment of making sure prisoners stand still while they bury them their sunlight and strip any hope they might have had of change.
The darkness that Mr.Stirling is creating within these units through out his state max prisons has created so much chaos with so many uprising that four of his 5 max prisons are barely standing up and are infested with mold,crabs,stalph,lice and shit I can’t spell.
Picture of prison cell vent in cell where mold and excessive amount of dust blows out that it coats the walls around vent with layers of dustLights,plumbing and air haven’t been repaired. At the McCormick prison they have yet to put lights in any of their showers for the last five years. Thousands of prisoners are issued used stained molded mattress as seen in this photo from a prisoner at McCormick prison.
Bites of bed bugs is a norm for prisoners in SC. they see them as mosquito bites,.In conclusion to this dilemma I can only ensure you Mr.Stirring that your attempt to manage a prison as if its a county jail and have prisoners standing to wait to die in the dark just as if a county prisoners waiting to leave county to go to prisonet then I can ensure you that four of your prisons will be stripped to the ground and i can pretty much predict Bob isn’t going to get off couch to help you pick up the pieaces.