They are unpleasant topics that many New Yorkers prefer not to look at too closely: prison guard brutality and prisoner's rights. Most people would prefer to imagine a scenario in which a criminal is convicted for his or her crimes and sent away to pay the price. They don't want to imagine that a prisoner might be brutalized in a New York correctional facility. Instead they want to assume that the treatment of prisoners is fair and just. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
It is undeniable that the nation's prison system is less than ideal. On the corrections officers' side of the coin, they must work in an environment that is overcrowded, understaffed and potentially dangerous. Republican State Assemblywoman, Janet Duprey, hopes the public will not overlook the fact that most corrections officers perform their duties well under "difficult circumstances."
On the other side of the coin, prisoners are human beings and they have civil rights. The report details three instances in which prison guards may have used excessive force on inmates. In one of these instances, an inmate suffered a skull fracture, five broken ribs and a collapsed lung. In the other two examples, both inmates died from injuries allegedly caused by prison guards.
When a prisoner's rights are violated, it undermines both the nation's judicial system and the corrections' system. If the people charged with guarding those who have been convicted of crimes commit criminal acts themselves, then what is the point of trying to rehabilitate prisoners so that they can reenter the population?
While this particular spotlight shone on the corrections system of New York, it is arguably a nationwide issue that desperately needs a remedy. If you know of a prisoner who has suffered abuse or civil rights violations in prison, consider reaching out to an attorney for assistance.
Source: NPR, "Reports Of Prison Guard Brutality In New York Draw A Harsh Spotlight," Oct. 20, 2016