Prison gang violence

This is what eventually happens in a country with 5% of the world’s population yet 25% of the world’s prisoners, in a state that has 1 in 13 adults in the prison system (jail, prison, probation, or parole): prison violence the prisons can’t deal with, possibly including the mysterious violence at Valdosta State Prison. When we stop locking up so many people by ending the war on drugs, we’ll have plenty of money to adequately secure the few remaining real violent offenders.

Rhonda Cook wrote for the AJC Saturday, Gang violence in prison is increasingly deadly,

In a little more than 10 months, 12 inmates and a guard have been stabbed to death in Georgia prisons, a dramatic uptick in violence that law enforcement officials and human rights advocates agree points to increased gang activity.

“We cannot remember a time like this when we were getting this volume and severity of violence,” said Sara Totonchi, executive director of the Southern Center for Human Rights, which monitors prison violence.

People who go into such prisons, if they aren’t already violent, are likely to be taught to be violent, and some just don’t come back out. Yet those that do get out can be bad for the rest of us:

Added Sarah Geraghty, an attorney at the Southern Center, “The violence reaches outside prison walls to the families of correctional officers who are injured, and to the taxpayers who pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical care for injured prisoners. Moreover, most prisoners will be released to live among us some day, and we are all less safe in a society that tolerates this level of trauma and violence in its prisons.”

And further militarization of police outside of prisons is not the answer to that problem.

The AJC story focuses on the specific issue of violence in prisons:

“It is important to note that the offender population is becoming increasingly violent and the department remains committed to ensuring the safety of the public, our staff and, to the extent possible, the safety of our inmates from each other,” DOC said in the email.

Sara Geraghty, an attorney with the Southern Center, said gangs fill “a security vacuum.

“Cell doors (at Hays State Prison) have been left broken, some for more than a year,” she said. “Prisoners routinely slept in cells to which they were not assigned. Prisoners were able to move undetected across the prison campus to areas in which they are not authorized to be. Stabbings and beatings have been routine. Gang leaders exercise control over housing assignments and were permitted to expel prisoners they no longer wanted in their dorms.”

Georgia’s prison population is actually plummetting because of costs, Even Gov. Nathan Deal says the state needs to rethink locking up nonviolent offenders. Even Grover Norquist is recommending rehabilitation and drug treatment instead. The majority of the American people are for legalization of marijuana and that’s not just for Portugal anymore.

In November Colorado and Washington state became the first governments in the world to fully legalize marijuana use, while then-president of Mexico Felipe Calderón said it was impossible to end the drug trade and called on the U.S. to reduce the flow of drug money toward Mexico, a feat that can only be accomplished by ending the war on drugs, thus taking away the source of money for drug gangs. Prohibition didn’t work for alcohol in the 1920s, and it doesn’t work now for other drugs. It’s well past time to Legalize, tax, and regulate them, just like tobacco and alcohol, End the war on drugs and that will stop locking up non-violent drug offenders, plus it will take away most of the drug-related crimes, freeing up the vast majority of prison cells, leaving plenty of money to adequately secure the real violent offenders.