Prisoners have rights too. Yes, there are some bad people in prison. There are even more good people who just made some poor choices.
For instance, 40 percent of the inmate population is incarcerated for technical violations of probation. That means they did not break the law again. They broke a rule, such as not being home on time. They are not dangerous. Consequently, Florida’s prison system is the largest drain on the economy.
Treating inmates inhumanely makes the problem worse. Currently, prisoners get one roll of toilet paper every 10 days. When you consider that we not only have to use it to wipe with but blow our noses as well because we cannot get tissues, one roll every 10 days is often not enough. We also only get one bar of hotel size soap — 3 inches by 1¾ inches by ¼ inch — per week with which to bathe. It is simply inhumane to imprison someone and not provide him with enough supplies to maintain good hygiene. As well, it makes him bitter, angry and anti-establishment-minded; which is the opposite effect the criminal justice system should have.
In all fairness, it is not the fault of the Department of Corrections. It is our Legislature’s fault. It does everything but address the problem. That problem is too many people in prison who shouldn’t be there. Consequently, Florida does not have enough money to take care of them properly nor to take care of citizens who need assistance nor educate our children properly.
The Senate had a good solution when it passed SB 1390, which would have saved nearly $100 million the first year. Then it withdrew it from consideration before sending it to the House. It is time voters show our legislators who the real bosses are; fire them; and put people there who will do the right thing.
Avon Park Correctional Institution
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