On April 19, 2022 I was able to publish an article entitled “Bring Transparency to our Prison System” in the Los Angeles Daily Journal, which is the largest and most influential newspaper for the legal professional community in California. The article is not online, but you can read a scan of it here. As you can see from the article, I became involved in this issue when I was being interviewed on July 4, 2020 about the criminal justice system on George Noory’s nationally-syndicated radio show entitled “Coast to Coast.” As a result of that interview I received letters from twelve men who are incarcerated in prisons all around our country. So I used that as an opportunity to ask them to describe life in our prisons, including the good, the bad and the ugly. What I heard from them truly disturbed me, and I hope that it disturbs you as well.
Of course, some people in confinement do not tell the truth or at least exaggerate it — just like many other people in our world. But even if only ten percent of what they say is true, it cannot be tolerated. Thus I have concluded that the way to ensure that these allegations are reduced to a minimum is to bring transparency to the jail and prison system.
This can be done in two ways.
- All correctional officers must be required to wear body cameras while they are on duty — and the jails and prisons must be required to safeguard the tapes for at least a year.
- The mainstream media should be given complete access to all jails and prisons in our country — consistent with appropriate security protections of course. Then the reporters will be able to see the conditions of our penal system and interview any people who agree to talk with them about those conditions — whether they be incarcerated people or the prison staff.
If things like were described are actually happening we must shine a light on it, which is the first step in correcting the situation. So the purpose of this column is to enlist your aid in sending this message on to any media outlets and government officials, federal, state and local, that you have access to. There are two reasons for this request. First, that is the only way that this movement can gain momentum and, second, it is our government, and if it is not working we have no one to blame but ourselves. So please join us in this effort!
Inscribed on a paperweight that I have on my desk: “The Smallest Good Deed is Better than the Grandest Intention.” If you’re looking for a way to do more, sign up for the National Liberty Day of Service?
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