OP-ED: Taxpayers need to know what is happening in our Prisons


By Richard Johnson, Folsom State Prison

I truly believe that the opportunity to present my views in the Post News Group allows me to bring a much needed fresh look into the prison system and why it’s failing. I hope I can add to the dialogue of what his system is supposed to be.

<p>I intend for my columns to be an outlet for the truths that are being denied to the public.

By working in conjunction with the Post, The San Quentin News and other media outlets it can be a teaching moment to shed light on the despicable state of affairs of the men and women of every race who have unattended issues.

By bringing attention to the plight of the helpless prisoners entombed in this dysfunctional system, that intensifies their mental and physical troubles, we can help the public understand the need for some changes.

I want the Post to be on the right side of history, not only leading the charge with quality information, but also with real practical solutions. Instead of meaningless inquiries that generate ineffective and ridiculous answers, we need plans that can aid the men and women in prison.

This isn’t to imply that other concerned outlets that bring light to the prisoners haven’t been helpful in the past. On the contrary, the more attention that’s focused on the Prison Industry Complex, the less that Complex will be able to ignore the truth. We need the eyes of the community to watch their every move.

It’s through communication that we will be able to bring the walls of deceit, corruption and abuse down.

It is indefensible what is happening to those loved ones trapped in prison. Unless change and/or rectification are brought to the horrors that are the heartbeat of prison life, the probability of prisoners returning to the community in a disturbed state will be very likely.

We need the media to convey forward progressive thinking to the prisoners and to the constituents whose tax dollars pay for the functioning operations of these maligned institutions.

My column can be a megaphone that speaks loud and clear for the incarcerated who are being denied a medium to express their concerns to the public. The gravity of the neglect is too immense and heinous to allow it to go unchecked and unaddressed. To do or say nothing would essentially be condoning the actions of the destructive prison policies.

The signal needs to be sent that the gig is up and change is a must. Prisons have moved from criminal punishment to persecution, and until this is made obvious to the public, it will continue. We need helpful, practical information about the need for education and true rehabilitation. I also thank the ministers and community leaders who are using my columns to teach against violence.


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