Saturday, January 11, 2020 -
One of the most difficult things I’ve had to grapple with coming to Ashland Federal “Correctional Institution” is the disrespect – almost to the point of treating us as non-humans – that inmates are treated with at this facility. There are a few exceptions, particularly those who are believers who know of my case, but even they will not speak to me in the presence of other security personnel.
Today two people separately told me the same thing – something I’ve heard from many since I’ve been here. They’d much rather be back at the medium-high facility than Ashland FCI, which is a low-security prison, because of the disrespect inmates are treated with here.
And it is far worse for some rather than others. For example, there is one guard who loves to harass prisoners and he’ll do anything he can to antagonize you in order to incite a reaction from you. Then he’ll have an excuse to lock you up in the “SHU.”
One time during count he stopped and stared up at us in the upper level with absolute hatred in his eyes – one of his tactical ploys to incite you to give him a reason to react. I did not move, but “S” in the cell next to me slightly voiced, “What’s up?” Immediately he was called down to the guard’s office to be raked over the coals as other guards came and searched his locker and cell, tearing it apart. We were very surprised he wasn’t sent to the SHU, as talking during count is forbidden.
When I first got here, this same officer stopped me going through the guard shack metal detector, demanding to know why I was in prison. I merely responded, “I am here because I’m a Christian.” He said no, I want to know what your specific charge is. I didn’t answer but walked away.
The other day, when this same man was the guard in our unit, I found out why this guard asked me about my charge. Apparently, he likes to target sex offenders in particular, and if he knows you’re a sex offender, he’ll tear apart your cell and locker. He will also vocalize profanity-laced outbursts at prisoners for no reason, which seems to be the language most of the guards use regularly. I personally find it extremely offensive. They are certainly not setting exemplary behavior. But then, what do you expect when they treat those they are supposed to be “correcting” with such utter contempt and disrespect. If the government expects inmates to be reformed, they should begin to treat them with respect, encouraging them to improve their behavior, not inciting them to anger and further hated.
Again, not all the guards are in this category, but this facility is known for its disrespect of its inmates, to the point that many would rather be back in the higher security prisons they came from. This is so very sad!