More evidence that the long-awaited “culture change” at the Vermont Department of Corrections is still purely conceptual: A new study shows that the Southern State Correctional Facility at Springfield is a hellhole for inmates and staff alike.
It’s bad. Really, really bad. It’s not only an administrative and regulatory failure, it’s a moral failure. It reflects badly on anyone who’s had anything to do with our prison system in recent times: DOC officials, successive governors, union leadership, and the legislators with oversight responsibility. Anyone else? The Judiciary? Prosecutors?
Abigail Crocker, co-founder of the Justice Research Initiative, found many of the study’s results “alarming.” I think that’s an understatement.
One of those findings: 37% of the prison population, and 30% of prison staff, have had suicidal ideations.
So. In a place that’s supposed to be preparing inmates for productive re-entry into society, more than one-third of them are in despair or painfully close to it.
Well, you might say, of course people serving hard time might feel bad. But then you have to explain that 30% figure among staff, which indicates that the prison is just about as horrible for the workers as for the inmates.Continue reading