Tuesday, September 06, 2005

No undies, no visits

Taking us from sublime absurdity into the incomprehensibly bizarre, Loretta Nall checks in with a story about how she, her aging mother and her disabled brother were harassed and prevented from visiting her other brother, who is presently incarcerated in an Alabama jail basically for being an alcohol addict.

I can't even excerpt this, it's so infuriating to read about these malicious corrections officers who would so demean an elderly woman and the rest of the family, who had traveled for hours to make this visit, now that Loretta's brother had been transferred to a facility far from home.

The bare highlights of this atrocity are, that after having prevented the disabled brother from entering the visiting room because he was wearing Bermuda shorts (and we all know how unreasonable it is to wear shorts in Alabama in the summer), Loretta drove back to town and bought him some slacks. By the time she returned, the prison goons had told her mother she couldn't go in because she wasn't wearing underwear and neither could she wait in the lobby, nor could she even stay on the property if she wasn't visiting. It was too late to go to the store a second time.

Loretta was ultimately denied a visit as well on account of being sans panties, and I might point out that both women were wearing slacks, not mini-dresses. The thugs guards claimed there was a rule about it, but it does not appear on the Corrections Dept website of guidelines, nor was it posted in writing anywhere at the jail.

I doubt it was true. It's far more likely that the guards knew Loretta is a reform activist through her talk radio show, that is said to popular with the inmates. And this is not an isolated problem. In the years I worked at the law firm and with the ACLU, I heard many reports of families being similarly mistreated by prison goons. They treat the families as criminals by association.

Which goes to prove what I've always said, give a little pea-brained person a little power and they turn into a big fat f***ing a**hole. I think we should all let the commissioner of prisons know how we feel about such behavior on the part of their public servants, although perhaps not quite in those words.

If your outrage motivates you after reading about this debacle, the contact information is here. I believe I'll be following up on this so-called rule myself.


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