US Prisons Are Devolving Into Anarchy and Barbarism
FLORIDA — September 17, 2018
Florida prisons are known for a degree of toughness against inmates which often borders on cruelty. Conditions of hostility between prison authorities and inmates constantly break into violent brawls, often resulting in serious injuries and even death. Among the latest incidents, one inmate literally gouged out his cellmate's eyeballs, plopped them in a cup and then cut off his ear to hang on his neck like a necklace. The gruesome incident occurred at the Columbia Correctional Institution in Lakeside.
According to the report, prison guards had no clue at the time that inmate Larry Mark, 58, had been strangled, mutilated and wrapped in a blood-soaked sheet until his thuggish cellmate showed up for breakfast Thursday – wearing the flesh trophy, prison sources told the Miami Herald.
The inmate strolled to the prison chow hall sporting the bloody necklace, shouting that the same would happen to anyone else who stands in his way. As it turned out, the unnamed killer allegedly got mad at Mark for pestering him – he had allegedly also told other inmates that he planned to eat the eyeballs, the paper reported.
The murder occurred just hours before a gang-related knife fight broke out in another wing of the same prison, which was recently hit by staff shortages, according to the paper. Mark was serving a life sentence for murder.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement would not provide the name of the attacker, who had recently been transferred from death row at a state prison.
The murder happened in the prison’s annex, a building separate from the main building where the gang brawl also erupted, a source in the prison said.
Corrections officers at the prison are on edge due to the staff shortages, which have left up to 250 inmates supervised by a single guard.
Julie Jones, a rep for the Florida Department of Corrections told the journalists, "Any loss of life at the hands of an inmate is intolerable, and we are working with our partners at FDLE to investigate this death and ensure anyone responsible is held accountable to the fullest extent of the law."
The problem is even bigger than it seems, as the Federal prison system doesn't record the real levels of violence. For example, some New York prisons are known for torture including using chains to restrain prisoners... and the torture is not only conduct by guards, it is a common practice among the inmates themselves.
The fact is that medical care is extreme poor and scarce in US prisons, especially when it comes to mental health. Because no one deals with these issues, it is no surprise when they result in murder. Even if a prisoner is extremely sick, the drugs for his treatment are expensive, and the prison has to foot the bill. Consequently, there is little interest in providing treatment for prisoners, whose already existent mental health issues are exacerbated by the inhuman conditions of confinement.
Many cases of murder or violence within prisons go unpunished. Like police, guards are mostly protected from any legal action given the limited social and financial resources of most inmates. Punishing two unlucky guards and issuing a statement is not the solution: It is necessary to place surveillance cameras in every corner of every prison, investigate crimes as they occur and provide special training sessions for prison guards and wardens. In addition, the authorities should investigate service offenses more thoroughly, and the Ministry should condemn those responsible... token punishments will do nothing to alleviate the structure of abuse in our prisons.