“America’s Dirty Little Secret – Prison Abuse – The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth” is the title of my book, still in progress. See sooooooooo many articles here under “Prison Abuse. I am not surprised that Buffett owns stock in this private prison service sector; it is extremely profitable. It is also, however, a disaster for justice, and good ole grandfatherly Warren Buffett should divest!
This guy touches on some of the horrors: atrocious food, guards smuggling in cell phones and drugs for sale, awful living conditions, no health care … etc.
Excerpts from the Article:
Daryle Starks wrote a book about what he says he learned in two years working inside a South Carolina prison. It cost him his job. You won’t find “The Forgotten” on any best-seller lists. It sold fewer than 20 copies by the time the South Carolina Department of Corrections discovered it, and he lost his job supervising inmates making hardwood floors on the overnight shift at Tyger River Correctional, a medium-security prison south of Spartanburg. And this self-published memoir will win no literary awards — Starks writes more like a guy who spent years at sea keeping the Navy’s ships running than the next Tom Wolfe.
But “The Forgotten” is a rare insider look behind the walls of the state’s prisons, and it is an ugly read. Over 128 pages, D. Lamonica (fashioned from Starks’ first and middle names) and his co-author, Inmate David, paint a horrific portrait of an abusive, corrupt prison system that, they say, turns people into savages, just trying to survive.
Prisoners brutally murder and rape the weak. The guards are on the take, and the gangs run the place. The food — two hard-boiled eggs, grits and a hard biscuit for breakfast, a baloney sandwich for lunch — is sometimes laced with insects. Inmates work in dangerous conditions, their earnings siphoned off by the prison system. Rehabilitation is mostly nonexistent. Days, even weeks, pass without sunlight or showers. Drugs and cellphones, however, are everywhere. It’s a place without hope, “modern-day slavery,” they say.
“Prison is like a war,” Inmate David, a lifer, writes. “I would classify myself as having PTSD just like a soldier coming from a war. Because behind these walls of SCDC, in our daily lives as inmates, it’s a constant war of survival.”
Fact or fiction? In a note at the front of the book, Starks says some names and details have been changed to protect individuals and businesses. He calls himself Deric Tyrrell. Tyger River prison is Barry River. His former employer, Shaw Industries, a $4 billion company owned by Warren Buffett’s famed Berkshire Hathaway, is Wahls Industries. No event, however, has been fabricated, writes Starks, who retired as a senior chief petty officer after 24 years in the Navy.
In an interview, Starks says a Shaw manager talked to him at length about his book, and sent him back to work. But in March when an inmate at Tyger River was mailed a copy by a family member, it was intercepted by authorities. Starks, 47, said SCDC immediately banned him from Tyger River, and Shaw terminated him shortly thereafter.
A Shaw spokesman declined to comment, calling it a personnel matter. In a statement, SCDC said Starks was banned from the prison because he violated a prohibition against employees “using access to institutions for private gain.” Starks says he made $2 a book, meaning he lost his job for less than $40 in sales.
Chrysti Shain, an SCDC spokeswoman, said safety at Tyger River’s workplaces is monitored by the department, other state and federal agencies and Shaw itself.
It’s no secret South Carolina’s prisons are under siege. Start with the Lee Correctional riot last year that left seven dead and 17 seriously injured. Inmate homicides and suicides are at record levels. The SCDC’s own consultant said it needs to double the number of guards. In April, a video made by one of those cellphones SCDC so hates showed guards left an inmate to bleed to death in the prison yard after he was stabbed by other inmates.
SCDC doesn’t advertise these things. My experience is it takes a Freedom of Information Act request to get the time of day out of the place, and then the minutes are redacted. Transparency is not a core value.
“It’s a secret society,” Starks said. “It reminds me of the Mafia. You don’t talk family business in front of anybody. If you do, they get rid of you.”
Bryan Stirling, SCDC’s director, should want to hear out his critics, not shut them up. If he doesn’t, the Legislature should. Warren Buffett, too, might want to ask what’s going on in one of his companies, even one far from Omaha.
Steve Bailey writes for the Commentary page. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter @sjbailey1060.