Ripped from the headline of your newspaper comes this story so compelling and depressing about life in prison (“Mace in the Hole,” 6/2). It doesn’t take much to visualize how life in the slammer can be violative of one’s constitutional rights, laced with frightful acts of cruel and unusual punishment. I appreciate reading this type of story and its blatant reminder of some realities of life as only a prison occupant can explain. Be afraid, yes, very afraid of what happens behind the closed doors of the D.C. Jail.
The story’s main character confirms what happens when an overwhelmed correctional officer has the thankless task of patrolling a hunting section of the D.C. Jail while being on its occupants’ hate list. It became evident that Sgt. Reese was suffering illusions of grandeur, a serious cow of burnout, and the craving of power while stocking up on toilet paper. What part did Reese not understand about providing quality customer service and decent human treatment to a body of social rejects? Once again, the real meaning of public servants gets a black eye and a cavity search as this story digs into the hidden meaning of what some correctional officers do. However, are we to believe that prisoners get the royal treatment, with throws of free meals, rent, medical care, and social activities? I think not! Getting raped in jail, stripped of manhood, punched senselessly and pepper sprayed, and denied of toilet paper, should never be confused with royal treatment. Future persons who think a life of crime is glorified should think about what could happen if given a lifelong ticket to any jail in the US of A.