Thursday, March 21, 2013

ignored life and death at Canaan

Something I noticed in the article discussed in my previous post: it contained no expression of sympathy for the inmate killed at Canaan in January. He was 29-year-old Ephraim Goitom. 

The slain inmate was as helpless--and his murder as undeserved--as the correctional officer who was killed. The murdered CO, 34-year-old Eric Williams, left behind friends and family. How they must ache for his loss...but don't forget that Ephraim Goitom, too, left behind family and friends. His friends in prison must be frightened to have seen how easily his life was taken.

COs choose to work at the prison. They can go home after their shift, they can have dinner with their families, they can go on vacation, they get paid to be there. And if those benefits are seen as inadequate in the face of the danger the CO faces, he can work elsewhere. 

The inmate may have "chosen" to be there by committing a crime, but he cannot choose to leave. He is stuck in a dangerous environment, helpless against threats.

Criminals are sentenced to time in prison; they are not sentenced to endure physical threats in addition to incarceration. The Federal Bureau of Prisons is supposed to provide a safe environment for them. 

An inmate's life is as valuable, as worthy of grief and mourning, as worthy of notice as other lives. To ignore an inmate's murder because he was only an inmate is despicable. 


Snow Lover said...

In the article written by citizen's voice on the Canaan Murder, they also referred to an attack in Seattle in March of 2012. They quoted an officer saying "Some people think 'you work in the federal prisons. You have doctors and lawyers' No, we have murderers and drug traffickers and more" said the guard. And yet, in the same article they say that "something happended at the Seattle site that didn't happen at the Canaan prison. Other inmates rushed to the guard's aid, broke up the assault and saved the guard's life." I am as certain as I can be that in every prison there are many non-violent offenders who come to the aid of guards at the expense of later being targeted themselves. But we don't hear about these prisoners. The doctors and lawyers, and non violent offenders that the prison system says "doesn't exist" -sentenced to long terms away from their families and loved ones. Yes, you are right. There is little said about the loved ones of the inmates that are killed by other inmates. Do we somehow deserve to be punished too?

Marie said...

Thanks for pointing that out, Snow Lover. You make an excellent point.