GUARD: Bozelko, you use the word ‘guards’ in one a them things you wrote?
INMATE BOZELKO: Uhhh. I don’t know. Maybe. Probably.
GUARD: I can’t believe you called us that.
INMATE BOZELKO: Called you what?
INMATE BOZELKO: That’s an insult?
GUARD: Yeah, it’s an insult.
INMATE BOZELKO: How? You’re guarding us in here.
GUARD: It’s like the difference between a trained professional and someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing. You’re, like, callin’ us rent-a-cops.
INMATE BOZELKO: Did I say you don’t know what you’re doing?
GUARD: Yeah, but in something else you wrote.
INMATE BOZELKO: Okay. Yeah. Probably. But that’s not what I meant when I said ‘guard.’ I just meant someone who works here.
GUARD: How would you like it if I called you ‘inmate’ or ‘convict’?
INMATE BOZELKO: Um, I have two responses to that. First is that you do. “Inmate Bozelko, this,” and “Inmate Bozelko, that” is all I hear all day. And second is that I hardly care. I’m here, aren’t I? So what’s wrong with being called an inmate when you’re in jail?
GUARD: Some of you wanna be called ‘residents’ or ‘clients’ or some shit.
INMATE BOZELKO: We are residents so ‘resident’ is the same as ‘inmate’ for me – accurate. ‘Client’ is bullshit because it implies a consensual contract between parties. But that’s other people asking for you that, not me. Call me whatever you want – you already do. Can I ask you, like, what do you think you should be called?
GUARD: Officers. Officers of the court and law enforcement officers.
INMATE BOZELKO: Officers of the court…that’s like lawyers, so no. And law enforcement officers are cops, detectives. They have guns. You guys have pens. So still no. All due respect.
GUARD: We’re trained professionals. We’re like doctors.
INMATE BOZELKO: Well, you attend training, which doesn’t have to mean ‘trained.’ But doctors take an oath to do no harm and, well, we’re beyond that. See how [Correction Officer] Moore over there is tugging on the other end of the cart that she’s [the disabled inmate’s] trying to pull? And how she’s looking to see what’s wrong with the wheels because he’s hiding from her as he’s preventing her from moving? See how she’s confounded?
GUARD: What’s ‘confounded’?
INMATE BOZELKO: Confused. See, that’s a prank. That’s not essential to safety and security. In fact, it’s a threat to it. You’re not trained to do that and, if you are, it’s not professional. You guys are guards. All due respect.
GUARD: Not fair to put me with somebody who’s fuckin’ up.
INMATE BOZELKO: Now you know how I feel. Thus are the dangers of human classification. All you can do is ‘do you’ and hope someone notices that you’re not like the rest.
GUARD: You still don’t need to call us that.
INMATE BOZELKO: Okay. I’ll call you microsurgeons then. You like that? Microsurgeons?
GUARD: Why you gotta say ‘micro’?
THREE IDEAS IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE FROM NOVEMBER 20 – 26, 2017
Now that Charles Manson is deceased, people have spent the last week trying to humanize him. No one is trying to humanize the women he induced to murder, women like Patricia Krenwinkel, currently California’s longest serving female prisoner, who’s been denied parole 13 times despite being a model prisoner; or Leslie Van Houtem, who has also been described as a model prisoner during her time behind bars. Last year, California Gov. Jerry Brown overturned a parole board recommendation last year that she be released, with Brown saying she still posed an “unreasonable danger to society”; or Susan Atkins, the third member of the twisted sorority that was dubbed “Charlie’s Girls,” and the first member of the cult to die behind bars in 2009. She was 61. She was denied parole 18 times.
I’m not opposed to humanization of anyone, but let’s stop pretending that the Manson story is unique. Manson-type stories play out daily in every female prison where women are doing time for crimes they never would have considered were they not convinced to commit them by some dude. There are “Charlie’s Girls” everywhere and no one gives much of a shit about any of them.
The Rev. Al Sharpton announced that he will go visit rapper Meek Mill in prison, like that’s going to clean up Meek’s mess. I’m almost glad that Mill went to prison on a probation violation because it would take a celebrity screw-job to open the conversation that a sentence of probation isn’t “getting off” like people think it is. You can be sentenced to a term of supervision by a judge who engages in misconduct – asking for a “shout-out” in a remake of Boyz II Men’s “On Bended Knee” – and wants you to be the one who bears punishment for it. Don’t get me wrong: Mill violated probation, but his offense paled in comparison to the judge’s. If you haven’t paid attention to this story, namely what Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Genece Brinkley did, start following now. If she’s allowed to continue to sit on the bench, there’s no hope for this system, “reformed” or not.
Incarcerated women are NINE TIMES MORE LIKELY to be HIV-positive than non-incarcerated women, according to recent numbers from the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Everyone’s chalking this up to intravenous drug use but I think a bigger proportion than we expect is attributable to childhood sexual abuse where the perpetrator infected his victim.