One of the things that bothers me most about the staff at this facility is the fact that the staff has NO problem with abusing or dehumanizing anyone. Pulaski is a long term facility. Most of the people here have 5 years or more to serve, and many have been in prison for more than 20 years, and have simply grown old behind bars.
There are 2 dorms here that house the only the elderly and disabled. Pill call is held in the medical building which sits in the center of the compound near the dining hall. Everyone is required to go to the medical building to receive whatever daily medications they need. Pill call is held 3 times per day, and each person must wait their turn outside for their turn to receive medications. I have often seen these women, in their 80s’… in wheelchairs or with walkers, shaking and turning blue in freezing temperatures, waiting for just to get pain medication for their arthritis. I feel disgusted by the way our elders are treated here.
A recent event really got to me. My dorm had just been called to breakfast. The dorm to eat before us was Dorm 7, the elderly and disabled dorm. While I was standing in line, an older woman with a walker came into the hall. It was clear that she was cold and she sat in the handicapped area. An officer watched the dining hall orderly, as we allowed her to pass in the line and get a tray to take to the woman. AFTER the orderly gave her the tray and a drink, the officer begins to question the older woman. “What dorm are you from? Why didn’t you get here in time to eat with your dorm?” The lady told him that she was waiting outside in pill call for a long time. It was cold; she got there as fast as she could. The officer picks up the woman’s tray and says, “Well next time, I suggest you hobble faster.” Then he throws the entire tray of food in the trash. Everyone was angry, and many of us began to voice strong opinions on the situation. One girl tried to give the lady her tray, and the officer took her tray, threw it out and told the girl to leave the dining hall.
The older lady is a friend of mine. She and I often played cards together when I lived in Dorm 7, so I went to her and helped her up. The officer told me that I could not come back for my tray if I left the building. I simply looked at him and walked my friend out the door without saying a word.
YES, we are in prison… but BEING IN PRISON IS OUR PUNISHMENT. Not being free is punishment enough for the crimes that were committed by each human being here. Dehumanization, cruelty and abuse are NOT and should NEVER be utilized as a form punishment, yet we live in it day in and day out. Daily I pray for the ability to have compassion for those who have no compassion for us.
Words of Kyle P*