I have spent several months compiling information from folks inside the actual facility, not just about the treatment of the inmates, but also the living conditions. From the outside, it looks pretty nice, they have 3 large dorms and 7 “bungalow” style dorms, where inmates are housed. There are also the Main control/Medical building, kitchen, dining hall, and laundry, the school, resources, commissary and gym, as well as the security building and a small library. Pulaski’s property is also the site of a Prison Industry’s (PI) warehouse, where many on the inmates work, making men’s prison uniforms. There are flower’s in the flower beds and the lawn is well manicured. But you know what they say about Books and Covers.
Daily Inspections / Housing/ Medical
Every inmate is required to be prepared for daily inspections by the Warden and her staff by 9:00a.m. These inspections include each inmate’s cell, as well as the open areas and showers. Daily inspections mean that the dorms are generally very clean and dust free, so a first glance, the conditions look great. What you don’t see… the black mold that coats the ceiling of every shower in the facility or the lead paint peeling from nearly every surface in the large dorms. The inmates are given heavy cleaning materials (bleach, tile cleaner, tile stripper) to scrub the showers, but most cannot reach the ceiling and are told “don’t worry about it”. The officers or staff also do NOT provide proper safety equipment for handling these cleaning chemicals… NO GLOVES, NO MASKS. Every day, these women are required to use dangerous chemicals barehanded. It’s no wonder that so many women suffer from breathing issues, and aggravated asthma problems.
Safety is a big concern for the ladies housed in Pulaski. The bunk beds were designed for men’s prisons and are incredibly difficult to get on and off of. A woman wrote of an injury she received one night after slipping on the ladder of her bunk,
” …my legs aren’t long enough to reach the bottom rung on the ladder of my bed, and I slipped while trying to get down. It was late in the evening and my leg got caught up, I sprained it pretty bad. I went to report it to my dorm officer, and she told me that it was too late to call medical and I would have to wait for day shift to arrive. She also wouldn’t give me anything for pain.(each dorm is supposed to have access to Tylenol or Aspirin). The next morning, my leg was swollen and starting to bruise. I spoke with the day shift officer, and she said that I should have reported it to my officer when it happened. I explained that I did, and she also refused to call medical,because the night shift officer did not record the accident in her log book. Basically, she called me a liar. Later that day, I called home and told my family what happened, they spent the next 3 days calling Pulaski and trying to get me medical attention. I did not leave my room. My friends would bring me food because it was difficult to get up and down the stairs without help. I lost 6 pounds during that week. Finally, family came to visitation on Saturday, and I showed them my swollen, black and blue leg. It literally looked like someone ran over it with a car. My family member immediately went to the captain of security and had him come to look at my leg. There were threats made and finally a nurse came to look at my leg. It was severely sprained. She wrapped my leg and moved me to a bottom bunk. My family tried to file a complaint with the state and were ignored. When I went to security to file a grievance against the officers who denying me medical care, the Lieutenant told me that I could file all I wanted, because grievances just go in the garbage anyway. No one will listen to me, cause I’m an inmate.”-M
This is not uncommon. Grievances are often ignored and the women simply don’t go through the trouble of writing them. What’s even more difficult to understand is how everything that happens in the prison, stays in the prison. That includes aggravated assault, death, rape, and beatings. This woman describes being attacked by another woman;
” It was about 10: p.m on a Tuesday, I was standing at the bottom of the stairs, talking to a couple of my friends when another girl attacked me from behind. She grabbed the back of my head and slammed me into the ground, knocking me out. Then she kicked me in the back and ribs. Several people pulled her off of me, and she was taken to lock-down. At this point an officer from security stands over me, and I can remember her yelling for someone to “wake her up!”. When I finally do wake up, she’s standing over me yelling that I have to get off the floor. and if I don’t get up, she’s going to take me to lock-down. Our dorm officer told her that I just got attacked and needed to go to medical. And the security officer said “The only way she’s going to medical is if she gets off her ass and walks up there.” 2 friends helped me up, and I walked to medical where another officer wrote down everything that happened and they did NOT treat my concussion or my bruised ribs. Then I walked back to the dorm. The next day I called my husband, and he called the prison, demanding to press charges against the girl who attacked me. The administration said that no charges will be filed, and the prison will take care of the situation. The girl who attacked me went to lock-down for 4 days and was moved to another dorm. ”
It sounds like something out of the movies, but this is real, and it’s not just in Georgia prisons. The ACLU has more to say on the living situations in New York’s Riverhead Prison. What is most disturbing is that fact that the public doesn’t seem to care either. Many reply to posts like this one saying things like “Their just criminals.” or “They get what they deserve.” What people fail to realize is that being in prison is the punishment for crimes committed, NOT inhuman living conditions, and certainly NOT neglect, or physical and emotional abuse. There is no excuse for treating another human being this way.