|Dear Rev Cayenne:
As a nurse in one of the prisons, I see inmate abuses every day. If I told anyone in the state about the terrible things that the guards do to the inmates, I would be fired. I am so relieved to see the families of prisoners finally getting into action to organize themselves.
Let me give you some background that I will never forget. Before you organized the UNION, the guards were regularly shooting in crowds of standing inmates with real guns. All the nurses saw prisoners being shot down for just standing there and nobody cared that this was happening until you brought the protesters to the Corcoran hearings in 1998.
I stood out in front of many prisons with other nurses and begged the families to organize a voting group for themselves to stop these murders. They were so dysfunctional that they wouldn't do it. I don't know if they were just drug addicts or incredibly stupid and lazy, but not one of them would fight for themselves. They want us, the nurses, to do all of their fighting back for them!
We did that for a long time but we work full time jobs saving their relatives and protesting after work against people who will kill us for speaking out didn't make a lot of sense.
So we said "to hell with this." We are not going to fight for these people if they are stupid and lazy to organize their own voting group. And we stopped protesting and we stopped asking them to fight back for themselves. During that period a lot of people died. We will never know how many, but it was hundreds of inmates and still their families did nothing to object to the abuse and murders except for individual cases here and there that rarely won in court.
Then along came a red-headed ball of fire named Ms. Bird who knew the media journalists already and quickly caught onto the issues. The nurses didn't get involved at first, after our bad experiences with apathy and ignorance, standing out long hours for people who didn't care about their people in prison enough to fight for them.
When you came in and told everybody the truth, laid out a plan, gave everybody organizing work to do, this is just like our nurses' union works. We pay hundreds of dollars per year into it, gladly, so we have our own voting group, but you have given us all hope that someday these dysfunctional people on the sidelines who have money for substances but not for their voting group are going to wake up and stop their own problems.
I have been posting out there sometimes and I encourage all the other nurses and state employees on the UNION list to keep records of inmate abuses and send their family members to Rev. Bird. She has to have their active participation in the UNION to be able to change the laws and have a voice. We know what the HIPPA laws do, they cover up, but I have never had a promise breached and nobody knows my name, even after being in the UNION for three years.
It's important that we as nurses don't do the work for the families, at some point in time they have to stop being so weak and irresponsible and learn the right things to do for themselves. But I feel that after all the years Rev Bird has put into getting medical neglect on the front burner, that all medical people should consider her a great humanitarian.
I wish the nurses' union would hire you Rev Bird to be our organizer if the families don't wake up pretty soon, why waste good organizing time on people who are too clueless to see the life raft you offer to them every day.
These are just a few things on my mind that I wanted to share with everyone
Prison nurse and UNION subscriber
U.N.I.O.N. Newsletter - April16, 2008
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