Background of violence at Stillwater State Prison

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Connie Goldman presents a collection of previous reports that illustrate the background to the violence at the Stillwater State Prison. Included are interviews by Goldman of legislators, prison administration, guards, citizens, and ex-inmates. [Please note explicit language present at 00:51:00 and 00:53:15 marker]

Read the Text Transcription of the Audio.

Things are not well at Stillwater State Prison. Of course, it's to be expected that an institution of Corrections with an inmate population of about 740 would present some amount of stress complaint and unfairness. We all know that the American penal system is imperfect strained and currently under scrutiny by official representatives of the system interested citizens and a new breed of outspoken convict Stillwater prison, like most prisons is undergoing some slow changes in program personnel and attitude towards Corrections. It's too slow for some too radical for others, but mostly if there's no reason for ordinary citizens to focus on Prison problems, the public just looks away and hopes that they can solve those problems. But in the late fall of this year, there were three inmate suicides and two attacks on guards with weapons the media then had a hot story and everyone.I'm concerned about Stillwater the prison Administration tightened up and restricted citizens groups from coming into the prison. They instituted a lock up and search procedure and the state legislature namely the house governmental operations committee on the crime and Corrections committee reflected some alarm. They formed a legislative subcommittee and call the hearing for Saturday morning December 1st. I was there it quickly became evident that the complexity of the problems at Stillwater would not make for easy solutions regarding Safety and Security for guards or inmate the committee meeting broke up after 4 hours of the most General survey of prison life. I made my first news report on Monday December 3rd, here is part of that broadcast.prison guard Bill Kiley reflected some skepticism about the attempts of the legislative committee to resolve the prisons problems victimized by I called them do-gooders and when I say That's exactly what I mean. I mean getting involved in something for a short. Of time. And then forget it, but we can't do that is guys we work there 8 hours sometimes a little more sometimes it but it's an eight-hour shift 24 hours a day or involvement is there. And to make judgment for people that have have no idea of what's behind that wall. No idea what how the thing is run. And how people that can sit in the state capitol. And send us rules and regulations and how people can make laws and how can people can appropriate money to run our prison and it's your prison is what was ours. When they have no idea what goes on behind them walls. Other than that, I'm looking for Chris changes must be made. Now. You hear this great. This is a great philosophy. I've heard just the other day. I had a tour of people through their one change. I heard was let's bulldoze a giant down to make changes to Twisted make a change is not enough. What are the changes for? What are they going to benefit? What makes the difference between a good guard so-called good guard in the bad guy or a good guy will stand there and say yes all day and he's a hell of a night a bad guard. He may say no out of 5 questions and he's a son of a bitch. It's as simple as that. It's not it's a very simple problem discipline is what is needed in everybody's life is needed in your life is needed mine. I don't I don't believe it's that complicated when it comes to the right people in the right place and all I all I would beg you and I am going to bed. It's before you make decisions. Put when you make committees up the deal with our lives divides the inmates. Make the committee of equal people. Have a good will that be all of you on that committee put the correctional officers on that committee put inmates on the committee, but don't put all people that have one goal in life. If they're going to use that. I don't feel when they don't feel like they want to be political footballs gets put some good input into our correction systems that we can be proud of it that we can be proud that we work there. It seemed to me as the legislative committee opened its Saturday session that they expected enough facts to be revealed so that some recommendations are actions might come from the mornings testimony it quickly became evident that the communication between prison Administration prison guards prison inmates and the general public is so confused or non-existent that the unraveling of the problems and the consideration of solutions will not be an immediate or easy thing. The next meeting is scheduled for Monday, December 10th at 4 p.m. That time the committee will hear from the warden's office as well as from the guards and the prisoners it was obvious that a legislative subcommittee could only peripherally explore the complex deeply personal deeply painful terribly political Stillwater seen but my reporting job was done until the next meeting. However, my curiosity about the prison problem just wouldn't stop so I decided to do some information gathering on my own. This is my broadcast for Tuesday December 4th, a few weeks ago the warden of Stillwater State Prison Bruce McMahon has declared a state of emergency. He ordered an around-the-clock lockup of the prison 735 inmates and a Cell by cell Shakedown for drugs and weapons. We're going to try to break up the situation. He said and indeed the situation was really tense. The guards were upset and criticized the lack of discipline the inmates felt unfairly and indiscriminate Lee punished. And the administration felt under pressure from the public to get things under control in an effort to understand this complex situation. I talked with two recent inmates about the current atmosphere at Stillwater the warden and his staff are public servants and they are asked to do a certain job. What is society asking of the warden and his staff to do what's being demanded that he shape things up in a hurry unequipped to do that job. What do what does society mean? What do the citizens me when I say shake things up with talking about people who went to jail with certain problems that aren't being dealt with in the prison. How can the warden shake these things up? I think we have one resident a psychologist and a psychiatrist with that one doctor. We got case workers that are virtually impossible to reach for an inmate to have any contact with Isn't any immediate problem that should surprise any of us that it's the old problems of prison erupting so that they haven't handled and they haven't learned to know about caseworkers. Normally there's about nine or 10 case workers in the prison of this could be some of this problem here. No there I think are for caseworkers so know that means almost every case worker is turning a double load 200 men caseload some Enlighten people if asked to be considered to work at the prison in some capacity where they can contribute what they have to help implement the change but the attitude that that they meet when they do get into these job responsibilities tells them that they're really not going to be allowed to be affected. And out of their frustrations they leave and I would be very concerned with what's happening with his men knowing that they're going to be returned to the society. What type of men are coming out of prison. What are we doing for these men to help them deal more effectively this time around after having been incarcerated than they were before they went when I read about the prisoner stabbing a staff member or committing suicide. It makes me aware that there are pressures that this man is living up on the in the prison itself that I would like to see alleviated in some way because I know that the pressure is not going to end for him when he comes back out here and I know that in some way somehow somewhere sooner or later that I is a citizen going to have to pay for this somewhere down the line. I'm going to be hurt by it's going to cost me something possession of weapons and drugs by inmates is a recognized problem in most prison. These ex-cons to comment on drug use at Stillwater. Most people get into drugs and stay with drugs are hurting. For whatever reason and until they don't have a reason to stop using the drugs in jail that going to as long as we have these contradictions one this, you know, the the main one is that we're being told that they were no longer just being punished. That there's going to be some help during this incarceration incarceration itself is punishment enough. But if we're being helped in this is the form of help it we're getting that I sure enough need something to ease my pain you think there will be any any way to stop the drugs coming in the prison drug oriented people are the cleverest in the world. And if there is any drugs, they will have there's no way that's a little city in there just like our city is here and and everything goes on in there like goes on out here that includes bribing the cops the politicians no more less than Watergate and if it goes on and up there, you know, what's going to go on down here and that's just what he says if it means getting to somebody High that's who they'll get the Hyatt they have to bring them in if it becomes at this I'm saying it if there's drugs if there's drugs to be had those men in prison are going to have those drugs if it takes the warden. To bring those those drugs in the drugs will be there if they'll kill her pull a knife on a guard there sure going to do anything else to get those drugs in there. You know, where any place else that's why they need that's why they need such the tree. You know, why do they need the drugs that bad? Why you know, this is Jesus Christ. I I can understand it. Well, that's true. That is very true. That nothing else is happening for him. And that's how they get out of the prison. Get out in their head. They get out in their heads. That's right. Even if it's for an hour it it's really strange that at that right now, where were the prisoners with it with the individuals because you know big Drive-In in prison sex. But it isn't right now. It's escapism, you know in their goddamn minds and it's only in the minds of the public right now. Something's going to come along and if they are to take the Public's mind off of Stillwater and Still Waters going to revert to the same things happening that have been happening until another incident comes up there to sell some more newspapers very optimistic about anything being resolved and I I didn't hear or see any newspaper article saying let's help that prisoner in there because he's on drugs you see I haven't heard anything like that. So I don't know I guess that's where he's at and that's where I'm at. I want to see him helped not hurt them on Wednesday December 5th. I filed this further report when discussing the problems at Stillwater prison many argue that things would run more orderly and more predictably if the custodial function was emphasized others claim just the opposite that help and understanding for the prisoner. Referred to as printing in treatment is the direction to be taken for resolving prison problems still others claim that the problems arise from a schizophrenia of attitude sympathy and support for training and treatment by some in charge and a strong emphasis on custodial procedures by others three recent inmates of Stillwater prison offered me their view customer just wanted things what they say. Let's divide and conquer this place, you know, what that the hell with treatment training and and these people that want to come in and be do-gooders and help us a kind of it. We don't need a man. That's just lock him up. Let's be the big strong Iron Man don't and I don't understand that prison was run as a business it would last about a week or maybe a month would completely fall apart myself. I think the whole the whole thing. Like I say is he's he's planning and I really want to get that point across because I think everybody you're at in your mass media. Is exploiting all the violence, you know, the drugs they put big words narcotics three people stabbed all this kind of thing. But yet never go into the feelings of what happens in this casino in your public sees. Well, yeah, they already got the idea that the people are in a Penitentiary or animals anyway, because why would a Penitentiary be there if they're not so you hear this and they say roll right just stick them away and lock them up and tighten that place up Taylor to Drummond the more input on that did the closer it's going to go to that in the closer in the longer. You know, this system's been here for three thousand years and hasn't worked yet. So how many we got to have another three thousand years and people wondering why is the crime rate going up and you have systems like this that don't work, you know the inmates that when I started I forget the name of an inmate advisory Council when they start at all the stuff that was beautiful. Where we going to be able to help get some things change. They help, you know live here better. And yeah, it was a beautiful idea but it ain't going nowhere. I mean they give us a little date they say okay to little bitty things. You know that when it comes to things that would probably really help they don't listen And when I say they I'm talkin about McManus cuz he's the one that makes the rules. You know, what good is having an inmate representative if they're not going to listen to the inmate representative. They got about a 3 for $5,000 system PA system in there that Warden the only time that word and talks to any inmate or any lieutenant or any any fire staff is when there's trouble you when things are going good. They'll never say well look fellows. We're going to have an extra movie on Tuesday because you dude are functioning pretty good. You know, things are running good what's going is good for you is good for a you know, nothing like that. They stay just wasted PA system. You know, it's a big joke. I don't know how many thousands and thousands of dollars in it. That's totally ridiculous. You don't go into a seventeenth-century castle and put camera systems around and think you've updated the castle. It don't work that way. Does it work and how many how many thousands and I heard something. I figured you know, $20,000 or something was spending this in how ridiculous that money is is one of the in the other things if they could apply that to things that were really be beneficial. You know, I'm such a more psychologists everybody feels why do they buy these cameras when they we don't even have a basketball and don't have enough basketballs play basketball don't have enough tennis balls to play tennis ball. They don't have a tennis court yet. They've got in a thousand thousands of dollars to hook up a camera that makes no sense and the camera at putting a halt and be ho ho it looks at is the the Sergeant's desk. You know, it doesn't see anything. Who was getting sold a bill of goods and it did for the people coming in on a visit me over this last thing is the public you're getting sold a bill of goods that yeah, we're really pumping a lot of money in here to really change things. And what's the centrally happening is nothing and you know, they're wasting thousands of dollars $5,000 Cameron and in the main hallway and it can't even see down to the kitchen door. And then what good is that you can stand 2 feet behind cut the office and beat somebody to death, you know, one day one day I was in there and okay not a cameras running on its going back and forth looking at these inmates walk out of A&B Home. So they're easy to inmates standing right in the middle of the turnkey area. They're fighting now. This guy's got this $5,000 camera and don't see him fighting custody. Had to call me say hey, don't you see these guys fighting in the hallway? And this was told by Me by a sergeant that you don't we continue to talk about the heads and and you know, who's responsible. Where's the responsible responsibilities lie? I think it's an old saying that young dumb like a fox is much less pressure when you can run a system total impunity. I mean nobody's there to say well hey because you beat that dude or because this happened or because that happened there's nobody from the outside to say well then I don't think that's right. Then they can do as they want. Their kingdom is isolated. You know what you're dealing with seven hundred and some other people's lives, you know, and then that becomes totally secondary because that that is the rear end to society everybody doubt. They're they're not really people, you know, you know when you isolate a problem like that when you take where the problem initiated was in society in the isolated you put it in and then like I said 17th century reality and then Wonder why doesn't work. But yeah, I know why it doesn't work. The problem started here. This is where it has to be dealt with had more to say so I submitted this feature News segment on Thursday, December 6th. The functioning of Stillwater State Prison has recently been stressed by the suicide of three young prisoners and two separate attacks on guard of the speculation on the cause of such violence has to do with a suspicion that illicit drug use is a major factor. However, there are some convicts who feel that the real problems at Stillwater our lack of understanding communication and human caring. That's what's behind everything explained one ex-inmate. We have the same human needs and fears as people on the outside. I talked with two ex-cons and a woman counselor at Stillwater. I asked them if they knew any of the inmates that had killed themselves. Yes, I did Anna. It's fortunate. I was up there with some other ones killed his self and it's a shame. They getting that sale and these guys really have problems. I mean at that time and its problems that they can't answer the self and they scream and they Holland it break windows out and ask for somebody to come talk to him and God don't have time because I told to do something else. So this man sister in NN models in his own self-pity and the next thing you know, he has only one way of letting it out and that's to do some kind of thing that maybe maybe some of the people I know maybe you know, Timmy struck as they should have killed herself. They never you know, I never thought they would do that and then that damn right, you know, I would picture myself doing it before for these couple guys would have but yet they are maybe they were doing it just to say well maybe if I look like I'm killing myself a guy might do something for me and maybe it just happened. It went all the way. I don't know but it's a shame in it and I I blame it on on The staff as well as the guy that did it and you know, I blame it on the staff for not being able to recognize this guy having a hang up and do something about it and I blame it on the guy for being so weak that he had to do a people reaching out in many different ways is the pillow causing trouble to be recognized but then nobody having time to to get with him and I'm really get down to the Niger. So many times people go out of their way to cause something I could say to even to get in there and once they're in there they find there in a system that they're backed up to wall and they still find no help. So they'll do things to be recognized you say. Hey look at me and come on. Let's listen. I'm hurting you know, and not specific ways people sometimes can't communicate that but they'll communicate it and many many other waste what happens is that incident like the other incident is being identified as something that needs to be punished. And not getting down in understanding the whole problem and giving the time and saying will yeah you what's the problem here? I think it's the way of saying what tired of you you know, and it's the only way we're going to get somebody to change something but you know by blasting out of somebody that's all they've got to the point now where they say only violence is going to get us changes. We've done all that talkin. We've got our groups together or Consulate in May concerts. That's not working. They don't want to listen to a talk. So let's start some little violence around, you know, I guess I guess I agree with that I am I hear them saying help me. Give me what I need and God damn it. If you're not going to do what I want to get it one way or another hug desperate strike out and then become Justified if I'm going to be punished someone be justified in that punishment. I'm going to do something nothing when I told you about the real book of all things about the end of that rule book. They've got attempt. Woodside 365 days in the hole Now isn't that really sweet of them to punish you like that for wanting to commit suicide? So what does that say for the the people made up that rule book when I saw that I couldn't believe reaching out if you're so desperate and so lonely and in so confused that you want to die. And if you try that we're going to put you in a hole and the hole is just if Freeman and we have groups are we have one to one counseling when accounts are going to go to a guy and talk about this a guy can maybe get over that communication hang up of being able to say quot. I need help. I'm hurting. I'm lonely. I'm empty without having to do something desperate. That's what treatment is for where we can make that language possible where we can get in there and and State The guy hates, it's not on masculine. It's not on in human. It's it's real to say I'm hurting let's deal with it. Let's talk about it. What can I do to help treatment is harassed out of there when a guy needs help. That's how loud he has to scream. He slits his wrists or or or hangs himself. There are many who can talk about the problems at Stillwater. Not just the inmates to guards at the prison where helpful in the preparation of my broadcast for Friday, December 7th, the program began with my comment to inmates told me about your rule book and how in the last year there have been four complete revisions of the rules and that they don't know what they can do. They don't know what they can't do. They don't know what they'll be severely punished for and they don't know which guard will Overlook. What is there any truth in that complaint? I don't know how many revisions of consistency in following Consists of consistency within the institution is so relaxed and that's probably what the name of the inmate that feels that the rule book when the rule book is even hard for guys to keep up with the change of the Robux Administration for this kind of inconsistency. Do you think that not knowing what the rules are the guards not being sure what they can allow and what they must report and what they must punished and the inmates not certain where they stand is the cause of some of the problems. I can't put the blame on just the administration because it goes all the way down cuz even if you have a rule if one guard will allow something the next one should allow it either but they don't everybody wants to be a good guy. And that way that makes it tougher for the other guys to do their job then all the inmates feels that when an officer says no He's the bad guy and they can't they can't accept the word know an officer while running me to walk out of probation officer in the Alaskan officer for some type of favor or some type of fennel something within the institution rules. And the officer said we'll know I don't think that I can do it will why you know and right then that's when the inmate loses that respect to that officer because he says no I yes, I think so. And yes, I do custody. Versus training and treatment is there really big philosophical differences? Yeah, I think there is cuz they're they're coming from different points of view and it's it's hard to get them together. We had an associate Warden Jerry Anderson, who was I think trying to get it together and night kind of used them out the door. So we speak I think and It's hard. It's really hard to say cuz I am looking for my custody point of view and it's hard to look at it raining at reims unless I have some time maybe get on that side and get together and that's the whole trouble is they don't get together in real life communication there of what what the object is really are it goes right back to training of this of these officers? Yeah. We got the old the old line staff that men that are set in their ways and the to have to meet work. We're constantly hiring the the two of them in. Oh, I think that the people have to have to change with the times and to do that. They have to know they have to have to be oriented as far as changing as far as the training aspect of it. I love the institution like maybe up till two years ago. When a new man came in there was maybe one or two new men that came in and was really hard for them to do make any changes at all because they were broken in by The Old Lion staff when they were told this is what you have to do and you will do this or you'll be out we've had such an influx now of new people what kind of taking over so to speak do you think that the real philosophy of the administration of wooden McManus and his staff is towards opening up for more social workers more psychiatrists more inmate counselors more guards that are trained in the academy. I have a different way of going about being tough and I don't like to work tough. But for lack of a better word, I'll have to use it. There's a way you can go about it. When you making relate to you say explain why things are being done. Most guys will accept it. I don't care. If you have the most belligerent inmate in the world. There's a way to talk to him and you can you can get that inmate to do anything you want to do because he gets he gets to feeling that you're you're respecting him as a man, you know, and he's going to do it because he's going to respect you as a man and I I feel that if you treat them treat them is like men are going to hate they're going to treat they're going to treat you like man, but with planning with purpose and but they are going to tighten up. Inmates know that you know, this is what we want. This is what this is how it's going to be one going to change it this way and there's night 95% inmates one things tightened up. I mean, it's not your staff that want things to end up is it possible to tighten up? So to speak and still offer Prisoners the kind of psychiatric help kind of consoling help the kind of training help that they claim they need and want so badly. I really do because the guy we got different units within within the institution that those inmates can identify with love. We have drug drug counseling we have alcohol is we have different different units that it can be tightened up and those inmates can can fit into them units. Do you think the legislative Committee in hearing the warden and his administration and hearing the guards come into their committee meeting and several? Conn's that are speaking to discuss the problems at Stillwater will be able to give the legislative committee enough information so they can act appropriately no, I don't think so. I think the committee should get to get there at Touchette cases and their notebooks and their pencils and come down there and work about a week and institution 8 hours and see what what goes on on on a daily basis know they're not they're not going to really just get it over a table over a conference table. You got to get in there and see what's going to what's going on in there. Just a few views, you know, they can go in there and they can work and they can see our situation occur and how it occurs and then they can take it from there Monday December 10th, The Joint legislative house subcommittee met once again, I filed this report the 16-member group composed of persons from the governmental operations committee and the crime prevention and Corrections committee seem to me to be Strange combination they clearly have different interests and their background information on our Minnesota prison system varies from Fairly knowledgeable to almost total lack of information or previous concern. However, the committee has already had two meetings both attended by a large number of Stillwater guards several current inmates of the prison and yesterday Warden Bruce McManus and his staff were seated promptly at 4 p.m. When the meeting began ready to talk with a committee chairman Bill quieren call Don T William the Ombudsman for Corrections who spoke briefly and also one inmate from the prison who offered a short summary on a convicts attempts to help himself then in little more than 55 minutes as the dinner hour approached and so did the end of the day the meeting was abruptly terminated amazed as I had understood that the prison situation was considered a crisis thing. I asked one member of the committee representative Jay. Is ueland just what was going on today. We brought the head of the prison in Bruce McManus. We brought his number one staff man, and we brought the guards in and we didn't hear from any of them. I think the government operations committee has probably gotten a lot of concern from the guards and they wanted to pay for them for the guards personally find the questions that come from some of the committee members excruciating Lee naive and absolutely almost ignorant of the existing situation. I don't understand why they haven't done their homework if they're really concerned about corrections and the problems that existed Stillwater. This is the governmental operations committee, and I think they are largely ignorant of the problems and so we begin all over again. With half the people at the table not understanding what the problems are and going through all the old Solutions and not understanding the prison itself at the programs at the prison or what's been tried and what's failed lights latest committees marking time time for what reason? I think this is a safety valve for the guards in the community that the governmental operations committee perhaps. Thanks the crime and Corrections committee was to treatment oriented. To Progressive and so now that this committee wants to be a vehicle for the guards expression to give them a a roll and estimate Jordan. The legislature has changed the unions have become a much stronger force and it appears to me that this is going to be the committee through which they intend to speak this. It has been 10 days since the last meeting and I really expected at the adjournment of the last session a week and a half ago that several guards would be able to express their feelings and frustrations today. I was surprised that we adjourn for your like the guards who driven all the way in from Stillwater weren't heard from what disturbs me is were just taking some undirected on regrets testimony. Which is focused on any piece of legislation. It isn't focused on changing the prison that we keep calling it background information while I'm tired the background information. I've been on the committee for five years and I think the corrections subcommittee is enough background information. We should start making some decisions and start taking some actions. frustration I mean I realized that the holidays is when everybody takes off so to speak but I really resent that everything has to be ignored they point to it as a crisis situation and then proceeded to schedule their next meeting for sometime in January and adjourn within an hour of beginning today. I'm I'm absolutely appalled and feel that you know, I want some explanation from someone on the committee. I don't think the committee is receiving. I need direction for instance. The agenda supposed to be set by the chairman and one would hope that it would be it would lay out some type of plan. It seems to me that all the guards are saying is we want less movement the prison we want more guard staff to be more watchful on these men who are going to have the same problems regardless of The actions that this committee takes to make some complained about this legislative subcommittee not fulfilling what they start out to do or at least what they Proclaim they were about part of the problem has been that the governor has retreated and I think quite substantially from prison reform you went out on a limb with commissioner Fogel new information for developing a constituency if the people for considerable reform in the prison that he became visible the problems of the prison became more evident and the attention was focused on the commissioner and fussing the governor who'd appointed him Governor didn't like that because people start saying hey, we don't like some of the things going on in the prison and then when changes were starting to be made and there were some failures the Publix at hey, we don't like that you failed in this experiment. Rather than the governor coming back strongly and saying we intend to experiment and we hope that you'll have the patience to understand when we fail. He called up Focalin said get out of the newspaper and make sure that the head of the prison takes all the heat for things that go wrong in the prison rather than you or me. So focal app I think prison reform in Minnesota has been on the downgrade ever since so we see the emergence of the new strong voice of the guards the emergence of the voice for control in the prison for discipline in the prison for removal of the outside groups that have the guard save in causing tremendous problems. And I think we're going backwards fast. The three suicides are probably is instructive of that as anyting. I don't think that we have had many letters to the editor saying that the governor should be more bold and less timid. I think we we should get some of those and some from good Progressive Democrats in the state by say anything is a republican criticizing a Democrat rather than someone interested in prison reform being critical of someone who I think isn't going very fast. If if not backwards on the issue. I'm having the feeling that this committee the existence of this committee is keeping someone else from getting involved. It's like a smokescreen. I agree perhaps this committee is being used to sap some of the energy away in the time away from the the correction subcommittee, which was doing some things that the guards subjected to you are possibly quite correct. Representative James ulland a member of the specially form committee to consider the current stress at Stillwater expressing his doubts about the benefits of this new legislative group. Big problems still unattended unexplained understanding the Stillwater situation was becoming increasingly complicated and frustrating on Tuesday, December 11th. I prepared another broadcast segment of my conversation with the two Stillwater guards. Do you think the public has any real understanding of what that situation is in the prison from the point of view of the guide or the prisoner or even with the Administration has to cope with the flu shot if they did they wouldn't be so quick to criticize the officers when he's when he's doing his job. I don't feel that they have no understanding of of an institution of what an officer or maybe an inmate has to go through in a Wendy's in the institution. It's like a fad to know if it's going to blow over pretty soon then all of a sudden everybody's interested in pain and its Corrections and no next next next week. It'll probably be something else but the public don't know what's Institutions the only feedback at the public gets on the institution is what they read in the papers and you can't really blame the party because that's what they hear and they have the TV image of General James Cagney Humphrey Bogart type prisoners, which isn't it's not it's just not that way. Are you implying that you think the public really will lose interest and some of the needs and changes that are necessary at the prison and the possibly the legislative committee that's trying to resolve some of the tension and fear is really not going to take continuing interest. I don't know what the legislative legislative was going to do. But as far as the public in general there, it is. Definitely my feeling is the fact that it is it is just a fad thing, you know. I just hope it is enough that it is right now cuz you can see the pattern with changes with you as the guard like to see I think what they're going to have to do is segregated a few that are causing the trouble. It's maybe 40 or 50 people that are causing all the trouble. It's not the whole 700 by any means any other suggestions more public awareness just like things are doing right now. I was making people aware that inmates are human and sore guards and it's a bad situation. Maybe can be changed. I don't think the letters let legislators or the public going to be a part of that change. I mean, I don't think they're going to be a big part of change and the people that are working there are going to be part of that. They're going to be the big party to change we're going to we're going to be the change, you know, those people those people not going to change institution. Do you really think that there's an atmosphere for change do you think the public really wants a lot of openness and changing is that the direction of the chain? I think that change now the change right now it has it has to be a slow one can't we can't do it right now or will have will have total chaos probably if the public was so concerned about institutions that they can do something other means of agencies in the Twin City area if there if they working so concerned about institution about change they should come in and offer some type of assistance some type of constructive assistance for the institution. They talk about what they're going to do the public I'm speaking of they talk about what they're going to do and they don't do it. I haven't seen a matter of that. They don't do it or there isn't any Machinery available so they can do anyting does the administration really want help from the public in changing the prison system. The public puts the inmate institution and not the administration or not. The officer of the public doesn't know they put them here at the public should be concerned about what this inmate does was your day today activities in institutional. I know how to change it. If he is out of order the public should be mostly concerned about the inmate in the guard in any institution inmates are going to be back on in the streets zombie. So they're going to have to deal with it then they might as well deal with it now and maybe you make some positive changes like halfway houses which are pretty effective. I think but if the public won't accept him he can't use them those people these people the public if they're so concerned about the institution, you know, okay if they're concerned about what the officer does to this inmates, you know, but when it's inmate wants to do finally come out in the community, why don't they say, you're welcome in our community, you know come in our community and we will help you lie, Toledo productive life. Are free we don't want him in this community is a detriment to the community, you know, you mean the public expects more from guards and prisoners administration's than they do from themselves. They expect us to initiate the change but we can't do it because how can you judge a man's behavior institution and relate that to how he's going to behave on the streets? Because an institution is a world in itself, it's completely different than living on the streets. This is a kind of information that the public has to get this from the inside and straightforward. Not not the trumped-up TV version of all I hear about is a violent things that happen in prison, but there's a lot of good things that happened. There's a lot of good groups in that institution is a lot of people that are trying to improve themselves, but you never hear about that never because it doesn't make good print. It's just when people go to get the research point of suicide or or somebody gets cut and things like that. That's kind of things are escapes. That's a big one right there. Glorify that they need to hear some of the good things to and there are a lot of good things that happened there. I think there goes right back to it all the fat by just love the word Fair because it is and it goes right back to college campuses. The only heard that the only listen to the news when college students were getting shot down, but they didn't know they don't listen to it how students doing in the classroom or what he's doing what he's going to do when he when he gets out of there any institution and they all the heroes when the officer is is hitting inmate upside the head or the inmate is committing suicide. They don't they don't want to hear how this inmate list officer can communicate when they can get right down and and talk to each other in or they don't want to hear that cuz it's not news it it doesn't interest them shut the prison doors and take care of it. I pay my taxes, right? That's it. That's that's the very words right with a conversation with Warden Bruce McManus a man who is clearly in the middle at Stillwater prison, and he knows it. No matter what problems erupted Stillwater prison or what measures are taken to prevent problem areas from becoming unmanageable. There seems to be an undercurrent of differing views that ultimately sabotages the most honest and Noble efforts some Define. It's simply as the philosophical difference between custodial correction and training and treatment wouldn't Bruce McManus has been running an institution that has received strong pressure. For more of both on the one hand tighter security tougher rules for inmates more guards less freedom for prisoners within the daily program of the institution. Then on the other hand many argue for and have achieved more inmate participation in solving their own problems more psychological help and more consulars including training prisoners for this function and also attempting to set up a new relationship of intimacy and cooperation between the prison guards and the prison inmates. Yes indeed has a dilemma and when public pressure demands he do something to solve problems. He says he that he usually gravitates towards tighter custody we talked about it. Is it true that there is this split in philosophy of how to run the present did I think rationally by reorganizing the dichotomy out and dividing institution up into small many prisons with program directors who will be responsible for both custody and treatment. This isn't a Panacea I guess but it's are stabbed at doing away with what is essentially a very annoying problem. Let's talk about that. When will it start and how will it function? Well, we've been working for about 18 months analyzing the problem with head consultants in and Many meetings I'm done. We feel that the only way really to make head or tail out of that place and to make it respond to the needs of the current times has is this reorganization. We now have our custody of signed by units completely achieved training Tremont Apartment is not broken up by units yet. We have yet to employee for program directors were looking for to run the so-called many institutions, but we're well into it and we would hope that the next 30 to 90 days. We will have achieved our objective. We think that this may be the first step when they're avoiding the inevitable problems between custody and Dreaming by the way. I don't ever get in too much trouble for not doing much treatment when I get to know a lot of trouble when it comes to custody situation when I guess I never realized that but The everyday urgency seems to be in custody me when discussing the prison that they feel that you and your Administration has an ignored a potentially explosive situation at many times while the recent focus is on the three suicides. Why weren't these people who were obviously distressed noticed how can they go unnoticed in a situation that purports to offer them psychological help when it's needed. Well, I think that that's incorrect that we're all is very concerned about the explosive situations. We may be more concerned about that than the overall welfare of the inmates occasionally. I think that they matter of suicides suicide is a very personal matter. And are in two of the three suicides, we really didn't know that the people were any motional trouble all the way up. I guess it's closed their emotional problems to some other inmates. We weren't very much aware and we don't just wait around for people to commit suicide would like to have intervened. We don't have the capacity frankly to do a psychological counseling extensively everybody. We don't have psychiatric services available other than one day a week. So we're sort of weak in this area. But I don't feel I should run around and be guilty of suicides any more than you should be on someone in your community. Commit suicide will the new mini prison system really change things when Bruce McMahon is certainly hope so but the rearranging of the pieces of that puzzle doesn't necessarily sure that the inmates seem to have had little input in this new Venture the guard seemed to come out with a more limited geographic area to police and the administration can say OK everybody. We've responded to the problem will the medicine cure the ills well, we'll see. My next segment was one last conversation with ex inmates their view of the inside of the outside sees it often people from the general Community are offered a tour of Stillwater prison a look inside. It's called a chance to see firsthand what prison is like so that problems can be better understood but there are those that feel that this kind of exposure reveal information of no real value. I talked with three recent inmates of Stillwater prison and yet they can't identify the problems. It will why this it's just you're talking about civilians are talking over the problems. Like I said like to legislate don't know shit probably been in the prism someone probably never been in the prison if it has been for an hour, you know, they have a the prison says, yeah, let's have Cruise in there, you know, so they bring people in to see this prison. Crusty really thinks they're slick. Now that what they did in a hall was they took the very first sale in a hall and I mean they painted it they put beautiful pictures on it. They put brand new sheets brand new pillows brand new blanket polish the floor put a beautiful sign for the inmates name up there, which there is no inmate that's ever been in there. You know, let me take these guys do women from wherever these men from wherever even your legislators and all these things they take them in and they say they look at this sale. This is the way they all are, you know, and they showing the cell they don't take them. I don't think I've ever seen at er go into the custody back end back. There were these guys are you know Foods being spit on and and and I did three days in the back and one time and I seen God's pit in the food. Eat it. I've seen him put cigarettes out in the food isn't here either. They don't take him back and see the smell the stink back there. I look at this one place to ship the whole shape. Just like a coffin honest to God. It looks just like a coffin. It's shaped like a cart. When you step in there. You swear to God you said, you know and they give you nothing a little light stays on. They don't show him this stuff but they showing this beautiful self. They spent maybe $200 $300 to fix up, you know, and they only let him talk to certain animates, you know, if an inmate does talk to anybody else in that to its to certain ones and is not to the dudes in that it really want to say. Hey these are problems and I can tell you if you listen to me when they have 90% of times when they they call him Ace to come in front of people to tell problems its inmates that really don't care. It's a it's not the true inmate. It's not the guy that's got a gut full of pain in here because of fucking You don't mess with other inmates inmates inmates represent by talking to legislators. And it's not a true choice of the inmates. We once had a thing. I don't want to identify it was a group that came in and happened to be that there was a journalist that came in and then when the journalist came in while they didn't know that he was coming in and we came into the group when he wrote about the group but when they came out they recognize journalist named and they went into a turmoil and that mean they that the the head echelons Authority that Penitentiary went into ahead storm. They didn't know what we got pressed back in their good Lord and there's nobody to escorting there's no way to show him these cells that we got set aside. There's nobody to keep him to the to the you know, the people that we got his are you know, that's going to say all the right things and and not ever be coming. I'm not ever get that real input. They went almost McManus was down in the Cell Block. I never seen him down the cell block until that time because he'd heard the name of the journalist being in there and he wanted to be down there to make sure that that guy didn't get the input that he you know, I didn't get the real story no matter who views it no matter how much things change it's still a prison. I concluded my brief survey of the problems at Stillwater with my December 18th broadcast of you of prison by the citizens of Minnesota a recording taken at random in the lobby of the Lowry Medical Arts Building in St. Paul should be stricter cuz that's what they're in there for. You know we are. Going to give him a free ride in there and treat them like they're on the outside. Cuz there isn't enough discipline in. Yes, that's what they're there for. What do you think about the general public? Do you think that they have knowledge of what's going on in prisons? And you think it's important that they understand the situation at Stillwater. I don't think anyone really knows really I think they hide a lot of things from the public with everything else. You've never let the public know what's going on. They just give a little here and there and think everything is just hunky-dory. You know, what if the public didn't know what was really going on. Do you think that it would matter to the public and what effect do you think that they could have on things? I don't think we need to know everything personally. I don't think the public would gain anything by knowing everything they do. I really and truly think that the public-at-large would like to see the prison run by the warden and the people that are paid to do so, I do not believe that those I believe that the people themselves would like to see you. Spector Spector rules and so far as to keep this thing down and I think that's most of these guys is so-called tough guys. It's all the understand how I don't know. I think these prisoners it there in there for committing a crime. I think they should realize this and go according not always they want Recreation and they want they so they brought that they could have had that on the outside. How did behave themselves but I think we should be there for more than just Recreation. They are inventing demanding all these different privileges. I think that's ridiculous or you're pretty much agree with you. It seems that the demand situation not only in the prison's but everything else has gotten so great that everybody demand something and then they move to the point where it where they're demanding pretty much beyond what I believe they should get if the facilities are clean the they learn a trade actually that's about all that that they can expect when their place behind bars. I'm in the money and time necessary for a complete training and treatment program this and they could get this training on the outside or I believe in training some of them that are willing to be our put a human into a it's like being in that elevator 24 hours a day. I mean I would it would take an awful lot for me to control myself and the situation is unfortunate but I think to do it right the amount of funds would just be absurd and I don't believe that the percentage of Rehabilitation would be great enough to Merit it. I see I can see better facilities may be better and updated training but beyond that I just the psychological treatment that everybody hears about It gets it's very difficult for me to understand is that kind of an expenditure could be married prison prisoners problems possibilities public passions the legislature the Department of Corrections, the administrative staff the lion guards the counseling and treatment staff the inmates the public depressed. Everybody has their own view of the unrest at Stillwater State Prison. I'm kind of Goldman.


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