|Posted on October 13, 2015 at 9:10 PM|
On September 18, 2015, the New York Times published an article of how a young man, named Ramon Fabian, was brutalized by one of the guards with the New York State prison system. On September 30, the Times printed an editorial about what happened a year earlier, in 2014, and what should have been done and was never done. .
There is nothing new about abuse of power, but what cries to heaven is the report about Michael Bukowski, who imposed his power against Ramon Fabian. The guard’s so-called professional discipline resulted in the young man’s hospitalization that required partial removal of his right testicle.
As if that were not enough, a victim of this sort of atrocity is up against loaded dice, having to fight a correction officers’ union that makes an impartial investigation impossible. Efforts by the mayor and other politicians who seek justice are ignored. As of today, Bukowski is still employed as a guard.
The type of injury that Bukowski used against Fabian shows that there is more here than inflicting physical harm. It shows underlying, deep-seated hatred, perhaps stemming from mistreatment in his own youth. Those who were bullied often become bullies themselves.
A justice system that has to rely on such individuals will bring our democracy in discredit. Worse, it will result in people laughing cynically, as if it were a joke.
Rikers Island, the huge New York City jail, is: a hellhole. Always was. And, it’s gotten worse.
Justice? You must be joking. It has nothing to do with justice, it’s all about money. If you cannot put up bail, you stay, sometimes more than a year. If you don’t have a good lawyer, you’re told to plead guilty. If you have to plead your case with a legal aid lawyer, you see the lawyer five minutes before you appear before the judge. I saw it all with my own eyes, and I was truly amazed. “In God we trust,” reads a sign. Don’t make me laugh.
I remember visiting a client in 1982. I parked my car and had to take a special bus across to Rikers Island. I was never told to have exact fare for return. I waited two hours before I‘d see my client. During that time I was not allowed to read a book or the newspaper I had taken along. After the visit, I tried to get change. It took another two hours before I got the correct change. I was told I could not walk across the bridge towards my car. None of the clerks in the waiting area had change. Straight out of Kafka
Prisons and jails will not need to be run like outgrowth of fascism. There are other countries in the world, such as Israel and Sweden, with better correction systems. But then, the United Stated correctional system has five times the number of inmates more than the rest of the world. That has nothing to do with justice. It’s money in the pockets of people who work for the system, especially in small towns.
More than a year after what happened on that miserable day in 2014, our justice system seems powerless to deal with it. Corruption has been the watchword in New York State government, and perhaps there are many guys who are afraid to lose their testicles if they as much as raise their voice against power-hungry persons who should receive mental health counseling, rather than continued employment in the prison system. The State ought to be willing to pay for treatment, since the offender should never have been hired for guard work in the first place. The State, likewise, should pay for retraining in a totally different field.
And yes, I believe, as a mental health counselor, that the two should meet in the counselor’s office and interchange feelings. .Millions of years of evolution should tell us that we don’t have to be little Hitlers and little Francos in our relationships with fellow human beings
We cannot afford to have people like Bukowski get away with such foul mistreatment. Neither should others, working side by side, resort to condoning such outrageous miscarriage of justice. We can never renege on our democratic values, which are based on our belief in human respect and dignity.