This week, thirty-two prison guards with the Florida Department of Corrections were fired after they were all implicated in the deaths of various inmates.
Prisons in the region have been under a great deal of scrutiny in recent years, due to a string of inmate deaths and assaults carried out by prison workers.
The bad press has pushed regional management to take drastic action, firing all of the guards who were implicated in the recent high profile killings.
Prison union officials have called the action a “Friday night massacre” and are defending the actions of the officers, saying that they were simply following orders that were handed down by their superiors.
This is likely true, but the individuals who actually carry out the deeds must assume their share of the responsibility as well. The union has argued that the superiors have not accepted their share of the responsibility, and while this may also be true, that does not vindicate the officers who physically engaged in these acts of violence.
“The procedure they were following in Charlotte was well known and condoned by the warden. Essentially they promoted the people most responsible and liable for the incident and fired everybody else down the chain,” Teamsters spokesman Bill Curtis said.
These acts of violence occurred in different prisons and with different inmates, but in each case, a gang of guards are implicated in the Crimes. 18 of these officers' charges come from the very same case, the murder of Matthew Walker at Charlotte Correctional Institution, on April 11 of this year.
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55-year-old Matthew Walker was reportedly killed in his jail cell one night, and the prison failed to put forward any sort of explanation as to what happened. After the incident, the Department of Corrections placed a number of the officers on leave and admitted that they were guilty of an “inappropriate use of force”, but no solid details about the case were ever revealed.
After that murder in particular, a number of workers inside the prison went public about the deplorable conditions.
Former corrections officer Joe Facenda told NBC 2 that "Almost nothing operated the way we were taught it should operate. I came home, I don't know how many times, dumbfounded at what went on there… other officers telling you when, where and how you can get away with roughing up an inmate."
"As far as the stuff getting in and out of there, I'm not surprised at all. With the fact that a gun could have been snuck in," Facenda added.
Facenda also told NBC that a majority of the cameras in the prison didn't actually work, and that his superiors encouraged him to mistreat the inmates.
While the officers implicated in these murders have lost their jobs, none of them are facing any formal charges at this time.
John Vibes is an author, researcher and investigative journalist who takes a special interest in the counter culture and the drug war. In addition to his writing and activist work he is also the owner of a successful music promotion company. In 2013, he became one of the organizers of the Free Your Mind Conference, which features top caliber speakers and whistle-blowers from all over the world. You can contact him and stay connected to his work at his Facebook page. You can find his 65 chapter Book entitled “Alchemy of the Timeless Renaissance” at bookpatch.com.