In 2001, I merely wanted to get out from under a dangerous “husband” in Brevard County, Florida without losing everything I’d ever worked for or had been gifted with. (A contract achieved by fraud is illegitimate.) In researching some of the public servants who were still keeping me in harm’s way in 2004, I found that they were hurting others far worse than they were hurting me, so I began to speak up for incarcerated innocents.
Most, but not all, of the innocents I began advocating for are still in prison. For that reason, I had to become an advocate for prisoner safety. I’ve read horrible portrayals of abuse, neglect and violence, including a suicide note, looked at haunting autopsy photos, attempted to console strangers over their loved ones being denied food and/or appropriate medical care, resulting in injury, unnecessary suffering and/or death. The death toll keeps rising, and the new corrections secretary’s answer is to make the statistics less accessible, and less coherent (by fiscal year, rather than calendar). None of this will do. It’s Color of Law underhandedness, not Rule of Law undertakings.
Governor DeSantis can and should make our prisons exponentially safer not only for inmates but for prison personnel by immediately undoing the ban on tobacco by Executive Order. The following Twitter (clumsily posted) conversation between former Florida Department of Corrections inspector Gary York and I explains why, and indicates that I’ve already reached out to Governor DeSantis.