National officers from the U.S. Bureau of Prisons and a union for correctional officers have discovered evidence of rampant racial and gender discrimination amongst employees throughout a fact-finding mission on the federal correctional complex in Victorville.
William Boseman, the union’s nationwide vp of ladies and honest observe, mentioned the abuses on the prison compex had been amongst “the worst that I’ve seen.”
Boseman, who represents 121 federal prison complexes throughout the nation, added, “There’s positively racial stress and discrimination amongst employees … that is unhealthy.
“Is there the potential for violence? Absolutely.”
Racist, misogynistic internet posts
Boseman and a Bureau of Prisons official from Washington, D.C., had been drawn to the prison complex by an Instagram web site purportedly penned by Victorville guards posting racist, misogynistic and homophopic memes. However, the 2 guests had been prohibited from asking instantly concerning the offensive web site as a result of it’s underneath investigation by an outdoor company.
Although Boseman couldn’t determine the investigating company, one guard who requested to stay nameless mentioned it was the federal Office of Inspector General.
Boseman and the BOP official, nonetheless, did inquire concerning the discrimination towards minorities and girls that fueled the online posts. Boseman mentioned the prison administration was taking the memes and the discrimination allegations fairly critically.
For its half, the prisons bureau wouldn’t verify or deny an investigation into the memes and sagging morale on the Victorville complex, mentioned company spokesman Donald Murphy in Washington, D.C.
Meanwhile, the writers of the nameless Instagram web page, referred to as “good verbal,” have doubled down on their efforts, which they described in a previous submit as darkish humor meant to blow off steam.
“These mofos out here really think they’re gonna shut down the page and cause a commotion. Good luck,” mentioned one latest submit after the Southern California News Group published an article concerning the memes. The Instagram web site referred to media reporters as “dollar store journalists.”
This shouldn’t be the primary time that controversy has enveloped the Victorville complex, which consists of a federal penitentiary housing greater than 3,800 medium- and high-security prisoners and three different establishments.
In 2019, the bureau paid $11 million to settle a class-action lawsuit by feminine employees alleging sexual harassment.
‘It’s like they’re taunting’
Don Shults, the honest observe coordinator for the Victorville union, mentioned the Instagram authors imagine they’re proof against being recognized, though they doubtless might be outed by the prison grapevine.
“They’re so confident they can hide their identities, it’s like they’re taunting. They think they are untouchable,” Shults mentioned. “(But) nothing’s really secret in the prison. It’s like seventh grade, junior high-like gossip.”
Among the memes posted by “good verbal” is a submit saying the hiring of new females.
“Better get’em early before they belong to the yard,” says the submit, that means that if the male employees don’t act first, the inmates could have their approach with the feminine recruits.
Another meme reveals a rainbow-colored, phallic-shaped intercourse toy, marked to point out the job favors that may be earned through the use of it.
Cronyism in hiring?
Apart from the Instagram web site, prison workers had been questioned final week about morale issues, the employees scarcity, pressured time beyond regulation and cronyism within the hiring of line supervisors.
“They don’t hire the most qualified, it’s always somebody’s homie,” Shults mentioned. “It’s the cronyism and the good ol’ boys system.”
One Black correctional officer, union steward Curtis Freeman, was amongst these interviewed by the guests. Freeman mentioned it’s powerful to talk up.
“The culture there has this python snake hold on people. They’re afraid to come forward,” he mentioned. “We have to shake things up. We have to do something to change this. We’re going to fight the hand that’s over our mouths.”
Payback for whistleblowers?
Freeman mentioned some employees members will retaliate in opposition to whistleblowers by “setting them up” to be overwhelmed or framed by inmates, who will declare the guards equipped them with contraband.
“We’re talking major corruption stuff. You just don’t know how far payback will go,” he mentioned. “It can go from no one will talk to you anymore or you can be placed under bogus investigation. People are scared. Inmates play for keeps.”
Freeman mentioned “good verbal” has even taken some of the postings from his personal Instagram web site, The Masked Law Student, and perverted them for the Instagram memes. “They chop up my pictures to fit their narrative,” he mentioned.
One indication of the local weather within the prison complex is the accomplice cap and dreadlocks discovered hanging on an office wall, round 2020, like a trophy. The objects had been collected and turned over to prison officers, however nothing got here of it, mentioned a correctional officer who requested to stay nameless.
Freeman mentioned “good verbal” has turn out to be a blessing in disguise.
“People have complained about the toxic culture and nothing was done about it,” he mentioned. “But with this (web) page … now we have the proof.”