Wasted Honor -

Carl R. ToersBijns is the author of the Wasted Honor Trilogy [Wasted Honor I,II and Gorilla Justice] and his newest book From the Womb to the Tomb, the Tony Lester Story, which is a reflection of his life and his experiences as a correctional officer and a correctional administrator retiring with the rank of deputy warden in the New Mexico and Arizona correctional systems.

Carl also wrote a book on his combat experience in the Kindle book titled - Combat Medic - Men with destiny - A red cross of Valor -

Carl is considered by many a rogue expert in the field of prison security systems since leaving the profession. Carl has been involved in the design of many pilot programs related to mental health treatment, security threat groups, suicide prevention, and maximum custody operational plans including double bunking max inmates and enhancing security for staff. He invites you to read his books so you can understand and grasp the cultural and political implications and influences of these prisons. He deals with the emotions, the stress and anxiety as well as the realities faced working inside a prison. He deals with the occupational risks while elaborating on the psychological impact of both prison worker and prisoner.

His most recent book, Gorilla Justice, is an un-edited raw fictional version of realistic prison experiences and events through the eyes of an anecdotal translation of the inmate’s plight and suffering while enduring the harsh and toxic prison environment including solitary confinement.

Carl has been interviewed by numerous news stations and newspapers in Phoenix regarding the escape from the Kingman prison and other high profile media cases related to wrongful deaths and suicides inside prisons. His insights have been solicited by the ACLU, Amnesty International, and various other legal firms representing solitary confinement cases in California and Arizona. He is currently working on the STG Step Down program at Pelican Bay and has offered his own experience insights with the Center of Constitutional Rights lawyers and interns to establish a core program at the SHU units. He has personally corresponded and written with SHU prisoners to assess the living conditions and how it impacts their long term placement inside these type of units that are similar to those in Arizona Florence Eyman special management unit where Carl was a unit deputy warden for almost two years before his promotion to Deputy Warden of Operations in Safford and Eyman.

He is a strong advocate for the mentally ill and is a board member of David's Hope Inc. a non-profit advocacy group in Phoenix and also serves as a senior advisor for Law Enforcement Officers Advocates Council in Chino, California As a subject matter expert and corrections consultant, Carl has provided interviews and spoken on national and international radio talk shows e.g. BBC CBC Lou Show & TV shows as well as the Associated Press.

I use sarcasm, satire, parodies and other means to make you think!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Mass Incarceration versus Education and better Social Policies

Mass Incarceration – Public Enemy # 1

I read an interesting view on the myths of ‘mass incarceration’ by Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall, in the Arizona Star opinion page, that prompted me to write this opinion on her most eloquently and accurate statement on these ‘significantly increased incarceration rates” and the facts behind them. She articulates the situation well enough for most to understand but she left out one big portion of the national debate on ‘mass incarceration’ - the solution to the problem.
Mass incarceration was part of a policy making by a group of DC based ‘think tanks’ that favored jail, detention and prison time for those who violated the law. Shortly after the end of the Vietnam War, these think-tanks promulgated penal policies for federal and state governments to impose ‘stiff drug-sentencing laws’ that carried over to repeat and habitual offenses that carried a three strikes and you’re out kind of consequence. Unfortunately, these policies have failed us badly and has taken a large amount of funding from other important element of federal and state budgets to finance and support our expanding prison systems.
There has been a major shift in Arizona law since 2006-07 that has impacted our state’s funding for prisons in the order of competing with our educational and infra-structure systems. I don’t blame the laws for committing more people into jails or prisons, that burden falls on the people who committed these violations.
County Attorney LaWall states that “Violent and repetitive crimes are the main drivers of incarceration-rate increases in Arizona.” This is true but she failed to show what drives these violent and repetitive crimes in our state. As a prosecutor, she enforces the law and does not recommend them but she has a public obligation to be part of the solution to the problem when she can articulate the reasons for our prison growth so well and clearly understands the dynamics of the criminal justice system process.
Her referral to read and understand the “complete and accurate analysis of the offenses” listed in this report titled “Prisoners in Arizona: A Profile of the Inmate Population” (azsentencing.org) to uncover the truth” is not the answer to the problem. An analysis says nothing about those incarcerated and the incarceration business is about people, not numbers. Her defense of people not being locked up for drug offenses takes away the attention why people are being locked up in the first place.
County Attorney LaWall states those inmates serving time are basically people who have “histories of felony violence, their prior criminal records and other material factors. The report shows that relatively few prisoners are locked up for drug offenses.” She then articulates who is really in our prisons but fails to state why they are in there locked up. She identifies “murderers, rapists, armed robbers, child molesters, kidnappers, prohibited possessors, gang-bangers, drive-by-shooters, repeat career burglars, auto thieves, arsonists and narco-traffickers”
Again, an accurate statement and relevant to who is being locked up. She failed again to explain, why they are locked up and instead delves into statistics that eliminate the human factor entirely.
When discussing crime and incarceration we must remember the root causes of such failures. The fact is that since the mid-80’s our schools have failed our children badly. It has in essence become a pipeline for prisons by design and operational methodologies. Social and political policies have abandoned all of us in the rural and urban areas, as we see our children struggle with finishing their schooling and lacking in academia or vocational training; impacting graduating and finding a decent job. Most children drop out and end up being incarcerated as they barely reach an 8th grade educational level. Although some get their GED inside prison, their abilities to find a good job has been hindered by the fact they are ex-cons looking for work.
Drugs are a problem and so is idleness due to unemployment rates. Gangs have grown over the last few decades as families suffer and endure stress and anxiety that are mentally related to the lack of care for those who need medical and mental health care. Mental hospitals have closed due to lack of funding and those who suffer serious psychotic disabilities, find themselves homeless or seek other means to cope and deal with their illnesses by self-medicating themselves with drugs. These all fit the profile given by the county attorney. Finally, if the state would have spent more money on our children’s future, our educational systems and our social and economic growth for a sustained level of consistency and dependability, our mass incarceration rates would be reduced and the money spent would be a better investment in our children and their future.