Lessons from ‘The taking of Cell 15’: Reform corrections
August 22, 2021
The Boston Globe
By The Editorial Board
The story of “The taking of Cell 15″ at Souza-Baranowski, the state’s maximum security prison, isn’t just about its two occupants on that January day, it’s about a prison system that prefers gag orders to transparency, where those with a badge and a taser get to make the rules and truth remains elusive.
Even as the state and its localities strive to bring policing into the 21st century, the Massachusetts correctional system is stuck in another age. Prison guards have tough, dangerous jobs. But abuses do happen, and when they do, prison inmates can’t take to the streets to demand justice. All they can do is file internal grievances or occasionally get word to a lawyer.
Their options are few, their influence virtually nonexistent. It’s easy to forget those behind bars, and so they are at the mercy of a closed system that protects its own. And that has to change. It’s time to reimagine corrections just as this state has begun to reimagine policing, and to establish a safer environment for both inmates and officers.