Factory Prisons and the Creation of a Sociopath Society Pt. IV

By Karla Fetrow

Conditioned Brutality
Police brutality… We hear about it all the time.  It has become the great expectation; if you are confronted by the police, surrender your rights because he does not recognize them.  Of all the domestic violence offenders, the police place first on the list.  According to a report on The Impact of Police-Perpetrated Domestic Violence, “The characteristics and skills developed in training to produce competent officers are those that, when used in an intimate relationship, make police officers the most dangerous abusers.

Police officers use professional skills, police equipment, and the mobility of the job to keep their partners under surveillance. They run license plates of her friends and have access to information about anyone with whom she associates. They follow in their squad cars, park their squads or unmarked cars outside the victim’s home for hours on end. They install recording devices in the victim’s home or on her telephone. They use binoculars to observe the victim’s activities from a distance. These methods serve as a constant reminder to the victim that she is always within the abuser’s reach. He comes to be seen as omniscient and omnipotent, almost god-like.”

Many carry this sense of omniscience beyond the victims of partner relationships.  They choose their victims from those who are vulnerable; people who frequent bars, teenagers hanging out in malls, those too poor to legally fight back, women without partners, minorities and people they just don’t like.  Because they are well acquainted with the courts and documentation of evidence, an abusive policeman can commit his crimes against citizens with impunity.

The two most common charges attached to the revolving door system are, “resisting arrest” and “assault on a police officer”.  The curious part of this is that in seven out of ten cases, there are no other charges involved.  In other words, if a policeman walks up and says, “let’s go, buddy,” it’s best to just comply because to question his motives is to resist arrest.  If you become belligerent, it’s an assault on an officer.  It makes no difference whether or not you struck out at him.  The abusive policeman doesn’t need a reason for accosting you.  He only needs for you to show some form of hostility or resistance and you will land in jail.

What Isn’t Talked About

It gets scarier.  There is another type of police brutality that generally stays under wraps for a very long time before it ever begins to surface; if it does.  This brutality remains so secretive only the combined efforts of the victims lend it any credibility at all.  This is the policeman who rapes.  Most women will not report her attacker.  She has already been humiliated, undressed, forced behind bars and subjected to the whims and caprice of her captors.  She has no reason to believe anyone will come to her defense.

On the day I stood before a judge to plead guilty to one account of misconduct with a controlled substance, a far more spectacular case was rocking the courtroom.  Anthony Rollins, an ex-police officer, entered a plea of “not guilty” to fourteen felony counts, most of them involving rape or assault, and to six misdemeanor charges of official misconduct.  The investigation began in April 2009, when the victims’ agency, “Standing Together Against Rape”, filed a report that Rollins had sexually assaulted a woman while on duty.  Rollins was placed on paid leave, while five other victims came forth to say they had been raped.  On July 15, 2009, Rollins was indicted, arrested and suspended without pay.

In a telephone interview later, Sgt. Derek Hsieh, president of the Anchorage police union, said fellow officers are disappointed and worried that Rollins’ indictment will affect the way they are perceived by the people they serve.

The problem is, this group mentality of standing up for their own allows police misconduct to become commonplace.  It isn’t an isolated incident.  It is a behavior that hides itself behind bars, behind the protective uniform of the badge, and only occasionally receives attention.  It is a part of the ongoing machinery diligently churning out the sociopath society.

The Subtle Sociopath

While it’s true my vacation land did not contain such blatant misuse of power, its undercurrents of false accusations, assumptions of guilt and categorizing without examining mitigating circumstances, still contribute to sociopath behavior.  A sociopath might be very pleasant on the outside, but will lie and manipulate for his own self-serving purposes.  He might not actually break the law, but will use it to serve his own ends.

While I was incarcerated, I became very fond of our house mouse, our little orderly mother who kept the pod running smoothly.  Janice had that type of soft, open face and studious expression you would expect from a teacher or a counselor.  She rarely exercised her authority, allowing the other girls the run of the television and their choice of obligatory chores, but when she did, her word was law.  You did not clam the door or stand in your room and shout.  To do so would mean the entire house would lose its privileges to the microwave and television.  She was determined this was not going to happen.

Only once did she try to exercise her authority with me.  She wanted me to attend church with the other girls on Easter morning.  I told her no.  When she asked me why not, I told her, “I take my spirituality very seriously.  In Mexico, I saw people die for their moral convictions.  They were people of God.  I am not so impressed with someone who stands at a pulpit and lectures simply because it feels good.”

“Oh,” she said, and that was the end of that, but the beginning of our friendship.  I finally asked her one day how she ended up in jail.  “I stole,” she admitted honestly, then added, “but I didn’t steal from people’s houses.  I didn’t steal from regular folk.  I stole from big chain stores.  They have the insurance to cover it.”

I laughed.  “You’re a revolutionary!”

I found it odd that she continued to remain in the hole while other long-term inmates had moved into houses with greater liberties.  I finally asked her about it.  “They hate me,” she said at first.  Finding her a very difficult person to hate, I told her maybe it was because she did her job as the house mouse so well.  “No,” she said firmly.  “They hate me.”

She paused a bit as though debating whether or not to trust me, then said, “In February, I pushed a girl into a snowbank.  I don’t know why I did it.  She was making fun of me and I got irritated.  She was carrying her property box at the time, going to one of the better houses.  She stumbled backward into the snowbank, but she wasn’t hurt, and I didn’t hit her.  Still, she told an officer about it.

Two days later, I was charged with a major infraction, a B6, which is assault on a prisoner by another prisoner.”  The following week, Janice was brought before the disciplinary board, which even the officers call the kangaroo court.  Without allowing her to give her side, they found her guilty of the assault, and gave her thirty days of segregation in the hole, suspending it for 180 days, provided she was not given another write-up.

Janice planned to appeal the write-up, but the next day, she was once again called before the board.  “I heard from three different inmates that you were having relationships with a female officer,” said Lieutenant Johnson, the board director.  “I need to know who this officer is.”

“I had no idea what she was talking about,” said Janice, “and told her so.”

The lieutenant persisted.  “Whether the allegations can be proven or not, we can still house you in the hole for the remainder of your sentence, so you might just as well make things easier on yourself.”

Again Janice told her she had no idea what the lieutenant was talking about.  After returning to her room, she filed an appeal, stating the allegations had no basis in fact.  The next day, the paperwork was returned to her with “denied” stamped on it.  In the denial, it was claimed they had a video clip and a recorded phone call as evidence that Janice had been with a female officer.  When Janice asked to see the evidence, she was denied.

Once Janice had been designated to the hole, she was denied her furlough, admission to the half-way house, or an ankle bracelet monitor so she could be released to work.  She has been refused all visitors, including her husband, and refuse to allow him to put money on her books.  They have decided not to drop the assault charge, and still have not shown evidence of her misconduct.

I don’t believe Janice was lying.  She was candid about her theft and about pushing the girl.  She was a victim of the sociopath society.

When We’ve All Gone Through the Door

The sociopath feels no guilt, no remorse, has no conscience.  Two very tragic homicides followed closely on each other this last winter.  One was a young barrister of a drive through coffee shop, the other involved a young airman on leave.  The barrister was abducted from her place of work; the video cameras proved this, while the airman’s where about’s were uncertain for several days.  In both cases, it was weeks before their bodies were found.

The fathers of the barrister and the airman recently went out to drink together.  Understandably, they were inconsolable.  Late in the evening, an employee of the bar, noticing  the barrister’s father was about to get into his truck inebriated, offered to call a cab.  The bereaved man told the employee to get away from his truck or meet his 1911, which was assumed to refer to a family of .45 caliber pistols.  The bar employee called the police stating the two men had left drunk, but that he could not stop them because he feared for his life.  This was in compliance with a law that states those serving alcohol must not allow a person to leave their premises and drive drunk unless they fear for their lives.

The police entered the premises of the barrister’s father, where they found both men.  The barrister’s father was charged with a DUI, even though he was home by then and there had been no mishaps on the highway.  He was charged with assault on an officer for refusing to take a breath test.  He was charged with misconduct with a firearm after a search of his vehicle uncovered a 1911 Ruger in his console that he had not pulled out and had not used.  His 2012 truck was impounded and he was placed under $4,000 bail, along with a $2,000 appearance bond and a $2,000 performance bond.  In a kinder era, there would have been more understanding for the grieving man, but this is the year of the letter of the law and the law is carried out without guilt, remorse or conscience.

The sociopath has a limited range of emotions.  A person in prison learns to behave pleasantly, regardless of personal feelings.  She must show no anger, no disappointment, no impatience, no tears.  She learns strict obedience to the rules no matter how unfair they might seem.  She learns not to anticipate.  You do not anticipate your phone call or a visit because they can be taken away from you.  You learn not to anticipate your release date as it can fill you with too much longing, which invites other strong emotions.  The jails have their own time schedule, separate from the courts.  Some girls were kept as many as three days after their release was ordered, while the jails went through their own system of paperwork.  During that time period, they did not dare to appear anything except pleasant and co-operative, or they could be charged with another infraction.  It was several weeks after I was released before I was able to deal with the full flood of normal emotions again.  Someone who has been incarcerated for months or years is completely overwhelmed by her initial release.

I asked myself many times what the purpose was in this revolving door justice, which rarely gave a great deal of formal time behind bars but that usually gave long months and even years of probation or parole.  Obviously, there is a high profit making mechanism involved.  Your taxes pay for the burgeoning police force, justified by the number of “necessary” arrests, and for the administration of the court system.  The inmate never gets out of jail free.  Even if she has paid no bail or bonds, she must pay for court costs, the $250 an hour public defender and filing fees.  Nearly every inmate is ordered to take anger management classes, drug counseling or both.  These also come out of the inmate’s pockets.

There is also the conditioning to obedience, to compliance without question.  This too became obvious during my stay, yet it wasn’t until I read the standard terms of probation and parole, applied to all released inmates that I began to see a far more sinister reason for the revolving door.  While you are serving your probation or parole, you may not vote, take part in elections or serve on a jury.  For as long as you have a felony record, this part remains.  While you are on probation or parole, you may not own a firearm or any blade over three inches long, with the exception of kitchen knives.  You may not even own a machete for cutting down brush.  While you are on probation or parole, you may not spend more than 24 hours away from your home.  Your travel is restricted to a one hundred mile radius of your home.  You may not consort with others convicted of a felon, not even family members.  The police may come at any time to your home without a warrant and search it, or search your person at any time without cause.  If you are in the company of someone who is arrested, you will be arrested, too.  By creating a revolving door of a populace charged with felonies, every single one of our rights can be removed without ever once tampering with any aspect of the Constitutional amendments.  The United States places more people behind bars than any country in the world, and this is why.  It’s not so much that we are apathetic.  It’s that we are learning to become sociopaths, with no strong connections to each other, no normal emotional range, no self-determination as to right and wrong and complete acceptance that brutality is okay as long as exercised within the legal confines of the law.