Thousands of California inmates are getting a daily pitch on the finer side of what prison life could be like in Tennessee.
The video they’re watching touts a private Tennessee prison’s larger and cleaner jail cells; 79 TV channels, including ESPN; views of peaceful cow pastures; and inmates in the “Dorm of the Week,” staying up all night, watching a movie and eating cheeseburgers or pizza.
Is this a prison or a bloomin’ college campus?
The video’s stars are some of the 80 California inmates who transferred to Corrections Corporation of America’s West Tennessee Detention Facility in Mason last fall in what was the Golden State’s first export of prisoners to ease overcrowding. Their taped testimonials are being used in an attempt to entice some of their former jail mates to follow them to the promised land of prisons.
“If they know what we know now, that system would be emptied out,” one Tennessee transfer said about those remaining in California.
Since when do prisoners get a choice of where they serve their time? Who’s bright idea was this? Whoever it was, should be fired….immediately!
A judge’s ruling has halted the transfers, but the tape has continued to air on California’s prison TV channel pending results of an appeal. “We’re anticipating we eventually would be allowed to move inmates and we have to prepare for that,” said Bill Sessa, a spokesman for California’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Our tax dollars are going to paying for this?
“There’s nothing more credible to an inmate than the views of other inmates,” Sessa said, adding that the video was meant to boost volunteering after the emergency declaration, which allowed the state to send inmates out of state and to sign contacts with private prison companies to house California prisoners for more than a year.
No offense, but they are in prison for a reason, and it’s not because they played nice with the rest of the world.
Corrections industry consultant Richard Crane of Nashville, however, said he would have used more shots of dining, work areas and classrooms where inmates would be spending time rather than mostly questions and answers. “There is a world of difference between how inmates view something when given a choice versus being forced,” he said. “If they’d been forced to go, you wouldn’t have got anywhere near the positive comments.”
Pardon me while I pick my chin off the floor.