Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Prison cell phones used to rescue guard: What's a prosecutor to do?

In South Carolina, we learn at the TDCAA website, "Inmates used their illegal cellphones to guide rescue of guard held by armed inmates." (See the story here.) Asks John Stride, "Confiscate their phones and give them good time credit? What would you do?" Good question. Leave your answers in the comments.


Lee said...

The mind of a closed minded conviction oriented prosecutor following the law would criminally charge and convict the poor inmate.
Effect: Inmates will think twice before using contraband to save anyones life and the lives of the guards are more disposalbe.

The open mind of a prosecutor would understand that sometimes the edicts of justice require that one make a pact with evil to accomplish good. The answer is to search the cells and confinscate only dangerous contraband and look the other way on the rest. The specific inmate should be rewarded in some way perhaps a few additional priveliges or lower security. It was a cell phone, not a dangerous weapon (unless they have found a way to shoot or stab someone with a cell phone) so they could just block the signals.

This is a very fine line to tread and onle the human discrection is compromised, it is much easier to look the other way again. The ends justify the means. Had that inmate adheared to the rules, this guard will likely be dead.

Personally I believe our responsiblity is to justice and not the law.

Anonymous said...

Story doesn't state whether the inmate was a perpetrator or observer nor whether the caller had regrets for their actions or the call was part of some "deal". But it has the potential to make for an interesting ethical dilemma. If simply someone uninvolved trying to save an officer, then it sounds like an early parole to me!:~)

doran said...

The ball is, first of all, in the hands of local law enforcement, not the local DA. So if I were she, or he,I would wait for a proper investigation to be completed, and a full case file to land on my desk. In the meantime, I might set down at lunch with the Warden and talk this matter over with him.

sunray's wench said...

Anon ~ even if that inmate were a sex offender, or (Gods forbid) a murderer on death row? I'm playing devil's advocate here, but the way people's attitudes swing back and forth sometimes amazes me. And what if that state does not have parole - many don't.

Of course TDCJ officers wont even believe this story to be true, because they all know without a doubts that all inmates are the most dangerous individuals on the planet who would never help anyone but themselves, and their friends and families are little better (from comments I have seen elsewhere).

Anonymous said...

In Texas the land of hypocritical christians, he would probably get 10 years added to his sentence and only a thank you note from the guard.

Cara said...

When will these animals (inmates) learn to obey the law! In Texas, I can hear COs saying exactly that.

Maybe the inmate was one of the thousand of innocents who are incarcerated that the system just hasn't managed to destroy yet. Humm . . . what a thought!

And the moral dilemma, in my opinion, isn't much of a moral dilemma. My Great Spirit would have asked me, "what is the right thing to do?" It would not have asked me the law or what consequences might await me when this was over because I had broken a legal statute. The inmate did it what was RIGHT. And, I have no doubt, he will be vilified for having done so.

I can't wait to read what the outcome is!

oldbuckeroo said...

Give him/her some type of reward! The person thought more about saving the life of the guard than about the cell phone. The world must learn that just because a person is incarcerated it does not always mean they are guilty of the crime they were charged with.

Red Leatherman said...

Were the fate of the prisoner with the phone within the jurisdiction of the DA, my money would be on him getting prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

lsrtx said...

Yes, the inmate should be rewarded but TDCJ will give him a break, then a major case for contraband,
I really believe that all inmates have some good in them. But the arguement would be "Policy says a cellphone is contraband" "Let's give him 10 more years." This prison system makes me so ill, they are the biggest liars in government. Who hires these people anyway?

phillip baker said...

But, Red Leatherman, didn't this happen in S Carolina? And wow, Sunray, all inmate are animals? Even those in for minor thefts, failure to make a probation hearing because his car broke down, or the many, many men and women who were actually innocent of the charges but felt forced to accept a plea rather than chance the over-charging of a DA looking only for convictions?

In a world where companies fire people for thwarting a robbery or saving another person, we have clearly lost our moral compass.

The Homeless Cowboy said...

Interesting topic, and I wouldn't have commented but then RED LEATHERMAN fired up his/her keyboard.
Red, you low life tobbacco chewin, redneck goofball, Grow a freaki9n brain.
lsrtx - I think Red Leatherman and his family do the hiring.
Im sorry Y'all, I try to keep a civil finger on my keyboard when I post here because I truly respect Scott, but Man sometimes it just gets the better of me.

Annette Bryant said...

Sunray's Wrench,
I strongly disagree with your remarks that family and friends are similiar to the inmate.
My loved one is in prison and I have never been charged or even a traffic ticket in my life! I helped many victims in the Dept. of Victims of Violent Crimes until I retired. I also know the Mothers of several inmates are they are good people and some of the families belong to and are speakers for Amnesty Intertation and I am a devote member of C.U.R.E (a National organization to help inmates and improve prison conditions). Also, many prosecutor put inmates in prison by hiding evidence, withholding witness statements, and doing improper DNA or on the wrong evidence for their on ego and promotion. I can write a book but I will close with one statement: you have not been around much in the prison or legal system!

InvestigatorAnnette Bryant said...

Sorry about the misspelled words above, however; Sunray, you are VERY mistaken about you ugly remark regarding friends and their families and I was in a hurry when I read that redicilous remark! You have no idea what you are talking about. Nearly 43% of inmates have serious mental problems and should be treated for psy. problems and not in containing facilities where they are not receiving adaquate (or any) care for these psychological problems.

Anonymous said...

Send Whitmire in to solve the problem.

rodsmith said...

annette stop! read and then think a little!

what sunny said was!

"Of course TDCJ officers wont even believe this story to be true, because they all know without a doubts that all inmates are the most dangerous individuals on the planet who would never help anyone but themselves, and their friends and families are little better (from comments I have seen elsewhere)."

She was talking about the fucktard govt stooges who run the prison system and HOW THEY think!

Not what she thinks!

Anonymous said...

Well I have to say that my husband is a convicted murderer (self defense but lies and coerced statements led to a different conviction) had an illegal cell phone that saved his life. The institution overmedicated him with meds that shouldn't have been given together and ended up having a seizure. If he hadn't of called home to tell me so I could get on it he probably wouldn't be with us today. inmate has a cell phone and some good comes out of it. Kinda proves that they are not animals and do have some sort of human decency in them. He should have no action taken against him at this point. If, further down the road he carelessly uses it.....

Anonymous said...

Yes Sunray's Wench is making a comment about the prison system employees.

Agree with Lee. Key word JUSTICE. This will be a good test for the JUSTICE system.

Well the drones are coming and they can certainly listen/track/block cell phones, BUT... Grits Newsflash, "Verizon greasing TDCJ palms for not blocking cell signals." - wink!

So a dangerous criminal is locked up by an irresponsible system that demands responsibility. Dangerous criminal acts responsible but irresponsible system _________? Que dilema!

Prison Doc said...

Lay off the security's not their fault. Although there are bad apples in any barrel, most of your security line officers are just folks trying to make a living. The sergeants and rank officers are career minded and trying to do good work though some are not the sharpest pencils in the box. The wardens vary by personality but all are trying to run their facility well in accordance with state laws and generally accepted policies. Some are better than others. As a group none of these guys and gals aren't sadistic and cruel but are only trying to do good work in a very difficult setting.

Personally I don't believe these stories of the miraculous life saving contraband phones either. But it doesn't matter, true or false, unrestricted cell phones aren't going to be a part of Texas prisons any time soon. Anyone who thinks otherwise is either very naive or in an incredible state of denial.

The things that most of us on this blog bitch about--budget, healthcare, living conditions, excessive sentencing, a stingy parole board--these are all products of the legislature and governor, along with local prosecutors and judges.

So don't bad mouth the security staff. They keep me safe every day inside the prison and I appreciate them.

rodsmith said...

i agree prison doc. Just like any other group. one small part that is totaly useless makes the whole part look bad!

The problem comes when one of that small group does something CRIMINAL or INHUMAN and the good ones either ignore it or out and out help cover it up.

sunray's wench said...

Thank you Rod Smith, some people only read half of what is in front of them.

Annette ~ read what I actually wrote please. I've been around the prison system for a long time.

Prison Doc, I try very hard to keep what you say in my mind when I have to deal with Officers, and I do know that not all of them think of behave in the way I described above, but the more time I spend with them and read their words it gets harder and harder to do so. Many of them don't even understand the system they are working in, and have such derogatory and hostile attitutdes towards inmates and their friends and families I believe it actually puts those Officers in danger more than the jobs they do.

Bottom line is, TDCJ is not set up to "reward" any good behaviour such as shown by the inmate in the article Grits refers to, if it had happened in TDCJ, and the BPP would only see the actions as breaking the contraband rules.

Anonymous said...

I think it’s a good thing these offenders have cell phones. That phone system TDCJ is using is very expensive. Its cheaper to have a ghetto pcs phone slipped in than to pay the extortion rates for whatever the latest TDCJ phone company of the month happens to be. And it’s great that TDCJ can offer these CO’s a better deal than the soup line because they are more than willing to slip in a few phones. It’s all about the economics.
One thing TDCJ has shown consistency on is generating policies that encourage corruption. If a person wants to build a model a blue print to build a corrupt organization look no further than TDCJ. However to be more specific a fantastic crucible for building a corruption blue print would be the crew in Gatesville. Iif someone wanted to write a dummies book like Organizational Corruption for Dummies all they would need to do is study the inner working of TDCJ as a whole, Gatesville the birth place of TYC and today’s TJJD. If they could freely gather data I bet volumes of How to books on organizational corruption could be written.

Red Leatherman said...

I think the inmate with the phone did a good thing. When I said to "my money would be on" I could have said "I bet"
That doesn't mean I support anyone prosecuting the man that called for help with his phone, it's my opinion that he will likely be prosecuted because like Phillip said, "In a world where companies fire people for thwarting a robbery or saving another person, we have clearly lost our moral compass".

Homeless Cowboy, Because I made a comment that reflects the likely outcome of this Samaritans benevolent action you made a confusing and unintelligible comment. want to try again?

lsrtx said...

I am sorry, I disagree with Prison Doc, THE WARDENS ARE CORRUPT,cover-ups, straight out lies, inmate beatings, bogus cases, they save their own butts, some get caught. Guards are dirtier than dirt, lies on top of lies, 3 out of 5 are beating, lieing, stealing, bottom of the barrel scum. What we need to do is fire everyone in TDCJ, starting at the top and work downward. Whitmire has got to go. The cell-phone inmate will be punished beyond punishment