This week’s edition covers stories
from August 31st to September 6th, 2023.
Today’s issue is 515 words, a 4-minute read.
Ebe talks fall season and Stillwater Correction Facility protest
Ebe’s back–back again–tell your friends. In the spirit of the upcoming fall season, I’ve been filling my free time with horror movies, making spooky art, and getting into goth music (check out our NewMusica playlist to listen to some of my favorites so far). Anyone else?
On a more serious note, today I wanted to tackle a story that is still developing in Stillwater as of the writing this edition. On Sunday, September 3rd, community activists along with inmates of the Stillwater Correction Facility began a days-long protest to fight for better living conditions inside the facility. Community members and families of the inmates peacefully protested for three days outside of the facility, and 100 inmates protested inside by refusing to return to their cells and hanging out in the common areas, playing cards and chatting amongst each other. Inmates had long been experiencing unbearably hot temperatures throughout the summer months with no adequate cooling system in place – so inadequate that, as former corrections officer Olanda Aguilera stated in an interview with CBS News Minnesota, staff members would call in sick so they wouldn’t have to work in the extreme heat.
Inmates were also protesting the lack of clean drinking water, claiming that the only way to get it was through the ice machines. Former inmate and press-conference speaker, Lovell Oates, told reporters “I sat in this place for 12 years. Everything they’re talking about were the problems 25 years ago. You know what I’m saying? So there is no difference. The water is brown.” Minnesota Department of Corrections (DOC) Commissioner Paul Schnell ordered a re-test of the drinking water on Monday after having previously tested the water. The DOC claims that the water was deemed safe and that there was no factual basis for the claims stating otherwise.
I have my own extensive views about the prison-industrial-complex, one of those being that correctional facilities such as the one in Stillwater have historically treated their inmates as sub-human, denying them the most basic life necessities, which is cruel and unjust. It’s easy to argue that many offenders have committed crimes that do not merit them the right to these basic life necessities, as some have committed crimes so horrible that they have also denied others the rights to life. We’ve all consumed true crime media in some way, and we are enraged at all the evil in the world. We all want to see violent criminals pay, we all want to see justice come to victims.
But I argue that the reality is a lot more complicated than what we see in movies and TV shows. The societal conditions that lead to people being incarcerated are intersecting, vast, and complicated. We are no one to deny our fellow humans their basic rights and necessities, regardless of their offenses as seen by the legal system. People deserve clean water, good food, and good living conditions. Full stop.
What do YOU think? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org!
That’s all from me, we’ll see you next time.
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