Creative Commons License

Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under a Creative Commons license.

Photo by Bernard Hermant on Unsplash

Ever since prison officials at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility (RJD) were required to wear body cameras by federal court order, RJD has experienced a lack of
administrative cohesion.

The resulting modified programs, lockdowns and other programming restrictions all impede inmates’ opportunities to earn sentence-reducing credits and meet the parole board’s expectations. Without access to and completion of certain activities in a set time frame, participating prisoners fail to meet sentence reduction requirements.

This is especially true on the weekends when the warden and other administrators are unavailable.

RJD officials have said that this disarray was due to staffing shortages and training mandates. But in my opinion, these are calculated and coordinated efforts of a union-coordinated boycott.

In March 2021, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California found systemic abuse against people with disabilities in prisons run by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). The judge required prisons to install body cameras in addition to taking other measures to end the violation.

The cameras not only record the video interactions of personnel and those they speak to but audio as well.

Officers may be unhappy, but if you’re doing what you are paid to do by the public, and if your tactics are not disturbing and offensive, why worry about the cameras?

Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.

John Williams is a writer incarcerated in California.