We Kill Sex Offenders Dont We
March 22, 2010
There are times when I come face-to-face with my own ignorance. This may be one of those times.
Sheldon Weinstein, a confessed sex offender from New York State, had a brief exposure (albeit a poor choice of words) – about 6 months – to the Maine Department of Corrections hospitality.
During those 6 months, he “fell” from his top bunk at the Maine Correctional Center in Windham, broke his leg and arm and suffered other injuries. Wheelchair bound, he was sent to the Infirmary at Maine State Prison for physical therapy. Next, he was classified Medium Custody and housed in a POD notorious for beating sex offenders and “rats,” those prisoners who inform on those who beat them or on those who assist them in “falling” from their top bunks or “hitting” themselves in the eye with a basketball.
On April 20, 2009, Weinstein was beaten in his cell. On April 23, he was put into segregation for “his own protection.” On April 24, he was found dead in that cell shortly after being given toilet paper for which I had to advocate. Cause of death: ruptured spleen.
Prison staff reacted – “good riddance; one less mouth to feed.” Prisoners reacted – “good riddance.” I was called by administration and told, “We have to keep this secret for a long time.” The media in Maine reacted – “Won’t touch that with a ten-foot barge pole.” Cowardly bloggers reacted – “One less scumbag.” His widow, meanwhile, a highly successful executive for a prominent US corporation, was shipped his ashes with the explanation, “death by natural causes.”
Fast forward to the present, and we find the legislature and the Maine Department of Corrections quibbling over the wording of a bill, LD1611, that would restrict abuse in segregation, known in politically incorrect circles as “solitary confinement.” Try to proffer Weinstein as the poster boy for medical and security abuse in segregation, and it is politely ignored on the grounds that certain criminals do not make good poster boys.
Too bad Weinstein was not a murderer who had managed to put a big hole in the lives of a family and leave them with nightmares. Too bad he was not simply a drug dealer, who had ruined countless families by stringing their kids on drugs. Too bad he hadn’t been a white color criminal who took the life savings from elderly citizens on fixed incomes or a drunk driver who killed some law-abiding citizen.
He was, unfortunately, a sex offender who had been sentenced to 2 years of incarceration and managed to struggle through the first 6 months before being subjected to the crematorium.
Sheldon Weinstein: brilliant; Jewish; sex offender; dead within 6 months of incarceration; who cares?
You can read his story here: http://solitarywatch.wordpress.com/2010/03/19/a-suspicious-and-lonely-death-in-maine-state-prisons-lockdown-unit/