Recently you ran an article published by the NY Times about St. Clair Correctional Facility, and as usual, this article was written about how hard it is on the inmates there. What no one ever seems to look at is how hard it is on the staff, particularly the officers who work around those inmates, day in and day out.

These officers don’t like how it is in there either. They are short-staffed, overworked and, yes, underpaid. They work 12-hour shifts – and for many, that stretches into 16-hour days because of mandatory overtime. They earn vacation time and can’t take it because the manning is so bad. They get mandated to come into work on two of their “off” days a month – one of which has to be a weekend day. They deal with exposure to communicable diseases every day – Hepatitis C, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and the list goes on. And then there’s violence and horrors they witness every day.

Who is to blame for the state of the prisons in Alabama? That is the $64,000 question. I place the blame on the bureaucrats in Montgomery – both those who are elected and those who work at the ADOC. The government in Montgomery has been corrupt for years; they have kicked the can of fixing the problems within the ADOC down the road for too many years. It’s time they are held accountable and fix the problems.

How do I know all this – I am the wife.

Elaine Bowman