Editorial Roundup: Georgia

Brunswick News. June 18, 2024.

Editorial: Prisons must be made safe for all our sakes

A shooting incident just up the road in Tattnall County might prompt Georgians to begin wondering who is running their state prisons. It is a legitimate question when an inmate at Smith State Prison in Glennville is able to obtain a handgun, a real handgun, and shoot and kill a hired prison kitchen staff before turning the weapon on himself and taking his own life.

It is a heads up for everyone who works at a prison, including the guards and even the inmates themselves. It is one thing for a prison inmate to carry around or conceal what is commonly referred to as a shiv, a makeshift knife, but it is an entirely different matter when someone facing years or life in prison can freely walk around armed with a loaded gun.

The Georgia Department of Corrections said the inmate shot and killed the contracted kitchen worker at 4:30 a.m. Sunday. The staffer was a 24-year-old woman from Statesboro who was under the employ of Aramark, a food service provider headquartered in Philadelphia. The male inmate who shot her before taking his own life was serving 20 years for voluntary manslaughter.

The corrections department, which now has possession of the gun, released few other details early Monday. Prison officials said at the time that they did not know what led up to incident or triggered the shooting. They are equally at a loss as to how the inmate managed to obtain the gun and ammunition, and carry it around on his person in prison.

They will hopefully figure it out before another innocent victim loses his or her life at Smith Prison or any other prison under the Georgia Department of Corrections.

It is almost like it is getting easier and easier to sneak drugs, weapons, electronic devices and other contraband into prisons and put it in the hands of criminals. One might be inclined to think it would be harder given all the technologically advanced monitoring devices available to the men and women who are in charge of keeping dangerous criminals in line and preventing their escape. Surprisingly enough, that does not seem to be the case. It appears the advantage goes to inmates.

The state prison system is already under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice for unsafe and unsanitary prisons. Address these other issues before they become another federal case.