Response to Dickinson Press article

Prison candy…

See I can do clickbait titles too..

This is in response to the recent article “
From pizza parties to game nights: Internal documents, statements reveal allegations of reform failure at North Dakota state prison”

“Internal documents, surveys, and statements suggest otherwise”
this is the first comment made by a reporter that is supposed to stay neutral in their reporting. But it seems to be one-sided over and over throughout the article. My question is there a holistic survey or internal documents that say otherwise of the “otherwise”. Also, where are these documents and surveys? Why weren’t they produced with the article?

“Referred to as residents”
The author seems to start to resemble the people they are writing about. Was that a comment made by someone they interviewed or an opinion? There is no reference.

“No guards in towers”
Does anyone have any actual proof that not having guards in towers creates more escapes? Has anyone actually escaped before or even after the decision was made not to have guards in towers? Or are we just going to use isolated incidents from other prisons to prove nothing?

Who is Sam Mitchum?
Why wasn’t there more done on why he was let go from the prison? From experience as an employee watching people be fired and as an employer and having to let people go, I can say most of the time ex-employees are not your biggest cheerleaders. One even made up a bunch of lies and created an investigation against me that ended quickly after they found all allegations were false.
In my opinion, this reporter found people that would say anything to confirm what the reporter was trying to paint.

“Norway”
The article then goes on to paint Leann Bertsch as an evil person. Taking personal shots, bad decision and selfish. Guards feel like they are in prison and inmates are on vacation. Apparently, the guards have never been to prison.

Personally, reform is difficult. Look at the civil rights movement. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr was not painted as a saint by media. There were lots of people that hated the change he was trying to create. The old ways and the new ways were colliding. There is a reason we have the term “the old guard”. With reform, especially in prison reform, the old guard usually doesn’t work out. The same reason you can’t just stop being racist because you heard Dr. King speak.

“Supreme Leader”
Now we have “anonymous employees” commenting that the reforms are not working and taking personal attacks again at Leann. Funny how internal documents, surveys that have not been seen have now coincided with anonymous comments. Nothing has been proven other then the reporter is not doing a very good job on creating a story that readers can base their decisions on evidence. Instead, there is an agenda.

“I’m Scandinavian, not stupid”

Now, here is the most important piece I believe about the whole article.
State Attorney Tom Henning and Rep. Mike Schatz are from Dickinson and New England. The reporter is also.
The reason I find this interesting is Director Leann Bertsch is responsible for bringing the DOCR budget before legislators to get approved. One of the items on the budget is to move the “forprofit” New England women’s prison to Bismarck. Which would mean it would be a loss of jobs and revenue for New England and its residents.
What better people to come together to write an attacking piece on Leann? I also sat in the legislative hearing and watched how Schatz took personal attacks and interrupted Leann multiple times. When Leann has her “make” CFO step up, the whole room of men changed and pretty much started talking about Golf.
I think the most important aspect of this is there is no actual proof that what Leann is doing with prison reform isn’t working. This article has done nothing but find the people that believe in punishment and brought them together. But it also is finding the people that understand change, rehabilitation and opportunity and brought them together.
We are not Norway, and from my experience, our prison is not like Norway either. But they are changed and creating good results. I know, because a lot of these guys come to live at our houses, and they are doing awesome. I don’t have to battle with the trauma that solitary confinement creates. I don’t have to deal with undiagnosed illnesses and lack of attention to addiction. They are coming to be better than they ever have both in the houses and on a personal level.

I also want to mention, Schatz votes against House Bill 1256, the opportunity for people to have their low-level nonviolent felonies removed from their record after completing probation and had good behavior.
He’s not interested in change.

Here are some takeaways

1. Where are the documents and surveys?
2. Why is the article so one-sided?
3. Why hasn’t anyone dig into possible motives or the people who were interviewed?

I’ll explain 3.

Because they wrote an article about someone who is trying to change the lives of people our system has disenfranchised. There is money to be made with building prisons and keeping people sick.

My recommendation, drain the swamp. Get rid of the guards and vote out the legislators that resemble the people that were against the civil rights movement.
They are easy to spot. Just watch them get upset every time someone with different color, gender, religion, background, sexual orientation get some rights and opportunity.

Candy… it’s just candy. Calm down.