With Gen. Inch in Charge, We Can Expect Further Militarization of the Prison System

An inmate at the Mule Creek State Prison sits on his bunk bed in a gymnasium that was modified to house prisoners August 28, 2007 in Ione, California. (Photo: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)A man at the Mule Creek State Prison sits on his bunk bed in a gymnasium that was modified to house prisoners, August 28, 2007, in Ione, California. (Photo: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)

The appointment of retired Army General Mark S. Inch to head the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) is a major blow to those working for prison reform under Trump. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced on August 1, 2017 that Inch would be taking over the position. In the past, Inch has been responsible for detainee operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, which have been plagued by accusations of torture and abuse. Looking at Inch’s record, many prison activists and formerly incarcerated people expressed alarm that his appointment will likely lead to worsening conditions in the future.

This news comes just days after Trump gave a speech before police in Long Island, New York, joking that they should treat suspects “rough” and not be “too nice” to those he called “thugs” and “animals.” Throughout his campaign for president, Trump billed himself as the “law and order” candidate — rhetoric that apparently resonated with his base.

Attorney General Sessions, appointed by Trump, has expressed his own support for the war on drugs, asset forfeiture and anti-immigration policies. In his announcement, Sessions called Inch a “military policeman” who was “uniquely qualified” to head the federal prison system.

Truthout spoke with Amy Ralston Povah, who served nine years in federal prison before being granted clemency by President Bill Clinton. After her release, she founded CAN-DO to secure executive clemency for those convicted of drug offenses in federal prisons. She said that Inch’s appointment signals the further “militarization of the Bureau of Prisons.” US citizens, she said, are viewed by prison authorities as “combatants” who have no rights to defend themselves.

Give Him an Inch

Since his inauguration, President Trump has appointed several retired generals to prominent positions typically held by…

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