Jerry had little respect for most wardens. He said that most of them had no concern for inmates and were only interested in looking good to superiors. Once, he warned me that violence was probably going to erupt at a certain prison because the warden had mistreated the inmates. It came a few week later with murder.
As i considered this, I wondered what makes a good warden and came to the same conclusion: why paint all inmates with the same brush? It's much too easy to simply avoid making difficult decisions, to simply put all inmates in lockdown for the actions of a few. From my limited visiting, I sensed that every inmate has a different story. They each have advocates within the system, so maybe wardens should consult with them. Deal with the bad apples and leave the others alone. On a few visits, I was not allowed inside because of the actions of one or two. For many, this meant being turned away after driving hundreds of miles. All because of a few inmates.
To me, it goes back to incentives, and I'm just repeating Jerry's thoughts. Give inmates an incentive to be good citizens, some tangible reason other than not going to solitary. You might call it hope. And doesn't hope drive us all?
My name is Richard Biggs and I'm a writer. My latest book is about Jerry Allen LeQuire, a convicted drug kingpin, who rejected two offers from the CIA to work for them, and has been in a federal prison for over 30 years.