There is no question that we live in a violent world. There is no question that we try to control such violence by incarcerating its perpetrators. There is also no question most people fail to fully appreciate the danger facing those who guard the violent. We were reminded of that danger and that violence last Monday with the killing of Canaan Penitentiary guard Eric Williams.
I read Sunday’s Sunbury Daily Item feature on the prison guard situation at Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary in the context of the Williams murder and was amazed at the duplicity rendered by Rep. Marino. Admittedly, I disagree with Marino on most issues, but for him to claim that he’s “listening” to the guards is sadly laughable. Listening is not the same as acting.
Mr. Marino’s actions are what matter and his actions indicate that he doesn’t care. In 2011 and 2012 Marino voted to cut funds for the Bureau of Prisons, including guard staffing, and he voted in favor of the current sequester that requires $338 million in Bureau of Prison cuts.
In real terms that means 2,200 fewer prison guards, and according to the Department of Justice more inmate violence and guards in peril. Tom Marino can pay all the lip service he wants to the issue of adequate staffing of prisons, but his actions speak far more loudly. It’s fair to ask Mr. Marino if he apologized to the guards for voting to cut prison funding when he was listening. And if Mr. Marino is truly concerned about reducing violence in our society why did he just vote against the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act? Please let me quote directly from Marino’s own congressional website from May of 2012:
“In my experience as a county and federal prosecutor, I have seen first-hand the progress we have made in combating domestic and sexual violence since VAWA was enacted in 1994. We still face challenges that point out the continuing need for VAWA programs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in a 2010 survey that more than 12 million Americans were victims of rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner over the course of a year. I strongly support the reauthorization of VAWA so that federal law enforcement and public health agencies can continue to support state and local efforts to bring the perpetrators of domestic violence, intimate partner homicide, and sexual assault to justice.”
Mr. Marino, are you trying to have it both ways? Why vote against legislation that you correctly support? Why vote to abolish enhanced legal protections for the nation’s most vulnerable? I am sure women of every age (and those that love them) wonder why as well? Protecting all Americans from violence is a duty of our legislators, and their actions resonate louder than their words — and some actions echo from the depths of hypocrisy.
Christopher Carney, Dimock
The writer is a former U.S. representative for the 10th District.