Looking back: Shades of past come back to haunt us from 1971

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Shades of the past come back to haunt us sometimes. Such is the case this week in looking back to what happened in 1971, 45 years ago.

As we are currently going through some troubles at the prison, it was the same back then. Some of the problems are the same or near the same as they were then.

In March of 1971, there was a Legislative Study Committee that were very disturbed about some of the things they were hearing from the Holman Farm (prison). They were studying and making recommendations as to what to do about several things, such as over crowding and low morale, not only in the prison population, but with the guards as well. There were complaints about the food being served and apparently, they were having a lot of problems with both the guard uniforms and those for the inmates. They were in terrible condition and no one was happy about it.

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A little bit later in the next issue of The Atmore Advance, it was reported that a guard was stabbed to death while returning inmates to their cells from the mess hall.

At the same time, guards were undergoing some educational courses in order to address some situations and advice on how to go about their daily lives.

I, for one, do not condone violence in jail or outside of jail. There is usually a better way to handle some situations. But, I am aware of some of the problems faced by the penal system in our country. It is not just here in Escambia County; it’s everywhere. I know some law enforcement officers in our local correctional facilities and, sad to say, I also know some inmates that are incarcerated there. I truly believe that there are those who probably won’t make it on the outside of the bars, but funding prohibits so much. For instance, whether you call them jails or correctional facilities, there is not much rehabilitation going on. Inmates are left to their own devices and sometimes that just leads to more trouble.

One problem that exists in every prison is the quality, and in some cases, the quantity of the food that is served. It is substandard no matter how you look at it. Now, I will get off my soap box about this subject. I probably said too much already.

On a lighter note, there was an article in the newspaper that was strange at best. It seems someone attached a truck to a 60 foot mobile home and drove off with it. It was later traced going toward Florida. The newspaper writer called the perpetrator an “ambitious thief.”

Schools were preparing for the upcoming AEA holidays. Those holidays haven’t been called that for a lot of years, but I remember them well. Supposedly it was so the teachers could attend some sort of meetings, but all we students cared about was getting out of school for a few days.

The next items I wanted to mention, were the hair styles in 1971. All the women were wearing their hair in great big piles on their heads. The day of the puffy hair was in full swing. Do you remember when you had to duck way down to keep your bee-hive hairdo from snagging on something?

And you men don’t need to laugh too much. You didn’t look much better with your hair down over your necks. Hopefully, some things won’t repeat themselves.