Originally created 07/25/02

There are two sides to every story

In regard to the article in the July 11 edition of The Chronicle, "Rivera charged in altercation," I understand my brother has lost his rights to freedom because of his actions, and rightly so. However, as with any story, there are two sides and this one is no exception.

First, I would like to comment on the statement concerning Rey's (Reinaldo Rivera) refusal to take his medication. The fact is, Rey has not refused to take his medication. He was taken off of his medication at the instruction of the doctor who is performing the psychiatric evaluation that was ordered by the court during the last pre-trial hearing. In order to get accurate test results, the doctor advised he be purged of all medications, and this is the only purpose for not taking the medication. The article implies he is being deliberately uncooperative, which is not the case.

The story also states two deputies went to his cell at 4 p.m., after hearing him repeatedly kicking the cell door. The other side of this story is that Rey's behavior was an attempt to get the attention of a guard to ask a question.

My intention is not to specifically debate my brother's rights, but the rights of any person who is incarcerated. The fact is, whether guilty or innocent, all citizens are entitled to certain basic human rights.

I've learned since this happened that there are hundreds of abuses of inmates every day all over the world. For most people, this doesn't matter, because they feel if the person is in jail, he is getting what he deserves - no matter what that might be, especially the people who have committed crimes of the magnitude of my brother's. It is an issue that is a hopeless one for the loved ones of the person who is incarcerated. I have met many who have experienced this, and they all share one overriding sentiment: There is nothing that can be done. Sadly, there are many who are not even guilty. They, too, suffer injustice, abuse, neglect and deprivation.

If you speak to anyone who has had the misfortune of dealing with "the system," you will learn there are as many corrupt guards, officials and authority figures on the outside of the bars as there are on the inside. Sadly, you quickly learn that you can't object, question, inquire or attempt to improve the treatment of your loved one because, if you do, your loved one and you will most certainly suffer the consequences. Even the most simple question can bring about retaliation - such as physical abuse, a much more hostile environment, denial of visitation, denial of mail and/or phone contact and denial of the "privilege" of leaving allowable items for your loved one.

Gloria Rivera, Puerto Rico

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