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Read the Essay Submitted by Inina Kachelmeier in the Second Annual Law School Scholarship Contest

Posted  December 16, 2021

The Constantine Cannon whistleblower team is pleased to share with you the Second Place Winner of the firm’s Second Annual Law School Whistleblower Essay Contest.  That award goes to Inina Kachelmeier, a first-year student at Northeastern University School of Law, Class of 2024.

Inina received a Bachelor of Science in Biology, with minors in English and Economics, from the Robert D. Clark Honors College of the University of Oregon.  She has taught English in Korea and Laos. Between college and law school, she held several positions in the legal field, including as a data analysis assistant for the Florida Justice Technology Center and as a contractor for the Fourth Circuit Office of the Public Defender.

It was her work with the Office of the Public Defender that inspired Inina’s winning essay about the need for strong whistleblower systems and protections within the prison system. As Inina persuasively puts it: “It is vital to any system, but especially one that holds millions of lives in its hands, that the people within that system can voice their concerns.”

Inina highlights gruesome examples of abuse within violent, over-crowded American prisons. She writes about the horrific experience of Kelly Bradley, a man imprisoned in Florida who had one of his eyes gouged out by a correctional officer. Inina describes the bravery of correctional officer John Pisciotta, who witnessed the incident and blew the whistle on his coworker’s act of violence. After testifying against his coworker in a federal court case, Pisciotta lost his job and faced harassment for his willingness to speak up.  Inina also brings attention to the harrowing images released in a 2019 New York Times article with photos smuggled out of an Alabama prison. She asks, “What can we do to make prisons more transparent?”

Inina’s essay suggests several insightful answers to that question that could improve prison conditions and remedy “an environment which rewards abuses of power.” She writes: “[A] neutral regulatory body which monitors prison affairs would help to corroborate statements made by whistleblowers and thus make it easier for whistleblowers to come forward. Neutral oversight would help to dispel the current culture of silence that is born out of our insular paramilitary prison system.”

She also points out the need for more accountability for private prisons, which are notoriously secretive and prone to abuses.

You can read Inina’s full essay here. We applaud her unflinching, well-argued take on how whistleblowers can shine a light on the ugly realities of life in America’s prisons, a reality that the over 2.1 million people currently incarcerated in our country know all too well.


Tagged in: Correctional Services Fraud, Importance of Whistleblowers, Scholarship,