April 10, 2009 

I am deeply saddened by what has happened to Timothy Helms while in the custody of our North Carolina prison system. Your April 5 article "SBI investigates how inmate's brain was badly injured" suggests that Helms may not have been tried fairly, but even if he had been, the abuse he has endured would be wrong.

I don't expect prison to be fun or easy, but I always thought that part of what it means to be Americans is that we treat people humanely, even our enemies, even the worst of us. Apparently, Helms was not allowed contact with other inmates. He suffered injuries so severe that he is now an invalid. It isn't hard to wonder, well who did this?

I can't believe it was necessary to permanently paralyze a man to subdue him. I can't believe it was necessary to completely isolate this human being. Are the people of North Carolina any better off with this man beaten almost to death? The persons responsible have shamed us all.

Helms deserved better from our prison system. More importantly, the people of North Carolina deserved better service from the prison system.

Nicole Baucom-Hays


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