This fellow spent 3 more days in isolation than I did. “Thank you, God, for my strong spirit!”
What these articles do NOT tell you is that MOST people in isolation are put there by mean-spirited out of control prison guards as punishment for daring to speak up or trying to contact the outside world about prison abuse, deplorable conditions, or extreme medical neglect! READ What They Did to Me
Either the reporters don’t know, or they don’t want YOU to know!
Excerpts from the Article:
In his own words, Jay Vermillion described his temporary home at the Westville Correctional Facility, inside a unit that housed the “worst of the worst.”
Vermillion spent 23-24 hours a day in a cold “concrete tomb with a solid steel door.” There was no direct contact or interaction with others. No telephone use, work or recreation. Just the smell of mace fumes, the ransacking of cells and “humiliating strip searches,” Vermillion said.
“All of the out-of-control and unmanageable worst-of-the-worst are housed in ‘cold storage’ to induce dormancy,” he stated in a federal complaint.
Vermillion, who’s serving a decadeslong sentence for murder and other offenses, said he didn’t belong there. But starting in 2009, Vermillion remained in the unit for more than four years, he said. All while being denied a clear explanation for why he was there and a chance to explain why he believed he shouldn’t be — a right afforded to him and every inmate under the law, attorney Maggie Filler, of the Chicago-based MacArthur Justice Center, told IndyStar.
Indiana law says the maximum allowable term in solitary is 30 days, after which the department must review the offender to determine whether the inmate should stay segregated. Rather than hold these required reviews, Filler said, the DOC simply tacked on more days to Vermillion’s term.
Vermillion said he served back-to-back disciplinary terms in solitary: 1,513 days to be exact.
Now, after suing the Department of Correction, the state, namely taxpayers, will pay Vermillion roughly $100,000 for each year he spent in isolation, according to Filler. As Vermillion’s case was heading to trial in Indianapolis federal court, his attorneys reached a settlement last month with the state for $425,000, according to a copy of the settlement provided to IndyStar.
The case, Filler said, illustrates the need to protect the rights of prisoners—a population that may not always garner sympathy, but are still linked to society, even behind bars.
“Most people who enter prison are one day going to get out,” Filler, one of Vermillion’s lawyers, said. “And they’re going to be living in free society. So it’s incumbent upon us to make sure that the prison experience is more rehabilitative than it is just purely destructive.”
But even if one is not inclined toward sympathy for prison inmates, there is another reason to be concerned about the state’s actions: It came at a significant cost to taxpayers. Indiana Department of Correction spokesman Dave Bursten told IndyStar that the agency agreed to resolve the case to avoid the “uncertainties” of litigation and the expenses that would be incurred. “We continue to deny any fault, wrongdoing or liability with respect to this litigation,” Bursten said in the statement.
Vermillion was convicted in 1997 of shooting and killing his former girlfriend in 1995, court documents show. He’s currently detained at the Pendleton Correctional Facility and won’t be released until around 2036. In July 2009, he was serving time at Indiana State Prison when three men known to Vermillion escaped from the prison and were later apprehended, according to Vermillion’s complaint. Vermillion said prison officials questioned him, believing he was involved in the escape. Vermillion said he shut down the interview after invoking his constitutional right against self-incrimination.
Vermillion received this explanation on a piece of paper, Filler said, but the law requires much more. Because solitary confinement can be so damaging to inmates, Filler said, Indiana prisons must conduct reviews of their solitary terms at the end of the 30-day period. “At every review, he would just get the same piece of paper over and over again,” Filler said. “No indication as to what he needed to do to get out. No consideration of how his behavior has been up to that point.”
Filler told IndyStar that Vermillion’s settlement is one of the largest she’s aware of for a person who is still serving a prison sentence. She compared it to the federal case of Aaron Irby-Israel, an Indiana inmate who said he spent more than 20 years in solitary and won $314,000 after a bench trial earlier this year.
Had his case gone to a jury, Vermillion, 59, could have possibly gotten more than $425,000, according to Jeff Cardella, a criminal defense attorney in Indianapolis. But with a murder conviction, he would have also been rolling the dice.
“Some clients are more sympathetic than others,” Cardella said. “And somebody who is in prison generally falls at the lower end of the sympathy spectrum. It’s not technically something jurors should be considering. But jurors are human. And it’s something they do consciously or unconsciously consider.”
Cardella said $425,000 is not an unreasonable number, given how damaging solitary can be on individuals. The punishment, which has become more controversial over time, can cause severe depression, distortions and hallucinations, nightmares and lower levels of brain function, according to the Vera Institute of Justice.
Cardella said he believes such a punishment should be reserved for cases in which the inmate poses a serious danger to other inmates and prison employees, not used as discipline for bad behavior.
“We want as a society to have punishment for crime,” Cardella said, “and we want to be protected from people who are potentially dangerous. But at the same time, we don’t want the punishment to be sadistic or unnecessarily harsh, merely for the point of harming another individual, even if that individual has done something.”
The Whole Story