I must keep ever alert, keeping an eye out for significantly misleading statements like several in this article.
First, I know from the calls, letters and emails which I receive daily (and my calls to two guards, who refuse to speak publicly for fear of unlawful retaliation), and my frequent contact with other prison reform advocates, that health care in America’s prisons remains a disaster. Don’t be deceived by statements like: “We will continue to expand upon these innovative ideas to provide the highest quality and cost-effective care to offenders.” High quality health care never has existed in our prisons.
The head of D O C also says: “Every offender in DOC custody receives medical screenings that identify treatment needs. Inmates with chronic and recurring conditions receive ongoing-care planning and follow-up treatment, according to the news release.” The “screening” is grossly inadequate, with inmates still dying within a few days of arrival and their initial screening, from various health issues, including drug overdoses which either went undetected or blatantly ignored when the inmate told the medical screener and guards something like: “I am suffering from an overdose of … meth, coke, etc. … and I feel terrible and need a doctor”! No shit, folks, it is that bad!
Instead of this statement by Dr. Johnny Wu, Centurion’s chief of clinical operations: “Centurion is committed to leveraging proven best practices from our national network of caregivers and health care partners to provide excellent care to our Delaware patients and support their well-being,” this clown should have said: “Centurion is committed to leveraging its proven propensity for lying and covering up its abysmal failures to ensure as much profit as possible for the corporation and its officers, like me.”
Excerpts from the Article:
The Delaware Department of Correction said today that innovative wound care being provided by its correctional health care provider is showing promising results in improving treatment for inmates. Inmates have a wide variety of routine and recurring health care needs, and newly arriving inmates may have open and infected wounds from a variety of conditions, including injection drug use, uncontrolled diabetes, obesity and physical trauma, according to a DOC news release. Skin irritation from opiate withdrawal and other causes, such as parasitic infestations, can also prompt prolonged scratching that exacerbates open wounds, the DOC said.
Through an “innovative” wound care service brought to Delaware by Centurion Health, the state’s correctional health care provider, inmates are receiving enhanced treatment and are recovering faster from skin wounds compared to traditional courses of treatment, according to the DOC.
“DOC has made a concerted effort over the past year to improve the quality of medical care inmates in our custody receive, and Centurion’s specialized wound care treatment is just one more example of our renewed focus on strengthening prison-based health care services,” said DOC Commissioner Claire DeMatteis.
“With the national expertise Centurion brings to the Delaware DOC, inmates are recovering more quickly and need fewer visits to outside emergency rooms and hospitalizations, which reduces the strain on our health care system. We will continue to expand upon these innovative ideas to provide the highest quality and cost-effective care to offenders.”
Every offender in DOC custody receives medical screenings that identify treatment needs. Inmates with chronic and recurring conditions receive ongoing-care planning and follow-up treatment, according to the news release.
Previously, according to the DOC, inmates with open wounds and wound-related skin infections received standard wound care treatments. DOC’s medical provider Centurion Health, which was awarded the contract to provide health care to Delaware inmates this spring, focused early on improving inmate access to high-quality and specialized wound care services.
As the nation’s largest provider of correctional health care, Centurion had employed the national wound care service MyWoundDoctor in other states. It began leveraging MyWoundDoctor services in Delaware four months ago and has experienced noticeable results improving patient outcomes, the DOC said.
Through this treatment service, prison-based medical staff employed by Centurion provide patient information, case notes and photographs electronically to MyWoundDoctor, whose wound care specialists design an individualized treatment plan using a variety of evidence-based approaches, the DOC said.
Treatment materials and a wound care package that takes into account the patient’s underlying chronic health conditions, present condition of the wound and location of the wound are prepared individually for each patient and delivered by express mail. Prison medical staff administer the specially designed course of treatment and closely monitor the patient’s condition. Regular updates are transmitted electronically to MyWoundDoctor specialists, who adjust the treatment protocol as needed, the DOC said.
“Centurion is committed to leveraging proven best practices from our national network of caregivers and health care partners to provide excellent care to our Delaware patients and support their well-being,” said Dr. Johnny Wu, Centurion’s chief of clinical operations.
The Whole Story:
Letter to the Editor or Op Ed Submission – Keep Alert! 10/1/20
I must keep ever alert, keeping an eye out for significantly misleading statements like several in a recent article about Delaware D O C “healthcare”.
First, I know from the calls, letters and emails which I receive daily from inmates and their loved ones (and my calls to two guards, who refuse to speak publicly for fear of unlawful retaliation), and my frequent contact with other prison reform advocates, that health care in America’s prisons remains a disaster.
Don’t be deceived by statements like: “We will continue to expand upon these innovative ideas to provide the highest quality and cost-effective care to offenders.” High quality health care never has existed in our prisons.
The head of D O C also says: “Every offender in DOC custody receives medical screenings that identify treatment needs. Inmates with chronic and recurring conditions receive ongoing-care planning and follow-up treatment, according to the news release.”
The “screening” is grossly inadequate, with inmates still dying within a few days of arrival and their initial screening, from various health issues, including drug overdoses which either went undetected or blatantly ignored when the inmate told the medical screener and guards something like: “I am suffering from an overdose of … meth, coke, heroin, etc. … and I feel terrible and need a doctor”! No fooling, folks, it is that bad!
Whether the much touted new wound treatment works, I do not yet know, but time will tell.
I am not “bitching in the newspaper”; I am simply telling the public the truth, for they deserve no less.
Ken Abraham, former Deputy Attorney General, founder of Citizens for Criminal JUSTICE, Dover, DE 302-423-4067
INSTRUCTIONS FOR LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
I get lots of letters published, and ghost write for others. THIS IS THE BEST WAY TO REACH THOUSANDS OF READERS! SEARCH “The top ten newspapers” in (your state!).
The keys to getting your Letter published are:
1. Keep it to 250 words or fewer.
2. Do not make it about “poor little old me”. Describe the problem as one which not only affects the individual, but is a senseless or ineffective measure, policy, or law which also harms communities and society. For example, with reentry, the obstacles make it unnecessarily difficult for the individual, but also harm society by making it hard to become productive, spending money and paying taxes in the community, and they cause increased recidivism = increased crime.
3. Speak from your heart.
4. Google any facts you are not sure about.
5. Do not name-call.
Do what works: Write that Letter!
Letter to Editor – sign name, town, state, and your phone number (they often call to verify that you sent it), and “Member of Citizens for Criminal JUSTICE” if you like – shows you are part of a large group.
Send the email to yourself, and put on the “bcc” bar the email addresses for Letters to the Editor for the top ten newspapers in your state and several national ones – The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, U S A Today (google the Letter to Editor email addresses). Any questions, CALL me at 302-423-4067! My “bcc” list is now about 400 papers, all over America!
GOOGLE THE EMAIL ADDRESSES FOR “LETTERS TO THE EDITOR” FOR THE TOP TEN NEWSPAPERS IN YOUR STATE AND SAVE THAT INFORMATION FOR REPEATED USE – Some papers will print a letter from you every 2 weeks, some every 30 days, some every 90 days. They have varying policies. But if you really want to make a difference shoot them a new letter once a month! I send one out every 2 weeks.
CLICK ON THE TAB ON OUR WEBSITE “LETTERS TO THE EDITOR. OPEN “ARTICLES”, THEN CLICK THAT TAB FOR HUNDREDS OF SAMPLE LETTERS!
Need a Letter on some criminal justice issue and not a great letter writer? NO EXCUSE! Email me a rough draft and call me and I’ll polish it up! email@example.com .
ANY QUESTIONS, CALL ME AT 302-423-4067.
Here we see the all too common ignorant arrogance and abuse of females by law enforcement officials. This is some real BULLSHIT! I hope this woman is awarded many millions of dollars, to bankrupt the abuser.
See the unusually lenient plea deal the dirtbag got.
WOMEN, If you are in Delaware and are being sexually harassed by a Corporation, a private executive, a government official, a cop, or an entire government agency, CALL me and I shall refer you to an excellent attorney, a friend of mine, who SPECIALIZES in suits to get you justice and hold the assholes accountable! 302-423-4067. You need not put up with such shit!
Excerpts from the Article:
A former Buncombe County jail deputy was so rattled by the sexual abuse and harassment she faced at work that she vomited in the shower every morning before work, her lawsuit filed earlier this week said.
She showed up to work at the Buncombe County Detention Center to do her job and support her family, all the while trying to avoid the notice of her boss, Capt. Charles “Josh” Wilhelm, her complaint said.
She tried to have a female colleague sit in her office when she expected Wilhelm to be nearby. But her precautions, her attempts to defuse or ignore his behavior didn’t work, the lawsuit said — the unsolicited photos, his requests for her nudes and his lewd comments toward her continued unabated.
He called her to his office multiple times under the pretense of a work-related issue and then tried to grope her — sometimes he succeeded, the lawsuit said.
The plaintiff’s tearful appeals for help to a superior who could stop the harassment went unanswered, the complaint said. Her entreaties to other co-workers who could help her fell on deaf ears or were met with sexist comments, the lawsuit said. Had any one of them done anything about Wilhelm’s behavior, the lawsuit said, he would not have felt entitled to continue an escalating campaign of sexual harassment and assault against multiple women.
Named in her lawsuit, in addition to Wilhelm, are several former Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office employees: former Sheriff Jack Van Duncan, former Chief Scott Allen, former Sgt. Calvin Elliott and former Lt. Larry Woods. The lawsuit also names Buncombe County and the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office.
The incidents described in the lawsuit occurred before current Sheriff Quentin Miller took the oath of office on Dec. 3, 2018. All of the employees named in the lawsuit either were fired, retired or resigned before Miller took office.
Because of what the lawsuit calls “negligence” to ensure that employees could work in an environment free from sexual harassment and assault, the former employee is suing for damages in excess of $175,000, with punitive damages in an amount to be determined by a jury.
In a related criminal probe last year, Wilhelm pleaded guilty to three misdemeanor charges of assault on a female relating to his conduct toward two women.
The lawsuit seeks $175,000 for several negligent actions that the plaintiff said allowed Wilhelm to continue more than a decade of unwanted advances, harassment, multiple assaults and other actions forbidden by office policy against the plaintiff, including him sending her unsolicited pictures of his genitals. The lawsuit also seeks punitive damages in an amount to be determined by a jury.
The suit said Wilhelm boasted that other women he supervised at the jail sent him sexually suggestive pictures at work and that nobody would find out, and he sent pictures of his exposed genitals to several of his subordinates.
In November 2016, the lawsuit said, Wilhelm was promoted to run the jail and was in charge of reviewing policies. “Ironically, Sheriff Duncan put Capt. Wilhelm in charge of ensuring that none of the employees at the jail suffered sexual abuse. (The plaintiff) worked directly for him as the administrative sergeant,” the lawsuit said.
Wilhelm continued to harass his colleague through 2017, the lawsuit said. At one point, he told the woman that she needed to choose between her personal life and her professional life.
“He asked (the plaintiff) to send him pictures and sent her pictures of him in his underwear with an obvious erection,” the lawsuit said. “She did not ask for any of this and never reciprocated or appreciated it.”
As 2017 continued, so did the abuse, the lawsuit said. Wilhelm at times called her to his office for work-related tasks. In one of a series of similar attacks, he put his hand on her knee and fondled her breast, the lawsuit said. She “pushed his hand away, but he kept grabbing her and said, ‘Just let me feel, I want to feel.’” Before she left Wilhelm’s office, he told her: “’I know you like it, I know you want it.’” the lawsuit said. “She neither enjoyed nor wanted her boss to sexually assault her in his office, then or ever.” Immediately after she left his office, he texted a request for a nude picture, the lawsuit said.
On another occasion, the lawsuit details an incident where he grabbed her hand and pressed it against the crotch of his pants while grabbing her breast with his other hand. In another instance, he put his hand down her shirt and into her bra to grope her naked breast, and ground his crotch against her, the lawsuit said.
“On every single occasion that Capt. Wilhelm attacked (the plaintiff) physically in his office, she was terrified of him,” the lawsuit said. “She never agreed to any of these attacks or willingly participated in what transpired.”
The plaintiff was not the only woman whom Wilhelm harassed, the lawsuit said. In one instance, an employee told then-Capt. Woods what Wilhelm was doing to her. The lawsuit was not specific about what he allegedly did but said Woods had the power to stop Wilhelm and did nothing.
In May 2017, the lawsuit said, the plaintiff asked her boss for time off to attend doctor appointments for two of her children. Wilhelm told her she could leave early if she did “a few things.”
“Capt. Wilhelm grabbed her hand and forced her to touch him over his clothes on his groin,” the lawsuit said. “Capt. Wilhelm then rubbed (the plaintiff’s) chest and tried to force her to crawl under his desk and perform oral sex on him.” She refused and “was able to escape Capt. Wilhelm’s office,” the lawsuit said. Her actions “visibly angered Capt. Wilhelm.”
She returned later that day to confront him over the attack but realized he had left the office. Instead, the lawsuit said she talked to then-Chief Allen and said Wilhelm should stop mistreating her. “She became emotional when discussing Capt. Wilhelm,” the lawsuit said. “After (the plaintiff) tearfully asked for his help, Chief Allen brushed off her concerns,” the lawsuit said. He did make one suggestion: “If you make Wilhelm some dinner, it will make everything better,” Allen said, according to the lawsuit. “While he offered no help to (the plaintiff), apparently Chief Allen told Capt. Wilhelm that she had raised an alarm about this behavior. Capt. Wilhelm was angry at (her) for reporting him and retaliated against her.” The lawsuit also said Allen and Wilhelm had “a close personal and professional relationship.”
Then in October 2017, Wilhelm called her to his office over the message system, the lawsuit said. When she arrived, he asked if he could touch her, the lawsuit said. “I don’t want you to,” she said. “So you aren’t saying no,” he said, according to the lawsuit, before fondling her breast. He then exposed himself to her and forced her to touch him. “She froze from the trauma,” the lawsuit said. “Her brain would not work, so she just sat there and tried to look out the window and focus on something else and try to mentally escape the sexual assault that unfolded in her boss’s office. “When he ejaculated, she tried to leave his office, but he blocked the door. He said: ‘Don’t leave yet,’” the lawsuit said. “Despite her terror, she managed to push him away, open the door, and escape from his office.”
In November 2017, she took leave for mental health reasons. The following month, Duncan promoted Wilhelm to captain, the lawsuit said.
In Jan. 9, 2018, the woman approached the county human resources director “about the abuse and sexual assault she suffered at Capt. Wilhelm’s hands,” the lawsuit said. “Only then, after someone outside of the sheriff’s chain of command became aware of the abusive, criminal activity Capt. Wilhelm had taken against the women who worked for him at the BCSO, did Sheriff Duncan and his senior management finally start to take action to investigate how he abused all of these victims,” the lawsuit said.
That same day Sheriff Duncan put Wilhelm on paid leave, county employment records show. Also on the same day, according to the lawsuit, “one or more higher-ranking officials within the BCSO” told others not to talk with anyone from the county human resources department or help with the criminal investigation into Wilhelm’s actions.
Once the county human resources department and the State Bureau of Investigations started looking into the plaintiff’s claims, the lawsuit said, then-Sheriff Duncan told her, “It would be a good idea for you to resign or transfer.”
“She had enjoyed working in her career at the jail, but she had to leave it,” her complaint said. The woman left the department in March 2018, her attorney told CPP. The SBI started looking into Wilhelm’s conduct, and the sheriff fired Wilhelm on Jan. 22, 2018, for violating the office’s general conduct standards, county records show.
In late 2019, Wilhelm pleaded guilty to three misdemeanor counts of assault on a female for harassing and assaulting women who worked with him after initially being charged with six counts of sexual battery. Wilhelm served a 30-day sentence in the Madison County Jail.
Through her attorney Ellis Boyle, the plaintiff said an assistant district attorney spoke with both victims before Wilhelm pleaded to the smaller number of charges. Unlike sexual battery, the charges to which he pleaded did not require his placement on the sex offender registry. She was not pleased with the sentence. “I was upset because it felt like he was getting away with his crimes with just a slap on the wrist,” she said in the lawsuit. “From what I understand, he was even allowed to choose which jail he would serve his sentence.”
Our friend, a young lady with the ACLU, recently had this published in our state’s largest paper. All states should listen and solve this problem which I have mentioned for years!
READ Letter to Editor or Editorial Submission – What a Monster we Have Created! Probation and Parole 2/19/19 PUBLISHED
Excerpts from the Article”
COVID-19 impacted Delaware’s criminal justice system in many ways, including how we police communities and those on probation. Those changes have led to the biggest decrease in Delaware’s prison and probation populations in the last ten years.
While many police departments were reluctant to speak publicly about how the pandemic changed policing, we did see some important changes from local law enforcement. In the wake of the pandemic, according to an article from DelawareOnline, the New Castle County Chief of Police requested that his officers use greater discretion in proactive traffic or pedestrian stops and weigh if the stop would expose the officer or civilian to COVID-19. Similarly, according to an article from the Middletown Transcript, Middletown’s Chief of Police limited unnecessary exposure to COVID-19 by handling non-emergency situations over the phone and only taking people into custody if they were a threat.
Furthermore, probation should be a temporary tool that can help a person re-enter the community after incarceration. While it should aid a person’s rehabilitation, too often Delaware’s system treats people punitively. Inflexible rules and a lack of compassion for an individual’s unique needs can lead people back to prison without having committed a new crime.
Delaware’s probation system sends thousands back to incarceration each year for violating a technical condition or “crimeless” condition of their probation, such as missing meetings with their probation officer, missing curfew, or failing a drug test. Recently, though, the Department of Correction (DOC) temporarily stopped incarcerating people for technical violations during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Prison cell bars.
Between February and August 2020, Delaware’s probation population dropped by roughly 1935 people, and the incarcerated population decreased by 900. While the cause of this decline is unknown, it is likely attributable to a combination of factors that include: reduced crime; changed policing methods that caused fewer people to be charged with a crime and ultimately sentenced to probation; judges being cognizant of the impact on the defendant and the system of placing another person on probation or in jail; probation officers altering some of the conditions of probation, such as conducting meetings by phone rather than in-person; or even the DOC determining that additional monitoring was no longer necessary. However, one thing is certain: COVID-19 forced criminal justice system stakeholders to reconsider who should be in the system and who should not.
When the threat of this virus wanes, and as Delaware continues to reopen and navigate a new normal, our leaders must remember that lives are always on the line. These temporary criminal justice system changes made in response to the COVID-19 crisis have improved our system for the better. This should become the new normal, and we should not return to the status quo as it existed in the pre-COVID world.
As Delaware’s economy recovers and leaders look for ways to tackle a possible budget deficit, the benefits of permanently adopting these temporary changes to the criminal legal system become even more apparent. If state leaders were able to reduce the number of technical probation violations by 60% and cut the average amount of time on probation by half, they would save at least $37 million by 2025. Those are dollars we can reinvest in our schools, healthcare, economic development, and enhancing reentry services.
Delaware leaders should permanently adopt the changes to probation and policing that are already working. The response to COVID-19 has shown that expedient change is possible. If the system’s leaders decide to, they can change the probation and policing system — and they can do it quickly.
Javonne Rich is policy advocate at the ACLU of Delaware.
Of course it was negligence. Gross negligence, as with scores of other articles I have posted. Wake up, America! Health care in our prisons is a joke, and it is costing YOU BILLIONS of $$$$$$ every year.
Read about the needless death of Tom Husar. Unfortunately, his parents are mistaken in thinking that a $5 million verdict will be a deterrent. It won’t; I have seen too many of these! The only possible deterrent is prosecution and imprisonment of those responsible!
Excerpts from the Article:
It was negligence, Thomas Husar’s parents claim in a lawsuit, when their son’s medical needs went unanswered for at least 12 hours in the Broome County jail.
It was deliberate indifference, they say, when corrections officers ignored 40-year-old Thomas as he began crying for help from his cell the afternoon of Nov. 5, 2019 — pleas other inmates echoed on his behalf in the hours that followed.
And it was a violation of Thomas’ legal rights, his parents argue, when jail personnel failed to provide him with adequate medical care for his chronic illness during the three weeks he spent behind bars before he died.
The $5 million in damages sought by Thomas’ parents Mike and Diane Husar in a negligence lawsuit filed in court Sept. 15 won’t bring him back, but they argue it could bring accountability for his death while he was in jail.
The seed of a lawsuit — Husar was the ninth Broome County inmate to die in the jail since 2011 — was planted in January when the Husars filed a notice of claim against the county and the sheriff’s office, their first step toward legal action. The 19-page lawsuit filed in the state Supreme Court of Broome County argues Thomas Husar’s death was preventable.
Diane and Mike Husar of Binghamton with photos of their late son Tom Husar, who died in November 2019. Tom suffered from a chronic disease and was in the Broome County Jail on a probation violation when he died. January 23, 2020.
“Thomas was not monitored or treated with reasonable care under the circumstances, and was not monitored or treated in accordance with internal policy, statewide regulations … for providing basic medical care to inmates in a correctional environment,” Ray Schlather, the Husar’s Ithaca-based attorney, said in the lawsuit.
Defendants in the complaint include Broome County, Sheriff David Harder, the jail’s administrator Major Mark Smolinsky, as well as unnamed John/Jane Doe defendants who are employed by the county.
Thomas Husar, a Chenango Valley High School graduate and Eagle Scout, stood at 6-foot-5 and loved to play basketball. But when his attempts at playing at the college level didn’t pan out, he turned to coaching. Husar spent a year coaching in North Carolina, then took a job as an assistant college coach at Mount St. Vincent’s in New York City.
But in 2009, after about two years battling intense pain symptoms, doctors put him on a grueling regimen of high-dose opioid medications. He’d been diagnosed with systemic mastocytosis, a condition that created high numbers of mast cells in his small bowel wall.
Background:Thomas Husar died after his arrest on a probation violation. His parents blame the jail.
A doctor who treated Husar in New York City described it as an “unusual condition,” one that couldn’t be cured, but could be treated. Symptoms included chronic severe abdominal pain, unpredictable swelling of the ankles to an extent that impedes walking and in other parts of the body, transient numbness, headache, nausea, vomiting, fever and excessive thirst.
That diagnosis and his strict medication requirements cut Husar’s coaching career short in 2015, and he returned to Broome County to live with his parents. Two years later, in 2017, Husar was charged in Binghamton with driving while impaired by drugs. His family believes his prescription medication was a factor in the arrest.
He pleaded guilty in exchange for probation, which he was later accused of violating for missing a court appearance in 2019. He was jailed that October.
The lawsuit filed Tuesday argues the Broome County Sheriff and the jail’s administrator were personally informed of Husar’s illness, that he’d been in the jail’s medical unit and that he’d previously been hospitalized while an inmate.
The lawsuit said Husar had been taken into custody earlier in 2019, and spent a week hospitalized while handcuffed to his bed, before he was released. In late October, about a week before Husar’s death, the lawsuit said, a corrections officer requested that Husar be returned to the jail’s medical unit because of his declining health. That requested transfer never happened.
Husar lost about 30 pounds during his three weeks in jail and he developed an ulcer, according to the lawsuit. He was awaiting a Nov. 6, 2019 court date.
The lawsuit said Husar began calling for help from his cell around 2 p.m. on Nov. 5, showing “obvious pain, confusion and distress.” For 12 hours, the lawsuit claims, his cries were ignored and no attempts at medical care were made. Some jail personnel allegedly told others to “ignore him,” the lawsuit said, and a lockdown of the cell block was ordered.
The next morning, at 2:38 a.m., jail officers found Husar collapsed in his cell. He was later pronounced dead.
A copy of Thomas Husar’s death certificate stated the manner of his death was by natural cause, the result of bleeding out from the ulceration of an artery.
But the lawsuit also argues “deficient and substandard” policies and practices by Broome County officials during Husar’s incarceration, either individually or in combination, were factors in his death.
Read the Thomas Husar lawsuit here:
Studies show that isolation for juveniles is wildly counterproductive. I have seen adults go nuts (start talking to themselves, answering themselves, etc.) and it is worse for juveniles.
As for my experience, when guards willfully, maliciously, and criminally kept me in isolation for 415 days … “Thank you, God, for my strong spirit”.
Many kids need mental health attention, which is totally lacking in all of our prisons.
Excerpts from the Article:
Isolation. Timeout. Lockdown. The hole. Solitary confinement goes by many names, and it can be employed as arbitrarily as the language used to define it.
“There is no single standard for anything in the United States when it comes to crime and punishment, which is usually to everyone’s detriment,” said Ian Kysel, a visiting assistant clinical professor of law at Cornell Law School.
“In the area of conditions of confinement, that really continues to be the case. There’s really no enforceable national standards for anything in relation to minimally adequate conditions of confinement.”
Solitary confinement has its roots in the Quakers, a Protestant sect exploring more humane ways to treat criminals in the late 18th century. Quakers used isolation as a means of purification through introspective prayer — a form of penance.
The practice has since transformed and been institutionalized throughout the U.S. justice system, including in juvenile facilities as a means of discipline, protection and treatment.
Roughly 20% to 26% of youth reported being isolated during their time in juvenile detention. Of these, 87% reported they were isolated for more than two hours, while 53% said it was longer than 24 hours, according to a 2016 report by the federal Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency
“Solitary confinement and other forms of isolation remain all too common in juvenile facilities,” said Karen Lindell, a senior attorney at the Juvenile Law Center. “As described in our 2017 report on the use of solitary confinement, almost half of juvenile facilities report using isolation to control behavior, and more than two-thirds of juvenile defenders we polled say they have clients who spent time in solitary.”
Rule 45.1 of the UN’s “Nelson Mandela Rules” of internationally recognized guidelines states that solitary confinement “shall be used only in exceptional cases as a last resort, for as short a time as possible.”
At the national level, a federal law in 2016 prohibited the use of solitary confinement and involuntary seclusion to punish children — but it’s only applicable to those in federal Bureau of Prison facilities. However, across the country, it’s up to state and local officials to regulate the use of solitary confinement.
Jacqueline Rodriguez, then 12, spent the 2009 Christmas holidays at the Hillcrest Juvenile Hall in San Mateo, California. She was held in isolation because state law required roommates to be no more than two years apart in age and there were no other detainees 14 or younger.
Advocates, researchers, legislators and psychologists agree on the long-lasting, detrimental effects solitary confinement has on youth and adults alike. Despite overwhelming evidence and pressure from these groups, solitary confinement still is utilized in nearly every state for one reason or another. According to the National Conference of State Legislators, 16 states use it without limitations.
One of those states is Louisiana, where juvenile detention centers follow standards outlined by the state’s Department of Child and Family Services. Long-term correctional facilities follow standards outlined by the Office of Juvenile Justice. These standards mainly address the process employees must follow after placing a youth in room confinement, room isolation, protective isolation or administrative segregation. Included are mandatory check-ins and proper documentation. “I would say that those standards are still lacking. They still allow kids to be confined in their cells for too long,” said Rachel Gassert, policy director at the Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights. “It’s certainly of no value and it’s very harmful.”
Isolation can have an almost immediate psychological impact and cause lasting trauma in adults, research has shown, but experts say its effects on young people are more detrimental because their brains still are developing.
The extensive psychological effects of solitary can include hallucinations, anxiety, rage, insomnia, self-harm and suicidal thoughts and attempts, according to a 2011 report by Human Rights Watch. Physical damage includes lack of adequate exercise, physical changes, stunted growth, inadequate nutrition, hair loss and problems menstruating.
Experts say young people placed in solitary are more at risk to develop depression, engage in acts of self harm and attempt or die by suicide. Those with a history of mental illness, trauma and abuse are even more at risk.
This was the case for Solan Peterson, 13, of Louisiana. On Feb. 1, 2019, Solan was sent to Ware Youth Center in Coushatta after setting a roll of toilet paper on fire in his middle school restroom. Four days later, he was placed in solitary confinement after taking apart a lamp and using it to break the lock on his cell door. On Feb. 10, Solan died by suicide in the room he was confined.
“I think it was a major contributor to his death,” said his father, Ronnie Peterson. “He was not the type that would have survived long in solitary confinement.” Two days before Solan took his life, a 17-year-old at Ware had died by suicide while in solitary.
Solan was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and had a history of trauma from his time in the foster care system, where he went from home to home until his adoption in October 2013.
“When it’s like the situation we grew up in,” said Siarah Shalom Hall, Solan’s biological sister. “Occasionally after having been adopted it would cross my mind, ‘I wonder if my biological parents are still alive? I wonder how they’re doing or if one of them have killed themselves?’ “It never even crossed my mind that it was one of my siblings.”
Under Louisiana’s guidelines, corrections officers are supposed to check on young people held in solitary every 15 minutes. They didn’t. About two that morning in 2019, Peterson and his wife received a phone call informing them their son had hanged himself using a bedsheet and died hours before. He had been in isolation for four days.
“He would have probably been OK in a regular cell amongst a bunch of other kids in Ware,” his father said. “It might not have been ideal, and he might have had some problems, but I don’t think we’d had the same outcome.”
Hall, Solan’s sister, said there were red flags that should’ve been considered before placing Solan in confinement, including his childhood trauma and ADHD medications. “It just blows my mind that every single sign just slipped past everyone,” she said. “So many people played a role in this happening, and so many people were able to prevent it and just no one did.
“If there were even just a few more regulations. There were tons of things that could be put into place. But even if one of those things were there, this could have been prevented.”
After Solan’s suicide, his family became advocates against the use of solitary confinement, working with various groups and lawmakers, including the Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights, to push new legislation. In June 2019, Gov. John Bel Edwards signed House Bill 158, commonly known as Solan’s Law.
The law provides alternatives to juvenile detention in Louisiana and requires screening that takes into account any factors — such as previous arrests and mental health — that would lessen or increase a sentence.
“The idea was just to establish objective criteria that was aligned with the purpose of detention,” Gassert said. “That does not mean that a child must be detained if they meet certain criteria. But just that they should not be detained if they don’t meet the criteria.”
Although Solan’s Law doesn’t specifically address solitary confinement, it’s considered a step in the right direction as an increasing number of advocates push for Louisiana to ban the practice. “That’s by far not all that needs to be done,” Hall said. “There is so much more. Even through this, I learned a lot that’s wrong with solitary confinement.”
Isolation practices should only be used when it’s deemed absolutely necessary through set protocols, she said, such as when a child is putting others in genuine danger. “I would like to see all solitary confinement abolished,” Peterson said, ’but especially for youths because I find it to be a kind of torture.”
Seven states have laws that limit or prohibit the use of solitary confinement in youth detention centers, according to the National Conference of State Legislators.
In January 2018, California enacted legislation that provides specific guidelines for juvenile solitary confinement and replaced the term with “room confinement.” The law limits room confinement to four hours, after which the minor must be released and checked by medical staff, or given a plan detailing when he or she will be released from the locked room.
“You could have a law that bans all uses of solitary confinement,” said Lindell with the Juvenile Law Center, “and yet the system might still be very often placing kids in a room by themselves for many hours at a time, or perhaps days at a time for their own safety or for something called room confinement or isolation. There’s all these kinds of different euphemisms or terms.”
Experts and advocates say isolation is a last-resort method of de-escalation that should only be used to allow a child time to calm down. If it doesn’t work, Lindell said, employees must try something else. “You don’t need to just continue to put that person in the room for longer,” she said. “You need to get another mental health professional involved. You need to try something different. There’s a whole host of different tools, potentially, but what we don’t need is to be next to extend that period.”
Lindell said “necessary” use of solitary confinement should be for a matter of hours, never for punishment and always as a time to calm down.
Kysel, the Cornell law professor, called the continued use of solitary confinement in the U.S. despite widespread condemnation “a kind of comprehensive institutional failure.”
“You’re not going to reform the use of solitary confinement without reforming the way that we treat young people in conflict with the law,” he said.
Jos Fox is a Myrta J. Pulliam fellow. This report is part of Kids Imprisoned, an investigation of juvenile justice in America produced by the Carnegie-Knight News21 program. For more stories, visit kidsimprisoned.news21.com. If you or someone you know is in need of help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or text 741-741 to connect with a trained crisis counselor right away.
Every law enforcement agency and prison should disclose names and details of officers charged with a crime! Here we see the all too familiar cover up activity of a prison.
This fat cat, Kelso, is a real clown! A rich one, but a clown nonetheless.
READ Culture of Cover Up:
Excerpts from the Article:
Two corrections officers at the Middlesex County Adult Corrections Center were suspended after being charged with crimes in 2019, but county officials won’t say who they are or what they did. Warden Mark Cranston and County Counsel Thomas Kelso have thus far protected the identities of the charged employees, and cleared one of them to return to work at the jail.
At a time when law enforcement transparency and accountability is at the forefront of the national discussion, Cranston and Kelso are actively violating the New Jersey Attorney General’s internal affairs policies.
The long-standing guidelines require all law enforcement agencies, including jails and prisons, to “periodically release a brief synopsis of all complaints where a fine or suspension of 10 days or more was assessed to an agency member.” By now, a synopsis on each of these cases, and possibly others, should have been released.
But Middlesex County’s jail has not released any, despite repeated requests for this information from Warden Cranston over the past six weeks. Kelso, who was initially under the impression the two corrections officers were convicted of crimes, didn’t hesitate to defend concealing their names and offenses committed at an August 20 public meeting. As it turns out, both men are still defendants in criminal cases, despite what the jail indicated on their annual “professional standards summary.”
One of the officers was suspended for six months, “which was the maximum period that was appropriate for the offense he was charged with,” according to Kelso. The other employee was “suspended without pay, pending termination,” Kelso said on September 17. “Neither one were involved in incidents that were job-related. They were non-job-related,” assured Kelso, the county’s top lawyer.
Kelso is paid over $206,000 to be the Middlesex County Counsel, and can come and go as he pleases, as the job has no set hours.
While Passaic County ousted their top lawyer for refusing to work full-time, the elected leaders here have supported Kelso unconditionally even as he runs a law firm and works for big developers on the side.
Kelso represents nearly all of the major developers building in New Brunswick, including the New Brunswick Development Corporation (DEVCO), the notorious enterprise that built the county government’s headquarters, and much of downtown New Brunswick. For weeks, Kelso was an obstacle to information about the corrections officers that found themselves on the wrong side of the law.
“Mr. Kratovil, that information is not available to the public,” Kelso told this reporter on August 20. “What’s posted on the website now for 2019 is the information that is required to be provided to the public.” But the information Kelso provided was not accurate, according one of the elected officials who was questioned by New Brunswick Today.
When faced with New Brunswick Today’s first question during the public comment period of the meeting, asking how many CO’s had been convicted of crimes in 2019, Kelso answered confidently: “The answer is two.” But, on September 3, Freeholder Shanti Narra admitted there was an error on the jail’s internal affairs summary form, which overstated the two matters as “convictions” in “Superior Court.”
The internal affairs form was corrected the following day, after the Attorney General was notified of the situation by New Brunswick Today.
Now it characterizes both cases as “Diverted” instead of “Convictions.”
Cranston, who took over as warden in 2014, after leaving a high-level position in the New York City Department of Corrections. He lives in Union County, and is paid a $164,124 salary to run the corrections campus in North Brunswick, which includes the 1,200-bed jail, as well as a 100-bed juvenile detention center.
During Cranston’s first year as Warden, a young Plainfield resident named David Yearby died in the jail, and following the release of disturbing video, the county’s insurance company paid the man’s family $5 million this year. Cranston also ran afoul of the county’s policy that required him to live in the county, until this reporter brought the violation to his attention in 2018.
While some of the inmates are serving sentences for criminal convictions, many have only been accused of a crime and awaiting trial, not unlike at least one of the corrections officers roaming the hallways.
The jail still has a policy of taking $100 cash “fee” from every inmate upon entry, in a move to bolster the county budget
“We’re not providing that information to you because it is not required,” said Kelso, after being asked what crimes the officers were convicted of. This reporter responded with outrage at the secrecy to protect criminal officers, which carried over to the next Freeholder meeting on September 3.
Two weeks later, the Freeholder in charge of public safety provided a correction to our questions without acknowledging she was also correcting Kelso’s statements from the prior meeting.
It’s unclear whether the county will finally release required information on the cases, now that they’ve admitted the suspensions doled out far exceeded the threshold standard of ten days, or if the jail administration will face any consequences for violating the Attorney General’s guidelines.
Unless and until some transparency rule or law is enacted, some of the only information available will be the sometimes-flawed summary forms filed by agencies like the Middlesex County Jail.
According to the revised document, the jail completed 19 internal affairs investigations in 2019, and five of those complaints were sustained. One of the five was categorized as “other criminal violation.”
Further complicating matters, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal has made a thus far unsuccessful attempt to increase the minimum transparency when it comes to cases of “major discipline” at law enforcement agencies. The new directives, implemented in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd, would have expanded major discipline to include cases where an officer was suspended for five or more days, and for the first time, require the disclosure of the names of officers who received major discipline.
These cases in Middlesex County seem to show the need for more stringent requirements and enforcement of transparency.
But even though Grewal’s proposals are relatively modest, police unions have sued to stop the implementation of the directives, effectively halting public access to the names of officers found to have done wrong and leaving matters like these in limbo all over the state. Ironically, the police unions cite the state’s Open Public Records Act, claiming it represents a ceiling for the maximum transparency allowed, rather than what it is: just one way to obtain records from the government.
New Jersey’s Appellate Division heard arguments in the case on September 16. Regardless of their ruling, it’s likely be appealed to the State Supreme Court.
The directives were set to go into effect on July 15, and the New Jersey State Police and several communities had committed to also release the names of those who faced major discipline over the past 10 or 20 years.
The Whole Story:
Democrats to investigate forced surgery claims in Georgia – Now THIS is Abuse of Power and OUTRAGEOUS! – KRA
Reporter Rachel Maddow broke this news. Another tale of tRump’s ICE agency out of control. “Imagine that”, said I sarcastically.
Excerpts from the Article”
Leading congressional Democrats reacted furiously Tuesday to lightly substantiated claims that immigrants held at a detention center in Georgia are undergoing questionable hysterectomies. In a complaint filed Monday, a nurse alleges that the Irwin County Detention Center performed questionable hysterectomies, refused to test detainees for COVID-19 and shredded medical records.
A top medical official with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement released a statement “vehemently” disputing the claims, saying only two women have been referred for hysterectomies from the facility since 2018.
The statement came after Democrats seized on nurse’s allegations that a gynecologist she called the “uterus collector” was performing “mass hysterectomies” — declaring they would investigate the matter.
A follow-up news conference Tuesday in Atlanta provided little information to substantiate the claims. Lawyers for the nurse, Dawn Wooten, refused to release her full statement that she made to the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General. She declined to take questions after making a statement with no reference to mass hysterectomies or did not quantify how many of the procedures were performed on immigrant women at the facility.
Wooten worked full-time as a licensed practical nurse at the immigration jail until July, when she was demoted.
Dr. Ada Rivera, medical director of the ICE Health Service Corps, said both surgeries had been approved by ICE officials.
“To be clear, medical care decisions concerning detainees are made by medical personnel, not by law enforcement personnel,” Rivera said in the statement. “Detainees are afforded informed consent, and a medical procedure like a hysterectomy would never be performed against a detainee’s will.”
Rivera said ICE would fully cooperate with any resulting investigation by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General, but said it wished Wooten had brought claims to ICE officials first.
The doctor is not named in the complaint, but lawyers who represent women at the jail said their clients have been taken to a local gynecologist named Dr. Mahendra Amin. Scott Grubman, a lawyer for Amin, said in a statement that he was confident the doctor would be cleared of any wrongdoing. Amin was previously accused by state and federal authorities of falsely billing Medicare and Medicaid in an investigation that led to a $520,000 settlement in 2015.
Democrats were quick to jump on the allegations after spending the last three years condemning the Trump administration’s treatment of immigrants, including the separation of families and the detention of children in squalid conditions at the border.
“If true, the appalling conditions described in the whistleblower complaint – including allegations of mass hysterectomies being performed on vulnerable immigrant women – are a staggering abuse of human rights,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, said in a statement.
Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, said the panel is conducting an ongoing investigation about the conditions at ICE contractor facilities “and will be examining these new and incredibly serious allegations.”
It was unclear to Wooten if women knowingly consented to the operations. She said nurses raised concerns about the doctor.
“Everybody he sees has a hysterectomy — just about everybody,” Wooten said in the complaint. “He’s even taken out the wrong ovary on a young lady.”
The facility in Ocilla, about 200 miles (320 kilometers) south of Atlanta, houses men and women detainees for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as well as inmates for the U.S. Marshals Service and Irwin County. It’s run by the private LaSalle Corrections, a Louisiana company.
Wooten spoke little about the hysterectomy allegation during the news conference, instead focusing on her concerns that the facility wasn’t testing detainees for COVID-19, that the detention center wasn’t being sanitized, and that little protective equipment was available for employees.
While the 27-page complaint filed by advocacy group Project South quotes unidentified detainees extensively, it also includes detailed comments from Wooten. The complaint says Wooten was demoted after missing work with coronavirus symptoms, which she believes was retaliation for raising questions about COVID-19.
“I know I was demoted because I raised questions about why,” Wooten said during the news conference. “I was told not to tell officers that there were detainees they dealt with day in and day out that were positive.”
Wooten said the number of detainees infected was much higher than reported because there was no active testing and not all cases were reported, according to the complaint. The New York Times reported in June that inmates engaged in protests because of concerns about poor COVID-19 protections.
Wooten is quoted as saying the sick call nurse sometimes fabricated seeing detainees in person when they hadn’t and that she saw the nurse shred a box of detainee complaints without looking at them. She said nurses ignored detainees reporting COVID-19 symptoms.
If detainees reported a fever, nurses would put them on an over-the-counter cold medication for seven days without testing them for COVID-19, she said.
Wooten said the facility declined to use two rapid-testing COVID-19 machines that ICE purchased for $14,000 each. No medical staff had been trained on them and she saw the machines used only once.
As of Sunday, 42 detainees at the facility had tested positive for the virus, according to ICE. Nationwide, 5,772 detainees were positive.
The insidious ways building private prisons creates more prisons. A new study finds that creating more private prison beds causes more people to be incarcerated—and for longer periods.
Second only to the “war on drugs”, private prisons are the worst thing to happen to our criminal justice system. See many articles on my website under “prison abuse”!
Excerpts from the Article:
Private prisons—prisons run by companies that are paid by the state to house convicted criminals—have been criticized for the way they cut costs to protect their profits, which leads to higher employee turnover, reduced security, and inadequate healthcare. They’re also often linked to the issue of mass incarceration. Though only a small portion of incarcerated people in America are held in private prisons, new research shows that the facilities are a deeper part of the problem: More private prison beds in a state are not only connected to an increased number of inmates, they may also lead to longer sentences.
To tease out if there was any connection, the researchers at Washington State University looked at data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, Human Rights Defense Center, United States Sentencing Commission’s Monitoring of Federal Criminal, and other sources, spanning from 1989 to 2009. They then built a model to estimate how private prisons affected new incarceration and sentencing lengths, holding constant other variables such as state demographics and political characteristics, and even broke down that data by crime type. They controlled for the fact that there could just be more crime occurring, and found that private prisons still seem to increase the number of new prisoners and the sentence length for some crimes.
Overall, the researchers found that increasing private prison beds by 61 per million population in a state led to an additional 6 to 37 new prisoners per million each year. That’s on top of the trend of 178 new prisoners per million per year, which they say occurs on average, without an increase in private prison beds. (The private prison population rate has skyrocketed in recent years—seeing 47% growth between 2000 and 2016, compared to a 9% increase for the total prison population over the same time period.)
While private prisons don’t affect incarceration rates for violent crimes—possibly because sentencing guidelines for such crimes don’t leave room for the possibility of probation—they do have an effect on incarceration rates for property, fraud, drug, and weapons crimes. This same effect was seen on sentencing length and is usually significant, co-author Gregmar Galinato, a professor in WSU’s School of Economic Sciences, says over email, for types of crimes “where there is more leeway in sentencing.”
The researchers lay out two possible reasons why: the ability of private prisons to lobby, directly contribute to, or bribe politicians for policies that could increase incarceration rates, and the fact that private prisons increase capacity, lessening the potential for overcrowding. The most prominent example of the former is the “Kids for Cash” scandal in Pennsylvania, in which two judges were bribed by a private prison company to give harsher sentences to juvenile offenders, rather than probation. The latter is important because when prisons are overcrowded, a judge may be less likely to send someone to that facility. But the introduction of private prisons leads to more beds, and a so-called “solution” to that overcrowding that increases incarceration rates, rather than addressing the root causes of incarceration.
“So, if mass incarceration is an important issue, we found one contributor: private prisons,” Galinato says. The researchers weren’t able to quantify how big of a contributor private prisons are compared to others, like the three-strikes policy or police bias, but other research backs up the role of private prisons on incarceration rates. According to the ACLU, leading private prison companies “essentially admit that their business model depends on high rates of incarceration,” and the Justice Policy Institute released a report back in 2011 that found private prison companies helped fuel increased incarceration rates by using their influence on legislators to enact harsher criminal justice policies. Galinato hopes his latest research influences how lawmakers weigh the costs, and benefits, of adding new private prisons to their state.
If only all prisons would do this! However, when a case arises where the guards are sued or in danger of arrest, the tapes mysteriously disappear! They need to go to a backup system where only a Court can delete them!
Excerpts from the Article:
For the first time, California correctional officers will be required to use body cameras while interacting with inmates inside a state prison, a federal judge ordered Tuesday.
The ruling comes in a civil rights lawsuit over disabled inmates’ rights, in which a federal judge found evidence to support allegations of physical abuse of prisoners at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego. The order applies to interactions with all inmates with disabilities inside the Otay Mesa facility.
Attorneys for the inmates with disabilities had asked the judge to issue an order mandating body cameras for correctional officers after documenting widespread physical abuse of the inmates.
“Body cameras have never been used in California prisons. This is a very important order to help put an end to physical abuse and broken bones of those with physical disabilities at this most dangerous of prisons,” said attorney Gay Grunfeld, whose law firm, along with the Prison Law Office, represents the plaintiffs.
“Body cameras can bring sound and context to situations that involve the use of force which surveillance cameras cannot,” she said.
U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken gave the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation a timetable that effectively gives it five months to get the body-worn devices into use. She also ordered that records from body cameras be preserved from use-of-force incidents and that policies be created.
Wilken also ordered the installation, within four or five months, of widespread surveillance camera systems at critical areas of the prison and the establishment of third-party expert monitor oversight of evidence gathered at the prison.
Wilken ordered those actions as part of an injunction she granted as part of a bigger plan to address allegations of repeated physical abuse and retaliation against disabled inmates who complain about the prison facility. Wilken, an Oakland-based judge, is handling a class-action lawsuit that seeks to guarantee the rights of state prisoners under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
While police forces across the country, including the Los Angeles Police Department, use body cameras, their use in prisons is relatively rare.
The ruling Tuesday applies to the single prison, but the judge is expected to hear another motion next month that examines evidence of abuses across the state prison system and seeks to implement the use of body cameras across 35 prisons.
Grunfeld said the attorneys have documented abuses at other prisons, including Corcoran.
The injunction Tuesday was granted based on 112 sworn declarations from inmates that lawyers said showed staff “routinely use unnecessary and excessive force against people with disabilities, often resulting in broken bones, loss of consciousness, stitches or injuries that require medical attention at outside hospitals.”
According to the court, nearly one-fourth of all uses of force on inmates at the prison between 2017 and 2019 involved disabled inmates despite those inmates being the least capable of violent conduct. “The court finds that this high incidence of incidents involving the class members tends to give additional credibility to the inmates’ declarations … that staff at RJD targeted class members and other vulnerable inmates for physical and other forms of abuse.”
The judge gave the corrections department a couple of months to come up with a plan for using the body cameras and surveillance cameras at all critical areas of the prison. All footage would be retained for a minimum of 90 days, with videos of “use of force and other triggering events involving class members at RJD [to] be retained indefinitely”
In court papers, the judge noted that the corrections department argued that body cameras are not as useful in prison as surveillance cameras and that it would take far longer to get them up and running. “The court finds the body cameras are likely to improve investigations of misconduct by RJD staff,” the ruling stated.
The prison has had other recent issues. Last month, seven correctional officers were hospitalized after being attacked by 20 inmates. An associate warden subsequently quit, saying prison leadership had allowed no pat-downs on the yard to reduce conflict.
In July, Judge Wilken issued a temporary restraining order requiring the corrections department to transfer two prisoners from the prison who had been allegedly retaliated against by guards for making statements to lawyers about previous allegations of violence by correctional officers. Grunfeld said a guard threatened witnesses in the cases. The decision was not just based on prisoners’ declarations but two investigations by the state that found abuses, Grunfeld said. The state, the judge noted, did not challenge many of the allegations.
For every one of these reported, 100 more are covered up.
A jail supervisor lost his job after he used “unjustified and excessive force” on an inmate.
On Aug. 24, Cherokee County Detention Center Administrator T.J. Girdner requested an investigation into allegations of an officer who assaulted an inmate. Sheriff Jason Chennault confirmed he met with Girdner and was given copies of jail incident reports about the alleged assault.
Two jail officers said they were attempting to remove Jory Poafpybitty from his cell for fingerprinting on Aug. 22. The jailers said Poafpybitty wasn’t being compliant because he wanted to clothe himself in standard jail uniform, and not the suicide prevention smock. “[The two jail officers] requested assistance from their supervisor, Dustin Waddell, who came to Poafpybitty’s cell and began to taunt Poafpybitty,” Chennault said in his report.
Waddell allegedly made the inmate wrap himself in a blanket, and walked him to a room that wasn’t equipped with surveillance cameras.
“[The two jail officers] reported Waddell attacked Poafpybitty by repeatedly punching Poafpybitty with a closed fist,” Chennault said. “[The two jail officers] intervened in Waddell’s assault and battery of Poafpybitty and placed Poafpybitty in a restraint chair.”
The officers said Waddell told the on-duty detention officer to have no contact with the inmate. However, Officer Jamie Brixey — a certified emergency medical technician — apparently ignored that order and tended to the injured inmate.
Poafpybitty was ultimately transferred to the Adair County Detention Center, where Girdner and Chennault interviewed him. Poafpybitty said Waddell had punched him several times with a closed fist and asked him if he “wanted some more.” He told Chennault and Girdner he didn’t fight back, and had to cover his face and head with his arms to shield himself from the officer’s punches.
Poafpybitty was taken to W.W. Hastings Hospital, where medical personnel determined he had a fractured wrist.
Girdner scheduled an interview with Waddell at CCDC for Aug. 26. Chennault said Waddell didn’t show up for the interview and wouldn’t answer his cell phone when Girdner tried to contact him.
On Sept. 1, Girdner and CCDC Assistant Jail Administrator Johnny Dallis terminated Waddell’s employment.
Chennault said he has requested a warrant for Waddell’s arrest.