Jail Lockup Tied to Early Death in U.S. Counties A new analysis suggests jail incarceration rates may help drive causes of death like infectious disease and suicide among county residents.
This should surprise nobody. Given that one’s physical health is tied to one’s mental health it stands to reason that those who see and experience all of the abuse, despair, and horrible health care in our jails, will be more ill and even commit suicide. By the way, there is NO effective mental health treatment in America’s jails or prisons, and this is part of that story. The despair and the contagion do not vanish when men and women walk out of the jail, as millions of Americans do each year… they infest the communities.
Barriers to reentry no doubt also play a role in the despondency leading to suicide. There are more than 25,000 such barriers in our states! Ex offenders face scores of barriers to housing, employment, and education, in every state.
Excerpts from the Article:
INCREASES IN A COUNTY’S jail incarceration rate are associated with upticks in premature deaths caused by issues like infectious disease, substance use and suicide among a county’s broader population, according to a new study.
The study, published Tuesday by The Lancet Public Health, comes as prison reform advocates such as the American Civil Liberties Union have called on states to release inmates in order to protect them from COVID-19 and ward off spread of the novel coronavirus that causes it. Amid the ongoing pandemic, researchers say their findings “highlight the immediate need to account for jails as drivers of infectious disease spread in the community.”
“These findings suggest that interventions to reduce incarceration might result in broader community mortality benefits,” according to the study, conducted by researchers from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and Wayne State University.
For their long-term analysis, researchers examined jail incarceration rates from 1987 to 2017 across 1,094 mostly larger, non-rural counties, pairing that data with rates of certain causes of death across three decades for county residents younger than 75. The median increase in incarceration rate during the study period was 1.9 per 1,000 population, although some counties saw an increase of more than 20 per 1,000 population.
The study estimates that a 1 per 1,000 population increase in a county’s jail incarceration rate was associated with an increased death rate for a number of conditions in the county population aged 75 and younger after one year, including a 6.5% increase in the rate of death from infectious diseases and a 4.9% increase in the rate of death from chronic lower respiratory disease. The study also found a 2.6% increase in substance use mortality and a 2.5% increase in the rate of death by suicide, as well as smaller increases in county death rates tied to heart disease, unintentional injury, cancer and diabetes.
In their analysis, researchers accounted for the effects of county-level factors such as crime, poverty, racial demographics and unemployment. Over time, researchers said, the associations between incarceration and causes of death weakened. Infectious disease and suicide mortality in counties declined by 5% and 2.5%, respectively, over 10 years, for example. Declines were less pronounced for causes of death such as heart disease and cancer.
Researchers said they conducted the study amid the “growing body of evidence concerning the public health consequences of mass incarceration,” and that their findings offer evidence suggesting that curbing incarceration could improve public health.
“With U.S. correctional facilities reporting some of the highest COVID-19 infection rates in the nation, the pandemic highlights the immediate need for decarceral strategies to massively reduce the number of people held in our nation’s jails and prisons to protect the lives of incarcerated people and control infectious disease spread in the community,” researcher and study co-author Sandhya Kajeepta said in a statement.
In the study, researchers also say jail incarceration in the U.S. is “an institutional product of structural racism that disproportionately affects Black Americans,” and that high incarceration rates may compound existing racial health disparities in communities. The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world, and Black people are nearly four times more likely to be incarcerated in local jails than white people, the study says.
“Responses to the most pressing public health challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic and opioid epidemic, require public health to reckon with mass criminalisation and mass incarceration,” study co-author Dr. Seth J. Prins said in a statement.
I have read at least 100 similar reports from jails and prisons nationwide. She should have been in a maternity ward, and YOU should not tolerate such abuse.
READ Why only PROSECUTION and IMPRISONMENT Will Stop Prison Abuse and Police Abuse! Demand It!! How to Avoid the Deaths of More Prison Guards! NOTE: the great project with judge Posner, referenced here, never came to fruition, because he became senile.
An Indiana woman who gave birth alone in a Kentucky jail will receive $200,000 settlement after arguing that correction staffers were deliberately indifferent to her medical needs, according to a news report.
The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that U.S. District Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove approved the settlement amount earlier this week.
Kelsey Love, 32, had filed a lawsuit in 2018 alleging that Franklin County Regional Jail ignored her while she screamed in pain during her labor in May 2017. Love was eight months pregnant when officers arrested her in Kentucky for suspected impaired driving.
Under the settlement, the Franklin County jail and the jail employees named in the legal challenge did not admit fault. The county maintains that there was no evidence to suggest Love was in labor.
According to court records, Love began screaming for help two days after being placed in the jail. A female deputy jailer checked in on Love, who was naked and on the floor holding her stomach, who then contacted the jail’s on-call nurse. Court records say the nurse said she would observe Love and eventually check on her later. When the nurse arrived at Love’s cell roughly three hours later, they found a large amount of blood on the floor.
Love’s attorney, Aaron J. Bentley, says she gave birth, ripped open her mattress and crawled inside it with the baby. Bentley says Love chewed off the umbilical cord.
“You can imagine it was pretty traumatic,” Bentley said. Bentley added that Love still has nightmares surrounding her labor, but has been sober for two years after completing drug treatment. She’s currently working to gain custody of her children.
There are hundreds of reasons we should be thankful that the Con Man in Chief is gone. This is one of them.
I have spoken against the death penalty for many years. READ Death Penalty Letter – Worth Publishing again in 2019, with some now calling for more death penalty statutes! – kra
Excerpts from the Article:
Executioners who put 13 inmates to death in the last months of the Trump administration likened the process of dying by lethal injection to falling asleep and called gurneys “beds” and final breaths “snores.”
But those tranquil accounts are at odds with reports by The Associated Press and other media witnesses of how prisoners’ stomachs rolled, shook and shuddered as the pentobarbital took effect inside the U.S. penitentiary death chamber in Terre Haute, Indiana. The AP witnessed every execution.
The sworn accounts by executioners, which government filings cited as evidence the lethal injections were going smoothly, raise questions about whether officials misled courts to ensure the executions scheduled from July to mid-January were done before death penalty opponent Joe Biden became president.
Secrecy surrounded all aspects of the executions. Courts relied on those carrying them out to volunteer information about glitches. None of the executioners mentioned any.
Questions about whether inmates’ midsections trembled as media witnesses described were a focus of litigation throughout the run of executions. Inmates’ lawyers argued it proved pentobarbital caused flash pulmonary edema, in which fluid rushes through quickly disintegrating membranes into lungs and airways, causing pain akin to being suffocated or drowned. The U.S. Constitution prohibits execution methods that are “cruel and unusual.”
The discrepancies could increase pressure on Biden to declare his administration won’t execute any of the roughly 50 federal inmates still on death row. Activists want him to go further by backing a bill abolishing the federal death penalty. Biden hasn’t spoken about any specific action.
During the Sept. 22 execution of William LeCroy, convicted of killing Georgia nurse Joann Lee Tiesler in 2001, the 50-year-old’s stomach area heaved uncontrollably immediately after the pentobarbital injection. It lasted about a minute, according to the AP and other reports.
Executioner Eric Williams stood next to LeCroy as he died. But Williams made only cursory reference to “the rise and fall” of LeCroy’s abdomen in his account. Shortly after serving in five of the recent executions, Williams was named the interim warden of the high-profile New York City lockup where Jeffrey Epstein died in 2019.
“During the entirety of the execution, LeCroy did not appear to be in any sort of distress, discomfort, or pain,” Williams wrote. “A short time after he took a deep breath and snored, it appeared to me that LeCroy was in a deep, comfortable sleep.”
The distinctive jerking and jolting was visible in at least half the executions, according to the AP and other media accounts. Among multiple executioner accounts, none described any such movements. All employed the same sleep metaphors.
When Donald Trump’s Justice Department announced in 2019 it’d resume executions after a 17-year hiatus, it said it would use pentobarbital alone. Manufacturers were no longer willing to supply the combination of drugs used in three federal executions from 2001 to 2003, explaining they didn’t want drugs meant to save lives to be used for killing.
One point of contention during the litigation was whether, even if pulmonary edema did occur, inmates could feel it after they appeared to be knocked out. Experts for the prisoners said the drug paralyzes the body, masking the pain prisoners could feel as they died.
Full Coverage: Executions
None of those executed appeared to writhe in pain. But audio from the death chamber to the media viewing room was switched off just prior to the injections, so journalists couldn’t hear if inmates groaned or complained of pain.
William Breeden, a spiritual adviser in the chamber when 52-year-old Corey Johnson was executed on Jan. 14 after his 1992 conviction of killing seven people, said in a filing the next day that “Corey said his hands and mouth were burning” after the injection. Federal Bureau of Prisons attorney Rick Winter said in response that neither he nor anyone in a government witness room heard that.
Some pain doesn’t necessarily mean an execution method violates prohibitions against “cruel and unusual” punishment, the Supreme Court ruled in 2019. The Constitution, the 5-4 majority opinion said, “does not guarantee a prisoner a painless death — something that, of course, isn’t guaranteed to many people.”
Government lawyers, eager to carry on and avoid any potential delays, sought to discredit the journalists’ accounts.
Gov. Wolf wants people wrongly convicted paid $50k for every year spent in prison PENNSYLVANIA Pennsylvania is currently just one of 15 states that do not provide any financial justice to the victims of wrongful convictions
It’s only fair, although no amount of money can make up for years of lost freedom.
Gov. Tom Wolf unveiled his 2021-2022 budget plan last week with many talking points. Tucked away in his plan is a proposal to pay $50,000 to those wrongly convicted of a crime for each year they spent behind bars.
Pennsylvania is currently just one of 15 states that do not provide any financial justice to the victims of wrongful convictions. Others provide at least $50,000 per year. A national average of nine years in prison before being proven innocent would equate to $450,000 in compensation. Societal punishment and trouble finding work are two factors in the need for these payments.
In the proposal, Wolf points out that Pennsylvania exonerees actually spend an average of 14 years in prison. Exonerees often have little access to money, housing, transportation, health services, or insurance, the budget reads.
According to a study by the National Registry of Exonerations, innocent African Americans are about seven times more like to be convicted than innocent white people.
The proposal is part of Wolf’s “Keeping Pennsylvanians Safe through Criminal Justice Reforms” that includes providing fair funding for police coverage, probation reform and the “Clean Slate” legislation among other items.
This needs to happen in every state, though FL is among the worst! Many guards will ignore the Court Order, and they must be punished. READ Why only PROSECUTION and IMPRISONMENT Will Stop Prison Abuse and Police Abuse! Demand It!! How to Avoid the Deaths of More Prison Guards!
As my friend, Steve Hampton said in his email to me: “We could really use this in Delaware, but note that it was filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center and it took two years to get this result. I simply do not have the resources to do something like this given all of the prison cases I already have. Still, I will do what I can through the cases I am filing to put an end to DOC bullying.”
Excerpts from the Article:
Amid a nearly two-year legal battle about the use of solitary confinement in Florida prisons, a federal magistrate judge has ordered a series of steps to prevent retaliation against inmates who take part in the case.
Magistrate Judge Martin Fitzpatrick issued a 53-page order Monday that said testimony and evidence showed “actual overt retaliation by prison officials, as well as threats of retaliation.”
“It is not just actual retaliation that is a concern, but the threat of retaliation, or even the reasonable perception — by the inmates — that they may be retaliated against,” Fitzpatrick wrote. “It’s not just alleged violent acts, the denial of food or other necessities, or other improper treatment that is at issue. Nor is it the alleged threat of such evil acts. It’s the perceived threat that may result from a ‘shhh!’ from a guard, a cold stare from across the room, a hard pat on the back from a warden, or a ‘hmmm’ as they leave the room. The inmates deserve the assurance that their participation in the discovery (process of obtaining evidence) — and indeed the lawsuit — will not result in any negative backlash. Only through a clear order from the court guaranteeing these protections against retaliation and laying out how discovery shall proceed will they receive such an assurance.”
The order came as the plaintiffs’ legal team has gone to prisons to investigate the use of solitary confinement and to interview inmates. In part, inmates contended that correctional officers threatened or intimidated them and withheld food in retaliation for participating in the case.
Fitzpatrick recounted testimony from inmates, prison officials and officers, who denied wrongdoing. He also pointed to a memo that Department of Corrections Secretary Mark Inch issued last year directing that inmates should not face retaliation for filing lawsuits or communicating with attorneys.
“This record establishes that retaliation, harassment and threats of retaliation continued despite the Secretary’s memorandum,” the magistrate judge wrote. “Such behavior raises substantial concern for the fairness and integrity of this litigation if prison officials are intimidating and threatening potential plaintiff prisoners or, at the least, prisoners who may be called to testify as witnesses. Such intimidation happens by persons who control the most basic attributes of life — the provision of meals, the ability to use (and flush) the toilet, access to showers or time outside of one’s cell, advancement to less restrictive housing, and the means by which to report issues and seek redress of grievances.”
Fitzpatrick’s order set off a flurry of activity, in part because the plaintiffs’ legal team was scheduled this week to visit Hamilton Correctional Institution and Union Correctional Institution, according to court documents.
Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker on Tuesday cleared the way for the visits but put a 14-day stay on Fitzpatrick’s order. If neither side objects to the order within the 14 days, it would take effect. If an objection is raised, Walker wrote that he will review the order.
In a document filed Tuesday, department attorneys said they were evaluating Fitzpatrick’s order but had not had enough time to determine whether to appeal it.
The underlying lawsuit, filed in 2019 by the Southern Poverty Law Center, Florida Legal Services and the Florida Justice Institute contends that the department’s solitary-confinement practices violate the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment and violate the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The department has disputed the allegations, in part saying that solitary confinement is used for security reasons and to effectively manage prisons and only when necessary.
Fitzpatrick’s order did not delve into the overall issues in the lawsuit. It provided a series of guidelines to try to prevent retaliation and intimidation against inmates participating in the case. Among other things, the guidelines address what correctional officers and inmates can discuss about the case and seeks to assure that inmates can have confidential conversations with the plaintiffs’ legal team.
“The private interviews should be conducted in a place and manner that provides the inmates and interviewers with as much privacy as would be afforded legal counsel conducting a legal visit,” one part of the order said. “There should not be direct involvement of correctional staff in these interviews unless there are specific security or safety concerns.”
$4.65 Million Settlement for Florida Female Prisoner Left Quadriplegic After Brutal Beating by Guards – UPDATED 2/13/21
Who do you think is paying the costs of all of this litigation, settlements, and judgements resulting from totally preventable prison abuse?… and, in many cases, the ongoing, lifelong medical care each year!? YOU ARE, and it is billions of dollars every year!
She now has been granted a medical release, so the prison won’t continue to pay, but the public still will bear the cost of medical care. READ https://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/breaking-news/os-ne-florida-prisoner-cheryl-weimer-paralyzed-medical-release-20200910-p5cmx26ldfexvgfiuw436gcpne-story.htmlhttps://www.themarshallproject.org/records/7922-cheryl-weimar
Excerpts from the Article:
The Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) on August 6,2020 agreed to pay $4.65 million to prisoner Cheryl Weimar, who was beaten “to within an inch of her life” two years earlier by guards at the Lowell Correctional Institution (LCI). The investigation into the beating continued as of press time, and no charges had been brought against the guards.
Weimar, 51, had a preexisting hip condition, so when guards ordered her to clean toilets in her dormitory, she reqblicuested a legally mandated “reasonable accommodation.” Displeased with her request, a guard cal that compelled her to declare a “psychological emergency.”
Rather than take her to a health care professional for assessment, one of the guards threw Weimar to the ground. Then, all four piled on and “brutally beat her with blows to the head, neck, and back.” At least one of the guards “elbowed [her] in the back of the neck, causing her to suffer a broken neck,” Weimer’s civil rights complaint alleged. The guards then dragged Weimar “like a rag doll” to an area outside camera view, allowing her head to “bounce along the ground.” They then continued the beating. [See PLN, December 2019, p. 42].
The beating left Weimar a quadriplegic. She has been dependent on catheters, mechanical breathing assistance, a tracheostomy, and feeding tubes.
COVID-19 has been a concern for all prisoners, and it is an exceptionally fearsome prospect for persons who, like Weimar, have preexisting medical conditions. Alas, Weimar tested positive for COVID-19. She is “OK at the moment,” said her attorney Ryan J. Andrews, on August 27, 2020.
Meanwhile, he has been working to obtain early medical release for Weimar. She completed her sentence for aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and resisting an officer with violence on October 29, 2020.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement was continuing its investigation of Weimar’s beating. When it finishes, its report will be given to the State Attorney’s Office in Ocala for prosecutor’s review of whether it will file charges against the guards. A timeline was not given on when the investigation will be completed.
The settlement for Weimar was seen as a positive by former prisoner Debra Bennett, who has organized protests outside LCI to raise awareness of the abuse female prisoners suffer at the hands of guards. She, however, took issue with the fact that FDC did not admit to any wrongdoing.
“You can do whatever you want and get zero repercussions,” Bennett said in reference to guards. “This is not good. She walked in prison, now she will be wheeled out.” See: Weimar v. Florida Department of Corrections, Case No. 5:19-cv-548-Oc-CEMPRL, U.S.D.C. (M.D. Fla.).
Lock him up! With video evidence against them, why are so many of these officials allowed to plead to misdemeanors?! Nail them with felony charges.
Excerpts from the Article:
A former Cuyahoga County corrections officer pleaded guilty on Wednesday to charges that accuse him of failing to attend to an inmate who died of a drug overdose in 2018 and falsifying records after the inmate’s death.
Martin Devring, 61, of Cleveland, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of dereliction of duty and tampering with records in the death of Joseph Arquillo. Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost’s office dropped a misdemeanor charge of interfering with civil rights.
As part of his plea agreement, Devring agreed not to try to get his job back or seek back pay. The county fired him three months after Arquillo’s death.
Prosecutors and Devring’s defense attorneys filed sentencing memorandums on Tuesday night in anticipation that Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge Cassandra Collier-Williams would sentence Devring immediately following his plea. Collier-Williams said during Wednesday’s hearing, conducted via Zoom, that she would hold an in-person sentencing hearing “due to the seriousness of this case” and set that hearing for March 15.
Devring faces up to nine months in jail but is eligible for probation.
Devring is the second former jail employee to plead guilty to criminal charges stemming from Arquillo’s death. Former warden Eric Ivey was sentenced to probation in October 2019 after he pleaded guilty to obstructing the investigation into Arquillo’s death Ivey ordered investigators to turn off their body cameras in the moments after Arquillo’s death so as not to create evidence that could assist a civil lawsuit.
Assistant Ohio Attorney Generals Linda Powers and Daniel Kasaris, in a sentencing brief filed Tuesday, asked Collier-Williams to send Devring to jail.
“Devring will never fully understand the impact of his crimes until he sees his own conduct through the eyes of an inmate who must depend on corrections officers like him,” the brief said.
Devring’s defense attorney Roger Synenberg asked for probation in his sentencing memorandum.
Surveillance video previously released to cleveland.com showed Devring sitting at a desk and falsifying logs, saying he had conducted rounds, and reading The Plain Dealer sports page. Arquillo, a veteran of the Persian Gulf war booked into jail on a probation violation charge, lay crumpled on the ground. More than an hour after Arquillo collapsed, Devring walked over and kicked his mat, then turned around and walked back to his desk.
Devring wrote in his logs that he completed rounds every 15 minutes during his shift and that the area was secure while Arquillo lay dying on the floor.
Devring left for his lunch break about 12:50 p.m., and within minutes the corrections officer who replaced him called for emergency help for Arquillo, who was later pronounced dead at the hospital. The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office determined Arquillo died of a drug overdose and had heroin, fentanyl, cocaine and Valium in his system.
Yost’s office said the investigation into Arquillo’s death uncovered that some jail supervisors told officers to falsify logs to show they completed rounds even when they couldn’t. The brief also notes that some corrections officers refused to do so but that Devring wasn’t one of them.
“For several hours, Devring failed to do his job and repeatedly falsified records to conceal his own laziness and inattention to an obvious inmate crisis,” the brief said.
Arquillo was one of nine inmates who died in county jails from June 2018 to May 2019. The deaths sparked a U.S. Marshals Service investigation that found in November 2018 that the jail was critically understaffed and overpopulated and that corrections officers threatened, beat and deprived inmates of food, water and medical care.
That investigation has led to more than a dozen current and former jail guards, including former jail director Ken Mills who is slated to begin trial in April. Mills faces multiple charges, including dereliction of duty that accuse him of recklessly failing to oversee the jail to the point where it created the dangerous conditions that led to the string of deaths and widespread Constitutional violations.
Arquillo’s son, Joseph Arquillo Jr., filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Devring, Ivey, Mills, former Sheriff Clifford Pinkney, County Executive Armond Budish and other jail and county officials. That lawsuit is currently pending in U.S. District Court in Cleveland.
A good decision, meaning that this case can continue against prison officials for race discrimination. I shall be looking for the final outcome.
Excerpts from the Article:
On June 5, 2020, an Oregon federal court denied prison officials’ summary judgment on a prisoner’s First Amendment retaliation claim. Oregon prisoner Leumal Fred Hentz was assigned to work in the bakery at Oregon State Correctional Institution (OSCI). On November 6, 2016, Hentz, who is Black, filed a discrimination complaint alleging that his co-workers were subjecting him to a racially hostile work environment.
The OSCI diversity coordinator asked Hentz if OSCl staff were engaging in discriminatory conduct. When he answered “No,” the diversity coordinator instructed Hentz to speak with his supervisor about the problem.
On November 8, 2016, Hentz alerted Kitchen Steward McFadden and Food Services Manager Macias about the discriminatory conduct of his co-workers and his opposition to discrimination in the bakery.
On December 10, 2016, McFadden removed Hentz from his bakery post without explanation. Hentz filed a grievance that McFadden denied, claiming that he was removed from his position because he did not follow recipe directions, “wasted product and money,” and caused “dissention” among bakery workers. McFadden failed to identify any specific instances of conduct supporting her removal decision.
Hentz brought federal suit alleging that McFadden and Macias improperly retaliated against him for complaining about racial discrimination in violation of the First Amendment. McFadden and Macias moved for summary judgment.
The Oregon district court denied McFadden and Macias’ summary judgment. The court first rejected defendants’ argument that “plaintiffs removal from the bakery did not chill the exercise of his First Amendment rights, because plaintiff had no right to a bakery position and he continued to utilize the grievance process after his removal from the bakery.” Rather, the Court recognized that “removal from a desired prison job could arguably prevent a prisoner of ‘ordinary firmness’ from speaking out about discrimination.”
Turing to the issue of motive, the court also refused to grant summary judgment on defendants’ claim that Hentz was removed “because of his poor work habits.” Instead, the court observed that “the record includes signed statements from plaintiff’s co-workers attesting that he was a hard worker, followed recipe directions and did not waste product, and had an excellent attitude.”
Citing McCollum v. Cal. Dept Corr & Rehab., 647 F3d 870, 882 (9th Cir. 2011), the court explained that “evidence showing that defendants’ reasons for plaintiff’s removal were false or pretextual, combined with defendants’ knowledge of his complaints and the timing of his removal, raises a genuine issue of fact whether plaintiff was removed because of his opposition to discrimination.”
The court finally rejected McFadden’s and Macias’ qualified immunity defense “absent a more developed record and argument relevant to the specific circumstances presented by plaintiffs claim.” See: Hentz v. Gruenwald, Case No. 2:18-cv-00493-MC, U.S.D.C. (D. Or.).
Yummy! Mice for lunch!
Excerpts from the Article:
Two former inmates in New Mexico are suing state prison staff and a food-service contractor for cruelty and negligence after they failed to resolve a yearslong rat and mouse infestation at the kitchen in a women’s lockup. They cited health risks including mouse-borne Hantavirus.
The federal-court lawsuit announced Tuesday from Albuquerque-area residents Susie Zapata and Monica Garcia describes a “horrific and widespread” rodent infestation that included contact between food and the rodent feces, urine and and even rodents that somehow plunged into stew and a batch of oatmeal.
The Department of Corrections declined to comment on details of the lawsuit, citing pending litigation.
The lawsuit also takes aim at South Dakota-based contractor Summit Food Service that provides meal services the Western New Mexico Corrections Facility, a 390-bed prison in the city of Grants. Company representatives were unavailable. The suit was filed by the New Mexico Prison & Jail Project, a nonprofit advocacy group for improved prison conditions. The group was established last year and is led by attorney Matthew Coyte.
Zapata and Garcia attest to bouts of severe food poisoning during their incarceration that resulted in vomiting and diarrhea. The suit says numerous complaints were filed by inmates without an adequate response. Inmates say they risked discipline by defying orders to serve contaminated food.
Hundreds of guards and inmates know perfectly well that “guards” smuggle in heroin, and much other contraband!
Two relatives of inmates and one guard have told me about this, and my friend Steve Hampton, Esq. has heard similar reports.
As Steve said in his email to me:
“Perhaps you remember a few months ago DOC was touting the new scanning devices they had installed to allow them to scan visitors. They were quite expensive if I recall. However almost all contraband such as drugs or cell phones comes in by correctional officers, or other prison staff. To my knowledge DOC is not using the new scanning devices on them.
This was a typical ploy by DOC in which they talk up the things they are doing to supposedly address problems, but ignore all of the things they should be doing but aren’t.
Yesterday there were two overdoses at Vaughn, and from what I’m hearing one of the men died. Have you heard about this? Really concerned for everyone that’s in there and is struggling with substance use issues because we know that there’s little to no treatment available.
Two inmates overdosed last night in the same building. Reportedly smuggled in by a CO. There aren’t any contract people-except Medical. They can’t blame it on visitors. Once again dirty CO’s. They are so easily corrupted and bribed by these guys, I know that they were given multiple rounds of Narcan, and I believe both went to the hospital.
No telling how much they got for it. Just another day in paradise.”
I still am trying to get facts I can put on the record.
In the paper the next day: https://delawarestatenews.net/police/inmate-dies-of-suspected-overdose-at-smyrna-prison/#:~:text=SMYRNA%20%E2%80%94%20A%2035%2Dyear%2D,Department%20of%20Correction%20announced%20Thursday. = Inmate dies of suspected overdose at Smyrna prison