Of course this is protected speech! Who do you think is paying for all this prison abuse and the litigation? YOU are, in terms of increased crime and BILLIONS of dollars in costs. CALL me and I’ll be glad to explain why!
Excerpts from the Article:
In June 2012, following a dispute with officials at the Washington State Penitentiary (WSP), prisoner John Thomas Entler filed written complaints in which he said he would file lawsuits and seek criminal charges if his grievances were not addressed. He was then disciplined for those statements under a Washington Department of Corrections (DOC) regulation that bars prisoners from “intimidating or coercing prison staff.”
After Entler objected to what he considered unjustified deductions from his prison trust account and other issues, including the failure of a staff member to make legal copies, he filed several complaints pursuant to DOC grievance procedures. When he received a work assignment that he argued violated his religious beliefs, he again complained and threatened to file suit. Shortly thereafter, prison officials “issued Entler a serious infraction for his July 19 letter to the Religious Programs Manager threatening to sue to protect his religious freedom … [because] Entler’s threat to sue was intimidating and coercive in violation of [DOC] Rule 663.”
Upon being found guilty of infractions by prison staff and disciplined, Entler threatened to contact the governor and the U.S. Department of Justice, and was subjected to additional discipline. He filed a § 1983 civil rights suit in federal district court, but the court dismissed the case, holding he did not have an actionable First Amendment retaliation claim against prison officials.
The Ninth Circuit acknowledged in a October 6, 2017 opinion that running a prison “is an inordinately difficult undertaking,” but upheld Entler’s right to tell prison officials he planned to file suit. “Regardless of the prisoner’s misdeeds – however reprehensible – [p]rison walls do not form a barrier separating prison inmates from the protections of the Constitution,” the Court of Appeals wrote. The most fundamental of constitutional protections that prisoners retain is the First Amendment right to file grievances and pursue civil rights litigation, because “[w]ithout those bedrock constitutional guarantees, inmates would be left with no viable mechanism to remedy prison injustices.”
The Court continued, “In essence, it is illogical to conclude that prison officials may punish a prisoner for threatening to sue when it would be unconstitutional to punish a prisoner for actually suing.”
Entler was thus allowed to proceed on his First Amendment claim related to his threats to take legal action. “With regard to the threat to file a criminal complaint,” the appellate court wrote, “we disagree with the district court’s implicit conclusion that Entler has not alleged an actionable First Amendment retaliation claim.” However, as it was not clearly established at the time that such a threat was constitutionally-protected conduct, the defendants were entitled to qualified immunity on that claim.
Entler was represented by attorney Jared R. Wigginton on appeal; the case remains pending on remand. See: Entler v. Gregoire, 872 F.3d 1031 (9th Cir. 2017), rehearing and rehearing en banc denied.
New Florida prison policy to stop contraband: ‘Inmates will not be placed in’ their home county – Another WRONG Move! – kra
Ridiculous. The motive is profit, pure and simple, The guards will continue to be the overwhelmingly major source of contraband, while this policy makes life more miserable for inmates and their loved ones.
All studies show that inmates with frequent in person visits commit fewer crimes when released!
Excerpts from the Article:
A new policy to stop contraband from getting into Florida prisons has inmates and their families upset. And some experts even question whether it will do more harm than good. 7’s Brian Entin investigates. There’s no denying it — there is a major contraband problem inside Florida prisons.
Weapons, drugs, cellphones.
The Department of Corrections says sometimes it’s friends and gang members sneaking the contraband in. Other times, it’s the corrections officers.
With guns drawn, Miami-Dade Police stopped this corrections officer, suspected of bringing drugs behind bars. Officer on bodycam: “We got a call for emergency assistance from corrections with this tag number.”
But family members of inmates say it’s not the officers getting punished for the contraband problem. It’s them.
Brian Entin: “What do you think of this new policy?”
Denise Rock, Florida Cares Foundation: “I think it’s unfair to visitors and families and prisoners. I think it’s unfair to the public in general.”
Florida Department of Corrections policy that families say will keep them from their loved ones.
It says: “To reduce familiarity with staff and contraband issues” … “inmates will not be placed in a facility which is located in the inmate’s home county.”
Department leaders believe by keeping inmates away from their home counties, there is less likelihood they’ll know the corrections officers in the prisons, and that will cut down on contraband.
But Denise Rock with prison non-profit Florida Cares says the new policy will only make the situation worse. Denise Rock: “I think it’s important to have regular contact with your family because love heals things. Love is what does the trick. Love is what is going to get them to commit to doing the right thing.”
Miriam Cloutier says her son is proof of that. He was convicted of aggravated battery 18 years ago. She visits him almost every weekend in a prison near her home in Delray Beach. And with her support, he has earned an associate degree behind bars. Brian Entin: “If you weren’t able to visit, do you think he would have been able to do all this?” Miriam Cloutier: “If I didn’t visit and I didn’t support him, no. I would think he would feel lost. He would give up hope. ‘Why do good if I have no support out there?’”
Almost 90 percent of inmates will eventually be released back into society, which is why experts say contact with family and friends is vital.
Denise Rock: “They need to come out knowing they have support. They need to come out having connections. The studies show that the people that are released with $50 and a bus ticket to the county where they committed their crime are re-arrested at a higher rate.”
From now on, inmates will not be in their home county.
Significant for California inmates with indeterminate sentences. Those laws remain awful for several reasons, chief among them is because the law allows prison officials to determine one’s release date. REMEMBER: for every 1 person arrested 29 people benefit financially. It is job preservation to keep people locked up longer than necessary!
Excerpts from the Article:
California state prisoner Roy Butler, serving an indeterminate prison term for second-degree murder, sought habeas corpus relief on December 12, 2012, contesting the California Parole Board’s process of calculating the length of his sentence. Butler and the state agreed to a settlement “requiring the [Parole] Board to calculate the ‘base terms’ of an inmate serving an indeterminate sentence for use at the inmate’s initial parole hearing.” [See: PLN, Jan. 2014, p.32].
Prior to 1977, the imposition of a statutory sentence between a minimum and maximum period of imprisonment vested absolute control over the amount of time actually served to the Parole Board, leading to often widely disparate sentences. Although such sentences were largely eliminated after that date, Butler argued that recent statutory changes required a modification of the 2013 settlement. The Court of Appeal rejected his argument and he sought review of that adverse decision.
According to the California Supreme Court, “The  settlement agreement was premised on the idea that ‘base terms’ played some role – defined by statute – in determining release dates for those sentenced to indeterminate terms. Given this premise, the elimination of ‘base term’ calculations from any such role is a sufficiently material change that it not only justifies – but in this case, requires – modification of the settlement by the Court of Appeal.”
“Base term calculations,” the Court continued, “no longer play a role in the public safety assessments undertaken by the Board to determine the release dates for inmates sentenced to indeterminate terms…. And, at least to some extent, these inmates are protected against disproportionate punishment through other means, such as provisions ending indeterminate sentences when individuals have served the statutory minimum term and have been found suitable for release.”
The Court noted that “the release date for indeterminately sentenced adult inmates – like Butler – is now guided by the date when an inmate has served the statutory minimum term and is found suitable for parole based on statutory public-safety-related criteria, subject to limited exception. These changes to California’s criminal justice system do not diminish the societal interest in avoiding arbitrary parole determinations. They do, however, dictate that base terms no longer directly control the release date for prisoners subject to indeterminate sentences.”
In conclusion, the Supreme Court wrote in its April 2, 2018 ruling, “the [Parole] Board is not constitutionally required to continue calculating base terms as required in the settlement order. Accordingly, we reverse the Court of Appeal.” See: In re Butler, 4 Cal. 5th 728, 413 P.3d 1178 (Cal. 2018).
He Worked Undercover in a For-Profit Prison and It Got Ugly When Shane Bauer went to work for a private, for-profit prison in Louisiana, he expected to find bad conditions, but he was utterly unprepared for just how awful it was.
That’s right. It is hard to believe unless you have seen it. My fervent prayer: “Dear Lord, please bestow upon me $5 for every article I have read about prison abuse, and for each person who has called me about it.” I’m going to be wealthy!
Excerpts from the Article:
Here is the most mind-boggling revelation in Shane Bauer’s new book American Prison: In the 19th century, when leasing Southern convicts to outside businesses was a normal practice, the death rate for these prisoners was greater than the death rate in the Soviet gulag.
“And even more than the death rate during slavery,” says Bauer, whose book is a history of how prisoners have for centuries been used as slave labor, intertwined with the story of Bauer’s time as a guard in a for-profit Louisiana prison. “There are states that had a 25 percent death rate among prisoners. Under slavery, a slave was property, something you had to take care of. Under leasing, they were just a number. If a prisoner died, there was no penalty; they’d just get another prisoner.”
Same as it ever was. Even though convict leasing no longer exists, the profit motive is still a major factor in the American penal system. A recent prisoner strike that ended just weeks ago was an attempt to draw attention to horrendous conditions in the nation’s penitentiaries, including lack of recreation and educational facilities, poor medical care, nearly inedible food, and prisoner pay for work performed that is so low—as little as 1 cent per hour—it might as well be slave labor.
“When you hear prisoners make connections between prison and slavery, we need to dig into this and understand this is not an off-the-cuff remark,” says Bauer. “The situation of prison labor today grew out of the slave system. Forcing prisoners to work, mostly for free, the nature of that reality hasn’t really changed.”
American Prison describes how slavery helped create enormous wealth in the South, since it was “the most productive system of non-mechanized cotton production the world had ever known.” And even though the 13th Amendment abolished the practice, it left a huge loophole that Southern states took full advantage of. The amendment stated that “neither slavery nor involuntary servitude” were legal, “except as punishment for crime.”
… —that the vast majority were black, “the labor was cheaper, didn’t strike, and it could be driven at a pace that free workers wouldn’t tolerate.”
“I wouldn’t have done [it] if I hadn’t been in prison myself,” he says. “There was this big hunger strike in California prisons happening not long after I got out, so I started digging into that, and then I wrote an expose on long term solitary confinement in the U.S. The American prison system generally is rotten. And the private prison system is just a portion of that (In 2016, private prisons held about 8 percent of the total state and federal prison population. I wanted to get inside private prisons because they are the least known part of the American prison system.”
So Bauer applied to become a guard with the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), which as of this year runs more than 90 for-profit prison and detention facilities. He was eventually assigned to the Winn Correctional Center in Winnfield, La., a medium security prison (convicts live in dormitories, not individual cells) so underfunded and understaffed it makes infamous penitentiaries like Angola, Attica, and San Quentin seem like Club Meds.
In Winn, where guards made $9 an hour and were not provided with defensive devices like pepper spray or nightsticks, there were no work programs, most of the vocational programs had been eliminated, the hobby shops had been converted into storage units, and the access to the law library was limited. The prison was so understaffed that at meal time there could be 800 prisoners and only two guards. In a prison of 1,500 inmates, there was also no full-time psychiatrist and only one full-time social worker.
“I expected the company would be cutting corners, minimizing services,” says Bauer. “But I was surprised the ways we were being trained. A lot of it had to do with protecting our liability. For example, we were not supposed to intervene in fights.”
Not surprisingly, this cost cutting spawned tension and violence. And not just at Winn. American Prison cites a 2016 Department of Justice study that found that private prisons reported 28 percent more inmate-on-inmate assaults than public prisons, and inmates in private prisons had twice as many weapons. In one four month period, CCA reported finding nearly 200 weapons at Winn, 23 times more than Angola.
Following the release of this federal report, the Obama administration decided to phase out the use of private contractors to run federal prisons, but last year the Trump administration reversed that ruling. This kind of atmosphere also deeply affected how Bauer performed his guard duties. American Prison goes into detail about how poorly trained Winn’s correction officers were, and a good part of the book is given over to descriptions of Bauer’s interactions with the inmates, and how they changed over time.
“I thought I’d go in, be as human as possible, and it would be fine,” says Bauer, “but I quickly learned it was not that simple, that anyone in prison had to draw a line and defend it. When I tried to be good to prisoners, there were things I simply could not do, and I had to say no, and defend that position.”
Bauer eventually quit after four months on the job, burned out by the pressure. In this, he was not alone. “There was such a high turnover of prison guards” at Winn, he says. “A dynamic I saw a lot was guards when they came in, when they started the job they would be really insistent on having a good relationship with prisoners, which meant they would break a lot of rules. And I saw a lot of people leave because they couldn’t deal with locking people up every day.”
CCA, which has rebranded itself Core Civic, has now found a new source of revenue—it is running immigration detention centers. As of 2016, nearly 75 percent of the immigrant detainee population was held in facilities run by private prison companies. But CCA’s core business is still for-profit prisons, and at least at Winn, it seems they weren’t doing a very good job.
In American Prison, Bauer recounts a conversation he had with a former public jail warden who was visiting the facility. “I don’t know what’s going on down here, but it’s not good,” he told Bauer. “There’s something fucked up, I can tell you that.”
This warden then went on to recount how the prisons where he worked were better staffed, the guards were paid significantly more, they had a 90-day training period (at Winn it was 30 days) and received bonuses if they attended the police academy and passed fitness tests. “This is a joke,” he told Bauer. “This is a free jail to me. Too much shit going on down here. Not no consequences.” He then said that CCA should lose its contract.
In fact CCA, alleging they couldn’t run the prison at the rate the state was paying them, and probably realizing that Bauer’s undercover work would result in a magazine article that would be a public relations disaster (his story in Mother Jones was the basis for American Prison), terminated its contract in 2016. Winn is now run by LaSalle Corrections, yet another for-profit company.
And despite the fact that the private prison industry, which is controlled by a handful of companies, has been found to save states little or no money and is accused of numerous constitutional violations, the number of prisoners they house has grown faster than the general prison population. It’s about saving money, nothing more, nothing less.
This author has a valid point. Black women continue to be the fastest growing segment of our prison population.
Read some of the related articles under “race” and “bad prosecutors”.
Excerpts from the Article:
Responses to the U.S. Open women’s final between Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka quickly bifurcated into two angry camps: One claimed that Williams “broke the rules” and therefore deserved the consequences imposed by umpire Carlos Ramos that contributed to Osaka’s impressive victory; the other viewed the punishment as evidence of lingering sexism and racism in a sport that has a long history of both.
This disagreement is about more than tennis, or even sports. It connects with a much deeper American divide about policing and criminal justice, with strong undertones connecting to race and racism.
Those in the “rules” camp grimace and lash out at the suggestion that gender or race play a role in their thought process. They point out that the rules are clearly stated and apply to all players and that umpires in tennis or any sport do their best to enforce them fairly.
To them, Williams clearly violated the rules three times (receiving coaching, smashing her racket and verbally abusing the umpire, whom she called a “thief”). Ramos then applied the code of conduct, which calls for a warning first, followed by a point penalty and then a game penalty. In short, Williams simply lost her cool and has only herself to blame for the outcome.
Many have also piled on with examples from her history of previous explosions at umpires, presenting Williams as a “repeat offender” who has violated the rules before and is thus even more deserving of punishment.
In contrast, the pro-Williams side calls foul, insisting that she has been unfairly targeted because of her physical and moral strength as a player who openly and proudly represents women and will not stay silent or be intimidated by men. For years, she has endured racial slights — from baseless accusations of match-fixing with her sister Venus to occasional racist epithets and near-constant body-shaming — even if she is a public sensation who is revered in her new role as mother.
They also invoke previous bad calls from umpires against Williams, particularly the most egregious and inexplicable overrule in tennis history, which directly led to the camera-based challenge system on line calls. And they claim that it is surely no coincidence that Williams is reportedly the subject of “random” drug testing more than twice as frequently as any other player.
But both sides are missing a crucial dimension — one that ultimately bends in the direction of the pro-Williams camp. Just like the criminal-justice system, tennis and many other sports depend on the subjective discretion of neutral arbiters to apply a set of supposedly objective “rules.”
Ramos did indeed follow the code, and each of the three sanctions had some justification, thus satisfying the “rules” camp. But for two of the three violations (the racket smashing was unambiguous), he used his discretion to punish Williams for acts — coaching and heated exchanges with an umpire — that occur routinely in tennis but are seldom punished.
Within the criminal-justice system, the same principle of discretion also applies, with much more severe and damaging consequences on human lives than the outcome of a tennis match.
At every stage, criminal-justice officials regularly justify individual decisions based on their discretionary interpretation of a rule. When a police officer makes a “routine traffic stop” for a car that changed lanes without signaling, or decides to arrest someone found with recreational drugs, technically the decision is warranted — even if numerous other people commit the same “infractions” without any consequences. Prosecutors have tremendous discretion to decide, for example, whether to charge a child as an adult, add additional enhancements to press for a plea bargain or seek the death penalty. Judges often make discretionary sentencing decisions (recall the Stanford University swimmer case). And prison officials have almost full discretion in issuing disciplinary infractions and sending inmates to solitary confinement.
In all of these instances, one can always say, “Well, this person didn’t follow the rules,” and on an individual basis that may seem sufficient to justify the consequences. What gets lost, however, is that rules are rarely applied regularly, consistently or fairly.
Worse, in the criminal-justice area, these rules are without question applied unevenly, with overwhelming racial disparities at every stage. People of color are far more likely than their white peers to be arrested for the same behavior, charged for the same crime, sentenced to more time for the same conviction, sent to solitary confinement for the same activity and denied parole despite similar prison records.
Without diminishing Osaka’s level of play or achievement, and without excusing Williams’s behavior, the outcome of the U.S. Open may have been determined by an umpire’s discretionary decisions that were far outside the norm. Rather than fool ourselves about the universality of rules, we should question the vast and often unchallenged use of discretion in both sports and criminal justice.
Tennis isn’t the only place there’s a double standard.
This is good news, but the two major operators, CoreCivic and GEO are no better! Those two run most ICE “detention facilities”, where rape by staff, beatings, verbal abuse, and horrid “medical care” abound! Read scores of articles under prison abuse on this website.
Excerpts from the Article:
Louisiana-based Emerald Correctional Management, also known as Emerald Corrections, was once among the major movers and shakers in the private prison industry. Today it’s a figment of the past.
Emerald was notorious for atrocious conditions in its detention facilities, as documented in a recent investigative piece co-published by Newsweek and the California-based publication Capital and Main. Incidents at the company’s prisons and jails included the medical-related deaths of immigrant detainees Igor Zyazin at the San Luis Regional Detention Facility in Arizona and Olubunmi Joshua at the Rolling Plains Detention Center in Texas; the “2016 suicide of a 77-year-old county inmate, Kennie Moore, who hanged himself using his boxer shorts as a noose” at Rolling Plains; and a lawsuit filed by Emerald employees who were “forced to work off the clock and weren’t paid for overtime.” The suit was settled out of court.
In 2016, as one of Emerald’s last acts during the two decades it was in business, the company opened the $60 million Prairieland Detention Center. Located in Alvarado, Texas, the 700-bed facility houses detainees for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), though technically the five-year contract is with the City of Alvarado. The center was designated to hold transgender prisoners, isolating them from the general immigrant detainee population.
“Like all Intergovernmental Service Agreements, the deal was made without the transparency that federal contracting rules dictate,” explained Robin Urevich in the June 28, 2018 Newsweek / Capital and Main story. “ICE signed the agreement with Alvarado city officials, but city officials have no role in operating Prairieland.”
At its West Texas Detention Center in Sierra Blanca, which contracted with the U.S. Marshals Service, Emerald faced complaints by detainees that included the use of plastic bags as toilets. The bags were required because, as reported by radio station KJZZ, the toilets were filled with human waste and the facility did not have proper plumbing systems. Other detainees reported “live rattlesnakes in their sleeping quarters,” according to KJZZ.
Both the West Texas and Prairieland facilities are now run by LaSalle Corrections [see: PLN, Feb. 2013, p.1], which faced its own complaints for abusive conditions earlier in 2018, including “verbal insults [such as] racial slurs; dangerous and unsanitary conditions of confinement; and denial of medical and mental health care.”
Best known for operating ICE detention centers, Emerald also formerly ran the Two Rivers Detention Facility in Hardin, Montana, which has struggled to find prisoners to house since it opened in 2007. Under the management of various companies, including Emerald, Two Rivers has largely sat vacant. [See: PLN, June 2017, p.20; Dec. 2009, p.1]. Emerald also previously operated a county jail in Lincoln County, New Mexico – the Lincoln County Detention Center – which is now run by LaSalle Corrections.
Who do you think is paying for the mountain of litigation, the costs, the monetary awards, and the settlements due to horrendous prison medical care? YOU are! If prison health care were done properly, every state in the country would find it had millions (some, billions) of more dollars for its budget!
Excerpts from the Article:
The family of the man slain by former Connecticut prison inmate Wayne L. World has filed a lawsuit seeking all or part of a $1.3 million settlement reached after World sued the state over deficient medical care. World was convicted of manslaughter in the 2006 stabbing death of Omari Lawrence during a fight on Hartford’s Sargent Street.
In prison, World’s subcutaneous lymphoma was misdiagnosed for as long as three years, according to a lawsuit filed on World’s behalf by lawyers Kenneth Krayeske and DeVaughn Ward. The state agreed to the settlement in August.
At the time of Lawrence’s death, his “family was unable to recover anything for their losses, said attorney Paul Iannaccone of Hartford.
He said the family is seeking the proceeds of the settlement as compensation.
“The family knows that nothing will bring their father, brother, or nephew back to them. However, they do hope that this action will bring about the justice and some final closure that have been delayed for so long,” Iannaccone said in a statement.
Krayeske said he and Ward will not be representing World in the Lawrence family’s action. He said they are focused on representing other inmates in medical malpractice cases.
Once again, arrogant, out of control prison officials fail to follow an Order of the Court.
See the preposterous argument made by the prison …”sodium is a necessary nutrient and therefore higher levels of sodium don’t render the diet inadequate.”!
Excerpts from the Article:
The Nevada Supreme Court has ruled prison officials aren’t providing inmates with a healthy diet. Justices Michael Cherry, Ron Parraguirre and Lidia Stiglich agreed with inmate Robert Stockmeier that corrections officials failed to report the diet wasn’t healthy and to show standards for determining nutritional adequacy were followed, including the recommended daily allowances and other standards set by the Food and Nutrition board of the National Academy of Medicine. As a result, they write, the record indicates excessive levels of fat and sodium.
They rejected the department’s argument sodium is a necessary nutrient and therefore higher levels of sodium don’t render the diet inadequate.
“The standard proffered does not deem adequate a diet with an unlimited quantity of sodium,” the order states. “It is plain that a nutritionally adequate diet is not simply one that has some quantity of necessary macronutrients as many nutrients that are necessary in small quantities are dangerous in large quantities.”
Despite previous court orders to report proper standards were followed, the justices ruled corrections and the state’s chief medical officer still aren’t showing a standard was followed.
Saying statute doesn’t require corrections to follow a specific standard, they ruled they “must actually apply whatever standard it purportedly relies upon.”
The chief medical officer, they ruled, “failed to show that it’s reporting applied any standards in assessing nutritional adequacy,” and therefore failed to comply with statutory reporting requirements.
Having seen the Delaware D O C ignore the terms of a similar settlement, and having read about other states doing the same* [I tell you again, unless you really know what goes on in our prisons it is hard to believe how out of control they are! 🙁 ], I say let us wait and see where this is two years from now. Will the plaintiffs be in court again to force Colorado to honor the settlement, as has happened too many times in similar cases in America? That won’t surprise me.
States are required by law three different ways to provide “reasonable medical care” to inmates [state statutes, the U S Constitution (Supreme Court cases) and federal law), yet they routinely fail to do so. Hep C has been an epidemic in our prisons for years, and is spread largely by all of the illicit tattooing going on – unsterile tools.
Excerpts from the Article:
The Colorado Department of Corrections will spend $41 million over two years to provide life-saving drugs to 2,200 prisoners who’ve been diagnosed with chronic hepatitis C. The move was approved today, September 12, by the Colorado State Claims board, settling a class-action lawsuit brought by the ACLU of Colorado and Fox Rothschild attorneys, which accused the state of delaying or denying treatment for prisoners battling the potentially deadly virus because of the high cost of the medications involved.
The state is spending $20.5 million in this year’s budget, and the same amount next year, to address a backlog of prisoners who’ve been waiting in line for a new generation of wonder drugs, known as direct-acting antivirals, that virtually eliminate the virus in more than 90 percent of the patients treated. That’s an exponential increase over the $2.8 million the CDOC spent to treat just fifty prisoners for hep C in the previous two years.
As first reported in Westword’s 2016 feature “The Deadliest Killer in Colorado’s Prisons is a Curable Virus,” prison administrators had set up stringent requirements for treatment that amounted to a multi-year obstacle course for inmates suffering from the virus. Partly because of the stigma associated with the bloodborne virus, which is primarily acquired through sharing needles, and partly because of its pervasiveness behind bars (it’s estimated that 17 percent of the national prison population is affected), officials required prisoners to go through months of drug and alcohol classes and have particularly deteriorated livers before they could begin treatment. The severe rationing was also spurred by the fact that the new wonder drugs, when they first debuted, cost as much as $95,000 for a twelve-week regimen.
A Westword review of 823 deaths within the DOC over fifteen years found that 161 of those deaths, nearly one in five of them, were caused by end-stage liver disease and related illnesses. That’s roughly twice the number of suicides behind bars during that same period, three times the number of deaths attributed to drug and alcohol use, and four times the number of homicides. The data provided doesn’t specify how many of the liver-related deaths were the direct result of hep C complications, but the DOC has determined that the virus was a contributing factor in at least eighteen deaths between 2014 and 2016.
This is the kind of horrific stuff that goes on in our prisons. Just as horrific, in a less dramatic way, is the abominable “health care” in our prisons. YOU should speak out about it. READ Prison Abuse – Why Massive Indifference is a Massive Mistake – kra
Who do you think is paying for all of the litigation and investigation that will come from this incident and thousands of other preventable abuses? YOU, the taxpayer, are paying billions, yes billions, of dollars needlessly!
Excerpts from the Article:
Tony Howard of Moss Point is serving time in prison on a manslaughter conviction — but that doesn’t give anyone the right to throw gasoline on him and set him on fire, his mother said.
An inmate serving a life prison sentence severely burned Howard on Aug. 3 at the South Mississippi Correctional Institution in Leakesville, said his mother, Linda Howard. “I’m very disturbed,” she said. “I’m very hurt that my child suffers. Just imagine getting burned from grits or a curling iron. But gas thrown on you and being set on fire? How did this happen?”
SMCI is the prison that twice-convicted killer Michael Floyd Wilson, known as “Pretty Boy Floyd,” escaped on July 5. Wilson, who was in prison for the murders of two men in Harrison County, was caught two days later in Jackson County.
Linda Howard said someone left a message on her phone Aug. 5, saying her 32-year-old son had been set on fire with gas by another inmate, identified by the caller as Albert Wilson, on Aug. 3. Howard said a medical officer confirmed Howard had been burned, but she has been unable to speak to the warden or her son.
Howard’s condition is not available. He was moved to the Z Unit, the designation for an inmate in a hospital, on Aug. 7.
That’s the day Donna Howard said a chaplain called and asked her to visit her son at a Jackson burn center. “That’s like telling the mother of an inmate he’s about to die,” she said. “Then I get a call telling me the visit is canceled. I don’t know anything about how he’s doing.”
MDOC is releasing no details. “Because this is an ongoing investigation with information subject to change, the department’s practice is to not release specifics,” MDOC Communications Director Grace Fisher said. “Upon completion of the investigation, if the department believes charges are merited, the case will be referred to a prosecutor’s office.”
Howard was convicted of manslaughter in Jackson County on May 4, 2009. A jury found him guilty of fatally shooting Lorenzo Nettles at the Touch of Class on Feb. 16, 2008. Nettles was trying to intervene in an argument between Howard and another man when Howard’s gun went off, documents show.
Howard has 7 1/2 years to finish on a 20-year sentence. His tentative release date is March 3, 2026, prison records show.
More than a week after being notified of her son’s injuries, Linda Wilson said she has still heard nothing about his condition or details on how and why he got burned. She wants to know how the alleged assailant obtained gasoline and how prison staff allowed it to happen. “He didn’t just go to the store and get some gasoline,” Howard said.
Mississippi has three state prisons, 15 county-run regional jails and three private prisons.