ICE Let Sexual Assault Reports Slide At Migrant Detention Centers Run By Contractors: Inspector General
I have been posting about this situation for 5 years now, and under tRump the abuses only worsen. Here I am seen speaking about the horrors – abuses – of ICE “detention centers” about 4 years ago:
Excerpts from the Article:
Federal immigration officials are not adequately policing contractors running immigrant detention centers where serious problems are often going unreported, according to a report the inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security released last week. In some cases, contractors ― including both private businesses and public operations, such as county jails ― failed to notify Immigration and Customs Enforcement of sexual assaults and employee misconduct, the IG report said.
“Instead of holding facilities accountable through financial penalties, ICE issued waivers to facilities with deficient conditions,” the report said.
The report said one facility, for example, was granted a waiver that allowed detainees with serious criminal histories to be held near those with nonviolent offenses. Another facility was granted a waiver to use tear gas instead of pepper spray, which is less toxic, according to the IG report.
ICE issued only two fines to contractors between October 2015 and June 2018, despite finding more than 14,000 deficiencies in that time period, the IG reported. One facility was fined for repeated deficiencies in health care; another for failing to pay proper wages. The fines amounted to $3.9 million — or 0.13 percent of the more than $3 billion ICE paid to contractors during that period, the report noted.
ICE approved 65 waivers allowing facilities to ignore contract requirements — most for indefinite time periods ― between September 2016 and July 2018.
The investigation examined 106 detention facilities run by contractors that hold about 25,000 detainees daily. ICE has about 45,670 immigrants in detention each day.
In the last two years, the DHS inspector general also found that ICE hasn’t followed its own contract procurement guidelines for the detention centers, and has not fully examined actual conditions at centers. ICE said it would do better.
Quite sobering, and quite disgraceful. The government should be championing and protecting civil rights, in keeping with the Constitution and our long heritage.
This article is quite long, accurate, and compelling. I leave below mostly the topic headlines, which tell the story of situations many of us know all too well. For details, read The Whole Story. See there the FACTS! … And you wonder why I say that tRump has been a disaster for America?!
Excerpts from the Article:
When Donald Trump stood on a stage in Cleveland to accept the Republican nomination for the presidency in July 2016, he declared he would be the voice of the American people, the sole champion for the vulnerable and forgotten. “I have no patience for injustice, no tolerance for government incompetence, no sympathy for leaders who fail their citizens,” he said, before adding, “I have joined the political arena so that the powerful can no longer beat up on people that cannot defend themselves. Nobody knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it.”
After entering the Oval Office, however, the president didn’t embark on what could have been the greatest construction project of his life: Building a more just America for everyone. Instead, he launched a government-wide assault on the very policies and programs that protect those who “cannot defend themselves.”
Trump has, in fact, spent its first year promoting the alt-right’s policy agenda by systematically dismantling hard-won civil rights protections and reversing numerous initiatives of President Barack Obama – all while continuing to use his megaphone to sow racial and ethnic divisions.
This assault on civil rights – and the American values that underpin them – is far-reaching and dangerous.
Here are 10 ways that he, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and other administration officials have undermined protections for the most vulnerable people in America.
Promoting a white nationalist agenda
Slashing civil rights enforcement
Revving up the deportation machine
Attacking voting rights
Shredding LGBT protections
Encouraging police abuses
Reviving debtors’ prisons
Undermining public education
Eroding the rights of students with disabilities
PROMOTING A WHITE NATIONALIST AGENDA
I certainly will be interested to see what the internal affairs report discloses. Of the major figures quoted here, Mr. Steve Hampton is the only credible person! Mr. Klopp, head of the guards’ union, lies repeatedly to cover up the many crimes committed by D O C personnel, including the many abuses which were the real cause of the riot. Mr. Phelps was the warden when I was in, and he too did nothing about the innumerable complaints of abuse by staff.
READ Culture of Cover UP! If I had not seen it, I may never have believed it myself; the scale of the deceit is mind-boggling!
Excerpts from the Article:
Friday marked the second year anniversary of the deadly James T. Vaughn Correctional Center riot.On the morning of Feb. 1 2017, a masked group of inmates took control of C Building in the compound, held its inhabitants hostage and barricaded the entries. About 19 hours later the building was retaken by force, but during the riot, correctional officer Lt. Steven Floyd was murdered and other hostages badly beaten or otherwise traumatized.
In the wake of the incident, three separate investigations were initiated to find out why it happened and who was responsible: The Delaware State Police criminal investigation, an Independent Review ordered by Gov. John Carney, and the Department of Corrections internal affairs investigation.
The governor’s independent review wrapped up the following September and provided a long list of proposed prison reforms.
The criminal investigation resulted in charges against 18 inmates for perpetrating the riot but much less was heard about the internal affairs investigation. Though no official announcement was made about its completion, DOC Commissioner Perry Phelps said in an interview last November that it was completed. When asked if there were any plans to share it with the governor or legislators, he said: “It’s been shared with me.”
However, it appears both the House and Senate committees responsible for overseeing the DOC will request a report on the investigation.
“Both as the chair of the committee and as a citizen, I want the opportunity to talk to the corrections officials and administrators to be briefed on the results of that audit so we can hopefully gain a fuller understanding of what happened,” Rep. Melissa Minor-Brown, D-New Castle, the new chairperson of the House Corrections Committee, said on Thursday. “We need to make sure that Feb. 1, 2017 never, ever, happens again,” she said.
Her counterpart in the Senate, Sen. Bruce Ennis (D), noted that the Senate Corrections & Public Safety committee has an interest in reviewing the investigation results for the same reason.
“We had a joint meeting last year and hit on that issue, but at the time they said they were working on the investigation and it wasn’t finished,” Sen. Ennis said. “I know the investigation was supposed to deal strictly with the issue of the death and the riot, so we’ll try to plan another joint meeting and see if we can get some answers.”
According to spokesman Jonathan Starkey, Gov. Carney has reviewed the investigation results.
“Gov. Carney read the report and has been in regular communication with Commissioner Phelps regarding its findings,” Mr. Starkey said. “Commissioner Phelps has continued to work with Claire DeMatteis (governor appointed special assistant to DOC) as needed to continue the Department’s focus on the recommendations of the Independent Review and to address the IA report. The Governor and the Commissioner speak regularly regarding the Department’s work in this area.”
“Throughout this process, the governor has believed that public accountability is important,” he said. “That’s why we engaged with the Independent Review team to report publicly on the challenges inside our correctional facilities and to report publicly on recommendations for addressing them.
Of the 18 inmates charged with perpetrating the riot, two pleaded guilty — one later killing himself in his cell after entering the plea last November. Three stood trial late last year, only one of whom picked up a murder conviction. One was convicted on lesser charges and the other was acquitted. Four more are currently standing trial in the New Castle County Courthouse in Wilmington and the remaining nine are scheduled for court dates up through May.
On the administrative side, the accountability is much less clear. Over the past two years stakeholders have raised substantial questions about the management of Vaughn prison in the lead up to, during and after the riot.
Clearly feeling there was fault, survivors of the riot, including Lt. Floyd’s family and estate, sued the state and several of its officials seeking compensatory and punitive damages. Filed in April 2017, the suit’s complaint rests on the state’s alleged failure to provide a safe working environment for its employees and long ignored staffing issues within the DOC. Defendants included former governors Ruth Ann Minner and Jack Markell, along with DOC Commissioner Perry Phelps and three former commissioners, and state budget director Michael Jackson and his predecessors. At least four of the defendants still work for the state. Among many accusations, the lawsuit alleged that the administrations of former Gov. Markell and Minner sought to not only dismiss mounting issues within the DOC, but willfully obfuscate and hide the extent to which the state’s prison system was ailing. The suit never went to trial and was settled out of court in December for $7.55 million — thought to be the largest state-paid settlement in Delaware’s history. Still, the defendants maintain that the plaintiffs’ claim “lacked legal merit.”
Nevertheless, Geoff Klopp, president of the Correctional Officers Association of Delaware (COAD), claims prison leadership was well aware of the dangers lurking over C Building and did not act soon enough to protect staff. Also, when it came time to hold leadership accountable for its failures, he agrees that issues were purposely obfuscated. “It was known by many supervisors at Vaughn that something was going to happen up to four month prior to Lt. Floyd being murdered — there’s documentation in the form of emails, reports and memos going all the way back to September 2016 that sounded the warning,” Mr. Klopp said. “What the COAD doesn’t understand is how so many supervisors could have been aware of the situation, but only a single person — Jeff Carrothers — took the blame and was disciplined.”
Mr. Carrothers, Vaughn’s security superintendent at the time of the riot, was fired from the DOC in October 2017. According to him, he was first reassigned to work in the DOC’s Dover headquarters a few weeks after the Feb. 1 incident. He noted that he felt targeted because he was never interviewed about the incident.
Mr. Carrothers said he’s suspicious about his termination because, to his knowledge, he was the only employee ever fired in connection with the Feb. 1 incident — despite having several superiors responsible for security. Also, several subordinates, even more closely responsible for security at C Building were subsequently promoted, he claimed. At least in one notable case, Mr. Carrothers has been proven correct. Lt. Charles Sennett, a supervising officer directly responsible for the security of C Building appears to have been promoted to Staff Lieutenant since the riot and still severs in the same role at the prison. This was made clear during his testimony in the ongoing inmate criminal trials when prosecutors asked what his occupation was on the day of the riot versus his current occupation. Further, Lt. Sennett admitted to being on the receiving end of an email sent by Lt. Floyd before the riot.
As for senior leadership in the prison, both Vaughn Warden David Pierce and Bureau of Prisons chief Christopher Klein were reassigned after the incident.
Mr. Pierce, retaining the merit title of Warden V at a salary of $109,595.64, was reassigned to the Bureau of Community Corrections 20 days after the riot.
The Independent Review team was also critical about Mr. Pierce’s performance in the lead-up to the riot. The report noted that some Vaughn staff members believed Mr. Pierce’s policies put officers at risk and restricted their ability to effectively do their job. Specifically, a memo released by the warden briefing staff on the implementation of new rules was cited. At the time the memo was circulated, the prison was adopting the terms of a settlement with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Community Legal Aid Society (CLASI) in late 2016, the review team said. The warden’s memo noted that certain inmate privileges could not be revoked and that, during recreation, inmates could not be told to “lock in” because they violated a rule. The review team believed Mr. Pierce wanted the new policies to fail. “The impression of the Independent Review team is that the memo was a passive aggressive attempt to force the implementation of the CLASI agreement to fail,” the report states.
Additionally, the lawsuit brought against the state by survivors alleged that Gov. Carney violated DOC policy during the siege by restricting Mr. Pierce from making a rescue attempt sooner.
The DOC policy manual states that the warden of a given prison is to become the “ultimate commander” in the event of a major emergency and remains in charge until the situation is resolved.
The now-settled complaint claimed that Mr. Pierce had approved a prison emergency response team to retake C Building and rescue the hostages within an hour of the uprising’s start. However, he was allegedly overruled by Gov. Carney who halted the rescue attempt “for presently unknown reasons.” This “enraged” the warden, the complaint said.
In mid-May of 2017, Mr. Klein, chief of the Bureau of Prisons, accepted a new job as deputy principal assistant at the Delaware Department of Safety and Homeland Security — led by Robert Coupe, his former boss at the DOC. As bureau chief under both Mr. Coupe and current DOC commissioner Perry Phelps, Mr. Klein oversaw Delaware’s four prisons, including James T. Vaughn Correctional Center.
Because “personnel information is private” the DOC refuses to discuss circumstances around terminations and reassignments.
Mr. Klopp says the questions about what actually happened procedurally before and during the riot are too big to be left unanswered.
“At the end of the day, this all looks like an effort to cover things up and silence the people who actually know what really happened so the public and correctional officers themselves never find out the truth,” he said.
“Even more is coming to light in the ongoing inmate trials — we now know from Lt. Floyd’s autopsy that he would probably have lived if the building had been retaken sooner. The COAD still has questions about policy being broken during the riot response.
Also in line to review the internal affairs investigation is Stephen Hampton, a Dover attorney representing the more than 100 inmates housed in C Building during the riot. An 80-page complaint he filed late last year alleges “inhumane conditions” at Vaughn, and states that for many years prior to the riot prison personnel “illegally abused, mistreated and tortured inmates with virtually nothing being done by their JTVCC (Vaughn prison) or DOC supervisors, to stop them.”
If the inmates’ lawsuit goes ahead, he’ll have a chance to review the report, he says.
“Internal affairs reports do not normally get reported to anyone else outside the DOC,” Mr. Hampton said last week. “The only way I have gotten to see them in the past is in discovery after I’ve filed suit in a case. If they exist for the revolt and correctional officer actions after it, I expect to get a copy of them in discovery.”
Mr. Hampton also believes DOC policy was broken during the riot.
“My observation has been that the wardens of the various Delaware prisons are considered the highest authority in each prison, and the commissioners generally liked having the warden handle the problems in their prison,” he said.
“The majority of warden decisions are never reviewed by the commissioner, giving the commissioner deniability if a decision turns out bad. Thus it was against DOC practice and protocol when Warden Pierce was overruled at the beginning of the revolt, and not permitted to put a quick end to it.
“That decision turned out bad, and I expect to find out who made the decision during discovery.”
Both the DOC and the Governor’s Office have refused to comment on Mr. Hampton’s accusations because they’re part of ongoing litigation.
‘Harrowing’ Video Shows Brooklyn Inmates In Freezing Jail Cells Begging For Help – The Lawsuit filed on 2/4/19
Our friend, Steve Hampton, Esq. sent me this article. You will see here that prison officials, so accustomed to lying like hell, deny both the cause and the effect of the power outage, even though the electric company contradicts them and public officials have seen the effect!
It is an outrage that so many lawsuits have to be filed concerning prison officials willfully violating the law. It costs YOU billions of dollars annually.
Excerpts from the Article:
Inmates at a federal lockup in New York have been banging on the walls and windows of their cells to get attention from people on the street as they suffer below-freezing temperatures in their cells. New York City Councilman Justin Brannan filmed the scene on Friday at the waterfront Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, where more than 1,600 inmates are imprisoned.
“Inmates are banging on S-O-S on windows to get our attention. This is surreal,” Brannan tweeted. Later, he added: “One of the most harrowing sounds I’ve ever known.”
The administrative detention center had a partial power outage last Saturday as temperatures dropped as low as 2 degrees this week, causing several inmates to call federal defender offices, according to The New York Times. Without limited power at the jail, defense lawyers claim, inmates have been complaining of freezing cells, no hot water and no lights.
“In the past hour, I have gotten 11 calls,” paralegal Rachel Bass of Federal Defenders in Brooklyn told the Times on Thursday. “People are frantic. They’re really, really scared. They don’t have extra blankets. They don’t have access to the commissary to buy an extra sweatshirt.”
The Metropolitan Detention Center has suspended visits to the facility until further notice, according to a message on its website.
Dierdre con Dornum, the lead federal defender in Brooklyn, told The Associated Press on Friday that the inmates were currently on lockdown with no access to the computers they use to contact family and attorneys and to request prescription medications.
“My understanding is they’re fully locked down in their dark cells,” Dornum said.
Herman Quay, a spokeswoman for the jail’s warden, confirmed to the Times that there was a partial power outage but denied that the inmates housed there were affected, according to the Times. The Bureau of Prisons, which also denied that cells were lacking heat and hot water, told the Times that the electrical failure was due to emergencies with Con Edison, though the utility denied any issues. “It’s an internal problem, and their electricians will have to fix it,” Robert McGee, a Con Edison spokesman, told the paper.
In response to the Times’ story, Rep. Nydia Velazquez of New York said Friday that she was “alarmed by reports that inmates at the MDC are enduring these conditions, especially given the freezing weather this week.”
Later Friday, after a visit to the jail, the congresswoman said that some of the heat and hot water was restored but that it was not at full capacity. “Still cold & dark,” she tweeted. “As we weren’t allowed to speak with inmates, unclear if blankets are being distributed.”
I’m alarmed by reports that inmates at the MDC are enduring these conditions, especially given the freezing weather this week. I am going to visit the facility to try and ascertain firsthand what is happening. Inmates maintain they have been locked in their cells with limited heat and electricity for more than a week, defense lawyers say. The warden’s office denies the claim.
On Thursday, federal defenders filed an emergency motion to remove Dino Sanchez, an inmate from Brooklyn who was suffering from asthma in the severe cold, according to the Times. “The population was kept in their cells for 23 hours,” Benjamin Yaster, a federal defender representing Sanchez, told the paper. “He’s stuck in these cold conditions in a short-sleeved jumpsuit and a short-sleeved undershirt.” Yaster added: “He feels short of breath and is wheezing and coughing more than he normally would.”
Councilman Brannan demanded answers from jail officials after Velazquez’s visit.
“These conditions are dangerous & inhumane for workers & inmates,” he tweeted. “Families on outside especially need answers.”
God Bless our friends, the WTI team. They continue to PROVE that innocent people are on Death Row. They are reaching millions of Americans and educating them about problems with our criminal justice system, and the solutions to those problems. Support their 2019 efforts!
Excerpts from the Article:
The death row exoneree members at Witness to Innocence had a productive and meaningful 2018! Here’s a look back at some highlights from the past year… Our members continued to change minds across the country, shaping public opinion about the death penalty. We hosted over 110 speaking engagements in 25 states, directly reaching over 10,000 people nationwide.
We received media coverage from over 1,000 media outlets that reached at least 100 million listeners, readers, and viewers nationwide.
Witness to Innocence participated in some huge legislative successes as well. WTI members and staff spent spent significant time lobbying legislators in Washington State to support the efforts for death penalty abolition. Our public speaking tour and Accuracy & Justice workshop in Washington ramped up the pressure and were a decisive factor leading to this decision.
We also participated in work that led to a legislative victory in New Hampshire, where the state legislators voted to repeal the death penalty in 2018; unfortunately, the action failed due to a gubernatorial veto.
We also hosted some great events throughout the year, including four Accuracy & Justice workshops, where exonerees were able to engage with over 500 law enforcement officials and prosecutors about wrongful convictions. We hosted a three-day Annual WTI Gathering of Members in Arizona, where exonerees, family members, and allies united to hold a public action against the death penalty at the Arizona State Capitol, participate in workshops, a host a public screening of the award-winning film, “The Gathering.” In November, we hosted our 15th Anniversary Celebration honoring death row exonerees & our partners in our fight for abolition.
As we look ahead to 2019, we hope for continued victories in our fight toward total death penalty abolition. We are so grateful for all of our partners and supporters around the world.
You can bet that Delaware officials did no investigating at all! Other prison rights advocates and I am receiving complaint every week from family members of inmates recently sent to PA: they say that inmates are receiving no treatment, no programs/classes/courses are available, and, of course, it is a hardship (in many cases not possible) to travel to visit their loved ones.
Delaware says the transfer is to lessen overtime pay, and that is total bullshit. I was inside for 5 years, and I still communicate with guards still working in Delaware D O C (they dare not let their names be disclosed, for fear of being fired, or worse!). The fact is that the overtime assignments are given as a reward to guards who do not disclose all of the crimes and abuses they and their fellow COs commit regularly. Everyone who knows what really goes on knows this!
The abuses are so horrific, blatant, and un-addressed (widely ignored) that inmates two years ago rioted and killed a CO – one of the worst abusers, though you never will see that in the press – Mr. Floyd!
You will see NO significant reduction in overtime pay as a result of these transfers. Mark my words!
READ Culture of Cover Up READ IT!
Excerpts from the Article:
Delaware sends inmates to Pennsylvania facility marred by complaints of abuse, poor health care and several Vermont inmate deaths.
Vermont signed a three-year contract in 2017 transferring more than 200 of its inmates to Pennsylvania in an effort to ease prison crowding.
But poor health care, the deaths of several Vermont inmates held at Pennsylvania’s SCI Camp Hill facility and allegations of racism resulted in that contract being terminated 16 months later.
“I guarantee you we’re not going back there,” Matthew F. Valerio, Vermont Defender General, told The News Journal. “There was nobody who was unhappy leaving there as far as I can tell – not the (Vermont) Department of Corrections, not the inmates, not my office that oversees the Prisons’ Rights Office.”
Yet on Oct. 5, one day after Vermont announced it had relocated those 215 inmates from Pennsylvania to a private prison in Mississippi, Delaware officials signed a two-year contract to send more than 300 of its inmates to Pennsylvania. All the Delaware inmates will be sent to that same Camp Hill facility, just south of Harrisburg, before they are transferred to other Pennsylvania prisons.
Delaware sending 330 inmates to Pennsylvania at cost of $40,000 per day.
Delaware corrections officials said they did not talk to counterparts in Vermont before signing their agreement. It is unclear how much Delaware officials knew about Vermont’s issues with Pennsylvania.
The Delaware Department of Correction signed the $40,000-per-day contract with Pennsylvania in October and publicly announced the contract in November. Delaware wanted to reduce its prison population to try and limit the amount of overtime correctional officers work. Delaware DOC Commissioner Perry Phelps said after looking at different options, they determined that sending prisoners to Pennsylvania would bring the maximum benefit in the shortest amount of time.
“We are not trying to punish anyone,” Phelps said. “We are trying to make the system work and unfortunately sometimes we have to make decisions. That was one of the tough decisions we had to make and hopefully it’s a short-term.” Phelps also addressed the deaths of the Vermont prisoners, saying prisons house people who don’t always take care of themselves on the outside.
“I mean if you abuse your body for 20 or 30 years and then you come to prison … then we’ve got some catching up to do to get your health up to where it should be,” he said. “Sometimes, unfortunately, people don’t always survive that.”
Vermont authorities were scratching their heads. “It doesn’t sound like to me that Delaware’s officials did their due diligence before deciding to take this step,” said Tom Dalton, executive director of the advocacy group Vermonters for Criminal Justice Reform. “Because if they had looked at Vermont’s experience, I would hope they would not have made the decision to send their citizens to Camp Hill, Pennsylvania.”
A lack of prison space has forced Vermont to house some inmates in other states for decades. Before being sent to Pennsylvania, Vermont inmates were held in a private prison in Michigan operated by GEO Group. Vermont was given short notice to get its prisoners out of Michigan and with Pennsylvania open to housing them, officials in Vermont shipped them to the Keystone state in June 2017. Vermont’s inmates were mainly housed at Camp Hill, which has traditionally been an intake facility in Pennsylvania, not a long-term housing facility.
Shortly after the prisoners were transferred, Vermont officials began receiving complaints about prisoner treatment and medical care.
Brown, who supposedly didn’t know he had cancer, was denied prescription medication and given ibuprofen and Tylenol.
The Associated Press obtained Brown’s diary and provided some of the following excerpts: Oct. 14, 2017, was the final dated entry in Vermont inmate Roger Brown’s diary, which chronicled his time incarcerated out-of-state at SCI-Camp Hill in Pennsylvania. His cell-mate, who had taken over keeping the diary at that point, writes, “We were continually rebuffed and refused medical attention, told repeatedly it was all in his head, even at the point where he could no longer stand or sit up.” Oct. 14, 2017, was the final dated entry in Vermont inmate Roger Brown’s diary, which chronicled his time incarcerated out-of-state at SCI-Camp Hill in Pennsylvania. His cell-mate, who had taken over keeping the diary at that point, writes, “We were continually rebuffed and refused medical attention, told repeatedly it was all in his head, even at the point where he could no longer stand or sit up.” (Photo: ELIZABETH MURRAY/FREE PRESS)
“No sleep last night, long hours in pain. Ibuprofen makes me groggy but doesn’t do much for pain,” he wrote on Sept. 24, 2017.
“Can’t sleep at night. Hip on fire, painful,” he said on Sept. 25, 2017. He also wrote that he thinks his hip is broken and it feels like his back is breaking in half when he coughs. When he could no longer write, Brown’s final diary entries were written by his cellmate. “I had the sergeant declare a medical emergency because Roger was in so much pain. I wheeled him up to medical. We were refused! The short nurse on duty told Roger ‘chronic pain is not a medical emergency. … It was all in his head,'” Clifton Matthews wrote. He later wrote that they were continually “rebuked and refused medical attention.” Brown was admitted to the infirmary the evening of Oct. 14, according to Matthews. Brown died the next day. James A. Valente, a Vermont attorney representing the estates of Brown and Adams, said what they’ve learned from these cases is that their pain was ignored. “Whether or not negligence actually caused their death is a much, much more difficult, more complicated question,” he said. “What I do think is fair to say, that from our cases, that there is substantial evidence that these inmates were in pain from terminal cancer and the institution did very little for them.”
Dalton, of Vermonters for Criminal Justice Reform, said Brown’s diary is a clear sign of his pain. “If you read his diary, a layperson can see that he was in serious distress,” Dalton said. “His cellmate and people around him were alarmed for him and were trying to get him help and he ended up dying.”
“It was a series of problems and yet the sending state has very little opportunity to conduct reasonable oversight because Pennsylvania has a right to treat them like they are their inmates and use their policies,” Dalton said. “They made it difficult for communication to take place.” Valerio was more frank. “It was maybe one of the worst experiences sending people out of state that we’ve had in the entire history of doing it,” he said.
Amy Worden, Pennsylvania DOC spokeswoman, said her agency offers a wide range of treatment, education and job training programming at its 25 institutions.
Transferring inmates out of Delaware’s prison system was expected to reduce mandatory overtime, referred to as “shift freezes,” which last fiscal year helped push the department’s overtime budget to $30 million.
That was a 39 percent jump over the $22.2 million paid out the previous year.
Forced overtime has been a problem in the DOC for years and addressing it was one of 41 recommendations made by an independent review team that looked into the Feb. 1, 2017, deadly siege at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center. The siege claimed the life of corrections officer Lt. Steven Floyd.
The contract requires Pennsylvania to provide reports in order to compute good behavior time. In doing this, Delaware DOC can monitor the progress of their inmates while out of state.
Although Phelps said there is always concern for inmates in their custody, he didn’t expect a problem with their transfer to Pennsylvania, especially
The News Journal has learned that at least one Delaware inmate was transferred from Camp Hill to Coal Township, which is north of Harrisburg, Phelps said they hoped to have their inmates in prisons near Phoenixville and Chester.
The ACLU of Delaware, which has suggested reducing prisoner populations in order to deal with crowing and overtime, said they have concerns for the health and well-being of the prisoners and their families who are being moved.
“Based on reports we are receiving from family members, communication with their loved ones in Pennsylvania is sporadic and extremely limited,” said Kathleen MacRae, ACLU of Delaware’s executive director. “We are also hearing many complaints that prisoners are not receiving their medications or that medications are being abruptly changed.”
MacRae said they have not been able to verify or deny these reports, but they continue to work with family members and with the Delaware DOC to get answers.
Virtually all inmates suffer prison abuse, but the mentally and/or physically disabled suffer the most. Why? Because the “health care” is abominable. The contractors providing the service will let inmates DIE from neglect before they spend the money needed to help. How else can their CEOs make millions of dollars annually?!
With adequate health care far fewer would be in wheelchairs.
The article demonstrates prison officials’ blatant disregard for the law, here the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Read the whole article and you’ll begin to see that this litigation has gone on for decades. And, folks, the situation is the same in every state; guess you is paying for all of this avoidable litigation? YOU are!
“Hey Doc, how are we doing in treating the health problems of inmates?”
Excepts from the Article:
It started, as prisoner complaints so often do, with a gripe about not being able to visit the law library. In 2015, a prisoner at Wende Correctional Facility in upstate New York contacted attorneys at Disability Rights New York, an Albany-based nonprofit, to complain that he couldn’t get access to the law library to craft an appeal in his case.
The law library at the maximum-security facility in Erie County wasn’t closed nor did it lack books; he simply wasn’t allowed in because he uses a wheelchair for mobility. Like the roughly 350 other disabled and ailing prisoners housed in the New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision special medical units, prison officials wouldn’t let him visit the law library, a critical resource for prisoners looking to file lawsuits, work on their appeals, or fight disciplinary sanctions meted out by correctional officers.
Later that year, attorneys with Disability Rights New York complained to prison officials, who issued a memo stating that prisoners in the units, known as RMUs (regional medical units),could ask for a doctor’s approval to visit the law library. To date, however, only one prisoner has won that approval, according to court filings.
So Disability Rights New York began documenting other concerns of incarcerated people. It found that in addition to being barred from law library visits, prisoners at New York’s five RMUs can’t access the general population recreation yard, attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, or take college classes. They are barred from prison-wide events, and aren’t allowed to participate in the vast majority of the vocational programs. Attorneys with Disability Rights New York claim that the denial of services commonly available to other prisoners by the state’s Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
In August, the nonprofit filed a federal lawsuit in the Western District of New York on behalf of three prisoners who use wheelchairs who have been denied services and programming. They are seeking class action status in the hopes of improving conditions for the prisoners housed at the RMUs who are disabled or have significant medical needs. The lawsuit is in discovery.
“Incarcerated individuals with disabilities are being denied equal access to programming simply because they have disabilities,” said Katrin Haldeman, a Disability Rights New York spokesperson. “The fact that DOCCS refuses to accommodate these individuals is a clear and blatant violation of the ADA.”
It’s not the first time that DOCCS has been sued over alleged ADA violations. In 2003, a group of prisoners housed at three RMUs sued the department because they couldn’t participate in programs necessary to earn “merit time,” which allows for early release consideration. The case was settled in 2006. According to court filings, DOCCS didn’t admit any wrongdoing but did agree to do individual assessments of people incarcerated in RMUs to determine who could participate in programming. The department also agreed to offer drug treatment—a program crucial to obtaining merit time—in the RMUs, along with two vocational programs and anger management.
As the state’s incarcerated population grew older and sicker, prison officials opened more RMUs. Five of the system’s 54 prisons—Wende, Fishkill, Coxsackie, Mohawk and the women’s prison Bedford Hills—now have RMUs. They generally look more like nursing homes than regular cell blocks, Haldeman said, with rooms lining hallways and a day room for socializing. Each unit houses between 30 and 152 prisoners.
Specific offerings at RMUs vary, but one feature is constant: medical prisoners can only participate in a fraction of the programs available to others. Incarcerated people deemed “general population” typically have access to a library, a recreation yard, a gym, prison jobs, veterans programs, a family union program, religious services, drug treatment, sex offender treatment and 12-step recovery programs. At Wende, people incarcerated in its RMU are limited to a general business vocational program, sex offender program, and drug treatment, according to Disability Rights New York’s lawsuit.
The only outdoor recreation available to them is a parking lot with rusted weights and a wooden bench, the suit says. Men in Wende’s RMU once requested a universal weight machine, which would be easier to use from a wheelchair, but prison officials refused that request, saying that their fellow prisoners could hand them the weights if they wanted to work out.
Now 57, Johnson doesn’t yet qualify for Medicare, and multiple medical issues landed him in Wende’s RMU. Now he’s at the center of Disability Rights New York’s lawsuit.
Since 2015, he has been in the prison’s regional medical unit because of colon cancer and degenerative disc disease. Another plaintiff, Jamal Scott, is a paraplegic who has been on the unit since 2010. A third, Armando Torres, has end-stage renal disease. All use wheelchairs.
The men aren’t asking for money other than to cover their attorney fees. They are just asking New York to follow federal law protecting the rights of the disabled.
Good for District Attorney General Brent Cooper! I have no doubt that hundreds – yes hundreds – of prosecutors receive similar complaints and do nothing!
Here we see abusive exploitation of inmates, blatant disregard for the law and the authority of the courts, and the all too familiar cover-up attempts by the arrogant law enforcement officers involved. Bad cops, sworn to enforce the law, who break it instead, are the worst.
Sheriff Jimmy Brown and Captain Adam Brewer, with the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office, were arrested in May 2018 following an investigation into inappropriate conduct. At the request of 22nd District Attorney General Brent Cooper, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury began reviewing the activities of the Sheriff’s Office. They discovered that between 2015 and 2017, Sheriff Brown, 71, allowed various county employees to use jail prisoners to perform labor at their personal residences. In addition, he would release detainees without requiring them to post bond as ordered by the court. The sheriff also reportedly violated the law in connection with confiscated illegal moonshine and a still.
Captain Brewer was accused of falsifying time sheets and misleading investigators as to the accuracy of reported hours worked at the Sheriff’s Office.
A local grand jury returned indictments, charging Brown with two counts of official misconduct, one count of misuse of inmate labor for personal gain and one count of tampering with evidence. Brewer was charged with one count of official misconduct.
Brown, who was elected sheriff in August 2010 and re-elected in 2014, lost his re-election bid on August 2, 2018. Both he and Brewer have professed their innocence.
For every 1 of these rapes of inmates by staff which is reported, there are 1,000 UNREPORTED! Raise a ruckus about it. The power imbalance is so great that the female victim NEVER “gives consent”. READ Practical Tip – Get Empowered! How YOU Can Create a Powerful, Effective Force for Reform of our Criminal Justice System
Excerpts from the Article:
Three South Carolina correctional officers have been arrested on various charges, including having sex with an inmate and bringing in contraband, according to a statement from the S.C. Department of Corrections.
Tiffany Rochelle Chandler-Starks, a former guard at Perry Correctional Institution; Cheryl Huggins, a former guard at Evans Correctional Institution; and Lester Charles Smith, II, a former guard at Ridgeland Correctional Institution, were arrested in three separate cases.
Chandler-Starks is facing charges of misconduct in office after investigators say she was sending sexual photos and videos to inmates at Perry CI while employed as a correctional officer there, according to her arrest warrant. Perry is a maximum security facility located in Pelzer.
Huggins was charged with both misconduct in office and first degree sexual misconduct with an inmate of a correctional facility, according to the statement.
More attempts to profiteer off of inmates. As a practical matter, this is likely to make no difference to inmates’ success in litigation, for the “law library” conditions in all prisons are indescribably ineffective – a genuine joke. READ Prison “law libraries”: They are a disaster! DISASTER
Excerpts from the Article:
Two federal lawsuits were filed by South Dakota prisoners in May and June 2018 against the state Department of Corrections (DOC) over the introduction of tablet computers to replace prison law libraries and paralegals and attorneys who assist prisoners. Billed as a cost-saving measure, the tablets are prone to malfunctions, one lawsuit complained, while the other alleged the use of the tablets resulted in a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
In September 2017 the DOC closed its prison law libraries and canceled its legal assistance contracts when the state’s 3,000 prisoners each received a free tablet computer – one that provides access to legal research services through Lexis/Nexis. The tablets also allow longer phone calls and text messaging with people on the outside, and permit prisoners to purchase subscriptions to movies and music.
One of the lawsuits, filed by prisoner Rex Gard, argued that the Lexis/Nexis access has been, “despite frequent assurances that repairs were underway, only intermittently active since 2017, leaving many inmates with no access to the case law and statutes theoretically available on the tablets.” See: Gard v. Fluke, U.S.D.C. (D. SD), Case No. 5:18-cv-05040-JLV.
The other complaint, brought by prisoner Winston Brakeall, alleged that closing the law libraries had deprived him of important legal advice, and that “but for the denial of access to legally-trained individuals and an adequately sourced legal library, [he] would have been advised or discovered that the same factual allegations regarding his bed and cell conditions would support a viable failure-to-accommodate claim under Title II of the ADA.” See: Brakeall v. Kaemingk, U.S.D.C. (D. SD), Case No. 4:18-cv-04056-LLP.
The pair of lawsuits, which both remain pending, followed numerous complaints from prisoners who claimed system glitches involving the tablets had prevented them from “adequate, effective, and meaningful” access to the courts.
Lexis/Nexis and GTL collect fees from prisoners and their families for some of the tablet services. Designed to give prisoners access to legal resources needed to file appeals, along with other civil documents – including divorce and child custody petitions – the system also provides fee-based access to music, e-books and games. All of the services operate on a “closed system” that does not provide prisoners with access to the Internet.
“What’s someone who can’t read or write … supposed to do with a tablet?” wondered Northwestern University Law School clinical assistant professor David Shapiro. “A book isn’t going to make you a lawyer,” said another lawyer who assists prisoners, Delmar “Sonny” Walter.
“These people need legal assistance,” he said, bluntly.
Shapiro, the law professor, called the new approach “pennywise, pound-foolish,” adding, “At the end of the day, America has more people locked up than any other country on earth. A reduction in incarceration would lead to genuine savings.”