Curtis Collins – “Boo”! – True tale of Prison Abuse – kra One of thousands, most of which are not reported! – kra
Prison officials spend hours every day preparing TOTALLY FALSE “write ups” and reports to cover up their crimes. Every day. They are very official looking … all typed up and signed by “officers” … but they are LIES! Read CULTURE OF COVER UP! http://www.citizensforcriminaljustice.net/culture-cover-prison-abuse/
When I landed in Isolation, in a cell down the hall was one such inmate about whom they had made up lies, Curtis Collins, aka “Boo”. When he heard me talking to other inmates he sent me his paperwork. Poor Boo was so confused that he thought the Motion he had received meant that he was about to win his case, when, in fact, it meant that he was about to have his lawsuit against the guards dismissed! I explained this to him and solved the problem so that his case would not be summarily dismissed.
Boo had sued a couple of guards at SCI who threw him down and beat him, just for sport. They do that all the time at SCI and the other Delaware prisons, but they usually take the inmates outside, where inmates cannot see. Here, they beat Curtis in the hallway, in sight of other inmates.
If one gets his case far enough (and Curtis did with my help) the Court will appoint you a lawyer b4 trial. The Court did appoint a lawyer for Curtis, and that lawyer went down to SCI to interview the inmates who saw the guards beat the hell out of Boo. They confirmed his story. Curtis sent me all the papers filed in his case and kept me informed about his talks with his lawyer.
All the while, while this discovery and Motions are flying back and forth, I was advising Curtis, and I got to know him pretty well. They had moved him to a cell closer to mine. Nice young black man about 30 years old, in prison on drug charges.
So.. about two weeks later Curtis’ lawyer went back to talk to those inmates again, and their story was totally different, and the lawyer sensed that they were very nervous, so he asked him why they changed their story. Reluctantly, they told him the truth: a couple of guards had entered their cell and said things like “if you testify for Curtis Collins we will plant some cocaine in your cell and you’ll never get out of here”! No idle threat – they could do that in an instant.
So Curtis had a problem. The State offered him $400 to settle his case without going to trial. All the other inmates, who had heard most of our conversations (you cannot avoid that in Isolation, because you have to shout back and forth) were telling Curtis to accept the $400. “Abraham doesn’t kow what he’s talking about” etc. I advised Curtis not to take it and to go to trial, because I knew that with my help he would be an excellent witness. That $400 offer was absurd; although I don’t recall his age, I do remember some details of his case. The medical records showed the guards had broken a couple of his ribs and left him badly bruised – bloody lip, etc. – when they kicked him around in the hallway while he was cuffed and shackled.
I reported the threats by the guards – tampering with witnesses, a crime – to the U S Attorney (who did nothing -as they do with virtually all prison complaints) – and I wrote letters to the witnesses telling them to stick to the truth. We began writing back and forth; I remember I sent them my Ten Tips for Trial information (http://www.citizensforcriminaljustice.net/ten-tps-trial-read-hearing-trial/) (At that time, around 2008 or 2009, guards almost never were prosecuted; thanks to voices like mine, now some are prosecuted.
Curtis went to trial, the witnesses told the truth, including the threats made against them, and the jury awarded him $90,000. But the judge made him pay his lawyers most of that, so Curtis ended up with $40,000. Curtis was delighted.
Moral of the story: sometimes you can beat the system!
50 Years After Attica, Prisoners Are Still Protesting Brutal Conditions. Will America Finally Listen?
This article was sent to me by my dear friend, 91 year old Edna in Georgetown, DE. She was Justice Carey’s secretary in 1973-74 when I was his law clerk, and we have become great friends over the last 15 years. Knowing what I do, she keeps her eyes peeled for articles of interest. 🙂
What one inmate said is too true, rebellion is “their only grievance system.” The grievance system in prisons is a joke.
I hear from inmates and their families all over the country every week; this article is a disgraceful summary of problems in all of our prisons!
Excerpts from the Article:
It happened in January, inside California’s Santa Clara County jails. In April of last year, it happened at the Westville Correctional Facility in Indiana. It happened two separate times this year alone at the St. Louis City Justice Center. American prisoners erupted, many often refusing to go back to their cells until they were heard. As one man who had spent months confined to the notorious facility in Missouri told a journalist, rebellion is “their only grievance system.”
What motivated these protests was a disastrous COVID-19 response that has left prisons and jails utterly ravaged. There has been no way for those on the inside to isolate from, nor to care for, those who are sick from the virus, and their mortality rate is significantly higher than that of the general population. In federal and state prisons, according to the UCLA Law COVID Behind Bars Data Project, there have been 199.6 deaths per 100,000 people, compared with 80.9 in the total U.S. population. “They are someone’s family,” the mother of a young man incarcerated in the Indiana prison told a local reporter. They are simply asking, she said, “to have open and honest communication about where the virus is and what is being done.”
That the pandemic remains dire behind bars, or that it has fueled protests there, may raise few eyebrows. But the uncomfortable truth is that there have been hundreds of moments of unrest just like these in recent years, dramatic episodes in which America’s incarcerated people have risked extraordinary punishment just to let the public know how bad conditions really are.
The attention people serving time do manage to attract may be laced with surprise, or skepticism. It isn’t that Americans can’t imagine prisons as hellholes; after all, many have seen movies like The Shawshank Redemption. But it is as if the disproportionately Black and brown people serving time have surrendered not only their freedom but also any claim on sympathy. Those on the outside are quite confident that the incarcerated today are legally protected from the cruel and unusual tortures of the past and, given that, many are remarkably comfortable with the idea that prisons are pretty terrible places of punishment—comfortable forgetting that how a society doles out such discipline is a reflection of its moral capacity.
It is true that extraordinary effort was put into improving conditions inside America’s prisons and jails back in the 1960s and ’70s. Exactly 50 years ago, from Sept. 9 to Sept. 13, 1971, the nation watched riveted as nearly 1,300 men stood together in America’s most dramatic prison uprising, for better conditions at the Attica Correctional Facility in upstate New York. The men were fed on 63¢ a day; were given only one roll of toilet paper a month; endured beatings, racial epithets, and barbaric medical treatment; and suffered the trauma of being thrown into a cell and kept there for days, naked, as punishment. The Attica prison uprising was historic because these men spoke directly to the public, and by doing so, they powerfully underscored to the nation that serving time did not make someone less of a human being.
Now, despite the protections won by their rebellion, and the broader movement for justice of which it was a part, the incarcerated are once again desperately trying to call the public’s attention to the horrific conditions they endure behind the walls. The 50th anniversary of the Attica prison uprising is an occasion that compels making sense of why that is. These are institutions that we fund as taxpayers and send people to as jurors, and those inside of them are not exaggerating how bad the conditions really are. But how could they have deteriorated so markedly over the past five decades, and why have so many cared so little as it was happening?
The answer to these questions can be found by taking a closer look at what happened at Attica and in its aftermath. Even as key demands were won in the prisoner-rights movement that peaked that long-ago September, the horrific way that state officials chose to end the bold and hopeful protest would have an incalculable impact on criminal justice nationwide for decades to come.
We are firm in our resolve, and we demand, as human beings, the dignity and justice that is due to us by our right of birth. We do not know how the present system of brutality and dehumanization and injustice has been allowed to be perpetrated in this day of enlightenment, but we are the living proof of its existence, and we cannot allow it to continue …
When the incarcerated today come together demanding better medical care in the face of COVID-19, they are hoping that laws already passed will be followed and constitutional rights already acknowledged will be honored. The men at Attica believed they also had these rights, but few had yet been secured in either law or policy.
Of the 33 demands that the men at Attica would present to state officials during their four-day uprising, the right to be protected from the cruel and unusual punishment of having their most basic medical needs ignored was one of the most central. For decades, every man at Attica had lived in terror of getting sick. Attica’s doctors were notorious. One physician’s response to a prisoner’s agonized plea for pain medication for a broken hand was infamous: “Write a letter to a different doctor.” As the prisoners expressed it most pointedly in the Attica Manifesto, a document they had sent prison officials two months before the uprising: “The Attica Prison hospital is totally inadequate, understaffed, and prejudiced in the treatment of inmates … There are numerous ‘mistakes’ made many times, improper and erroneous medication is given by untrained personnel.”
Attica’s men succeeded in getting New York’s Commissioner of Corrections Russell Oswald to agree in negotiations to “provide adequate medical care,” as well as to “access to outside doctors and dentists,” and then, in the wake of their rebellion, both houses of the New York State legislature were willing to consider reforms to prison medical care statewide in 1972. Then, in 1976, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its landmark ruling Estelle v. Gamble, which established clearly that “deliberate indifference by prison personnel to a prisoner’s serious illness or injury constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.”
Yet in 2021, and not just as a result of COVID-19, the incarcerated across the country still somehow find themselves much sicker than they need to be, dying unnecessarily painful as well as early deaths. According to journalist Keri Blakinger’s investigation for the Marshall Project, correctional systems often hire people to provide care who have few if any qualifications, or even licenses that have been restricted or suspended. And because they can’t afford the usurious co-pays many prison systems now require, many prisoners who are ill can’t even see the doctor to begin with.
Much of prison health care is now privatized, aimed at profits. This means not just billing practices totally unsuited to a prison population, but also the denial of lifesaving procedures. That medical abuses related to privatization are a regular occurrence behind bars is corroborated by the physicians themselves, according to the ACLU. As one Arizona doctor who was expected to provide care for more than 5,000 people revealed, not only were her requests for consults with a specialist always denied, because “it costs too much money,” but she also regularly ran out of prisoners’ medications.
It is this sort of nightmarish medical care that cost John Kleutsch his life last summer in a Washington State prison. Kleutsch was recovering from outpatient abdominal surgery when a nurse asked to transfer him to a hospital, but the prison’s medical director refused. After “multiple days of abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, no exams, no written notes and no plan of care,” the Seattle Times reported, Kleutsch was finally transferred to the ER, where he died of acute pancreatitis, gastrointestinal perforation and septic shock.
Abysmal medical care wasn’t the only reason Attica’s prisoners stood together. They also regularly experienced abuse at the hands of guards who had total control over them, and this too became a top issue they hoped officials would remedy 50 years ago. And the prisoners made an important mark on history. Their uprising was a real wake-up call to corrections professionals across the country who, thereafter, began insisting on many more hours of guard training. In New York State, specifically, the Department of Corrections began to hold training sessions devoted to “attitudes in supervision,” as well as “prejudice” and “minority cultures.”
Today, however, in states like New Mexico, it would be hard to convince those trying to serve their sentences that they have a right to decent medical care or to be protected from abusive guards. Not only is a crippling and easily treatable bone disease called osteomyelitis now at “epidemic levels” there, but according to legal documents, when those suffering this painful condition complain that they are being denied the care they need, they risk severe retaliation and solitary confinement from officers.
One of the very cruelest punishments that officers regularly mete out to children in prisons today is to lock them in isolation. When guards threw 15-year-old Ian Manuel into a solitary cell in 1992, it was, according to his memoir, for infractions as insignificant as “having a magazine that had another prisoner’s name on the mailing label.” He found refuge in his own mind, writing it was “the only place I could play basketball with my brother or video games with my friends and eat my mother’s warm cherry pie on the porch. It was the only place I could simply be a kid.”
In 1971, Attica’s men were acutely aware of the importance of stopping this form of punishment. Their demand that prison officials stop placing human beings in segregation—in solitary confinement—had been articulated in writing well before they were pushed to protest. But no matter how hard these men pushed during the September uprising, this was one of the demands on which they simply could not get Commissioner Oswald to budge. He would not agree to end solitary, nor would he consider their position that anyone sentenced to isolation must at least have due process.
Since 1971, the capricious and excessive use of solitary confinement has only intensified in America’s prisons. Over the past decade, the limited data that outsiders have been able to get out of correctional institutions revealed that between 60,000 and 90,000 Americans were in a solitary confinement cell—but the actual number was likely higher. Whether in segregation for “administrative,” “disciplinary” or “protective” reasons, to be in complete isolation for 22 to 24 hours a day, for days, months and years on end is unequivocally understood to be a form of torture, by the U.N., Amnesty International and numerous medical bodies.
In some places, isolation is used simply as a means of dealing with overcrowding. In Tennessee, for example, county administrators send people awaiting trial to the state prison because local jails are too crowded, under that state’s so-called safekeeping law. Even though these people have not even been convicted of a crime, they are then held in solitary until their trial dates.
As one man, William Blake, wrote of his 25 years in solitary confinement in the state of New York, “If I try to imagine what kind of death, even a slow one, would be worse than 25 years in the box—and I have tried to imagine it—I can come up with nothing.”
Countless infractions could land a man at Attica in solitary, but one of the quickest was to refuse to work. The labor they were forced into could be grueling, it paid mere pennies per hour, it had no meaningful health or safety protections, and Black and brown prisoners’ jobs were far worse and lower paid than those of white prisoners.
Fury over the injustice of this led Attica’s men to launch a sit-down strike for better wages in July 1970, and the issue stayed with them. And, although they were unable to secure an end to segregation, they did get New York’s Commissioner Oswald in fact to agree to “recommend the application of the New York State minimum-wage law standards to all work done by inmates.”
Despite these protections, thanks to the Constitution’s 13th Amendment, unpaid prison labor is still legal today. In fact, in 2021, every barrier to the use of prison labor that had been in place in 1971 has been eliminated, and there are more than a million more people behind bars available to work for little to no money than there were back then. This has not gone unnoticed. Be it for a private company seeking cheaper labor costs or a governor looking to break collective bargaining agreements, prison labor has became increasingly attractive over time.
In Wisconsin, former governor Scott Walker brought in prisoners to do landscaping, painting and snow-shoveling jobs that used to be done by unionized workers. In small towns like Iola, Kans., incarcerated women are working for the Russell Stovers candy factory. The Florida Times-Union reports that prisoners in the state labor in unbearable heat, “running weed-eaters and busting up sidewalks,” without sufficient breaks or food. Corrections officers are the foremen, and they motivate with threats of discipline. Working on the road crew earns the incarcerated no money. These same people must still pay for most essentials in prison, and many have children on the outside whom they must still feed. Prison labor also means fewer paid jobs for those on the outside. Over a five-year period, the income not going to either the families of unpaid prisoners or the folks who would have been doing those jobs if free labor weren’t available totaled “around $147.5 million,” the report continued. Add in “actual wages and benefits,” and the sum is “likely double or triple that estimate.”
It turns out that it is no accident that the full possibilities of the Attica moment were not realized, that Americans are largely unaware of what the costs of it have been for the people inside our nation’s prisons, and that this nation grew so hard-hearted when it came to how people in prison were being treated over the past five decades. This was the outcome intended by state officials 50 years ago.
As those nearly 1,300 men at Attica invited reporters to show the public what prisons really were like, as they brought in observers to oversee negotiations with prison officials, and as they gave passionate speeches about the conditions they had so long endured, Americans across the country found themselves deeply moved. Few liked the fact that these men had taken hostages to ensure that state officials would bargain with them, but they appreciated that Attica’s men released those who had needed medical care and took care to protect the rest.
As the days wore on, as more media from around the country descended on the prison, optimism ran high. Crucially, these men’s struggle was not taking place in a vacuum. It resonated with other efforts to expand civil and human rights, from Montgomery to Cicero and Selma to Stockton. And by the night of Sept. 12, to widespread astonishment, Attica’s men and Commissioner Oswald had managed to come to an agreement on 28 of the 33 demands. A peaceful end was in sight. Lives depended upon Governor Nelson Rockefeller’s making it work.
During the long days and nights that they had been negotiating, outside the prison waited more than 600 New York state troopers, itching to retake Attica with guns blazing. And they would get their wish. On the fifth morning, against the advice of every one of the observers as well as the pleas of his own state employees being held hostage, and with the men inside just waking up, Rockefeller ordered the armed retaking of Attica.
Within 15 minutes, 128 men were shot and 39 lay dead or dying—prisoners and hostages alike. As one traumatized National Guardsman put it, the troopers’ assault left in its wake “more blood, more gunshot wounds and more injuries that day than most people see in a typical day in combat. Certainly, in Vietnam.”
And then, stunningly, state officials stepped outside the prison and blamed this carnage on Attica’s prisoners themselves. The ostensibly peaceful protest was really about murdering guards in cold blood, the officials told the assembled press. The prisoners had slit the throats of corrections officers, officials said, and one guard had even been castrated. This lie went out in headlines and on front pages from the New York Times to the Los Angeles Times to small-town papers across America. Those who had been rooting for the men in Attica found themselves recoiling in horror. People began questioning not just prisoner rights, but the broader prisoner reform and civil rights movements. When word began circulating of troopers and guards mercilessly torturing the naked and wounded prisoners within minutes of gaining control of the facility, the information was impossible to corroborate.
The way state officials would then cover up what had happened at Attica, and their decision to prosecute 62 prisoners for “riot-related” offenses, would, over time, do incalculable damage to the substantial national public sympathy for prisoners’ rights. Of course, the movement was not crushed immediately. Because broader support for delivering on America’s promises of equality still existed, a great many of the things the men had fought for at Attica would be implemented. This explains how the incarcerated could still get victories like the Estelle v. Gamble ruling.
Ultimately, however, for the American public writ large, pummeled not just by mistruths about Attica but also about protester “violence” across the country in this period, there was no coming back. When Governor Rockefeller chose to end the Attica uprising the way he did, he wanted to show the nation he was as tough on crime as the rest of the Republican Party. To do so, he had to lie that these prisoners hadn’t really wanted better conditions, that they were just violent thugs.
The price of believing him was high. The anti-prisoner fire that state officials lit on the last day of Attica would, over the next five decades, engulf the nation, even as the prison population jumped by almost 800%—numbers unlike any seen in U.S. history.
Today, even many of the most tough-on-crime voters have come to recognize that handling so many social and economic problems via the criminal-justice system has cost this nation dearly. And with that recognition has come the very real possibility of criminal-justice reform. But for at least a decade now, attention has been devoted almost solely to the drivers and consequences of this explosion in America’s prison population, not to the places where mass incarceration is experienced firsthand. And even though the criminal-justice reform movement has managed to move mountains on critically important issues ranging from sentencing reform to drug laws, when it comes to reducing the number of people still in prison in this nation, the needle has barely moved.
But just as 1971 was a moment of possibility, so might 2021 be one as well. When the men at Attica stood up for their rights, it was at a time when others on the outside were doing the same. The moment was ripe for change. And so it is again. Americans today, from jails in St. Louis and prisons in Indiana, to cities such as Chicago and Minneapolis, have begun imagining, indeed demanding, a more just and equal future. In states like New York, thanks to this sort of vision, combined with effort from both the inside and outside, long-term solitary confinement will finally be abolished.
If this nation hopes, this time, to achieve a justice system that is, in fact, just, it must remain ever vigilant for any echo of the lies told at Attica. Had Americans really seen these men’s fates, their lives, their opinions, their expertise and their place in the nation as truly equal to their own, that massacre, the torture, those lies and the criminal-justice crisis that we now live with simply could not have happened. They would not have allowed it.
But that would have been a different world—one in which Americans back then understood that people serving time were what they remain today: our brothers, our mothers, our children. They are us.
For every such article you can be sure there have been hundreds of similar incidents which were not reported! READ Culture of Cover Up! = http://www.citizensforcriminaljustice.net/culture-cover-prison-abuse/
Excerpts from the Article:
A former nurse at a Delaware correctional facility has been found guilty of two misdemeanor charges in connection with an investigation into the death of an inmate.
Erin Clark-Penland, who worked at the Sussex Correctional Institution, was convicted this week of falsifying business records and providing a false statement to law enforcement after a one-day trial, the News Journal reported.
The Delaware Department of Justice took up the case after an investigation into the death of Tiffany Reeves found discrepancies in Clark-Penland’s statements to law enforcement. The probe found no foul play in the death of the 37-year-old mother of three, which drew national attention.
According to a news release from the state Department of Justice, Clark-Penland told investigators she had seen Reeves the night before Reeves was found dead and entered that claim in medical logs. Video surveillance and witness testimony showed that was untrue, the news release said.
Clark-Penland worked at the facility through a state contract with Connections Community Support Programs, which recently agreed to pay more than $15.3 million to settle federal lawsuits alleging health care fraud and violations of the Controlled Substances Act.
Clark-Penland, who has not yet been sentenced, faces up to two years in prison.
Private prisons are a failed experiment with ‘perverse and immoral incentives,’ ABA House says in calling for their end
The ABA is a few years “behind the 8 Ball”! We have long known that juvenile detention centers are just breeding grounds for adult criminals, and I have called for the end of private prisons since their inception.
Excerpts from the Article:
The ABA House of Delegates passed a resolution Tuesday opposing private prisons and juvenile detention centers.
Co-sponsored by the Criminal Justice Section, National Bar Association, and the Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice, Resolution 507 opposes the use of private jails, prison and juvenile detention centers to detain people before they stand trial and after they are convicted. It passed in a 273-33 vote.
Stephen A. Saltzburg of the Criminal Justice Section introduced the resolution Tuesday morning at the ABA Hybrid Annual Meeting. He noted that the ABA had adopted Resolution 115B in 1990 warning governments to proceed with caution before entering into contracts with private prison companies.
“We’ve had 31 years to take a look at private prisons and jails and juvenile detention centers, and what have we learned? We’ve learned that they do more harm than good,” Saltzburg said. “They have a tendency to cut staff, they have a tendency to cut programs, and that probably shouldn’t surprise anybody because that’s how you make a profit.”
GEO Group, CoreCivic, and Management and Training Corp. are among the companies that run prisons in the United States.
In response to a request for an interview, GEO Group referred the ABA Journal to Day 1 Alliance, a trade association representing the three companies. Ahead of the resolution’s passage on Tuesday, Day 1 Alliance spokeswoman Alexandra Wilkes called the resolution “politically motivated” and “ill-informed.”
The private prison industry gained a foothold in the 1980s, ostensibly as a way to ease surging prison populations, the Marshall Project reports. Operators of private prisons say they help ease the burden on taxpayers by reducing public spending on government-run facilities.
But Resolution 507’s report says private prisons have fueled incarceration. The industry lobbies to impose stricter laws and penalties and opposes sentencing reforms, the report says.
“Today, private prison corporations are driven by perverse and immoral incentives whereby an increase in crime and an increase in the number of human beings placed into America’s prisons is good business news for that industry,” the report states.
A March report by The Sentencing Project found that as of 2019, private prisons incarcerated 115,428 people and that the private prison population had increased 32% since 2000.
“However, the private prison population has declined 16% since reaching its peak in 2012 with 137,220 people. Declines in private prisons’ use make these latest overall population numbers the lowest since 2006, when the population was 113,791,” the report states.
President Joe Biden addressed the use of for-profit facilities for federal detainees in a Jan. 26 executive order. The order bars the Justice Department from renewing contracts with private criminal detention facilities.
In 2016, the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General found that for-profit detention facilities “do not maintain the same levels of safety and security for people in the federal criminal justice system or for correctional staff. We have a duty to provide these individuals with safe working and living conditions,” the order states.
The Whole Story
PRESS RELEASE – UNIVERSITY STUDY OF REENTRY
Citizens for Criminal Justice, based in Dover, DE, is pleased to announce that its founder and former Deputy Attorney General, Ken Abraham, is participating in a University of Delaware (sociology department) study of reentry and those who assist people in reentry.
One of their points of interest is “what motivates those who assist people in reentry?”. Having counseled thousands of people in reentry through his daily work, and with his vast and varied experience with the criminal justice system (former prosecutor, defense attorney, addict, prisoner, probationer, victim of prison abuse) Mr. Abraham is a wealth of reliable information for the study.
The first Zoom interview was a great success, and more will follow. With about 9,000 people on probation or parole in Delaware, and more than 3 million Americans on probation or parole nationwide, the issues are important to everyone.
Bad sentence. The ONLY way to deter this prison abuse is to give them TIME. This moron should have gotten at least a couple of years.
The article above explains why prison terms are the only viable solution.
Excerpts from the Article:
A former St. Louis police officer has been sentenced to three years of probation for her role in the beating of a Black, undercover police officer during a 2017 protest.
Bailey Colletta was sentenced Thursday in federal court after pleading guilty nearly two years ago to making a false declaration to a grand jury, admitting she lied to the FBI and a federal grand jury in an effort to cover up the attack on Officer Luther Hall.
As part of her sentence, Colletta must serve two consecutive weekends in jail and undertake 200 hours of community service, drug testing and counseling.
Her sentence comes just days after her codefendant, former officer Randy Hays, was sentenced to more than four years in prison for his role in the beating. Prosecutors have said Colletta was only five months out of the police academy and romantically involved with Hays when she ordered Hall to the ground during a September 2017 protest, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
Colletta then watched as Hall was then tackled by other officers and beaten so severely that he later required multiple surgeries and was left with permanent damage, prosecutors said. She lied when she told investigators and the grand jury that Hall’s arrest had not been violent, prosecutors said.
Colletta and Hays were among four officers charged in the beating. Prosecutors said the officers mistakenly believed that Hall was participating in the protest that followed the acquittal of Jason Stockley, a white officer accused of killing a Black suspect.
Dustin Boone was found guilty in June of aiding and abetting the deprivation of the victim’s civil rights. His sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 15.
Christopher Myers still faces a charge of destruction of evidence related to the arrest. He was tried along with Boone but jurors could not reach a verdict on the charges.
After Reviewing Videos Depicting Attacks By Guards Of Women Prison Inmates, N.J. Civil Rights Lawyers Commit To Legal Action To Hold Those Responsible Fully Accountable
More inexcusable prison brutality.
Excerpts from the Article:
New Jersey civil rights attorneys Shelley L. Stangler, of Shelley L. Stangler, P.C. and Oliver Barry, of Barry, Corrado & Grassi, P.C., who together represent several Edna Mahan Correction Facility For Women inmates that were filmed as they were brutally beaten by corrections officers on January 11, 2021, said that they are committed to legal action to hold those responsible fully accountable. The lawyers, who commended the press for filing the open-records request that led to the state’s disclosure of the 10 deeply disturbing videos, said citizens should keep in mind that the edited videos are the tip of iceberg and that the entirety of the footage should be made public.
Ms. Stangler said, “We are, sadly, not surprised by the videos, including the brazen beatings of inmates during forced-cell extractions, in light of the U.S. Department of Justice’s blistering investigation exposing a problematic culture of civil rights violations at the prison, and more recently, the scathing investigative report issued by independent special counsel Matthew Boxer.” She added, “If there’s truly going to be transparency and a fresh start in how New Jersey’s only women’s prison is operated, then all such documentation should be made public.” The Edna Mahan Inmate Beating Videos can be viewed here.
Rae Rollins, one of the Edna Mahan victims who has filed a lawsuit against the state Department of Corrections alleging excessive force and systemic civil rights violations at the prison, said through Mr. Barry, her attorney, she was “glad that the footage had been released because it gives the public a chance to see how she and others were treated at the prison.”
Mr. Barry commended Governor Murphy’s decision to close the prison, but cautioned along with his co-counsel that “while the administration works towards a suitable replacement facility or other replacement plan, the systemic problems that fueled these attacks must be addressed. It is the oversight, training, and culture issues that must be exposed and eradicated in order to fix the prison system.”
Ms. Stangler, who represents inmate and beating victim Desiree DaSilva, added, “We will continue to fight for Ms. DaSilva and the rights of all inmates – past, present, and future – knowing that a new building with a new name will not erase generations of unchecked, barbaric institutional discrimination, harassment, and violence.”
She said her client’s mother and sister told her after seeing the videos, “It’s horrible how they treat women inside of there. We would never have expected anything like that to have occurred and are shocked by it. We fear for the safety of our beloved Desiree.”
Just because they sit on a court of appeals doesn’t mean they have souls. It should surprise nobody that respect for the Courts is at an all time low, with idiots like these on the Bench!
Excerpts from the Article:
A federal appeals court has ruled the Kentucky Department of Corrections can deny a life-saving medication for inmates with hepatitis C because it is expensive — a decision a dissenting judge says will condemn hundreds of prisoners to long-term organ damage and suffering.
In a 2-1 ruling, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel said Tuesday the department can deny the treatment, which cures nearly 100% of patients but costs $13,000 to $32,000.
The majority found that denying it to most of Kentucky’s 1,200 inmates with hepatitis C does not constitute cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment.
But in a sharply worded dissent, Judge Jane Stranch of Nashville said by “flouting the recognized standard of care,” the Corrections Department “consigns thousands of prisoners with symptomatic, chronic HCV to years of additional suffering and irreversible liver scarring.”
She said by withholding medical treatment until the damage caused by an inmate’s chronic hepatitis C infection has progressed too far to be reversible, Kentucky’s rationing plan “shocks the conscience” and is fundamentally unfair.
Louisville attorney Greg Belzley, who represents prisoners in a class-action lawsuit, called the decision “horrendous” and said they would ask for a rehearing or petition the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case.
“Basically the majority … ruled that Kentucky prison officials don’t have to do anything to treat an inmate’s infection except sit around and watch it get worse,” he said in an email.
Lisa Lamb, a spokeswoman for the Corrections Department, said its policy aligns with the practices of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, and two courts have found the Kentucky department is not violating the constitutional rights of prisoners.
Hepatitis C is the leading cause of liver transplantation and serious liver disease, including cirrhosis and liver cancer. It is a blood-borne disease that can be caused by sharing contaminated needles, using unsterilized tattoo equipment and engaging in risky sexual behavior.
An estimated 71 million people are affected worldwide. Kentucky has the highest infection rate in the United States.
She also said the treatment saves money in the long run because it reduces the costs of caring for illnesses caused by hepatitis C, including liver disease, lymphoma and diabetes.
Dr. Jens Rosenau, acting director of hepatology at UK HealthCare, said treatment is potentially beneficial for almost any infected individual and recommended by liver and infectious disease society guidelines.
In her dissent, Stranch said “there is ample evidence that defendants were well aware of the long-term harm caused by delaying treatment and the universal medical recommendation that all individuals with chronic HCV should be prescribed DAAs,” Stranch wrote.
“Yet according to defendants themselves, they chose not to administer DAAs to all inmates because of the cost of the drugs, a decision that exposed inmates to ongoing suffering and long-term organ damage.”
Belzley said in an email the department doesn’t treat any infected inmates until their liver has already become cirrhotic, and while hepatitis C is curable, cirrhosis is not.
He said as of August 2019, the most recently available figures, the department has identified 1,670 prisoners as HCV-positive. Only 159 had received any treatment.
The majority held that “an inmate’s disagreement with the testing and treatment he has received” does not amount to cruel and unusual punishment.
Senior Judge Alice Batchelder and Judge Richard Allen Griffin upheld a decision by U.S. District Judge Gregory F. VanTatenhove of Lexington, who found the department’s monitoring of inmates with hepatitis C constituted “treatment” and the department’s treatment plan was adequate.
Belzley said what was particularly irritating about the majority decision was the plaintiffs presented “undisputed evidence” it would cost taxpayers less to treat infected inmates in prison than to wait until they are released. Meanwhile, they would infect others before finally receiving treatment.
“This is a decision that makes no sense in logic, under the law, or for Kentucky taxpayers,” he said.
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Belzley said lawyers have made “enormous progress in securing effective treatment for the obviously serious medical needs of inmates in Kentucky jails and prisons, which is a right guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.
“This is a huge, and alarming, step back,” he said. “Unless reversed, this decision will be used to justify jail and prison officials’ deliberate indifference to the serious medical conditions of the Kentuckians in their care and custody.”
Another account of how out of control America’s prisons are, costing YOU billions of dollars every year!
Excerpts from the Article:
A man who was thrown in jail in Shelby County for stealing two boxes of Fruit Roll-Ups — then savagely beaten by other inmates on orders of a jail guard because he had previously dated the guard’s wife — has been awarded more than $2.1 million in damages.
A federal court jury returned the verdict for Joshua Reece, who suffered a traumatic brain injury and facial fractures in the attack, against former officer William Anthony Carey.
Carey, who was fired from the Shelby County Detention Center, pleaded guilty in state court to official misconduct and aiding and abetting the assault.
After the FBI read The Courier Journal’s story in 2016 about Reece’s lawsuit, Carey was charged and prosecuted for violating Reece’s civil rights, according to Garry Adams, one of his lawyers.
Carey was sentenced to four years in prison and is still serving that sentence at a federal prison in New Jersey.
Adams said Reece felt vindicated by the verdict, which was returned after a four-day trial before U.S. District Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove.
Although Adams said Reece suffers from retrograde amnesia and doesn’t remember much of the attack, he was able to testify at the trials. Carey testified remotely from prison and pled the Fifth Amendment, Adams said.
Carol Petitt, one of Carey’s lawyers, said Shelby County had been dismissed from the lawsuit, but Adams said it will have to pay for the damages because Carey was acting in the scope of his employment.
After deliberating for about 3½ hours, the jury returned a verdict totaling $2,184,000, including $400,000 in punitive damages.
Adams, who tried the case with David Ward, said the defense admitted liability and the only issue was damages.
According to the lawsuit, when Reece, then 31, was admitted to the jail in November 2015 after being charged with shoplifting at a Dollar Store in Simpsonville, Carey recognized him, then conspired with another deputy to place him in “Cell 317,” a “max cell” reserved for inmates charged with violent behavior.
The complaint says Carey and others approached those inmates and “directed that they beat him.” It alleged Reece was awakened by 10 to 12 inmates who on Carey’s instruction beat him for several hours, until he lost consciousness, and that when he came to, he was again being beaten in the shower.
Court records show Carey was charged in Shelby District Court with official misconduct and fourth-degree assault — minor felonies, and he pleaded guilty to the first charge and an amended charge of complicity to misdemeanor assault.
He was given a 90-day jail term that was conditionally discharged.
Adams said Reece was not consulted about the plea agreement.
The beating left Reece with permanent scarring, disfigurement, headaches, blurred vision, memory loss, post-concussion syndrome and brain trauma, according to the lawsuit.
Seven inmates were charged.
Adams said Reece had dated Carey’s wife years earlier.
“It is amazing that in modern America that such a savage beating could take place in a jail or other institution, where an individual is helpless, especially when you find out that the beating was directed by one of the people who is supposed to keep that individual safe,” Adams said when the suit was filed.
Our idiot legislators screw things up again! Failing to release of some 700 prisoners nearing the end of their sentences accomplished nothing except costing YOU, the taxpayers millions of dollars.
Because D O C opposed this Bill (naturally, it is “job preservation” for them to keep prisoners as long as possible!), legislators were afraid to do the right thing and pass it for fear of losing donations from the guards’ union!
Excerpts from the Article:
Delaware prisoners will receive no credit off their sentence for enduring the pandemic behind bars. Legislation introduced earlier this year aimed at providing prisoners time off their sentences, known as good time, died without a vote as Democratic legislators, who control both chambers of the General Assembly, sat on the proposal through the end of this year’s lawmaking session.
“Sadly, it is dead,” said state Rep. Melissa Minor-Brown, who sponsored the legislation.
The most expansive of two such proposals would have given some prisoners about 240 days off their sentences leading to the release of some 700 prisoners nearing the end of their sentences.
Minor-Brown and supporters argued that those in lockup deserved some consideration for the particular harshness of the pandemic behind bars where social distancing is more difficult.
More than 2,000 prisoners across the state tested positive for the virus and 13 died, according to the Delaware Department of Correction. The virus also saw more than 700 correction staff infected. When recently checked, there were only three known cases of the virus among those held by DOC.
During the height of the pandemic, prisoners were disproportionately infected compared with Delaware’s population; went months unable to see their loved ones in weekly, in-person visits; lost potential for good time through in-prison employment; and saw less opportunity for rehabilitative programming.
Prison officials opposed the legislative push, stating it was unnecessary, infeasible for their staff and that releasing prisoners would endanger the public. Gov. John Carney previously said he didn’t support early releases for prisoners due to the pandemic.
This comes during a legislative session where officials said the state was abnormally flush with revenue.
Lawmakers recently used those unplanned dollars to pass a $221 million supplemental spending bill that pays for disability services, a statewide police body-worn camera program, funding for disadvantaged students and mental health services to students, among a litany of other programs.
“It feels like a complete failure, although it is out of our hands,” Minor-Brown said of the prison legislation.
He pointed to legislation that passed both chambers that he said will open up greater opportunities for prisoners to work inside DOC facilities and earn good time in lieu of payment. The legislation also allows for good time for completion of certain prison programs and increases the total number of good-time days an inmate can earn in a year from 160 to 180.
Fabian Cesar, a man imprisoned at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna, called the failure of the larger pandemic-credit legislation unsurprising from the “Delaware Way.”
“Justice, true equal protection under the law for all citizens regardless of their status, and progress comes at a snails pace,” he said via an email Thursday.