Tuesday, January 17, 2012

An internal investigation brings...RETALIATION

It was down to the final hours of Martin Luther King, Jr., Day

I spotted a piece of unopened mail.

I have been corresponding with 25 guys who had the courage to sign statements incriminating a prison guard who has been coming to work with liquor on his breath, and who has been mistreating inmates. These 25 men dared to sign their names to documents demanding that something be done about this officer. They approached HUMANITY FOR PRISONERS for assistance. I readily agreed to help, but stressed that we could not protect them from retaliation. In a situation like this, the guards get the last word. Always.

Well, we charged in and brought about an Internal Affairs investigation, and it wasn't pretty.

Word is that the officer didn't get fired, but he got transferred, and that was enough for the men in the unit. But it didn't come without a price.

One of the men told me that some in the group were denied their food. Some were denied health care kites (messages). Some were denied free time in the yard. In some cases, the food cards were changed on the guys' doors. Lies were told to nurses, we were informed, to keep them from looking in on the guys. Lies were told to affect misconduct reports. Lies were told resulting in at least one prisoner getting gassed (pepper spray). In one situation, it got so bad that a prisoner allegedly tried to kill himself because of the way he was treated while in segregation. It's all hearsay, of course. But what motive would these men have to lie to me? They were writing to thank us for bringing about the investigation and bringing about the transfer of an officer.

Said the ringleader of this group: A representative of Internal Affairs came and interviewed me yesterday. I can tell you that the MDOC has a lot of respect for you. I'm black-listed here, but thank you so much for helping us. You're a power house. Nothing would have been done without you. I was transferred to the prison across the street to punish me. When they took our phones it frightened a lot of the people (not being able to call home, especially during the holidays). I want to get a job. I fit the requirements for barber but was told the administration said they didn't want me. The administration is trying to cover it up. Thank you for your courage.

Your support of HFP makes all of this happen, and that is why we need your continued and consistent assistance. Each month. Every month. It's a new year and our donations are down.

Back to Dr. King. He would be so proud of this gang! We are, too.

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