Wednesday, September 02, 2009

August 23, 2009

Dear Sis~
Over the weekend of Aug 15-16th a group of guards beat a prisoner half to death across the river at Union Correctional Institution. Last I heard, the guy was in critical condition. I learned about it on one of my PBS channels, which carries Florida governmental issues, when Walter McNeil, the Secretary of the Department of Corrections, gave a live press conference to announce the beating on August 21. The guards initially tried to cover it up (no surprise), and succeeded until someone - a guard or someone in medical- came forward and belatedly reported it. Now, 4 or 5 guards (including 2 sergeants) are "on leave" and 4 nurses have been fired. The fired nurses is your tipoff that the nurses participated in the cover up. This is routine when prisoners are beaten. Some medical staff cover up beatings enthusiastically while others are intimidated, even threatened bodily, by the guards. The cover up consists of altering or fabricating the medical reports (since the injured guy invariably ends up in the medical department, if only briefly) to show either no injuries, or very minor injuries (even if the guy has broken bones or is dying) or to claim the injuries are self inflicted. The medical department here did the same thing when those 9 guards beat Frank to death in 1999. All prison medical departments do it. Anyway, McNeil announced he had called in the F.D.L.E. (Florida Department of Law Enforcement) as well as the FBI. That tells me the injuries are very serious, the guy may be dead already; it also tells me that McNeil is putting distance between himself and this beating. In response to a reporter's question, McNeil admitted this was the third mass beating incident in the last 3 or 4 months (2 at UCI, one here at FSP). Then in the next breath, he denied that there is a systemic problem, and claimed that these were just isolated incidents. That bullshit; these beating are systemic (and UCI is notorious for them) and for every one like this which gets publicity, there are hundreds which never see the light of day. That's a fact. The only rare thing about this is that McNeil chose to announce it publicly. In the old days, it would have remained a dark secret; certainly nobody in the DOC would be announcing it. The prison system is like a black hole; things happen in here that the public never hears about. It's like being on another planet. At least now we have a little transparency and a little accountability ...

In my next entry I'll tell you what's going on with our recreation situation and why I'll have to be going back to federal court (after 15 years when we last fought and won this battle) to rectify the situation. This administration appears to be anxious to provoke the death row population here. They're suddenly going out of their way to harass us. This started as soon as our new warden (Warden Singer) arrived, so you can draw your own conclusions.
Love, Bill

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What the guards did was uncalled for and should never be covered up. I understand you frustion. But I dont under stand why you did not mention the reason thies monster did it. The inmate thre feces at a office as he walk by. That was also wrong to do. I can see how it provoked the guard but 5 others should have not jumped on the inmate. It should have been between the inmate and the guard. I hope all get what they deserve.