Third Complaint to Commissioner Ponte: Inmate Rallies for Better Treatment from Guards

This letter is [sic] regards to the wardens response.

Response enclosed.

Dear Commissioner Ponte                                                                  7-13-2011

I sent you two complaints concering[sic] the prison staff that you forwarded to the Warden Barnhart for her response.  One complaint regarded Sergeant Ross’s unprofessional behavior; the other was regarding caseworker Dyer’s incompetency to proform [sic] his work detail.  Soon after I received a dual response from the Warden who naturally avoided the true issue while supporting the professional misconduct.  I will clarify my previous communications.  The prison staff are harassing and oppressing the humanity of the prisoners on a daily basis!

While speaking with Caseworker Dyer I requested use of [details omitted] to obtain vital documents that are necessary to [details omitted].  I explained to him it would be near impossible to secure a higher education in the future if I was unable to complete this task.  I explained my prior failed attempts through the mail servise [sic], and, let him know my request was the last resort.  He denied [details omitted].  A few days later I went to him seeking the University of Pennylvaia’s [sic] address as I was interested in their Behavioral Science Program.  His response was “I don’t look up addresses”.

I strongly disagree with the Warden’s response that implies this issue is not release planning.  Mr. Commissioner, this issue is absolutely release planning.  It falls within the scope of my future release.  In fact I am the only one concerned with my future.  Theres [sic] not one employee that has helped me in the Department of “Corrections” I have been met with roadblocks every corner I turn.  When I am released its time for me to add integrity to society, not take it away like I have in the past.  Please advise Warden Barnhart that we need to progress, not regress.

I’m further perplexed by the Warden’s response to Sergeant Ross’s unprofessional behavior.  I will refer to the Warden’s response.  “I am satisfied that Mr. Worcester has addressed your concerns and provided you with a sufficient explanation”.

Mr. Worcester has never addressed my concerns, nor has he explained Segeant [sic] Ross’s unprofessional behavior.  In fact, he informed me if I did file a grievance for the way Sergeant Ross treats me, the warden would not do anything with it.

While meeting both Sergeant Ross and Mr. Worcester they intimidated, disrespected, mocked, and belittled me.  The meeting abruptly ended by the sergeant disrespecting me while Mr. Worcester inappropriately rejecting me from his office.  However, if Mr. Worcester has an explanation as to why the sergeant uses these degrading tactics due to a question in regards to a missing clothes slip, please have him inform me of it.

I give you prior notice that sergeant Ross is a dangerous man.  On 07-06-2011 I witnessed him approach Prisoner [name omitted] who was drinking a hot cup of coffee.  The sergeant hits the bottom of the cup it spills all over himself and the prisoner; accusing the prisoner of spilling the coffee on him!  Prisoner [name omitted] is tackled by five c/o’s, cuffed and excorted [sic] to SMU where he is locked down 24 hours a day for well over a week now!  The segeant [sic] is so incognito about this deception he must have pulled it off hundreds of times before.

Sergeant Ross’s mantality [sic] is distributed among the other staff.  They deem it necessary to provoke prisoners into violating the policies solely to intrap [sic] them for desuplinve [sic], and oppression reason.

The latest example of this unnecessary behavior involves office Carl.  This state employee believes it is his personal duty to instill his own warped sense of Justice into prisoners.  He continuously harasses them for no reason and he makes every simple matter differcult [sic].

On 07-05-2011 the officer generated a very dangerous situation that led to many prisoners being punished for no reason.  He provoked a mentally unstable prisoner to the point of physical violence.  Officer Carl was struck many times and the security of the pod was jeopardized.

This tragic incident was due to a prisoner and a officer that did not pocess [sic] the adequate skills to effectively communicate in strenuous situations.  However, the criteria of a prisoner’s behavior is held to a far less standard then the correctional officer’s.  it is expected that a prisoner does not necessarily have the skills to communicate constructively while faced with controversy.  Therefore, it is at the most imporance [sic] to have the correctional officer equipped with the basic deescalattion [sic] abilities while dealing with a diverse population of prisoners.

In this situation the officer nagates [sic] the sole purpose in having him employed at the Maine State Prison.  Instead of securing the pod, he insecures [sic] it.  He induces the learned and supported harassment for Sergeant Ross on to a prisoner that was not causing troble [sic].  The prisoner, not familiar with these tackics [sic] fall into the trap.  This time the trap goes to far, which is very said for the humanity of the prisoner that will likely serve many more years in prison due to this incident.

Mr. Commissioner the prison staff is the problem, not the solution.  The Warden’s letter that is enclosed proves that she not only condones this misconduct, but she also defends and supports it.  Her leadership has contributed to the consensus of the staff regarding their mantality [sic], they deem it necessary to find ways not to help prisoner, rather then [sic] finding ways to help them.  This distorted reasoning is contrary to the Department of Correction’s mission.  IT produces a prisoner that is worse off when released, then when arrived.  The end result of the prisoner is passed on to the society where statistics prove that revictimization [sic] is prominent and recidivism is eminent.  The viscous cycle recirculates…

Please remember that these prisoners are “people” that are unaware of their true protential [sic].  They are born good and still are.  Some are born with mental defects; and many are subjected to the elements of lifes [sic] complications that have effected their cognition that results in poor decision making.  There are many different factors that lead to this mental distortion that may include poor guidance, substance abuse or traumatized veterans that are full of all kinds of distortions.

Mr. Commissioner today is the day for positive change.  With the trobles [sic] in todays world the tax payer can not [sic] afford 60,000 per prisoner, per year for staff that are ineffective.  For the sake of humanity please set a new standard for the Department of Corrections.  Build a new foundation of inspiration and encouragement that will lift the prisoner up and out of the oppresion [sic].  Instil [sic] this positive mantality [sic] into yoru staff and watch the prisoners become prosperous.  New oppertunities [sic] will open to all parties including society!

[name omitted]

Maine State Prison

Letter from the Warden:

Dear [name omitted],

    

     Your letters addressed to Commissioner Ponte regarding conflict with Sergeant Ross and your assigned caseworker, Mr. Dyer were referred to this office for response.

 

     It is my understanding that Mr. Worcester, Unit Manager for the Medium Custody Unit has discussed your complaints with you.  Mr. Worcester believes that your issue with Sergeant Ross was addressed and that there is no current issue or conflict with Sergeant Ross.  It appears that your primary issue is a clam that Mr. Dyer does not adequately provide professional assistance to you.  It is not Mr. Dyer’s responsibility to assist you in the preparation of [details omitted].  Mr. Dyer may direct you to appropriate authorities or organizations that may be able to assist you with the preparation of your [details omitted].  Caseworkers may permit a prisoner to utilize [details omitted] for legitimate reasons relating to personal emergencies or release plans but not as a convenience to complete personal responsibilities.  I am satisfied that Mr. Worcester has addressed your concerns and provided you with sufficient explanation.

   

     I trust this response answers your concerns

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Patricia Barnhart

Warden

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