Inmate Posts on Voices now Faces Retaliation & A Note from Sophie About MCC Breaking Fire Codes

8-14-11

Dear Sophie,

Well its [sic] nice to think that somebody is thinking about me.  But your computer is ok.  I didnt [sic] hear anything after I sent that letter to you.  Its [sic] good to know that someone knows what is going on here.  If ochea [sic] ever came in here they’d shut it down.  The only reason they can get away with it, is because its [sic] a state oned [sic] place.

They delivered my medicine for a year now.  And all of a sudden they want me to go over and get them.  Like one C.O. said this is a prison and were not supose [sic] to cater to you guys.  And I quote.  So I am trying.  [omitted for safety]  I try to get along with everyone.

Yes Im [sic] doing ok.  Im [sic] still in a lot of pain.  But I cant [sic] get help for that until I get out.  Im [sic] in [omitted for privacy] by the way.

I wish more people would write to the blog.  But they say they would be waisting [sic] there [sic] time.  Because nobody care about us.

Well it was good to hear from you.  And take care.

Your friend

[name omitted for inmate safety]

Maine Correctional Center

A note from Sophie:

 

Previously I published a letter by this inmate that outlined serious fire hazards in his pod (along with other very serious health concerns for prisoners).  He wrote to the blog that every fire exit and door is currently blocked with heavy things.  After receiving his letter I immediately emailed the fire chief in the town where MCC is located Windham, Maine.  Here is my email and his flippant dismissal of the issue:

 

Dear Chief Charlie Hammond,

I am writing out of a grave concern for the inmates and staff at Maine Correctional Center (MCC).  I am a prison advocate and today I received word from an inmate in MCC that the doors to the outside AND the fire exits in his pod are blocked.  Unfortunately, I do not know exactly which pod he lives in but I felt that it was imperative that I inform someone given the seriousness of the matter.  The letter from the inmate can be viewed here: p1yroD-40

I do know from reading the letter that wherever the man is housed is with other handicapped/disabled men, which of course adds to my concern.  These men are crippled and would have trouble with a normal evacuation where the doors are accessible.  Therefore, having doors and fire exits blocked is an extreme safety hazard for them.  This in turn puts the MCC staff at a greater risk for injury in the event of a fire because they would first have to unblock the doors and then help crippled men out of the cells and into the air. I do not have to go into details about the risks and unlikelihood that this could even be accomplished in an emergency situation. 

I hope that this letter prompts an investigation that leads to a swift resolve.  Thank you very much for taking time out of your day to check into this matter.

Solidarity in Struggle,

Sophie Inchains

 

Charles Hammond to Charles, me

           

show details Jul 20

 

Please contact the individual(s) and identify the building. I don’t want to spend the days correcting problems specific to one or two doors. We’ll do a random when we go to the facility. I am also forwarding this to the Fire Safety Officer at MCC.

 

 

As you can see, Mr. Hammond was not very interested in the conditions at MCC.  The inmate did tell me which pod he is located in, but I feel that for his personal safety, I cannot disclose his exact location.  The fire chief and his crew should have no problem finding the numerous violations at MCC in EVERY pod, I refuse to place this inmate in more harm so that Mr. Hammond can dismiss his claims.

 

Although I only used an initial when I published this inmate’s original letter, I believe that the reason that he is “suddenly” being told to walk and get his food (he is handicapped) is blatant retaliation for publishing on Voices.  I have taken the initial out of the original post, but of course, this person is still at risk.

 

Also, the inmate says in this new letter that the safety conditions have not changed in his pod.  Clearly, MCC does not care about the safety of their inmates OR staff.  If anyone reading this would like to contact Mr. Hammond and kindly suggest that his office make the visit to MCC soon (and preferably UN-announced) his email is: chhammond@town.windham.me.us

 

Sophie

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5 responses to “Inmate Posts on Voices now Faces Retaliation & A Note from Sophie About MCC Breaking Fire Codes

  1. Hello friends behind Maine prison walls,
    I read everything that Sophie publishes in the Voices from the Cracks, then read the “best of” out loud on my radio show every Saturday 1-2pm on WRFR Rockland/Camden 93.3fm and 99.3.fm. On the web at http://www.wrfr.org Call-ins welcome during that time 593-0013

    You are doing exactly the right thing by having Sophie post your writings. The attacks do come for daring to stand up, but as Maine citizens you are perfectly within your rights, even limited as they are by incarceration. You will “win” in the end if you stick to it. What’s “win” supposed to mean? That you are treated, like all Mainers, with the respect and consideration that the Constitutions of Maine & America entitle you to.

    Keep in mind that Commissioner Ponte and the rest of his headquarters crew reads Voices from the Cracks too. It is a useful way for them to learn what is going on inside, including how their own actions or failures to act are seen. So write with them in mind. When Ponte needs scolding, do it like a good teacher correcting a student. Get him to understand what he’s doing wrong and what the right thing to do is.

    You imprisoned writers are going through Mahatma Gandhi’s cycle of “first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” Keep posting!

    Ron Huber
    WRFR Community Radio
    Rockland

    Like

  2. What about contacting a disability rights organization? I would think they would be very interested to hear about this. This is very disturbing to me!

    Like

  3. Not sure if this would be the correct resource, but they may be able to make a referral to one that is.

    WHO WE ARE

    The Disability Rights Center (DRC) is Maine’s protection and advocacy agency for people with disabilities. It is a non-profit agency independent of state and federal government.

    WHAT WE DO

    DRC provides individuals with information about their rights and service systems, and represents individuals at meetings and hearings by providing legal services to individuals and groups. In addition, DRC works for systemic change and offers trainings on individual rights and developing advocacy skills. We also act as a referral service for individuals we are unable to directly assist.
    Disability Rights Center
    P.O. Box 2007
    Augusta, Maine 04338-2007
    1-800-452-1948

    Like

    • Suzie,

      Thank you for this information. I will check into this. What I have found is that often associations like this one do not advocate for inmates. For example the Veterans that are in prison who are forgotten. Currently there is a man who is very ill, and needs helps very badly. He served his country in war and has since ended up in prison. It is a common side effect of military service, mental illness which leads to incarceration. Anyway, the Veterans Association does not seem to care at all about these men. Nor, do the senators Snowe and Collins who have been contacted by the Veterans group in the prison and people on the outside.

      Unfortunately, once someone is inside those walls our culture seems to deem them inhuman and undeserving of any kind of assistance. No matter what their crime, or the amazing things they may have done before they committed it.

      However, I will definitely look into getting DRC involved in what is happening at MCC!

      Thanks,

      Sophie

      Like

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