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


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:




Corrections Officer Places Inmates Together Knowing They Will Fight, Punishment Follows



On 7-2-11 Sgt Petrino tould [sic] me to move in to [location omitted] to do my D time and I tould [sic] him no that I can not [sic] move into that room because I did not get along with the inmate and that I was going to have trouble in that room and he wrote me up for refusing to go in the room and for threating and I did not refus [sic] to go in the room and I did not threatin [sic] aneyone [sic].  I just tould [sic] him if I go in that room that I am going to have problums [sic].  I don’t know what is going on with the officers and sgts here but thay [sic] are causeing [sic] alot [sic] of the fight’s here at M.S.P.  Just like my room and I got in a fight because sgt Ross would not move one of us and went to another fullcity [sic] with no write up’s.  I got 2 write up’s and go 60 days loss of good time 60 days in seg and $100.00 fine that is not right.  I am going to have to take this to a [sic] outside court.  The offiers [sic] and sgts here at M.S.P need to be invesergated [sic].

Thank you



Would you please see if you can fiend [sic] me 3 or 4 atteneys [sic] to take a lawsuit for me and write the names address and phone nubers [sic] down for me if you can.

Thank you for your time


Placed in Segregation: This MSP Inmate is Seeking Answers for His Losses

To: Sergeant Ross

From: Bartolo [last name omitted]

Date: July 16, 2011

Subject: Administrative Segregation

Sgt Ross,

On June 26, 2011 you had me placed on ad Seg.  I have a right to know, and I would like to know what your reason for placing me on ad Seg?

You had told me I would be on ad Seg for two (2) days, then I would return back to the medium unit.  I ended up being placed, erroneously, on ad. Seg for sixteen days.  I lost my job, I lost good time, nearly lost my mind, and suffered tremendous physical and mental pain.

Before I can get closure on this issue, I need some accountability.  I’m sure you can understand my dilemma and equally.  I’m also sure you will help me get to the bottom of this travesty of justice.

Thank you for your time and understanding.

cc: file                                                                          Respectfully Submitted,

voices from the cracks                                                 Bartolo [last name omitted]

Sgt. Ross

Warden Barnhart

Commissioner Ponte

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





Patricia Barnhart


Super Max: A Vivid Account of Solitary in New England


By Pornchai Moontri

The time I spent in a New England state prison’s Super Max unit is not easy to write about.  It changed me more than I care to acknowledge or talk about.  I spent three-and-one-half years in one stretch in Super Max.  Of thirteen years in that prison system, more than half of it was spent in Super Max.

The first time I was sent to Super Max was kind of scary.  I was sent there because I was accused by “confidential inmate informants” of planning to make a homemade bomb to try to blow up the prison.  I was nineteen years old, and had been in prison only four months when I was sent to Super Max.

When I first saw the place, it looked really tough.  It had rows and rows of razor wire around its perimeter, cameras at every turn, and three check points [sic] before you even get to the entrance.  As I was getting out of the prison van at

Super Max, I was met by six “SERT Team” guys in full riot gear.  They told me what they expected of me: no quick movements; keep my head up and my eyes forward; no speaking at all unless I was asked a question.  I was told that if I did not obey these rules perfectly upon command, as they put it, I would be dumped on my ass!  They really knew how to make a guy feel welcomed.

Once inside, when I first stepped onto the pod, it was the smell that I noticed first.  The smell of urine and fecal matter was so overwhelming, I thought I might get sick.  I was taken to a cell, and locked in.  My very first thought was that I didn’t want to touch anything.  It was filthy.  Then I knew that I would have to clean the place up before I could possibly live there, but I have nothing to clean with – no cleaning supplies at all.  Before I could ask the corrections officer (c/o) for something to clean with, the guy in the cell next to me told me that it would be easier to just set off the fire sprinkler system to douse the cell.  About ten minutes after the deluge began, the SERT Team was at my cell door to extract me from it.

I wrestled with four of them for a few minutes before they got me to the floor, and beat me like a dog.  My arm was so twisted behind my back, I thought it would break.  With a booted foot pressing my bare head to the concrete floor and another on my neck, my leg bent so far backward that my foot pressed against my butt, I was powerless.

Then I was placed in the black chair, chained and cuffed, and unable to move at all.  After five hours in the black Chair, I was asked if I was calm now, and ready to be

taken back to my cell.  I said something sarcastic and angry, and just spend longer in the chair.  Unfortunately for me, that was not my last time in the black chair.  I was brought back to it many times – usually for three or four hours at a stretch.  I just didn’t seem to learn my lesson.

Finally, I was brought back to my cell, cleaned by the sprinkler system just as my neighbor said it would be.  It got cleaned the hard way!  That was my first day in Super Max.

The Super Max cell had nothing in it but a stainless steel toilet, a bunk, and a stainless steel table bolted to the wall.  The window in the cell door was about twelve by sixteen inches.  Any time I had to be moved or let out of the cell, I was placed in four-point restraints, hands and feet, and then stripped to be searched after every movement.

Every day there was the same monotony: breakfast at 0530 followed by forty-five minutes alone in the rec pen.  That was like a big dog cage.  I could take exactly eleven steps inside it and then back again.  It was about five feet wide and eight feet long with chain link on all sides and above.  It really was a cage.  I could have a fifteen-minute shower five times a week, and one fifteen-minute telephone call per week.  There was no use of a TV or radio.

Lunch was always at 11:30 and dinner at 4:30.  Four times a day guards would come to count me at the same time every day.  I would have to stand up or sit on the concrete bunk.  I was allowed to look at three books per week.  I would take any books that were big so they would last a long time.  I read the Bible cover to cover twice.  I read Stephen King books because they were big.  ADD STORYI also read Shogun and any other large novel I could get.  At O7OO every day, someone would come by with a tube of toothpaste, put a dab on my finger, and I would “brush” with that.

Super Max was so depressing and so solitary that prisoners would try to cut themselves deeply or hang themselves just to get out of there.  Since this Super Max prison opened in 1992, there have been three inmate deaths there by suicide (one was a suspected homicide), and hundreds of prisoners were seriously injured.  One prisoner was extracted from his cell so he could not harm himself, and then he died from the injuries he sustained while being extracted.

The longer a prisoner stayed in Super Max, the more anti-social he became.  Inmates would do anything to try to break up their day and entertain themselves.  Some played with their own urine and feces, and others used those as weapons, throwing them at the guards after calling their names to get their attention.  Some of the more manipulative would talk other prisoners into acting up.  I know today that we acted like animals because we were treated like animals.

I survived Super Max by doing as many as 1,500 push-ups a day, and venting as much of my anger, frustration, and energy as possible into physical fitness.  In a way, this also worked against me.  The more physically strong I became, the more I was treated like a dangerous animal.  I knew that self-discipline was my only way to stay sane, so I lived a strict regimen of exercise for many years.

When I finally left Super Max for good, I had a lot of emotional problems.  I was angry, depressed, often hostile, and anti-social.  Then I was transferred to an adjacent state’s prison system where I had a new beginning.  I found a lot of help here, and all the baggage of those long hard years left me in time.  I never want to go back.  I am 38 years old now, and haven’t seen freedom for almost 20 years.  However, I have learned that freedom begins on the inside, not the inside of a prison but the inside of my own soul.  It is there that I am free.

Inmates Punished via Transfers: Mold and Asbestos Cover-Up’s in Charleston, ME. Correctional

Keep On Keepin’ On

     My name is Ben [last name omitted] and I’m at the Downeast Correctional Facility.  Otherwise known as Bucks Harbor.  I’m serving a 7-year sentence and I’ve got about 2 years left.  I was shipped here from Charleston [specifics omitted] 2009.  There was no feasable [sic] reason I was shipped.  The fact is that administration there doesn’t like it when you stand up for yourself.  They want inmates there that will let them talk down to them and make idle threats.  Staff members are very disrespectful to inmates but expect inmates to bow their head when spoken to.

Maybe you think I’m another “whiner” but don’t be mistaken.  I’ve done a lot of time and I know how to play the “Game”.  Here’s an overview of my then-current status at Charleston:  I was Level 3 (highest level achievable).  I worked on an off-grounds crew (that mostly worked on-grounds busting our asses overtime nights and weekends to get the facility in condition to pass the ACA inspection), and I was helping to teach one of their highly regarded Thinking For A Change classes.  Yes, I was going above and beyond what is required of an inmate.  During this time I was threatened to be fired, written up, and shipped because I didn’t want to work one Saturday.  I knew I was in the right but I worked anyway.  I put up with their cover-ups of mold and asbestos.  They made a group shower room downstairs in one of the dorms and the previous showers (2 on each walk, 4 walks) were moldy and rotten.  Instead of removing them they were covered up with 2×4 framing and sheetrock and painted to look like the regular walls.  The kitchen buildings outside walls are asbestos material and were covered with tongue-and-groove boards instead of being removed.  These are just a couple of examples of crooked cover-ups I’ve seen throughout D.O.C.  I’ve done time in SMU, Windham, MSP, BCF, DCF, and Charleston.

Anyway, I put in for a D.O.T. job at Charleston and they denied me.  They said I had a negative attitude.  So I showed them negative attitude.  Every staff member who talked down to me like I was a nobody I fired right back at them.  Not enough to get a write-up but enough to let them know I wasn’t going to be disrespected.  I was then placed on workhold [sic].  I asked Captain Starbird why.  Some of you know him as the previous Unit Manager for the Supermax.  Well 3 days later I was being shackled up for transport.  He told me plain and simple administration doesn’t like me and no matter how good I did they would never give me a fair chance so he decided to ship me here to DCF where I’d have a fair chance.  So I get here and lose my minimum.  No write-up or anything thing.

I talked to [name omitted by Sophie] who is the mental health worker for DCF and Charleston.  He told me Charleston was undecided on whether to ship me to the Farm or DCF.  Well if the Farm was an option why did I lose my minimum.  Well, I got sight of my transfer paper and Charleston wrote a lot of negative things like untrustworthy, disrespectful of officers.  Well, I wouldn’t have been disrespectful to the officers if they didn’t talk to me like a scumbag.  And if I was so untrustworthy why was I on the off-grounds crew and why was I helping teach a crew and why was I helping teach a Thinking For A Change class?  A class that focuses on thinking before you react.  So I lost my minimum for no reason.  Charleston’s administration will actually tell you they try to push your buttons to “get you ready for the streets”.  What kind of twisted method are these people taught?  I thought minimum security was supposed to help us not drive us to even more stress and anger.  After so much of that most inmates want to go back to MSP.

So after I got here I’m reading the Bangor Daily one morning and I come across my grandfather’s obituary.  Yeah, quite a shock.  I hadn’t talked to anybody in my family for 3 ½ years so it was all a lot to deal with.  Now most of them keep in touch with me.  A week and a half after I buried my grandfather (I got to go to his funeral) I divorced my wife.  So between family issues, wife issues, facility issues, inmate drama and whatever other stress factors come into play we inmates have a lot on our plates.

I’ve been pushed past mental limits that I never knew I had and I’m still here chillin’ with no goodtime lost.  Of all the people who know me they should know if someone of my temperament can make it through the wars within these walls, anybody can.  It’s not easy but that’s what makes us soldiers on this battle field.  They cannot break us if we look within ourselves and grab that resolve.

Most C/Os [sic] and administration thrive on our hate and anger.  I see now we’re making a stronger stand than we ever have.  “United we Stand, divided we Fall.”  There’s so much truth in that statement.

To all my boys in Supermax, stay strong and keep fightin’ the good fight.  To all inmates: We must face our problems, not run from them.  The more problems we face, the stronger we become.  One step at a time, always moving forward.  Keep on keepin’ on.



While Some Guards are Playing Games at MSP An Inmate Asks:Who are You Anyway?

Just when I think the cops at the Maine State Prison are starting to get away from their childish and asinine antics they replace one w/another.  Their newest game is to try and make prisoners on their way to the chowhall [sic] bump into them or brush them as they walk by.  So they can write them up or lug them to seg. for assault on an officer.

There is a yellow line down the center of the runway.  You must stay to the left of the line when going to or from the chowhalls [sic].  Some officers who are under the direct order of Capt. Cutler will stand on the line when the runway is full of people, daring anyone to make contact.

Sgt. Fries, Sgt. Doyle, and officers Duperre and Perry have come up w/a new game.  These four are known by prisoners as Cutlers [sic] henchmen.  They are known to set people up when they can’t bust someone for legitimate rule infractions.  They will plant razor blades, tattoo guns even drugs in a prisoners [sic] cell, or say they found it during a patdown [sic].  One Sgt. who no longer works here whos [sic] name is Brownell would tell you he’d set you up if you made complaints on him and was known to carry a plastic case w/razors in it.  This kind of thing has gone on for years.

Anyway, back to Duperre and Perry.  They will stand in the middle of the runway about 2 feet apart and make every person walk between them.  The space is so small that you have to literally turn sideways to go through.  Capt. Cutler and Sgt. Fries will stand behind them and have been heard by numerous prisoners saying, “If they make any contact w/you drop them!”

I have noticed small changes here and there throughout the prison.  Some officers have begun to act more professional and are obviously trying to go along w/what the new administration has in mind.

Others like Fries, Doyle, Duperre and Cutler will resist to the end.  They believe it is their job to punish and make prisoners more miserable than they already are.  They often comment on what they feel we shouldn’t have, whether its property or the right to practice our religion or even to be treated w/respect or dignity.

To them we are scum.  We are the living waste of society and should be treated as such.  We are at their mercy and they love it; and who are they anyway?

Like us they are failures as well.  Many of them are ex-military men who at one time in their lives dreamed of being war heroes or one day retiring as a high ranking officer.  Some had dreams of being state troopers or careers in some other branch of law enforcement.  Maybe they weren’t tall enough, or physically fit enough; or they may have lacked the intelligence or the ability to think clearly and make a rational sound decision when under pressure.

Now each day they put on that uniform and look in the mirror.  They are forced to acknowledge that all they are is a high priced baby-sitter.  They see the cloth patch they call a badge and are forced to admit that they are the bottom and lowest in law-enforcement; and in their frustration they lash out at us.

They need the world to know that we are below them.  They need to beat us down to boost their esteem.  They need us, so that when they go home at night they can tell their families about how the world is safer because they are responsible for keeping the bad people in their cages.

My question to these officers is this.  Why would you want to taunt, bully or abuse the animal in its cage; knowing that one day it will be released into the world?

Would it not make more sense to encourage one to want to change and become a useful and productive member of society?  Instead some of these officers are promoting and creating an atmosphere of frustration, hatred and mistrust.

Until the administration is willing to weed out and get rid of these antagonizers [sic] and opposers [sic] to change, these problems will continue.


-Melek Ta’us-