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-

7-4-11

Prisoner Abuse, Bigotry, and Murder in Maine State Prison

The Maine State Prison is plagued w/unprofessionalism and corruption, as well as racial and religious intolerance and prejudice.

I am 13 years into a double life sentence and I have recently decided that silence is no longer an option for me.  I have come to the realization that as a longtimer it is my duty to speak against the mistreatment and abuse of the prisoners I live with.  Especially the elderly and sick.  No longer will I be a silent bystander.

Not all the staff at the Maine State Prison fit into this category.  I would be willing to say that most are professional and realize that a prisoners prison and is their punishment, and understand that it is their job as officers to ensure safety and security; not further punishment.

However there is a substantail [sic] group form the top to the bottom who have their own ideas about how their jobs should be done.  They are very good at covering for one another and act with deliberate indifference.  They use intimidation, threats of violence and retaliation in order to discourage prisoners from issuing complaints against them.  On the rare occasion that complaints are made or acknowledged by the administration they are met with a half-hearted investigation and there is of course never evidence to verify the claims against staff.

Last September I witnessed an older gentleman get his face smashed off of a fence on the way to the chow hall.  Prisoners were told to get on the fence for a random pat search.  The older man looked confused because orders were being yelled by multiple cops including a captain.  Apparently he wasn’t moving fast enough, so the captain grabbed him and slammed him against the fence leaving wounds on his face and head.  When the prisoner later asked for help by other staff to file a complaint he was given the run around.  Does this sound like the behavior of a captain?  What king of example is being set for lower ranking officers?

Who can forget Victor Valdez?  I witnessed the beginning of the ordeal that would lead to his eventual death.  He was being served a write-up for a rule infraction.  He didn’t speak English well and the officer wouldn’t allow anyone to interpret.  I heard victor speaking in Spanish and the officer telling him to shut-up.

No mind you, the officer had an opertunity [sic] to de-escalate the whole situation.  Victor was in his cell.  The officer could have closed the door and allowed things to cool off, but instead he charged in; pushing his panic button to summon more officers and slammed the older man who was sick and on dialysis against the concrete wall.  The last time I saw Victor he was handcuffed with his arms being wretched above his head behind his back and was roughly escorted out of the pod.

Ironically, the same officer who initiated this confrontation w/Victor was in an argument with a prisoner in a pod he was working in months prior to this.  When in the middle of the argument he stood up and yelled, loud enough so everyone in the pod could hear, “I use to jump out of planes and kill people!” does this sound like a stable mind suitable for working in a prison environment?

It is not uncommon to hear prejudice or bigoted comments about a prisoners race or religious beliefs.  When African American prisoners are using the music room in the rec. yard, cops refer to it as Jungle day.  It is not uncommon to hear officers question or comment on whether a prisoner looks Native American when going to Native American gatherings.

The intolerance and bigotry doesn’t stop w/the cops.  It is an issue within the prison chaplaincy as well.  The chaplain and the administration make sure every accommodation is met for Christian services and events to go off without a hitch; while Pagans and others are treated like the bastard step-children of the prison.

Over the last few months staff have been more agitated and disgruntled about changes in Augusta.  They do not like the new commissioner and are stressing about budget cuts and changes in the prison.  So the staff have resorted to playing games to try and instigate and generate tensions among the prisoners.  One of their favorite places to do this is in the chow halls.  They will overfill one chow hall knowing that there aren’t enough seats for everyone, while leaving empty tables in other chow halls.

They know that by causing a brawl or potential riot in one of the most volatile places in the prison, they can better argue or quell any questions about over-staffing.

I could go on.  But I feel I’ve made my point.  Change is coming and I welcome it.  Prisoners will most likely lose some things with this new administration and I’m fine w/that if it means we won’t be at the mercy of this circus sideshow that has been running this prison for far too long.

I do know that the only way to ensure change is if we all speak out against staff abuse, treats and bigotry.

Silence and passivity have not worked in our favor!

-John

5-13-2011

Note from Sophie: I am attaching two links to articles about the murder of Victor Valdez that happened in 2009.  The courts ruled in favor of the prison, and inmates remain at the mercy of the murdering guard.

http://www.maineprisoneradvocacy.org/M-PAC_decries_AG_s_ruling_on_death_of_Victor_Valdez.pdf

http://thephoenix.com/boston/news/105972-prison-obituary-the-tragedy-of-victor-valdez/