Placed in Segregation Without Due Process: A Request for Job Reinstatement

To: Unit Manager Worcester

From: Bartolo [last name omitted]

Date: July 16, 2011

Subject: Classification

Sir:

On June 26, 2011, I was, through no fault of my own taken out of my housing area in the medium unit and erroneously placed on Administrative Segregation.

The U.S. Supreme Court has said it is wrong to place a prisoner on ad.  Seg status minus notice and anything documented in writing.  After my spending sixteen (16) days on ad.  Seg.  losing my job, good time, etc. etc., I still have no paper work [sic] documenting the cause for the ad.  Seg.  That by itself constitutes a violation of procedural Due Process Hearing.  I am requesting my A.M.G. pod job be reinstated immediately.

Thank you for your time and I thank you in advance for making this problem less difficult.

Respectfully Submitted,

Bartolo [last name omitted]

cc: file

Mr. Worcester

Voices form the Cracks

Warden Barnhart

Commissioner Ponte

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

Super Max: A Vivid Account of Solitary in New England

SUPER MAX

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.

Rehab Unit is Really Solitary Confinement: Inmates Suffering While Public Kept Ignorant

Dear Sophie,                                                   7-15-11

I don’t know if you know where you wrote to or not.  This is a condemned building, part of M.C.C., in a closed unit known as the C.R.A.. To anyone on the outside this is a minimum-security rehab.  The clients can rejoin the population of the prison whenever they choose.

In reality, the C.R.A., Correctional Recovery Academy, is a forced maximum-security closed-unit prison-rehab.  All of us were forced into coming here.  Some were yanked from minimum-securities or even community-status facilities where they had visits with their families and were saving up thousands of dollars for when they get out.  Here they get nothing.  We can’t leave.  We’ll lose all earned goodtime and then to seg. for 30days.  We’ll also be sanctioned for a year.  Cannot gain back minimum or have a paying job.  We’re told when we first come in that we’ll get a monthly stipend of $47.50.  Enough for hygeine [sic] and coffee.  After a couple of months that was shut off.  Everything here is bullshit and a lit.  I’ve worked my ass off for 5.5-months not and they won’t even allow me to move ahead in the program in the simplest way.  Won’t even give me a reason why.  I was forced in here after I fought with the bitch in charge.  Penny Bailey.  I beat her at one game and it made her mad.  She tried to force me to work in the kitchen and an inch of water on tile floors, I’m supposed to be wearing my titanium knee-brace.  I only have one ligament on one knee, so I had the brace made before I had come in.  I had to fight for one-year before they allowed me to have it mailed in.  in all of that time I was here for two-months climbing up + down flights of stairs from 6:00am to 8:00pm every day, by not having the brace both the maliseus [sic] and the A.C.L. of the other knee ripped itself.  I desperately want to sue medical, D.O.C., the Spectrum Medical Group, and the jerk that was just fired Ken Topal, I will too.  At the moment I need to find an attorney in a hurry willing to do some suing with me for a big chunk of the money.  I need to be medically removed from here.  I can have my sister sue them once I’m out, but I can’t wait 9-months.  My knee is trashed and killing me now, in 45-days I’m told they’re shutting off my meds.  I have no money myself to do anything these are guaranteed suits.  I need fast legal help.

I can write anything for you on this place.  A complete write-up of the conditions here, medical neglect, the tortures of this treatment program such as mine.  Carl [last name omitted] is another here who said he’ll write you too.  He has a staph infection that ate the skin off his legs.  Raw meat.  He was like that a couple of months.  They’ve got him on cipro’s [sic] not finally.  He says he’s getting better now…

I have no woman.  I seem to lose all of my pen-pals in warm weather.  I am dying here with nobody to write to!  I’ve written to women all over Maine but none come through with the letters at all.  I can’t stand a letter a month.  What the hell do you do the other 29-days?  These cells were designed for one man back in the 40’s.  I have a celly.  As do we all…

I’ll trade you.  I’ll write you whatever you want.  Anything about here, stories poetry, essays, whatever.  Fine me an attorney in the area.  Willing to work for a %.  Or a pen-pal and my mind and pen are yours.  Seriously.

Chris

 

 

Life

Sometimes to fine the meaning

Of life one much simply stop

Searching and live it…

C

Maine State Prison: A Sonnet

Harold Sanford Carter III/112150

Maine State Prison

807 Cushing Road

Warren, Maine  04864-4600

Maine State Prison

Behind a door steel amongst me concrete.

Distress letters the Pen and Solitude.

My prison is lonely, hence this sonnet.

Orange Pants, orange shirt, and orange shoes.

I cannot leave but only in novels.

Clicking of cuffs and chains disturb my drift.

Books and Pens with Paper become my friends.

Corridor echos from showers that drip.

Doors slam and shut the sounds become normal.

The smell of Pepper spray, the Punishment!

Quiet like a mouse; invisible me.

People of time, outlaws of regiment.

A thousand People in one big mansion.

I will leave in death; this Maine State Prison.

Still in Lockdown…

5/10/2011

Todays a better day then yesterday.  It doesn’t matter that I’m still in 24 hour lock down, I was able to call my mom about my grandfathers death.  I also decided to write my son a letter.  I don’t plan on him responding, but that’s okay.

Talking with my mom was nice and also sad.  I have a hard time dealing with my mom when she is upset.  It remindes [sic] me of a time in High school.  I grabbed her car keys and stole her car.  She stood in front of the car bare footed on the ice.  I remember her face was red.  She needed the car for work, but that didn’t phase me.  Her face was sad and she could no longer stand the freezing caused by the ice under her feet.  She had no choice, she could no longer block me from leaving.  She had to go back inside her apartment where it was warm.  I drove off not understanding how wrong I was.  I love you mom!

There has been some conflick [sic] in the family sense [sic] my grandmother past last year.  There’s one family member who wants to control my grandparents money.  She has no regard for my grandparents wishes and has taken advantage of my grandfathers weakness.  Growing up I never thought any family member would interfear [sic] with my grandparents final wishes.  The whole family had a good sense of values.  It was always good to do the right thing no matter the situation.  I guess the color of money has changed at least one of them at this point.

My sister (name omitted by typist) is staying at my grandparents house.  She is taken care of their 3 dogs.  These dogs are all brothers and should not be seperated [sic], their spoiled.  The dogs meals are prepared in 3 different bowls.  1 cup dried dog food, 1 can tuna, 1 cup warm water, and two inches of Summer Sausage cut into squares.  There is a place for each bowl, if they happen to become mixed up the dogs will not eat out of the other dogs bowl.  This is one of the more serious task in the house.  My grandparents travel to (place omitted by typist) dollar store for the tuna, (place omitted by typist) Walmart for the dried dog food, and Shaws for the Summer Sausage.  There is a time set for the dinners, it’s a big deal if your [sic] late.  God love old people!

I wrote my son (name omitted by typist) in hope of easing his emotional pain about the deaths.  I let him know that they both were well respected and great people.  I wanted him to know they were together for 60 years.  They lived in the middle of the woods at the end of a dirt road for 50 of those 60 years.  Their lives were consumed with each other.  His Great Grandfathers heart was broken when his Great Grandmother past [sic] on.  He was lost without her.  When she died it was the end of his life also.  I could see it in his eyes.  I let (name omitted by typist) know that Great Gramy [sic] is waiting for him in heaven with open arms.

It seems like my emotions are more extream [sic] while here in prison.  Issues that wouldn’t effect me on the streets, deeply effect me in here.  It has to do with the simple life.  While on the streets I’m running around working, drinking, visiting people ext.  In here is different.  Its like being forced to look within.  It gives me the oppertunety [sic] to search my soul.  There are a few things going on here that are exciting.  On Sunday we have chocolate cake for dessert, a female guard was working in here the other day, we all got new socks, one of the personers [sic] checked in a skinner, and I got an extra sugar packet with my oatmeal.  The things are exciting but, they do not consume my mind as the issues on the street do.  I think it’s a good thing.  Living simple for a while combined with my age of 36 and my experiences through life could possibly set me on the right track.

I’m looking forward to the future, education, jogging, meeting new people, working on myself while hopefully enacting some new programs here.  I have some good ideas that should be easy to accblish [sic] that will benefit the prisoners mental state.  But, I will discuss that in another letter.  For now I need to live in the moment.  I had to catch my speeding thought earlier.  I was thinking about a haircut, buying a dictionary, getting to work release, what I will do when released, ext.  I was living outside of today.  I want this, I want that, if I had this, I could do that!  The truth is once I get this or that there will be happiness for a minute befor [sic] I want something else.

I was reading an article on giving up on the idear [sic] that “more is better”.  The article explained how we live in the most affluent culture that the world has ever seen.  It goes on to say, we are 6 percent of the worlds population while using up almost half of the natural resources.  It goes on to say we should be satisfied for what we have.  But were [sic] not.  Not even close.  In fact we live in one of the most dissatisfied cultures on record.  As soon as we get something, or achieve something, most of us go on to the next thing immediately.  This squelches our appreciation for life and its many blessings.

From this point on I’m going to catch those “more is better thoughts” and realize if I always think “more is better”, I will never be satisfied.  I need to be happy for what I have.  I’m happy that I have a pen and paper to write with.  I’m happy that my mother still loves me and my grandfather no longer has to suffer with a broken heart.  I’m happy that (name omitted by typist) is my friend and I got two new white blankets yesterday.  I’m happy for the coffee the murderer that lives next door gave me, the fact my grandparents dogs are still together, that the juice at dinner time is extra consentrated [sic] so I can make 2 cups out of it by adding water, that I can yell out the door when I need a word spelled, and for the extra sugar packet that comes with my oatmeal once-in-awhile.

Don’t get me wrong.  Its nice to have things.  But, it seems with me anyway when I swell on “more is better”, I miss out on the true blessings of life.  Maybe living simple for awhile is a good thing.  I have wasted to many days in my life, I don’t want to waste anymore by fantasying how life could be “only if…”

Henry Jacques

A Letter from Lockdown

5/6/2011

Dear Blog Readers,

Its been over three weeks locked down in this cell 24 hours a day. The prison personal moved me today to a place they call enclosed. This part of the prison holds inmates with years and years of time. These people are the more severe inmates that commit murder and aggravated assaults. I understand there are less punks over here and there is more respect for one another as the inmates live together for longer periods of time.
Nothing has changed from the 24 hour lock down status. I do have a chair now to write my letters, there are people walking outside of my cell, playing cards, and talking about working out. There is different scenery outside my small window. I now look down upon the front entrance of this building. The ground is dug up as some inmates will be planted flowers.
I feel nervous and uncomfortable about this change. Often dwelling in the same cell for weeks without any communication at all makes it hard to break out of my quietness that has consumed my being. My eating, sleeping, reading, and writing schedule has been changed, and there are new guards to learn about as there are good and bad ones; ones that want to help and ones that don’t care.
Institutionalization becomes very easy to step into as there is very little self responsibility to make money, eat, work, etc. Everything is done for you. I need to be careful not to fall into such destitude [sic]. I will remain locked down until classification deems me okay to interact with others. It should be in the next two or three weeks.
My grandfather past away around midnight last night. My mother called my case manager up about an hour ago to inform him, to inform me. Its hard to deal with in here. I have not talked with him sense last year at this time. We lived together when I was released from prison 3-30-10, my grandmother died the day before on 3-29-10. It was hard living with him and I moved. Last week my mother told me he didn’t have much longer to live, I wrote him a letter saying he is a wonderful person and a great grandfather. I wrote maybe one day I could be the man he taught me to be. I was hoping to receive a letter back before he died, but none came. I’ve been asking the prison personal for a phone call to my family, they say maybe in a while.
There is a part of me that wants to call, but another that doesn’t. I know my son will be there that I have not talked to for months, last time I heard from him was on my face book [sic] page where he left a comment saying his mother got my police record and he never wants to talk with me again. So if I call the family it will be hard dealing with my grandfathers death plus the possibility of talking with him. Its overwhelming and sad.
I have a lot on my mind today as I’m dealing with personal emotions that I’m not sure how to handle, this new move, legal issues that may help on releasing me sooner then the 5 year sentence, and the gut twisting feeling of where my life is at 36 years of age. The positive side of all this, is it can only go up from here.
Anybody is welcome to respond and/or write me at the Maine State Prison I will respond back by letter or blog.
Henry Jacques
807 Cushing Road
Warren, Maine 04864-4600
(The original letter has an RIP to Henry’s grandfather whose name has been removed by typist.)