Shanked, Scarred, and Traumatized this MSP Inmate is Seeking Justice

Dear Sofie [sic] Inchains,

Hello!  My name is Christopher [last name omitted], I am a 21 year old male at the Maine State Prison.  Recently, a serious occurrence has happened to me here at MSP.  My very good friend [name omitted] suggested that I write a letter to you describing my problem.

So, here’s the rundown…

On 7/22/11 I went to the recreation building and was in the gym.  Mind you, I am a Medium custody prisoner.  I was slashed from behind, across my face and my neck.  This happened to me from a close custody prisoner.  (Maximum Custody)

Okay, so here’s the clincher; At first I truely [sic] did believe that my throut [sic] was cut.  But I did not react as most people have indicated that would have been “natural”.  Naturally, I protected myself.  (Using my hands only, of course!)  Upon protecting myself, I was stitched up in Medical, then brought directly to the Super-Max Unit.  There I was held on Administrative Segregation for 20 days.  During which, I wrote a letter to Warden “Patty” Barnhart with my concerns about MDOC policy not being consulted in lieu of my administrative Segregation status.  I was release immediately, because I should have never been brought there.

I was written-up (Inhouse Charge) on 2 different Violations; Class A-Bodily Injury, Class B-Fighting.  I have recently been informed that because a time period, these have been dropped, but for no other reason but the facility not meeting the expected timed scheduale [sic].

Resulting from this attack, Many issues have surfaced during the course of it.

First, after being handcuffed and led to the Medical, I was uncuffed and placed on a table for observations.  The nurse cleaned and stared to stitch my face back together.  While this was in progress, the suspected Attacker was led by wheelchair, unsecured, through Medical to the room on my immediate right.  All during which nurses freely walk in and out of both rooms, leaving the doors opened.  Being placed in that situation, I was worried about another attack, and being unable to protect myself if indeed another occurred.  I was instilled with fear and anxiety at that time.  I’m forced to relive this tragic attack, everyday, everytime [sic] I look into a mirror or a reflection in the windows around.  People stare at my scar, ask about it, interupt [sic] my daily life.  This has made me self-concious [sic], extremely depressed, and has stared to make me anxious around large groups.  Because of the scar, I will remember this trauma forever.

The slash, is between 5 and 6 inches long, and is now a prominent feature on my face.  It begins on my right cheek, where the outside of my eye and the bottom of my nose intersects.  It continues outward towards, and across my jaw-line.  it then leads down under my right ear and across my neck, through to my hairline.  The stitches, (22 in all) were done very poorly; 3 placed inside, 19 on the outside.  My face being scarred further due to the bunching of the skin, and the botching of the sutures.

This scar could potentually [sic] ruin my entire future!  My social life, job oppertunities [sic], anything in which a physical appearance is necessary.

Not only was Medical unhelpful, I was never offered an anti-biotic, or pain medication during the whole ordeal.  I went through immense pain during and through-out the entire ordeal.  I experience an unbearable week and a half (10 days) of pain.  I couldn’t eat, talk, or even sleep without being in pain.

I am being subjected to punishment for protecting myself!  Protecting my own personal safety to avoid any further serious damage to myself.  Yet, the Maine State Prison, (of whom is responsible to ensure [sic] prisoner safety) was unable to ensure [sic] my safety, forcing me to act and react in a self defense.  I had to take immediate action to be able to maintain self preservation.  Therefore, I believe that my actions and behavior were completely justified.  But due to all the action thereafter resulting from the incedent [sic], my personal right to be safe have been violated and the MDOC’s prison officials behavior toward me was seriously unjustified.

So, there it is.  I have more details in which concern this issue, but need to consult an attorney.  (If I can find one).  But this part is my issue, I am unable to finance this.  I’ve got no money to be able to pursue this, but I really need a civil lawyer to assist me.  I was advised to contact Zachary L. Heiden of the M.C.L.U., of whom I will write to soon.

Thank you very much for taking your time to read this.  Please contact me as soon as you can possibly do it.

Christopher

Maine State Prison

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Excerpt from a Complaint an Inmate at MSP is Working On

Prison personnel were advised several times by inmate H and his cellmate R that an ongoing conflict between them could not be resolved and the situation was becoming more intensified by the minute.

Officer G attempts to resolve the conflict by informing Sgt. R of the hazardous situation that is progressing quickly.  Sgt. R decides to willfully fail at his duty to protect these inmates by not separating them.  Instead he makes the choice to promote violence as he allows officer G to lock them in a 8-12 [sic] cell together, knowing bodily harm was inevitable.  In esense [sic] R and G sets the inmates up in a dangerous situation with no excape [sic].  R and G refuses to enact prison protocol that calls for separation of inmates if danger exist between them.

Its documented that these inmates made several attempts to end this conflict by asking for staff intervention.  They ask staff for protection and they [the staff] do the opposite.  They [the staff] directly incourage [sic] violence by locking them in a cell together.

The inmates were overwhelmed with stress, anxiety combined with fear knowing that a future violent altercation was inevitable.  When they were locked in the cell together fight or flight instinct was prominent.  Flight was deprived by prison staff and there was only one option left.

H was left with no choice but to commit a simple assult [sic] purposely in the presence of prison staff knowing he then would be separated from his cellmate and it would end any further altercations and future violence.  Its ovious [sic] prison staff influenced this violence and then discriminated against H for only filing a report against him, but not R that was just as much involved with the altercation.  Then blames only H for not turning on the light during count when R was as much at fault.

This situation could have been resolved at the beginning.  Its because of staff’s incompantcy [sic] that its gone this far.  I ask you now to drop any futher [sic] actions and put a final end to this unreasonable disciplinary report.

–Henry