My name is Collins and I am currently incarcerated in Newtown CT at Garner Correctional Institution.
G.C.I. is a maximum security level 4 mental health facility, run by the CT Dept. of Correction. It houses approx. 500-700 male prisoners that have been diagnosed with some form of mental illness.
I have been in this facility for about 15 months serving a 6 year sentence for a non violent crime.
I am a 170 lb. white 52 year old male. I have been diagnosed by Social Security Administration as having Bipolar Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, Anti Social Personality Disorder, as well as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder P.T.S.D. I have spent approximately 25 years of my life incarcerated. Usually for drugs or criminal activity associated with drug addiction. I have a tough time in prison as I am bisexual and exhibit feminine characteristics. I can not count the times that I have been sexually assaulted or harassed in prison. But it is what it is.
The reason I am writing this letter is to let people know what is going on in this facility.
The intentional affliction of emotional distress as well as cruel and unusual punishment is all too common here. In fact, my 8th Amendment has been violated several times within a 15 month period at G.C.I.
There is a major flaw in this facility as the guards have no and require no mental health training. They are employed by the CT DOC to maintain safety and security in the prison.
The mental health workers are under contract by the CT DOC and there is only about 20 mental health workers for over 550 mentally ill people or (inmates). As a result of this lack of MH staff inmates are frequently over misdiagnosed, medicated with anti psychotic, psychotropic drugs. There is a high rate of attempted suicides, self mutilation, and assaults in this facility. The correction officers frequently patronize inmates, disclose sensitive information to them as well as mentally and physically harm them.
The facility has a restraint method they claim is to prevent a person from causing harm to themselves or others. This method is called "in cell" (see diagram A). I can only speak for myself though I have witnessed this procedure abused on many inmates. Many, many times.
I have been physically bent over a cell bed by guards, stripped of my clothing and placed in handcuffs black box, and shackles for 72 hours at a time. The chains and black box made it impossible to clean myself after I used the toilet. As a result like so many others I was forced to sleep and eat in my own filth for 3 days chained up. Despite the fact that I was not being a threat to myself or others. And had in fact regained my composure within 2 hours.
This so called restraint called "in cell" has been approved by CT state legislature as its intended purpose, restraint, however the DOC officials at G.C.I. are, and have been using this procedure as a means of punishment rather than restraint. I was shocked when this happened to me. I don't even think animals are treated that way.
In retrospect this is a clear and present violation of the 8th Amendment in the Constitution of the United States of America.
It is conducted with malicious and masochistic intent, cruel and unusual punishment.
My only hope is that someone will read this letter and have this preposterous and malicious procedure of "in cell" investigated by the federal and state authorities before anyone else is killed or any more blood is spilled within the confines of G.C.I. I am writing this letter quickly and quietly and can only hope and pray it goes to it's destination.
I am not worried about any type of retaliation but CT DOC as I am considered a high profile inmate because of an active investigation and lawsuit filed on my attorney's behalf. Please feel free to use my name, in fact I would prefer it.
Feel free to edit this letter as long as it gets my point across.
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