My name is Mr. Roberto Carrasco Gamez

Gamez, Roberto Carrasco

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Greetings! My name is Roberto Carrasco Gamez. I am generating this letter in hopes of sharing my experience with you in regards to the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC) housing me in long-term isolation throughout the entire time I've spent in prison. On 25 June 03, I was sentenced to one hundred and fifty-six years in ADC after multiple jury convictions for charges stemming from a carjacking spree, including a shootout with two(2) Tucson Police Officers a few days later. while awaiting sentencing in the above convictions, I briefly took a Correctional Officer hostage from the Pina County Jail in a botched jail escape. Throughout the lifespan of my legal endeavors, it has always been my contention that Arizona State police and prosecutors have acquiesced in a pattern of concealing Brady material and have used its omission to suborn police perjury in order to secure my wrongful conviction (s). I've always pleaded and believed the shootout ignited when an unknown intruder entered into my apartment firing approx. fourteen (14) rounds close blank range at me and shooting my codefendant in the process. In exchange I fired over forty (40) rounds of ammunition at what I perceived to be a threat. While returning to ADC in 2003 I was immediately placed in the violent control unit (VCU) in Florence, Arizona ar [ASPC-Eyman-SMU?], I locked away in deplorable conditions for worse than Regular Isolation. This unit was customarily reserved for the severely mentally ill or for prisoners with unpopular views, the "unmanageable". The cell fronts are covered with a plexiglass shield. There is no form of human contact in Isolation. No windows to the outside world. Recreation consists of four concrete (twenty foot high walls) which begins with being strip searched and then shackles are placed behind our backs. visits are non-contact for two (2) hours that are separated by a plexiglass window, no hole in the middle to speak through or phones only a mesh screen about an inch wide along the edges of the window. One of the many repressive tactics ADC continues to use against me is deliberately placing me in the treacherous shadows of the severely mentally ill who require serious psychiatric care. Their intended purpose is to cause psychological torture. Each prisoner is placed in direct earshot of each other in small eight (8) man clusters where the mentally ill bang, scream, cry, mutilate and kill themselves. Paranoia, delusions and homicidal rage begin to consume a person's mind. Prisoners are stripped of all personal property and 24-hour illumination is endless. Stripped of all humanity except the right to remain alive. During my second day in VCU, I was food poisoned by ADC staff. The extended days, freezing nights, constant loud noises, cell walls smeared with feces, tasers, sadistic guards, and k9 dogs during this vicious era provided with me a fierce desire to stand up and speak out against inhumane conditions. I was no longer innocent yet I discovered a deep-seated purpose to survive. For years ADC denied that such unit existed until a seasoned jailhouse lawyer, Mr. James Skinner magically appeared and dismantled it by using a 1983 civil rights action in 2007. I've spent the previous fourteen (14) years of my life in prison learning to read, write and acquire enough legal skills to navigate myself and others through the state and federal court system. Most prisoners in state prison can't afford to hire a lawyer and are usually ill-equipped to enforce their own constitutional rights in court. The systemic deficiencies in our court system are designed to deprive us of the very thing it portrays--justice and instead serves as a smokescreen to legitimize our mass incarceration epidemic. The hyper-technicalities and court rules make it "virtually impossible" to overcome this oppressive scheme. Nonetheless, I've made significant progress in locating the barriers that prevent our voices from being heard and I've articulated a path toward reaching equality, to overcome the impediment that has kept us a voiceless and faceless creet. Solitary confinement either brings out the best or worse in us. In 2012, I became involved as a Class Action Representative contesting ADC's unconstitutional practices of housing prisoners with preexisting mental illness in isolation. Despite extensive research from several human right's organizations and highly qualified mental health experts into my social history and the psychological effects, my confinement has had on me, including stipulations the ACLU and the ADC have had condemning the use of long-term isolation ADC officials continue to profit from this unpredictable choice of rehabilitation. Holding prisoners in long-term isolation is more than inhuman, it's detrimental to our physical health. The Eighth Amendment prohibits the use of chemical agents on prisoners taking psychotropic medication because it affects the bodies ability to regulate heat and greatly increases the risk of heart-related illnesses. Yet, ADC continues to use chemical agents against me as a form of a "sporting event". My day to day regimen depends largely on the uncertainty of suicide, whereas you slowly lose your grip on your willingness to survive; it's uncontrollable! Just so we're clear, the law says the punishment for being convicted of a crime, is the prison sentence. But the law enforcement community sees the prison as a place to inflict terror and abuse upon its prisoners until all hope for humanity is lost. A prison is an unrelenting machine turning society's underprivileged around and around, faster and faster in a vicious cycle of misery, brutality, frame-ups, and assassinations. It is well documented in my institutional file that my name and number have appeared on a multitude of new Mexican mafia "kill lists". Despite knowledge of this information, ADC has knowingly placed me on the same tier with knowns enemies. I've been involved in multiple stabbings and vicious assaults. We're forced to live it, relentlessly. It's clear as day, prison only serves as a basis for recidivism and is designed to encourage violence, drug abuse, to disproportionately imprison people from low-income communities and with time has shown the "War on drugs" rhetoric was in fact propagated to thwart the civilization of a less popular class. State laws prohibit educational programs for prisoners housed in solitary confinement. Transitional programs from solitary to society or from isolation to a less restricted environment are crucial in reducing the recidivism rate. Yet, they are non-existent. Why? We are deprived of our strongest source of liberation. Lawmakers have an inherited process of [discrediting?] and demoralizing the integrity of the elementary rights of prisoners all across the country. The target of this false premise is not only us but the US Constitution itself. Sincerely, Mr. Roberto Carrasco Gamez ASPC Lewis RAS Max Buckeye, AZ

Author: Gamez, Roberto Carrasco

Author Location: Arizona

Date: July 13, 2017

Genre: Essay

Extent: 4 pages

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