Perhaps its fate I came across your information because I sure got a lot to say. I have been incarcerated for 22 years now and have witnessed some things that may be of interest to your readers. With the rules you've set, I'll have to write more than once, because what I have to say regarding: healthcare, policy decisions of the powers that be - I'm going to need more permissions slips.
I'm incarcerated in the State of Indiana. I've been a law library clerk for the Pendleton Correctional facility where my boss had personally informed the Superintendent that he could purchase the same typewriters at Staples for 800.00 cheaper than what they were paying through their approved vendor. You know, to save the good ol' taxpayer money. They weren't having it. My boss was told to continue making the purchases through the approved vendor. This "approved vendor" just happened to be an ex-correctional officer that saw the opportunity coming and took advantage. This kind of thing doesn't stop there and it continues today with things like the paper the photo's are printed on from the visiting rooms etc. I've seen the changes made, then I saw the prices of the same thing in the papers. The D.O.C. is robbing the taxpayer blind...
Now I've been locked up since 1997. The state & federal government is always throwing money at the D.O.C. for approved programs. I was there for the "wheelchair factory" where they brought in crates of parts and we would piece what we could together and donate the chairs to those in need. It would always begin the same way: they would paint up an old building, paint and wax the floors; I personally painted the "shadow boards" where the tools were kept, the media would come in take pictures, write a really nice article about how prisoners were giving back to the community. After the cameras are gone and the story yesterdays news, its over. Everyone of the prisoners are removed from the job, the crates of parts removed from the prison and the next thing comes along. I've personally witnessed the wheel chair factory (wheels for the world), the bicycle shop, park & patio and others. There one day, gone the next! I would really love to see an audit happen but the state don't go against itself. They got this accreditation thing going on, ACA I believe its called. They pay this company to say they are doing the right thing by maintaining minimal levels of decency. Such a joke. Offenders are living in condemned buildings. But every year when they come through they clean the place up, paint the rust and smile for the camera. Don't know how they pass the inspection because I personally lived in O-dorm where broken glass windows were the norm. I personally filed grievances year after year because I was made to occupy a bed area where portions of the glass windows were missing allowing for the winter weather to blow in on me - rain, sleet, and snow! I tried to put plastic over the window, and was threatened with a conduct report. Its crazy how I was in maximum security prison with broken glass remains still in the window frame for offenders to use as weapons against one another. They had a sewage flood that covered the whole bottom floor of O-dorm. They just mopped it up and sent us back into the dorm to live. They never even removed the tile or cleaned beneath it. As a result every time a really wet mop is used, you get a sour stench of sewage. It's so nasty. The ceiling leaks when it rains and directly on electrical sockets - I grieved all that! I'm in federal court with these issues as we speak. (Case # 1:17-CV-03955-TWP-DML). I've been to Federal Court against their previous health care provider and they have settled with me. I'm prevented from talking about that for fear of legal repercussions. I don't want to get off track, I'll cover the latest health care issues in the next installment.
I have been transferred to the Westville Correctional Facility as of last year where I see more of the same kind of stuff. For example, its one of the only institutions that offer the therapeutic community. Again special funding is given from the government for people enrolled into the program. But therein lies the problem; they are not interested in people graduating the program. They don't get money for the graduation, but the admission into the program - as a result we are looking at a 90% failure rate. I've seen people with 10 days left just get fast tracked into the program, just so they can get that money. These people, who all seem to be related, don't much care about rehabilitation, it's the money and job security they worry about. They are very vindictive here.
After arriving here, I was 5 years conduct free with the last few years as a law clerk at Pendleton. I come with a really good recommendation from my previous boss. So I was immediately hired at the law library here. I had to get cleared by internal affairs but that only took a couple weeks. The law Library Supervisor loved me because of what I knew and my willingness to help others. Then the settlement came from the previous health care provider. It was then that they viewed me as a threat. So they wrote me up for Class B Conduct Report for having another offenders plea agreement in my possession. I was asked to take a look at it by the offender himself. He told me he thought it was unfair because he agreed to ten years and got 12. Federal law is suppose to protect against the "jailhouse lawyer" - and I'm a legal clerk. I guess I'm suppose to live an isolated existence and ignore all questions presented to me. Johnson v. Avery 393 U.S. 483, 487, 89, S.ct 747, 21 L. Ed 2d. 718 (1969) apparently don't apply to Indiana or the Westville Correctional Facility. I was administratively removed from the Law Library - removed from the Department of Labor Legal Secretary program because of that Conduct Report. I believe its because they fear my pen. This prison is condemned - look it up. Westville Correctional Center. I could have earned time off my sentence with that D.O.L. they illegally took me out of. It can only be for retaliation because I filed against the living conditions at Pendleton. I thought I had a right to seek the improvement of my living conditions. Not here and not in Indiana. The constitutional light don't shine here, and especially not on me. I've earned 2 D.O.L.s but never given my certificates or the time off my sentence because I choose to voice my opinion on matters I consider wrong. I've even been denied the 2 years credit time for my bachelor's degree. It really pains me to be treated the way I am, but right is right.
It's crazy I have a medical condition known as ankylosing spondylitis was made to suffer for years (basis of suit against previous health care provider). Anyway, a complication of A.S. is iritis; if left untreated turns to anterior euvitis, then to permanent eye damage. I've submitted 3 health care slips, my sister has called twice, wrote commissioner twice. The officer in charge of the dorm has placed two calls - and I'm told I got to wait 2 more weeks until the eye Dr. returns to see me. My eye has already stopped reacting to light which means the damage is done. My retina has become detached and requires immediate surgery to prevent permanent loss. I can't go anywhere to seek out help. I'm simply screwed! I really tried to make it out of prison without a permanent physical injury. Wexford Medical is responsible for the loss of my vision in my right eye. I've been submitting medical requests since 8-24-18. Some simple prednisone eye drops could have saved my vision in my right eye. Because of their indifferent attitude and piss poor staff, I will most likely lose 1/2 my vision unless there is a procedure I'm unaware of. Would love to hear of one if there is one - advice on what to do or how to proceed.
Any questions you have, Id be glad to answer. I do have some good ideas. With my experience & education there are few who might know more about prison life in the state of Indiana. I dream of a day I can speak before the general assembly or even Congress; so I can educate them on whats being done incorrectly. As well as share some of my ideas on how to do things right. I'm not the guy that committed those 2 non-violent crimes 22 years ago.
If you are working on an APWA-related project, please let us know how you plan to utilize the Archive. We hope to share information about your work with our readers and, whenever possible, with relevant APWA authors.
APWA is an open access archive. We encourage use of the writings for research, course planning, and projects engaged in examination of the criminal legal system. Reproduction of essays in their entirety infringes on author copyright without their explicit consent from the writers. Please contact us if you plan to reproduce entire essays; we will do our best to put you in contact with the authors for consent, and their compensation for any project that is profit making.