Retaliation for Exercising Rights
The First Amendment prohibits prison officials from retaliating against prisoners who report complaints, file grievances, or file lawsuits. I have done all those things to exercise my legal rights and I am dealing with retaliation constantly here.
There are many forms of retaliating against a prisoner such as reading or interfering with a prisoners legal papers, putting a prisoner into segregation on a false charge or threatening to do so, transferring a prisoner to a different prison or cell, threats, name-calling, or even having the prisoner assaulted by another prisoner. It is clearly retaliation if prison employees do it if motivated to punish for exercising a legal right.
I have done the peaceful, right, and legal way to solve a problem or correct a wrong and have been retaliated against for that.
The prison grievance here at the prison is called the Administrative remedy. The administrative remedy and those who use it are protected legally under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution to be allowed to use it with no retaliation.
The administrative remedy process here is, in my opinion broken. Often times I have gotten answers back that have nothing to do with the issue.
People here have the misconception that filing a prison grievance is telling or Ratting. This is wrong. Using the prison grievance system is the correct legal way to address problems or complaints so the prison officials have the opportunity to address and fix the problem. It is also required to be done if a prisoner wants to file a civil rights lawsuit or other lawsuits, or legal action.
Yesterday I had my cell shaken down for about 45 minutes, with 3 officers going into my cell. I have had my legal work gone through and read numerous times over the past few years. I have been called "Lawyer Rat", "Buddha Rat", "Rat", "Snitch", "crazy" by correctional officers repeatedly, with prisoners repeating what they have heard from correctional officers. There is no accountability here.
It is dangerous to exercise my legal rights here in this prison, but I am not deterred. The more the open retaliation occurs, the more evidence is piling up about retaliation, the more exposure and accountability I hope to bring as I am now asking a federal court to enforce the no retaliation clause of my settlement agreement in a civil rights First Amendment case. See 'Shane Bell V. Darin Young et al. Civ.16-4046.
It tales courage to stand up for your rights and I encourage all Americans to exercise these rights. I am just one prisoner, in a David vs. Goliath scenario, which is standing up for my rights no matter what it costs.
Written by Shane Bell
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