Civil Rights being denied inmates in Florida State Prisons
Civil Rights being denied inmates in Florida State Prisons
For obvious reasons names and identification will not be disclosed. My loved one was of the first to be transferred to Florida's newest addition of the A.M.U. located within the prison at Jackson C.I. A.M.U is known as the "prison within the prison," where the "worst of the worst" are housed, and then my favorite "Gang camp." Upon arrival any inmate not affiliated with a gang is labeled with a Security Threat Group (STG) label, entered as a gang of themselves. This is not why I am filing this petition though.
For those who do not know about the Disciplinary Reporting (DR) and DR Hearings practices taking place in the Florida Prison System. Or, for those who have not seen the inhumane treatment of inmates while in confinement, you need to know what is going on. Inmates across Florida are having civil liberties denied to them every single day. Not just one, but what few liberties inmates do have, all of them are blatantly denied to them. When an inmate breaks a rule, although it states in chapter 33 that inmates can be reprimanded and/or written up on a warning, this rarely happens. Instead inmates are put in hand cuffs and "arrested" then taken to administrative confinement (AC) where they are kept while peers of the arresting officer investigate the allegations brought against them. At the AMU camp the investigating officer is alot of times the wife of the arresting officer. Or, the arresting officer is the deciding officer in the DR hearing. This type of conflict of interest puts the inmate in a bad position before even charged. The investigator should be an unbiased and uninfluenced individual to provide a truly fair trial for the inmate. There are many good officers in corrections, however there are many not so good officers who have and will lie and create situations just to harass, or in some cases retaliate against inmates. For this reason it is imperative an impartial investigation take place. Inmates do possess the right to due process, as well as they have the right to access the courts. However, more times than not they are denied access to the courts, as well as documents and forms needed to fight their charge and/or appeal the decision. As a matter of fact, in many cases they are found guilty and treated as such before they even go to the DR Hearing. The DR Hearing again consists of the arresting officers peers, so again a fair trial and unbiased and uninfluenced verdict is denied inmates. Because of the DR process carried out by officers within the prisons, who have an biased position and naturally will support each other, there are abuses of power taking place. There are instances where officers are making untrue "frivilous" charges against inmates. Because of this, inmates are having false charges brought against them, found guilty with no supporting evidence, decisions are being made off officer statements alone. Inmates are denied access to the courts, they are denied witnesses, evidence, etc. They call to the DR Hearing. The purpose of the DR hearing is for inmates to give their side of the story, and to provide any witnesses and evidence to support their statement. Even when the inmate provides the evidence and it proves their statement they are still found guilty with no evidence to back up the alleged charges. They are provided a sentence/punishment which is generally the maximum recommended by chapter 33. They are encouraged to utilize the grievance process within the prison where they can fight the decision based on officer statement error, etc. Or to ask for audio/video to be reviewed. However, no matter how many times they are incorrect, admin just changes the statement of facts, or changes the date so that audio/video pulled doesn't support the dispute. They are given unlimited chances to get it right, or correct their mistakes, a luxury not given to inmates when they break a rule. Then when the inmate completes the Disciplinary Confinement (DC) sentence administered at the DR Hearing, they get out and then are called into a second hearing where a team, who also works for the prison, adds punishment onto the additional sentence which is the blow to bring the moral down, they take the maximum visitation privledges, canteen, phone, kiosk/tablet, etc. Regardless of the 4 things outlined in chapter 33 that they must consider before doing so, regardless if the violation is related to the privledges. The Hearing and added punishment Is dangerously close to double jeopardy. Not to mention if they do 2 months in confinement they do not get visitation so the suspension of visitation is actually in excess of the maximum recommended by chapter 33.
My loved one was recently incorrectly charged with possession of a cell phone, because the tablet he possessed was "jail broke." 50+ inmates were arrested of same charges. He was told that they "did not have to prove anything." They should have gotten a tablet infraction, the tablets are not equipped with the technology necessary to enable it to be used as a cellular or any type of two way communication device. Not having this technology also eliminates the tablet to be any type of peripheral to one. DOC in Florida needs to know they cannot do as they please. The hiprocracy alone they exhibit when blatantly breaking the rules should hold ramifications just as an inmate faces, without leniency of any kind. Just because they have a badge, that does not give them the right to, or exemption from, adhering to the rules that are put in place.
The AMU at Jackson C.I is a unit put in place to correct behaviors in the "worst of the worst" housed here. However, the confinement wing is the most populated throughout the prison. In confinement, when the weather gets cold, they are deprived of heat, exhaust fans that pull air from the outside are turned on instead. Officers increase their abuse of power by putting inmates on property strip for any reason they so choose (removing clothing, blankets, writing supplies, property, mattresses, etc.), and when they are allowed to take a shower it is cold, and they are allowed to take shower after the temperature drops. They are denied their extra blanket, which they should be provided when the temperatures drop. Although in chapter 33 it states inmates can grow a beard of 1/2 inch they are being forced to have their heads and faces shaved, with dull and unsanitized blades, by other inmates that do not know what they are doing. This all needs to stop. DOC NEEDS TO KNOW THEY ARE NOT ABOVE THE RULES. Sign this petition to let lawmakers, and executives knndw we will not allow them to continue to deprive our loved ones of their basic rights.