PETITION TO REMOVE THE SUPERINTENDENT OF LARCH CORRECTIONS CENTER

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On behalf of members and supporters of the USDA Coalition Of Minority Employees; Pacific Northwest Chapter and other community organizations, we, as representative leaders of these organizations, respectfully ask that you support our concerns by signing this PETITION to remove Lisa Oliver-Estes from her position as Superintendent of Larch Corrections Center.

In addition to signing our petition, I would ask that you contact the following people to voice your concerns:

Stephen Sinclair, Washington state DOC Secretary Email: Stephen.sinclair@doc.wa.gov and calling 360-725-8810 or 360-725-8213

Jay R. Inslee, Governor Email: Jay.Inslee@gov.WA.Gov or david.postman@gov.Wa.Gov and call 360-902-4111 or 360-902-4112

PRESENTED BY:

Earl Ford, Executive Director, USDA Coalition of Minority Employees Legal Defense & Education Fund, Pacific Northwest Chapter, P.O. Box 872721 Vancouver, WA 98687 (360) -907-7934); Email: earlwford@aol.com

As detailed in the following document, we find that Superintendent Lisa Oliver-Estes has greatly failed to abide by Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC) “Seven Statements of Values Points” and DOC Policy 110.100 “Prison Management Expectations”, which include a commitment to a safe, healthy work environment" for staff. And a commitment to diversity and respecting people-and staff alike-regardless of their background.

On behalf of our organizations, we hereby petition to be fully included as collaborators in developing a plan to create a healthy work environment, find and appoint its new Superintendent, and help to move Larch Corrections Center in a positive direction.

STATEMENT OF COMPLAINT

Prior to submitting this Petition we have repeatedly addressed our concerns through multiple channels, Including Department of Corrections Internal Discrimination Complaint Unit, DOC Workplace Investigation, and the Washington State Human Rights Commission, but nothing has been done.  Superintendent Lisa Oliver-Estes has fostered an atmosphere of low employee morale due to hostility, retaliation, discrimination, sexual harassment, unfair and harsh discipline, favoritism, cronyism,  abuse of authority and unethical behavior. Some specific areas of concern are as follows:

SAFETY!!

Superintendent Lisa Oliver-Estes' inaction to resolve problems continues to jeopardize the safety of the entire prison facility. These safety issues involve, among other things, inadequate staffing, inexperienced managers, and supervisors being forced to learn jobs without adequate training and supervision. Failure to address this has resulted in staff compromise and constructive discharge. She has established a pattern and practice of utilizing internal investigation and threat of disciplinary action to intimidate staff in spite of persistent complaints.

LEADERSHIP MISCONDUCT: Treatment of Veterans

1) While completing a tour in Iraq, this veteran was stationed at Al Assad Airbase, where he was under constant mortar attack and recalls seeing fellow Marines “blown up”. For over a year he has been attending PTSD counseling and classes at the Vancouver VA Campus. However, Superintendent Lisa Oliver-Estes, and LCC HR staff under her direction, were insensitive and unwilling to allow this veteran, who is a disabled U.S. Marine combat veteran with PTSD to flex his hours for medical treatment. Instead, when he asked for flex time to meet his medical needs early last year, Oliver-Estes denied the veteran and forced him to demote back to a Custody Officer on graveyard shift (effective 3/16/17), a position unsuited to his skills and training. Oliver-Estes also, stripped this veteran from his other duties as Prison Safety Instructor.  (PTSD) https://binged.it/2u4qEjG

2) Superintendent Lisa Oliver-Estes makes hiring decisions that benefit her friends, not the inmates or the overall facility. On 10/11/2016 a disabled combat veteran applied for a promotional opportunity as a Correctional Specialist 2 with 70% responsibility in sustainability, and 30% responsibility in the area of the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA). This veteran implemented most of the sustainability programs at LCC. In addition to his ordinary work assignments, he had overseen the development, implementation and growth of these programs which ultimately led to the need and creation of a new position for which he applied.

The veteran was passed over based on the interview process. He was told that “The other person just did a little bit better answering the questions and the decision was left up to Oliver-Estes.” Shortly thereafter, it was announced that the Superintendent’s secretary – a person who had worked for the department for just over six months and had no relevant experience had been awarded the position.

When the veteran began asking why he was not provided a fair opportunity to compete for this position, he became the victim to retaliatory investigations by Superintendent Oliver-Estes

3) A former Disabled Veteran employed at Larch Corrections Center was laid off.  According to guidelines he should not have been laid off, LCC failed to count his military service. The error was pointed out and the veteran was left with the impression that it was going to be corrected. Months went by and nothing happened. The veteran repeatedly applied over 26 times for employment positions at LCC but was told by Superintendent Lisa Oliver-Estes that others more qualified had been selected. The people Oliver-Estes hired and promoted in these jobs were her friends who worked as Custody Officers, Food Service Cooks, and Secretaries with no prior experience.

This veteran has a Master's Degree and finishing his PH.D. He could not even get and entry level Custody Officer-1 position, in which only requires a High School Diploma or GED, age 18 years and no felony record. Again, after this particular application the veteran was told by LCC that someone more qualified had been selected. https://www.veteranstoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/ICARE_Logo.jpg 

4) A military Veteran and former Larch Corrections Center Custody Officer,  was a victim of sexual harassment by a male supervisor. The veteran notified management about this inappropriate behavior, requested an investigation, and filed charges with LCC. However, management allowed the supervisor to continue to harass this Officer, creating a hostile and toxic work environment. The supervisor initiated contact by asking the Officer if he (Supervisor) could perform oral sex on him. When the Officer reported these incidents to management staff, they laughed him off. Subsequently this Officer resigned because of lack of management concern and the culture that has been created at Larch. When the supervisor who had accosted him was later caught in the act of performing oral sex on an inmate, Larch management allowed that supervisor to resign in lieu of termination. 

5) Former Larch Corrections Custody Officer, Ordained Minister, and Military Veteran who spent 13 years in the Illinois Department Of Corrections as an officer and over the past seven years as an Officer at Larch Corrections Center. In late December 2016 he was contacted by Superintendent Lisa Oliver-Estes stating he was assigned to his home until further notice. It seem that the Officer turned in some contraband to his supervisor. Approximately 11 months later, he was terminated by Superintendent Lisa Oliver-Estes for allegedly making and planting contraband. The contraband  he had found and reported.

The Union in 2016-2017 mounted an aggressive challenge to this wrongful termination. However, LCC management stepped up acts of retaliation against the Officer. Recently in 2018, nearly a year after the initial alleged incident, Superintendent Lisa Oliver-Estes reported this case to the Clark County Sheriff's Department who arrested the Officer and held him overnight in County Jail. Prior to these alleged allegations the Officer has been outspoken against Superintendent Lisa Oliver-Estes unfair hiring practices, discrinmation, harassment and retaliation towards staff. (Video)https://vimeo.com/258358041/afefbad8f6

6) Larch Corrections Center employee and military veteran reported twice his vehicle was vandalized. His vehicle window had been bust out while at work. Superintendent Lisa Oliver-Estes blamed the employee who reported his  vehicle being vandalized and made remarks that he bust his own window. The employee stated: “This is what happens to you and your property at LCC when you try to do the right thing and report security and safety violations or staff misconduct. I do not feel safe from retaliation at LCC since this is the second time in two months that my car has been vandalized.” (Photo) https://imgur.com/a/DZYsN

LEADERSHIP MISCONDUCT: Discrimination/Bias

7) An African American inmate's three year-old grandson on May 25, 2016 was burned alive in a duplex fire in Tacoma, WA (Q13FOX & K5NEWS covered the story-Video)http://q13fox.com/2016/05/25/child-dies-in-tacoma-duplex

The Prison's Facility Risk Management Team cleared the inmate to attend the funeral. The inmate requested a funeral escort, as he had previously been allowed to do when his mother and father died. This inmate lived in a section of Tacoma called Hilltop, consisting of a mix of races (African American, White, Hispanic, Asian etc.). However, when Superintendent Lisa Oliver-Estes reviewed the inmate's request to attend the funeral, she denied it because his grandson was not considered family. She also indicated that because, the neighborhood where the grandson lived (Hilltop) was known for gang activity that she believed this inmate was a gang member although FRMT already verified that he was not. He was later transferred to another facility by Superintendent Lisa Oliver-Estes. 

8) Superintendent Lisa Oliver-Estes has shown deliberate indifference to misconduct displayed by staff with whom she is friends. Some female staff at LCC began performing favors for certain inmates in violation of prison policy, Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) and safety protocols. These favors ranged from sexual acts to sending in care packages and money for inmates. Other staff reported these women to Oliver-Estes and other DOC officials. However, superintendent Lisa Oliver-Estes retaliated against those who reported the misconduct-through unwarranted investigations, letters of reprimand, removal from job positions, reassigned, and blacklisted from any career advancements.

9) A female employee was compromised by an inmate and resigned. The inmate was released from Larch Corrections Center, at which time he committed a new crime by brutally beating two women to death than decapitating the two women and setting the house on fire. (Video) http://q13fox.com/2017/01/11/man-charged-with-decapitating-2-women-burning-down-tacoma-house-to-hide-crime/

10) Hispanic Larch female employee from 2015 to 2017 spoke out against Superintendent Lisa Oliver-Estes of her behavior towards staff as well as providing documented evidence to DOC officials. And after filing a complaint with DOC headquarter officials, Oliver-Estes and her cronies unleashed retaliation against the employee including unwarranted internal investigations, and letters of reprimand.

11) From 2014-2015, a Hispanic Female applied for the LCC Superintendent position twice  and passed over.  Lisa Oliver-Estes was then appointed the Superintendent position at Larch Corrections Center. Lisa Oliver-Estes had no prior Superintendent experience.  However, the Hispanic female who applied has 31 years DOC experience as a Superintendent at major facilities and camps with California Department of Corrections but wasn’t selected for the position(s) but now serves as a Records Clerk at Larch Corrections Center.  

Currently, Larch Corrections Center staff are afraid to report staff misconduct because they fear retaliation and they observe what happens to other staff who do report. Staff who have reported misconduct are currently paying a heavy price for doing the right thing. There are witnesses and documents to support their claims.

Larch employees repeatedly stated they have lost all trust and faith in the ability of Superintendent Lisa Oliver-Estes to lead Larch Corrections Center (LCC).

Please Sign the "Vote of No Confidence PETITION" and send a message to Washington State DOC Secretary Stephen Sinclair and Washington Governor Jay R. Inslee to relieve Superintendent Lisa Oliver-Estes of her duties and responsibilities and proceed immediately to undertake constructive changes in leadership at Larch Corrections Center Prison.  

Stephen Sinclair, Washington state DOC Secretary Email: Stephen.sinclair@doc.wa.gov and calling 360-725-8810 or 360-725-8213

Jay R. Inslee, Governor Email: Jay.Inslee@gov.WA.Gov or david.postman@gov.wa.gov and call 360-902-4111 or 360-902-4112

 

 

 

 

 



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