December 15, 2018

                         Advocating for the just and humane treatment of those who are incarcerated.


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INMATE VOICE FOCUS GROUPS 4/2013

We are happy to report that FDOC allows any inmate sent to confinement to place a phone call to let their family know of their status.  This may save the family a long, expensive trip to the prison only to find they cannot visit their loved one who was placed in confinement.

It is disturbing that some prisons are setting their own self-made rules designed to micro-manage visitors who want only to enjoy this time with their loved one. It would be of more benefit for prisons to find ways to enhance the visitation experience instead of extinguishing it. If visitors are being treated like dunces, one can’t help but be concerned about the treatment of the inmates.

The DR process is not working as designed.  There are no checks and balances to ensure the validity of charges brought against the inmate.  There is no adequate representation for the accused. There is no consequence for untruthful write-ups or arbitrary, retaliatory charges.  We are left to assume that all who write DRs are practitioners of the ‘golden rule’!  It is reported that many DR appeals never leave the institution.  Focus Group JAX has suggested that inmates notarize their DR appeals, making them legal documents, ensuring that they reach their Tallahassee destination.

All Focus Group members consider it extremely important for FDOC’s Administration to make unannounced visits to the institutions – speak to inmates discreetly on the grounds, in the confinement areas, on the basketball court, in the chow hall. FDOC will see  much of what we hear and will experience the culture of each prison first-hand.

There are many who are seeking to be part of a Focus Group in their local area. The next Inmate Voice Focus Group will start up on April 24, 2013, Miami, Florida.  Feel free to call for more information (904) 568-8231.
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THE INMATE VOICE FOCUS GROUPS TOOK ACTION IN THE FOLLOWING AREAS   

Inmate Voice FOCUS GROUP Altamonte Springs
Issues

Reception and Medical Center               Warden – Brian Riedl  386.496.6264
1.  Mail and personal property are not catching up with the inmate once they transfer to their receiving institution from Lake Butler.

Proposed Resolution:  Property at the receiving institution should  ensure that items on the incoming inmate’s property list are received. If personal, allowable property is missing, the inmate should be reimbursed or the property replaced with a similar item.

2.  Receiving Medical care is extremely slow at Lake Butler.  One inmate is still awaiting his hearing aid prescribed at the end of January 2013.

Proposed Resolution:  Have inmates sign a release as part of their orientation process so that a family member can follow up to make sure proper medical care has been rendered.  Follow-up with inmate feedback.  See Proposed Resolution #1 for Jefferson.

Inmate Voice FOCUS GROUP Jax
Issues

ACI                                         Warden  (Vacant)             850.718.0688
1.Outside visit park still remains closed during visitation.  Four (4) officers are positioned on the inside once visitor check-ins are completed and another sits at the entry of the visitation room.

Proposed Resolution:  Assign officers accordingly once the processing of visitors is complete so that inmates can enjoy being outside with their loved ones during visitation.

2.There is an self-made institutional rule that is imposed on visitors that prevents hugging, hand-holding or touching in any way when a picture is being taken.  This has not been reported at any other institution.

Proposed Resolution:  FDOC should approve/disapprove all self-made institutional rules before they are imposed on families/friends.  This will ensure that self-made rules are reviewed by higher authority and will prevent the disenfranchisement of visitors.

Baker                           Warden – Lori Sink             386.719.4500
1.  When inmates are caught talking in line, they are denied their meal and sent back to their dorm.  This was reported to the Warden’s office.

2.  When a certain food item runs out, inmates at the end of the line do not get a full meal, they only receive the food items that are still left.

Proposed Resolution: Inmates should never be denied food under any circumstance and staff should not be allowed to conduct such a practice.  Everyone should have the full meal and other alternatives to behavioral infractions should be imposed instead of denying  a basic life necessity – food.

3. Visitors were being asked by officers to leave the visit park almost 30 minutes prior to closing. This violation was reported to the Warden Sink who immediately resolved the issue.

Columbia                  Warden – Steve Wellhausen   386.754.7600
1. Cell doors are not being closed and locked during the daytime but are being  locked at night. It is reported that doors are locked in the open position during the workday which allows for thefts and planting of contraband.  This issue is ongoing.

Proposed Resolution:  The institution was called and the response was that the inmates  prop open the door for easy return access. However, officers are responsible for checking the doors regularly to make sure they are closed and locked.

Mayo                                      Warden – Scott Crews  386.294.4500
1.The above issue regarding open cell doors during the daytime is reported as a problem at Mayo also.
Proposed Resolution:  Officers must be held responsible for doing their job by checking the cell doors consistently and ensuring that they are locked both day and night.

 Reception and Medical Center             Warden – Brian Riedl           386-496-6264
1.  Inmates are given about 5 minutes to eat. Those at the end of the line have even less time.
Proposed Resolution:  Set a time standard that allows every inmate adequate time to consume their food.

2.  It is reported that the female Sergeant  requires the male inmates to strip down and sit on their bunks for Count and that she dumps the inmates foot lockers and throws their belongings around looking for contraband.

Proposed Resolution:  Investigation by FDOC will determine if the strip approach for Count is appropriate and if ravaging personal property is necessary while searching for contraband.

Suwannee                            Warden – Chris Landrum – 386.963.2653
1. Visitors must sit facing the entrance door in the visitation area while the inmate must sit facing away from the canteen.  This is a self-made, demeaning institutional rule that treats visitors like pawns instead of people.

Proposed Resolution:  FDOC should approve/disapprove all self-made institutional rules before they are imposed on families/friends.  This will ensure that self-made rules are reviewed by higher authority and will prevent the disenfranchisement of visitors.

RESOLVED  4/17:  The Warden was unaware of this practice and has taken action to ensure it does not continue.

Walton                                   Warden – Alan Pippin –  850.951.1300
1. It is reported that hygiene is not being distributed to inmates during 30 day confinement periods.
Proposed ResolutionProvide proper hygiene.  The care of the inmate is the full responsibility of FDOC.

2. Some inmates are not receiving their property once transferred to Walton.
Proposed Resolution:  Determine whether the problem is at the transferring institution or at the receiving end.  This is also reported as a problem when transferring from Lake Butler as noted above. The same Proposed Resolution for Lake Butler applies here.

 Inmate Voice FOCUS GROUP Jefferson
Issues

Jefferson                              Warden  Chris Douglas      850.352.0500
1
.  An inmate was refused any further medical services when his allergic condition was misdiagnosed and the medication failed. It is reported that he was told  “there is nothing for you here…get out of my office.”

Proposed Resolution:  To understand more about the quality of medical care inmates are receiving, feedback forms can be made available for inmates to send to Tallahassee. Forgotten Majority is also willing to be involved with receiving the feedback and organizing the data in simple reporting format for the Department.

2.  Inmates are not provided with the proper equipment, work boots or masks to prevent breathing in the dust that is generated from pulling up tile floors and/or operating the 250 lb sanding/grinding machine.

Proposed Resolution:   This appears to be a safety hazard.  Inmates working these types of projects should be provided with the proper safety equipment.

3.  It is reported that there are no cameras in the dorms where violence is rampant allowing daily fights, stabbings and assaults by locks placed in socks.

Proposed Resolution:  This issue requires immediate investigation by FDOC.

4.  Visitation intake process is ridiculously slow. Entering of pin numbers and hand scans begins at 8:15. Then 5 people at a time are processed through the  metal detector, pat down and belongings check. The inmate is not called until after the visitor is in the park and arrives about 9:45 am.

Proposed Resolution:  Modernize and standardize the visitation process at every institution so that family/friends won’t waste precious time checking in.  This process is especially problematic at the older institutions.