Justice For Felix Garcia-Imprisoned for 30 years & INNOCENT!


More than 100,000 people signed a petition to free Tampa’s Felix Garcia. Advocates for the deaf claim he was framed for murder back in 1983, and was unable to follow his own trial because of his hearing problem.

His story has been shared and his face shown on posters in rallies for the disabled on the Capitol steps.

So FOX 13 investigated his case, and interviewed Felix Garcia from prison. He lost most of his hearing and requires a sign language interpreter to effectively communicate. But the scope of his hearing loss in 1983 is a matter of dispute.

Doctors for the prosecution say he was competent and could hear his trial, while the court-appointed doctor testified that Felix Garcia had up to 70-percent hearing loss.

Garcia’s legal advocate, Pat Bliss, claimed Felix tried to make it appear as if he understood the proceedings when he really didn’t, out of a misguided attempt to appear alert.

“He thinks hearing people are so smart, he wants to compete that he’s smart too,” said Bliss. “He’d just smile and nod, pretending he understood everything so he wouldn’t appear stupid.”

Thirty-two years ago, Felix Garcia took the stand, answering questions that he later said he couldn’t hear or understand. He later said he was unaware that his own family accused him of murder.

“He was played as a patsy and played right into it,” said Felix’s attorney Reggie Garcia, who is not unrelated to Felix. “He’s served 33 years in prison for a murder he did not commit.”

LINK: Read Felix’s testimony (PDF)

But to prosecutors, Felix Garcia is a killer who walked into a north Tampa hotel room back in 1981 and shot a guest in the head. His own brother and sister said he did it, and the jury agreed.

Years later, a signed affidavit shows his brother changed his story. Felix’s older brother Frank later said he committed the crime. Detectives found 13 of Frank’s fingerprints at the crime scene, and no prints from Felix.

Meanwhile, Felix’s ex-girlfriend and her mother gave him an alibi the night of the murder. They said he was at their home nearly six miles away from the hotel when the killer struck.

But Felix signed a pawn slip for the dead man’s ring — and that, combined with the testimony, sealed his fate.

Felix now claims Frank drove him to a pawn shop and tricked him into signing for the ring. Frank later claimed he framed his little brother to save himself from the electric chair and protect another man named Ray Stanley. According to another signed affidavit, their sister Tina backed that up.

However, Tina told FOX 13 she does not remember signing that affidavit. She said Stanley was not involved and she thinks Felix is guilty.

“Did I sign the affidavit? I do not remember, and I don’t believe I signed one,” Tina Daniels said. “He needs to stop and leave this family alone is what he needs to do.”

Hillsborough State Attorney Mark Ober personally prosecuted Felix’s brother Frank. He concedes that Felix had a hearing problem, but says he was competent, and could hear and participate in his trial, and that the trial was fairly conducted.

Judges have previously considered and denied Felix’s request for a new trial. Felix’s next chance for parole is in two and a half years.

“Please. It’s the only way the truth will ever come out,” Felix insisted. “The truth is there. It’s there!”

You can read more ( and watch many videos!) about Felix Garcia at the Deaf In Prison Blog here on WordPress:


and Follow the Facebook dedicated to  him!



Via MyFoxTampaBay

Punishment for profit: The economics of mass incarceration

By Joyce Chediac

“Mass incarceration on a scale almost unexampled in human history is a fundamental fact of our country today — perhaps the fundamental fact, as slavery was the fundamental fact of 1850.” (“The Caging of America” by Adam Gopnik)

PrisonThe excessive arrests and unjustified long-term imprisonments of mostly people of color, and the devastating effects these measures have on whole communities, have been exposed and denounced by community, religious, human rights, legal and advocacy organizations, and individual researchers.

Then why is it so hard to stop?

Because for a very powerful few, mass incarceration is not a bad thing at all.  It is the source of fabulous profits.  For them, prison equals profits.

The total cost to government of incarceration is $70 billion a year. The privately run prison industry, which feeds on mass incarceration, is one of the fastest growing and widest reaching of U.S. industries. In 2009 alone, when most industries were in a slump, the prison industry brought in $34.4 billion in revenues. (“Prison Labor and Crime in the U.S. — Inmate Facts and Stats,” a report to the Black Congressional Caucus at http://www.phewacommunity.org)

The rate of profits from prison industries is comparable to what U.S. companies extract from exploiting labor markets in the global South, without the need to pay the added transportation costs. There is virtually no overhead for these corporations, because the prisons are paid for and prisoners are housed at tax dollar expense.

Secret corporate cheerleaders of mass incarceration

This is why some of the world’s most powerful financial institutions — Bank of America, Goldman Sachs Group, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and others — are the primary investors in the prison-industrial complex and the secret cheerleaders of mass incarceration.

That’s why virtually every major company and employer — from the U.S. military to Exxon, to McDonalds, to Victoria’s Secret — and a great many minor ones, profit directly or indirectly from low-cost prison labor.  This reach is so vast that the products of prison labor touch virtually every part of life, from the food we eat, the jeans we wear, the phones we use, to how our pensions are invested.

That’s why the judiciary, the courts, the police, the legislatures and even whole federal agencies have become apologists for, encouragers of and accomplices in punishment for profit, having had their palms amply greased by its main corporate players.

Legislation that enables financial gain from prisons, such as mandated harsh sentences for nonviolent crime, were actually written by the prison profiteers, then passed by legislatures in their pay.

Prison labor has taken the place of many jobs. So punishment for profit contributes to unemployment, undermines workers’ demands for living wages and creates obstacles to trade union organizing.

How did this happen?

Emergence of the prison-industrial complex

The term “prison-industrial complex” was coined in 1997 by activist and former political prisoner Angela Davis to describe the high rate of profit made by the corporations running prisons, the merger of these companies with the biggest banks and businesses, and the devastating effect this phenomenon has had upon the working class, communities of color and the socially vulnerable.

Before 1980, there were no private adult prisons in the U.S.  Private companies began to run state and federal prisons in the 1980s, under President Ronald Reagan. These corporations were given a huge boost in the 1990s by President William Clinton, whose cut to government jobs provided a golden opportunity for private firms seeking to run prisons.   “Punishment for profit” was off and running.

Since then, there has been an explosion in private companies providing goods and services to government agencies involved in punishment.  This includes contract prison labor, construction of prisons, surveillance, tech vendors, prison food providers, medical services, phone service for prisoners, private probation companies, investors in these companies, and the lobbyists that represent the businesses seeking to expand the prison system.

Revenues increased 500 times

Two of the largest private companies now running prisons are the Correction Corporation of America (CCA) and the GEO Group.  There were no private prisons before 1984. From then until 2009, these two corporations increased their role to running 264 prisons with more than 100,000 prisoners. (“Prison Labor and Crime in the U.S.”) The CCA’s revenues increased 500 times in the last two decades. (Mother Jones, Sept. 19, 2013)

Then there’s the work that inmates do inside the institutions. Prisoners toiling often for pennies an hour and sometimes without any pay at all, totaled at least $2.4 billion in sales, and maybe as much as $5 billion. (www.phewacommunity.com)

The private companies get a cheap, easy labor market, where they don’t have to provide benefits or sick days, there is no union organizing, and if a person refuses to work they can be locked in solitary confinement.

We pay the overhead!

These businesses have virtually no overhead costs in the prisons because the cost of incarceration and the source of their cash-cow profits are tax dollars.

While money is steadily cut from social programs, tax subsidizing of prison profiteers does not come cheap.  The Vera Institute for Justice states in its report, “The Price of Prisons,” that the cost to taxpayers of incarcerating one inmate in fiscal 2010 was $31,307 per year, and in  Connecticut, Washington state and New York,” It’s anywhere from $50,000 to $60,000.”

The American Civil Liberties Union reveals that the national yearly figure for incarcerating people with mental illness, a vulnerable population jailed at disproportionately high rates and suffering greatly in jail, is more than $63,000 a year. (ACLU report, July 2014, tinyurl.com/mng4ya2) All of this is paid for by U.S. workers.

Some 600,000 to 1 million of the 2.4 million U.S. prisoners toil in 300 factories in a 21st century form of slavery. (www.phewacommunity.com) El Diario-La Prensa of March 10, 2008, writes that the companies contracting private prison labor contain “the cream of U.S. corporate society: IBM, Boeing, Motorola, Microsoft, AT&T, Wireless, Texas Instrument, Dell, Compaq, Honeywell, Hewlett-Packard, Nortel, Lucent Technologies, 3Com, Intel, Northern Telecom, TWA, Nordstrom’s, Revlon, Macy’s, Pierre Cardin, Target Stores and many more.” The whole capitalist establishment is in on it.

A system ‘too vast to boycott’

Bob Sloan, who wrote the “Prison Labor and Crime in the U.S.” report, unearths and exposes businesses involved in prison labor.  He found that McDonald’s uniforms are made in jail. Kmart and J.C. Penny sell jeans sewn by inmates in Tennessee.  (www.dailykos.com, Dec. 13, 2010).

And then there’s food production. In July/August 2008, Mother Jones magazine reported that in California alone, prisoners were processing “more than 680,000 pounds of beef, 400,000 pounds of chicken products, 450,000 gallons of milk, 280,000 loaves of bread, and 2.9 million eggs.” Signature Packaging Solutions, a Starbucks subcontractor, was using prisoners to package holiday coffees.

Inmates are producing airplane parts, medical supplies and much more. They are even raising seeing-eye dogs.

Investors in prison labor and the prison-industrial complex include the oil giants ExxonMobil Corp. and Chevron, Koch Industries, a host of utility companies, and insurance companies such as GEICO, State Farm and Fidelity Investments, which holds the 401(k) and retirement counts of millions of people, according to Sloan.

Involved in punishment for profit are a host of giant pharmaceutical companies, including Bayer, Glaxo Wellcome, Merck & Co. and Pfizer.  Also making gain from the misery of those behind bars are Caterpillar Inc., International Game Technology, virtually all the telecommunications companies, and transportation companies such as American Airlines, Boeing and United Parcel Service, says Sloan.  So the hotel and airline reservations we make for vacations are often handled by prisoners. And this is just a sampling.

Sloan concludes, “The Prison-Industrial Complex is simply too vast to avoid or boycott — in a manner typically used by consumers and concerned citizens.”

To get your job back ‘go to prison’

Factories are closing and workers being laid off because it’s cheaper for the bosses to get prisoners to do the work.

In Texas, a factory fired its 150 workers and contracted the service of prison-workers from the private Lockhart Correctional Facility in that state, where circuit boards are assembled for companies like IBM and Compaq.

The federal government is in on this, too. It owns Federal Prison Industries, operating in 83 federal prisons and employing more than 13,000 inmates at from $0.23 to $1.15 an hour. FPI collected more than $900 million in revenue in 2011. It produced more than $100 million in military uniforms in 2012. (“More Jobs Lost as the Government Decides to Have Military Uniforms Made by Convicts,” Business Insider, Sept. 7, 2012)

In 2012, Tennier Industries fired more than 100 employees after losing its military uniform contract to FPI. That year, American Apparel closed an Alabama plant employing 175 for the same reason. The workers there had made $9 an hour, and had benefits.

A disgruntled Kurt Courtney, director of government relations at American Apparel, told CNN on Aug. 14, 2012, “The only way for workers to get jobs back is to go to prison.”

U.S. prison labor is even replacing labor markets in poor and oppressed countries. A company that operated a maquiladora (the Spanish term used for a foreign-owned assembly plant on the Mexican side of the U.S./Mexico border) closed down its operations there and relocated to San Quentin State Prison in California. “[Former] Oregon State Representative Kevin Mannix recently urged Nike to cut its production in Indonesia and bring it to his state, telling the shoe manufacturer that ‘there won’t be any transportation costs; we’re offering you competitive prison labor (here),” according to the El Diario article.

Prisoners replacing farmworkers

Fruits and vegetables are often picked by immigrants, many of them undocumented. The Obama administration, however, has deported undocumented workers in record numbers, while it slowed the legal flow of contracted agricultural workers into the country. At the same time, more states are issuing fines to farmers and agricultural businesses who hire undocumented workers.

With fewer workers available to pick crops at the going wage, the prison-industrial complex has happily stepped in to fill the gap.  Today, prisoners pick onions in Georgia, watermelons in Arizona, apples in Washington and potatoes in Idaho.

For a capitalist, what’s not to like?

Profiting from people in jail is undeniably a horrible form of exploitation, destructive to all working people and to society as a whole.  This is the raw face of capitalism in the 21st century, without the ideological touch ups provided by Wall Street public relations firms or the corporate media.

The drive for ever greater profits is built into the capitalist system. Money gravitates to where the rate of profit is the highest, regardless of the social cost. This is why virtually all the corporate establishment sharks are in a feeding frenzy over the profits to be made off of punishment.

For a capitalist, what’s not to like?

Via Workers World

Young Girl’s In Custody Death Sparks Controversy and heartache-Justice for Tori Herr!!

Police investigating Lebanon County 18-year-old inmate’s death

The 18-year-old apparently died of complication from heroin withdrawal

By John Latimer

The results of my daughter going to jail for a mere four days have devastated me for the rest of my life. I only had two children, a son and a daughter and now all I have left of my daughter are her ashes.~Stephanie Moyer Patschke

Stephanie and Dean Moyer of North Cornwall Township talk about their daughter, Victoria "Tori" Herr, who died April 5 at the Lehigh Valley

Stephanie and Dean Moyer of North Cornwall Township talk about their daughter, Victoria “Tori” Herr, who died April 5 at the Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown. Herr had been incarcerated at the Lebanon County prison and was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital on March 31. Hours later she was airlifted to Lehigh Valley Hospital. (Michael K. Dakota — Lebanon Daily News)
Submitted - Lebanon Daily NewsStepanie and Dean Moyer submitted this photo of their daughter, Tori Herr.

Submitted – Lebanon Daily News Stepanie and Dean Moyer submitted this photo of their daughter, Tori Herr.

Stephanie Moyer didn’t immediately notice the changes in her daughter’s behavior last year.

Growing up, the fun-loving Victoria “Tori” Herr enjoyed hanging out with a group of other bright kids. She loved animals and was “artsy,” with an eye for photography and a talent for writing, which one day she hoped might lead to a career in journalism, said her mother.

But about a year ago, near the end of Tori’s senior year at Cedar Crest High School, Moyer saw a distinct change in her daughter. No longer carefree, she became morose and distant. Her old friends stopped hanging around, and her new ones were different.

“It took a while for me to catch on to that. You know, that all of a sudden I didn’t know any of her friends,” Stephanie Moyer recalled this week, sitting on the couch beside her husband and Tori’s stepfather, Dean Moyer, in their North Cornwall Township home.

“They were not coming into the house,” Moyer said. “They were not introducing themselves, and she was very upset when I’d take her to school. I drove her to school every single day. And there toward the end of her senior year she was just crying, and she wasn’t looking the same. I tried to get answers from her friends that I did know, and nobody was really giving me any answers.”

Frustrated and worried, Moyer did the only thing she could think of to find out what Tori was getting into — she read her journal.

What Moyer learned in the pages of her daughter’s diary was a parent’s worst nightmare. Her teenage girl had become a heroin addict.

That nightmare turned into a living hell three weeks ago when Herr, 18, died from apparent complications of heroin withdrawal, eight days after being incarcerated in the Lebanon County Correctional Facility.

Now the Moyers are looking for answers to how and why it happened.

Michael K. Dakota — Lebanon Daily NewsStephanie and Dean Moyer are waiting for answers about their daughter’s death. A photo of Tori Herr, a

Michael K. Dakota — Lebanon Daily News Stephanie and Dean Moyer are waiting for answers about their daughter’s death. A photo of Tori Herr, a Cedar Crest High School graduate, in her graduation cap and gown is stored on the family’s iPad.
Details scant

A Pennsylvania State Police investigation — standard procedure in all death cases at the prison — is underway, and the Moyer’s have hired an attorney, preventing Lebanon County prison Warden Robert Karnes and other county officials from speaking directly about the case.

What is known is that on March 27 Herr and her boyfriend, 21-year-old Jesse Roldan, were arrested in their North 12th Street apartment by Lebanon police, who were helping another law enforcement agency serve a fugitive bench warrant on Roldan. The warrant was issued for Roldan’s failure to show up for sentencing on retail theft and drug charges that included possession with intent to deliver heroin, to which he pleaded guilty on Nov. 20.

See also:

Warden says prison followed protocols

Using a drug-sniffing dog, police found 69 packets of heroin in the house. Herr claimed the drugs were hers and was charged with possession with intent to deliver. Roldan was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia. Both were placed in Lebanon County prison.

Also what is known is that four days later, on the night of March 31, Herr lost consciousness at the prison. She received treatment there and was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital. Within hours, she was air-lifted to Lehigh Valley Hospital, where she remained in a coma before dying on Easter Sunday, April 5.

According to the only official report, submitted by Karnes at last week’s county Prison Board meeting, Karnes went to the jail the night Herr lost consciousness “at approximately 10:15 p.m. due to a medical emergency involving an inmate. Upon initial questioning of staff, all operational protocols appeared to be followed. The PA State Police were notified of this incident and responded as per procedure.”

The Moyers don’t know much more about what happened to their daughter between the time she was incarcerated and hospitalized.

The Moyers are receiving information, including some from inmates released since their daughter’s death, through a Facebook page called “Justice for Victoria ‘Tori’ Herr” that was started by a friend.

There are allegations that Herr did not receive proper medical care prior to collapsing at the prison and in the immediate moments that followed.

But the Moyers do not know how accurate that information is and said they are waiting for the state police investigation to conclude. They hope a security video will shed light on the truth.

‘Just want lemonade’

The last time Stephanie Moyer spoke with her daughter was by telephone on Monday, March 30. Moyer said it was their first talk since her daughter had been jailed, and she sounded disoriented.

“I was like, ‘Tori what happened?’ and she said, ‘I don’t know, mom. But I’m seeing people die. I’m going to die,'” Moyer recalled. “And I said, ‘Tori, you are not going to die, honey, you are just going through withdrawal. And she said, ‘I’m so thirsty. I’m so thirsty. I just want lemonade. They won’t give me lemonade. Can you put money on my account?'”

Moyer said she asked her daughter how to do that.

“She said, ‘I’ve got to go,'” Moyer said. “And I said, ‘Wait! How do I put money on your account?’ And she said, ‘I don’t know, maybe go into the jail. I’ve got to go.’ And that was the end of our conversation. It was the last time I talked to her.”

Later that day, the Moyers went to the jail at 730 E. Walnut St. in South Lebanon Township to set up a cash account for their daughter. When they asked to see her, they were told she was in quarantine, and they would not be able to see her until the following week, Stephanie Moyer said. Next, they asked how Tori was doing and were told she was fine.

But Stephanie Moyer was not convinced her daughter was fine.

“I had concerns, I know Tori mentally,” she said. “I knew this would be a huge thing to bear mentally and physically. Her physical condition just wasn’t that great. She was so thin and tiny. You know, just being an addict alone.”

The day after trying to visit her daughter, Stephanie Moyer said she tried to contact her prison counselor but was unsuccessful. That night, before going to bed, she turned off her phone, thinking that at least her daughter was away from the threat of heroin.

In a coma

“Everybody always says there are two options for an addict: they are either dead or in jail,” Moyer said. “And she was in jail, so I honestly thought she was in the best place. I mean the best place with the circumstances.”

The next morning she woke at 5:30 a.m. to find out that was not the case. A message left by Karnes at 11:20 p.m. the night before informed her that Tori was in critical condition.

The next few hours were frustrating for the Moyers as they tried to find out where their daughter was and how she was doing.

Moyer said she eventually was told her daughter had “a heart attack or something” and that she was at Lehigh Valley Hospital.

Why she was air-lifted to Lehigh Valley Hospital instead of transported to Hershey Medical Center is another mystery, although the Moyers said their daughter received excellent care there.

The Moyers rushed to Lehigh Valley Hospital to be by their daughter’s bedside. They found her unconscious and hooked to tubes.

Dean Moyer said a Lehigh Valley doctor told him Tori had been without oxygen at the prison for eight to 10 minutes.

“She was in a coma,” Stephanie Moyer said. “She had brain swelling. Her brain had swelled. They said they (the prison medical staff) did CPR on her for 33 to 40 minutes until they called 9-1-1. That’s what the doctor told us. So you do the math.”

Stephanie Moyer said she has spoken to Karnes since her daughter’s death, and he has been unable to shed any light on her treatment prior to her losing consciousness.

“Heroin in itself, you don’t die from withdrawal of heroin, but you do die if you are not given liquids and certain things because you are dehydrating, because they vomit and they are going to the bathroom all of the time,” Stephanie Moyer said. “So they have to have fluids. Whether or not she got those fluids, I would venture to say no, because she died. Unless there is another reason why she died.”

Parents tried to help

The Moyers are not blind to the fact that their daughter bears responsibility for her untimely death.

After learning that Tori was addicted to heroin, the Moyers said they tried to convince her to get treatment. Efforts to get her to a methadone clinic were unsuccessful.

“I’m not saying that Tori didn’t make her own choices as well. I know that it was her choice to decide to use heroin. No one put a gun to her head and told her to do it,” Stephanie Moyer said. “Most of her school life, she was in honors classes. She was extremely intelligent and never had a criminal run-in, ever. And when we had found out that she was using heroin about a year ago, we tried to help her immediately. Immediately we tried to talk to her and everything.”

But Herr resisted, eventually moving in with her boyfriend.

The Moyers did not like their daughter’s relationship with Roldan, whom she started dating in May, about the time they discovered she was using heroin.

“At first, I was not happy with her being with Jesse,” Stephanie Moyer said. “I mean, that was part of the reason why she was hiding from me and everything, because she was with Jesse, and I knew he had a criminal background. I did not know he was a heroin addict or anything like that. But I knew he had a criminal background.”

As they got to know Roldan, Stephanie Moyer said, she and her husband began to understand that he had made bad choices, just like their daughter.

“Once we got to know Jesse, we had tried to help him. Especially Dean, when (Roldan) got out (of jail) the first time, through the church and stuff. But he wasn’t interested,” Stephanie Moyer recalled. “We very much saw potential in him. He seemed like he was a good guy with bad choices. But honestly, at this point in time, I don’t know where I’d put him. I have issues to work out with him. But I can honestly say that he is the one person who could have truly helped her.”

The Moyers said their daughter’s love for Roldan caused her to claim the heroin was hers.

More than 200 people came to their daughter’s funeral held at Calvary Chapel on April 11.

“Like the pastor said at her services, people’s choices, the choices that we make, affect so many people,” Stephanie Moyer said. “Her boyfriend Jesse had a bench warrant out for his arrest. … (If) he had just went to court that day, none of this would have happened as far as her going to jail. She would be at U-Turn (for Christ, a residential drug treatment center) right now. And she’d be clean, and he’d be clean.

“So the choice that he made, he will have to live with the rest of his life. And certainly I am going to have to live with it the rest of my life. And all of Tori’s friends and family will, too.”

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How Many More Days ? Justice 4 Davontae Sanford 2015 Time For Change Bring Me Home Enough Is Enough !

Originally posted on Social Action:

Team pushes new trial for Detroiter convicted as teen

Detroit — The lengthy battle to free a man who was convicted of a quadruple homicide at age 14 continued Wednesday with a team of attorneys filing a motion in Wayne Circuit Court seeking a new trial.

Detroit hit man takes responsibility for killings in new push to free young man in 4 murders

Vincent Smothers confesses to murders; Davontae Sanford imprisoned for crimes

Lawyers, family say Sanford innocent


Davontae Sanford -684070 Ionia Maxmium Correctionac. 1576 W. Bluewater highway Ionia,mi 48846  Lets spread the love on this hoilday and send a christmas card to Davontae Sanford U ARE GOING TO BE WITH YOUR FAMILY,THEY CANT”

Who is Davontae Sanford?

Who is Davontae Sanford? He is Detroit’s Forgotten Child. Innocence raped in the grips of overzealous cops and a prosecutor who doesn’t give a damn about justice or innocence. She wants Detroit to forget Davontae!! To ignore her great evil misdeeds and sweep the case under the carpet. And your silence has made it all possible Detroit. Until it happens to your child –…

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The appalling story of a California prison guard who committed suicide: ‘The job made me do it’

CDCr…California Department of Corrections and rehabilitation ( there is no real rehabilitation, hence the small “r”).

Staffed by CCPOA union members (California Correctional Peace Officers Association) one of, if not the biggest unions in the state of CA,

CCPOA represents the more than 30,000 correctional peace officers working inside California’s prisons and youth facilities, and the state’s parole agents who supervise inmates after their release.

Since its founding in 1957, CCPOA’s mission has been to promote and enhance the correctional profession, protect the safety of those engaged in corrections and advocate for the laws, funding and policies needed to improve prison operations and protect public safety.

Yeah right..read on. 

If this is what they do to their own…just think about what they do to the inmates…


After years of alleged harassment and abuse at his job at a California prison, Scott Jones committed suicide in 2011. A note inside his truck, parked near his body, read: “The job made me do it.”

On Friday, a federal judge refused to dismiss a lawsuit that Jones’ widow, Janelle, brought against California’s department of prisons, as well as a warden and two other high-ranking officials.

That lawsuit alleges wrongful death and a violation of Jones’ First Amendment right to be free from harassment and retaliation.

In 2006, Jones’ employer High Desert State Prison sent him to work in the “Z-unit,” which houses the most dangerous inmates, according to the suit. There, he allegedly witnessed an array of horrific behaviours by officers — including
strip-searching inmates in the snow, provoking fighting among the inmates, preventing them from showering, and failing to stop contraband trading, according to his widow’s suit.

Jones’ widow alleges he was relentlessly harassed for reporting these behaviours as well as other violations of federal and state law and that he was pressured to violate the rules himself. At one point, a superior officer allegedly coerced him to file a false workers compensation claim after Jones hurt his knee while “horsing around on duty.”

To ensure his quietness about the incident, Jones speculated, the same officer allegedly pepper sprayed him at close range in 2007.

“Does that mean you’re going to rat me out now?” the officer said afterward, according to the suit.

The prison “summarily dismissed,” all of Jones’ complaints. Even worse, the suit claims that supervisors falsely accused Jones and other guards working with him of various violations, including tampering with inmates’ mail and using excessive force. Unnecessary investigations followed, the suits claims.

At one point, one officer called Jones and another officer working with him at home and told them to quit, according to the suit. Another officer allegedly told Jones he’d “thought about running [him] over and making [him] a hood ornament.”

As a result of his treatment at the hands of his colleagues, the suit claims Jones started taking anti-anxiety medication and antidepressants. In July 2011, Jones reached his breaking point and allegedly informed the prison of his intention to quit. Various supervisors told him to “take a short leave to consider his decision to quit” and to take his complaints to High Desert’s management.

A day later, Jones hugged and kissed his wife and told her he was going to the prison to meet with two supervisors. When she called later that afternoon, however, neither had seen or spoken to him. Jones was soon found dead on a dirt road outside Susanville, according to the suit.

Several notes were reportedly found inside his car, parked near his body. One read: “The job made me do it.”

In the last three years, the suit says, “no less than five correctional officers” from High Desert have committed suicide.

In his ruling Friday, Judge Troy Nunley found that Jones’ widow can continue pursuing First Amendment claims against the prison, though he dismissed several other claims.

Via Business Insider AU

Sixteen states have more people in prison cells than college dorms

Featured Image -- 7196

Originally posted on theGrio:

College or prison: which is more important? In 16 states in the land of the free, the answer is prison.

As was reported in MetricMaps, there are 16 states where there are more bodies filling up the prisons than there are students living in college dormitories.  What is truly fascinating, maybe even disturbing, is that nearly all of these 16 states are located in the South, the bottom portion of the country. You must view the map in order to appreciate the gravity of the situation.

Let than sink in for a minute.  More people behind bars than in the dorms. What could it be about the South that would explain this?  Could it be a tradition of slavery, racial violence and Jim Crow segregation, a legacy of criminalizing and dehumanizing people and of just not treating folks very well?

(MetricsMap) (MetricsMap)

Keep in mind that the United States has…

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We must not ignore the Ohio prisoners on hunger strike

Featured Image -- 7194

Originally posted on Fusion:

There’s a reason prisoners go on hunger strike to protest. It is as simple as it is grim: what else can they do? When most every form of life is controlled, confined, and denied, all that is left is bare life. It is a dreadful thing indeed, when the available sites of political resistance are reduced to a human’s own digestive tract. As such, every concerted hunger strike and every circumstance that prompts a hunger strike deserve our attention. Right now, that means we should focus on the Ohio State Penitentiary in Youngstown.

Inmates at the prison, the state’s highest security facility, have entered their second week of a hunger strike. Nine inmates have refused meals since March 19 in protest of restrictions placed on recreation and prison programs, including bans on religious gatherings for certain prisoners. According to prison spokespeople, the “range restriction” practice now in place…

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Via Equal Justice Initiative:


The State of Missouri executed Cecil Clayton last night without a hearing to determine his competency despite evidence that he suffered from severe mental illness, dementia, and intellectual disability related to his advanced age (he was 74) and the severe brain injury he sustained in a sawmill accident. The execution raises serious questions about the fairness and legitimacy of the death penalty and its imposition on mentally ill and disabled people.

Cecil Clayton was happily married, raising a family and working hard at his logging business when, in 1972, a large splinter of wood ricocheted off his saw blade and pierced his skull, destroying about 8 percent of his brain. Doctors had to remove a fifth of his frontal lobe, the part of the brain responsible for impulse control and problem solving. The image above is a brain scan showing in the lower right section that, as his attorney put it, he “had – literally – a hole in his head.”

After the accident, Mr. Clayton’s marriage fell apart, he began drinking, was unable to work, his reading and writing skills dropped to third- and fourth-grade levels, and he started suffering from violent outbursts, hallucinations, paranoia, and other symptoms of mental illness. Two years after the accident, he checked himself into a mental hospital for more than a year because he was afraid he couldn’t control his temper.

Mr. Clayton was sentenced to death for the killing of police officer Christopher Casetter in 1996. Medical experts who examined Mr. Clayton in prison found that at age 74, he couldn’t care for himself, tried but couldn’t follow simple instructions, and was intellectually disabled with an IQ of 71. In January, a forensic psychiatrist reported that Mr. Clayton could not explain “the current status of his case, what has been done on his behalf and what fate awaits him.”

The Eighth Amendment bars the death penalty for people who are intellectually disabled, and forbids the execution of someone whose mental illness or disability prevents him from understanding why he is being put to death. Inmates facing execution are entitled to a competency hearing where evidence of mental incapacity can be heard and assessed by a court.

But on Saturday, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled 4-3 to deny Mr. Clayton a mental competency hearing before his execution. The majority found the evidence of Mr. Clayton’s brain damage and testimony from three psychiatrists who examined him wasn’t enough to hold a hearing on his competency to be executed.

After considering his appeal last night for more than three hours past the scheduled execution time, the United States Supreme Court denied a stay, although four justices would have granted a stay.

Four votes are required for the Court to hear a case; five are required to stay an execution. Traditionally, when four justices want to hear a death penalty case, a justice will provide the fifth vote necessary to stay the execution so that the review can proceed. But this is at least the second time this year that the Court has abandoned its “rule of five” and allowed an execution to go forward despite four votes to hear the case.

Originally scheduled for 6 p.m., the execution began at 9:13 p.m. and Mr. Clayton was pronounced dead at 9:21 p.m. He is the second person to be put to death this year by the State of Missouri, which executed a record-setting ten people in 2014.

Support The Strike At St. Clair Correctional Facility In Alabama!

Via the Free Alabama Movement:

Today, 48 hours before a peaceful work stoppage starts on Sunday, March 1, at St Clair Correctional Facility (SCCF) in Springville, Ala.,Riot police have been sent to the prison to beat, torture, and intimidate the men incarcerated at SCCF, whose demands include an end to severe overcrowding and filthy living conditions. Here’s how you can support the strike and help stop the brutality against the prisoners

1. Call SCCF’s warden, Carter Davenport, at (205)467-6111. Tell him to stop the retaliation against the prisoners, who have a right to peacefully protest against their inhumane treatment.

2. Send an email to the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC). Go to the ADOC’s website: http://www.doc.state.al.us/ Click “contact us” and then click constituent services. Type your message, addressing it to Warden Carter Davenport. Before sending your message, please sign it. (You don’t have to give your address.)

3. Spread the word to others. We must flood the prison with phone calls and the ADOC with email! 

'Support The Strike At St. Clair Correctional FacilityIn Alabama!Today, 48 hours before a peaceful work stoppage starts on Sunday, March 1, at St Clair Correctional Facility (SCCF) in Springville, Ala.,Riot police have been sent to the prison to beat, torture, and intimidate the men incarcerated at SCCF, whose demands include an end to severe overcrowding and filthy living conditions. Here's how you can support the strike and help stop the brutality against the prisoners1. Call SCCF's warden, Carter Davenport, at(205)467-6111. Tell him to stop the retaliation against the prisoners, who have a right to peacefully protest against their inhumane treatment.2. Send an email to the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC). Go to the ADOC's website,http://www.doc.state.al.us.Clickcontact us and then click constituent services. Type your message, addressing it to Warden Carter Davenport. Before sending your message, please sign it. (You don't have to give your address.)3. Spread the word to others. We must flood the prison with phone calls and the ADOC with email! Alabama Department of Corrections doc.state.al.us'

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