Last week I watched an independent lens documentary about corruption in West Virginia’s Health Dep’t and in the E.P.A. which permitted toxic water to be consumed. The documentary revealed that a Dr. Gupta went form a strong advocate for cleaning up the water to an opologist for the government after he was appointed head of W.V.’s Dept of Health. As stunning as the doctor’s moral flip was, it was shown to be common.
The documentary revealed that it’s the likes of Dr. Gupta who allowed toxic water to poison people in Flint, Milwaukee and many other cities and towns across America. The rare few within the E.P.A. ans states Dep’t of Health who spoke against the lead-poisoned flow were ostracized by co-worker and nit-picked into retiring, demoted or fired by supervisors.
Similar corruption occurs within prison bureaucracies as revealed in cases such as Fairley V. Andrews 578 F.3d 518,525 (7th cir.2009) where two cook county jailers were harassed in near-fatal manners because they were willing to testify against other guards in prisoner’s lawsuit. Being “simply” ostracized by fellow guards in prison can get a whistle blowing guard killed, for example by prisoner doing business with corrupt guards or during a riot when other guards ignore prisoners who attack the whistleblower.
You should now understand why it’s rare to hear about staff verifying prisoner’s claim of abuse and why it’s so common to hear prisoncrats denying abuse, which leads to abuse flourishing (See ,e.g. http://wisconsinwatch.org/series/waupon-allegations/- notice how despite photos of severe injuries and numerous reports of similar abuse, Warden William Pollard angrily denied abuse occurred?)
It thus falls on prisoners to blow the whistle on abuses within prison…even though prisoners are in the frailest position when it comes to retaliation for whistle blowing. Prisoners depend on the staff they are “ snitching” on to be fed, keep safe from other prisoners and staff, receive emergency medical care, be allowed visits with loved ones… and have their mail to/from judges delivered. It’s profoundly easy for staff to put their fingers in a prisoner’s whistle to stop it from blowing or to discourage future blowing.
Would you want to risk visit with your children or being denied your asthma inhaler because you wrote a complaint about guards denying food to a mentally ill and deaf prisoner? (This has been happening recently to a man across the hall from me.)
I’ve been denied all of those basic needs to deter me from filing complaints and lawsuit about abuse.
For one example of such retaliation, in Case N. 18-cv-2027 filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin (See www.wied.uscourts.gov), Lindell V. Meli, a case that’s pending you can see irrefutable documentary evidence that I was maliciously punished based on my phoned-in prison rape elimination act (P.R.E.A) complaint about a guard named Schouten. To justify punishing me for supposedly lying W.C.I.S Security Director- the third highest ranking prisoncrat at the institution under the warden and deputy warden-Anthony Meli, falsely claimed that my PREA complaint was made against Cpt. Olson bought me out of my cell to molest me ( actually I charged that had been claiming prisoner’s “resisted” then beat them while they were in handcuffs and shacks followed by “ staff-assisted” strip searches where staff pointed a tazer at prisoners while another guard cut the victim’s clothes off, spread his butt and fondled his testicles and penis)
Not only did Meli lie about what I said in my PREA complaint but he denied my request to have my PREA complaint considered at the disciplinary hearing.
Meli actions caused me to be kept in solitary confine.
F.N 1 You can view documents in this case using www.paser.gov my amended Complaint (Pocket #26.attachment1) clearly lays out who did what and why it was wrong.
F.N.2 Using pacer.gov look at Pocket# 31, Exhibits 15-18 which verify what I say happened.
Another prisoner sued Meli due to Meli charging that prisoner too with lying in a PREA complaint in E.D.Wis Case No. 15-cv-1020 Hayes V. Meli. That prisoner Zachary Hayes settled for $14,000.
Meli didn’t stop retaliating In E.D Wis Case No. 17-CV-1353, Howard V. Meli he was sued for transferring a prisoner who was helping other prisoners file lawsuits.
It’s not always easy to show that prisoncrat’s actions were meant to silence critic or litigation. They’re not stupid; they learn.
Sometimes prisoner’s sole evidence of retaliation is their own testimony and maybe the testimony of other prisoners who witnessed staff makes rude comments about a prisoner’s complaint/suits before mistreating them. This type of case is weaker as the popular prejudice about prisoners is that they are liars while prison staff is presumed saints.
It’s such an iffier position that I’m in for another retaliation suit E.D.Wis Case No. 19-cv-255 Lindell V. Pollard- Yes, the same Pollard mentioned earlier. This case concerns Capt. Jay Vanlanen at Green Bay Correctional Institution ( GBCI) ordering subordinates to do a degrading strip search on me and then put me in a cell that had feces smeared on its door and deny me cleaning supplies- they kept me in that cell for almost two months, until they finally shipped me out of the prison to end my article-writing about conditions there and stop me from helping other prisoners sue them.
The reason that they stripped me and put me in the shitty cell was because I wrote complaints for a practically illiterate and seriously mentally ill prisoner whom staff had left in suicide watch for over 40 days with nothing in his cell but a 3’x2’ slab of vulcanized rubber to sleep on and a nylon smock for clothing.
What Cpt. Vanlanen did was discusting and infuriates me, but it was common multiple prisoners had complained to Pollard and other member of G.B.C.I.’s administration to no avail emboldening Cpt. Vanlanen to do what he did to me, which I’m suing those supervisors for in Lindell V. Pollard, mentioned earlier.
System protects them. The first amendment is meant to check such corruption. But the First Amendment only works if judges enforce it.
Within prisons bureaucratic corruption is especially resilient because:
· courts defer to priosncrats “expertise” despite
F.N.4 I’m suing about that retaliatory transfer in E.D. Wis. Case No. 19-cv-702, Lindell V. Kind
F.N.5 In Koutnik V. Brown 456 F.3d777,781-84 (7th cir 2006) the federal appeals court that sits over WI,IL& IN found that it was obliged to defer to a gang investigator’s opinion that a WI prisoner’s drawing promoted Whiete Supremacy. The drawing prisoncrat’s general incompetence, lack of higher education and demonstrated incompetence at rehabilitating their captives.
· Prisoncrats are allowed to deny journalists visits with those in solitary confinement and otherwise cover up what goes on.
· Rather than independent investigators, prisoncrats investigate complaints about other prisoncrat’s abuse.
· Most prisoners are barely literate and have mental/emotional problems that disable them from defending themselves.
· Supervisors don’t supervise subordinates but turn blind eyes on abuses of prisoners as exemplified in my case, Lindell V. Pollard.
Until Progressive legislators enact laws addressing these handholds for corruption, it falls on jailhouse lawyers to protect other prisoner’s right to speak and sue about prison conditions.
Was of a swastika over the state of Wisconsin under the phrase “Keeping Kids in Kages” and above the words “ Wisconsin Department of Corruption” it was sent to a progressive publisher. Clearly Mr. Koutnik wasn’t promoting racism but accusing the WI D.O.C. of it but the court upheld punishing Mr.Koutnik and not minding the letter.
F.N.6 See Hammer V. Ashcroft 570F.3d798,801-05(7th ir.2009 en banc upholding denying journalist’s visits with prisoner in segregation)
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