Tag Archive: prisoner abuse

“His eyes had a far-off stare: New details on inmate’s death

michael_kerr_webBy Billy Ball

From The Indy

Handcuffed in a cell for six days, covered in his own feces, without food and water: That is how Michael Anthony Kerr spent the final days of his life, according to a letter written by a former Alexander Correctional Institution inmate who shared a cell block in solitary confinement with the now-deceased prisoner.

This month, the INDY reported that Kerr, a 53-year-old Sampson County man with a long criminal record and a history of mental illness, died during the two-and-a-half-hour trip from Alexander Correctional in Taylorsville to Central Prison in Raleigh on March 12. Prior to his death, Kerr had spent more than a month in solitary confinement.

The letter, dated April 1, from an inmate, whose identity is being withheld by the INDY to protect his safety, offers new details on Kerr’s death. (The inmate’s letter has been edited by the INDY for clarity.)

The INDY wrote to the prisoner but received no response. The inmate, who has a lengthy criminal history as well as dozens of prison infractions for fighting and disobeying orders, had recently been transferred to another prison.

“When I came onto the block with Mr. Kerr, he was not eating,” the inmate wrote. “He was using the bathroom on himself, laying in feces. … Sergeant was saying, ‘Look at his pants halfway down. His butt is out. Look at his crusty feet.'” (more…)

Call-In Day Monday April 28th In Support of Menard Hunger Strikers

call-inFrom Anti-State St. Louis

On this upcoming Monday, April 28th we are asking and encouraging people to participate in a Call-In Day in support of the prisoners in the High Security Unit at Menard Correctional Center in Illinois who are facing retaliation for engaging in a hunger strike in January. Prisoners there have been beaten by guards and metal boxes have been placed over their windows—preventing future engagement with noise demonstrations outside the prison, but also preventing sunlight from coming into their cells and increasing the sensory deprivation they experience in solitary confinement.

We hope that any pressure on the administration can draw attention to the inhumane treatment prisoners are forced to endure and help prisoners get their demands met.

 We are trying to focus our calls between 10am and noon on Monday, April 28th: But calling at other times is also useful.

Warden Kim Butler  (New as of April 2014 and the first woman warden at Menard–a 20-year veteran of the Illinois Dept of Corrections).
618-826-5071 ext. 2225

Illinois Department of Corrections
Director Lisa Weitekamp
217-558-2200 x. 4166

CONTEXT FOR THE CALL-IN DAY (more…)

Retaliation Against Hunger Strikers at Menard–Windows Blocked, Strikers Beaten

349804_Menard Correctional CenterFrom Anti-State St. Louis

The following consists of excerpts, lightly edited by Alice Lynd, from letters by eight men in Administrative Detention at the Menard Correctional Center in Illinois, dated April 12-14, 2014.

Windows covered

On the morning of Saturday, April 12, 2014, maintenance workers drilled big metal boxes on the outside of our windows. We can no longer see out the windows and barely any sunlight comes in.

All of the windows in the High Security Unit are being covered (blocked) with a steel covering in retaliation of our hollering out to the protestors that marched outside the facility during our last hunger strike.

We were told, “How you like your view now?”

With summer approaching, not only will our air flow circulation be affected, but we . . . have steel doors. We will now be forced to live in what will amount to an extremely hot tomb. I’m thinking there has to be a whole lot of information available dealing with . . . the effects of no natural sunlight in an area of indeterminate placement. (more…)

Breaking: New Evidence of Neglect and Abuse in the Death of NC Prisoner Michael Kerr


michael_kerr_webThe following letter was part of a correspondence between a regular anarchist prison news bulletin and a prisoner who was eye (and ear) witness to the events leading up to the death of Michael Kerr. The prisoner’s name has been redacted to protect them from backlash from the administration. Kerr died in (perhaps, up to now) mysterious circumstances en route between Alexander CI and Central Prison. The NC DPS, after initially saying there would be no investigation, has now said there will be. A scanned image of the letter can be seen below.

This is XXXX XXXXXXX, and I am being housed at Alexander CI [in Taylorsville, NC]. I’m writing about the oppression, racism, and injustices that are going on here at Alexander. You’ve got officers and sergeants that will go out of their way to harass you or misuse their authority, that will instigate or provoke inmates to get them on the segregated unit where they will jump you. If you write the superintendent he will do nothing about the injustices that are going on here.

I have also written prison legal services (NCPLS) about a murder I witnessed. I hope you can let somebody know what happened to this mental health inmate, Michael Kerr. (more…)

A second resignation in inmate death case

anti_police_graffitiFrom Indy Week

Update: Wednesday morning at 10:24: The N.C. Department of Public Safety announced this morning that five people have been fired in addition to the two resignations discussed in this story, for a total of seven correctional employees.

Asecond prison worker at Alexander Correctional Institution in Taylorsville has resigned after an inmate died while being transported to Central Prison in Raleigh for medical and mental health care.

N.C. Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Pam Walker said Monday that the prison employee, whom she declined to name, was under department investigation after the death of Michael Anthony Kerr, a 54-year-old felon with a history of mental illness. The latest resignation comes roughly a week after another Alexander Correctional worker stepped down while under investigation. Walker said no criminal charges have been filed against those unidentified workers as of Monday.

Kerr was found unresponsive upon arrival at Central Prison on March 12 and resuscitation efforts failed, prison officials said. In the month prior to his death, Kerr had been held in solitary confinement in Alexander Correctional. According to his family, he was no longer taking his medicine and his mental health had been deteriorating rapidly inside the isolated cell.

“I think he died in that hole,” his wife, Katrenia Robinson of Fayetteville, told the INDY. Family members who viewed his body said Kerr appeared to have been beaten or starved. (more…)

Inmate dead on arrival at Central Prison in Raleigh

michael_kerr_webFrom Indy Week/

It had been weeks since Katrenia Robinson had last seen her husband, but she did not recognize the sunken, beaten man she saw on the funeral parlor table.

Michael Anthony Kerr’s broad, round frame had withered during his month-long stay in isolation at Alexander Correctional Institution in western North Carolina. His forehead was badly bruised and his lip was swollen.

That is not my husband, Robinson thought to herself.

“I think he died in that cell,” she said. “I think he died in that hole.”

As of Monday, the details on Kerr’s death are scant. He was officially pronounced dead March 11 at Central Prison in Raleigh. Inmate health records are confidential, but family members say they were told by prison staff that Kerr, a 54-year-old felon with a lengthy criminal record and a history of mental illness, died en route to the prison from Alexander Correctional to Central Prison. It’s unclear how he died, they say, or why he was not taken to a hospital.

When first contacted by the INDY Monday, N.C. Department of Public Safety [DPS] spokeswoman Pam Walker initially indicated that there were no plans for an independent investigation. But Walker reversed course hours later, saying that her agency is launching an “aggressive” internal investigation—almost three weeks after Kerr’s death—and will request a separate inquiry by the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation. (more…)

New York Times Covers Prison Rape In Alabama

Monica Washington gave birth while in the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women in Wetumpka, Ala. Her daughter, KaMyrrie, left, lives near Montgomery with a relative, Brenda Singleton, right.

Monica Washington gave birth while in the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women in Wetumpka, Ala. Her daughter, KaMyrrie, left, lives near Montgomery with a relative, Brenda Singleton, right.

From The New York Times

WETUMPKA, Ala. — For a female inmate, there are few places worse than the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women.

Corrections officers have raped, beaten and harassed women inside the aging prison here for at least 18 years, according to an unfolding Justice Department investigation. More than a third of the employees have had sex with prisoners, which is sometimes the only currency for basics like toilet paper and tampons.

But Tutwiler, whose conditions are so bad that the federal government says they are most likely unconstitutional, is only one in a series of troubled prisons in a state system that has the second-highest number of inmates per capita in the nation. (more…)

Alabama Women’s Prison Still Guilty of Sexual Abuse

tutwilerFrom The Associated Press

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama Department of Corrections officials and Gov. Robert Bentley’s office say they had been working to improve conditions at Julia Tutwiler Prison before a federal investigation found evidence of inmates being sexually abused by staff and fellow prisoners.

A report from the U.S. Department of Justice said instances of sexual abuse at the hands of prison staff and others have been underreported for nearly 20 years. The report also said jail staff condoned a strip show inside the facility and would deliberately watch inmates shower and use the restroom.

Federal officials visited the prison in April and recently sent their findings to Bentley in a 36-page letter. Investigators have said prisoners there fear for their safety. (more…)

Women in Solitary Confinement: Sent to Solitary for Reporting Sexual Assault

Women who report being sexually assaulted by prison staff face abuse and isolation.

Women who report being sexually assaulted by prison staff face abuse and isolation.

From Solitary Watch

By Vikki Law

It seems absurd that a person who has been sexually assaulted would be punished for speaking up, especially since prison policy prohibits sexual contact between staff and the people whom they guard. Yet, in many women’s prisons, those who report rape and other forms of sexual assault by prison personnel are often sent to solitary confinement.

After enduring over a year of repeated sexual assaults by a guard, Stacy Barker became one of 31 women incarcerated in Michigan who filed Nunn v MDOC, a 1996 lawsuit against the Department of Corrections for the widespread sexual abuse by prison guards. The following year, Barker was repeatedly sexually assaulted by an officer, who was also a defendant in Nunn. After a month of silence, she reported the assaults to a prison psychiatrist. Barker was immediately placed in segregation and then transferred to Huron Valley Center, which was then a psychiatric hospital for prisoners. There, she reported that hospital attendants verbally harassed her.

In October 1997, Barker attempted suicide. Barker did not receive counseling or psychiatric evaluation. Instead, three male guards stripped her naked, placed her in five-point restraints (a procedure in which a prisoner is placed on her back in a spread-eagle position with her hands, feet and chest secured by straps) on a bed with no blanket for nine hours. She was then placed on suicide watch. She reported that one of the staff who monitored her repeatedly told her he would “bring her down a few rungs.” (more…)

Jury finds detention officer guilty in Wake inmate’s death

murdererFrom WRAL

Raleigh, N.C. — A Wake County jury on Thursday found a detention officer guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the June death of an inmate who died from injuries he suffered during an altercation with the officer.

Security video at the Wake County Detention Center from June 4 showed Markeith Council, 27, slamming Shon Demetrius McClain to the ground twice during an altercation.

McClain died 13 days later from blunt force trauma to the head.

“A lot of the family members have not seen the video and still do not want to,” said Jesse Jeffers, an attorney for McClain’s family. “For those that did, it was some closure for them, and others hate that they had to see it as many times as they did.” (more…)