Tag Archive: prisoner abuse

Wake prosecutor plays graphic video of fatal beating during jail guard’s trial

From News and Observer

RALEIGH — December 10th, 2013 – Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby played and then re-played sections of a 13-second video in Superior Court that showed detention officer Markeith Council push, punch, elbow and twice slam an inmate head first on a concrete floor in a jail day room.

The 6-foot, nearly 300-pound jailer then handcuffed the limp, 5-foot 7-inch, 119-pound inmate and radioed for help.

The inmate, Shon Demetrius McClain, 40, died after the June 4 altercation, which took place a week after he had been booked into the Wake County jail on misdemeanor charges. On Aug. 6, Council was charged with voluntary manslaughter. (more…)

Suit: Mentally ill NC inmate often pepper sprayed

Questions have been raised about the treatment of inmates in Unit One, a special 192-bed section at Central Prison known as "The Hole."

Questions have been raised about the treatment of inmates in Unit One, a special 192-bed section at Central Prison known as “The Hole.”

by Michael Biesecker/ from WNCN

Lawyers for an inmate who suffers from a serious mental illness say he was abused at North Carolina’s Central Prison by guards who repeatedly doused him with pepper spray while he was locked in a tiny cell.

Diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and a victim of childhood sexual abuse, inmate Jerry C. Williams has spent much of his 57 years in state psychiatric hospitals and prisons. He was first arrested at age 10 for shoplifting and began hearing voices in his head in his late teens, according to his prison mental health evaluation.

He was most recently sentenced in 2002 by a judge in his native Wayne County to more than 28 years in prison for being a habitual felon, following a lengthy record of convictions for trespassing, assault and burglary. He has an IQ of 76 that provides him with “borderline Intellectual functioning,” according to prison records. (more…)

Judge to hear arguments in Central Prison lawsuit

Central_Prison315_280By EMERY P. DALESIO, Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. — A federal judge was scheduled to hear arguments Thursday about dismissing a lawsuit that accuses guards at North Carolina’s maximum security prison of sadistically beating inmates, resulting in broken bones and wheelchair confinement.

U.S. District Judge Terrence Boyle planned to consider whether there is enough evidence already presented in court documents to go ahead with the lawsuit on behalf of eight inmates at Central Prison in Raleigh.

The inmates accuse 19 correctional officers of taking handcuffed and shackled inmates from solitary confinement cells where they were placed for disciplinary reasons to blind spots out of view of security cameras, then severely beating them. Former prison administrators Gerald Branker and Kenneth Lassister are accused in the lawsuit of failing in their duties for not developing policies on investigating inmate abuse complaints and to preserve video tapes that might contain evidence from being erased.

“For years, the inmates of Unit One have pursued every avenue available to them to put an end to the violence that is routinely inflicted upon them. They have filed grievances, engaged in letter writing campaigns to public officials, gone on hunger strikes, and exhausted all of the administrative remedies available to them. The violence has not stopped,” wrote Elizabeth Simpson, an attorney for North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services representing the inmates. (more…)

US judge approves force-feeding California inmates

In this Aug. 17, 2011 file photo, a pair of inmates are seen in their cell in the Secure Housing Unit at the Pelican Bay State Prison near Crescent City, Calif. California prison officials with the backing of a federal health care receiver are seeking court permission to force-feed inmates who have been participating in a hunger strike that is entering its seventh week.

In this Aug. 17, 2011 file photo, a pair of inmates are seen in their cell in the Secure Housing Unit at the Pelican Bay State Prison near Crescent City, Calif. California prison officials with the backing of a federal health care receiver are seeking court permission to force-feed inmates who have been participating in a hunger strike that is entering its seventh week.

From The Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A federal judge approved a request from California and federal officials on Monday to force-feed inmates if necessary as a statewide prison hunger strike entered its seventh week.

Officials say they fear for the welfare of nearly 70 inmates who have refused all prison-issued meals since the strike began July 8 over the holding of gang leaders and other violent inmates in solitary confinement that can last for decades.

They are among nearly 130 inmates in six prisons who were refusing meals. When the strike began it included nearly 30,000 of the 133,000 inmates in California prisons.

Prison policy is to let inmates starve to death if they have signed legally binding do-not-resuscitate (DNR) requests. But state corrections officials and a federal receiver who controls inmate medical care received blanket authority from U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson of San Francisco to feed inmates who may be in failing health. The order includes those who recently signed requests that they not be revived. (more…)

Severe Physical and Sexual Abuse by Guards at Three Alabama Prisons

adocFrom Equal Justice Initiative

EJI has filed a complaint that documents severe physical and sexual abuse and violence perpetrated by several correctional officers and officials in three Alabama prisons for men. EJI has made allegations to the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) of widespread physical abuse and misconduct at the Elmore Correctional Facility in Elmore, Alabama. EJI reports that in the last six months there have been nearly a dozen instances where prisoners at Elmore have been handcuffed, stripped naked, and then beaten by several guards. EJI also has uncovered evidence that male officers sexually abused male prisoners at Donaldson Correctional Facility in Bessemer, Alabama, and Bibb Correctional Facility in Brent, Alabama. EJI is now asking ADOC to investigate and protect prisoners from physical and sexual violence by prison employees at these facilities.

At Elmore Correctional Facility, EJI reports that a group of officers have been taking inmates into isolated areas of the prison where they are handcuffed and stripped naked and then severely beaten. Several inmates have been so severely beaten that they have required hospitalization and suffered permanent injuries. EJI’s complaint implicates the warden and other high-ranking prison officials in some of the beatings and misconduct. A complaint about problems at Elmore has been made with ADOC officials and law enforcement agencies.

At Donaldson and Bibb correctional facilities, EJI reports that male correctional officers forced young male inmates to perform sex acts and threatened to file disciplinary charges against them if they refused or reported the abuse. In several cases, incarcerated prisoners were forced to perform oral sex and were subjected to other forms of sexual abuse by correctional staff. Biological evidence supporting the sexual assault allegations has been turned over to ADOC authorities. (more…)

NC prison warden promoted after alleged beatings

kenneth-e-lassiterFrom Corporate Media

RALEIGH, N.C. – The warden of North Carolina’s Central Prison has been promoted and given a 15 percent raise, less than two weeks after reports about a lawsuit alleging he failed to stop systematic beatings of handcuffed and shackled inmates held in solitary confinement at the Raleigh facility.

The North Carolina Department of Public Safety confirmed Thursday that Central Prison administrator Kenneth Lassiter was named May 23 as director of 12 prisons in the state’s central region. There was no public announcement of Lassiter’s promotion, which takes effect Saturday.

The Associated Press reported May 10 that a federal complaint filed by North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services on behalf of eight inmates alleges they were beaten while prisoners in Unit One, a cell block known as “The Hole” where inmates are kept in solitary confinement for disciplinary reasons. The lawsuit says correction officers carried out the beatings in a secluded area of holding cells inmates call “The Desert” because the area is not covered by video cameras.

Lassiter is one of 23 current or former prison employees named as defendants in the lawsuit. (more…)

Warden in Prisoner Hot Sauce Abuse Relieved of Duties

(from NBC-17, also click here to view a clip of the 11pm nightly news, which features the prison books collective)

The warden at a North Carolina prison where inmates said they were forced to rub hot sauce on their genitals has been relieved of duty pending the outcome of an investigation.

Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Pamela Walker said Tuesday that Sampson Correctional Institution administrator Lafayette Hall would be assigned to other duties while the State Bureau of Investigation probes what happened at the Clinton facility. A second employee also has been reassigned.

Six inmates allege correctional officers forced them to perform numerous humiliating acts, including gulping hot sauce and slathering it on themselves, resulting in painful blisters. The male inmates also reported being forced to simulate sex acts for the entertainment of the guards, as well as to capture and kiss wild snakes while working on a road crew.

Sampson CI Prisoners Sue Facility for Racist and Sexual Assaults

The following is a from a letter that almost a dozen prisoners at Sampson CI in Clinton, NC have drafted and asked outside groups to help distribute. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit, Parker vs. Sampson CI, are six prisoners at the facility hoping to change the work conditions and punish the guards responsible.

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing you in regards of the mistreatment of racial, sexual, and demoralizing acts that are being forced upon us by the Correctional Staff at Sampson Correctional Institution overseeing Road Squad duties… (more…)

‘Frequent and severe’ sexual violence alleged at women’s prison in Alabama

By Elizabeth Chuck, msnbc.com

Sexual misconduct by male correctional staff toward inmates at Alabama’s Tutwiler Prison for Women is “commonplace” and has resulted in numerous women becoming pregnant while incarcerated, a complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Justice alleges.

Equal Justice Initiative, a private nonprofit organization, filed the complaint about the all-female prison in Wetumpka, Ala., Tuesday after receiving dozens of claims of sexual misconduct involving male staff between 2004 and 2011.

In interviews with more than 50 women incarcerated at the prison, EJI said it discovered “frequent and severe officer-on-inmate sexual violence,” ranging from women being coerced into performing sexual favors in exchange for contraband goods to rape by a male correctional staff member while another male officer served as a lookout. (more…)