CoreCivic Facility Staff Creating Chaos and Violent Situations, Censoring Mail and Repressing Religion

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[Censorship] [Religious Repression] [Bent County Correctional Facility] [Colorado]

CoreCivic Facility Staff Creating Chaos and Violent Situations, Censoring Mail and Repressing Religion

Hello, I’m a little behind in writing to you all, but I’ve been very busy here lately. This CoreCivic facility is a complete joke, and I’ve been helping several other prisoners file grievances to expose the many First Amendment violations occurring here. Both mail rights and religious rights – amongst a plethora of others – have been under attack by the administration, creating a wide range of negative effects, including anxiety and animosity between both prisoners and staff, fueling addictive habits and behaviors, and out-right violence.

In the month of April, both Muslim prisoners celebrating Ramadan and Jewish prisoners celebrating Passover were openly discriminated against by staff, some nights not being fed until the middle of the night, if at all. Non-Muslim/Jewish prisoners were fed at a normal time, and Easter was not interfered with at all. The entire facility (well, one “compound” at an all-level 3 facility) was locked down for the entire period, and when prisoners asked to speak with a shift commander or other ranking officers, they were told by low-level (and low-class, low-intellect, low-moral, etc…) C.O.’s that no one was available and that they were instructed to ignore Jews & Muslims. Some C.O.’s even yelled derogatory things at prisoners locked in their cells, further exacerbating an already chaotic situation. Many grievances were filed in order to document these abuses.

The broader First Amendment issue here involves mail. All mail here has been photocopied (poorly) for nearly 6 months, despite the regulation clearly stating the policy as only allowing photocopying all mail for 3 months. The Security Chief here – a ___ if I’ve ever seen one – insists he can do anything he wants. I can assure you, security is being undermined by this policy.

First of all, the levels of violation here has skyrocketed in the past 6 months, far beyond anything I’ve seen in my 8 years at this facility. Although this is technically a Level 3 (medium) prison, most of the population actually have Level 1 or 2 points, and are overridden to a Level 3 due to length of sentence or other factors. However, “security” has been tightened to a degree that is so restrictive many prisoners are simply “snapping”.

No one can get a photo or card, much less a handwritten letter, from family or friends. No meaningful programs are available. Units are difficult to schedule. Rec is apparently optional and random. And now these clowns are separating the facility into a “high” and a “low” side, but the short-staffing here, not to mention incompetence, is making everyone act out. Not good for “security”.

Oftentimes mail, when it is actually allowed (even the copies) is misdelivered to the wrong cells, or even the wrong units/pods. This creates an entirely different security problem, exposing the names and addresses of prisoners’ families to other prisoners, who aren’t always decent people. Not to mention the obvious exposure of sensitive information in letters or other mail (I’m sure some snitch would love to get a hold of my ULK!) All of these “security measures” are ostensibly intended as a response to the “spice epidemic” in prisons, however, nothing is being done about the minuscule percentage of prisoners receiving contraband. The mail room is more busy photocopying and searching for what might be the shadow of a nipple in a magazine or photo than they are looking for drugs. Isn’t the purpose of a mailroom to look for actual dangerous contraband? So why do they get a pass on not finding the actual dangerous contraband supposedly coming in?! BTW, nothing at all is being done about the cops who actually bring drugs in; don’t worry, they’re blocking all the mail…

These are just a couple of examples of the many issues here at BCCF. CoreCivic is a cancer that needs to be cut out of the tumor that is the mass incarceration system. Eben though Colorado DOC has a “Private Prison Monitoring Unit” (PPMU), the head of that unit at this facility recently got bought off (officially – he’s been carrying water for CoreCivic for years) and is now the Chief of Unit Management here at BCCF. No conflict of interest there, right?