Persynal Hunger Strike in Arizona Against Retaliation and Abuse
I am writing to inform you that I am commencing a hunger strike on 2017 September 9, to continue until the below issues are resolved. These issues are regarding equal treatment, retaliation, legal rights, First Amendment rights, staff misconduct and conditions of confinement. The Warden is Kevin Curran. The Deputy Warden is Ruben Montano. The Chief of Security is Rodrick Williams, a captain. I am in Kasson Unit. Mental Health Dr. Tracy Rogers is advocating for me. She is well informed. She's trying to help my situation, but is up against security and administration.
List of Hunger Strike Resolutions:
- Allow me to resume taking my paralegal correspondence course
- Rescind the ban on all my incoming magazines and books
- Give me my TV from property office
- Give me my prescription eyeglasses from property
- Allow me to receive sunglasses in accordance with my Special Needs Order
- Remove me from Protective Custody (PC) status
- Provide me unfettered access to grievance forms
- Provide me with regularly scheduled legal calls to my attorneys
- Conduct legal box exchanges in accordance with policy
- Allow me to do book exchanges with my personal books in property
1. Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC) allowed me to begin the course, via Blackstone Career Institution. I aced the first exam. My tuition sponsor (my mom) and I entered into a $800 enrollment agreement, only to be told by ADC I could not continue the course because maximum custody prisoners cannot take correspondence courses. I am no longer a max custody inmate; I've lowered my score. I am now close custody, but ADC still won't allow me to resume the course. This course will help me. It will improve my life, and my chances at staying out of prison upon release. I guess the prison doesn't want that.
2. In Jan 2017 the mail room began enforcing an illegal ban on all my incoming books and magazines because I would regularly appeal their censorship of publications. Presently, I subscribe to more than 20 magazines and newsletters. ADC returns all to sender without giving me a chance to appeal. The same is done with books.
3. I am serving over 3 years of disciplinary Loss of Privilege (LOP) sanctions, including loss of appliances. ADC is withholding my TV in property. But I am the only one in Kasson Unit Wing One being subject to loss of appliances. Everyone else on LOP is allowed to retain their TV and appliances. They single me out because I file so many grievances and some civil rights lawsuits, which other prisoners are scared to do.
4. ADC said my mom could send in prescription eyeglasses, then withheld them upon arrival. They've been held in property since May 2017 and are medically necessary. They comply with all ADC policies.
5. In retaliation for my grievances on mail room, mail room staff keep returning to sender my medical sunglasses under false pretexts. I have a medical Special Needs Order for them. And I've previously had sunglasses here at Browning Unit, both max custody units.
6. ADC placed me under protective custody without notifying me, violating due process. They put me in PC without cause, as an insult to my integrity and pride. There is no need or justification to put/keep me under PC status.
7. Prison staff refuse to provide me with the grievance forms I require to proceed in the grievance process, in violation of their own policy (D.O.802) and my First amendment right to redress of grievances. My COIII (counselor), Mr. A. Oswald, refuses to provide me with the forms, as do all staff, who tell me they've been ordered not to give them to me.
8. My C.O.III, who's backed by ADC administration on this, refuses to provide me with any legal calls to my two criminal attorneys and my civil rights counsel, all of whom are attorneys-of-regard. This violates my constitutional rights to speak with and consult with my lawyers, and is causing irreparable damage to my cases.
9. Kasson property officer Ms. T. Williams repeatedly violates policy (D.O. 909) by not allowing me to do legal box exchanges. Property is to conduct exchanges within 3 days of the request. I submited weekly, for the past 4 months and she allowed only 1 exchange. Because I'm only permitted to possess 4 of my 16 legal boxes in my cell, this violation prohibits me from accessing vital legal documents and thus hinders my ability to adequately litigate my cases. I've filed many grievances on Williams, and this is her retaliation.
10. I have several personal books in property. Williams's superiors at Central Office have ordered her to allow me to do book exchanges, but she refuses to let me. This has been going on for one year, since my 7 September 2016 arrival to Kasson. I simply wish to read my books.