Staff Tobacco Use a Risk to Prisoners

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[Abuse] [Martin Correctional Institution] [Florida]

Staff Tobacco Use a Risk to Prisoners

RE: FDOC/Martin CI security, and other staff members blatant and rampant convenient disregard of Chapter 33-401.401 and Fla.Stat.944.115. Use of tobacco prohibition.

With respect, I'm serving a life sentence for armed robbery, currently housed at Martin CI, where prisoners, (myself included) are facing a very detrimental issue regarding continuous risk of contracting cancer and/or other tobacco related illnesses due mostly to constant exposure to second hand smoke from staff members openly smoking cigarettes here and basically at every Florida prison. FDOC staff members are smoking and/or chewing tobacco on prison grounds with only convenient or selective regards for health concerns and F.A.C. Chapter 33-401.401 and Fla Stat.944.115. Per policy and practice, prison staff are blessed with the legal but unrighteous double standard guarantee of unlimited administrative impunity. Their behavior is condoned and encouraged by administration, they are basically above the law. They smoke and/or chew tobacco as they please while prisoners are subject to confinement for use or possession of tobacco products.

I have grieved this issue to the highest level to no avail. See appeal grievances log #18-6-37611, originally informal grievance log #430-1807-0194 regarding Overseer Swain smoking on numerous occasions. See also appeal grievance log #18-643906 originally informal grievance log #430-1808-0351 regarding Colonel Lankford chewing and spitting tobacco juice in an E-4 dormitory garbage can on 8/27/18, approximately 7:45 PM. All grievances were biasly and conveniently denied. This policy and practice continues blatantly and rampantly as of current by almost every staff member from trainee to warden(s).

On 8, January, 2019 I was issued a low bunk pass by medical Dr. Y Resilard. I submitted this low bunk pass to C-dormitory Sgt. Gilbert, who said that she would call housing and have me reassigned to a low bunk. However, a few hours later, upon inquiring the status of the bunk change, Sgt. Gilbert snapped out loud stating, "I'm not helping any fucking body any more, someone stole my pack of cigarettes from my bag in the officer station." Thereby, punishing me for someone else's action by refusing to call housing to honor my medical issued low bunk pass because someone stole her cigarettes, which are prohibited by Chapter 33-401.401 and Fla. stat.944.115. On 1/19/19, as a result, I submitted a grievance on the issue of mentioning the cigarette incident. I'm still assigned a top bunk because of my grievance despite my having a medical issued low bunk pass.

Considering the fact that this is an ongoing issue, there is much more. Martin CI administration are going all out in war on contraband, tobacco. However, this crusade only applies to and against prisoners rather than all within the gates, including administrative higher-ups whom are fully culpable.

On December 22, 2018, for example, two prisoners were hauled off to confinement from CSB medical building lobby for being in possession of tobacco. This incident subsequently resulted in the termination of a medical staff member, a male nurse Mr. Duke. Fired in connection with introduction of contraband, tobacco, and probably prosecuted while prison staff are smoking and chewing tobacco in convenient violation of the very same introduction of contraband rule, Chapter 33-401.401. Thus exposing prisoners, whom are not allowed to smoke or chew, to constant to second hand smoke and serious risk of cancer.

In the administrative war on contraband, tobacco, the rules are subject to change on the fly, depends on which shift is working, the prison is operated this way one hour/day and that way the next. The only thing consistent here is inconsistency. Prisoners are being sent back to their housing units while in the middle of their CSB appoints, being constantly rescheduled. Property, library, chapel, housing, even legal mail gets no priority in the name of limiting prisoner movement in attempt to "stop the so-called passing of contraband," as claimed by Assistant Warden J. Holtz. All this while Martin CI staff members, Warden down to trainee, are the main ones smoking cigarettes and exposing prisoners to second hand smoke and risk of cancer. The rules here are simply being adhered to or applied conveniently only against prisoners.

Prison staff are highly addicted to tobacco products making this a very sensitively and dangerous issue for prisoners to grieve due to knowing staff full tendency to retaliate. Prisoners are in real fear of prison staff retaliation. Prisoners also have permanently instilled justified lack of faith in the grievance process. Prisoners have gotten so used to being ignored, rubber stamped, denied to the highest level. For example, S. Millikens in central office is 100% anti-prisoner, no matter how timely, factual and/or meritorious prisoner's claim(s), it is denied, rubber stamped. I am totally aware of the danger I face for writing this letter. I know what could happen to me. I don't smoke, but I will still end up cancerous, dead, whether I submit this or not. All prisoners may as well resort to smoking cigarette butts dropped by prison staff and catch cancer. We're all going to get cancer from prison staff second hand smoke anyway.

REMEDY: That you in higher office move to objectively enforce lawful adherence to mandated Chapter 33-401.401 and Fla.Stat.944.115 if prison cancer rate and money for cancer treatment of Florida prisoners is a concern, enforce the rules all the way, not just conveniently abasing prisoners, but against all within the gates.

A copy of the foregoing is being submitted to Martin CI mail personnel to be first class mailed to FDOC South Regional Director, FDOC Secretary and Fla Governor Office on 2/18/19.