Private Prison Retaliates for Exposing Civil Rights Violations
Having recently organized several concerns within the Idaho prisoner population at Eagle Pass correctional Facility on the Mexican border in Texas, I faced swift acts of retaliation by the Idaho Department of Corrections and employees of the GEO Group, Inc. On approximately February 22, 2019, I made multiple submissions of three formal complaints, with one accompanied by a large group of signatures representing a class action petition. This presentation was delivered to the Texas Commission on Jail Standards, the Inspector General of Texas, the Texas State Health Department, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, ACLU Texas, ACLU Idaho, and Idaho media. Additional resources were expected to be added to this mailing list pending initial response.
The retaliation took form through the modifying of a pre-existing disciplinary offense from November 11, 2018. In accordance with the EPCF Inmate Handbook, the violation was initially served as creating a disturbance 23.0, a minimum offense. This disciplinary charge wasn't written specific to IDOC policy and failed to meet the appellate process time lines and federal guidelines for Disciplinary Due Process Procedure. It's processing has also violated IDOC Policy 318.02.01.001 (Disciplinary Procedures for Inmates), Sections 18 (Transfers), 26 (Time Limits for Formal Sanctions), 30 (Appeals: Method of Administrative Review), and 33 (Audits and Data Analysis).
This disciplinary offense that has been modified is central to a complaint presented following the second group disturbance in November, which involved approximately twenty prisoners. Other prisoners involved were charged with the same offense listed above, as well as additional offenses of greater severity. These offenses were also not processed according to IDOC Policy 3/8. While sanctions were served in full at the time, they were disproportionate to the offenses as classified by the EPCF Inmate Handbook and were also in excess of IDOC Policy 3/8. This and the massive failure to provide disciplinary due process to the entire group of prisoners form the body of this complaint.
In addition to failing to meet the standards set by IDOC Policy 3/8, there is a clear violation of Texas Minimum jail Standards, Section 283.2, regarding facility rules and regulations. Prior to them being provided to and signed for by prisoners, there was a failure to replace the current disciplinary policy in the EPCF Inmate Handbook with IDOC Policy 3/8 when it was presented for approval by the TCJS. Per this mandate of Texas jurisdiction, regardless of the contract IDOC signed with the GEO Group, Inc, the rules provided to and signed for by the prisoners are the ones the facility must adhere to.
By either standard of the rules, those that were presented to us prisoners or the ones that we were expected to have innate knowledge of, disciplinary due process failed and the sanctions given were disproportionate to the rule violations. They also exceeded maximum recommendations as outlined by IDOC policy 3/8, Section 26.
Once my sanctions were completed and while seeking intervention for daily human rights violations, I returned to general population, my job, and my normal routine for over two months without incident.
It is of note that there are still offenders in segregation in Texas for offenses more severe than mine that took place during this incident. Also worth nothing, while approximately two dozen offenders received violations with a severity equal to or greater than mine within a one-week period, I am the only inmate returned to Idaho with enough classification points to be placed in maximum security facility for five years. This despite a previously clean history without disciplinary or being labeled as Security Threat Group.
What this does follow is two months of sanctions completed, three months of waiting for appeals to process and one week of corrective actions following the first class action petition I initiated for proper food service sanitation.
It is well known I have been actively pursuing litigation. I have also recently been quoted airing the group concerns for my fellow prisoners through Idaho media. Broadcasting the opinion that IDOC fails to recognize viable issues without public interest being involved is fairly common for me.
It is because of this I now face additional sanctions – even more disproportionate to the rule violation – while my first appeal, from months ago, has yet to be processed and returned (IDOC prisoners in Texas get two appeals per IDOC agreement number A18-002, Section 5.5).
There are many of us involved in the mechanical aspects of my formal complaints. Of those, an equal number are eligible for my current situation. However, as I am alone in being the sole organizer presenter of our group issues. I am alone in being removed from Texas to face a more immediate and unnecessary form of discipline. One that prevents me from continuing to organize the class action petitions I initiated and have been actively representing to many different interests.
Letters IDOC refuses to send from May 5, 2019 outgoing mailIdaho Statesman
Critical Resistance Portland
Senator Dan G. Johnson - ID
U.S. DOJ, Civil Rights Division
NAMI Treasure Valley
Senator Maryanne Jordan – ID
IDOC Deputy Chief Blades
Senator Cherie Buckner-Webb – ID
IDOC Director Tewalt
Senator C. Scott Grow – ID
Senator Mary Souza ID
Idaho Press Tribune ID
Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin
Senator Chuck Winder – ID
Senator Steve Vick – ID
Idaho State Journal
Senator Michelle Stennett – ID
Prison Activist Resource Center
Gov. Brad Little
Senator Mark Nye – ID
We Demand Our Grievances are Addressed!