Wednesday, July 27, 2011
New complaint alleges further abuse of Hawaii mainland prisoners
by Larry Geller
Courthouse News Service reported this morning that new complaints have been filed against the Hawaii Department of Public Safety and Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) alleging that abuses continue at Saguaro Prison in Arizona. The plaintiffs are seeking injunctive relief.
The men say CCA "deliberately destroyed and failed to preserve evidence of their wrongdoing, including videotapes ... intercepted mail, delayed mail, denied mail and interfered with phone calls to family and attorneys" and "deliberately falsified reports."
They say that Saguaro's Warden Todd Thomas participated in the abuses, Hawaii's on-site Public Safety monitor, John Ioane, did nothing to stop it.
According to the new complaint:
"Plaintiffs were stripped of nearly all of their clothing while being beaten, questioned, and humiliated.
"Plaintiffs were threatened with harm to themselves and their families, including through such statements as:
"a. 'We have your emergency contact information;'
"b. 'We know who your family is and where they live and we are going to harm them;'
"c. 'We are going to kill you;'
"d. 'We will continue to beat you and the only way to stop that is to commit suicide;'
"e. 'We will send you to hell;'
"f. 'We will stick something up your ass.'
"g. 'We will smash all the bones in your face.'"
To conceal the abuses, CCA violated its own policy by refusing to videotape the acts, the complaint states.
"Inmates were told that if they told anyone what had happened, they would be killed or beaten further.
[Courthouse News Service, Private Prison Beatings Continue, Men Say, 7/27/2011]
Although the report does not use the word, the alleged treatment of Hawaii prisoners probably amounts to torture under the international conventions that the US has signed onto and which then became law of the land.
Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie recently signed a new contract with CCA worth $45.5 million a year to keep prisoners at Saguaro and at the Red Rock Correctional Center until 2014.
Why do we send prisoners out of Hawai'i? It's simple really. The transplants that have moved here from the "continent" do everything they can to stop building a prison here or as they say "not in my back yard". The irony is that it really ISN'T their back yard. Given the economy, this whole issue could easily be turned into a win win situation. Let's see, 1) build a prison (jobs), 2) staff a prison (jobs), 3)store orders (jobs)...... It's not a matter of where to build, there's room on just about every island. Instead it's a matter of who really has a say in this State and it sure ain't the common folk.
As for CCA, hum.....double books, false reports, delayed reporting, the imaginary contract......definitely prison pirates. Oh and the "local" food....that's a slice of spam once a week.
Those of us raised to believe in aloha and most importantly OHANA, fail to see the reasoning behind this whole affair. I guess you got to be one of those "transplants" to understand. Whether one wants to admit it or not, society holds some of the blame in this mess.
You know, I imagine that if you are a prisoner, about the only thing you have of real value is your family. If you are ever going to get past the crime scene, seems like it would be individual choice spurred on by family support.
Taking prisoners to the mainland is guaranteed failure. Although of course, the whole system is basically based on revenge and retaliation, not on "corrections".