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    Thursday, March 12, 2009

    Vastly Undertrained and Abusive Cook County Correctional Officers - Need Federal Oversight and Indictments to Issue

    The United States Attorney executed a 17 month investigation of Cook County Department of Corrections for Civil Rights Violations and concluded it is a terribly deficient institution where medical care is denied resulting in death, hygiene is non-existent, illegal gratuitous violence is the norm, (against inmates by officers and gang control pitting inmate against inmate) and there is a culture of corruption. Unfortunately the officers are improperly screened so that many bullies and sociopaths get hired and abuse inmates as well as violate law.

    The press release from July 2007 announcing that the U.S. Attorney had finished their investigation of civil rights violations at CCDOC:

    The 98 page letter to the Cook County Commissioners which describes in detail the torture, medical neglect, excessive force, and unsanitary conditions including amputation of an inmates leg because the CCDOC staff withheld antibiotics when his leg was in a cast until pus was oozing from the cast and murder of an inmates by officers who knocked out his teeth, bashed in his head resulting in a skull fracture, and then left him to die without medical care locked in a cell, is contained in the following link:

    Why are there no indictments? What is the use of an investigation without teeth? Where are the outraged civil rights activists? Where is the public outrage on this issue? How can we ignore murder of inmates by guards, medical neglect requiring amputations, illegal forced druggings of inmates to shut them up, and this culture of neglect, abuse, and corruption?

    Where are the hearings before the Cook County Board of Commissioners, the Illinois Reform Committee, the Illinois Senate and House Judiciary Committees, and the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representative's Judiciary Committees? Where is the outrage from Senators Durbin (Chairman of Senate Judiciary Committee), Obama, and McCain? This is an American Abu Ghraib. Where is the press?

    Most of the officers are babies with no more than a high school education and two months of training at the Sheriff's academy at Moraine Valley Community College. That is barely enough to learn how to say "yes sir" to a supervisor, handcuff someone, how to handle a gun, and the bare basics of law, psychology, and self defense. They make up for this by being trained on the job to be loud foul-mouthed and attempt intimidation. They are also trained to act and not think and use pain procedures, mace, etc whenever possible to abuse inmates.

    They have jobs at CCDOC because they are unable to obtain jobs anywhere else. They had NO skills when they graduated from High School because our education system stinks and our high school education is no better than grammar school education in other civilized countries. They work there because they obtained their job through connections or because that's one of the only things they can do that requires so little additional education. They want, immediately after high school good money, a pension, early retirement, and not much effort. They may feel pressured to get a job at the expense of education and long term goals because of acute financial needs.

    They need our sympathy, but also they need oversight, better screening, and better training. You can't learn to be a correctional officer able to handle riots, psychotic inmates, medical emergencies, and irrational agression, essentially being a psychologist, a paramedic, a self-defense and control expert, and a paralegal in two months with only a high school degree. It is unfair to expect this of the officers and stupid to let them believe they have any degree of qualification to do so.

    Society needs to provide treatment for mental illness, drug and alcohol addiction, which is presently essentially non-available to the Medicaid population in Illinois. It would be far less costly to spend $5,000 to $10,000 per person per year on this treatment than to incarcerate these people at the cost of $40,000 + cost of welfare for their families and cost of lost taxes because they don't work, along with the cost of their arrest and court case (I am estimating about $100,000 per year per inmate). I estimate that for each individual that is incarcerated due to non-violent crimes of theft or robbery to support a habit or when they were shoplifting or harassing someone to obtain food when they were mentally ill it would cost no more than about $200,000 for 20 years of treatment, but would cost 2 million in court costs, arrest costs, incarceration costs, welfare for their families, and lost tax revenues over the same 20 years. Our society is penny wise and pound foolish with its policy about being "tough on crime" meaning excessive incarceration from long sentences and total lack of rehabilitation, mental health treatment, or drug addiction and alcoholism treatment before, during, or after incarceration. We incarcerate 40,000 in Illinois prisons and probably an equal number in jails. Even if we are conservative and say only half would not be incarcerated if proper mental health care and drug addiction and alcoholism treatment was provided we could save about 1.8 billion per year in Illinois in court costs, policing costs, jail and prison costs and cost of crime in Illinois.

    I don't think the public or government understands this is a tremendously large part of the problem with our economy right now. The costs of incarcerating more than 40 X more persons per capita than any other civilized country is staggering. Not just direct costs, but costs of welfare for their children and families, lost income taxes, and long term costs for pensions for officers and correctional/court staff. 

    President Obama should immediately pardon all non-violent non-dealer drug offenders, provide clemency to those that are mentally ill and committed non-violent crimes, and force the development of a plan for mental health, drug addiction and alcoholism treatment and SUPERVISION of those charged or convicted of such crimes. Inmates could be released in waves in a staged manner as such supersivion and medical care are instituted. Do you realize that if Illinois was England we would have only 1,000 persons in prison! (calculated from the per capita rate of incarceration) We must be doing something wrong!

    The correctonal officers are essentially told they have the power and knowledge to act like all of the trained professionals mentioned above. In this case a little knowledge is worse than none at all because these puffed up, arrogant officers THINK they know what they are doing! The situation is extremely dangerous for both the officers and the inmates.

    The "Stanford Prison Experiment" of the early 1970s proved that without extreme oversight a prison degenerates into a situation like in the book "the Lord of the Flies" - total anarchy and lawless brutality.

    Laws need to be changed and outside citizens need to provide oversight and continuing education. Extreme oversight needs to be instituted with extreme transparency. The fox cannot watch the hen house. It will take years to transition to a professional well-trained set of officers from the present vastly undertrained, horrendously incompetent, and pitifully abusive force that is now in place. Very few young new officers can avoid becoming callous, brutal, and aggressive numskulls under the pressure of their brain-washed and warped senior colleagues.

    I would estimate 5 % of the officers, 25 % of the sergeants, and 50 % of the higher ranking officers and officials at the CCDOC are maliciouis, arrogant, bullies, sociopathic, and dangerous criminals who should be removed from the ranks.

    The situation is even more dangerous because medical staff at intake (nurses) have ammonia inhalant capsules and illegally use them on inmates to "shock" them out of "faking" their medical problems. Ammonia is a toxic gas and these capsules used 100 yrs ago as smelling salts by ladies with tight girdles who had a tendency to faint are now abused by correctional staff. In Florida a "nurse" and officers shoved ammonia capsules at a teen in a boot camp who was forced as punishment to run around a track. The teen DIED because of laryngospasm caused by the ammonia. This was murder and the Gov. of Florida then CLOSED all the teen boot camps. The nurse and officers stood trial for MURDER, but got off free - a verdict many of us disagree with as this is at least negligent manslaughter.

    I was attacked by a nurse at CCDOC at intake with an ammonia capsule. I have chemically induced asthma from an environmental accident where I was overcome by gasoline fumes and this has sensitized my lungs. I fought off the toxic ammonia being forced before my face. The physician's assistant had listened to my lungs and proclaimed I was faking an asthma attack because he didn't hear wheezes. Unfortunately he was incompetent. I have "silent chest" type severe asthma where I don't wheeze but my lungs slowly collapse and nerve injury that weakens my muscles of expiration due to a spinal cord injury. This makes me NOT wheeze during asthma attacks, especially when I already have an element of laryngospasm. Fortunately the amount of exposure to the ammonia I received was small and I only went unconscious for a short period and turned blue. Sgt. Queen, who recognized I was having an asthma attack and went back to the nurse and told her I was turning blue. The medical staff just laughed as I was waking up and has perpetuated the false rumors that I fake my medical disorders. Ammonia capsules should be BANNED at CCDOC and these medical staff should be severely disciplined. They covered their misconduct by failing to document this in my medical record.

    As I have posted on this site, I have been wrongfully incarcerated at CCDOC several times, an officer attacked me (Sgt. Anthony Salemi), falsified his records, and claimed I attacked him. I was convicted wrongfully and imprisoned when the court (Dishonorable Judge Kazmierski) and Nifong-like prosecutors (Andrew Dalkin and John Maher) gave false information to the jury and Sgt. Salemi committed perjury. The judge interferred with or forbid my attorney from giving evidence that proved my innocence. I have requested meetings with SA Richard Divine and now Anita Alvarez and Sheriff Sheahan and now Dart to provide them evidence of my innocence, my wrongful conviction and the perjury and official misconduct of their staff. So far they have REFUSED to meet with me. SOOO much for justice!

    Federal Judge David Coar recently ruled that the Illinois Appellate Court has WAIVED the State's right to hear my appeal first and force me to exhaust state remedies (appeals) before coming to the federal court with a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus (request to overturn conviction due to actual innocence and unfair trial that violated due process as guaranteed by the Bill of Rights - including right to present evidence and defend oneself.

    I have given Judge Coar the evidence of my innocence not allowed at trial. I expect within the next few months for him to overturn the conviction. Then I am hopeful Sgt. Salemi will be arrested for falsification of records, perjury, aggravated battery of a handicapped person, official misconduct and federal felony violation of civil rights under color of law along with his colleague

    Sgt. Molevetti who told me "We got you on one made charge so I can write anything I want [in the jail log books] and get you on another,"

     and the officers who falsified records, improperly investigated the incident ignoring my information, or covered up this criminal act. Also I am hopeful Andrew Dalkin and John Maher will be disbarred and punished like former State's Attorney, now disbarred attorney and convict Mr. Nifong. Finally, I am prayerful that Judge Kazmierski will be disciplined and removed from the bench.

    Now the potential injuries to inmates are even higher due to the authorization of the use of O.C. pepper spray and stun guns by jail supervisors and "specially trained" officers.

    Unfortunately the officers who have the O.C. pepper spray are putting themselves at great risk of legal liability because the stuff can be deadly to a person like me with uncontrolled chemically induced asthma. This kind of chemical can induce a fatal asthma attack. The officers are so undertrained and the medical screening at the jail is so deficient (done by incompetent staff) that they would not be knowledgeable if the inmate had a potential to have a fatal reaction. Other conditions where it should never be used are ANY type of respiratory problem or certain heart conditions. Unfortunately the officers are not trained to humanely control psychotic or violent inmates. They are trained to damage and kill. They should be trained by mental health professionals and their teams at mental health facilities where psychology, environment, proper restraint procedures, and rational behavior are used instead of dangerous vicious and gratuitous intentional violence meant to mame and kill.

    Stun guns should be banned also as they have caused many fatalities around the world and in the U.S. Anyone with a heart condition, particularly wild drug addicts and obese individuals, and particularly individuals like me with a history of serious cardiac arrythmias and invasive heart procedures is at great risk of death if stunned. Again the officers are so aggressive, malicious, careless, and untrained that they don't know or don't care about an inmates physical condition. Lt. Pan even said to the female inmates on 3E "We don't care if you're alive or dead in your cells, we just have to count you."

    CCDOC is a death chamber. They take a body out every 4th day or so. Most do not die of natural causes, despite the fraudulent claims of the medical examiner. They die of abuse, battery, and medical neglect. The fact that the United States Attorney knows about this and has indicted no one is atrocious. It's like telling a notorious gang "We investigated you and found you engage in murder, extortion, prostitution, gambling, and massive illegal drug dealing, so we are asking you to review this and make a plan to stop." How bizarre! How outrageous! How illegal!

    I request a meeting with Sheriff Dart, Mental Health Professionals, Drug Addiction Professionals, Drug legalization advocates, Prison reform advocates, Prison and Jail Experts from other countries who do this better and from in the U.S., along with officials in Gov. Quinn's administration and President Obama's administration to sit down and come up with a plan.

    United We Stand, Divided We Fall


    Justin Burns said...

    Thank you so much for this blog someone needs to address corruption that is illinois. they are lucky it is hard to sell my home in illinois or I would move out of this God forbidden place. Thank you for your strong and willingness and you have another subscriber. I have to tell people in illinois about this blog, thank you so much.

    Unknown said...

    Hey guys, my names Tom. I was also in 26th and California and I am asthmatic. When I was brought there I was having an asthma attack, I couldnt breathe, I could get no one to help me. I asked to see the doctor and I was swiftly kicked as I was laying down, I was told im not there to sleep. Lets get to the reason I was there. I missed a court date. I was sitting in the holding cell when a guard came by& called my name. They sent me to the psychiatric ward!!! They were about to stick me with a needle which I wasnt told what it was! I am very lucky to have been bonded out & taken from the unit before they could stick me. They beat me, refused me medical care. They took my property & never got it back. They lost all.

    Tia said...

    This is cool!