CSP-Corcoran SHU: applications not usable for lack of sockets, property allowed by property matrix, but not allowed by staff, and other ills

One of those every-day annoyances of being confined 24/7 in a cell with two people:

CSP-Corcoran should solve the issue of not being allowed an extension chord. Since there was a new property matrix installed since January, which reflects the new administrative policy of prisoners being allowed two appliances each, for instance a typewriter (yes, this is the 21st century!), the prison still does not allow an extra extension chord (with an extra socket) per appliance, whereas there are only 2 sockets per cell, for those sharing a 1 man cell with 2. Also, prisoners were threatened with write-ups if they all decided to demand a single cell per person.

Prison employees told the prisoners that power will be cut when more extension chords are being used, but the extension chords come with an extra safety device to prevent this.

Another issue with the property room at CSP-Corcoran is that they interpret the new rules in their own way, even lying to their bosses. An example from daily life:

“An associate warden here contacted the property room about my underwear. Initially, the property room claimed that long-sleeved tee-shirts are not allowed. The property room then told the associate warden that I could not have it, because it is a “V-neck teeshirt,” and that they are “not allowed.” These were lies: Not only is this not a v-neck teeshirt, but “v-neck teeshirts are allowed. This was a property officer blatantly lying to one of his bosses – and the associate warden knew that it was a lie.”

Property Matrix January 24, 2014 Inmate Property, CDCR, p. 11

Property Matrix January 24, 2014 Inmate Property, CDCR, p. 10

It has become clear to many people locked up inside CSP-Corcoran that the new property matrix (which we could no longer find online, but we scanned these 2 pages from what was sent to us in March by prisoners) is not being made public to the corporations issuing the catalogues where-from families can order packages for their loved ones, and that employees are not well informed at all on what is and what is not allowed. And – really – how many more petty rules does the cdcr have in store for us to waste precious time and energy on? Is that another trick to keep us from the struggle for human rights?

We are wondering if the administration of CSP-Corcoran realizes that this whole keeping back of property, cell-searching and other harassments made to prisoners in the SHU (racism by some staff  is a becoming a returning complaint, amongst others) certainly is no incentive for those locked down in the segregation units to cooperate with the CDCR-designed Step Down Programs.

Abu Ghraib on the Allegheny?

From: Mother Jones
—By James Ridgeway and Jean Casella
Wed Sep. 28, 2011
A story out of Pennsylvania reveals the extreme abuse to which some U.S. prisoners are subjected. Yesterday, a suspended prison guard from the State Correctional Institution (SCI)-Pittsburgh was arrested on charges that he sexually or physically assaulted more than 20 inmates–and the district attorney has signaled that there are more arrests to come. As the AP reports:

The 92 criminal charges filed Tuesday include several counts each of institutional sexual assault, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, and official oppression — which amounts to covering up the crimes or allegedly threatening others to do so. The criminal charges mirror allegations contained against [corrections officer Harry] Nicoletti and officials at the state prison in Pittsburgh in two civil rights lawsuits filed by inmates in recent months…

The lawsuits, one filed in 2010 and another on behalf of an anonymous inmate last week, allege the systematic abuse of inmates — especially those convicted of child sex-crimes, or believed to be homosexual —by Nicoletti and other inmates at his direction. The lawsuits say the abuse occurred over the past two years in the prison’s F Block, a reception area where new prisoners are housed for a few days for medical testing and to receive other supplies before they’re moved to permanent cells.

Among other things, Nicoletti is charged with raping inmates, threatening them with other sexual acts, and with having inmates contaminate the food and bedding of his alleged targets with urine and other bodily fluids.

According to the criminal complaint, one of Nicoletti’s victims was a transsexual male who developed female breasts due to hormone treatments. Nicoletti fondled that inmate before raping him, while shouting racial and sexual epithets, including calling him a “weird freaky monkey,” the complaint said.

The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections says it is shocked and appalled. But while Nicoletti’s alleged conduct may represent the extreme, it is not the first allegation of abuse from the prison. The AP notes: “In April, corrections officials suspended eight guards at the prison, including Nicoletti, and four top prison officials were removed and have since left the department, although officials have declined to say whether they were fired or resigned.” Today, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that “Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. said this morning that at least 11 other Department of Corrections employees will be charged after a wide-ranging investigation into sexual and physical abuse at SCI Pittsburgh.”

Pittsburgh City Paper reported last week that one of the inmate lawsuits, filed in July by transgender prisoner Rodger Williams, contains “the assertion that [Nicoletti’s] abuse ‘occurred with the full knowledge of the superintendent and other high ranking staff at … SCI-Pittsburgh.’ Williams’ lawsuit names as defendant former SCI-Pittsburgh superintendent Melvin Lockett and other prison administrators…In May, the DOC replaced Lockett and three other high-ranking officials at the prison. All three were named in Williams’ lawsuit; none are currently employed by the DOC. At the time, DOC press secretary Susan McNaughton would neither confirm nor deny to CP that the staffing changes had anything to do with the suspensions or grand-jury investigation.”

According to the Pittsburgh-based Human Rights Coalition, which tracks abuse in Pennsylvania’s prisons, the second inmate lawsuit, just filed on behalf an anonymous prisoner at SCI Pittsburgh, “depicts a situation of intimidation, coercion, and physical assault wielded against inmates who tried to refuse the guards or to expose the abuse. Beatings, filing of false charges against inmates, and retaliatory time in solitary confinement were common… All of this transpired with the full knowledge and inaction of the prison management… John Doe’s parents made repeated calls to the DOC and the Commonwealth while their son was incarcerated at SCI Pittsburgh, to no avail.”

Read the rest here.