ED ROOT Sr. from Cranston is an inmate at the ACI. He wrote in The Providence Journal in 2009: "With the unemployment rate in Rhode Island hovering at over 12 percent, I would like to comment on the state's parole process. As part of a parole plan, an inmate must follow all institutional rules, attend authorized programs as associated with their crimes, have a stable home environment, a phone and last but not least, a job. Can anyone out there please tell me how anyone behind these walls should be expected to do so unless he or she lies, knows someone, or enters a residential treatment program even if they are here at the Adult Correctional Institutions for a non-drug-related crime?
I feel the State of Rhode Island needs to revamp the way parole is handled and give prospective parolees the opportunity to get to the streets and try to get jobs on their own. Say within 30, 60, or 90 days? The Department of Corrections, on the other hand, couldn't care less if you have a job at all. Nor does it care if you are homeless."
Dr. Alan B. Feinstein was the state's first mental-health court clinician advising judges on the competency of criminal suspects. Dr. Feinstein remembers most proudly the more than 1,000 criminal suspects he managed to keep out of the Adult Correctional Institutions. They were mentally ill and didn't belong behind bars, he says. Yet without intervention they were destined to become casualties of what he calls a disturbing and accepted reality. "The ACI has become our largest mental institution," says Feinstein. "We have more seriously mentally ill people there than we have in all the state's psychiatric hospitals put together." Feinstein estimates that at least 10 percent of the 3,700 inmates at the ACI have serious mental illness.
(2009) - The Donald Wyatt Detention Facility, Central Falls, has come under intense scrutiny following the 2008 death of an inmate. The warden and chief financial officer at the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility were suspended with pay on Thursday. "The findings of the Fair report, to say the least, are disturbing," Corrigan said in a statement. "There are numerous irregularities contained within the report that support these suspensions. It is my goal to continue moving the facility in a new direction." The 55-page report, which was released on Wednesday, is highly critical of the jail's management team and its relationship with the CFDFC, the jail's governing board. The members of the management team are not named in the report, but Fischer confirmed that they are Salisbury and Novo.
In February, the corporation board fired Anthony Ventetuolo Jr., the jail's executive director, and placed Salisbury and Novo in charge. The CFDCF board has been in turmoil since January when Moreau, the mayor, replaced three of its five members. In the ensuing months, Moreau fired the new board chairman and two other board members resigned in disgust. The report accuses the jail's management team of financial mismanagement.
The controversy surrounding the 700-bed jail erupted in the months following the death in August 2008 of Hiu Lui "Jason" Ng, a Chinese national who died while in custody. Independent investigations by the jail's Professional Standards Unit, as well as the state police and ICE, lambasted the treatment of Ng, criticizing several corrections officers and members of the jail's medical staff. The report devotes more than 20 pages to the jail's operations and inner workings. It says that the facility is well-run in terms of housing inmates, security and handling visitors.
Problems at the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility
(2009) I was an ACI inmate for four years. Here are a few incidents I experienced.
I was sent to segregation for a razor blade planted in the bunk above mine by a female guard who had done it to three other inmates.
I had a potential job on the outside undermined by a Lieutenant who told the company not to hire me because I was a piece of shit.
I was assaulted by an inmate and sent to segregation. The Captain saw fit to release the person who instigated the assault on appeal and tried to keep me in segregation. The person who assaulted me was on a lot of medication for sociopathic and violent behavior. I lost my job, my bunk and the mod I had been in for three years.
I was forced to jump into and out of a paddy wagon after hernia surgery. The officers refused to remove the ankle bracelets resulting in my being unable to reach the step bumper. I had to jump down over 24 inches. Being overweight, it caused a lot of pain. The guards thought it was funny.
Read the Story of Wesley Spratt and how the prison fought his attempt at helping inmates rehabilitate themselves.
Caught received these in Sept. 2007:
Caught also received this from another inmate: "While the guards at the prison are more cautious about committing violence against inmates, the administrative and disciplinary practices at the ACI have become such a joke it is beyond description. These practices are, more often than not, deliberately falsified and coerced. The practices seem designed to deliberately antagonize, frustrate and anger inmates, deny basic needs or retaliate against what is, many times, petty or non-existent infractions.
Seems like pointing out an issue at the ACI is cause for retaliation from the staff. These guards seem to think they are above the law. Tampering with mail is a federal offense yet you have a mail office that decides what to forward to an inmate, what to return to sender and what to trash saying it was never seen or received. Legal forms sent for signatures, like taxes, seem to disappear. Others take a week to leave the prison or get to the inmate resulting in them missing deadlines. Some material, on a whim, is considered as insidious code for possible escape or internal takeover of the prison. Complaints are responded to with, "The mail officer does a great job." Job or retaliation?
Reported in Projo 02-07: George Vose had been on the job as the state's corrections director for less than a year when one morning he looked outside his home in Massachusetts and saw a strange man sitting in a car. Making enemies comes with the job as corrections director; one of Vose's predecessors, John Moran, had carried a shotgun in his trunk for a time after learning one notorious inmate had threatened his life. On this morning in 1991, Vose was worried. He noted the car's plates: Rhode Island. His children were getting ready to go to the bus stop. He called the police. Officers came quickly. They threw him over the hood of the car and shook him down, remembers Vose. Come to find out he was a private eye that the brotherhood had hired to investigate my background. That would be the Rhode Island Brotherhood of Correctional Officers
Caught received this letter in 11-06 detailing abuses at the ACI.
Winter 2007 - Caught has received more complaints that infections, rodents and cockroaches at the Women's prison is STILL out of control. It is reported that women are not being treated in a timely fashion and, as a result, some have had to be hospitalized. It is also reported that the women's prison has poor practices regarding health and safety issues.
Fall 2006 - They are trying to keep it quiet about the Staph Infections spreading around the Women's prison. Some have been hospitalized for weeks. Infected inmates are not being adequately treated. It is reported the Women's prison is filthy. Also it is reported that the cockroach and rodent problem in the women's prison is out of control.
May 6, 2006 - Three state correctional officers, including a captain who allegedly forced
an inmate to taste his own feces on Valentine's Day, were arrested and charged yesterday with
multiple counts of assaulting five inmates in the Adult Correctional Institutions. The
arrests were the result of a three-month investigation launched by authorities after prison
officials learned about the feces incident involving inmate Michael Walsh, 30, of East
Providence. Michael Walsh stated, "I could get more graphic than that, but I'm not going
to. I'm just going to tell you that it was a day later when I got to wash out my mouth. One
day later when I finally got my toothbrush, I wasn't allowed to use the sink to wash my
State police Maj. Steven G. O'Donnell said that other inmates came forward with allegations that they suffered physical abuse at the hands of correctional officers. State police detectives interviewed those inmates and were able to corroborate the allegations that resulted in yesterday's charges. The alleged abuse occurred in the ACI's minimum-security unit.
Arrested and charged with simple assault are: Capt. Gualter J. Botas, 37, of 186 School St., Pawtucket, a 17-year ACI veteran, eight counts; Lt. Kenneth J. Viveiros, 53, of 211 Woonasquatucket Ave., North Providence, a 25-year ACI veteran, four counts; and Officer Ernesto Spaziano, 37, of 50 Whipple Rd., Burrillville, a 15-year veteran, one count. The prisoners allegedly involved were serving short sentences for crimes such as felony shoplifting and drug possession. Warden AT Wall referred to the three officers charged as "renegade staff," who were "making up the rules as they saw fit" and not representative of the majority of the prison staff.
The investigation involving Walsh and the feces resulted in one count of simple assault lodged against Botas. According to affidavits that state police detectives submitted to the court, the guards are accused of whacking inmates in the head with phone books and a clipboard. Others allege that they were punched in the head, slapped in the face or had packets of soup tossed at them. The three guards are being represented by Warwick lawyer John D. Lynch Jr., a prominent defense lawyer who frequently is hired by police officers facing criminal charges.
Inmate Walsh, a laborer and father of a 6-year-old girl, is scheduled to be released from the ACI this month. He was sent to prison for violating the terms of his probation stemming from a past shoplifting conviction. Days after the prison guards and staff were suspended from the ACI, Walsh's lawyer called a news conference to announce that he was preparing to sue the prison. Walsh, through his lawyer, Kenneth A. Schreiber, said he was punished for trying to smuggle cigarettes into the prison. He was strip searched and forced "to take [his own] fecal matter and put it in his mouth," Schreiber said. In addition to the civil action against "all responsible parties and entities," Schreiber may consider filing for criminal complaints against the officers who allegedly abused Walsh, using a little-known part of state law that allows a citizen to file in court to have criminal charges brought against someone else. He will wait to see the progress of the official investigations, he said.
Bruce Reilly is someone who knows about the ACI and he stated in the Prov. Journal on 5-7-2006 regarding:
1-2006 - A new ACI warden banned inmate Wesley Spratt from preaching in 2003, saying that placing inmates in a position of authority -- like preaching -- could cause unrest. The first circuit upheld it and the ACLU has appealed to the Supreme Court.
12-2005 - Caught has received NUMEROUS complaints regarding oversight "disciplinary" boards in every section of the ACI. Inmates that have been there a while have stated they have noticed a change in recent years. The hearings went from bad to ridiculously bad. The truth regarding matters before these boards is completely irrelevant. Hearings have the outcome rigged by supervising personnel and charges are routinely manufactured and used as tools to manipulate or silence inmates that are speaking out regarding abuses. Inmates are told to "handle the matter in their appeal" which is another dead end street.
12-2005 - Caught has received complaints regarding many false positives with the drug testing procedures in Medium. It is reported that many of these false positives are with inmates that are coming up for, or have received parole. Repeat testing is denied and by the time inmates can contact their attorneys, the ACI uses the excuse that the drugs are now out of the inmates system making any proof of false positives impossible.
Complaints received on 3-14-2005 from the ACI include:
Dr. Allen says prison director A.T. Wall mishandled an incident in which an inmate was injured by prison staff Read the whole story!
5-31-2004 - The following problems in Medium 1 were reported to Caught: Cells that are 48 degrees, cells approved by law for one being occupied by more than one, despite cold temperatures inmates are not allowed to be under their wool blanket after 8:30am, no hot water in cells for three weeks, inadequate availability of showers or adequate hot water for any purposes - hygiene, health or food. Questions have risen that the State used "used piping" when the system was first installed and it is uncertain when these problems will be fixed. .
ACI guards in the minimum security prison F block: On evening duty a C/O took over the remote control of the TV and watched what he wanted, raising the volume so high that inmates could not get to sleep nor even be at that end of the 40 bed dorm. Another C/O brought his portable DVD player and sat and watched movies during his duty. While there the Asst. Warden took a walk though to see if progress was being made to house Federal Work Release prisoners. In other areas: One guard routinely stuck his elbow way out on a staircase while drinking coffee requiring each prisoner that passed him on the stairs to bow down to avoid contact. False disciplinary reports, ridiculous hoops required for things as simple as obtaining a toothbrush and guards who steal from inmates are routinely complained about throughout the ACI.
I was visiting my son in intake in the summer of 2003. Upon passing through the metal
detector it beeped. The man in front of me had on steel toe boots and a short spiked belt. He
was asked to remove these items and allowed to put them back on. The reason the detector
beeped after taking off my shoes was because of my underwire bra.
I was asked to remove my bra and no wand to scan me was available. I was not allowed to put my bra back on and I only had a tee shirt on. I hadn't seen my son in quite some time due to an injury and being hospitalized. However I was allowed to go to the waiting area down stairs and await his visit.
Each guard commented on how they liked my tee shirt. The tee shirt was plain white. It wasn't the tee shirt they were looking at. After sitting for 10 minutes I was told my son had lost his visit. Upon leaving the guards commented on the tee shirt again. My arms were across my chest. I was humiliated and I asked to see a female officer. They answered, "We don't have any on duty." I asked for the senior officer. They answered, "He's in a meeting."
The guard who had me remove my bra was aware of my son loosing his visit and seemed to enjoy my humility. I asked for his badge number and name. He said, "Don't catch cold now and laughed." This was total discrimination. Needless to say I cried in the parking lot. I felt violated and I seemed like I was the prisoner. If I am made to feel this way, then what goes on behind closed bars? - submitted by [email protected] .
According to the Providence Phoenix 11-29-02, Aderson Cesar, a 30 year old Haitian native, says he was placed in segregation on September 21, 2002 while members of DARE protested outside the ACI, demanding improved conditions for INS detainees and changes in immigration laws. While being handcuffed to be taken to segregation, Cesar says a prison guard told him he was being punished because he'd been overheard saying his wife had advance knowledge of the protest. Cesar says he asked the guard, "Are you serious?" The guard replied, "Serious as cancer." Corrections spokesman Al Bucci confirms Cesar was held in segregation for 15 days but that it was related to a "tip" that Cesar might be involved in illegal activity. But the Warden concluded that Cesar was not guilty and released him from segregation without charging him. Due to prison actions Cesar lost his $1 per day prison job and his personal belongings. After filing a grievance he received another job but was kept in his cell and subsequently fired for refusing to work. He received $20 for his lost belongings.
A very common complaint from inmates in the ACI is that prison disciplinary procedures and related reports are deliberately falsified to "teach" an inmate a lesson. Is that what happened here?
Caught's webmaster's name was mysteriously deleted from a minimum security inmate's list around the early part of 2001. He called ahead and was told he could visit the inmate. When he went down he was told before presenting his ID that the inmate couldn't receive visitors that night. Despite his not having been in minimum to visit for about a year, the person at the desk stopped Caught's webmaster before he left and said, "I know who you are." He then proceeded to ID Caught's webmaster without seeing the ID.
Caught has been informed by several people outside the ACI that if an inmate calls and begins discussions regarding exposing wrong doing with the system or within the ACI that the phone calls are frequently and mysteriously cut off.
Caught has been informed by released inmates that various means of intimidation have been used at the ACI after complaints were published on Caught. Harassment searches, lock ups etc. In one incident guards told inmates during the intimidation, "If you [inmates] want to file complaints, these things happen."
Caught has received several complaints regarding mail at the ACI in various buildings not getting delivered or returned to senders. In August of 99, Caughts' own mail to an inmate in minimum security was never delivered or returned to Caught. The subject of this missing letter dealt with misconduct of ACI staff and improper procedures in minimum security.
Caught has first hand knowledge that a guard in Intake Protective Custody believes he has the right to steal, take or confiscate whatever inmate property he wants for whatever reason he wants. The guard stated this to an inmate in clear, unambiguous terms and without fear of repercussions! We are NOT talking of legitimate confiscation's for security or disciplinary reasons. We are talking about harassment and willful abuses of power. Inmates are then forced to go through all sorts of procedural hoops to get their property back and usually end up giving up or being intimidated into dropping the issue. The clear understanding in the ACI's protective custody section is, "If you tell on these guards, you will be sorry."
Caught has received copies of discipline reports from Minimum Security that prove inmates were deliberately harassed via trumped up charges because the inmate was not selecting the treatment program that Warden Stafford Quick wanted the inmate to go into after the inmate's release from the ACI. Exactly what is the motivation behind this deliberate harassment?
A 7-27-99 Minimum Security Memo from Warden Stafford Quick states in part: "Effective 7-27-99 and from there on, whenever an inmate is witnessed smoking in this facility or evidence of smoking, such as a used ashtray is witnessed, the television from that inmate's room will be seized for a period of one week." So an inmate who owns a TV AND wasn't smoking has his property confiscated for a week for another inmates action or suspected action?
Medium 2 Security Inmate Jason S. Nasser asserted in the Providence Journal on 7-30-99 that he had an abscessed tooth on both sides of his mouth for two months and was unable to get any kind of treatment at all. Mr. Nasser finally filed a lawsuit to receive proper treatment. Another Inmate in the same facility, Almerio A. Larguinha, asserted he had contracted hepatitis C from a cellmate. He was placed on medications and passed out in the bathroom injuring his head requiring 60 plus stitches. Mr. Larguinha asserts he was left on the bathroom floor for 75 minutes before a nurse arrived to help. [Note: there is no nurse in that building after 11PM] This accident happened at 11:30PM and he didn't get to the hospital until almost 1AM. Upon return to the ACI, his medical records got lost and he ended up in segregation for seven days without any kind of medical treatment. As a result of the fall he is constantly dizzy and forgetting things. The ACI doctor has made numerous appointments for Mr. Larguinha to see a neurosurgeon due to possible nerve damage. Other then the over- the-counter pain killer Motrin, Mr. Larguinha asserts he has received no other treatment in ten months.
Also on 8-30-99, the Providence Journal printed a letter from inmate Raymond F. Bennett who reported that he has unable to get adequate dental treatment for at least 9 years. Mr. Bennett asserts that he also wasn't properly informed about his dental condition by ACI staff.
Is Ronald Chase [Jumal Rashaàn] being unfairly caught up in the DOC and State's attempts at keeping inmate Craig Price behind bars? Has the DOC treated and placed Mr. Chase in full accordance with law? Also has the State of Rhode Island harassed Mr. Chase because he blew the whistle and filed complaints?
On or about the first week of April, 1999 approximately 80 men were stripped searched at the intake center of the ACI due to reports of drugs on the unit. This inmate's complaint asserts the manner in which the search was conducted was unnecessary, unsanitary and deliberately dehumanizing. The entire unit was stripped of all clothing and forced to sit in the dining area. A dog was brought into the dining area to sniff the inmates clothes. The inmate filing this complaint asserts there were many less dehumanizing ways this search could have been conducted like cell to cell searches, not having inmates have to face each other while unclothed, smaller groups, different area etc. The inmate also asserts using the dining area to have inmates sit unclothed and having dogs brought into the dining area was unsanitary and could have been handled differently. Was this a security precaution or harassment? Note the inconsistent ACI view regarding nudity in this ACI complaint.
During admission to the ACI, even if going to court
the following day, they take you into a room and commence taking blood and giving an
injection. If you object the following will occur:
1. You will be told to "shut the fuc* up," held down, and forcefully injected and/or
2. They will place a form in front of you to sign stating you are agreeing to this "voluntary" procedure. If you refuse to sign it, they will order you to sign it. If you refuse you are tackled by guards stripped and placed into a seclusion room where, usually, you will stay until you agree to this "voluntary" procedure. There are many reports that most times these seclusion rooms are either too cold or too hot. During this "test of submission" you are usually roughed up and sometimes beaten by Guards who many times appear to enjoy what they are doing. The ACI has routinely used this procedure to show those coming in "who the boss is." The ACI continues to ignore complaints on this matter despite the violation of Constitutional rights. For examples of the ACI's forced injection ritual see Sal Mattera or Tom Livermore. Caught! has first hand knowledge this same abuse occurred to Citizen Peter Van Damm who was sent to the ACI for contempt. Mr. Van Damm is currently out of state.
Caught! has been unable to get anyone at the ACI to address this complaint. It is Caught!'s belief this practice continues at the ACI.
Caught! has received a complaint on 3-9-99 from an inmate at the ACI complaining of discriminatory treatment. The inmate had ordered adult magazines from a company specializing in publishing adult material for inmates for over ten years. This company is a member of the Better Business Bureau and a member of the American Correctional Association. This publishing company evidently follows the practice of not allowing depictions of violence, penetration or other depictions which are against most prison's policies. These adult magazines ordered by this inmate were within the guidelines of DOC Inmate Printed Material policies 24.01-1 and 8.17.01. The adult magazines clearly noted everyone in the magazine was over the legal age as required by law. The inmate was not allowed to receive the magazines. So what was the discriminatory practice? This inmate ordered gay adult magazines. Heterosexual adult material is routinely allowed at the ACI. The inmate was told by prison officials one of the reasons the magazines were being withheld was that the prison was a "male facility." Also, Asst. Dir. Jeffrey Laurie stated to this inmate in a written memo, "...I hereby deny you any access to publications published by Komar Publishing Company...that are sexually explicit. Due to the nature of your conviction, I do not feel it is in your best interest or consistent with your rehabilitation to be exposed to any magazines that cater to your purulent interests." Mr. Laurie then instructs the inmate to request a refund for the magazines from the publisher. Note the inconsistent ACI view regarding nudity in this ACI complaint.
From one of Caught's volunteers: I went to visit an inmate at the ACI's minimum security on 3-24-99 at 7PM. I had been given the wrong times and was told visiting hours were over. The ACI Staff asked me who I was there to visit, acknowledged they knew of the inmate, and repeated the visiting hours were over. I asked for a schedule of visits and upon looking saw there was another visiting hour starting at 8. No one readily volunteered this information despite knowing the inmate I was there to visit had visitation starting at 8PM and wasn't able to receive visitors during the earlier visitation time.
When I returned prior to 8, I had a few minutes to observe the mannerism and attitude exhibited by the staff behind the counter. When talking amongst themselves the staff was cordial, friendly and talkative. When addressing the public the staff was quick to anger, short on answers and appeared inconvenienced and irritated. The consistency of the difference was striking.
Approximately 3 minutes before 8, about 10 people came inside to get out of the heavy rain. They were quickly told by the staff, "We didn't call anyone in yet, go back outside." For 3 minutes this group of visitors had to stand out in the rain waiting for a signal from the staff while they chatted amongst themselves.
Finally, I was asked by the staff for the inmates number . I didn't have it. The staff said, "You need his number." Reluctantly, the staff looked up the name after taking my license. When it was discovered I hadn't yet been put on a list, the staff took a magic marker and wrote the inmates number across the back of my license and said, "Next time, refer to him by this number." [I have been unable to completely remove this number from the back of my license.]
Clearly, the reluctance to disclose visiting hours, making visitors wait in heavy rain for 3 minutes, the insistence of referring to people by numbers in the computer age when it is just as easy to search and refer to inmates by name and the rudeness of writing across the back of someone's license shows the ACI staff I observed were rude, inconsiderate and relishing their position of "power." All of the above are completely unnecessary and show a lack of good hiring practices, poor training or both.
One week later, I called to verify if my name had been added to the list. I was told this could NOT be done over the phone. I had to drive an hour to walk in and be told, "Your not on the list." About one week later, the inmate I was trying to visit was notified that I was rejected from being on his list because I was on someone else's list. Note, this other inmate whose list I was on is no longer at the ACI and hasn't been for some time. The inmate asked how this could be corrected and he was told I had to correct it. When I called to find out how I could correct it, I was told the inmate had to correct it. This is the sort of unnecessary nonsense many who visit Minimum Security complain about.
Read about the beating of Jesse Souza and the related conviction of 2 former prison guards and the pending trial of a third prison guard. Also on Sept. 3, 1999 the Providence Journal reported that James A. Matteson of Pawtucket, a guard at the intake center, was convicted of assaulting an inmate in 1997 and was ordered to serve 10 days in jail by Judge Thompson.