Unfair punishment of inmates sign now

We the undersigned are writing a complaint about the new policy instituted at the Western Correctional Institute in Cumberland, Maryland enforced by Warden Jon Galley. We are angry and concerned about the incident that occurred earlier this month. On Wednesday, January 4, 2006, there was a gang related fight in the small yard of housing unit two where a fight broke out between gang members. All the inmates involved in the altercation was taken to disciplinary segregation following the incident and was punished for their actions.

The complaint that we have is that C and D tiers were put on lockdown because the inmates involved in the fight was housed on those tiers. According to the information screen for the inmates Warden Galley has decided to implement a new policy to punish all inmates on a tier for other inmates actions. I would understand this type of punishment if these men were part of a system where they had to be their brothers keeper, but theyre not; theyre in prison. The men have more enemies while theyre incarcerated than when they were free on the streets. If the Western Correctional Institution was training the men in some way to live toward a common goal they might respect each other, and the correctional officers if this were the case. I do understand that these men are in prison because they did some wrongs in there life but regardless of what they did they are still human. The officers treat the men like animals and without any humanity at all. This type of treatment from the officers goes against some of the Guiding Principles that they are trained to abide by. Those principles are:

* To be focused on empowering people to succeed.
* To be an effective and efficient team of professionals.
* To be inclusiveinvolve all parties, both internal and external, who need to be part of the process.
* To be honestto do everything with integrity.
* To be ethicalto do the right thing, both legally and morally.
* To be informed and guided by appropriate and valid data in our decisions.
* To be outcome-oriented in achieving results consistent with our mission.

The inmates on C and D tiers were locked down from Wednesday, January 4, 2006 through Monday, January 9, 2006. These inmates were not at fault of anything except for the fact that they are housed on the same tiers as the inmates who were involved in the fight. The men that were innocent from having any involvement in the altercation was denied showers, their recreation time, hot meals, their visits, their phone calls, access to medical treatment, their televisions was cut off, and they were not allowed to go to the commissary. This cruel and inhumane treatment went on for a 6 day period. Also, these inmates were never informed why they were being locked down or denied these things, none were given infractions nor being disciplined or being investigated in regards to the incident. That disciplinary action showed no integrity, and it was definitely unethical which once again goes against the Guiding Principles. Some of the men were famished because it was there day to go to the commissary to replenish their food drawers but because they were denied that simple pleasure they had to go to sleep hungry and wake-up hungry until the punishment was over.

It is my understanding that state law requires that inmates have the opportunity to shower at least once every 36 hours, at least one hot meal a day, and a one hour walk in a 24 hour period to stretch their legs. However, none of these services were offered.

We feel that this is extremely unfair treatment. What does Warden Galley hope to accomplish by punishing everyone for anothers actions? Doing this can only cause more anger, resentment, and frustration among the inmate population. This could cause more problems and lead to more incidents! One would think that since the fight was GANG related that ALL GANG members would be put on lock-down to send out the message that being in the gangs could be detrimental instead of being a perk. Why lock-down ALL inmates on a tier who had nothing to do with the fight instead of locking-down ALL the gang members that are directly or indirectly involved! Also what incentive does a procedure like this give inmates to stay out of trouble? The inmates that were punished in this manner did absolutely nothing wrong! In fact the inmates involved in the altercation were allowed to have a shower daily, they were given hot meals, they were given a one hour walk in a 24 hour period, and they were within the five day grace period of being put on disciplinary segregation so they were also allowed visits from their families.

We feel that this new policy of Warden Galleys is unjust. This was and is unfair to the inmates who work hard on a daily basis to stay out of trouble. The families of the innocent inmates were mistreated when they called the prison to ask the status of their incarcerated loved ones. This needs to be looked into and addressed. The Maryland prison system is having enough problems, without policies like this that could possibly create even more anger, frustration, and problems within the institution. This policy could cause adverse effects in the future, such as riots, more stabbings, fights, etc..

Thank you for your time and consideration of this matter.

Sincerely,

Concerned Family Members
of Inmates housed at W.C.I.

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Luella RossBy:
AnimalsIn:
Petition target:
Division of Corrections, ACLU for prisoners rights, Prisoners Rights of Maryland

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