Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Todd Hiivala advocacy changes destructive rule. Bravo!


Todd Hiivala 363687
GBCI , PO Box 19033
Green Bay, WI 54307 
 

 

T Hiivala Post III- no phone repair


Title You're Breaking Up

Presented by: Todd E. Hiivala #363687 Green Bay Corr'l Institution P.O. Box 19033

Green Bay, WI 54307-9033

Subject           Complete refusal by GBCI staff--from maintenance, to supervisors, to

the Warden himself--to repair or replace broken telephones inmates use to call and talk with family, friends and loved ones.

Background: Between the end of 2015 and early 2016 GBCI installed phone jacks along the tiers, allowing inmates to request and place phone calls to family, friends and loved ones. Prior to this the only access to phones was at recreation, where there were, and still are, only a dozen phones that up to 100 or more inmates were/are expected to use within their one-hour recreation period. As one can imagine, between a lack of staff supervision, and no honor or courtesy among inmates monopolizing the phones, the whole process was/is chaotic and dysfunctional. The addition of phones on the tiers was a positive step, in the right and "progressive" direction though.

The tiers in the GBCI cell halls are four high A - D in one, E - H in the other), and are separated between front and back sides: front being cells 1 - 37, and back 38 - 74. Phone jacks were installed every 5 or so cells along the tiers. There is one phone designated for half of each side, or 1/4 of each tier (two on the front side, two on the back side), with inmate phone runners to plug, unplug and move them to the location of the next inmate scheduled for a call. Inmate phone call requests are scheduled based upon this scheme.

So, for example, on the back side of D-tier (the tier I was on at the time of this fiasco.) staff may schedule an inmate in cell #41 for an 8:00 pm phone call, and another inmate further down the tier (say, cell #65) for the same time, under the assumption that since there are two phones to serve the whole side this wouldn't be a conflict. However, if one of the two phones. is broken and out-of-service, when staff continue scheduling as if there's still two working phones, inevitably some inmates scheduled for calls aren't going to receive them. - Simple mathematics.

Typical for GBCI, they purchased the cheapest quality telephones that would no way hold up to the constant use they get. So, predictably the phones began malfunctioning or breaking altogether, creating the problem just described. And failing to properly and responsibly plan for this eventuality (phones do break after all), the maintenance department simply & in short order ran out of phones and didn't order more. In case you missed it folks, the prison went from one dysfunctional phone system at recreation, to, by poor planning and mismanagement creating another (in-house) dysfunctional process. Perhaps a microcosm of the DOC's macrocosmic dysfunctionality?

Having experienced repeated difficulties scheduling a phone call due to the broken phone(s), I began by writing and informing the Captain in charge of supervising cell hall operations of this problem. He did nothing--worse than nothing; he simply reiterated what told him about the broken phone on our tier, then laid it on me to speak with the night shift about scheduling issues--his job, not mine.

Of course unsatisfied with this I then wrote someone higher up--the Warden himself. In my letter I noted the run-around given by the Captain rather than simply looking into and taking steps to resolve the matter. But the Warden, just as the Captain, "passed the buck" by sending me to the security Director. And when I wrote the Security Director, yes, once again, without his ever even seeing my correspondence his secretary sent me to the head of the maintenance department--the person the Captain should've contacted in the first placed. All-too-predictably, the maintenance head (or is it the other end?) completely refused to respond or do anything to repair or replace the broken phone.

Being moved to a different tier shortly after this (imagine that!), I was prevented from filing a complaint on the issue because complaints may be returned/refused "if they do not affect the inmate personally," which it no longer did.

ALL THIS, simply to avoid repairing or replacing a phone--amazing!. Documentation:

DOCUMENT 1 - Interview/Information Request. to Captain, informing him of the broken --                                                -         phone and scheduling problems.

[Note his indifferent response, with no attempt to remedy anything.]

DOCUMENT 2 - My letter to the Warden about the problem and Captain Stevens' refusal to do anything about it.                               -     -

DOCUMENT 3 - Boilerplate response from the Wadren instructing me to contact the Security Director.                   -

DOCUMENT 4 - My letter to the Security Director, including copies of documents 1-3.

[NOTE: His secretary, with a post-it note on the front returned my letter and sent me to the maintenance dept., claiming "they deal directly with the phone contractor." In actuality, the phone contractor deals only with the phone lines and service, NOT the phones themselves, which is on maintenance to order, repair or replace--I was a maintenance worker.]

DOCUMENT 5 - My Interview/Information Request to the maintenance head explaining the problem and asking him to repair or replace the phone. - He never responded to this.

Summary:      The level of laziness and bureaucratic table tennis exhibited by prison -

officials here is typical of this prison, though nonetheless disgraceful. I-was literally run full-circle, through hoop-after-hoop, rights into a brick wall. And over the course of nearly a month's time nothing was done about this broken phone (it wasn't the only phone broken). In fact, STILL nearly two months after I brought this to their attention the phone on D-tier remains out-of-service! Why, you ask, would well-paid and trained staff--supposedly "professionals"--be this apathetic and resistant to fixing a problem? It's simple: the telephones benefit inmates; contact with family, friends and loved ones makes our time easier, tolerable. - - -

Page 2 of 2                              -.                 At Green Bay, Wisconsin, 21 November 2016

 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Neo SLAVERY? -prisoners and their families hit hard by new DOC policies


“NEO SLAVERY” encroaches on WI DOC?

TWO DISTURBING SYSTEM WIDE CHANGES

 

"NEO SLAVERY"  and "NEW Slavery" are terms I am beginning to read more and more in WI prisoner letters. Very important and disturbing stuff.  I will link this to some of the essays and here summarize.

1) The legislature enacted Act 355 last April , which directed the WI DOC to take 50% of incoming funds from prisoners jobs for “restitution”, the amount the court ordered the prisoner to pay to victims at their sentencing. Previously to this, 25% was taken.

The DOC however, is taking 50 % from all funds coming in including moneys from families and they are doing it retroactively- taking for years served before the Act was passed.

This has a big impact on families and prisoners. They are already reeling under the weight of many fees and the wages made by the few who do work within the system are incredibly low  . Here is a chart from one of the writers of the articles below, Reo Covington:
After all deductions, this prisoner gets 6.45 for 80 hours work. Where's the rehabilitation? He asks.

As you can see the 50% is added to a myriad of fees already charged to inmates.

The two articles below do a good job of explaining the whole debacle.

Below Reo Covington talks about the total lack of interest in rehabilitation that is desplayed- what is the incentive for the prisoner to do good work and take a job when after 80 hours of work he makes $6 .45
2)The second new policy is hard to understand except cynically.  Here is where the term “Neo Slavery” is most apt.

Here is one report form SCI= am gathering the others recieved and will add them
Sharks in a fishbowl? https://ffupstuff.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/r-mallory-money-stolen-by-doc.pdf
Summary:

FFUP has received many letters (and a few calls from families)that the prison is now taking ALL incoming funds for many prisoners’ accounts. They have come up in many cases with bills (restitution, legal loans etc)they say prisoners have not paid but that prisoners attest they have. Many of these “bills” are 20 plus years old and the prisoner, of course, has no receipt.  One prisoner a 76 year old very ill man, is refusing to pay his 7.50 copay for health care in protest and has been refused treatment (although some advocacy seems to be working in changing that). He attests the bill was paid by his girlfriend long ago.  This man is indigent- has zero funds but occasionally will get a money order from friends. He has asked all not to send anything as the prison will take 100 percent.
         What kind of money grubbing is this? The food rations have been cut , few prisons give the free stamps out to indigent prisoners anymore and there is virtually no programming or treatment for the majority of prisoners.

      One theory I have read from inmates is that all this is preparation for privatization, something Governor Walker has long wanted. This writer has attempted advocacy within the Michigan system where many prisons are privatized. There is no access and any changes are impossible. No matter how draconian our system gets, I strongly state, privatization is not the answer.

 
 

 
 

 

 


 
 
 
 


 


 



 
 

 

2) The second new policy is hard to understand except cynically.  Here is where the term “Neo Slavery” is most apt.

FFUP has received many letters (and a few calls from families)that the prison is now taking ALL incoming funds for many prisoners’ accounts. They have come up in many cases with bills (restitution, legal loans etc)they say prisoners have not paid but that prisoners attest they have. Many of these “bills” are 20 plus years old and the prisoner, of course, has no receipt.  One prisoner a 76 year old very ill man, is refusing to pay his 7.50 copay for health care in protest and has been refused treatment (although some advocacy seems to be working in changing that). He attests the bill was paid by his girlfriend long ago.  This man is indigent- has zero funds but occasionally will get a money order from friends. He has asked all not to send anything as the prison will take 100 percent.
         What kind of money grubbing is this? The food rations have been cut , few prisons give the free stamps out to indigent prisoners anymore and there is virtually no programming or treatment for the majority of prisoners.

      One theory I have heard from inmates is that all this is preparation for privatization, something Governor Walker has long wanted. This writer has attempted advocacy within the Michigan system where many prisons are privatized. There is no access and any changes are impossible. No matter how draconian our system gets, I strongly state, privatization is not the answer.

Here is one report form SCI= am gathering more and will add them

https://ffupstuff.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/r-mallory-money-stolen-by-doc.pdf

Monday, November 14, 2016

Todd Hiivala /recreation OR prison job is choice now given at GBCI



Todd Hiivala 363687
GBCI , PO Box 19033
Green Bay, WI 54307 

Inmates forced to choose between recreation and their prison jobs
Greetings to all at Community, along with appreciation for the time, hard work and continued advocacy on behalf of those of us housed at this and other Wisconsin correctional institutions.

Below find letters I mailed to the DOC Secretary, DAI Administrator and Security Chief in Madison, informing them of GBCI officials' most recent action in forcing those with jobs or in school to relinquish up to half of their constitutionally protected right to recreation. This blatant act of retaliation against 1,100 inmates for the despicable action of a single inmate who assaulted a staff member with hot water is unprecedented. As I pointed out to DCC officials, I've done over a quarter century in a dozen prisons across three states and have never witnessed anything--any assault on the fundamental rights of inmates--as flagrant as this! I firmly believe they are attempting to push this prison over the edge, so to speak, to justify "locking it down" long-term and turning it into the State's next Supermax.
The inmate complaint process here being ineffectual (useless, really), I invoked Wisconsin Statute 301.29(3), asking that the Secretary conduct an internal investigation into this radical departure by GECI officials from DCC rules. Yet the fact the Deputy Warden here has just (8/17) issued an official memo confirming that inmate workers and students will be forced to forego their recreation periods seems indicative of non-action by, or the indifference of, Madison officials. Apparently only the courts will be able to reign-in these rogue prison officials and force them to follow the law, the rules of the department, and observe the constitutional rights of inmates at this facility.

As the "what happens at GBCI stays at GBCI" philosophy has over the 15+ years I've been here allowed prison administrators to take uncounted inhumane and unconstitutional actions against inmates, I just wanted someone on the outside to know what is now being done to the hard workers and dedicated students at this facility. Dozens of workers and students have already quit their jobs and school, and if something isn't done to hold officials here accountable I fear the taxpayers will end-up footing the bill for the salaries and benefits of dozens & dozens of civilian workers needed to do the jobs abandoned by inmate workers who were forced to quit in order to receive their proper amount of recreation. The notion that inmate who refuse to work, go to school or be productive are receiving more recreation than hard-working inmates is counter-intuitive, counter-rehabilitative, against public policy and expectations, and contrary to the DOC's so-called "Mission Statement."

Thanks again for the investment of your time and resources in pursuit and advocacy of our fundamental human rights and humane treatment. Your work is more appreciated than you may realize.
Sincerely yours, Todd Hiivala 63687,
GBCI, P.O. Box 19033,Green Bay 54307

He sends us the statute ON LEISURE TIME/will be looking for rules on recreation
Wis. Adm. Code DOC 309.36
WISCONSIN ADMINISTRATIVE CODE
* This document is current through Wis. Admn. Register No. 725, May 2016 *
DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS
CHAPTER DOC 309 RESOURCES FOR INMATES
Wis. Adm. Code DOC 309.36 (2016)
DOC 309.36 Leisure time activities
(1) The department shall provide as much leisure time activity, as possible for inmates, consistent with available resources and scheduled programs and work. Leisure time activity is free time outside the cell or room during which the inmate may be involved in activities such as recreational reading, sports, film and television viewing, and handicrafts.
(2) Each institution shall permit inmates to participate in leisure time activities for at least 4 hours per week. Institutions with the facilities to permit more leisure time activity should do so.
HISTORY: Cr. Register, October, 1981, No. 310, eff. 11-1-81.
 Letter to Secretary Litcher on word followed by letters to three DOC Heads in PDF form:

Todd B. Hiivala 3636S7 Green Bay Corr'l Institution P.O. Box 19033
Green Bay, WI 54307-9033
Jon B. Litscher, Secretary Department of Corrections 3099 E. Washington Ave. P.O. Box 7925
Madison, WI 53707-7925
Re: Request for investigation (Wis. Stat. § 301.29(3))
11 August 2016
Dear Secretary Litscher,
Sir, I am writing to inform you of the decision of GECI officials to deny inmate workers and students their required amount of recreation, and to request that pursuant to Wis. Stat. § 301.29(3), you conduct an internal investigation into this blatant and willful violation of inmate rights as well as DOC admin. code.
As the prison lockdown winds down, GBCI officials have recently posted a revised recreation schedule. This schedule designates rec. times by tiers, whereas the longstanding schedule accounted for work and school. Inmates are being told that beginning Monday, August 15, 2016, if they work or go to school they will have to forego and not be allowed to attend recreation if/when the times of the revised schedule conflict with their work or school assignments. In effect, that they will be denied recreation because they work or go to school. This is outrageous!
• The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has recognized that exercise is a necessary requirement for the physical and mental well-being of inmates; and, that denying inmates opportunities for out-of-cell exercise violates the U.S. Constitution's Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel & unusual punishment. See Delaney v. Detella, 256 F.3d 679 (7th Cir. 2001). The court further held that inmates are entitled to at least five (5) hours of recreation per week. Administrative Code § DOC 309.36(2) mandates (through the use of the word "shall") that inmates be given a minimum of four (4) hours per week recreation.* Neither federal case law nor department rules or policies allow for exclusion of workers or students from the constitutionally and administratively required amount of recreation. Thus the actions of GBCI officials are arbitrary, capricious, and a violation of both the constitutional rights of inmates and the rules of the department.
What is disturbing to me--someone who's spent 26 years in prison--is that prison officials, in any modern prison, would be so indifferent towards the law, the rights of inmates and the rules of the department as to, in effect, punish inmates for working or going to school--two "rehabilitative goals" expected by the public. The notion that because I (myself a maintenance worker) perform an essential function necessary to the operation of the institution, or another inmate seeks education that it is hoped will prevent recidivism, can & are being forced to relinquish their right to something deemed medically necessary to their well-being, is shocking to the adult conscience and a complete regression in penal philosophy. I, for one (as I assume is also true of others), will quit my job and be unassigned before I
relinquish my right to recreation.
But the question here, really, is: What's the point; what are GECI officials attempting to do or accomplish by such unsanctioned and illegal (indeed, despotic!) actions? I both feel and fear that by & through such oppressive and extremist actions officials here are attempting to provoke some type of disruption; or at the very least, a flurry of unnecessary litigation that is sure to cost the department and taxpayers many thousands of dollars. This is just my opinion, or observation, but it's based upon a thorough knowledge of the law and a quarter century of incarceration in a dozen prisons across three states.
I'm asking, Secretary Litscher, in the interests of maintaining order, and respect for the rights and well-being of inmates under your care and supervision, that pursuant to Wis. Stat. § 301.20(3), you immediately investigate this radical departure by GBCI officials from the administrative rules of the department and constitutional rights of inmates at this facility. And, that you take steps to ensure ALL GECI inmates--workers, students & otherwise--receive the minimum and same amount of recreation mandated by Admin. Code § DOC 309.36(2).
Thank you for your valuable time, and your prompt action in this matter would be greatly appreciated.
Respectfully
Todd E. Hiivala
cc: Peggy Swan, Community Activist File

Todd Hivala to DAI AdministratorTodd Hiivala to DAI Administrator: https://ffupstuff.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/t-hiivala-to-dai-adm-11-4-16all.pdf



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