Wednesday, November 30, 2016
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