Thursday, March 27, 2008

ACLU Seeking Sanction Against New Jersey DOC For Witness Tampering and Retaliation

The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of New Jersey filed court papers today requesting that the New Jersey Superior Court impose sanctions against the New Jersey Department of Corrections (DOC) for witness tampering, official misconduct and violations of court rules.

The ACLU's motion for sanctions charges that the DOC obtained false and misleading statements from women prisoners about conditions in the prison in an attempt to defend the prison against claims of inhumane treatment. A female prisoner who exposed the DOC's misconduct reports being beaten as a result.

The ACLU asserts that James Drumm, Assistant Administrator of the New Jersey State Prison, offered female prisoners reductions in their disciplinary sentences in exchange for making false statements describing women's prison conditions in the New Jersey State Prison (NJSP) - a men's supermax prison - as better than they were.

This is the latest chapter in Jones v Hayman, an ACLU class action lawsuit against the DOC challenging the improper transfer of a group of women to the men's prison and subjecting them to inhumane and virtual lock-down conditions.

Some of the prisoners allege that that if they wrote a letter saying good things about the prison, then their time in segregation would be cut. Unbelievable. A prisoner (Thomas) alleges the day she spoke with ACLU attorneys she received a brutal beating that seemed retaliatory. During the beating, the Guard said: "You have a big mouth" and called her a "nigger with no home training." Thomas also alleges that, following the beating, Drumm told her, "You're causing problems in my institution," and that she should "stop causing trouble."

Read the rest of the article here as the ACLU also charges them with witness tampering and retaliation, if that is not obvious from the facts.

This is not surprising seeing how the guards and many of the folks inside prisons treat people. Because, these guards forget that they are actually people. We often visit prisoners and the guards are arrogant and act like they are doing us a favor just to get to talk to our clients. One guard yesterday held up a visit of a social worker to her client for forty-five minutes because no one told him she was coming. So, he refused her entrance. Luckily, he was dealing with the wrong person. She sat in a chair and told him, "I am not leaving until I see my client." Eventually, requesting to see his supervisor, gaining entry. This "person's" immigration status and time in America hung in the balance, not that he would give a damn.

I say go ACLU. Expose these thugs for what they are worth.

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