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News ::
Jail nurse speaks out after Oct. MCI sweep: Calls prison life `sadistic'
25 Feb 2001
A jailhouse whistleblower who spoke out about alleged inmate beatings during an October raid in MCI-Shirley has resigned and is now lashing out at what she calls the Department of Corrections' ``veil of secrecy'' and the prison's ``sadistic culture.'' - Massachusetts





A jailhouse whistleblower who spoke out about alleged inmate beatings during an October raid in MCI-Shirley has resigned and is now lashing out at what she calls the Department of Corrections' ``veil of secrecy'' and the prison's ``sadistic culture.''

``I've been watching this stuff go on for five years and this was just too much. It was over the top,'' prison nurse Robin Vanliew told the Herald. ``Sometimes you come to a moral impasse and you have to act. I just had enough and I've quit.''

Vanliew, of Holden, was suspended without pay for a month after talking to the press about the Oct. 17 jailhouse sweep during which 30 inmates claim they were manhandled and beaten.

She said she wanted to return to Shirley after her suspension but was instead transferred to MCI-Framingham women's prison. Frustrated with what she called the DOC's ``Gestapo-like tactics,'' she resigned last week.

``The DOC is a dirty, nasty operation. They're very secret and just don't want anyone making waves,'' she said. ``They function in the dark and there's some dirty, squishy things in the dark.''

A federal and state probe is under way into charges that several inmates - including an elderly blind man - were beaten during the surprise searches at the Shirley medium security facility.

This week, the Middlesex County District Attorney's office declined prosecution after reviewing an internal DOC report on the raids. The FBI and the Department of Public Safety are also reviewing the case while some lawmakers have called for an independent inquiry.

DOC spokesman Justin Latini refused comment on the sweeps but said the DOC is considering ``policy changes'' in light of the incident.

``The report speaks for itself,'' Latini said. ``Every allegation was investigated and we sent our report for review. We feel very confident that the report is accurate.''

Latini also said the jail has returned to ``normal'' operation since the raids and defended the probe saying, ``We want to be as public as we can. That's why the report was forwarded to outside agencies.''

Vanliew said the case is indicative of the prison system's insular ways and has started a letter writing campaign pushing legislators to create a DOC oversight committee similar to one vetoed by Gov. Paul Cellucci last year.

``I don't think the department can police itself,'' she said. ``It's a corrupt, dirty system.''

Vanliew, who worked at the Shirley jail for five years, said she didn't challenge her suspension because she unknowingly signed a clause when she took the job with Correctional Medical Services agreeing not to talk to the media without the warden's permission.

The Rev. Paul Poyser, who was first to speak out about the alleged abuse, has been on voluntary administrative leave since the raids, Latini said. Poyser declined comment when contacted by the Herald, citing a DOC-mandated gag order on the case.

According to Vanliew, inmates had severe bruises, cuts, scrapes, bumps, head injuries and sprains. One inmate suffered nerve damage in his wrist while being restrained, she said.

She called the sweeps ``unprofessional'' and said the violence left her so ``outraged'' that she decided to speak out.

``They overstepped their boundaries,'' she said of the tactical squads that went from cell to cell, forcibly removing inmates and tearing through their belongings. ``It's a sadistic culture.''
See also:
http://www.bostonherald.com/news/local_regional/mci02252001.htm
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CORRUPTION IN ALL QUARTERS
28 Feb 2001
THE CORRUPTION IS IN ALL FACTIONS OF THE PRISON SYSTEM. AN INMATE AT MCI-CONCORD, IS TOLD TO "COME ON" YOUR GOING TO PLYMOUTH. HE IS NOT ALLOWED TO TAKE ANY BELONGINGS--THEN, HE IS MOVED AND CHARGED MONEY FOR THE MATTRESS AND PILLOW THAT STAYED BEHIND IN CONCORD.

IF HE HAS TO PAY FOR THE BEDDING (THAT WILL BE GIVEN TO ANOTHER INMATE), WHY ISNT THAT BEDDING SENT TO HIS HOME FOR HIS RELATIVES TO DISPENSE WITH. IF HE MUST PAY FOR THE MATTRESS, IT BECOMES HIS PROPERTY, NOT THE PROPERTY OF THE DOC.

SO, AS YOU SEE, THE CORRUPTION IS IN THE ABUSE OF POWER FOR PROFIT AND FOR THE SICK NEED TO HURT PEOPLE.