[Ppnews] Open Letter on Conditions at Clinton Correctional

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Sep 26 18:57:20 EDT 2011

Letter on Conditions at Clinton Correctional

September 26, 2011 at 9:38 pm 
Correctional Facility, 
York State, <http://sbrooklynabcf.wordpress.com/tag/nys-docs/>NYS DOCS)


Clinton Correctional Facility

PO Box 2001

Dannemora, NY 12929

September 1, 2011


United States Attorney General

Department of Justice

Constitution & 10th St.

N.W., Washington DC 20530

Dear Honorable Eric Holder:

We the undersigned, are writing to you in our 
Official Capacity as the Inmate Liaison Committee 
(hereinafter “ILC”) on behalf of the Inmate 
Population here at Clinton Correctional Facility 
about the escalating potential for a major riot, 
due to the wide range of patterns of abuse by 
staff on Inmates. There continues to be an 
ongoing epidemic here where Security Staffs are 
very abusive towards Inmates, both verbally and 
physically. This matter has been continuously 
addressed to the Administration through either 
the Inmate Grievance and/or ILC. However, the 
Administration has neglected to take any action, 
namely, disciplinary or otherwise with regard to these matters.

Upon Mr. Thomas LaValley becoming Superintendent 
of Clinton Correctional Facility, there has been 
an escalation of antagonism, provocation, verbal 
abuse, assaults, and even murder of Inmates by 
the Correction Officials. See Strickland’s murder 
as well as the other Inmate that was murdered in 
I.C.P. Special Housing Unit, “D-Block.” Also, 
while they were killing Strickland in UF-Housing 
Unit, another group of officers was physically 
assaulting Thomas Murphy, #83A0818 on October 3, 
2010. Not long after, Inmates were still being 
severely physically assaulted at the Hospitals’ 
special beating room on the first floor.

Supt. LaValley has a historical pattern of 
entertaining an attitude of indifference toward 
Correctional Officials assaulting inmates without 
provocation. Upon information and belief, Supt. 
LaValley has had numerous civil lawsuits lodged 
against him involving assaults against Inmates 
throughout his entire career as a Corrections 
Officer, Sergeant, Lieutenant, and Captain, which 
is now the conduct of his Corrections Officers 
here at Clinton Correctional Facility.

Moreover, even the institutional records would 
show while Mr. LaValley was First Deputy 
Superintendant at Clinton Correctional Facility 
and when he became the Supt., each and every 
time, the ILC Committee expressed concern and 
requested an investigation into said incidents, 
requested by the General Inmate Population, and 
the facility Executive Team’s response is always 
(by way of official policy) that said 
investigations are being conducted and that said 
assaults by Corrections Officials toward inmates 
is not tolerated; however, often shortly 
following such meetings and assurances by the 
Fac. Executive Team, another incident involving 
an officer assaulting an Inmate would occur, as 
if to say that our complaints and concerns have fallen on deaf ears.

Furthermore, what the facility’s investigative 
findings often conclude, is that it was the 
Inmate’s fault or that the Inmate was in 
possession of contraband of some kind and upon 
said officers attempting to retrieve said 
contraband, the Inmate resisted, thus, requiring 
the use of force by Staff. It’s always the same 
pattern of reports of an incident fabricated on 
the ILC representative, should he dare to express 
his concern to the Executive Teams.

In addition, as if by way of conspiratorial 
design with an intent and a means to justify the 
Facility’s diabolical ends, the Facility’s 
assigned orientation Sergeant psychologically 
prepares newly arrived Inmates to engage in 
violent behavior. The orientation Sergeant tells 
each Inmate during his interview the following 
official policy of the facility’s, namely: “Don’t 
put your hands on any of my officers or staff, 
because we are all family members and that we 
will beat you down ’til you’ll wish you were 
dead. If you have problems or beef with another 
Inmate, you are to take care of your problem and 
beef in the yard and nowhere else­ Do you 
understand?” This is usually emphasized following 
a few prior personal questions (i.e. Do you have 
any enemies? How much time are you doing or what 
is your sentence? D.O.B.? etc.).

By conducting this orientation interview by the 
Sergeant in this manner and, by telling the 
Inmate to commit violence on another inmate in 
the yard, only gives the inmate the clear 
impression that such violence/assault occurs in 
the yard. In addition, by encouraging the inmates 
to commit violence in the North Yard, such 
violence is deemed to be enough provocation 
necessary for the officers assigned to the 
perimeter towers to resort to using their 
firearms in a hasty attempt to quell the 
violence. By way of example, during the ILC 
meeting with the Facility Executive Team and in 
the presence of Acting Deputy 
Superintendent/Dept. Supt. Program and Capt. S. 
M. Lacy, the ILC was conducting an inquiry into 
the 8-19-11 incident which occurred in the North 
Yard involving approximately 15 inmates and 
resulted in the Tower Officials using their AR-15 
Semi-Automatic rifles. When the ILC questioned 
the abuse by the officials toward the inmates as 
a while in the yard following the containment and 
control of the situation, Capt. Lacy’s response 
was that verbatim, “He need to send his officers 
to the target range for practicing their shooting 
skills, because the officers that were shooting 
missed their targets. They should have killed at least 2 or 3 inmates!”

Now, upon hearing this remark by Cap. Lacy, the 
entire ILC committee firmly requested that video 
surveillance camera be installed through out the 
entire facility. And, although Capt. Lacy 
rejected the proposal to install cameras, Acting 
Superintendent Keyssor did agree to present the 
ILC’s request to have cameras installed, to the Prison Commissioner of DOCS.

Finally, it is the entire Inmate Population’s 
belief, as well as the ILC’s belief that the 
orientation Sergeant’s direct instruction for 
inmates to commit violence in the North Yard, the 
officials daily abuse, harassment and assaults 
toward the inmate population, is being practiced 
on a daily basis solely as a justification to 
enhance or otherwise bolster the need for 
additional employment of Corrections Officers and 
as a political ploy and argument against further 
Correction Officials being layed-off.

WHEREFOR, the ILC Committee is requesting an 
independent and impartial investigation into all 
of the references made herein concerning such 
violations by the Corrections Officials involving 
assault, verbal abuse, killing intimidation in a 
variety of ways toward the Inmate General 
Population; the officials have even encouraged 
and promoted inmates to assault other targeted Inmates on the officers’ behalf.

Dated: Sept 1 2011

Dannemora, New York.

Respectfully submitted,

[five signatures]

cc: File/ILC Committee

Hon. Andrew M. Cuomo

New York State Governor

Hon. Brian Fischer

NYS Prison Commissionern

United States Secretary General

Human Rights Watch Prison Project

Tarvis Smiley


United States Senate

Judiciary Chairman

Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

415 863-9977

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