Small Issues Tell a Bigger Story of Reverse Racism at Montgomery Women’s Facility

I never thought I’d see it, but it happens everyday here ~ reverse racism. We have roughly 70 Alabama Department Of Corrections employess and Officers and supervisors here and only 2 are white, and one is from Romania. Our Warden is black as well as our Captain and all supervisors.

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Small issues tell a bigger story of reverse racism at Montgomery Women’s Facility

The black inmates as well as Officers can call us honkies and crackers and nothing is said. I stood in pill line and watched the black Officer make a white inmate walk all the way around the tables to get to her seat, yet a few minutes later, she let 2 black inmates take the short cut, the white inmate was denied and yelled at for trying to take.

This same Officer made a white inmate get to the end of line for a minute to retrieve her ID and would not let her get her spot back. When there are disagrements between black and white inmates, Officers and Supervisors always side with the black inmates.

Parole board has been granting parole to black females with violent crimes these past 3 years, but us white females with violent crimes have been denied parole and set off 5 years. No one is helping us and we are without hope at this corrupted facility ran by Alabama Department of Corrections.

Transcribed by admin from a statement by an inmate , identity withheld as she is in fear of retaliation.
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Statement alleging racism and special treatment, rife at Montgomery Women’s Facility

  • I have seen numerous white women go to Sgt. Jene for bed changes, who had legitimate reasons for the move just to be told No! On these same days i have seen black females go to Sgt. Jene and be moved with absolutely no hesitation.
Statement alleging racism and special treatment, rife at Montgomery Women's Facility
Statement alleging racism and special treatment, rife at Montgomery Women’s Facility
  • When i slept in the SAP area up front Lt. Mason came and made a white girl who had already had permission to have been on the bottom bed move, and told her she had better not see her on a bottom bed again. This girl had been on this bunk through 2 bed rosters and had never been asked to move. She moved off the top to begin with because her top bed win the corner was falling in. This girl did not have a bottom bunk profile, but the very same day Lt. Mason let a black girl move from top to bottom, also in the SAP area who also did not have a bottom bunk profile. All it came down to was the color of skin.
  • Also, when i slept up front in the SAP area before Sgt. Snow became Sgt. and was just an officer, she closed both bathrooms at the same time for cleaning. No one could use the restroom and a bunch of women were waiting. A white girl couldn’t hold herself anymore and went in the big bathroom to use it. When she came out (officer Snow) at the time, Now Sgt Snow actually put her hands on the little white girl and jerked her out of the opening of the door. The white girl demanded to see a Sgt. or Lt. and was not allowed to see one. I’m not sure what happened after this, but officers should not be allowed to put their hands on any of us inmates, we’re people too who are being punished already by being here and the guards try to find any reason to punish us or degrade us more than we already are.

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When i reported the abuse, i became an outcast amongst societies outcasts

Montgomery Women’s Facility (MWF) has more problems than a small camp such as this should have. Last month (February 2016) we had another one bite the dust. Our S.P.R (Pre-Release) Sgt. was escorted off premises for having sex with his charges, those female inmates under the S.P.R program. He wouldn’t report their dirty urines (Urine Tests) in exchange for sex.

An inmates account of the abuse that occurs at Montgomery Women's Facility
An inmates account of the abuse that occurs at Montgomery Women’s Facility

This month, March our canteen lady who is employed by the state, picked up a rock and threatened to hit the inmate who was at the window getting her canteen store. Nothing happened of course. She gets to treat us any kind of way, calling us names, cursing us and at times refusing to fill our canteen store because she doesn’t feel like it or is angry at us. Captain said she’ll “investigate” but she is just as crooked as the rest here, who works here.

Captain barters and trades with inmates, even calls some of them her “children”, showing favouritism to some inmates and then others she lets get abused by her officers. Today our visitation building was taken over by our Healthcare, that we call Death care. Their trailer has been condemned over a year and today we inmates who were having art class, we were kicked out and then made to move all the furniture (chairs, tables, a 1000 lb. piano) over to the shift office. The visitation building also held our classes as well as Church. Why can’t D.O.C purchase another building? Where is all the money they claim to have?

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Mail clerk rejects letter containing “nudity”

An inmate received a mail rejection slip from the mail clerk yesterday evening. The rejection slip stated that an item within the envelope contained an image that is prohibited as it displayed nudity. The husband of the aggrieved inmate was dumb founded, and taken aback trying to recall what he had enclosed in the offending envelope along which also contained a recent publication depicting the many names of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

Picture depicting "nudity", rejected by the mail clerk at Montgomery Women's Facility
Picture depicting “nudity”, rejected by the mail clerk at Montgomery Women’s Facility

Then it dawned on him, the picture that he had included was the Crucifixion from the Weingarten Missal, 13th century, showing the four evangelists’ symbols in the corners. It shows a very Old Germanic style, before the influence of the Italian Renaissance.

So, in accordance with Alabama Department Of Corrections policy, the inmate, not knowing what the image was of, or indeed the identity of the mail clerk who deemed this as an offensive image,  is supposed to be able to have the offending item returned to sender, at the inmates expense of course, otherwise it is supposed to be held and then  destroyed after 30 days.

Its a pity that ADOC employees and Officers aren’t as diligent in their duties of care and protection of inmates health and well being as they are at withholding images depicting “nudity”.

 

We’re fed up with being treated like cattle at a slaughterhouse

In my entire life, i can count myself fortunate in the aspect that i’ve never had to go to bed hungry, never had to live in filth with roaches and rats, never had to know the humiliating sting of purposefully degrading comments from someone who is supposed to be here for my protection. That all changed the moment i entered the Alabama Department Of Corrections, unprofessional, racist and ineffective custody. Where to start?

Statement of the conditions in Montgomery Women's Facility
Statement of the conditions in Montgomery Women’s Facility

At over 200% capacity, the existing facilities to house ADOC (Alabama Department Of Corrections) inmates are derelict, unsanitary, ineffective and quite frankly dangerous. Julia Tutwiler prison is almost a century old and built to house no more than 400 inmates. ADOC shows no concern for their inmates safety, nor that of their officers or the surrounding publics by cramming over three times the intended maximum capacity in an 80+ year old building that should be condemned.

Montgomery Women’s Facility is no better. Currently MWF (Montgomery Women’s Facility) is a level II Camp designed to hold 150 work release inmates. Double the number of inmates & you’ll have current MWF count, with less than 40 actively working & exercising their custody. At the time this letter is being written, MWF has no warden & the officers are taking full advantage of that fact. They have no one to answer to and unprofessional conduct, retaliation for previous slights and racially motivated incidents run amok.

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Stop The Abuse. Please, We Need Outside Help

Here at Montgomery Women’s Facility we have been suffering sexual abuse, yet when we speak out we get ridiculed by our peers. Officers treat us like its our fault, we walk on eggshells fearing retaliation and the guilty Officers of abuse, are only transferred. Our story becomes well spread between the inmates and other Officers at the other female facilities – Tutwiler and Birmingham Work Centre.

Statement alleging systemic abuse at Montgomery Women's Facility
Statement alleging systemic abuse at Montgomery Women’s Facility

There is no peace for us anywhere. One woman spoke out here about her suffering of sexual abuse form an Officer as well as mental and emotional abuse from his co-workers and she became ostracised from inmates, from all 3 female facilities. The Officer she reported, told her if she ever told, he would make sure that she was protested at each parole hearing.

In Alabama, if one has protesters then the individual is denied parole and put off for 5 years. Here at Montgomery Women’s Facility we also suffer verbal abuse from Officers as well as employees who work here.The employee who runs our canteen, abuses us constantly. She has cursed some of us, calling us “bitches and hoes”. When we report her, she retaliates by “losing our store slip” and prevents us from getting our food and hygienes.

The other day, a girl left the canteen in tears after this employee called her a heifer and told the girl she could talk to her anyway she fashioned. Then a few minutes later this employee was yelling out another girl, telling her to get her greasy hair head away from her. These girls went to the Officer who is a Lieutenant, who is in charge of grievances against Officers/Employess and this Lieutenant told them that she didn’t have time for this trivial crap.

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This place is inhumane and we’ve lost all our rights, but no one should ever lose the right to be human

I’ve heard that Tutwiler is listed as one of the 10 most dangerous prisons in the country and i find it hard to believe that Montgomery Womens Facility is not on that list. Do people not realise that most of those same officers that helped get Tutwiler on that 10 most dangerous prisons list, have now been transferred here to Montgomery Women’s Facility?

This place is inhumane and we've lost all our rights, but no one should ever lose the right to be human
This place is inhumane and we’ve lost all our rights, but no one should ever lose the right to be human

I understand that the equal Justice Department has implemented numerous things to try to make it just a tad bit safer & a little more human (e.g.) Prison Rape Elimination Act, a grievance system for us to be able to report problems we may be having with an officer etc. My question is what good are those things when the person you report to is “friends” with all the officers and assumes the officer is always right, and the inmate is always wrong?

When we report to Lt. Bentford, she just sweeps it under the rug and nothing even goes into the officers file. When officers get promoted to Sergeant after getting into numerous physical altercations with numerous inmates, then something is wrong, especially when we are expected to follow the rules, but no-one  in authority here is made to follow any rules. They do what they want, when they want and we have to accept that because we are just inmates, right?

Wrong! In case society has forgotten, then let me remind you that all of us here are somebody’s daughter, mother, sister, wife and friend. Yes, we have made mistakes that landed us in hell, but we are not any less human because we messed up. I just need to know where the rehabilitation comes from? We have hardly any classes here, no social workers to help with rebuilding relationships with our kids & families, no job training skills – Nothing- And we are expected to get out of here and magically know how to operate in a world that has become so technologically advanced that you can now turn the heat on in your house by using an app on your iPhone.

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10 Working Showers Between Almost 300 Women

We have been made aware that at the Montgomery Women’s Facility there has been an issue whereby several of the shower heads were damaged or removed. The correctional staff have therefor restricted the use of showers to only those that have a working shower head, including the shower for disabled inmates.
This has resulted in only 10 showers with shower heads being available for almost 300 women and is totally unacceptable given that according to regulations inmates have to shower everyday between certain times. Come on Alabama Department Of Corrections, you have maintenance personnel, how hard is it to replace a shower head?

How to fix the Alabama Department Of Corrections

I have read with great eagerness the coverage given to exposing the conditions within Alabama Department Of Corrections and by exploring ways of improving conditions within Alabama’s prisons and reducing the prison population overall. But then I would, I have a biased view, my wife is currently incarcerated in ADOC and has been for 11 years. We know how the ADOC works, I can only speak of that which I know and have experienced first hand, so my focus lies with the female population incarcerated within Alabama Department Of Corrections.

Ironically it seems to matter not, how serious a crime you are charged with committing, if you find yourself on the wrong side of the law, unless you or your family are financially secure, or are well connected with the old boy network, you have little to no chance of a fair trial, and if you happen to be female, the problem is even more acute. The issues are very complex and multi faceted and a lot of people have a vested interest financially and politically to keep things ticking over just as they are. I will raise the negative aspects first and then follow on with our suggestions on how to fix ADOC, ADOJ and the prison over population problem.

Firstly, as in my wife’s case the District Attorney and prosecutors will seek the most severe charges, and therefor the maximum penalties. They will withhold evidence, prevent witnesses at trial in order to weaken your case and strengthen theirs against you. Instead of a manslaughter charge, they will push for a murder charge. Instead of 10-15 years, you’ll be looking at life, possibly without the possibility of parole.

District Attorney’s, prosecutors and even judges should not be above the law. They should not be allowed to blatantly manipulate the law. They should not present unreliable evidence nor should they be allowed to get away with professional misconduct. They should present all evidence; they should uphold the constitutional rights of the accused and treat them as innocent until proven guilty. They should lay charges as per the crime, not try to convict for murder for example in a blatant manslaughter case in an effort to get another “Murder Conviction” notch on a belt, or another political gong to show just how “tough on crime” they are.

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