Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Breaking: Feds Arrest ex-cop Burge

Breaking: Feds Arrest ex-cop Burge
Chicago Tribune, October 21, 2008
[ http://www.chicagobreakingnews.com/2008/10/feds-arrest-ex-chicago-cop-burge.html ]

Retired Chicago police Cmdr. Jon Burge was arrested at his home near Tampa, Fla., today on charges of lying in a civil case about whether he and other officers under his command tortured and physically abused suspects in police custody dating back to the 1980s, according to the U.S. attorney's office.
Burge was charged with two counts of obstruction of justice and one count of perjury in a three-count indictment unsealed today following his arrest.

The charges alleged that Burge lied and impeded court proceedings in November 2003 when he provided false written answers to questions in a civil lawsuit alleging that he and others engaged in torture and abuse of suspects.

Burge, 60, now living in Apollo Beach, Fla., near Tampa, was scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Tampa at 1 p.m. Chicago time.

"There is no place for torture and abuse in a police station," said U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald in a news release. "There is no place for perjury and false statements in federal lawsuits. No person is above the law, and nobody--even a suspected murderer--is beneath its protection."

The investigation is continuing, authorities said.

A special prosecutors' report paid for by Cook County and released in 2006 concluded that dozens of suspects had been tortured by Chicago police but that no one could be prosecuted because the statute of limitations had run out.

Today's indictment gets around that legal problem by charging Burge with perjury, not with any instances of actual torture.

Burge denied any torture took place while answering written questions in 2003 as part of the lawsuit filed by one of the alleged victims, Madison Hobley.

According to the indictment, the Hobley lawsuit included a specific allegation that police officers placed a plastic bag over Hobley's head until he lost consciousness.

The indictment cites the questions and answers during the civil questioning, noting that Burge was asked whether he ever used torture methods--including beatings, the use of restraints or machines to deliver electric shocks--or whether other officers were involved.

Burge objected to the question as overly broad, and then answered: "I have never used any techniques set forth above as a means of improper coercion of suspects while in detention or during interrogation."

In January, the city approved a $20 million settlement with four alleged torture victims.

According to the indictment, Burge was a Chicago police officer from 1970 to 1993, a detective at Area 2 police headquarters on the South Side from 1972 to 1974, and an Area 2 sergeant from 1977 to 1980.

From about 1981 to 1986 he was a lieutenant and supervisor of detectives in the Area 2 violent crimes unit. Later, he was commander of the Bomb and Arson Unit and later commander of Area 3 detectives.

He was suspended by the police department in 1991 and fired in 1993.

--Jeff Coen and Angela Rozas, Chicago Tribune

Friday, October 17, 2008

ACLU: Federal death row inmates denied health care

ACLU: Federal death row inmates denied health care

Death row inmates at the federal prison in Terre Haute are routinely denied access to medical, dental and mental health care, the American Civil Liberties Union said Wednesday in a letter to a governmental official.

One diabetic prisoner showing symptoms of high blood sugar had to wait two hours to be treated with insulin, the ACLU said after a yearlong investigation. And some prisoners with dental problems chose simply to have all their teeth removed rather than suffer pain while waiting for complicated procedures, it said.

The probe by the ACLU's National Prison Project uncovered "grossly inadequate" conditions that "fail to meet constitutional standards and jeopardize the health and safety" of the more than 50 inmates awaiting execution at the prison, the organization said in the letter to Harley Lappin, director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

"The Constitution prohibits deliberate indifference to the serious medical needs of prisoners, including those sentenced to die," ACLU attorney Gabriel B. Eber said in a news release. He called on officials to "do whatever is necessary" to correct the problems.

Bureau of Prisons spokeswoman Felicia Ponce said she could not comment because she was not sure whether Lappin had seen the letter.

Eber said his investigation included interviews with prisoners and a review of hundreds of pages of prison records.

According to the letter, prison officials do not promptly respond to medical emergencies, provide "woefully deficient" access to acute health care and consistently ignore signs of possibly serious medical conditions. It cited one instance of an inmate pressing an emergency call button in his cell for 45 minutes before receiving attention for a heart problem.

It took 3 hours for a doctor to arrive and for the prisoner to be taken to the prison hospital, and another 5 days before the prisoner received his 1st dose of medication prescribed by a cardiologist.

"The failure of prison officials to adequately respond to the medical emergencies of prisoners, and to ensure proper access to critical medications, is inexplicable and could well result in prisoner deaths," Eber said.

One inmate who was denied mental health treatment asked for immediate execution, the letter said. It also said inmates are subjected to intense noise that results in sleep deprivation and "significant psychological distress."

(source: Associated Press)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Tamms Prison Keeps Prisoner Secluded-Posted By Beauty

Isolated from the Real World

Tamms prison keeps prisoners secluded

by Silvana Tabares

Imagine being in a top-security prison cell in permanent solidarity confinement 24/7 with absolutely no human contact. This is the situation at Tamms C-Max (Closed Maximum Security) prison, where approximately 200 prisoners don’t know why they are there or when they will be released. Tamms prison is located in Tamms, a village in Southern Illinois, about 365 miles or almost six hours away from the Chicago area.
According to a medical expert, the ramifications of isolation can have an effect on a human’s mental state of mind. A coalition of activists are advocating for a bill that would enforce regulation at Tamms prison.
Steve Martínez, 40, has a brother (whose name was asked to be withdrawn from this story) who is incarcerated in Tamms. At age 18, his brother was sentenced to 25 years in prison after being convicted of murder. He is now 38 and has been in solidarity confinement at Tamms for the past eight years.
Martínez said his brother was transferred to Tamms without notice or an explanation. He said his brother should serve his sentence, but not in solidarity confinement. He is concerned about his brother’s ability to function socially when he is released – given the known tendency of prolonged isolation to cause mental deterioration.
“These are not only prisoners, but they are people that are being isolated in a cell for years,” Martínez said. “They are warehousing people. Nobody knows about them. No evaluations [are] being done.”
Martínez’ significant other, Bernadette Maciel, is an advocate of the Supermax Legislation Reform Bill, HB6651. She is an active member of the Tamms Year Ten campaign, a coalition of prisoners, ex-prisoners, families and concerned citizens who are protesting the policies at Tamms. If approved, the bill will allow prisoners to remain at Tamms for no more than a year.
“Men have been there more than a year,” Maciel said. “Those men don’t know how to interact with other people.”
The legislation wouldn’t allow prisoners with a serious mental illness to be sent to Tamms.
Terry Kupers, M.D., is a psychiatrist and an expert witness on prisons and prisoner’s mental health. He said social interaction in prisons is needed.
“They are not taking part in activities to succeed when they get out,” Kupers said.
He said isolation brings negative percussions and if left untreated, can lead to long lasting negative effects.

Facts about Tamms
C-Max prison
• Tamms opened in March 1998 as a “supermax” prison intended for short-term incarceration.
• One hundred of the men now at Tamms have been there since the prison opened in 1998 – 10 years ago.
• Many men at Tamms have no record of prison violence or disciplinary problems.
• Taxpayers spend between $60,000 and $100,000 a year to keep a man in Tamms. It costs three to five times as much as it costs to keep someone in a maximum-security prison.

For more information about Tamms prison, visit @link href='http://www.yearten.org'>www.yearten.org and @link href='http://www.idoc.state.il.us'>www.idoc.state.il.us.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Ex-Opressed Express News

This Blog is dedicated to giving a voice to Ex-offenders
and their up hill climb back into society.
Many of them say that when they get out of jail it is like
climbing up a slick snowy mountain with bare feet
when it comes to getting jobs, housings as well as for some
paternity of their own children back from the State.
Ex-Opress gives you the {Press} to express your concerns

In The Windy City of Chicago
American Inmates are being allegely
(hurt by)
Ms. Beauty Turner
National Award winning Journalist
Activist / Ground breaking Researcher
e-mail me at BeautyTurner@Gmail.com

Lavern Williamson came into my office In September located at 4859 South Wabash she was holding two white sheets of note book paper that was folded over to make a pocket.
Williamson was holding it gently as if it was a time bomb with a hair trigger ready to blow up.
As I reached for it she yelled loudly “Don’t touch that!
I jumped away from it as if I was a frog leaping off of a lily pad.
What is it I asked. Sounding rather confused.
“My son sent it too me from the county jail,” Williamson said.
When I finally looked at it, it reminded me of a greenish graduated sugar
type of powder. But was nothing that I wanted to taste.
“Ms. Turner the young men that are inmates in Division One and in Division six in the Cook County Jail are complaining that this powder is falling from the ceiling into the showers making them break out with a nasty rash,” According too Williamson.
Williamson told me that there are other young mothers and inmates siblings that have also received this powder in the mail from their love ones in jail, and they are complaining to their family that they are breaking out with a nasty black and reddish rash all over their bodies.
Geneva Allen a concern sister called me on September 12th telling me about her brother Cornell Jackson who is an inmate in the Cook County Jail in Division One.
Allen told me that when she went to see her brother in the County Jail her brother showed her his chest it was big black patches swinging around his body like a merry go round.
He wrote a letter that talked about the conditions that him and other inmates have to endure.
“They do not change the blanket’s regularly, I myself and my celly have had the same blanket’s every since they moved us from Division Eleven to Division one about mid August 2006 to September 2007,” Jackson letter read. We are also taking shower’s in an infested Shower with rust falling from the ceiling, mildew on the shower walls, there’s even mildew in the sink, where we wash ours clothing.”
Jackson went on to say that there are 36 inmates on each deck using the same shower.
“Jackson been trying too see a doctor since early July about his rash, but
They just ignore him,” Allen said.
“America treat the prisoners in Guatonamo bay better than they treat they own citizens, Allen said sounding angry.
I called Charles Mano’ from the John Howard Association an organization that advocate on behalf of inmates. He went into the jail to see about Jackson.
I also called Penny Mayteck Communication Director at the Cook County Jail and told her what the family members and inmates are telling me about powder falling into the showers allegedly making inmates break out.
I told her about Cornell Jackson request to see a doctor.
Mayteck told me that she would look into it.
One day later Jackson was seen by the doctor.
Since then seven other inmates and their families called me and wrote too me about the same powder allegedly making them break out with a rash.
Kelvin Lee- who is an inmate mother Sue Lee told me that her son has been trying to see a doctor for over six months allegedly suffering from an ear ache.
Judy Rollin said that her Fiancé George Smith an inmate is also suffering from a nasty rash after taking a shower.
Too the Cook County Jail Department if these inmates are experiencing nasty, filthy conditions don’t you think that through common sense that your officers are also at risk as well as the general public?

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Ex-Opress Express News

Part of: Poor People Millennium Movement
Founder;Ms. Beauty Turner
This blog mission is to give a voice to ex-offenders