Cynthia D. Pere
23651 King William Road
West Point, Virginia
Date: August12, 2005
Dear Honorable Governor Granholm:
I'm writing you concerning, Harry Bout 180741, an inmate at the Carson City Correctional Facility. This letter concerns abusive behavior exhibited by the guards and staff toward Harry and Harry's level placement. Before I get into this matter with you I would like to tell you that there was an agreement drawn up between the Dutch Government and the State of Michigan concerning Harry's level placement and this specific agreement was drawn up in 2002 to place Harry in a “point appropriate level status”. There is also a Michigan Statute [The Cain Case] which prohibits inappropriate level placement even in cases of over crowding.
Harry has a history of problems at this prison and those of us who look out for him are absolutely outraged over what takes place in that facility concerning Harry Bout. I’m an inmate advocate who spends a great deal of time sending these issues inmates have -to the right people like you- in order to put a stop to the abuses in these prisons and to stop inappropriate level placement.
Back in 1990, Harry was attacked by a guard -putting Harry Bout in the hospital-which two of those days he was unconscious. Measures were taken toward the guard after Harry was nearly killed by him. Now we have more issues to deal with in the prison concerning guards and staff toward Harry and this has to stop now.
Harry Bout filed a grievance against an prison officer because after roll call the guard would not excuse Harry Bout to go to the toilet when he requested-he was ill with diarrhea-and as a result the inmate, Harry, had soiled his clothing, embarrassed, and totally humiliated he filed a grievance against that officer. Since the day that Harry filed that grievance his life has turned into hell because those officers have done nothing but retaliate against Harry Bout for filing that grievance.
Harry has a right to file a grievance and no inmate should have to live in fear because they filed a grievance. This is why so many inmates will not report abusive behavior by guards-they live in fear of what the guards will do to them and the scary thing is they are right. There should be another way to file a grievance without an inmate having to fear for his life. I believe the grievance was against a guard named Houck.
After reporting the officer in Harry's grievance things began to happen. It seems that officer Deputy Warden Fuqua was the one who responded to his grievance with RUM Upton. They made a real issue of pulling his soiled underwear out of trash degrading Harry with horrible comments. Deputy Warden Fuqua was the one who raised Harry’s custody level to 4 from level 2 and his reasons were that they have an 'unwritten policy' to send word out to other inmates that fighting is not acceptable behavior. This defies what the MDOC says that inmates are to be placed according to their management security points.
Please keep in mind shorty after the incident, with Harry soiling his clothes, RUM Upton made a catty remark to Harry that level 4 is where Harry should go if he can’t 'hold it in' keep in mind that Harry's cell does not have a toilet. Now this is not a reason to up an inmates security level but that remark Upton made set the pace for every thing that took place after the embarrassing incident that Harry had to experience. Keep in mind that Just letting Harry go use the toilet would avoided everything that you will be reading here. Also, making an example out of Harry is not the criteria in policy to depart from the ‘point guidelines’.
The other thing that concerns me is that Fuqua violated the grievance policy by having the person Harry grieved against investigate the grievance against himself. Who would ever have the person grieved against handle their own grievance? It makes no sense and I'm sure the prison policy doesn't allow that. Then Fuqua denied Harry's grievance and in the process eliminated Deputy Trieweiler from the grievance process.
When I called the prison and spoke to Deputy Trieweiler I was told by him that the case was still being investigated but he lied to me because the hearing against Harry had already taken place requiring Harry to spend time in the hole so at that point the investigation was already over. So why did he lie to me about the investigation being on going?
The inmate who attacked Harry Bout-his name unknown to me- also went in the hole for fighting but that is usually done in these forced fighting situations so other inmates and staff don’t question why didn’t he go into the hole as well but while in the hole- as the inmates call it-this inmate that started the fight told Harry he was not his enemy that Houck had put him up to it. This inmate that started the fight with Harry is a porter of some kind for the guards and known as the guards pet inmate. So generally these inmates will do as the guards ask to avoid any problems on their behalf. I think the inmate who attacked Harry began to feel guilty for his part in the conspiracy against Harry.
Ironically enough after this inmate told Harry that Houck put him up to fighting with Harry suddenly this inmate disappears out of the hole. Harry believes he was transferred to another prison so he wouldn't turn the guards in. Actually I wonder if this inmate is all right after threatening to report a guard. This can be dangerous for an inmate.
In the area where the fight took place there is usually a guard there maybe two according to Harry and there is a security camera there as well. Why wasn’t the fight on the security camera and where were the guards that were suppose to be posted there? They suddenly disappear? So there was no protection for Harry and nothing to prove that this inmate attacked him first. Harry has a right to defend himself or he could be killed by another inmate. Harry was tried and found guilty of fighting no matter who started it or what happened. At this point is when Fuqua upped Harry's point to level 4 from level 2. Again because there are toilets in the cells at level four and the guard says he wants to send a message to other inmates that fighting is not tolerable.
Harry's points are now higher placing him in an hostile environment at level 4. This is not proper level placement by any means and I imagine it doesn't conform to the MDOC rules. They conspired to place Harry in harm's way for further punishment at level 4 security as if 30 days in the humid hot hole isn't enough plus being forced to strip naked. I don't know how you all visualize this as you read it but it's total barbaric behavior to me. Is this the United States of America? Do we allow people to be treated like this?
Harry is in the hole until the 21 st of August and when he is released from the hole he will go to level 4 security-Harry is getting up in age and this can be dangerous for him. Harry spends his days writing letters to prove he did not commit murder that is all he does. He just wants to find a way to prove his innocence and doesn't bother other people. His attorney has proved that Harry did not commit murder and just has to get it through the courts but so far no one wants to listen or help this man gain his freedom back. Harry is not only serving time for a crime he did not commit he is being threatened again by staff as he was in 1990 when a guard darn near killed him so as you can see there is a history of violence against Harry.
The day after Harry was found guilty of fighting the guard came and slid a suppository under the door saying, “Now you can shit all you want” all the while laughing. Its not bad enough to be humiliated now he has to put up with all these degrading comments.
Harry was complaining of not being able to breath- they know he has asthma and jeopardized his life by placing him in the hole with no air moving and no air-conditioning. Harry was lying naked on the floor with his head under the door so he could get air. I called Trieweiler and told him that I’m asthmatic and you can’t put a person with asthma in a tight cell -with no air behind steel doors- and no ventilation in the cell. After I called they did turn the fans on or something similar because Harry told me he could hear them running in the block. They were intentionally trying to make Harry suffer more. If I had not called on the ventilation I don't think Harry would have survived that being asthmatic.
Next thing: Harry is asleep when the guards come banging on the door in a threatening manner telling Harry to back up to the door with his hands behind him-Harry was a sleep-not threatening them in any way-they handcuffed him [guard Burns did this] and place his hands through the food slot pushing down on his hands with all his weight. Then the guard Burns took and twisted the cuffs so hard around his wrist Harry said it felt like he was crushing all the bones in his wrist bruising them and causing them swell. The guards Fiddler and Sgt. Holland did nothing to stop the abuse they just stood there watching..
They then moved Harry handcuffed to the showers so he couldn’t see what they were doing in his cell. Meanwhile be aware that Harry has kept logs of these events while in the hole. The inmate across the hall saw the guards ransack Harry’s cell going through his legal mail [illegally] and personal letters. Later Harry finds they unrolled the toilet paper all over the cell and they took his 6 page log of events that he wrote about from the day he was attacked by the inmate and the guards took the paper with the names and numbers of prisoner witnesses Harry had.
They left Harry in the shower handcuffed about 45 minutes and when they returned to Harry they took the cuffs of his wrist and made him strip down naked. One of the Sgts. Showed up and I'm not sure exactly how these events unfolded the way Harry wrote it but this Sgt noticed his swollen bruised hands and wrist and I believe called medical for him.
Apparently this Sgt asked for the paper work on what was removed and these officers-if they even deserve to be called that- started making memos and notes looking at each other’s notes trying to get their story straight and apparently according to Harry the Sgt saw them doing this also.
Later a male nurse came in and looked at Harry's wrist telling Harry he will document this in his medical records. The shift commander, A woman Captain named Peterson, came in to see Harry and he showed her his wrist at this time while Harry is still in the shower room. Captain Peterson saw that Harry got back to his cell without further harm. Here is another situation where an officer sees foul play going on so did she bring these guards up on charges for what they did to Harry?
The witness was an inmate named Joe Thomason 264996 who is also in the hole near Harry. These events were sent to me written as a daily ledger by Harry Bout while in segregation. This is a terrifying experience for anyone to have to go through and its also illegal to abuse inmates. This is a criminal act by prison officers who have committed conspiracy to harm and inmate who is trying to exercise his right to file a grievance.
Harry needs to remain at level 2 and put back in his cell with his belongings in tact. If they put him in level 4 they take all his belongings away from him-he can't afford to buy more because he has no money- and these guards and officers know this. Again, putting Harry in harm's way.
Harry is in there paying a debt to society for what they feel he has done. He is not there to be beaten, abused and have to listen to derogatory remarks by guards and officers who abuse their authority and abuse the system. .
This letter is going out to enough people that I’m anxious to see who will take a stand- and 'care enough' -to put a stop to this in your Michigan Prisons. I do hope you feel shamed by this and take the steps necessary to investigate this travesty and put a stop to tormenting Harry and other inmates in this facility.
Cc: Department of Corrections Internal affairs division; Andrea Krause, Prosecuting Attorney; US Department of Justice; Adult protective Services; and Paul Burns, Senate Judiciary Committee and William Van Regenmorter, State Represenative.