Mr. Brian P.
Brian had several stays at George W. Hill Correctional Facility (GWHCF) beginning in 2013 when he was initially charged with Indecent Assault and Corrupting the Morals of a Minor. Since then, he has had both a probation violation, as well as a new charge. Most recently, he was in GWHCF from June 2018 through early November 2018 and he is currently on probation under the Adult Probation Department, which he expects to last until 2022. In total, Brian estimates that he has spent about 18 months at GWHCF.
We asked Brian about the worst thing about being at GWHCF and he said, "Just being away from my family and being treated like a bottom-of-the-barrel scumbag.” Brian thought the Medical Department staff was great with him, but he said it was always difficult to see the cell block counselor. Per Brian, the staffing at GWHCF has changed and there are more "Africans" working there now than there were in 2013. He stated, "They treat everyone bad, because coming from another country and culture they believe that anyone there is wasting the opportunity they've been given by being born in America.” When asked how the staff might improve, Brian said, "They have to respond quicker, especially to medical and psychiatric issues.” He also commented, "It's professional, but it's like cows in a cattle chute - we're just numbers to them.”
When asked about general conditions in the jail, Brian was quick to say that “the food is terrible and medical care services have worsened" since his initial visit in 2013. He once received a sandwich with staples and other debris inside it, and a cup of tea with a "loogie" (floating mucous) in the cup. Brian was taking medically prescribed psych meds when he arrived at GWHCF but it took two weeks for him to see a mental health professional and to be given his proper medications. At one point in time, he was feeling suicidal and was put in a "turtle suit" (some type of straight-jacket apparatus), to ensure he wouldn't harm himself. While staying on the "geriatric unit" he met another inmate with a swollen, discolored, necrotic leg who was unable to get necessary medical treatment, and this had affected the man's reasoning. Brian believes that medical services at GWHCF could and should be improved.
Due to the nature of Brian's charges, he was housed in the Protective Custody (PC) unit. He said that he saw inmate-on-inmate violence on several occasions, but he was clear that he felt that the guards and staff handled these incidents professionally and quickly. If he had any criticism of the security staff it was mild, stating that "occasionally they used excessive force.” In general, Brian felt that the "Medical Department staff acted right and the Security staff just showed up.” He recounted one incident where a friend of his was trying to break up a fight between inmates and a Security Officer came down on the cell block and slammed him against the wall.
When asked to describe his typical day at George W. Hill, Brian said that there was lots of card playing, chess, and TV watching. He further stated that there were three times per day when the inmates could go out to the "Yard" (a fenced-in outdoor area). Access to this "Yard" was weather dependent and no one went out when it was too hot, too cold, raining, snowing, or when staffing shortages occurred. According to Brian, a voracious reader, there was no Recreational Library services that he was aware of.
Brian was very proactive during his stays at GWHCF and completed the following therapeutic and educational programs:
Sex Offender Education Program
PREP 1 Program (Drug & Alcohol)
Thresholds Program (Religion-based education)
Physical Fitness Programs (several)
Brian noted that at times the guards would not let him out of his cell to attend these programs. He said this was particularly true on weekends during his stay on Unit #10.
We asked Brian what he wants people to get from his story and he said the following: "Don't go there! If you do go there, go with a good attitude and do what you have to do to get out - and don't go back!"
Note: pseudonyms have been used to protect the privacy of the individuals who shared their story with us.