Ms. Shonette Parrilla
Ms. Parrilla was employed at the George W. Hill Correctional Facility from January 2008 until December 2008. She worked in the Medical Department as a Medical Records Clerk/Medical Assistant. According to Ms. Parrilla, typically, she spent half her time working with Medical Records and half her time providing direct care services to inmates. Shonette indicated that she normally saw 30-40 patients each day and most presented with the symptom of "chest pains.” Ms. Parrilla said that inmates often had problems other than chest pains, but these were often ignored. The facility protocol was to send any inmate complaining of "chest pains" to the Medical Department immediately, so the inmates used this medical problem quite often. Per Ms. Parrilla, she received a total of eighty hours of training before assuming her duties at the jail (guards received double this amount of training hours). This training was primarily focused on institutional policies and on how to respond to certain possible inmate behaviors she might encounter. This training was broken down into five day weeks, eight hours per day, for two weeks. The motto of this training was often expressed as "Care, Custody, and Control" and "Firm, Fair, and Consistent,” but Ms. Parrilla stated that she did not witness her fellow staff members at G. W. Hill being firm, fair, and consistent. Ms. Parrilla was very clear that there was nothing fair and nothing caring about how inmates were treated there.
Ms. Parrilla stated that inmates were routinely disrespected both by security staff (guards) and by administrative staff (non-security) personnel. To make matters worse, Ms. Parrilla indicated that there was a great deal of inappropriate sexual behavior occurring between guards and staff, guards and inmates, and staff and inmates. Shonette made sure to advise us that this was not an isolated problem, but rather it was a widespread practice. In one horrific case, Ms. Parrilla told us about an inmate named "Erica" who was in the Medical Department in a "clear cell" for observation purposes. Ms. Parrilla indicated that Erica told her that she was frequently taken by guards into a broom closet and forced to have sex. Ms. Parrilla also stated that despite being in a "clear cell" where she was under constant surveillance, Erica somehow managed to get a black eye one morning. This inmate was eventually moved to Norristown State Hospital, a technique that G. W. Hill staff used to deal with inmates who "caused trouble.”
Another serious problem is contraband entering the facility and, according to Shonette, George W. Hill's guards and staff members brought the majority of banned substances (tobacco, cell phones, and drugs) into the jail. Ms. Parrilla said that Medical Department staff were required to eat in the Officers Dining Room (ODR), and this facility served the same food that the inmates were fed - she characterized this food as "mediocre slop.” Interestingly, she said that management and staff personnel who worked in the Administration Building were permitted to bring in their own food.
Ms. Parrilla initially liked her job at George W. Hill, but after she'd been there for a while and experienced how people were treated, particularly inmates, she decided to leave her position. She reported that she felt as if none of her co-workers liked their jobs either. She advised that "everyone seemed unhappy there.” The straw-that-broke-the-camel's-back for her was the 2008 suicide of a young, white, female inmate at the George W. Hill facility. Per Ms. Parrilla, following this tragic event, she was tasked with leading a team of Medical Records personnel in trying to find a "missing" Medication Administration Record (MAR) for the deceased inmate. These forms list all of the medications that inmates have been prescribed and are usually kept in their medical records files. Per Shonette, they are normally under the direct custody of Staff Nurses. Following an exhaustive search, the deceased inmate's MAR was never located. At this time, a Hispanic male came to George W. Hill from the GEO Group corporate headquarters and advised Ms. Parrilla "the Feds are about to get involved in this situation and it's going to get messy. I like you, so I advise you to go to HR right away and turn in your resignation.” Ms. Parrilla followed his advice and resigned her position. Per Shonette, one person, Ms. Noreen Greenleaf, Healthcare Administrator (HCA), was "walked off" the property, arrested, and ultimately held responsible for the missing medical record. Interestingly, Shonette told us that she would have left her job at G. W. Hill anyway, even if she had not been told to resign.
Ms. Parrilla has a unique perspective on the George W. Hill Correctional Facility, in that she not only worked there as part of the Medical Department staff, but she also stayed there one night as an inmate. Her stint as an inmate encompassed a 24-hour period during the winter of 2018. Her charges revolved around a landlord/tenant dispute and ended with Ms. Parrilla being charged with "Writing Bad Checks" and "Theft of Services.” Shonette was an inmate at G. W. Hill for only 24 hours, but it was long enough for her to get a good sense of how inmates are treated there. She recounted her experience of being locked in with a group of other women, one of whom was menstruating and asking for pads and feminine hygiene products. Not only did this woman have difficulty obtaining these basic supplies, but on at least one occasion, a male guard came into the holding cell and shouted, "I wish you bitches would shut the fuck up!"
Ms. Parrilla was embarrassed to be at G. W. Hill as an inmate after having worked there for almost a year ten years before. She felt that word of her having worked there in the past got around fast and she observed several guards and staff members whispering about her. When asked about the worst part of being there, Ms. Parrilla indicated "having the guards withhold necessary items from inmates and the way they talked to inmates (disrespectfully).” Shonette felt that the guards and staff at G. W. Hill were constantly cutting corners and interacting with the inmates based on their emotional responses and not according to their training. She really felt that guards and staff there could and should be more considerate of people and their basic needs. Being both a worker there and an inmate there has given Ms. Parrilla a full view of the George W. Hill Correctional Facility and her one-word description for the institution is "CORRUPT.”
Ms. Parrilla's brother bailed her out of G. W. Hill after only one day and she was offered an "ARD" disposition, but she could not afford the $2,500.00 cost of the program. Ultimately, she was found guilty in this case and she was sentenced to Probation until 2022. Following her bail out from George W. Hill, she was visited by a Constable and evicted from her apartment. She and her four daughters were homeless for the next two months and they spent time with friends, relatives, and at a family shelter. Sadly, Shonette feels that most people don't want to help criminals and drug addicts - they just don't want to be bothered. Not so with Shonette, she wants to help women and particularly women veterans become more self-sufficient. Ms. Parrilla is bright, energetic, and has a heart for serving others. She has founded an organization called "Veterans 4 Recovery" and she hopes to open a recovery house in Chester, PA. In the meantime, she has appointments scheduled in the near future at S.C.I. Muncy and KINTOC, where she will be bringing her program to the inmates and residents of these respective facilities. Despite her criminal conviction and her experiences at George W. Hill, she is committed to being a force for good in her community and a strong advocate for women and veterans.