Sunday, February 16, 2020

Warden Novak continues to provoke instability at CCI

This is an open letter Ben from FFUP sent, along with related correspondence as a follow up to our meeting about the lockdown and conditions at CCI. We continue to gather information showing the poor conditions and destabilizing policies that Warden Novak and staff at Columbia Correctional create.

A full report on that will be forthcoming. We've received a lot of information and could use help compiling it. Anyone interested in volunteering to help with that, please contact Ben at Thank you. 

Dear Makda, Kevin and Shannon,

Staff at CCI continue to engage in systemic unfair practices with the apparent intention of creating a needlessly hostile environment.
On February 8, a Sgt named Dustin Rohwer began issuing dozens of conduct reports for rules violations involving opened windows. Other Sgts did the same in other units. There are two problems with this:

First, rather than warning people that the rule against opening windows would be more strictly enforced, CCI staff just started handing out conduct reports, disrupting people's lives and visitation.
Second, the conduct reports are being systemically issued to both the person who opened the window, and their cell mates. It seems like the person on the top bunk is the one with access to and reason for opening the window, but, even if that person admits to opening it, exonerating their cell mate, both are punished.

This puts bottom bunk people in a position where they have to either enforce the rule against their cellmate, or suffer consequences for that cellmate's actions. It is nearly guaranteed to create conflict and threaten the stability of the institution.

I cannot understand why CCI staff would make these policy decisions unless they intend to drive up tensions and destabilize the prison. The fact that this happened in multiple units suggests that Warden Novak was at least aware, if not responsible for this decision. 

How many more examples must we provide of Warden Novak intentionally provoking instability before you all address the problem at its root? Please, fire Warden Novak and get someone in there who is dedicated to running a safe and stable institution.

Thank you
Ben Turk

Letter from someone incarcerated at CCI:

I want to share the latest cruel an unusual punishment this prison is making us endure. So over 25 conduct reports where written on inmates for the same infraction on 2-8-2020 on housing unit 5 an word is the same on all the other units. Let me explain why.
So we have windows that open in our cells, we have a cell mate. A Sgt name Dustin Rohwer made rounds outside 3rd shift an wrote down each cell number that had the window open, without giving any warnings or orders to close windows because it is under 55° he wrote everyone a conduct report. Ok its fine, the rules are the rules he has the right to write us up but he never came around an asked who opened the window. So he wrote conduct reports for both inmates. Now my cell mate is on the top bunk, thats where the window is, so he opened the window, that has nothing to do with me, it isnt my job to enforce the rules on the next inmate, my only job is to make sure I follow the rules. So my cell mate told the hearing officer he is the 1 that opened the window an he accepted the disposition only for them to serve me the same exact conduct report shortly after. I denied the disposition an made a statement saying my cellmate is the 1 who opened the window an he took responsibility for it. I had nothing to do with the window being opened because im on the bottom bunk an can't even see out of the window. Still I was found guilty an given 5 days loss of phone an 5 days loss of kiosk. So im being held responsible for the next inmates actions even when he accepts responsibility. This is causing a lot of tension an I just witnessed a inmate get very upset an argue with a white shirt about this issue because his cellmate opened the window while he was asleep an he got in trouble for it. How does this make sense? 1 thing we all can agree on is BOTH inmates did not open that window, so why are both inmates being punished? When I tried to explain this to the white shirt he simply said thats how it is an if your window is open again you both will receive conduct reports there is no way around it. These people violated my due process by not taking evidence I presented in my statement an using to determine guilt. They simply found me guilty. This is a bad work ethic an a poor way to run this institution an it's causing a very hostile environment for us inmates. Iv been told by staff that here was over 65 conduct reports for this same issue at the same time in this institution, you would think they would be smart enough to say, well before we write all these reports let's inform all inmates if their windows are open both inmates will receive a conduct report because its clearly not just 2 or 3 inmates doing this. But no that would be to much like right, they would rather further restrict us from contacting our family an cause more tension an make this institution a more hostile environment than it already is. We need change. We need it fast...

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