Federal District Court Judge Harvey E. Schleisinger
Civil Action No: 3:17-cv-820-J-34PBD
The Honorable Justice Schleisinger,
I'm a death row inmate housed under the unconstitutional conditions that you have acknowledge and is before you in this conditions suit. From what I've been told, you've already informed the state that these conditions of solitary confinement, ''are unconstitutional.'' Well it seems that the state and the counsel that's representing some of those inmates, are falling short on getting these unconstitutional conditions corrected. And as each and every day passes more psychological harm is taking place to those of us enduring them. As well as the physical harm to our body. For it is extremely difficult to get motivated, to move around in less than 63 square feet of space. And there's a lot less than that when you factor in the foot lockers and bunk.
If you look at my DC6-229 movement chart from Thursday May 14, 2020 until Friday May 22, 2020 you will see I got one two and a half hour recreation period which didn't even met the bare minimum laid out in 33-601.830 (7),(i) which is suppose to guarantee us six full hours. These people do not care about our mental and physical wellbeing. This cell is mentally and physically taxing! And during this covid-19 pandemic, we've lost even more out of cell time due to visitation being cancelled. We've tried to get the FDOC to allow us the two free weekly phone calls, the video visits and the video grams that population is allowed, to no avail. Its not that they can't, its that they want. Other states have moved fast to correct unconstitutional conditions on death row. Pennsylvania just took measures dividing death row into three different institutions. Which would make since for Florida to do. And Oregon also opened up their death row unit. Please see attached articles on both Penn, and Oregon death row unit.
I'm sure your aware of this study here below.
A comprehensive meta-analysis of the existing literature on solitary confinement within and beyond the criminal justice setting found that"[t]he empirical record compels an unmistakable conclusion: this experience is psychologically painful, can be traumatic and harmful, and puts many of those who have been subject to it at risk of long-term... damage." Specifically, based on an examination of representative sample of sensory deprivation studies, the researchers found that virtually everyone exposed to such conditions is affected in some way. They further explained that"[t]here is not a single study of solitary confinement wherein non-voluntary confinement that lasted for longer than ten days failed to result in negative psychological effects." And as another researcher elaborated, "all[individuals subject to solitary confinement] will... experience a degree of stupor, difficulties thinking and concentration, obsessional thinking, agitation, irritability, and difficulty tolerating external stimuli." Anxiety and panic are common side effects. Depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, psychosis, hallucinations, paranoia, claustrophobia, and suicidal ideation are also frequent results. Additional studies included in the aforementioned meta-analysis further"underscored the importance of social contact for the creation and maintenance of 'self."" In other words, in the absence of interactions with others, an individual's very identity is at risk of disintegration.
I suffer from most of this, and didn't understand it, until I began reading this and other studies on the effects of these cages, that mentally and physically steal your soul and the very essence of your being.
Reading the scientific findings verses living and experiencing this mental destruction, is like trying to explain to a deaf man what its like to hear, or a blind man what its like to see. Its impossible to describe. And for each individual, we're experiencing our own hell, struggling not only with this cage, but also with a life time of mistakes and regrets that haunt us. Mistakes that I live and relive daily due to these conditions of solitary confinement.
This covid-19 virus is effecting us and our families, like it is everyone else. And the administration will not even allow, small allowances, such as weekly phone calls, video visitation, video grams, or extra recreation. Things that would give us and our families comfort and solitude during these very difficult moments.
What we really need is these restrictions and conditions lifted. Men in the pilot program aren't having to go through strip searches going to the shower. Their talking to their families every week, and getting a break from these cages five days a week. Yet the rest of us sit here enduring these unconstitutional conditions of solitary confinement because of this stigma of,''Death Row." When in all actuality, we are far more well behaved than any other status in the FDOC. We're around each other at recreation, in visitation, but then turned around and get thrown back in this cage like some type of animal.
Your Honor I'm pleading for you to step in, tell the attorneys that's it, we're correcting it now. Use Pennsylvania death row as a model and correct these unconstitutional conditions of solitary confinement now. We need your help, because these attorneys clearly aren't looking out for our best interest. Yes the daily mental and physical damage being done to us men who are suffering under these conditions seems to be little to no concern of the state or the counsel.
I thank you for your time, help and consideration.
Ronald Wayne Clark Jr #812974
Press article links and letter to senators and House Representatives.
Dear Senators and House Representatives,
I'm coming to you concerning the death row conditions suit that is currently in arbitration. What counsel is attempting, is going to fail, and when it does, its going to be costly to the Florida tax payers. See their trying to retro fit 24 of the 336 cells in P-Dorm at Union C.I. as day rooms to elevate the current conditions which have been found to be unconstitutional. Here's several problems that exist.
1.) Florida currently has over 340 death row inmates. P-Dorm only houses 336 inmates. Taking 24 cells offline puts you at 312 available cells. Thirty something short, and that's without any further growth in the population.
2.) The biggest problem that can be seen, is overall conditions of this poorly constructed 30 year old building, that has structural problems, serious plumbing issues where feces, urine and other bio hazardous sewage will spilling out of the toilets into the floor.This has been an on going problem for years. And many men who are living back there, can and will testify to this. This in and of itself has been found to be unconstitutional. See Williams vs. Griffin, 952 F.2d 820, at 825(4th Cir.1991) and McCord vs. Maggio, 927 F.2d 844 at 847 (5thCir.1991) ( cell flooded with raw sewage and foul water was a "clear violation of the Eighth Amendment") The current plumbing problems that are happening now, and has happened since the building opened in 1992 has been found to be unequivocally unconstitutional.
This building also has mold and mildew in the back of the cells, on the first floor, where this sewage water has seeped into the opening in the back wall over the past three decades. An adequate inspection by a certified mold inspector, will in fact shut this building down. This is something that should be conducted before sinking tens of thousands of Florida tax dollars into a doomed structure that's eventually going to be condemned when the right inspector comes in. And this inspection needs to be conducted for the health safety and security of both staff and inmates who live and work in these dangerous conditions. For the record, UCI R-Dorm was condemned several years back, due to mold. P-Dorm needs to be inspected, by a certified mold inspector that is assigned by the legislatures.
3.) The current arbitration procedures, is six inmates out in a day for four hours five days a week. During this four hour period, they want one officer standing there for four hours observing those six inmates. They'll need 24 officers to fulfill this type of plan. This plan is not financially sound. This is overkill. These men are no more dangerous than the other ten thousand convicted murders that's roaming around in general population.
Now lets look at what Pennsylvania just did to elevate the unconstitutional conditions of there death row housing unit, Florida may want to look at instituting a similar plan and policy. For Pennsylvania corrected their death row conditions, by dividing them into three different prisons, and making them their own section within each prison. Florida could easily do the same thing.
A.) Florida state prison general population would be cleared out. All death row inmates from north Florida and the panhandle would be housed there as there own population.
B.) Polk, Sumter or Marion CI. would have a section within there institution, that would house all central Florida death row inmates.
C.) Dade CI would house all south Florida death row inmates.
In creating three different death row housing units in each region, this would save tax dollars on transporting inmates back and forth to and from court. And on attorneys travel expenses, having to travel from south Florida, all the way up to north Florida to see their clients. This makes since on that level alone.
Plus you would have three institutions to keep special reviews apart. And it would be less burdensome on all three institutions.
You've got to consider this, a death row inmate has more to lose, than an inmate walking around with a walking death sentence ( LIFE IN PRISON) for the death row inmate is trying to get his sentence reduced, and possibly resentenced to a lesser sentence. Therefore they are less likely to commit a violent act. Which is why death row inmates are the most well behaved, out of all other statuses in the Florida Dept of Corrections. You've got other states who have similar policies and procedures in place. Which is proof that this is a successful measure. And this could easily be set up there in Florida within a couple of months, at a much reduced price! The state is wanting to postpone the manufacturing and instituting of these day rooms until July 2021,due to budget restraints. Which is unacceptable leaving these men housed in unconstitutional conditions for the next year. This needs to be corrected immediately, for these cells have been found to be mentally and physically harmful to the men who are housed in them.
I'm hoping by bring all this to your attention that you'll take immediate action and get involved in this arbitration that is being setup to fail.
Thank you for your time and hopefully your help
Ms Verplanken - FCADP President
Cc : Senator Bracy - Senator Brandes - Senator Bean - Senator Georges B.Gainer - Senator Joe Gruters - Senator Gayle Harrell - Keith Perry - Darryl E.Rouson - Senator Annette Taddeo - House Representative Dianne Hart - House Representative Anna V.Eskamani - House Representative Carlos G.Smith - House Representative Susan V.Lopes