Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Impunity For Guards Who Abuse Prisoners In Cuomo's State Prison System, Silence From Political Establishment

Along with the Dutchess district attorney, the US attorney for the southern district is investigating  the beating death of an inmate at Fishkill prison by a group of guards called the "Beat Up Squad."

There were 60+ allegations of prisoners being beaten, choked, and threatened with waterboarding at Clinton Correctional after Governor Cuomo visited the facility to re-enact a prison break in June.

Both these stories were reported by the NY Times - and now the Times has another one about prisoner abuse in the state prison system:

A few days after Ramon Fabian arrived at the Ulster Correctional Facility on the southern edge of the Catskill Mountains last year, a guard conducting the morning head count yelled at him to shut up.
Inmates at Ulster, a medium-security New York State prison, are required to stay in place and keep their voices low during the count. Mr. Fabian, who was serving a one-year sentence for a drug conviction, had been talking to another inmate, but he said in a recent interview that he thought he had been following the rules.

After the count was over, the guard escorted him past a set of double doors out of view of other inmates and the prison’s electronic surveillance cameras. Mr. Fabian said the officer, Michael Bukowski, a seven-year veteran, had then ordered him to face the wall and brace himself in the “pat-frisk” position, arms outstretched and legs spread. As he did so, Mr. Fabian recalled, he looked down and saw the toe of a boot swinging up between his legs.

He saw a flash of light, felt a piercing pain and collapsed. “He told me to get up, but all I could do was crawl back to my cube,” Mr. Fabian, who is now 21, told investigators later. He lay on the floor in his cubicle in the prison’s dormitory, groaning and crying, for almost an hour before hobbling to lunch. In the mess hall, a sergeant sent him to the prison’s medical unit. He was soon loaded into a van and driven 80 miles north to a hospital in Albany. Doctors there performed emergency surgery, removing part of his right testicle.
Questioned by an investigator from the state corrections department’s inspector general’s office a few days after the episode on July 22, 2014, Officer Bukowski said he knew nothing about the injury. He said he had “counseled” Mr. Fabian about the importance of keeping quiet during the count. He acknowledged that he had raised his voice, and that when he sent Mr. Fabian back to his cubicle, the inmate was “crying a little.” Corrections officials concluded that the guard had used excessive force and was lying. Officer Bukowksi was suspended without pay on July 31, 2014, and the department soon moved to fire him.
More than a year later, however, Officer Bukowski is still a state employee. His disciplinary case remains unresolved, although he faces a criminal charge of assault. His case, described in court documents and interviews, offers a stark example of the intricate protections that shield New York’s 20,000 corrections officers, even when there is compelling evidence of abuse.

A former state commissioner of corrections blames the union contract, says the following:

Current and former corrections officials say the union contract deserves part of the blame. “It is tough to get rid of a bad officer, just like it’s tough to get rid of a bad teacher,” said Brian Fischer, a former superintendent at Sing Sing Correctional Facility and the state corrections commissioner from 2007 to 2013. “It’s very frustrating.”

Ah, but Cuomo has spent the last five years pushing through changes to law and the teacher evaluation system that allows the state to fire teachers much more easily.

State guards who abuse prisoners?

Cuomo defends them, downplaying the allegations.

Aren't you glad Hakeem Jeffries gave Cuomo a "criminal justice reform leadership" award?

I mean, who else could get PR that he's great for criminal justice reform while overseeing a prison system that is medieval in its abuse of the prisoners?

The problem for these prisoners getting abused in the state system is that they're not in Rikers.

If they were, the Daily News would be all over it, hammering de Blasio not eh front page day after day after day.

But since this is Cuomo and the state system they'd have to take on, all we get is crickets out of them.

Same goes for politicians like Hakeem Jeffries, who'd be all over this if it was Rikers and de Blasio but can't seem to even comment on the state prisoner abuse allegations, let alone go on the offensive against Cuomo over them.

Hypocrisy at its finest.

Meanwhile the horror show that is the New York prison system continues on.


  1. Cruel and Unusual Punishment.

  2. New York taxpayers are on the hook for any civil awards and liabilities to the physically abused prisoners.