By Kay Lee

No one has to tell you that prison conditions, especially in the south, are repressive. This results in those prison inmates with the education and abilities to represent all the others through grievances, to correct abuses. Grieving is a guaranteed right protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and in the Florida prison system by rule: Florida Administrative Code (FAC) 33-103. It is against Florida prison Rule F.A.C. 33-103.017 to retaliate against a prisoner for writing a grievance!

Prisons are also the least desirable place of employment and therefore often acquire employees who cannot hold a job anywhere else! They come to this position with the significant emotional baggage from failed marriages, careers or personality problems, and act out this emotional baggage on the defenseless inmates, manifesting their negative emotions of anger, hate, fear, grief, and shame.

One out of every six
Correctional Officers
has a criminal record.

It has been reported that one out of every six Florida  "Correctional" Officers themselves have a criminal record. The consequence of this negative emotion on the inmates over a period of years, cognitively and emotionally wears down the inmate, who has no available emotional release of his own within prison walls, until he leaves prison with an anger and quiet of his own. All directed at society for "victimizing him" in the name of punishment.

This terrible emotional experience blotted out the value of the punishment and became an attack on his basic human nature, integrity and dignity. He returns to society with the human dignity, ethics, and value systems of negative emotions imparted to him by the  "correctional" officers. This cognitive emotional base embedded in the inmate's brain from years of emotional deprivation is fueled with a strong measure of vengeance. Thus, we have the formula for expanded levels of repeat crime usually, because he is devoid of [positive] emotion, the level of violence will increase.

To put this in perspective, think about being locked in a room the size of your master bathroom for years with someone - not of your choosing - and decide what mental state you would be in. Now, add to that mix some incompetent individuals who daily obtain their emotional release standing outside your door doing everything possible to destroy your world. Who pays for that? You do! Both financially and through emotional pain of your own as a victim of crime. We victimize the criminal, as he justly deserves, only for him to return back to society with a higher level of a victimization psyche and then wonder why punishment doesn't work.

Prison administrators enjoy this revolving door because it maintains job security. They are not going to do anything it improve this situation.

That's a long introduction to arrive at a specific case of an inmate who is being victimized by a corrupted prison system and thus the reason for this request for your help.  Rexford Tweed DC#116365 (Rex) is at Okeechobee, Florida, 34972. Rex writes prison grievances and litigates against the Florida Department of "Corrections."

Rex is someone we have known for some time and he is hated by prison administrators and correctional officers. Due to Rex's reputation as a grievance writer, he has to be especially astute of prison rules or he will be excessively disciplined. This has brought the worst out in Okeechobee  "Correctional" officers and administrators who have taken to placing totally false changes against Rex to keep him locked away in "the Box," a confinement cell, and then deny him basic human needs like meals, showers, prison canteen items, access to the prison law library and much more. That is where Rex is right now.

Three different grievances Rex wrote caused great animosity against Rex by these officers and staff. A little over 4 1/2months ago, Rex wrote a grievance about dormitory Sergeant Korts using the P.A.. system late at night indiscriminately waking up 240  inmates repeatedly, because of Sergeant Kort's lack of discretion.

Sergeant Kort's supervisor, Capain D. Coleman, had Rex awakened  at 11 pm and forced him to the captain's office because of this grievance and told Rex if he ever wrote another grievance against his shift again, Rex would suffer serious consequences (retaliation).

Subsequently, Rex grieved Sergeant Kort again for not increasing the dormitory heat on cold nights. This time Captain Coleman had Rex awakened at 11:30 pm, packed his property to go to confinement and had Sergeant Weseman and Officer Michele bring Rex and his property to the captain's office. Captain Coleman called Rex every vile name imaginable.  Rex stood there and just responded with yes sir and no sir.

Then Captain Coleman told Rex, "You don't know it yet, but you just cussed me out and you're going to jail! And when you're down at jail (confinement) you will pay dearly! This isn't over!"

NOTE that Captain Coleman's personnel file is loaded with inmate grievance's for his violent and repressive dealings with inmates. Captain Coleman's limited ability in dealing with inmates is intimidation. He lacks the knowledge, morals, ethics or value system to professionally manage others. In other words, he is part of the problem and not part of the solution. Rex's roommate, Tobert Rizzo, wrote an affidavit of this incident and how Rex was told at the outset that he was going to confinement prior to any charge being made against Rex. A set- up in the making. Captain Coleman admitted he called Rex to his office about the grievance wrote against Sergeant Kort. See attached copy of Rizzo's affidavit. Exhibit #1.

When Rex went before the Disciplinary Hearing Board of Classification Officer Rios and LT. D. Collins, Rex soon realized the fix was in and that these Okeechobee Staff members were prejudiced to their fellow officers and Rex would be slammed. It made no difference at all to these prejudiced hearing officers that Rex pointed out the obvious premeditated  intent of Captain Coleman to violate Rex when Captain Coleman had Rex packed up for the confinement prior to the alleged offense and that Rex showed the hearing board a copy of the grievance he wrote weeks earlier wherein Captain D. Coleman promised to retaliate if Rex wrote another grievance against his shift. The only question was, when Rex was packed up, what charge Captain Coleman would place on Rex and how Captain Coleman would justify a charge.

Captain Coleman relied on one of his subordinates to substantiate his lie against Rex, which Sergeant Weseman was happy to do. If an inmate lies against staff he can lose all 100% of his earned good time or gain time which can often amount to years of prison time knocked off. If an officer lies on an inmate, no one cares. Lying on inmates is a way of life at Okeechobee "Correctional" Institutional and there in lays one of the serious problems within the Florida prison system.

This brings us to a second part of this problem for Rex. Florida "Correctional" officers recently had a new uniform approved and with the issue of this uniform, many of Okeechobee Correctional officers decided they would no longer wear their picture identification card in a visible manner on their shirt. Rex grieved this because it is critical when an officer is abusing an inmate or the institutional  rules that the inmate be able to identify that officer. And of course that is exactly why these officers did not want to wear a visible ID card.

This grievance was approved and caused serious daily retribution against Rex right up to present. Many officers, on all 3 shifts, still refuse to wear their I.D. cards, and administrators, as well as shift supervisors, refuse to enforce the rule.

It is especially bad on the 2 pm to 10 pm shift supervised by Captain English. Thus, we have an undue animosity amongst a lot of officers to support whatever any other correctional officer decides to perpetrate against Rex. One of the worst officers to retaliate against Rex for name tags is Officer C'cain. See exhibit #2

This brings us to phase three of this problem. Rex was placed in confinement cell E1114 as a result of Captain Coleman's disciplinary report charge of disrespect of a correctional officer. Captain Coleman's shift is 10 pm to 6 am and Rex goes to bed no later than 9 pm. Rex starts having nightly experiences with the officer making rounds every hour on the 10 pm  to 6 am shift, wherein, he excessively flashes his bright flashlight onto Rex's face each time until it wakes Rex up. Then, another time Rex is awakened at 11:30 pm and has his cell torn apart in a fruitless search meant to harass. This is all by Officer J. Striebel. a Co- conspirator with Captain Coleman.

Suddenly Rex is served with another disciplinary report written by Officer J. Striebel, Captain Coleman's do-boy. The disciplinary report states that on February 26, 2002 at 11:30 pm, Officer Striebel violated inmate Tweed for disrespect of an officer. That inmate Tweed was in the cell by himself. This is interesting due to the fact that Rex has been in prison for 13 straight years and never before been cited for disrespect of an officer before these two incidents with Captain Coleman's shift. See exhibit #3

There is just one big problem with that fairy tale. The cell light switch in that cell ( E1114) didn't work, and there was no way that Rex could turn on or off the cell light: That Rex reported it twice to LT. Collins and that is was later determined the light hadn't worked for many weeks. There were multiple work orders in to electrical maintenance to repair it and that all the officers knew of this problem. The cell lights had been turned off by the master control switch at 11 pm and due to the broken cell switch, Rex had no way to turn them back on.

If it wasn't possible for Rex to have the cell light on to write, then it wasn't possible that Officer J. Striebel could have come and told Rex to shut the light off, wherein, Rex allegedly cussed out Officer Striebel. This incident couldn't have occurred and Officer Striebel made a false statement on a Stat document. This was another setup by Captain Coleman.

Rex set out to prove his case and was stone walled at every level by  "correctional" officers. None so blatantly as the two security officers who acted as Disciplinary Hearing Board members; Lt. Sheffield and Commanding Officer Thezbold. It made absolutely no difference to these two officers what Rex's evidence was, they stated, "Based on officer's statements, you're going to confinement." Now Rex has another confinement sentence added to a previous sentence and by the time you read this there is no telling how deep these people have buried Rex in a confinement cell.

Let's look at the evidence on Rex's behalf. When Investigating Officer Dennis served the Disciplinary Report of Officer J. Striebel on Rex, Rex had Officer Dennis, along with dormitory officer Hendricks, go immediately to cell E1114 and verify that the cell light switch did not work. See attachment #4, by officer Dennis verifying that the light switch did not work. At the same time dormitory officer Hendricks verified to officer Dennis that it hadn't worked for some time.

Until noon of the day in question, February 26, 2002, Rex had a roommate, Willie Moist DC# 094609. Willie was available as a witness to this incident but he wasn't consulted, even though Rex requested this in writing. Subsequently another inmate McDonald Lovett DC# MB13560 resided in cell E1114 and he too was available to verify that the light switch still did not work. But this wasn't about proving Rex's innocence, it was about proving Rex's guilt.

Rex made a written and verbal request that the electrical maintenance department be checked for existing work orders and relative dates thereon regarding this light switch. Denied by the Hearing Board, but Investigating Officer Dennis did follow through with Rex's request, in writing and verbally, before the hearing board to supplement his witness list- See exhibit # 7+8. Denied!

Rex right now sits in a concrete box, falsely convicted of prison disciplinary infractions and lost earned prison gain time, waiting for the next false infraction to happen, wondering when these cruel correctional officers and administrators will get tired of playing their game.

Rex professes his total innocence of these charges. The two Okeechobee CI Disciplinary Reports discussed here in are log #404-02-0172 and log# 404-02-0195.

Rex has grieved these problems with all their details to Warden C. Lambdin and Assistant Warden J.C. Cox to no avail. They just ignore the issue. Rex discussed it with Colonel Piggott but he ignores it. Assistant Warden Kegerreis is fully aware but ignores the issue. That's because this is the "Okeechobee Way." It starts from the top and filters its way down. The situation is corrupt and has no resemblance to a system of values, integrity, morals as you would perceive them. There is no dignity! It's like hogs feeding at a through of emotional despair. Professional correctional officers are not a predominate quantity at Okeechobee Correctional Institution.

If you want to help Rex and also make an impact on this kind of prison behavior, then Email your objections to the people listed below. Insist on immediate investigation and that Rex be released from confinement;  Include requests for discipline for administrators, Disciplinary Hearing officers, shift supervisors (Captains/Colonel) and  "correctional" officers who allowed and participated in this abusive behavior.

The four named Disciplinary Hearing officers shouldn't be allowed to function in that capacity again. Warden C. Lambdin, Assistant Warden J.C. Cox, Warden S. Kegerries and Colonel Piffott should receive some sort of discipline. People like Captain Coleman and Officer J. Striebel shouldn't even be working in "corrections."

NOTE: that what Captain Coleman and J. Striebel did is a misdemeanor violation under Florida statute 937.06 (a written false statement of a state document).

Making The Walls Transparent


TRUE DEMOCRACY Summer 2002 Copyright © 2002 by News Source, inc.