Originally published on January 28, 2020
1st, I’d like to say that it is a blessing and my pleasure that I got to speak with you, the people. Because we the people make the difference. I pray that all is well with you and yours. And despite the current challenges and disadvantages that Vaughn17 prisoners and other prisoners who are on the RRL and/or trapped in the RHU face, your support, time, solidarity, and love mean a ton to us all. Also, know that we’re fighting from the inside just as vigorously as you are from the outside. And as a now fool said when he was once wise, “The revolution shall be televised.” (They always said I should be a poet. LOL!) But let me get back to the real.
My name is Derick L. Forney #NS2698. I am a Delaware prisoner currently being held captive in Pennsylvania’s SCI-Coal Township (SCI-COA). At the present time, the central office has approved me and most of the Vaughn17 prisoners to be placed on the RRL. This indefinite status is located in the RHU—the hole! So, basically, we’re to be locked down indefinitely in the hole. I’ve been housed in the RHU going on 190 days, today is 11-14-19. I’m still being punished for a crime I did not commit. All of Vaughn17 is, being Delaware has acted maliciously by sending us to facilities in the PA/D.O.C so that we’d be further oppressed. This is an act of double jeopardy. Vaughn17 prisoners charged in the uprising at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center, Smyrna, Delaware who were exonerated on all charges are not being treated as such—innocent. And the b/s is that not all of Vaughn17 who were transferred to PA is on the RRL.
Yeah! Some b/s!
In the RHU, prisoners are treated like animals. There is no system of order back here. The staff goes rogue, the meals are skimped and served cold, and there’s no curriculum. Instead, we’re warehoused in cells with very little to do. There’s no rehabilitation involved with the RHU/RRL unless one develops his own. And for those on the RRL, they have it the worst. We are absolutely stuck with no time as to when we will be let go. There is no systemic design for RRL prisoners to take advantage of. Nothing for us to look forward to. Nothing for us to do. Little to no hope.
The education system is very biased. Teachers and the board of education here at SCI-COA has petitioned and grieved that they don’t want to teach prisoners in the RHU. They don’t want to have to travel back here just to teach us. And unless you’re 21 and under, you will not receive an education on the RRL. And it is such a shame to hear that educators are protesting in order to not educate a certain group of prisoners. The only program for prisoners on the RRL is a Step Down Program which can only be recommended by the PRC team. And then the Central Office, specifically the Secretary of Corrections, John E. Wetzel, and the Executive Deputy Secretary, Tabb Bickell, will decide and make the final approval or denial on recommendations related to the RRL. So, basically, these two figures are responsible for all prisoners who are on the RRL.
According to the policy statement for the PA-DOC (commonwealth), under the DC-ADM 802 (Administrative Custody (AC) Procedures Policy), Section 1, (Placement on Administrative Custody (AC) status, paragraph C 1 and 2, there is a criterion that states what one should meet in order to be placed on the RRL. Paragraph C is the Restricted Release List (RRL) Placement “Procedure.” Now, this is where the b/s gets heavy because the AC status is correlated to the RRL status. A prisoner cannot grieve the RRL status, only the “long-term” AC status. This loophole is created in order to trick prisoners into grieving a non-grieveable situation. This supports the fact that ambiguous standards exist.
So if I try to grieve the RRL instead of the AC, my grievance will be denied as non-grieveable and I will be time-barred.
Also, none of the Vaughn17 prisoners meet the criteria. We’ve never done PA time nor have we violated any policy rule or displayed any actions in PA that support this status of RRL. But due to the matter back in Delaware. We are treated as atypical. And DE/DOC seems to be the center of our hardship. PRC (Program Review Committee), the warden, the deputy warden are all aware of the fact that Delaware’s D.O.C./personnel is in the middle of this. Mental Health is aware, even regular guards are aware.
The PRC team is nothing but a gang of brown-nosers who will lie to you like it’s the truth. They will spin you just to keep you off balance, to keep you calm, to mislead you, but keep you in the dark. The standards, the protocol, the procedures, the rules, the chain of command(s), everything! It is ambiguous, misleading and at times, confidential. And the confidential policies open doors that enable PA-DOC to create loopholes to satisfy their illegal activities.
The Vaughn17 prisoners, as well as other prisoners, housed in the RHU and on RRL, are subjects who are being subjected to the vilest and inhumane treatment. The Central Office has given some of the SCI’s superintendents the discretion to run their prison in some unique ways. Arbitrary behavior is the main ingredient in this bowl of dysfunction. I’m including with this letter an RHU handbook written by superintendent T. McGinley. It is the handbook for the RHU here at SCI-COA. It is a contradiction to the PA-DOC handbook briefly. I’ve requested the handbook multiple times. I am still without it. They won’t give me one because they know once I possess this jewel, I’ll have the key to unlock the doors to revelation. And some of their loopholes will be ineffective.
This handbook for the RHU at SCI-Coal Township allows the staff/guards to violate prisoners’ rights. The handbook gives c/o’s, sergeants, lieutenants, and other personnel the ability to take recreation (rec), showers, food, and whatever they deem an activity. They use the 6:15 am count as a way to determine who gets these rights (but they consider these rights a privilege). If you are still in bed, or if your cell light is out, or if your bed isn’t made or if you aren’t dressed according to the guard’s standards, you will not get your rec (yard), showers, razors (to shave), cell cleaning, even food is used as a punishment.
6:15 am is the most vulnerable time of the day for prisoners. We are either still asleep or just still in bed. And the counts are supposed to be announced via the PA system (loudspeaker). But it isn’t. Never do they call count time over the PA system in the mornings. And throughout the day, the count is called “some times.” This is a practice that, because of how the RHU handbook is languaged, allows guards to burn prisoners for the following: showers, yard (rec), cell cleaning, razors (shave), and meals. You see, I can use the phone still, commissary, and visit as well even if I don’t stand with the lights on, dressed, etc, during count. And no other count except the morning will cause RHU/RRL prisoners to lose their rights. If there’s something out front of the cell door that’s in my area, I can lose all activities for the day.
Activities can be the mentioned rights. Showers are not to exceed 72 hours without one. And Mon-Fri rec is done for the standard of 1 hour. No movement in the RHU throughout the weekends. Showering every other day so when those pussies do the dumb shit and take what is a prisoner’s right, a constitutional right, we are to go without showers, out-of-cell recreation, food, cleaning the cell, shaving…for days at a time. I’ve lost count of how many days I’ve gone hungry or without a proper hygiene opportunity.
I can’t even get my G.E.D. because they don’t offer prisoners on the RLL or in the RHU education! I am a Delaware prisoner along with the Vaughn17 prisoners who suffer because of something I had nothing to do with. Treated atypical and retaliated against, discriminatory conditions and inhumane treatment is what I live. Delaware has sent a message with us and PA/DOC is honoring the request. Treat these individuals poorly. Violate their rights, their bodies, humiliate them, make their lives a living hell! And PA has yet to disappoint. Most of the Vaughn17 prisoners are held in cells indefinitely for no valid reason. The conditions are beyond poor, below egregious, surpassing inhumane, unjust, and unconstitutional. It is blatant disrespect. We are shown the utmost prejudice and biased treatment.
So it is up to you, the people, and us, the Vaughn17 prisoners and fellow comrades on RRL, to raise awareness. To raise a fist and fight the powers that be. Because we’re the true power—the people. And we will not be overpowered by any opposing power. We will stand up. We will expose these pussies, expose their illegal activities. I thank you all for your ears. I pray that you all continue to be safe and suckafree. God bless you and yours. Peace.
In the name of Solidarity, Strength, Resistance, and Resilience.
Blessings and Love
To send messages to Deric, contact him at:
Smart Communications / PA DOC
Deric Forney – NS2698
SCI Coal Township
PO Box 33028
St. Petersburg, FL, 33733