Auburn's Abuse of Power Still Apparent

THE F.O.C.I.S. MOVEMENT
Exposing Corruption In The C.J.S AND D.O.C.C.S SINCE 2003!
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518-400-0917

January 15th, 2020. Revised April 11th, 2020



Attention : Governor Cuomo; Commissioner Annucci; The Office of
Special Investigations; Superintendent McCarthy; Central
New York Psychiatric Center; Commission on Corrections;
The Correctional Association; New York Civil Liberties Union;

Headline : Auburn's Abuse of Power Still Apparent !

Subject : Auburn Correctional Facility's Protective Custody and
Involuntary Protective Custody Unit.

Reason : To ensure that prisoners in this unit are treated humanely,
fairly and are not harassed and abused by staff.



Dear: Governor Cuomo; Commissioner Annucci; The Office of
Special Investigations; Superintendent McCarthy; Central
New York Psychiatric Center; Commission on Corrections;
The Correctional Association; New York Civil Liberties Union;


 

 

THE INTRODUCTION

The F.O.C.I.S. Movement is an independent grassroots organization
that aims to shed light and expose the injustices that exist within our Criminal Justice System and Department of Corrections. It's acronym stands for Families Oppressed by the Criminal Injustice System and its members consist of prisoners, former prisoners and family members of prisoners, lawyers, law students, paralegals, activists, advocates, social media influencers, hip hop and r&b artists, actors, as well as many other individuals and organizations that seek prison and criminal justice reform. Initially, our strategy is to attempt to reach out to government officials with our findings on a particular subject(s) and request changes in policy, sanctions, disciplinary actions and/or removals from office before moving on to civil action, media exposure, peaceful protests, etc... Therefore, The F.O.C.I.S Movement is contacting the above officials
regarding the following issues :

 



The Protective Custody and Involuntary Protective Custody Unit

At the time of this writing, Auburn Correctional Facility is the main battleground of a war between two powerful and dangerous divisions of the Bloods prison and street gang. Because of this conflict, many ex-gang members are seeking movement to the Protective Custody Unit in Auburn in order to denounce their affiliation with the Bloods and possibly change their life for good. The F.O.C.I.S. Movement has received numerous complaints, emails and phone calls from the incarcerated community stating that Auburn staff that is responsible for protecting prisoners from assault is actually preventing these movements from happening.

Specifically, we have been provided with credible evidence that prisoners are being held in general population for up to ninety days awaiting Protective Custody placement. Some prisoners are being held in " Death Row Cells “; cells that were previously occupied by prisoners that were condemned to death. They are being denied showers, phone calls, recreation, hot water, access to the kiosk, as well as countless other constitutional rights for extremely long periods of time and we have found that not only is this being done intentionally, it is being done to force prisoners to recant their request for protective placement.

Corrections Counselor K. Festa, who is responsible for investigating and approving prisoners for placement in Protective Custody, is purposely delaying the approval process or flat out denying their request. In comparison to other facilities that approve protective custody placement in two to three days, Festa's approval process can last two to three months. Prisoners also report that he refuses to make weekly rounds in the unit as required by New York State law, refuses to update prisoners phone home list so that they can contact their family, refuses to respond to prisoners letters and that generally his attitude is that he does not care what happens in this area of the prison. We have found that this is being done because Festa and other staff at Auburn feel that prisoners are taking the easy way out by requesting protective custody, especially considering that the living conditions in this particular unit are far better than that of population. Festa's intention in delaying the approval process is to get prisoners to change their mind and rescind their request for protective custody placement in order to be released from the "Death Row Cells".

Even more troubling is the actions of Corrections Officer Tucker who , according to many witnesses, work in coordination with Festa to hamper the process. Several prisoners have reported witnessing Tucker direct his porters/trustees to break the toilets or sinks in the cells in the unit so that prisoners are forced to wait (in population) even longer for a working cell. The longer the wait in population, the more of a chance that a prisoner will be cut, stabbed or killed by someone who has figured out that he is awaiting Protective Custody placement. Our evidence also strongly indicates that prisoners are not allowed to use the phone in the prison yard during their one hour of outside recreation, although New York law clearly allows and encourages this.

 

In December 2019, new regulations were promulgated by the Department of Corrections that asserted a prisoner could no longer lose their phone privileges as a result of a disciplinary sanction. According to DOCCS, this was done to ensure that prisoners have constant communication with their family and the outside world. As it stands now, a prisoner can never lose his phone privileges except for an extreme circumstance. Previous to this change in the law, DOCCS hearing officers have notoriously rescinded prisoners phone privileges for years or decades at a time. This apparently doesn't matter to Corrections Officer King who, even when confronted with this new law, refuses to allow prisoners to use the phone in the yard. In the end, prisoners are forced to debate and argue over a half hour of phone time which they are forced to share on the company, inside the unit.

Our evidence further indicates that Correctional Officer Delaney is allowing and, in most cases, creating situations where prisoners can assault each other. On December 12th, 2019, Dennis Toussaint was brutally assaulted for more than 30 minutes by two prisoners while
other inmates looked on wondering when security was going to intervene. Toussaint had been knocked out unconscious two times before Delaney finally returned to his post and alerted other staff to the situation. But even then, Delaney was overheard saying " Oh, that’s Toussaint. He deserves to get his ass beat " as he walked down the company. What is even more troubling about this situation is that we have reports that state Biren Lorenzo (who is a Porter/Trustee for
Delaney) set the entire assault up at the behest of Delaney. According to our witnesses, Lorenzo told Delaney to " disappear for a little while " so he could have someone take care of that issue for him. Lorenzo then alerted Delaney to the fight only once he knew that Toussaint had been knocked out the second time. Many view Scott Lorenzo and his co-porter, Jeffery Kelly as devoted hit-men for Delaney, Tucker and King.

On at least two occasions, Lorenzo has planted drugs and weapons in other prisoners’ cells at the direction of Delaney. Lorenzo has also stolen property out of prisoners’ cells several times and is a well-known drug trafficker within the unit for Delaney. Both Lorenzo and Kelly are high ranking members of the Aryan Nation white supremacist group and do not allow members of any other race to become Porters/Trustees on this side of the unit. Many black and Latino prisoners live in fear that their food will be tampered with since Kelly hands out the meals to the unit. Kelly controls the unit by denying prisoners access to the phone, kiosk, food and anything else that (he) feels inmates should not have, even if an officer has approved it. Prisoners are constantly arguing with and threatening Kelly with violence over his desire to dominate the unit and they protest his position as a porter by throwing spoiled milk, sugar, rice and litter on the company.

A final point of interest regarding events taking place in this unit. On December 21st, 2019 Winston Cox and Angel Alvarez was having a loud argument in front of Cox's cell, cell number 11. At some point during this situation, Delaney yelled at Alvarez " Nine cell lock in! " as
Alvarez was the only one out on the company. Alvarez then yelled back to Delaney " Nah, crack 11 cell " and to everyone's surprise, he did just that. Delaney opened 11 cell and allowed Alvarez to go in and close the gate behind him and assault Cox until officer King showed up and opened the cell gate and broke up the fight. The first question supervisors asked when they showed up was "how did Alverez get inside of Cox's cell? " Delaney admitted the wrongdoing, but claimed it was a mistake and that he " hit the wrong cell. " Later, Alverez would secretly admit to several other prisoners that Delaney told him to do it. However, this was already obvious to all because instead of going to solitary for assaulting Cox, Alverez was sent to the "honor company" of the unit, while Cox was given a misbehavior report for fighting and sentenced to six months of cell confinement time. Amazingly, we are told that all supervisors that investigated the assault on Cox covered up the situation all the way up to the Superintendent.

The members of The F.O.C.I.S Movement are saddened and appalled by what is taking place in the Protective Custody and Involuntary Protective Custody Unit at Auburn Correctional Facility. To make matters worse, we have learned that prisoners have complained about all of the above issues for years through letters, grievances and complaints to Superintendent McCarthy, yet he has allowed these atrocities to continue and get worse over time. We are calling for a full,
thorough and immediate investigation into these matters by all agencies in receipt of this letter and we are requesting the following remedies:
 
1. That Delaney, Tucker and King be permanently terminated from their job as Correctional Officers and never given this position again.

2. That K. Festa be permanently terminated from his job as Correctional Counselor and never given this position again.

3. That Lorenzo and Kelly be permanently terminated from their job as Porters/Trustees and never given this position again.

4. That an African American, Latino and Caucasian prisoner be assigned the porter/trustee position in the PC/IPC Unit to work the morning, afternoon and night shifts.

5. That prisoners awaiting Protective Custody or Involuntary Protective Custody placement be processed and transferred to the PC/IPC Unit within 72 hours of the time of their request or that they be sent to a new facility within 72 hours of the time of their request and that they not be
placed in " Death Row " cells; that they be given showers, recreation, phone calls and all other privileges that general population prisoners receive.

6. That prisoners in the PC/IPC Unit be allowed to use the phone in the yard for their one hour of recreation and continue to use the phone on the company, inside the unit.

*Please help The FOCIS Movement bring attention to Auburn's Abuse of Power by signing our Color of Change Petition requesting an independent investigation. Click below :
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Sincerely,
The F.O.C.I.S. Movement
TheFOCISMovement@Gmail.com
518 400 0917