Elderly Visitor at Florence Federal Correctional Institute’s (FCI) Satellite Camp Falls and Sustains Injury During Visiting Hours Despite A Just Cause’s Attempts to Alert the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) of the Risks

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September 29, 2015 by socialaction2014

Source:
A Just Cause
September 29, 2015 06:00 ET

Elderly Visitor at Florence Federal Correctional
Institute’s (FCI) Satellite Camp Falls and Sustains Injury During
Visiting Hours Despite A Just Cause’s Attempts to Alert the Bureau of
Prisons (BOP) of the Risks

During a June 2015 DC Trip, A Just Cause Executives
Were Removed From BOP Offices; BOP May Face Suit From Injured Visitor at
Florence Satellite Camp After Sustaining Injuries From a Fall

DENVER, CO–(Marketwired – September 29, 2015) – During
visiting hours on Saturday, September 26, 2015 at Florence Federal
Correctional Institute’s Satellite Camp, Sarah Harper, a visitor to the
camp, fell out of a plastic chair after the legs buckled and gave way.
Harper, a 68 year old woman, felt excruciating pain in her lower back
after her chair suddenly gave way. Prison officials called an ambulance.

Initially, prison officials
asked Harper if she would prefer to be seen in Pueblo or Colorado
Springs; she opted for Colorado Springs since she lives there; however,
when the ambulance arrived, prison officials told Harper there would be
no choice. She was required to be seen in Cañon City, Colorado at the
facility of their choosing. Harper became immediately suspicious after
this sudden change and friends took her to a Colorado Springs hospital
for evaluation and treatment. Soon thereafter, prison officials ended
visits early; with no specified reason, everyone was sent home early.
“I
wondered why I suddenly had to go so far away from home for treatment
after I was initially given a choice and told the guard I wanted to go
to Colorado Springs,” pondered Harper. “Everyone from the guard to the
ambulance drivers seemed in on the plan to get me to go to Cañon City,”
states Harper. “I found out the Cañon City facility is used by the
prison for the care of inmates. I didn’t want to risk a less than
comprehensive evaluation or limited treatment if I was forced to go to
the facility of the prison’s choice,” says Harper.
“Florence’s
Satellite Camp recently switched to flimsy plastic chairs, assigned
seating, and a multitude of other new rules in the visiting room,” says
Lamont Banks, Executive Director of A Just Cause. “On Wednesday, June
17, I was accompanied by Cliff and Lisa Stewart to BOP in Washington DC
to convey concerns of harassment toward children and families while
visiting the prison camp in Florence, Colorado. We contacted the BOP to
announce that we would be there on that date, but we were escorted out
of the BOP by Federal Protective Services,” notes Banks. “We were
attempting to warn them about the hazards of the chairs, among other
inequities that were occurring during visiting hours. This incident with
Ms. Harper could have been avoided,” laments Banks.
A June 18, 2015 Press Release
details the unfair treatment of A Just Cause executives and how Bureau
of Prisons officials in DC failed to meet with them despite the concerns
raised with respect to the Florence Federal Prison Camp visiting
situation. “A Just Cause remains very disappointed at the lack of
response and action on the part of the BOP,” states Banks. “Multiple
phone calls and emails from our organization have gone unanswered,”
Banks added.
“When you think about the behemoth organization that is the Federal Bureau of Prisons, with a FY2015 budget
of $8.5 billion, there’s no reason why visitors are sitting in flimsy
plastic chairs,” notes Cliff Stewart of A Just Cause. “Ms. Harper is not
the first to fall out of the chairs; an elderly gentleman fell in the
visiting room a few weeks ago and heavier inmates tend to stack them
before sitting in them to reinforce the legs while watching television
in the units,” says Stewart. “These chairs are clearly a hazard and need
to be immediately removed before further injuries occur,” warns
Stewart.
Visitors,
particularly those from out of town, were surprised and very
disappointed by visits being cut short. Many are rarely able to visit
due to the cost of travel and accommodations, so they want to maximize
the time with their family members. The abrupt end was never explained.
“A
Just Cause vows to continue to follow this case and attempt to reach
out to Director Samuels and other BOP officials about the situation in
the Florence Federal Prison Camp’s visiting room,” affirms Banks.

For more information about advocacy group, A Just Cause, go to: www.a-justcause.com.
For more information about the story of the IRP6 or for copies of the legal filings go to http://www.freetheirp6.org.
Related press releases: http://www.a-justcause.com/#!2015-press-releases/cl69

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