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I came to Prison For Punishment - Not Inhumane Treatment
By Carmen Stavole, Prisonersolidarity.org
Jan. 24, 2007

Greetings. I hope this letter finds you well. My name is Carmen Stavole and I'm an offender at Ohio State Penitentiary Camp. I'm writing in regards to the treatment I have been receiving at this facility.

Now, I know prison is designed so that offenders don't want to come back, and it's not designed to be comfortable. But, I have been writing complaints about the inhumane conditions of the bathroom, and other areas of this facility, for the last year. I've written many grievances, appealed many grievances to Columbus, and I've written letters to organizations, including the Correctional Inspections Committee, only to be brushed off and receive no replies.

I'm concerned about these issues because they keep getting worse. The sinks leak, the toilets leak defecation and urine. The offenders then track the mess through the living areas, which is particularly a problem when they stand on their locker boxes while preparing food on them. Mold was a major problem because there is no access to the plumbing. The staff's solution is to have offenders keep painting over it. Only 3 out of 8 toilets work, for 200 offenders. Sinks are missing off of the walls, other sinks don't work. Staph infections and other illnesses are breaking out, and nothing is being done!

Until recently, I worked in the maintenance department. But when I told the staff about these problems I was only laughed at. They said that if they'd been broken so long, why fix them? When I wrote a grievance about the bathrooms, the staff started to retaliate, calling me names and even trying to change my job.

Eventually, they did remove me from the maintenance department. I wrote a complaint, and they gave me my job back. But that only lasted a month. When I continued pursuing the problems they found me guilty of "having a state document" and placed me in the hole. I spent the entire month of December in the hole. They had switched me to the work crew (working in offices, changing the garbage, and moving payroll boxes and other documents for the supermax), a job that I didn't want to do exactly because of the security involved in working with these documents. A week into the job, I was told to move 80 payroll boxes into another room of the facility. I then received a ticket for talking while moving state documents. I lost my job, my gate pass, my status rose, and I even lost my transfer.

I believe these are signs of retaliation. All I'm trying to do is to improve these horrible conditions, for myself and the other offenders of this camp. But the staff keep mistreating me, the conditions are worsening, and nothing is being resolved. They make the offenders paint over the problem to cover it up. We need someone to come investigate these issues immediately. I came to prison for punishment, but not inhumane treatment. Please help this camp.

Sincerely,

Carmen Stavole

Carmen Stavole, # 500-250
Ohio State Penitentiary Correctional Camp
878 Coitsville-Hubbard Rd.
Youngstown, OH 44505

Would you like to help Carmen get the health department to visit the OSP camp? Here are some people you can write to, to voice your concern:

* Adam Jackson
Correctional Institutional Inspection Committee
Riffe Center, 8th Floor
77 South Street
Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: 614-466-6649
Fax: 614-466-6929

* Bureau of Environmental Health
Ohio Department of Health
246 North High Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215
E-mail: BEH@odh.ohio.gov
Telephone: (614) 466-1390

* J. Nick Baird, M.D.
Director, Ohio Department of Health
Ohio Department of Health
246 North High Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215
E-mail: Director@odh.ohio.gov

Ohio Justice & Policy Center
617 Vine Street
Suite 1309
Cincinnati, OH 45202-2416
E-mail: contact@ohiojpc.org
Telephone: (513) 421-1108

And tell the Ohio State Penitentiary warden what you think:

Marc C. Houk, Warden
Ohio State Penitentiary
878 Coitsville-Hubbard Road
Youngstown, Ohio 44505
(330) 743-0700

For further details, read Robert Reed's letter:

You may contact Mr. Stavole directly by writing to him at the address listed above. The following link offers tips for writing to prisoners: http://prisonersolidarity.org/TipsForWritingPrisoners.htm

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