A prisoner confined at the Federal Correctional Institution
in Edgefield, South Carolina, requested legal assistance with pending litigation. I express no opinion, neither personal nor
professional, on the pending issue.
I am posting what he sent. If anyone wishes to assist him, please email
He is hoping someone at Prison Legal News will be
My Question: Do you want the attached message sent to Prison Legal News or any place? PLN may be interested, maybe not. There are numerous contacts on Twitter that “could” have an interest. Confirm exactly what you want done and specify how you wish to be identified if the attached is posted publicly. Thanks.
WTD4U.com Staff Representative
your discretion; You understand the situation better than most. You should have
gotten at least a year Half-way house time and did not. There are a lot of
reasons for these failings in the system. It is our belief that the proper
tools for understanding and correcting them lie in the court’s powers of
inquisition and remedy.
RAY SENTER on 4/9/2019 11:35:14 AM wrote
If you have
clients (or potential clients) who should have or could benefit from recent
court rulings, the Second Chance Act, First Step Act, other laws, or whatever
the Next Step Act will be, this litigation may be of interest to you.
excerpts from a TRO/Injunction and motion for appointment of counsel filed in
the District Court for the District of Columbia this week. The Defendants named
are South-East Regional Director Keller, and the Acting Director of the BOP.
Local officials are aggressively targeting the litigants and
obstructing/retaliating for the litigation. Previous iterations of this (and
related) litigation have been completely abridged from access to the courts by
local officials at the prison. Please forward this to any attorney’s/advocacy
groups you know who may be willing to assist us in this litigation pro bono or
be willing to submit amicus briefs. If you do not see this document
(TRO/Injunction, and Motion for Appointment of Counsel) on the court docket in
the next 14 days then it has been abridged like prior filings.
EXERPTS FROM LITIGATION IN: Clifford Senter et. al V. William Barr et. al (TRO respondents
The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) has operated with
an impunity enjoyed by no other Federal agency, Not even the nation’s
intelligence agencies. The presence of unlimited funding untied to any
measurable outcomes, a complete lack of oversight (or even mechanisms and
metrics for oversight) has resulted in systemic fraud, misappropriation and
mismanagement which has resulted in a totality of conditions which are
unconstitutional and present a danger to inmates, staff and the public.
For decades, the BOP’s strategy has been based on
massive scale and sustained growth. That bubble has burst and the public appetite
(and pocket-book) for mass-incarceration has reached record lows which
transcend political demographics with an unanimity unachievable regarding any
other policy issue. The universal opposition to this status quo crosses
geographic, political, religious, class and racial lines. In response to this
near unanimous will of the people, Congress has instituted legislation whose
express intent is to reduce the Federal prison population.
An unavoidable consequence of any reduction in the
population is a corresponding downsizing of physical infrastructure and human
resources. As with any corporate-size down-sizing much of the positions lost
(per capita) will be executive and middle-management positions. This places
decision-makers in the unenviable position of making and implementing policy
which will result in their own obsolescence.
The results have been predictable —and deadly, with
decision-making being compromised by conflicted priorities and duties as the
system scrambles to save itself from the contracting market dynamics of human
bondage as a socioeconomic model.
The decades of bottomless Federal coffers and total
absence of any performance or out-come based metrics on how those funds are
spent; Or anyone to even review or make those measurements, has grown a
behemoth bureaucratic monster. For decades the DOJ and Congress have simply fed
the beast, unchallenging accepting its (the BOP’s) self-assessment as to its
needs; Providing budgetary increases yearly, which last year reached
almost Eight-billion dollars —or
nearly as much as the budget of the Federal Bureau Of Investigation.
- [For some perspective, consider that the
BOP operates 122 facilities with a labor force whose
minimum requirement is a GED. The FBI operates in over 200 countries and
every major city
in the United States and Puerto Rico, and is responsible for
interdiction and investigation of
crimes, terrorism, counterintelligence
and other domestic enforcement objectives.
The average FBI employee has eight to ten years of secondary and
Despite this glut of funding, every single institution
is operating at substandard levels in multiple areas; A direct result of
decades of fraud and mismanagement. These “pre-existing deprivations”
have been exacerbated by the BOP’s attempts to counteract reform policy, and/or
its dilatory and ineffectual implementation of those policies. These factors
have combined to create immediate dangers which do not allow the time to
address through normal legal procedures; The courts powers of preliminary
injunction are sought to address the issues of present and irreparable harm.
An example of the potential harms associated with
these deprivations manifested on March 11, 2019 when several armed assailants
entered unit C/3 at the Edgefield Federal Correctional Institution. These
inmates were all assigned to other units and were not authorized to be in unit
C/3. Once inside of the unauthorized unit, they proceeded to attack at assault
other inmates at will. The assault went on for several minutes without any
staff intervention or even knowledge of what was occurring. Staff only became
aware of the armed attack when one of the victims ran into the office where the
officer on duty was somnolently surfing the internet. Leaving their bloody
victims behind, the assailants terminated their assault of their own volition
and exited the unit as casually as they had entered it.
The assailants had all been able to exit tier units
armed with weapons, execute their assault and return to their assigned units
without any difficulty. At no time while exiting or returning to their
respective units did, they encounter any staff. At no time entering or exiting
the unit where they perpetrated their assault did, they encounter any staff. At
no time before, during or after their assault did, they encounter any staff.
While this attack was occurring, simultaneous and
coordinated assaults were being carried out in other parts of the prison, all
with comparable results. This was not an isolated event. It was patterned off
several previously successful assaults, all of which exploited the same gross
incompetence and unpremeditated lapses in security.
The risk of harm has become pervasive. There are
multiple causal factors behind this episode. They include fraudulent
enterprise, deliberate indifference and gross incompetence at the local,
Regional and National levels. For the purposes of this motion (preliminary
injunction) this document deals with gross incompetence at the Macro-level —and
its effects at the local level of FCI Edgefield.
Because of the evolving legislative and policy
objectives identified at the outset, the BOP is already operating significantly
under capacity. The BOP has resisted Full or timely compliance with policy
mandates and initiatives which would result in further immediate and dramatic
reductions in its population. [Dilatory
implementation and obstructionist application of those policies have resulted
in the retention of a portion of the Bureau’s population equivalent to five of
its prisons] The BOP is attempting to fight the forces of contraction set in
motion by these policy changes by delaying/hindering the implementation of
policy and/or trying to accomplish it without any corresponding decreases in
Every prison is operating with a diminished staff
compliment. This is not because the Bureau is understaffed, but because the BOP
is incompetently overstretched. The BOP is operating across too many platforms
without the population, staff, or resources to support that alignment. The only
responsible or rational option, Consolidation of existing bed-space, would
permit the BOP to immediately deactivate several facilities and fully staff
those remaining institutions. Billions of dollars in savings would allow it to
concentrate and redirect resources to the remaining institutions; Most of which
are operating at not only dangerous staffing levels, but with unsafe, unhealthy
and deteriorating infrastructure and underfunded programs.
These are problems of scale and competence. These were
not unanticipated changes. National trends and policy intimations have signaled
these changes for some time. The failure to anticipate the need for reductions
in scale and appropriately and timely downsize in a safe and efficient manner
has resulted in (among other things) overtime practices at FCI Edgefield which
critically compromise the security of the institution, and endanger staff,
inmates and the public. These overtime practices have led to problems such as
low morale and mission fatigue; With some staff openly voicing sentiments such
as “…I been here 12 hours already, I don’t care what y’all do!”
Other staff simply spend the shift in the office asleep or in a near-sleep
stupor. (this is also part of pre-existing conditions of dereliction) On the
date of the incident described above, the staff in all of the affected areas
were on their 10th or more hour of duty that day; And most of the staff on that
shift had worked at least 32 of the previous 48 hours; Or worked a double-shift
within the previous 48 hours.
FCI Edgefield is currently being operated by a zombie
staff of semi-competent supervisors and semi-comatose personnel. This fact,
combined with prior conditions of confinement, which were already
constitutionally violative in and of themselves, creates an emergency with the
serious and immediate risk of death, injury or irreparable harm.
The “prior conditions of confinement”
mentioned are the subject of ongoing litigation attempts which are currently
being aggressively obstructed by local officials. Access to the courts
regarding those issues has been completely abridged. That abridgement has been
directed, given tacit approval, or been encouraged by the policies and
practices of local, regional and central office officials which have resulted
in an organizational posture oriented to impede, obstruct, or titularly
implement legislative and judicial mandates which tend to reduce or mitigate
custodial sentences, or otherwise limit custodial reach.
Under the leadership of these officials, the BOP has
become oriented to view such mandates as a threat to its mission; And to see
that mission as encompassing “protecting the public” not just from
offenders, but from Congress and the courts as well. The BOP views “Prison
Reform” as an existential threat to its mission and existence. The BOP’s
opposition to it, the BOP’s efforts to resist it, and the BOP’s dilatory and
inadequate implementation of it are endangering staff, inmates and the public.
These present a clear and immediate danger of irreparable harm, injury or death
and require the courts to exercise their emergency powers of injunctive relief.