The WDOC reviews the form and either grants or denies the request. Accommodating faiths and belief systems can be difficult in a rural state with limited religious support networks, Young said. Because of this, WDOC relies heavily on religious volunteers, who can offer services and guidance to inmates. Beyond constitutional requirements, access to religion is an important part of the prison system, he said. On the path to reconciliation and rehabilitation, however, faith is one of the few tools available to inmates.
A denial can be appealed, Young said. Post Views: Share This Facebook Twitter Email. Tags: criminal justice religious freedom Wyoming Department of Corrections. Show comments Leave a Reply Cancel reply Your email address will not be published. It can take up to two weeks for a horse to permit a first touch, said trainer Hank Curry, who guides the inmates through the program. The wild horse training program was born out of an ongoing issue facing the Bureau of Land Management and the American West: an unsustainable level of wild horses, the feral descendants of escaped horses from explorers, ranchers, miners and others.
The bureau estimated that at the end of , the number of wild horses on public lands across 10 western states, including Nevada, had reached 83, — more than three times the appropriate management level. Taming wild horses brings change to Nevada inmates. March 30, Hines, who left Florence in and became an associate warden at a prison in Pennsylvania, was never charged in the investigation. He appeared at the Cowboys trial as a defense witness, sparring with prosecutors and denying the "green light" conversation or any knowledge of officer misconduct.
But Armstrong claimed to have had a similar conversation with Hines about doing what had to be done. Like a lot of officers in the SHU, Armstrong was disgusted by the administration's lack of backbone in dealing with mouthy, belligerent prisoners. In he was 29 years old, around the same age as most of the other Cowboys, and not inclined to take crap from lowlifes. He became an enthusiastic participant in more than a dozen beatings of prisoners -- too many, he told the jury, to remember them all. Armstrong beat inmate Kevin Gilbeaux -- with the assistance of barrel-chested guard David Pruyne, he says, who packed a mean two-handed punch.
It was Pruyne who supposedly gave the group its nickname, boasting to inmates that the guards had their own gang, the Cowboys; he was acquitted of the Gilbeaux beating.
At trial, there was considerable dispute over whether Gall was present for the Wiggins episode, or whether it even happened the way Armstrong described. But one officer was so disturbed by the whole business that he vowed never to do another prisoner escort with Armstrong. The preferred method of instruction involved punches and kicks to the chest and abdomen, to minimize bruising, but it didn't always work that way.
Heads were slammed into walls, bodies hurled to the floor. The injuries could always be explained, as long as everyone kept his story straight and stuck to his memos -- which usually reported a justifiable use of force on an inmate who was combative, self-mutilating or just plain crazy. Of course, not every officer in the SHU was involved. But no one who worked with the Cowboys reported the beatings, not for years. Loyalty may have played a part, or maybe it was because, as prosecution witnesses suggested, the Cowboys had no more affection for snitches than the inmates; they might be slow to respond to a colleague's body alarm if he or she was telling tales out of school.
Yet the silence was based on more than fear. In January , a year-old officer named Charlotte Gutierrez came upon LaVallee working his magic in the cell of inmate Ronnie Beverly. According to Gutierrez, LaVallee was punching Beverly in the torso while he was lying cuffed on the floor. LaVallee told her to leave.
Gutierrez, who'd just started working in the SHU, responded by stepping on Beverly's head. Before long, Gutierrez was kicking inmates in the groin and squeezing their testicles. Schultz congratulated her, she said, and LaVallee showed her how not to leave marks. At first the treatment was reserved for the most repellent inmates, men like Howard Lane, a lifer who'd killed another prisoner and threatened staff.
Gutierrez described him as a stalker and compulsive masturbator who was known for following female officers around and writing them disgusting letters. He had two penises tattooed on his chest, with shooting stars surrounding them. Once in the unit, Britt testified, Verbickas picked up the handcuffed Lane and dropped him chin first on the ground.
Gutierrez kicked him in the ribs. Afterward, a lieutenant looked in on the messy scene and told Gutierrez, "Fix this. So Gutierrez cleaned up the blood. Then she slapped her shins repeatedly to raise red spots that would photograph nicely -- supporting evidence for the official reports, which stated that Lane had kicked Gutierrez and sustained injuries by hurling himself into objects in his cell.
But it wasn't just deviants like Lane who needed to be taught a lesson. Inmates who kicked cell doors, inmates who made vague threats about lawsuits or insulted an officer's family -- whatever the problem, beatings were the solution. One officer said that when he called Schultz for some advice on how to deal with an unruly inmate in his own unit, Schultz's answer was unequivocal: "Take him down to the holding cell and beat him.
In time, the lessons doled out to their captive pupils became more elaborate, the purpose more obscure. What end was served, after all, by roughing up inmate Pedro Castillo, a notorious self-mutilator? What pedagogical aim could there be in torturing a prone, cuffed, mentally ill prisoner named Ellis Lard? Yet, according to one officer, LaVallee stomped on Lard's neck while Verbickas soccer-kicked him in the ribs. Perhaps the most bitter lesson of all was prepared for William Turner.
It's not clear how Turner, a slight, scrawny bank robber, was selected as a candidate for the treatment; he'd been in the SHU only eight days when he got the stuffing knocked out of him in the summer of Staff memos at the time refer to various threats and rants Turner supposedly uttered in the days leading up to the altercation, claiming to be "running shit in segregation" and having a pipeline to Johnnie Cochran. But prosecutors say the memos can't be trusted, that they may have been faked to make the subsequent assault more plausible.
On the third day, guards put a jumbo-sized prisoner into Turner's cell. Turner, who claimed to be a protective-custody case, protested.
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He got the worst of the ensuing fight with his cellie, who was soon removed. On the eighth day, Schultz stuck his arm into the food slot in Turner's cell, ostensibly to hand him a towel. Schultz cried out that Turner had grabbed him by the wrist and was stabbing his arm.
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Turner was slapped, kicked, punched, put in a chokehold and otherwise neutralized. Shackled hand and foot, he was moved to a holding cell and charged with assaulting Schultz and Armstrong. Stabbing a corrections officer can add another ten years to an inmate's sentence. But the entire incident was a fraud, Armstrong testified. The guards had decided in advance to pay Turner a visit, with the aim of nailing him on charges that would keep him in hour lockdown for years. Schultz had sharpened a toothbrush in an office, Armstrong said, stabbed himself in the arm, then sprinkled blood in Turner's cell after the beating.
Videotapes of Turner in the holding cell, taken to document his medical treatment, show a frail, whimpering wreck who can hardly stand or even defecate without assistance. He complains of severe pain in his ribs, protests his innocence, frets that the men who did this aren't finished with him. I didn't stab nobody. I'll take a polygraph on it, man. I have never stabbed anybody in my entire time in this system. Nobody pays too much attention to what inmate Turner has to say.
After four days of sitting in his own excrement and receiving minimal medical attention, his moaning stops. He offers a contrite apology to a guard, clearly eager to better his situation.
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Here he is, facing another ten years in prison -- and calmly consenting to the frame. Like Winston Smith in , who appeases his keepers by acknowledging that two plus two equals five, he seems willing to confess to anything. If you could relay that to the captain Also, I've got two lawsuits. Tell him that I'm willing to tear them up. I don't even want to deal with that shit.
Turner learned his lesson well. What was real was not his aching ribs, but what the guards said was real. Nobody would ever believe anything different, especially if it came from the likes of William Turner. One of the more troubling questions to emerge from the Cowboys trial is how an alleged conspiracy of such magnitude, involving more than a dozen officers and spanning two and a half years, could go undetected for so long. So many crimes, so many constitutional violations committed by federal employees inside a high-security federal institution -- wasn't anybody paying any attention?
Prosecutors say the isolated nature of the SHU helped to conceal what was going on. Captain Hines had a great deal of control over which officers were assigned to the SHU, and those officers controlled access to the unit. The inmates were locked away from the world, their injuries dutifully explained away in memos and minimized by medical staff who were willing to cover for the officers.
Attorney Robert Mydans said. Nonsense, responded defense lawyers, who pointed out that there was an endless parade of people through the SHU: wardens, associate wardens, captains and lieutenants, food-service personnel, physicians' assistants. At the end of his closing argument, Tom Hammond, LaVallee's attorney, thumped the lectern repeatedly, ridiculing the notion that other staff could be kept waiting, "knocking at the door" of the SHU until the Cowboys were through beating someone.
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It was absurd to believe that so many beatings could occur and nobody outside the unit would know, he argued. Yet there is reason to believe that many people outside the SHU did know about the beatings. They just didn't do anything about it.
They didn't take the information seriously, they didn't care, or they were scared. As early as , Chris Kester, a representative of the guards' union who worked in the SHU, had gone to warden Joel Knowles about the injured inmates he saw when he arrived for his shift.
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Knowles discounted the stories, though, and Kester's subsequent efforts to go up the ladder -- meetings with top-ranking BOP officials, calls for a congressional investigation -- led nowhere. According to Schultz, Kester was trying to "bring down" officers who challenged his leadership. In fact, the most tangible result of Kester's efforts was the growing rank-and-file hostility toward union reps who failed to support their brother officers.