Ron McAndrew, former warden at FSP, sent me a brief note he gave me permission to share. It is his response to my blog about the gutting of Senate Bill 7020.
“Thanks for the new post. Scott's boys are up and down the hallways plotting and scheming to prevent any real change. It's a shame as some very serious oversight is needed. If the amended bill moves forward it will only send a message to the goon-squads that kicking ass and taking names is an OK thing.”
If anybody knows what’s going on inside it’s Ron McAndrew. He also knows a thing or two about retaliation - a very serious and longstanding problem that's being glossed over by those who want to maintain a culture of brutality and secrecy.
Here’s his quote in Miami Herald article, Florida prison boss orders use-of-force audit, 10/16/14 by Julie Brown.
“Corrections officials know that a significant number of force applications never get reported,” said Ron McAndrew, former warden at Florida State Prison.
“There were many times at Florida State Prison where I would come upon situations where I encountered an inmate who had two black eyes, a bloody mouth, and bruises up and down his body,” he said. “I would ask him what happened and he said he fell off his bunk. Well, he didn't get injuries like that from falling off his bunk. He was too afraid to tell me that he was beaten by the officers.”
Retaliation doesn't stop with inmates.
When I spoke to Ron for the first time last year, he told me a story about his first corrections job at Dade Correctional Institution of all places. For those of you who don’t know, DCI was where I worked as a psychotherapist for nearly three years in the psychiatric ward.
In 1979 he was 42 when he took his first job as a correctional officer. Almost immediately, he noticed guards being abusive to inmates. When he wouldn't go along, his fellow officers sent him a message. They slashed the new tires on his truck and poisoned his dog to death! This was back in 1979/80.
The point is, house members need to understand the severity and long-standing nature of the deep-rooted problems plaguing the FL DOC. They need to pass the strongest possible bill - not HB 7131 in its present form.
You can't fix a problem by hiding it or hoping it will go away.