I got this from HumansInShadow.com. They got it from Jim Ridgeway’s site, SolitaryWatch.com. It appears that Phillip Miller was a model prisoner, having served the first half of a twenty year sentence. A guard smuggled a cell phone in, and Miller ended up getting an additional 5 years in solitary.
Miller was brought before an internal prison disciplinary hearing and pled guilty to the two charges. But he sought to call various inmates who could attest to his good behavior and to describe what actually had happened. The hearing officer denied him his request, claiming that he, the prison officer, knew all about Miller and it wasn’t necessary to call the witnesses. Miller was found guilty of both charges and sentenced to 60 months—five years—in solitary, with a proviso that 24 months might be suspended if he incurred no further disciplinary charges. Despite the nonviolent nature of his offenses, Miller was shipped off to serve his time at Southport, the all-solitary supermax facility south of Elmira.
The article goes on to state that New York leads the nation in disciplinary use of solitary confinement and segregration.
Long stretches in the so-called Special Housing Unit (“the SHU” or, more commonly, ”the box”) is an everyday punishment in New York State prisons. Currently, about 4,500 inmates are serving time in some form of 23-hour-a-day lockdown, with sentences ranging from months to decades. As we wrote in an earlier article, New York leads the nation in the use of “disciplinary segregation,” and isolation “is very much a punishment of first resort, doled out for minor rule violations as well as major offenses. In New York, the most common reason for a stint in solitary is creating a ‘disturbance’ or ‘demonstration.’…Second is ‘dirty urine’—testing positive for drugs of any kind…Other infractions include refusing to obey orders, ‘interfering with employees,’ being ‘out of place’ and possession of contraband—not only a shiv but a joint, a cellphone or too many postage stamps.”
Now, ask yourself what happened to the C.O. who brought the cell phone in, in the first place.
The corrections officer in question was 12-year veteran Leon Strand. According to information provided upon request by the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision’s Office of Public Information, Strand was ”arrested on felony dangerous contraband charges by the New York State Police on May 21, 2010.” The following day, Strand was suspended without pay, and he “resigned from his Correction Officer position while facing DOCCS disciplinary charges.” The Public Information Office also reported that “on November 23, 2010, Strand pleaded guilty to Promoting Prison Contraband,” but was not aware what sentence he had received. Records show that Strand never served any time in the New York State prison system, and as far as we can ascertain, never did any jail time, either.
- FIVE YEARS MORE IN ISOLATION for POSSESSING a CELL PHONE (inprisonedwomen.wordpress.com)
- New York Prisoner Gets Five Years in Solitary for Having Cell Phone Smuggled in by Guard (solitarywatch.com)
- Solitary Confinement New York´s Hidden Problem (inprisonedwomen.wordpress.com)
- “New York´s Black Sites”: New Article About Solitary Confinement in State Prisons (inprisonedwomen.wordpress.com)
- “New York’s Black Sites”: New Article About Solitary Confinement in State Prisons (solitarywatch.com)
- A Word About Our Art (deafinprison.wordpress.com)
- Solitary Confinement is Used as Torture – From AlterNet (deafinprison.wordpress.com)
- Editorial: Colorado prisons’ solitary exercise policy cruel, unusual (denverpost.com)