By Pat Bliss
You sometimes wonder – will the moves, the accusations, the disruptions ever end for Felix? Well, here we are again having to have Felix moved from his home camp of Marion Correctional to protect his life.
We had to move him fast, when he was at Tomoka C.I., because he divulged to authorities some criminal activity going on, and his life was threatened. He was temporarily sent to Marion C.I. to await his parole hearing results.
After the parole hearing, Felix was moved to Wakulla C.I. to start special programming as mandated by the parole commission. But that went sour when he needed a sign interpreter and they would not provide one for him – presumably because of cost and inconvenience. He kept grieving for one, but bad things started to happen and we had to move him out fast again.
The attorney and I conferred with the parole commission in Tallahassee to send Felix back to Marion C.I., as it had interpreters for the deaf and special programming. And he liked it there. He was in the faith dorm. But that did not last either. Before he left Tomoka C.I. his special radio that works with his hearing aid was stolen. He did not see it again until back at Marion C.I. where he saw it in the possession of a gang member. He asked for it back, but was told in essence, to get lost. He reported it to his classification officer. Staff members confronted the gang member. He said Felix had sold it to him. They put this gang member in lock up. Friends of the gang member then threatened Felix’s life and someone else threatened to knife him. He was put in protective custody.
Being in confinement is the same place whether it is for punishment or protection. He was there for 28 days. There was no recreation and all meals were served in his cell. He saw no daylight – as confinement is under the building – unless he was sent to medical. He had no church, no interaction or conversation with any deaf. He could not understand what the hearing inmates were talking about, to each other, nor could make out what the guards were saying at a distance.
It was driving him crazy. I kept in touch with his C.O. on a regular basis. She went to see him often. She was undoubtedly the nicest most caring C.O. I have ever interacted with. Felix was blessed to have her. However, with no end in sight, to the ongoing investigation, the Warden decided to transfer Felix elsewhere.
Felix had 6 moves, taking 23 days, before landing at Columbia Correctional Annex. This camp was one of the choices by DOC in Tallahassee, noting the camp administrators will take care of Felix and his hearing disability, and they have the special programming as well. The attorney and I respectfully disagreed but hopefully, they will have interpreters for the special programs and a workable TTY phone for Felix to call me and others. Unfortunately, he also arrived without his tennis shoes, his cane, an ADA lock or a combination lock. His head was shaved in retaliation for seeking an interpreter, and he had no shampoo or lotion. They were all taken from him. I called property at the one location where all but the shoes were taken from him. Nothing could be found.
Felix lives in a vacuum, he said it is like being under water all the time. He pleads to have some normalcy in his life, to be left alone and not have his life constantly disrupted. He yearns for a sense of tranquility and stability, but that has never happened. August 10th marked his 34th year – an innocent man in prison. As his defacto mom, my heart grieves for him. He deserves some peace and a taste of freedom.
I talked with his new C.O. and she had a nice 2 hour meeting with Felix. They communicated by writing notes back and forth. She knows what he needs to complete any classes or programs. She liked the notes so she can go back to them to assure Felix’s needs are met. This is positive news, that he again has a caring C.O. on his side. She said he is doing fine.
Perhaps you, as supporters of Felix and his cause, will write and give him encouragement that he is not alone; that people do care. That will make his day, after what he has been through the past couple months Thank you all from my heart. Pat Bliss
Felix Garcia #482246
Columbia Correctional Annex
216 S.E. Corrections Way
Lake City, FL 52025-2013
Pat Bliss is a retired paralegal in criminal law. She continues to do legal work for indigent prisoner cases showing innocence. She is a Certified Community Chaplain, Certified as a volunteer for CISM (Crises Intervention Stress Management) and involved in community events.