SECOND LETTER FROM UNIT B IN BRISTOL COUNTY

A copy of the letter that was received by FANG (which includes a full list of recipients) can be viewed and downloaded here.

To whom it might concern:

The I.C.E. detainee of unit B of the Bristol County Correctional Center, individually and collectively would like to highlight serious concerns about the outbreak of the COVID-19 Virus within the facility of Bristol Correctional Center. The facility safety conditions and the condition of it’s personnel, in light of two recent and separate episodes have raised the concern into a very serious matter.

Specifically, on March 14, 2020 a Correctional Officer was observed to be symptomatic of the COVID-19 Virus during his shift. He never returned to unit B leaving all detainees very worried. The second C.O. that showed symptom was on March 16, 2020 and was later replaced by a collegue to then return with coughing and sneezing.

Those two separate and serious episode recently occurred have alarmed the entire detainee population of unit B and prompted a number of detainees to file their own Sick Call/Medical Encounter Request.

On March 22, 2020 C.O. Aylwart during a conversation with one of the detainees stated the following “You don’t get it, this [coronavirus] is nothing more than a flu” missing the gravity of the situation entirely. Once told the current situation the Italy is experiencing he dismissed the topic entirely. This naive behavior is of a grave concern of us. How can we be sure that this CO adheres the Federal recommendations when he totally ignores the existence of the Covid-19? His behavior was reckless to say the least.

Unit B in c, omprised of sixty-ix (66) beds, fifty-seven (57) of them occupied, one of them filled as recently as less than a week ago.

Our concerns are the following:

  1. The reckless behavior of the two separate Correctional Officers that reported for duty showing symptom of the COVID-19 Virus created extreme alarm and anxiety among all detainees.
  2. The naive behavior of C.O. Aylwart created fear and anxiety among us and should not be permitted.
  3. The lack of reassurance from top management that those officers posed no risk to us is unacceptable. We need for ICE to assure us all that we are safe here.
  4. The overcrowded living conditions of the detainees in unit B, fifty-seven (57) to be precise is in net contrast with State mandatory guidelines of max 25 and Federal guidelines of a max of 10. This is unacceptable to the health and wellbeing of all detainees. On March 15, 2020 a note was posted in the unit by Sheriff Thomas M. Hodgson’s office stating among other the following: “…Given the close quarters and need for daily contact, our correctional facilities and jail are extremely vulnerable for resident, staff, volunteers, and visitors to become infected.” The three (3) feet distance between bunk beds is in net contrast with the mandatory six (6) feet safety distance between individuals. On March 22, 2020 Sec. of Homeland Security Chad Wolf in a televised interview stated the following when referring to ICE detention centers: “There is a serious danger for the officers” as if detenees are somehow immune from contractig the Covid-19 through correctional officers as vehicle.
  5. On March 18, 2020 at around 12:00pm medical personell in their unofficial vest stated that the infection of the whole ICE facility population is inevitable and will occur within the next 30 days. Such statement spreaded faster than the virus itself among detainees that are now extremely agitated and panicking.

Accordingly, it is imperative that the following measures should be implemented effectively immediately:

  1. Detainees with serious medical condition should be released immediately. Our survey collected a total of 28 inmates that have conditions such as:
    1. Hernia
    2. Pacemaker
    3. Herniated disk
    4. Falsimia (Leukemia)
    5. High blood pressure
    6. Complex tear of the upper meniscus (right knee)
    7. Healing bone fracture
    8. Fractured rib
    9. Atsma
    10. Cancer survivor
    11. Urinal track infection
    12. Heart problem
    13. Severe back spinal injury
    14. High blood pressure
    15. Diabete
    16. Low white blood cell count
    17. Tested positive for TB
    18. Recovering from broken shoulder
    19. High cholesterol
    20. Kidney stones
    21. Dental
    22. Back pain
    23. Ceasures
    24. Severe COPD/Emphyzema
    25. 70% lung function
    26. Double desection of main neck arteries
    27. Stroke (recent)
    28. Recent internal bleeding
    29. Diagnosed with weak immune system
    30. Mental health issues
    31. Fear and anxiety
    32. Depression
    33. Stress
    34. Headaches
    35. Difficult in sleeping
    36. PTSD
    37. Bypolar depression
    38. Schitzophrenia
    39. Double personality disorder
  2. Detainees considered low risk (without aggravated felonies), or detainees who have not had their bond hearing should be released immediately;
  3. Detainees with scheduled hearings that gets rescheduled shall qualify for immediate bond hearing/release;
  4. Detainees who consented to be deported, yet still present at the facility shall depart the U.S. within five (5) business days. Our survey shows that eleven (11) detainees have a final deportation order, some of them as old as of July 2019. Those detainees are now being held hostage by ICE.

In the meantime, in no particular order

5. The current chow is inadequate for us all, it is weak and does not provide us enough nutrients to fight even a simple disease, nevertheless to say a Covid-19. We are respectfully asking the following: Chow should have more nutrients, we should have red meat, more vegetable, more fruit and more variety. We eat rice and potatoes at least seven (7) time/week. This regime is borderline punitive. We are detainees and not prisoners nor hostages.

6. The facility must be decontaminated as stated by the Sheriff. It has not been despite his televised message last week.

7. The above mentioned televised message should be distributed in writing in the spanish language.

8. We need to be reassured that both CO (Salvator and Santos) are in healthy conditions.

9. Starting immediately all non-detainees personell entering the ICE facility should wear gloves and mask at all times as implemented in ICE court. This is non-negotiable.

10. Clergy should be allowed to visit us. Yesterday a group of clergy from PEAR were not allowed to meet with us and they were forced to return back to Boston without meeting with us.

11. Please do not open or take our mail. Our mail should reach the intended person in its original format.

12. Same as above for the greviance. Third party only (no Liutenants) should retrieve greviance.

13. Please provide us with a free/unlimited use of the phone (including international calls) for the next four (4) weeks.

14. Please provide us with accurate informations regarding officers/personell/prisoners and or detainees that have been tested positive for the Covid-19 Virus in real time.

15. Starting immediately, ICE detainees should not have any contact with prisoners when in the medical facility, or in any other facilities.

16. Starting immediately the scanning device in booking facility should be disinfected after each scan.

17. Provide hand sanitizer at point of egress.

18. Provide assurance that the soap in our bathroom kills 99.9% of germs and bacteria and has not been diluted.

19. Provide cleaning workers with yellow rubber gloves, adequate scrubber/floor brush to clean bathrooms.

20. Provide us with adequate product to disinfect the phone after each use.

We are looking forward to address all the above on March 23, 2020 with ICE major.

Respectfully submitted and signed by 52 detainees.

The remaining five inmates refused to sign the petition in fear of retaliation.

-Team B

51 People Detained by ICE in Bristol County Write Letter & Demands Regarding COVID-19

Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

Image

Full letter text:

To whom it might concern:

The I.C.E. detainees of unit B of the Bristol County Correctional Center, individually and collectively would like to highlight serious concerns about the outbreak of the COVID-19 Virus within the facility of the Bristol Correctional Center. 

The facility safety conditions and the conditions of it’s personnel, in light of two recent and separate episodes have raised the concern into a very serious matter.

Specifically, on March 14, 2020 a Correctional Officer was observed to be symptomatic of the COVID-19 Virus during his shift followed by another C.O. on March 16, 2020 that was later on replaced by a collegue.

Two separate and serious episodes recently occurred and have alarmed the entire detainee population of unit B and prompted a number of detainees to file their own Sick Call/Medical Encounter Request.

Unit B in comprised of sixty-six (66) beds, fifty-seven (57) of them occupied, one of them filled as recently as 24 hours ago.

Two major concerns are expressed in this letter:

  1. The reckless behaviur of the two separate Correctional Officers that reported for duty showing symptoms of the COVID-19 Virus created extreme alarm and anxiety among all detainees;
  2. The overcrowded living conditions of the detainees in unit B, fifty-seven (57) to be precise is in net contrast with State mandatory guidelines of max 25 and Federal guidelines of a max of 10. This is unacceptable to the health and wellbeing of all detainees. On March 15, 2020 a note was posted in the unit by Sheriff Thomas M. Hodgson’s office stating among other the following: “…Given the close quarters and need for daily contact, our correctional facilities and jail are extremely vulnerable for residents, staff, volunteers, and visitors to become infected.” The three (3) feet distance between bunk beds is in net contrast with the mandatory six (6) feet safety distance between individuals.
  3. Today at around 12:00pm medical personell in their unofficial vest stated that the infection of the whole ICE facility population is inevitable and will occur within the next 30 days. Such statement spreaded faster than the virus itself among detainees that are now extremely agitated and panicking.

Accordingly, it is imperative that the following measures should be implemented effectively immediately:

  1. Detainees with serious medical condition should be released immediately;
  2. Detainees considered low risk (without aggravated felonies), or detainees who have not had their bond hearing should be released immediately;
  3. Detainees with scheduled hearings that gets rescheduled shall qualify for immediate bond hearing/release;
  4. Detainees who consented to be deported, yet still present at the facility shall depart the U.S. within five (5) business days.

If you have any further question please address your correspondence to TEAM B attention Darcy McMenamin Bristol County Correctional Center, ICE B, 400 Faunce Corner Road, North Dartmouth, MA, 02747.

Respectfully submitted and signed by 51 detainees. Original is attached. The remaining six inmates refused to sign the petition in fear of retaliation.

NOTE:

WE ARE HOPING THAT YOU WILL MOBILIZE ON OUR BEHALF BY CONTACTING YOUR LOCAL CONGRESSMAN AND ANY AND ALL TV AND MEDIA OUTLET. ALONG WITH YOUR LOCAL AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION FOUNDATION (A.C.L.U.) AT THE ADDRESS POSTED ON OUR LETTER.

WE ARE TRAPPED INSIDE A STORAGE AND IN FEAR FOR OUR LIFE. PLEASE HELP!

THANK YOU, TEAM B

Writing to Sherrie in Jail

On March 9, Sherrie Andre was found guilty of trespassing and disturbing the peace and was sentenced to THIRTY DAYS in jail, the maximum possible penalty.

We are shocked and enraged. But we know that this is the exact type of violence that the Bristol County Sheriff’s Department, the prison industrial complex and the criminal “justice” system impose on people every single day.

Sherrie was arrested at a protest in August 2018 at the Bristol County House of Corrections. The action was carried out in solidarity with people detained by ICE at the facility who launched a hunger strike to demand better conditions. During the action Sherrie was brutalized by the Bristol County Sheriff’s Department.

At the trial, the prosecution failed to prove that Sherrie committed any crimes, yet they were still found guilty. Despite dozens of letters of support submitted on Sherrie’s behalf, the judge enforced the maximum sentence.

After the jail sentenced was announced, one of Sherrie’s supporters was violently arrested in the courthouse.

Despite the repression we have faced, we will keep fighting to support our people and hold the Bristol County Sheriff’s Department accountable for their violence.

Letters can be to sent to Sherrie while they serve a 30 day prison sentence at the Bristol County House of Corrections:

Sherrie Andre, ID 193414, Cell DWC-C4
Bristol County House of Correction, 400 Faunce Corner Road
North Dartmouth, MA 02747

All mail MUST include a return address. More info about sending mail to the facility can be found here: https://bcso-ma.us/visitors-mailinginfo.htm

Sherrie’s Trial: Fill the Court!

Join us at the New Bedford District Court on March 5 at 8:30 AM, as we continue to support Sherrie Andre, co-founder of the FANG Collective, who is beginning their trial after it was postponed in January.

Sherrie is going to trial as a result of an action taken at the Bristol County House of Corrections in August 2018. The action was held in solidarity with people in I.C.E. detention who launched a hunger strike to demand better conditions at the facility.

On January 7th, over 100 of us came to the New Bedford District Court to support Sherrie as they began their trial.

Despite the fact that both Sherrie’s legal team, and the prosecution were prepared for the trial, the judge inexplicably decided to postpone the trial. After the decision was announced, court officers violently and aggressively removed supporters from the court house.

On March 5th we will be back at the courthouse. It is our intention to show solidarity with Sherrie, and to show support for everyone else facing the court system in New Bedford.

Sherrie is facing up to 30 days in jail. Two other people arrested as part of the action have served 10 day jail sentences, and another person was fined $3000 in restitution.

***

Please fill out this form if you need a ride to the trial, can offer a ride, or are coming from out of town: https://form.jotform.com/200349627857161

We are also asking folks to submit letters of support for Sherrie that will be delivered to the judge. You can submit a letter of support by emailing support@shutdownicenow.org or by filling out this form: https://form.jotform.com/92857485633168

***

You can read about what happened at the court in January here: https://itsgoingdown.org/over-100-people-show-up-to-support-sherrie-andre-of-the-fang-collective-on-trial-for-resisting-ice/

You can read more about the action that Sherrie took part in here (tw police violence): https://upriseri.com/2018-08-20-fang/

And you can read more about why Sherrie is choosing to go to trial here: https://medium.com/@karen.savage/activist-faces-jail-time-for-resisting-massachusetts-sheriffs-collaboration-with-ice-380649e0e9d9

FACEBOOK EVENT: https://www.facebook.com/events/116694836426742/

Last Week in Bristol County: In Solidarity with Incarcerated Individuals

Last week we took action in multiple cities in Bristol County, Massachusetts in solidarity with individuals incarcerated by the state, and in resistance to the 287(g) and IGSA contract between ICE and the county. 

In New Bedford on January 8th, we marched from the New Bedford District Court to the Ash Street Jail, one of the oldest jails in the country, which is notorious for its terrible conditions. We took the streets and were joined by community members who shared our message and our goals.

The following morning in Mansfield, a town that has voted overwhelmingly for Sheriff Hodgson, we blocked a busy intersection to raise awareness about Bristol County’s collaborations with ICE. We blocked traffic for over an hour, passed out flyers on the MBTA commuter rail platform and on the street, and dropped a banner over the intersection. 

On January 7th, over 100 of us came to the New Bedford District Court to support Sherrie as they began their trial. 

Despite the fact that both Sherrie’s legal team, and the prosecution were prepared for the trial, the judge inexplicably decided to move the trial to February 26th.

After the decision was announced, court officers violently and aggressively removed supporters from the court house.

We won’t back down and will continue to support Sherrie and resist ICE and state violence in Bristol County.

For the week of what was supposed to be the trial, we invited our friends and comrades from across the so-called United States to join us. We are so appreciative of everyone who took the time out of their busy and important schedules to join the FANG community in supporting Sherrie and supporting the fight to end 287(g) and shut down ICE. 

It’s important to us to make space for healing and community care, especially for people who are consistently putting their bodies on the line. While we took action this week, we also took time to care for one another and to heal. We went bowling! We had a party! We went to the ocean! On Tuesday night, over 150 of our friends joined us at the First Unitarian Church in Providence for a community dinner in which we shared delicious food and heard from incredible frontline organizers from across Turtle Island. Endless thank you’s to everybody who made this week possible.

The re-scheduled trial date is February 26. We will post updates closer to then, but if you’re interested in coming to support Sherrie, save the date! 

Until then, you can support in the following ways:

  • Following @FangCollective on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, and sharing our updates to spread the word.
  • Donating funds so that we can continue the #ShutDownICE campaign. This money goes to resisting ICE and 287(g) in Bristol County, caring for our community, and paying fines and bails when possible. bit.ly/FANG-Collective
  • Signing the pledge to take action to further plug into the campaign: https://form.jotform.com/FANG_Collective/Take_Action

With militant love,

The FANG Collective

Sherrie’s Trial: How You Can Support

On January 7th and 8th at New Bedford District Court, FANG co-founder Sherrie Andre will be going on trial for their participation in an action at the Bristol County House of Corrections. This action was held in solidarity with people in I.C.E. detention who launched a hunger strike to demand better conditions at the facility.

There are many ways that you can support Sherrie, the FANG Collective, and the #ShutDownICE campaign. Here’s how:

  • Come to the New Bedford District Court at 8:30am on the 7th and 8th to support Sherrie’s case in person.
  • Come to FANG’s Community Dinner at 6pm on January 7th at the First Unitarian Church of Providence.
  • Donate to FANG and the #ShutDownICE campaign. Funds will go to Sherrie’s court costs, petty cash to pay for other people’s bail and fines at the courthouse, and to accommodate friends and comrades visiting for the trial.
  • Call Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and demand that he investigate the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office and Sheriff Thomas Hodgson for the inhumane conditions at their prisons, and for mishandling hundreds of thousands of dollars from ICE. We are also demanding that Governor Baker end the state’s 287(g) contract with ICE: (617) 725-4005

You can find further media coverage of Sherrie and the trial here: 

UpriseRI
Providence Journal
The Indy
-Washington Babylon

Letter of Support for Sherrie

On January 7th, Sherrie Anne Andre will be going on trial after being arrested during a direct action at the Bristol County House of Corrections in Massachusetts. The action was carried out in solidarity with people detained by I.C.E. at the facility who launched a hunger strike to demand more humane treatment.

We are collecting letters of support for Sherrie that will be used at the trial. Please feel free to submit a letter of your own by emailing Support@ShutDownICEnow.org or sign on to this letter.

To whom it may concern,

I am writing to express strong support for Sherrie Anne Andre and the action they took last summer to call attention to inhumane conditions for I.C.E. detainees and inmates within the Bristol County House of Correction. Sherrie’s action, and the work they do in their communities, fall within a long tradition of dissent and civil disobedience that has led movements for positive change in the United States. With this in mind, I believe that Sherrie’s action ought to be recognized as a service to the community, rather than treated as a crime to be punished.

Sherrie is deeply committed to social justice work out of care and responsibility for their communities, and their actions, even when breaking the law, are driven by thought and consideration for how they will affect everyone directly or indirectly involved. The action last summer, for which Sherrie is facing criminal charges, was a necessary effort to combat injustice in our community, and, moreover, was carried out with the least possible inconvenience to residents of the area.

Because of the degree of thoughtfulness with which Sherrie approaches all aspects of their life, they are a leader and mentor to many people working for positive change in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and in communities across the continent. Sherrie’s lawbreaking actions represent the interests of so many who oppose the injustice carried out by I.C.E. and other violent agencies.

I believe that it would be a mistake to legally penalize Sherrie for their attempt to demand humane conditions for all people, and I urge the court to drop all charges against them.

Sincerely,

Sign your organization on to this letter here.