SOURCE: A Just Cause

A Just Cause

October 13, 2015 07:04 ET

Bureau of Prisons Director, Charles Samuels, Remains Silent and Refuses to Address the Treatment of IRP6 Visitors at the Florence Prison Camp in Colorado Says Advocacy Group, A Just Cause

A Just Cause Remains Baffled by the Inaction of BOP Leadership, Specifically Director Samuels, After Repeated Requests for Investigation and Intervention of Inmate and Visitor Harassment

DENVER, CO--(Marketwired - October 13, 2015) - A Just Cause (AJC) continues to reach out to the Florence Prison Camp Warden and, up to the highest level of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), to Director Samuels, with respect to the harassment and mistreatment of visitors of the IRP6 at the Federal Prison Camp in Florence, Colorado. The failure to return phone calls and emails, or even honor appointments with A Just Cause executives has been disconcerting for the AJC team that is looking for solutions and immediate corrective action to a situation that has gotten out of hand.

Just last week, AJC addressed the behavior in an October 5, 2015 press release entitled, "Bureau of Prisons Director, Charles Samuels, Is Part of Abuse to IRP6 Families and Friends, Who Visit Florence Prison Camp (FPC) in Colorado, as Cries for Help Go Ignored Says Advocacy Group, A Just Cause". The press release noted that rule changes to the visiting room were unpredictable, not universally enforced, and it also highlighted that prison staff continuously singled out IRP6 inmates and their guests. It also recounted the recent fall of an elderly guest who is the mother of one of the IRP6. She fell while visiting the camp in late September and remains in immense pain. Sources informed A Just Cause she is considering a suit against the BOP for her injuries (http://www.marketwired.com/press-release/-2059114.htm).

"The new seating used in the visiting room is made of cheap plastic, normally seen in elementary school classrooms. It is not able to accommodate people of all sizes and heights. The fall of this guest as well as the experiences of others, who were seated when the legs of the chair spread and nearly gave way, point to inadequate seating that needs to be addressed promptly before another accident occurs," notes Banks.

The behavior of the staff on Saturday, October 10, 2015, continued to escalate and was no exception to the ongoing harassment. "The behavior of the staff is becoming increasingly hostile and retaliatory for visitors of the IRP6. We just don't understand the incessant pestering. It is very troubling that we have not received a response, or even an acknowledgement, from BOP leadership. This behavior must be endorsed from Director Samuels all the way down to the local corrections officials in Florence, because no one has remedied the situation," says Banks.

Kea Banks, daughter of David Banks of the IRP6, stated, "For the past few Saturdays, I have been treated rudely by correctional officers at the Florence Prison Camp. They are bringing unnecessary stress to my visiting time with my father," remarks Kea Banks. "Other visitors have even questioned the treatment of IRP6 visitors. A lady commented this weekend, 'Why are they disrespecting these people? Have you tried to call the White House to complain?' It's just reaching a tipping point and the harassment by Officer Fairbanks, McAvoy and other guards who are manning the visiting room needs to be addressed," states Banks.

On Saturday, October 10th, IRP6 visitors were specifically targeted and their visits unexplainably terminated without cause. Kayla Harper, daughter of Demetrius Harper of the IRP6, relays her experience: "I was enjoying my visit with my dad, until guards arbitrarily decided the visiting room was overcrowded. The visiting room has a stated capacity of 145 people. There were only about 85 people in the room including inmates and all visitors (adults and minors). Due to supposed overcrowding, I was forced to leave three hours early, along with my mom and my brother. Officer Fairbanks was very rude, abruptly terminating our visit with no goodbye, no I love you, no I'll see you soon, no nothing. It is traumatizing enough to have my father imprisoned wrongfully, but to be repeatedly harassed and treated with disrespect...something needs to change immediately," exclaims Kayla Harper.

The visitors of Demetrius Harper and Kendrick Barnes were all told their visits were terminated and they were forced to leave early due supposed overcrowding. Kendrick Barnes stated that guards initially called him over to advise him that one of his visitors needed to leave, because he was only allowed a maximum of five guests; however, the seating area where he was assigned only accommodated four guests. One guest was forced to sit on a table since there were not enough seats in their section, and guards refused to move the empty chairs to the area. As a result, one of Kendrick's guests left.

"After guards called me over to the desk for a second time and told me my visit was being terminated due to overcrowding, I turned around and saw empty chairs all over the visiting room. My wife and I could have been easily re-assigned to a seating area for two, but the guards decided to end the visit instead. It just didn't make sense. There was plenty of capacity in the room," says Barnes.

"The problem is that prison officials have artificially limited the number of guests permitted with the new assigned seating arrangement introduced a few weeks ago. They have now closed the patio due to unnamed 'safety and security concerns' and the total count of chairs in the visiting room is 113, but the room capacity as noted by signage required by the Fire Marshal states the maximum capacity of the room is 145. Some of the assigned sections don't accommodate up to five guests when needed and officers fail to move chairs when the visitor to inmate ratio changes," states Banks. "These families and friends of the IRP6 have very limited time in which to visit their loved ones. It is unconscionable to have staff with no compassion or sensitivity, who abruptly end visits with empty chairs available in a room nowhere near capacity, while young children and families are unable to say proper good byes," muses Banks.

"A Just Cause will continue visiting Washington DC and reaching out to the warden, Director Samuels, and members of Congress until this situation is addressed. A Just Cause will continue the fight for the IRP6 as well as their guest who are unfairly targeted by the Florence corrections staff. The abuse of power must stop," exclaims Banks.

The IRP6 case concerns six software innovators, (David A. Banks, Kendrick Barnes, Demetrius K. Harper, Clinton A. Stewart, Gary L. Walker, and David A. Zirpolo), of the IRP Solutions Corporation in Colorado who were convicted in 2011 on mail and wire fraud charges for to their failure to pay debts to staffing companies related to software development work done to support a sales to law enforcement agencies, specifically the Department of Homeland Security and New York City Police Department (D. Ct. No. 1:09-CR-00266-CMA).

For more information about the story of the IRP6 or for copies of the legal filings go to http://www.freetheirp6.org.

Related press releases: http://www.a-justcause.com/#!2015-press-releases/cl69

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