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Massachusetts Prison and Jail Specific Discussions This forum covers topics & discussions specific to Jails and Prisons located throughout the State of Massachusetts.

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Old 04-03-2003, 09:26 PM
PiscesTara PiscesTara is offline
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Default Essex County Jail

I was just watching the local news and there was story about a couple of guards at the Essex County Jail in Middleton MA who hancuffed a mentally impaired inmate's hands behind him and forced him to eat cake. I guess it was all caught on tape too. The "intelligent" guards forgot about the cameras. They been have placed on paid leave during the investigation.
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Old 05-15-2003, 11:21 AM
PiscesTara PiscesTara is offline
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Sheriff Cousins fires captain, strips five guards of pay

By JILL HARMACINSKI

Staff writer

MIDDLETON -- A Middleton Jail captain was fired yesterday and five guards are facing lengthy unpaid suspensions for taunting, handcuffing and force-feeding cake to a mentally retarded inmate in late March.

The most severe punishment was handed down to Capt. Elaine Bushway of Salem, a 17-year jail veteran who supervised the infirmary. Essex County Sheriff Frank Cousins fired Bushway yesterday.

The six guards were caught by jail security cameras force-feeding birthday cake to inmate Arthur Austin in the infirmary this spring.

Cousins said the incident was not racially motivated. Austin is black and all of the guards involved are white.

The five guards suspended are Jason Copp of Topsfield, Brian Lavoie of Salem, Rob Kostan of Peabody, Joseph Goldstein of Lynn and Thomas Francesconi of Beverly.

Yesterday afternoon, in press conference packed with print and television media, Cousins showed a jail surveillance tape of the cake incident.

The tape detailed the afternoon of March 29, when on three separate occasions lasting a total of 12 minutes, Austin was taunted, handcuffed, draped with a paper johnny and forced to eat birthday cake. The birthday cake was given to Kostan, Cousins said.

The press conference marked the conclusion of the jail's internal investigation. The guards may still face scrutiny by the Essex County district attorney's office and FBI civil rights division, Cousins said.

Bushway, 37, of 74 Pierpont St., was promoted to jail captain two years ago. Cousins described her as "educated," and noted she is working toward her master's degree.

But during the course of the investigation, Cousins said, Bushway "denied responsibility for her actions," resulting in her termination.

Bushway was left in charge of the infirmary on March 29 and "she clearly is the one who drives this particular incident," he said.

She could have controlled the situation, Cousins said. "All she had to say was give him a piece of cake and send him back to his housing unit," Cousins said. "Then, none of us would be here."

Cousins said the five other guards penalized were "remorseful and emotional" for their actions. They were slapped with unpaid suspensions ranging from five weeks to eight-and-a-half months. They are also required to undergo retraining at the jail and must apologize to jail staff and Austin himself, Cousins said.

All five guards will also face probationary status from one to two years when they return to work at the jail. Cousins noted if an allegation of misconduct is made against any of the guards during that time, he can immediately move to fire them.

"Clearly, those are all penalties for not using good judgment," Cousins said of the suspensions.

Correctional officers, he explained, must "deal with people in their care and custody. They have to think all the time."

Capt. Mark Dubiel, president of the correctional officers' union at the jail, declined comment for this story yesterday. Dubiel said he was advised by union representatives "not to say anything at this time."

A tape of the incident was turned over to jail authorities by an infirmary nurse. Digital cameras are installed throughout the jail "for the protection of the correctional officers and the inmates," Cousins said. "Everybody knows there are cameras here. It's no secret."

Austin, serving a two-year sentence for a Lynn drug conviction, suffered no physical harm in the incident. A former Dorchester resident, Austin was assigned to cleaning duty in the jail infirmary.

Cousins said Austin is soon eligible for parole and will be sent to a halfway house that is better suited for his needs than Middleton Jail.

"He belongs in a group home and that's where he'll live now," Cousins said.

Described as mildly retarded, Austin was "aware" that the incident took place. "He didn't want it to happen," Cousins said.

Cousins said no other inmates have come forward to complain about Bushway or the five other guards involved. Cousins said jail staff is eager to put the incident behind them.

"We work very hard at having a good work environment here," he said.

http://www.ecnnews.com/cgi-bin/frame...l+slug-MIDCAKE
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Old 07-21-2003, 07:50 AM
Glou01930 Glou01930 is offline
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I Hope not everyone is treated badly. my brother is there as of wednesday... I'm so sick over it......
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