With respect which may be due to the office of the Warden:
Today on July 15th I received an email from H. Gartman, Director of Institutional Operations that seems to be almost entirely inaccurate and possibly designed to appease those on the outside who are concerned with the well-being of prisoners, and not at all evident to those of us who are actually living and suffocating on these stifling hot wings. There are many prisoners here who have no fan–three just on my wing–and the institution claims not to have any loaner fans for those without one. However, myself and at least a dozen others on the north side of P-Dorm have recently purchased new fans and donated our old ones to those without–and they have not received them. I’m aware the institution will likely claim not to have received any donated fans, or if they did, none worked. That would be an inaccurate claim. The administration at U.C.I. has done nothing whatsoever to “ease the negative impact of extreme heat in the coming months” as it claims through H. Gartman’s email (enclosed verbatim here). An “enhanced menu of items via the canteen to lessen the negative impacts of the heat during our hottest months” has not been manifested as yet–and even if it did have some validity to it, it would only benefit those privileged few who are fortunate enough to be able to afford to purchase such relief. It is interesting to note that the Fl. Dept. of Corrections is applying its creativity and attention towards ways it might further enrich itself financially from the suffering of prisoners. Not to mention the excessively lengthy bureaucratic process required before any changes would be “posted and finalized.” Perhaps this administration could consider reallocating a few dollars to purchase tarps to be used as shade-cloths/awnings for the yards, as relief from the extreme heat. As for “increased awareness and inspection of ventilation systems,” and availability of cool drinking water in housing units–We do not suffer from a lack of awareness. We who live in this environment are all too aware that proper ventilation does not exist, and that the exhaust system ducts are completely overrun with mold spores which has been making prisoners sick for years. As for cool drinking water…Such a claim may be intended for ‘outsiders,’ like I said, but in my 20 years on death row, no prisoner has ever received so much as a cup of cool water to drink–and such a claim can only be interpreted as an outright contempt towards prisoners. Since the pandemic and heat arrived, death row has not received any of the so-called benefits given to the rest of the state prison population, such as outgoing video grams, video visits, more frequent phone calls, etc. though the administration will undoubtedly claim we have received them. And that would be merely for the benefit of those on the ‘outside’ who do not know what goes on ‘inside.’
(H. Gartman’s email claims…)
As we are entering the heart of the summer, FDC is making efforts in order to ease the negative impact of extreme heat in the coming months. The Department is implementing several actions to include, but not limited to the following:
Posting education/awareness posters in all housing areas and common areas to assist in the identification of warning signs associated with heat-related illnesses (heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, sunburn) and dehydration.
Working with Trinity Canteen Services Group to provide an enhanced menu of items to lessen the negative impacts of the heat during our hottest months (changes will be posted when finalized).
Implementation of a seasonal menu which utilizes meal options that reduces the use of radiant heat with most cooking completed in the morning and early afternoon this plan should improve the temperatures and humidity in the kitchen for assigned workers, while still maintaining nutritional balance among meals.
Increased awareness and inspection of ventilation systems and availalbity of cool drinking water in housing units.
Conditions-based actions associated with inmate work assignments depending upon job and weather conditions.
Please take the time to read and practice the guidelines on heat-related illnesses and emergencies posted in your housing units. Your safety and wellbeing is important to us!
H. Gartman, Director of Institutional Operations
As the first step towards acknowledging an error is acceptance, the remedy sought here is for our friends and family on the outside to no longer be misinformed regarding the harsh conditions at U.C.I. Honesty, straight forwardness and integrity are qualities we as prisoners would no doubt benefit from seeing exemplified by this administration.
Jeremiah Rodgers, #123101
Raiford, Fl. 32083
Categories: Jeremiah Rodgers