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Unacknowledged Victims of the DOC

FAMILY INDEX

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IS THERE ANY HOPE?

QUIT BEING A MOM?

UNACKNOWLEDGED
CHILDREN

TODAY I WALKED
WITH MY DAD

THE OVERCOMERS

COOKIES FOR GUARDS

BIG CRIME
LOVING MY SON

ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT

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SOLITARY CONFINEMENT

DANNY, MY BROTHER

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BEHIND BARS
AND FORGOTTEN

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PREJUDICE AND PASSION

GIVE ME A BREAK

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LONG AWAITED VISIT

A CRY FOR HELP

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COURAGE IN
THE FACE OF FEAR

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A GUARD'S VALIDATION

STANDING WATCH

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WE'RE NOT DONE YET!

TELEPHONE CALLS

HEARTBREAK OF THE FAMILY

DOC, FAMILIES, AND INTENSIVE CARE

WHY THE FAMILIES?

HOPE

THANKSGIVING

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ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT

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THE PRISON CHAPLAIN

SUPPORT 1

SUPPORT 2

SUPPORT 3

SUPPORT 4

SPECIAL PROJECTS

DOC FACTS

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BOGUS DRs
How to Reverse Them

RESOURCES

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FBI CITIZEN COMPLAINT

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CHALLENGES

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SMUGGLER'S TALES

FLORIDA PRISONS

PRISON WORKERS'

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OUT-OF-STATE

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COURAGE IN THE FACE OF FEAR

The DOC in Florida (indeed in most states) maintains their secret world by punishing not only inmates who report abuses, but will just as quickly turn on their own guards who try to report unprofessional behavior.  Because of the threats and retaliation, there is a great reluctance to speak out.

There is another group of DOC victims other than prisoners and guards who talk.... They are an easily forgotten group, millions strong, who are suffering in their world of self-imposed silence.  The families and friends who walk on eggshells, hoping negative attention will be not be focused on their prisoner are held in check by the fear of DOC retaliation on them and their prisoner in the form of blocked mail, transfers to remote or cruel locations, and worse.

The families of prisoners, are more often than not shunned by their communities, ignored by those in power, and treated with disrespect by the DOC.  What have they done to warrant this distain?  They dared to continue to Love someone the rest of society threw away.

I want to introduce you to five courageous women who have broken the DOC imposed barriers to truth this week.  I urge you to support them in their efforts, because we can't keep calling everyone liars who go up against those 'honest' guards at the prisons.

Despite the efforts of DOC employees to cover up the truth, I can see the big picture and know that the walls really are becoming transparent.  The only thing slowing us down is the reluctance of good people to stand up and tell their stories for fear of the risks involved.

In the first story, three ladies with husbands in Columbia CI report on being groped while being intimately searched.  The improper search is glossed over and quickly dismissed in the following article.  Their husbands have been quickly moved and not near enough words are spent on the retaliation that is in process because the wives went to the press.   This is standard coverage.  Abuse is reported, the media calls the DOC, the DOC denies all, end of story.  Family and prisoner are punished so it doesn't happen again.

DOC spokeswoman Debbie Buchanan  earns her living defending the DOC and is quite good at it.  Many of us have learned to see past the denials of impropriety, but many still want to believe that DOC personnel never lie.

The intimate search was uncalled for, all but one of the husbands have been moved to separate them from their families - again, and still the public doesn't and may never know the details.  And all of this is foreseeable. DOC standard behavior when truth begins to leak out is to isolate the prisoner from the outside, get control of the families using fear so that other families don't speak out.

These ladies don't even have access to the internet, so their efforts are very courageous.  They have no idea how much support there is out here.  The best thing this reporter did for these ladies is to include their phone numbers.  They may get threatening calls from errant guards, but if you are on your toes, they will also get many calls of support.
Kay Lee

CONTACT
Mrs. Griffis at 754-4169
Mrs. Hudson at 961-8757
Mrs. Montgomery at 961-9684.

http://www.lakecityreporter.com/news/stories/010405n3.html

April 5, 2001

Love behind bars presents unique challenges for inmates, wives
By JOHN WRIGHT
jwright@lakecityreporter.com
Lake City Reporter
April 5, 2001
Email this story.

LAKE CITY
Tammi Hudson, Debra Griffis and Anne Montgomery have something in common: They've never seen their husbands outside of prison. But the three women all say their marriages are as meaningful as conventional ones, if not more so.

"We have to work double hard," said Montgomery, whose husband, Charles H. Montgomery, 48, is an inmate at Columbia Correctional Institution. "That's what makes it extra special."

Mrs. Montgomery, 56, has been visiting her husband for 10 years since they met through her son, who was incarcerated with Montgomery. They got married six years ago.

Montgomery is serving a 40-year sentence for armed burglary and kidnapping, according to the state Department of Corrections. His scheduled release date is Sept. 29, 2007.

"I want to have a life with my husband before I get too old," Mrs. Montgomery said. "We love our men. He has made me happy. Why can't I stand by him? I don't care if people hate me."

The women can visit with their husbands for 12 hours a week on Saturday and Sunday. They hold hands and walk around the visitation park, sit and talk, and play hangman or cards. According to DOC regulations, they're allowed one kiss and hug at the beginning of each visit, and one more at the end.

The women say they know their husbands have made mistakes, but everybody deserves another chance. "All inmates aren't bad," Hudson said. "They do straighten up."

Hudson, 38, said she met her husband, Roger W. Hudson, also 38, through Sheila Woods' "Have a Friend" club, which runs in the Examiner newspaper. "I just wanted a friend to write to," she said. "We just got closer and closer."

They met last April and were married Dec. 9. Hudson, who used to live in Ormond Beach, moved here so she wouldn't have to drive so far to visit her husband, who is serving a 40-year sentence for burglary, robbery, kidnapping and attempted sexual battery. His scheduled release date is Dec. 28, 2015, according to the DOC.

Mrs. Griffis, 44, and her husband, Roy A. Griffis, 36, have been married 21 2 years. They met in November 1996, when he was a cellmate of her son's in the Okaloosa County jail. He was sent to prison in March 1998. Mrs. Griffis also moved to Lake City so she could be closer to her husband.

"I've followed him all the way," she said.

Griffis is serving a 15-year sentence for burglary and assault, according to the DOC. His scheduled release date is Jan. 24, 2004.

Mrs. Griffis, who was married once before for 19 years, said she isn't afraid that Griffis will leave her once he gets out.

"I'm confident that it's going to work," she said. "I know he loves me with everything in his heart."

Although they love their husbands and enjoy their marriages, the three women say it's difficult being married to someone in prison.

"The wives outside of the prison have to stick together," Mrs. Griffis said. "If they know you're associated with anyone who's incarcerated, they don't want anything to do with you."

"We're all one family," Mrs. Montgomery added. "We're all going through the same thing."

The three women recently complained that they were improperly searched by guards in the visitation park at Columbia Correctional Institution. In letters to the DOC inspector general's office, they said they were patted down in the groin area and forced to shake out their bras.

"We read the letters," DOC spokeswoman Debbie Buchanan said. "There's nothing in those letters that was improper.

"You can't imagine how much contraband you can find in those areas. There was not an improper search."

Last week, Griffis and Hudson were transferred to prisons in the Panhandle. Their wives believe the transfers were retaliation for their complaints.

"It just seems like the more we try, the more things go against us," Mrs. Hudson said. "There's something wrong with this system."

Mrs. Griffis said she can't afford to move again and will have to drive to visit her husband. She hasn't heard from him in 212 weeks.

"It's rough not knowing if he's OK," she said. "They've broken the connection that my husband and I had."

The three women said they're interested in starting a local support group for people whose relatives are incarcerated. Call Mrs. Griffis at 754-4169, Mrs. Hudson at 961-8757 or Mrs. Montgomery at 961-9684.

Copyright 192001, Lake City Reporter.
Letters to the Editor
The Palm Beach Post
West Palm Beach, FL

If you have experienced distress directly related to DOC activities,
Contact me,
Kay Lee,
2683 Rockcliff Road S.E.
Atlanta, Georgia 30316
404-212-0690

Making the Walls Transparent