BREAKING: Whistleblower in FDOC Proves Martin CI is Blocking Constitutional Rights of Prisoners

Entering Day 2 of the Phone Zap for Martin CI (Keep Calling!) a whistleblower within FDOC has disproved the bullshit response we received from Martin Correctional yesterday claiming they are not discriminating against certain prisoners and denying them access to the legal computer.

Mr. John Holtz, the Assistant Warden of “Programs” at Martin CI, was kind enough to respond to our phone zap with the below email assuring us that his prison did not create forms for the sole purpose of denying prisoners access to legal research computers. We know that. We never alleged Martin CI created forms for this purpose, we allege that they are MISUSING an already existing form.

The whistleblower within the FDOC staff, concerned over the violation of constitutional rights of prisoners and security issues this has been causing at Martin (arguments, fights, etc.), saw the phone zap and sent us a copy of the specific form being misused (below), DC6-107 “Inmate PC Use Systems Agreement”. DC6-107 explicitly states that it is a form intended for prisoners doing clerical jobs within the prison yet is being used by Martin CI to screen ANYONE attempting to use the legal research computers. By doing this Martin CI completely blocks certain prisoner’s rights to access legal research by computer if they have certain disciplinary infractions or “gang” status referred to by the FDOC as “security threat groups” (of which IWOC and Fight Toxic Prisons are included).

This form DC6-107 was originally created to monitor computer use by prisoners who come into contact with computers for the clerical jobs assigned to them.. The intended clerical purpose of this form is why it states that “inmates are restricted from use of systems containing connectivity devices such as modems, network cards, emulation boards”, “removable media”, “sensitive data”. The legal research computers within the law library contain NONE of these functions, and yet DC6-107 is still being used to deny prisoners access to these computers specifically.

Additionally DC6-107 states that “all inmates using PCs must be under direct supervision by their approved supervisor” and includes a signature line on the back for an “Assigned Supervisor”. People using law computers do not have “Assigned Supervisors” and there are in fact no Supervisors within the prison law library. Yet this form requires the Supervisor’s signature? While Martin CI may argue that Correctional Officers may enter the law library in a “Supervisor” capacity, they are not represented on the signature lines of this agreement, and rarely, if ever are COs actually seen in the law library. Further, the timeline of this form makes no sense. DC6-107 was created in 2001 and last revised in December of 2002 as the form itself states. This was an entire six years before legal research computers were added to Martin CI in and around 2008. This timeline clearly shows that this form is merely a convenient means of blocking prisoner’s access legal research computers. This is further evidence that this form is being maliciously misused to restrict prisoners constitutional right to legal research and is intended as a barrier to restrict the access of prisoners to the law library’s full range of research tools.

Holtz explicitly states that prisoners with a so-called “history of computer crimes” or a “disciplinary report involving use of a PC will not be permitted to use computers for law related research.” This attempt to justify this internal policy is a misdirect since very few prisoners across the state of Florida actually have such histories or disciplinary reports, and yet numerous prisoners inside Martin CI without these charges are still being denied access to the legal research computers. So to this we ask Holtz, how many people within Martin CI actually have 9-37 “Unauthorized Use of a Computer” disciplinary reports against them versus how many people have in total been denied access to the legal research computers overall due to the use of DC6-107? We suspect the latter is far larger than the former.