Ninety Years Old, Deaf, and in the Hole in a Florida Prison – Solitary Watch
Columbia-Corrections-600Elliott “Bud” Yorke, who is incarcerated at Florida’s Columbia Correctional Institution Annex at Lake City, was sent to solitary confinement on June 24. According to prison officials, he was placed in isolation for his own protection after corrections officers observed injuries suggesting that he had been assaulted. Aside from being two months shy of his 90th birthday, Yorke is deaf and non-verbal, communicating primarily through writing. He uses a wheeled walker to move around.
Some of the abject misery Mr. Yorke is enduring in protective solitary confinement is due to FL DoC’s ridiculously inflexible rules: although nearly 90, he isn’t allowed use of his walker in his cell – which he can’t walk without – because it could be turned into a weapon. The same rule is being applied to a device that could help him hear, at least a little.
Some of Mr. Yorke’s misery has nothing to do with rules, and everything to do with the FL DoC’s failure to hire qualified corrections officers. Mr. Yorke’s skin allergy medication has been withheld. He’s being supplied with diapers that it’s known that he’s allergic to, instead of being allowed alternate supplies previously available to him.
Reportedly, the FL Doc has approved Mr. Yorke’s transfer to corrections facility that can accommodate his disabilities.
But there’s no room for him.
Until there is, Mr Yorke is supposed to simply suffer through being denied reasonable exemptions from the rules that would allow him be mobile within his cell and perhaps be able to communicate without writing things down … along with being denied whatever else the unqualified corrections officers decide to deprive him of.
This isn’t how I want my tax dollars spent.
When an inmate becomes so disabled as to be no further threat to society, I want him compassionately released. I don’t want to help fund cruel and unusual punishment for the inevitable event of aging, nor do I want to help fund large settlements for elder abuse that wouldn’t happen if FL DoC rules were reasonably flexible a/k/a ADA compliant, and if qualified corrections officers were on the job.
Vengeance isn’t justice, and vengeance costs a helluva lot more than justice. It’s time we elected a governor that can tell the difference between the two, instead of reelecting a governor that can’t … a governor that would swoop down on guard-on-inmate abuse so fast that the officers wouldn’t know what hit them until they were arraigned.
Until we have such a governor, please sign and share petitions that may serve to improve Rick Scott’s behavior. Thank you.