Sunday, February 23, 2020

Prison Sued for $1.7m for Hosting ‘Fantasy Inmate.’ Bizarre Version of Prison ‘Fight Club.’

It reads like the script for a brutal prison drama: Seven prison guards, two sergeants, a nurse and counselor are accused of partaking in a “Fantasy Inmate” conspiracy. The inexplicable jailhouse version of “Fight Club” and forcing inmates to suffer strange punishments.

The explosive allegations are contained in a lawsuit filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The lawsuit names GEO Group, former prison superintendent John A. Reilly, warden Lee Tatum, a county detective, and eleven staffers: seven correctional officers, two sergeants, a nurse, and a counselor as defendants. The suit seeks $1.7 million in damages.

The physical building is owned by Delaware County but managed and operated by The GEO Group, a merciless Florida-based company that claims to specialize in privatized corrections, detention, and mental health treatment. 

“The suits at GEO know they have a problem. There’s a lot of secrecy around George W. Hill Correctional Facility and they play by their own rules,” an employee at the scandal scarred for-profit private prison Charlotte campus told Your Content. “It’s never the crime, it’s always the cover-up that invariably brings down the house of cards.”

37-year-old Edward Wright of Chester, Pa. filed the lawsuit on Jan. 3. He pleaded guilty to one count of sexual assault in 2009 and was sentenced to a short prison stint.

Wright was re-arrested for a violation of probation due to a problem with his outside address after being released. The address, which belongs to The GEO Group, serves as a halfway house for sex offenders.

The lawsuit states that on Nov. 23 guards escorted a nurse to the protective custody section of the jail. When they arrived, one guard began provoking inmates.

“‘You ain’t nothing but a bunch of p–sies, rats and rapists on P.C.,'” the correctional officer allegedly shouted. “‘Shut up rats. F–k all you fa–ots.'”

The claims include cruel and unusual punishment, excessive force, medical negligence, conspiracy, and last assault and battery.

Inmates requested a lieutenant to report the loudmouthed officer but prison officials refused to adhere to the inmates’ request. Instead, they executed a search of each cell in the unit.

“Where’s your cell?” an unprovoked correctional officer asked Wright, according to the lawsuit. “‘It’s cool – I got you. I got you. Just wait until later.”

“Wait until later. I got you b–ch,'” the officer added. “I will f–k you up p–sy.'”

“On Nov. 24, 2019, Defendant Correctional Officer [redacted] enters the housing unit and immediately approaches and gains access to the Plaintiff’s assigned cell while Plaintiff and cellmate are within the cell,” the lawsuit obtained by Your Content reads.

The officer took a seat in the cell and at the behest of a second officer, brokered a forced-fight arrangement between the inmate and the unprovoked officer, who was waiting in the control room.

“My young bull [redacted] wants his rumble up in the bubble,” the officer allegedly said. “You can either come up and fight or we can keep fucking your shit up and making it hard for you, so many a choice.”

When Wright asked why he summoned to the control room, the officer explained that it was the only area without other inmates and they could “black out” the surveillance, the lawsuit claims.

“We can’t do it down here in the cell because these rat ass pussies will tell so you have to come up to the bubble and do it so we can black it out so nobody can see.”

Authorities reportedly knew about the organized fight club but were unable to take action due to unknown reasons, the lawsuit notes.

Wright pleaded with the officer to “talk it out” rather than fight. But that wasn’t an option, according to the lengthy court filing. “There ain’t no talking, he [wants] to fight you,” the guard replied.

Wright was told to change into proper attire before following the officer through several security checkpoints towards the control bubble.

📸: PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER/JOSE F. MORENO

“The control room operator electronically granted access through five secured doors and the Plaintiff enters the control bubble with both Defendants,” the revealing lawsuit continues.

“I’m getting out of here,” one guard allegedly said. “Let me know when you’re finished.”

The complaint says Wright tried to leave with the officer but was restrained and subsequently attacked.

“Correctional Officer [redacted] immediately begins to throw a barrage of punches at the Plaintiffs face and then launches himself at the Plaintiff slamming the Plaintiff into the desk, computer and telephone knocking all of it off of the desktop,” the lawsuit reads, noting Wright was unconscious at this point.

Wright was “then pulled off of the desk and told by Defendant Correctional Officer [redacted]: ‘You better keep your mouth shut n-gga,’ and Defendant Correctional Officer [redacted] says: ‘Yeah don’t let me hear shit about this now get out the bubble n-gga.'” 

Disoriented and barely conscious, Wright heard one of the officers intervene: “That’s enough bro. The sergeants coming back.”

The next afternoon, Wright’s nightmare worsened. Immediately after returning to his unit following a scheduled appointment with the jail counselor a gang of guards surrounded him demanding to know why he had been in the control room – the lawsuit reveals.

“The guards threatened that if he does not tell them why he was in the control room, he will be placed in the R.H.U. or S.M.U. and criminally charged for entering the control room,” the lawsuit says.

The federal complaint claims that the prison failed to preserve the video and audio recordings of the alleged actions, footage that may have helped the plaintiff’s case.

Delaware County’s newly-elected county council revealed a plan to evict the hard-nosed private prison company from the community and regain control of George W. Hill Correctional Facility.

“The puppet masters can run, but they’ll never be able to hide the dark secrets that could finally bring them before a court once and for all,” a GEO Group employee from their Charlotte campus told Your Content under the condition of anonymity.

Your Content was first to report that the overcrowded conditions at the private prison led to the sexual assault of a female inmate sometime in mid-December after guards were told to bring female and male inmates together briefly when they reached an overwhelming number of inmates.

GEO Group did not reply to repeated requests for comment.


This is an ongoing investigative special. Stay with yc.news for the latest updates. Have a story or news tip? Contact our 24/7 newsroom at 833.336.8013 or e-mail our tip line: tips@yc.news

Avatar
Jonathan Riches » for Your Content
Jonathan Riches is a Chief Investigative Correspondent & Justice Editor for Your Content. He is best known for his writings about prison reform and culture, including the social media scandal dubbed the ‘Feeling Cute Challenge’ — which ended with a widespread dismissal of prison guards throughout the United States.

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