Rhode Island Department of Corrections (RIDOC) inmate population has been collateral damage in the war between R.I. Governor Dan McKee’s permanent pick to run the department, Director Wayne Salisbury, and Richard Ferruccio and his Brotherhood of Corrections Union (R.I.B.C.O.) and the inmates housed by RIDOC are casualties of this war.

In the 18 months since the resignation of RIDOC Director Patricia Coyne Fague, and the subsequent elevation of then Interim Director Wayne Salisbury, there has been an ongoing campaign to provoke the inmate population and undermine new leadership.  Rhode Island Legislatures have delegated power to The Director of Department of Corrections (RIDOC) by way of Rhode Island General Law (R.I.G.L.) § 42-56-10 which constitutionally gives the director power to create policy for RIDOC, based on this delegated authority by our law makers, any policy that is created by the director has the same force and effect as any R.I.G.L.

There are many parameters set into place, in order for policy changes to be made: no one can make any changes to policy without the authority of Director Salisbury himself. Lately, rank and file, with the help of some lower-level administrators, have been circumventing policy and unilaterally creating their own policy in an effort to provoke a large portion of the prison population and maybe to undermine the authority of Director Salisbury at the same time. Director Salisbury is an expert in conflict resolution. If The Union leadership would listen once in a while, they would see the wisdom in some of the new policies designed to produce less conflict between the prison staff and the inmate population, but The Union leadership is shortsighted; and thus, they fail to encourage their fellow prison guards to adopt the methods that the director has introduced, methods that will guarantee less chaos and violence.

Actually, it appears that R.I.B.C.O. may have a plan to inflame conflict and disorder inside the prison system, and, if such scheme is successful, could provide R.I.B.C.O. with ability to achieve an advantage in the future contract negotiations with the governor for more money for prison guards and also demonstrate Director Salisbury don’t have the ability to properly lead R.I.D.O.C.

The RIDOC is structured as a paramilitary organization: As in the military, the general gives the orders, everyone follows suit. That’s not what is happening at RIDOC. Some are behaving like this is their personal business and they can run it how they like regardless of what the general says and in this case the general is Director Salisbury. As a result of this rogue campaign on behalf of Mr. Ferruccio and his Brotherhood Union, inmates have become pawns in this war. For example, the campaign really went into full effect and the gloves were off when, Then Acting Director Salisbury agreed to settle a Federal civil class action lawsuit brought by Prisoner Richard Paivia and the prison population, involving inmate disciplinary procedures and amount of time an inmate can spend in solitary confinement, after U.S. District Court Chief Judge John J. McConnell found RIDOC violated a federal consent decree. Then Acting Director Salisbury, in agreement with the court and other parties, agreed to limit time in solitary confinement from 1 year which is consider torture by the Geneva Convention, to 30 days maximum for any and all disciplinary infractions.

This did not sit well with R.I.B.C.O. As soon as the new policy was implemented August 1st, 2023, a situation occurred on Friday August 25th, 2023, in Maximum Security yard, that de-escalation could have been in employed, on behalf of prison staff, in accordance with new policy, on that day prison guards disregarded the new policy and did what they wanted. More examples of unilateral decisions and disregard for policy the law and inmates constitutionally mandated rights by R.I.B.C.O. Note * none of the following has been approved and signed off by Director Salisbury or anyone in his office. –

February 2024. In Medium Security Inmates cannot bring their legal documents to an attorney visit or receive legal documents from their attorney i.e. discovery paperwork, this hinders inmates from assisting in their defense and consulting with their lawyers, as guaranteed by The U.S. Constitution 6th Amendment and RIDOC Policy , When inmates ask the prison staff did the director authorize this unlawful action the response from prison guards was, we can do what we want. As of June 2024 Prison guards are unlawfully copying sensitive legal documents i.e. Attorney client privileged information. If an inmate was facing a serious charge such a homicide, how would a victim’s family feel? if they knew pictures of their deceased loved ones was being photocopied and passed around by prison guards.

February 2024 Medium Security ceased all AM/FM radios that inmates purchased with their own money from the prison commissary banning inmates from listening to news broad cast and religious services provided by AM radio stations * Note inmates were not refunded for these radios that were confiscated and best of all AM/FM radios are still available for purchase on the prison commissary and is being sold in to prisoners in Maximum Security and High Security so that clearly show that the radios pose no threat to the security of the institution. – Medium Security are short 25-30 or more officers at least 6 days out of the week causing closure educational classes, leaving inmates with no access to the law library, no delivery of Post Office mail, no laundry, shorter recreational periods for inmates, for no justifiable reason spontaneous lock downs leaving inmates locked in with no way to take showers or call their families. All these Staff members calling in at once creating shortages and facility closure can be considered Organized Work Stoppage by R.I.B.C.O. Over the years The Union was allowed to create so many different posts, that if one man or woman do not show up everything shuts down and don’t function properly how can you run a business / institution in such a chaotic manner?

June 3rd 2024 a memo went up with no RIDOC policy # attached or signatory authority from the director, advising the inmate population that when their family come up to visit, they will be subject to a mugshot if not they cannot gain entry into the facility and won’t be allowed to visit anyone, this clearly violates the Administrative Procedures Act under Rhode Island law anything that effects the public has to be filed with the Rhode Island Secretary of State Offices and held for public hearing. All these things may seems like a its not really a big deal but, it creates tension in within the facilities between guards and inmates until things boil over, when you are in prison and you are being denied basic things not just what an inmates feels he should receive, things Federal Law and Rhode Island Law even The Director of R.I.D.O.C. has established policy in accordance with the laws of this nation and state, stating what inmates are entitled to. This can be frustrating and possible create a violent situation. When The Brotherhood blatantly disregard the law the constitution, and the policy the director has put in place it’s direct provocation to rile up the inmate population up to fit their agenda. Remember R.I.B.C.O. , Director Salisbury has received his marching orders from the governor and our legislatures with a 34-4 vote he has the full backing of The State of Rhode Island, that margin speaks volumes overwhelming support he it clearly shows he is here to stay.

It’s over. Stop using inmates as pawns in your games. It’s not working. Even the inmate population is hip to your plans … they are not biting your bait, Mr. Ferruccio. Its time for you and your constituents to come together with Director Salisbury and work to rehabilitate inmates for return home to their respective communities. I leave with you this 34-4 the writing on the wall.

-Eric Neufville: Founder-The Prisoner Family Union (PFU) Follow Us on @ Facebook


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