Last Monday, August 8, two guards attacked Jensen Peraza-Rivera, an incarcerated person at MCI-Shirley. A crowd of 16 other incarcerated people gathered around to bear witness and try to protect Jensen, verbally demanding that the guards get off of his neck.
The DOC threatened all the witnesses with punishment, claiming that they participated in a “group demonstration.” Witnesses who pled guilty to their disciplinary tickets were allowed to stay in general population, while those who did not were thrown into solitary confinement – along with Jensen, the original victim.
This is chilling, given that the warden ordered his staff to coerce incarcerated people into pleading guilty to cover up staff violence against people in their care.
As of 8/15, all witnesses except Swanie Burnett and Jensen have been released from solitary, but remain at risk of losing their jobs and their housing status (i.e. if any of them had a highly-prized single cell, they are now at risk of being placed in a cell with multiple other people). Both Swanie and Jensen will be transferred to Souza-Baranowski.
In January this year, 100 prisoners filed a federal lawsuit against the Department of Correction in response to guards’ racist, brutal attacks against incarcerated people in this maximum security prison. Our people are being sent into further danger.
Jensen has been in deep distress and possibly unable to contact family throughout his ordeal.
A person should not be punished for getting punched in the face and choked by prison guards! But the DOC is doing so and coercing others into silence, even when video footage shows that the guard initiated the attack.
Please join us in making three quick calls today, with the following demands that come directly from incarcerated people at MCI-Shirley. Once you’ve called, comment below to let us know how the conversations went!
*MCI-Shirley Superintendent: (978) 425-4341, press 2 to dial an extension, then 2 again to reach the medium security prison before dialing ext. 4200.
*Governor Baker: (617) 725-4005
*Commissioner Carol Mici: (508)-422-3302
Hello, my name is [your name ] and I am a concerned community member calling on behalf of incarcerated individuals recently assaulted by prison guards at MCI-Shirley and witnesses to that incident. My demands are:
- Immediately dismiss all disciplinary reports that were issued to witnesses of the guards’ assault on an incarcerated person, including the tickets of those who pled guilty under duress.
- Immediately reinstate the jobs and housing status of all those who refused to plead guilty to fraudulent charges under administrative coercion.
- Immediately drop all charges against Swanie Burnett (W109897) and release him from solitary confinement.
- Immediately drop all charges against Jensen Peraza-Rivera (W115532), and release him from solitary confinement immediately.
- Relieve of duty any and all administrative personnel at MCI-Shirley who participated in punishing witnesses, and who have failed and are failing to take appropriate action against the malicious and violent misconduct of the prison guards.
Please get back to me when these demands have been met.