Medical Abuse/Neglect and Suicide




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Anthony Garafolo: Human Rights Violations Report

Paraplegic man abused by prison authorities dies at Shirley—officials say he hanged himself

By Susan Mortimer | Last modified 2006-06-22 22:52

Wednesday, June 21, late morning—An hour and a half ago I got a call from Lorraine—the mom of Tony Garafolo, 45, paraplegic prisoner awaiting trial for parole violation. I knew Tony and corresponded with him, occassionally spoke with him by phone. Most recently we talked about ten days ago.

Medical abuse “inside” is rampant but we have policy makers working to gradually change that by cultivating relationships with the Department of Correction (DOC) and lovely commissioner Kathy Dennehy, a former nurse. Many legislators respect her and insist that the conditions in State lock-ups will change if we only conduct more studies, more task forces, more confabs. Millions of dollars, years of wasted time, destruction of physical & mental health continue unabated but the liberal reformers are happy with incremental (glacial) change. In fact they deliberately ignore the voices of those directly affected and the families.

After Tony's parole violation from Hampden County—home to the liberals' sweetheart Sheriff Ashe, his cronies and D.A. Bennett—they decided to send him to the SuperMax at Shirley to await trial.  Bennett wanted to use “three strikes” law to give Tony life in prison. His crime was impulsively swiping change and dollar bills from the counter of a convenience store, while “high” and in his wheelchair. No threats, unarmed—and unlegged!

At the SuperMax Tony developed massive bedsores (4 x 8 centimeters). Mass Correctional Legal Services was now closely involved. Months of complaints and advocacy did little. Colostomy had to be performed. Tony was sent to the Shattuck, a Dept of Public Health (DPH) hospital with a unit for DOC inmates. He deteriorated there—eventually needed plastic surgery. This was done at UMass Medical Center, but outside the auspices of the criminal “correctional” health care program. Tony gained weight and color back.

Then he was shipped to Shattuck again. Within 48 hours his condition was deteriorating. I spoke with him. He was disciplined for refusing to comply with orders to get in his bed. The bed was causing the post-surgical site to leak and bleed. But DOC and criminal med staff punished him.

About ten days ago Tony was to be returned to the SuperMax to await trial, DA Bennett pushing for a life sentence. I'd spoken to him a couple of days before.

His mom called me 90 minutes ago say that Tony is dead. She was told by Superintendent Anderson he committed suicide by hanging himself with a shower curtain. In MCI-Shirley, a place with 24 hour surveillance? Shades of Geoghan and Kelly Jo Griffen, folks! If you don't understand now that this state murders with impunity and with the complicity of the Legislature and liberal policy makers—WHEN WILL YOU GET IT?  How many investigations? How many task forces?

This morning Senator Jarrett Barrios told a radio news station that he was enraged about Tony's death. This is complete bull shit! He told us that there was nothing he could do. He needed to keep working with DOC so he could continue to get information about other happenings. His rude aide, Dede Edmondson, responding last month to the urgent request of Andrea Hornbein (his constituent) that he visit Tony at the Shattuck Hospital, replied—to paraphrase—we can't do that. It would appear biased against the DOC.

Barrios does not assist his constituents who request help for incarcerated relatives. We have several documented examples, including the time I emailed him with urgent message about the death of Kelly Jo Griffen—"deleted without reading". I have that on file.


Copyright 2006 The Bridge

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     Last Updated on Wednesday August 29, 2007.