This heartbreaking letter from Elliott "Bud" Yorke, an 88 year old deaf, non-verbal wheelchair using prisoner in the Florida Department of Corrections depicts the abuse that deaf prisoners in Florida have endured for years. This man spent 4 months in SOLITARY CONFINEMENT for reporting physical and sexual assaults.
Not only has the FL DOC allowed him to be sexually and physically assaulted, but after he and other prisoners reported this abuse, FL DOC warehoused him in SOLITARY CONFINEMENT for four months instead of punishing those responsible for the abuse. Deaf, elderly and disabled prisoners at Tomoka are still being assaulted, harassed, and exploited by guards and prisoners alike.
More on this prisoner: This prisoner has since been transferred out of Tomoka's solitary confinement block (transported in a wheelchair in vehicles that were not suited for a person in a wheelchair). He has been to at least four prisons in less than six months. The FL DOC took his dry erase board & marker (his only method of communication) more than a year ago and won't allow him any other sort of written communication; they took his tinnitus masker and won't allow him another; he has been sprayed with urine and abuse; and his life was under threat for reporting the abuse. These are just a few of the things that this prisoner has endured.
IMAGE DESCRIPTION: Letter written on white unlined paper with blue ink.
As far as your comment “FOR MY OWN PROTECTION” (S.O.S.). That is (was) the biggest FARCE EVER! In all my 30 years of confinement I’ve NEVER suffered such intense physical abuse as this episode in the T. C. I. concrete box for near 4 months without seeing even the light of day all that while… Officers were corrupt & allowed others to ransack my property while they hauled me bodily to shower. You know only officers have key to cell & upon my return my property (canteen goods) ???
PHYSICAL ABUSE - YOU BET! I was literally thrown from a wheelchair, hands cuffed behind my back, on my face to a mat on the cell floor… On day of BUS departure it was 2/13/14 there was a fierce cold day & Atlanta had over a foot of snow closing main highways… As I sat in a wheelchair waiting for bus shivering uncomfortably without a jacket, an officer exercised great sport pouring ice water down the back of my neck on to my bare skin. The “protection” you write about was zilch in confinement – my dry erase sheet hand shredded B-4 my eyes by an officer…
You know they locked ME up out in confinement rather than 4 inmates who attacked ME in dorm. I was protected from inmates but not from officers.
[Prisoner’s name removed]"
More about Bud’s story here: http://solitarywatch.com/2014/07/10/ninety-years-old-deaf-hole-florida-prison/
Provided by Helping Educate to Advance the Rights of the Deaf (HEARD)