Legal System

Hello!

My name is Maria Dollhopf.I want to inform you all of a demonstration march that is being organized called, Deaf Access to Justice Rally.  We hope this march for next spring.

The goals for this march are as follows:

  1. Raise awareness about the inequities that continue within each area of the legal system for Deaf, DeafBlind, DeafDisabled and Hard of Hearing people.
  1. Provide a platform for returned citizens, family members of incarcerated people and others to share narratives about their own experiences.
  1. Start & speed up reform (change) to end injustice in the legal system from first encounters with law enforcement all the way through reentry for our community.

In the months leading up to the march and at the march, there will be a great opportunities for all people who are impacted by the legal system to express themselves and share their stories with one another.  We will be teaming up with some amazing individuals, coalitions and organizations who also are focusing on issues of injustice within the legal system.

We are asking that people who feel comfortable sharing your stories about your encounters with the legal system please share. The world needs to hear your story and this is your chance to be heard. Use #DeafAccesstoJustice when sharing these stories so we can share them as well.

If you want to send your story, videos, etc., directly to me, you can send them to DeafAccessToJustice@gmail.com and we can post them in our social media streams and help with creating a transcript.

Finally, I am hoping for at least three more volunteers to help organize and coordinate this effort. Please send an email to the same address if you are interested in volunteering.

Thank you in advance for your support of this effort and for sharing your story. I look forward to seeing you at the rally in the spring!

Maria Dollhopf

Another Move Another Home For Felix

You sometimes wonder “will the moves, the accusations, the disruptions ever end for Felix?”  Well, here we are again having to have Felix moved from his “home camp” of Marion Correctional to protect his life.

Remember, we had to move him fast when he was at Tomoka C.I. because he divulged to authorities some criminal activity going on and his life was threatened. He was temporarily sent to Marion C.I. to await his parole hearing results.

After the parole hearing, Felix was moved to Wakulla C.I. to start special programming as mandated by the parole commission. But that went sour when he needed a sign interpreter and they would not give it to him – presumably because of cost and inconvenience. He kept grieving for one but bad things started to happen and we had to move him out fast again.

The attorney and I conferred with the parole commission in Tallahassee to send Felix back to Marion C.I. as it had interpreters for the deaf and special programming. And he liked it there. He was in the faith dorm. But that did not last either. Before he left Tomoka C.I. his special radio that works with his hearing aide was stolen. He did not see it again until back at Marion C.I. where he saw a gang member had it. He asked for it back, but told in essence to get lost. He reported it to his classification officer (C.O.). Staff members approached the gang member, he said Felix sold it to him. They put this gang member in lock up. Friends of the gang member then threatened Felix’s life and someone else threatened to knife him. He was put in protective custody.

Being in confinement is the same place whether it is for punishment or protection. He was there for 28 days. There was no recreation, all meals served in his cell, saw no daylight (confinement under a building) unless sent to medical. No church, no interaction or conversation with any deaf, could not understand what the hearing inmates were talking about to each other, nor could make out what the guards were saying at a distance. It was driving him crazy. I kept in touch with his C.O. on a regular basis, she went to see him often. She was undoubtedly the nicest most caring C.O. I had ever interacted with. Felix was blessed to have her.  However, with no ending to the ongoing investigation, the Warden decided to transfer Felix elsewhere.

Felix had 6 moves, taking 23 days, before landing at Columbia Correctional Annex. This camp was one of the choices by DOC in Tallahassee, noting it will take care of Felix and his hearing disability, and have the special programming as well. The attorney and I respectfully disagreed but hopefully, they will have interpreters for the special programs and a workable TTY phone for Felix to call me and others. Unfortunately, he also arrived without his tennis shoes, cane, ADA lock and combination lock, his head shaved in retaliation asking for an interpreter, no shampoo or lotion. They were all taken from him. I called property at the one location where all but the shoes were taken from him. Nothing could be found.

Felix lives in a vacuum, he said it is like being under water all the time. He pleads to have some normalcy in his life, to be left alone and his life not constantly disrupted, he yearns for a sense of tranquility, stability but that has never happened, never! August 10th marked his 34th year in prison innocent. As his defacto mom, my heart grieves for my son. He deserves some peace and a taste of freedom.

I talked with his new C.O. and she had a nice 2 hour meeting with Felix. They communicated by writing notes back and forth. She knows what he needs to complete any classes or programs. She liked the notes so she can go back to them to assure Felix’s needs are met. This is positive news, that he again has a caring C.O. on his side. She said he is doing fine.

Perhaps you, as supporters of Felix and his cause, will write and give him encouragement that he is not alone, people do care. That will make his day after what he has been through the past couple months   Thank you all from my heart.  Pat Bliss

 

New Address:

Felix Garcia #482246

Columbia Correctional Annex

216 S.E. Corrections Way

Lake City, FL 52025-2013

By Pat Bliss