1. Heather Chapman said, "My 5 foot, 11 inch son has gone from his normal 160-pound weight to a skeletal 120 pounds after enduring solitary confinement for two years, where he remains today. My son seems to be starving to death in the Florida prison system. He looks like the Holocaust victims in Hitler's concentration camps. Please help us. Please save my son."
2. I would like you to meet my son, Nikko Albanese. Before the mental health crisis that led to his arrest, Nikko was a bright, loving, dependable, compassionate and quiet young man. He enjoyed slot car racing, listening to music, and being with his friends. He is an adoring older brother to two younger half-siblings. Nicole and Jackie look up to Nikko, and we all miss him very much. But to the State of Florida Department of Corrections, Nikko is known as DC Number B11083 and is currently housed in special confinement unit at the Union Correctional Institute in Raiford, Florida. My son is currently serving two concurrent sentences for robbery with a gun and possession of a gun. Nikko was sentenced at the age of 19, and his earliest release date is November 11, 1021, at which time he will be 28 years old.
5. Nikko's history of mental illness is very well documented, and the Sentencing Court was made fully aware of my sons’ history of psychiatric hospitalizations, past treatments, history of medications, and the need to receive the properly prescribed medicine for his continued treatment behind bars. The Court received copies of all his medical documents prior to his sentencing. In fact, the Court ordered that Nikko be examined by a Court appointed forensic psychiatrist.
7. For some reason, all of Nikko’s medical and psychiatric records were sealed by the Court (including the court-ordered evaluation). When Nikko was transported into state custody, these crucial records did not go with him. Shortly after Nikko arrived at the state prison, he was placed in solitary confinement. Nikko wrote to me and told me that he continually filled out medial request forms to receive medical and psychiatric treatment, but the prison administrators never responded.
9. In February 2014, my son was found in his solitary confinement cell in a catatonic state. He was immediately taken to medical. For a human being to become catatonic is a very long and painful process. It should also be noted that this was the first time in his two-years of being in state custody that he received any form of medical/psychiatric attention for his previously diagnosed conditions. Nikko was then housed in the medical unit for seven to eight months and ultimately received a diagnosis of schizophrenia by the facility mental health team. He was eventually returned to solitary confinement for an alleged series of incidents that occurred while he was in a purportedly catatonic state at Charlotte Prison in Punta Gorta, Florida.
11. To this day, Nikko is still in a medical unit that the Florida State Department of Corrections refers to as a “TCU Unit.” Whatever they want to call it, it is still solitary confinement. They just call it a different name. Whenever an inmate in this unit is removed from his cell for whatever reasons, including a shower, he is handcuffed and shackled. It’s possible that Nikko may spend the remainder of his time in prison in a TCU unit.
13. The sentencing court misled me. I was told by the sentencing court that my son would receive immediate medical and mental health care and that the state facility would be made aware of his condition. Why was it that Nikko did not receive any care until two years after arriving at a state facility? Why did Florida wait until he had deteriorated to a catatonic state before treating his mental illness? How could any human being allow this to happen to another human being?
14. My anxiety about Nikko has grown as I continually read and see videos about the mistreatment and deaths of inmates in Florida who are being held or were interned at some of the same correctional facilities as my son. I worry because my son is not in a position to protect himself against violent assaults. Use of excessive force is unacceptable, but corrections officers are seldom censured. There is no need for excessive force, especially for someone who is catatonic like my son was.
16. After two years of being denied all contact, I was allowed one phone call with Nikko on January 5, 2015. My sister had called the warden at Union Correctional Institution. In exchange for my phone call, she had to promise that she would get me to stop my public outcry for help. She had to promise that I would not go to the press or others if I were allowed just one phone call with my son. It was during this phone call that I realized my son didn't remember me. He has trouble with long term and short term memory. His speech is delayed. Nikko is deteriorating to the point where he cannot read or write letters. He cannot have books of any kind in his cell; apparently, the words and pictures in books disturb him greatly.
19. Nikko has been visited by two separate organizations in Florida who advocate on behalf of people with disabilities, both of which have declined to help. Why would these “trained professionals” ask Nikko specifically about alleged abuse, neglect, inadequate medical care, and deterioration? Why would they ask Nikko these questions right in front closed circuit cameras and audio recording equipment, with armed prison guards within earshot? My son was in survival mode, knowing that if he answered them truthfully he would be in danger. Nikko probably is already in danger simply because these people went to see him. Why would anyone trust Nikko's word anyway? Nikko is an inmate. He committed a crime, and as such, society and courts of law view him as untrustworthy. His word means nothing. I'm sorry but that is the reality of the situation. What does it matter what my son says?
(Please stop removing the active linking for this email address, CoIntelPro. Why are you here, anyway?)
James Kenneth Embry, 57, starved to death in Kentucky State Prison
James Kenneth Embry died Jan. 13, 2014, after a four-month hunger strike that took 32 pounds off his 6-foot frame in the last month of his life. Since his death the lead physician at the prison has been fired and state officials are in the midst of dismissing the lead psychologist.
Carlos Umana, 20, starved to death in a privately-owned Utah Jail
The Salt Lake City Tribune reports that a young prisoner who apparently suffered from serious mental illness died of starvation and dehydration after spending four months in the Salt Lake County Jail, much of them in solitary confinement. Carlos Umana, 20, weighed at 180 pounds when he entered the jail in October 2010; when he died on February 27, he weighed just 77 pounds. Tests showed that none of his prescribed psychiatric drugs were in his system at the time of his death.
Repeat of Header: Mentally ill people who are warehoused in America's jails and prisons routinely starve to death. James Kenneth Embry, 57, starved to death in Kentucky State Prison. Carlos Umana, 20, starved to death in a privately-owned Utah Jail. Umana's mother was prevented from visiting her son during his torturous incarceration. This is now happening to Nikko Albanese in a Florida prison. Please read the 21 paragraphs below and contact Heather Chapman if you can help. Do not allow this abuse to repeat.
How can you help? Follow this blog, share this article, and listen to the George Mallinckrodt Blogtalkradio presentations we taped January 11 and January 15, 2015 (links are in this blog). Mallinckrodt exposed brutality and a murder against mentally ill inmates in his book, "Getting Away with Murder" and was fired from his position as a psychotherapist in Florida prisons as a consequence of his objections to torture. Human and civil rights of persons with mental disabilities in the United States are treated as nonexistent.
It would be illegal to keep a dog in a tight space 23 hours a day and gas or Taser him for barking. It would be illegal to put a dog in deadly restraint for control. That happens to mentally ill people routinely in the nation's correctional facilities. What happened to Larry Neal? Why are we still asking that question after eleven years? Cover-ups regarding the wrongful deaths of mentally ill inmates are common and vile.