Tuesday, May 30, 2017
Urgent: Shawna Forde has been physically assaulted!!
Friday May 26 2017: Shawna was eating in the mess hall when an inmate with a violent history and mental illness (Kelly) came up behind Shawna, grabbed her by the hair and started punching her in the head. Because of the DOC policy would punish her by issuing an assault ticket on her record for defending herself, Shawna could only go into a defensive position while Kelly continued to punch and kick her with her boots along Shawna’s back. Shawna could only cover her head while the inmate continued to beat her until an officer could arrive. No other inmate could intervene because they also would be punished if they did. Eventually an officer arrived at the scene and stopped the assault. Kelly was cuffed, and then Shawna herself was also handcuffed. Shawna was taken to the Captain’s office and questioned like a suspect instead of a victim. She was interrogated by “Captain C”, a new arrival from a men’s prison. He asked her what Shawna did to get assaulted by Kelly, assuming that Shawna must have deserved to be beaten. Shawna was tested for drugs, and she refused medical treatment due to not knowing if she could afford the payments they would extract from her account.
After she was returned to her cell, within an hour, Shawna was again called to the Captain’s office where he demanded to know what Shawna had done, because “no one gets assaulted for no reason”. Shawna told him she had done nothing to Kelly, and that she had seen lots of people assaulted for no reason. The Captain told her that if she didn’t like her mail being inspected before, it was going to be scrutinized more than ever now.
Shawna had previously helped Kelly financially time to time, as well as many others, with fund-raisers to help indigent women who needed basic hygiene and essential clothing items which are not provided by the prison. The Captain had not been present during those fund-raisers, and asserted his opinion that no acts out of kindness are ever done by people without a hidden selfish motive. (Shawna asks that people pray for this man, who cannot comprehend basic human compassion on any level.) After this, they removed her from her own cell and located her in an empty cell with nothing whatsoever in it, and seized all her possessions “pending an investigation”. All the other officers acknowledged that Shawna had done nothing to provoke the attack. Shawna noted that if her attacker had possessed an improvised weapon of some kind, she would probably have been killed.
Her attacker had been fired from kitchen duty for stealing supplies and food, and then lied repeatedly to Shawna and others. Shawna had not approved of her behavior. This may have motivated the attack. In addition, it is believed that the doctors had recently cut Kelly off from her lithium medication, leaving her more unstable than before.
As a death row inmate, Shawna is forced to live in a disciplinary unit with limited privileges and rights compared to other inmates even though her record is exemplary and her behavior has always been respectful.
Shawna has not been checked up on by anyone regarding her mental or physical condition in the three days she has been isolated in the new holding cell. She is being cut off from legal mail, regular mail and her possessions including access to paper and pens so she is unable to write. She is in shock and her post traumatic stress disorder has been fully triggered leaving her unable to eat for the first couple days. To make matters even worse, her attacker was placed in a cell right next to Shawna’s cell!
She was able to get out two short phone calls on Sunday night thanks to a helpful guard, which is why any of this is even known. Shawna has martial arts experience, and was fully capable of defeating her attacker if she had chosen to. She explained that her expectations of visitation by her daughter and her chance to meet her young grandson, were the reason she refused to defend herself against the brutal attack. Any self-defense would have been met by retaliation by the prison system, and may have made visitation impossible. Despite the bruising along her back and head, she maintains that she did the right thing, because her relationship to her family is more important than anything else to her. She said she would “take a hundred beatings” before losing her chance to meet her grandson and see her children again. Evidently, if she ever did defend herself, even after the hundredth time, she would be branded as a “dangerous” and “insubordinate” inmate and the Department of Corruptions would eagerly cut her off from all human contact.
Shawna hopes to be returned to her own cell, but for now she is cut off completely and it will be at least a week before she can attempt another phone call. Her victory is her innocence and her right actions. She has maintained her soul and her humanity throughout her ordeal of many years. As for her keepers, one must wonder if anything remains of them that will escape the cold grave that awaits the corpse of the soulless human.