Warden says he's looking into inmate food complaints

Written by The Associated Press | May 27, 2015 10:32 AM

(Lancaster) -- The warden of a central Pennsylvania prison where inmates were heard shouting "We're hungry!" through windows says he's looking into their complaints.

Residents heard the inmates yelling through open windows Sunday at Lancaster County Prison. Warden Paul Smeal says there was more shouting early Tuesday that quieted down once additional staff deployed.

He echoed earlier comments by a county commissioner that the inmates were apparently upset because sandwiches had only one slice of meat rather than the usual two, although the actual amount of meat was the same, and no cheese. Smeal said he's looking into the reason for the change.

Jean Bickmire, president of a local advocacy group, called the shouting "heartbreaking" but praised Smeal's efforts to address prison conditions.

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Comments: 8

  • ladyangel img 2015-08-14 00:19

    You should do a follow up story on this.
    This was a problem back in Feb. and March and there are complaint forms one signed by the warden himself saying the same thing that he would "look into it" He was made aware said he'd look into it and look history repeats itself a few months later same problem same talk let's ask Mr. Warden about what his "checking into it" meant and if the problem was fixed and if yes give details...........
    Better yet why not interview some prisoners and ask them what they get and when while your at it ask when the last time they even had a banana.
    Any way same problem months before the yelling out the window copies of these complaint forms were sent to WITF News room so why not share that information someone shared with you about this with the public???
    You know do a follow up?
    I'd start by having the forms in my hand and then ask Mr. Warden some questions...............
    Just so people know this was also sent to New York times via email and other investigating agencies including have a heart for persons in the criminal justice system....
    I'm surprised that they didn't make that information available either. It was given to them to give to the public regarding the food
    I find it interesting the news will publish the yelling out the windows yet won't publish the proof that this food problem was happening months before and the warden stated the same thing....
    People are starving in that prison if they weren't they wouldn't risk punishment to yell about something that isn't true...
    Who has more to lose a prison/job/position or an inmate? The inmate only stands to gain basic rights to food they have nothing to hide. The prison on the other hand well you get the idea and if you don't you have my pity.....

  • ladyangel img 2015-08-14 08:47

    I have to wonder about the alleged nutritionalist Mr. Warden claims they have there because prisoners most times are only fed fruit once a week it is either an apple or apple sauce. A banana or orange juice or in Victoria Herr's case lemonade is just not only not served but also not available to buy.....
    I'm not an expert but I know about the food pyramid so I'd like to know if this alleged nutritionalist if they even exist and if so where did they get there certification from???
    I wonder if they are qualified if maybe they graduated at the bottom of the class or something.....?

    The food problem isn't just with this prison it's with "Trinity Food" company who contracts with only prisons why because in my opinion they couldn't get away with the slop they serve anywhere else....Like hospitals or nursing homes but the complaints are the same regarding this entity just google search "trinity food complaints and read for yourself start connecting the dots???
    Why would a Warden contract with a food vendor with such complaints and reputation?
    Perhaps we should ask him
    Dear Mr. Warden Sir,
    Why? Why do you contract with such an entity with such reputation and complaints about it???
    and while I'm at it why do you contract with medical entities like primecare who not only have had complaints but lawsuits going back years for their neglect... There are how many Dr.'s and hospitals that jail could contract with locally so why don't they???
    Thank you in advance Mr. Warden for your timely response...........

  • ladyangel img 2015-08-15 12:04

    It is important for the public to know about the Warden and prison policy since election times are coming up...
    Do you want to elect someone who will hide problems or fix them?
    Plenty of people probably waiting for the chance to have a position like that so know who your voting for...
    Google search Victoria Herr Lebanon pa and read her sad story.....She is no longer alive to tell it and that is another reason why people should be aware and educated when electing people who are in charge of others lives......

  • ladyangel img 2015-08-18 14:10

    Just in case the Warden is "unaware" which if you ask me is even more disturbing then knowing who they are contracting with medically let me share a few of many cases of primecare medical neglect. But hey don't take my word for it read the articles yourself............

    and for Trinity foods here are some more educating links

    Plus the yelling out the windows and complaint form that were given to you Mr. Warden months before the yelling telling you of the same problem what more proof do you need or want???

    These articles are not just all recent or ice-olated incidents they go back years and continue to happen because of people like Mr. Warden contracting with them and keeping them in business in my opinion.
    Hey Mr. Warden what is your answer to this one???
    Thank you in advance for your timely response and Respectfully Submitted

  • ladyangel img 2015-08-20 11:25

    For those who may allege prisoners are not credible (what a lame excuse to ignore the truth) you can no longer claim and or hide behind ignorance to such things in the future now that it's been brought to everyone's attention!!!

  • ladyangel img 2015-09-09 10:25

    Regarding an inmate death of Karen Martz I have to wonder did she even get to see a doctor?
    The prison policy is you can't even see the prison Dr. for the first 30 days and the paper at the time reported she was given something by medical never mentioned she saw a Dr.
    She came into prison on a Friday and was dead on Monday. The cause of death was listed as "natural causes". The information I was given about this case makes me suspect it was anything but. I would consider my sources reliable. This is what they said,
    A lady goes to jail on Friday falls out of bed in the middle of the night. I'm assuming per the above mentioned policy never got to see a Dr. and was told by medical (primecare) nurse? That she was to go back to bed and they would check on her in the morning. With a head injury that is the worse thing to do I'm not even a medical person and even I know that. When morning came the poor soul never woke up.....
    A head injury left untreated if serious enough can cause heart failure which is what I was told led to the ruling of a "natural cause" of death. It was confirmed by reliable sources that this woman had no medical history of any heart problems but again you have a head injury left untreated it will yes indeedy affect the heart....... You be the judge.......

  • ladyangel img 2015-09-15 13:33

    On the have a heart for persons in the criminal justice system web page it states the county commisioner has created a forensic case manager to help inmates and returning citizens get phsyciatric care. To me that is indicative that they weren't getting that care prior to this but that is my opinion. I also wonder what helping them get the care means? It should be provided but i guess because it's not something provided they would need the "help" to get it.
    There was no physchiatric Dr.s available at the prison before does that mean they have one now?. There was only a medical Dr. available during buisness hours it's not like they have a Dr. available at all times though they should and most people think they would but I'm hear to tell you people that was not the case. So yeah forensic case manager sounds real nice but how about providing access to a mental health professional like a Dr. ?. Does this new position mean they get the care while in jail or do they first have to wait until they are a returning citizen?
    Still waiting for responses to the prison food issue too. These local organizations I'm beginning to think based on my own experience are not bennefitting the inmates. I would say in my opinion based on my experience they are damage control for the prison. Any more information regarding this would be great.
    I have proof of the food complaints before the news covered it and I was asked point blank what proof I have well isn't inmates groaning out the windows and official complaints proof enough? All months apart mind you. Plus the complaints all over the country regarding "Trinity food" from other prisons? Do you really think those who allow this problem are going to fess up and say G were sorry thanks for making us aware so we can fix it? My opinion, of course not just like in the death of Victoria Herr they will go out of their way to justify and hide these appalling issues.
    I commend myself for speaking up and speaking out cause then in future cases the officials can no longer claim and or hide behind something that was brought to their attention prior. So how much more proof does anyone want that people are treated like less than animals and when they do try to address it they are met with "what proof do you have"?

  • ladyangel img 2015-12-26 09:19

    In recent news articles Warden Paul Smear is allegedly bored with his job after working in the feild since the 1970's. It also mentioned the prison spent $350,000.00 on a new heating system and the article verified the temperatures in Feb. of 2015 were in the 50's and 60's. (inhumane)... Acknowledging the inhumane temperatures that inmates some of who have sever medical and mental health issues were subjected too. Some inmates believed they would freeze to death.. Their request for adequate clothes, heat and blankets were repeatedly denied at that time.... WHile the guards and other prison employees such as Denise Sipes the mental health lady wore their jackets right in front of the inmates. THe news should fill out a right to know request and see that at no time during the month of Feb. did any staff enter the freezing prison blocks without jackets......
    I guess now that they spent all that alleged money on alleged heating system and alleged they got extra blankets that makes it ok huh?
    What is to say that inmates would have access to those "alleged and extra blanckets"? Just cause they have them doesn't mean they will provide them .
    And what are they doing about the food situation? Still contracting with "Trinity foods" if so it's a matter of time before inmates suffer as a result of food that is not adequate...
    Also I"m sure the prison wouldn't tell you this but they don't even provide their inmates with a washrag. They want inmates to be clean but unless you can afford to establish a "commisary" account you don't get a rag you can only buy one after you establish an account that most inmates can;t afford.....
    So is it humane to lock up people and deny them even a wash rag?
    Even the medical when it was so cold in Feb. of 2015 ever prisoners lips were extremely chapped upon going to medical because an inmates lips were "blue" the inmate was told by nurse after begging for lip balm "we are told not to give that out because you can buy it from commisary" which is at an unreasonalbe price...
    Also if you get a fever or like Karen Martz case fall out of bed you don't get to see a Doctor right away infact Martz died before seeing a Dr. they claim she saw a nurse yet she still died the next day. The prison policy is you can't even see the prison Dr. for the first 30 days....So I guess that's why the reports concerning Karen Martz death stated she seen a nurse? Who even though Martz had a head injury cause she fell out of her bed refused to call an ambulance.. Of course look up the VIctoria herr case of Lebanon Pa they claim too it's not their policy for guards or nurses to call 911. In Herr's case they had to wait for the medical examiner who is also conveniently the prison medical director.... WHo later ruled her evident death do to neglect "accidental" How convenient for the county right? Her family before the statute of limiitations run out should have an independant autopsy in my opinion otherwise it will be up to the next victim and she death is in vain?

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