LOWELL — "A 42-year-old inmate at a state prison for women died last week in an apparent suicide. The Lowell Annex, part of the larger Lowell Correctional Institution, is north of Ocala. Bernadette Gregory was serving a 14-month sentence at the annex for robbery, according to records from the Department of Corrections and the Marion County court clerk.
Gregory died on Wednesday, 7/22/2009. Authorities are investigating, and the official cause of death has not yet been determined, but DOC spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger said suicide is suspected.
Lowell inmates come from all parts of Florida, but Gregory had local roots. She was from Marion County and a local judge sentenced her to the prison term. The Lowell Annex opened in 2002. Lowell Correctional Institution's roots date back to 1956".From information obtained from a confidential informant, it appears that Bernadette Gregory, was subjected to some abuse by correctional officers before her "apparent suicide". Bernadette Gregory appears to have gotten into a confrontation with one of the correctional officers (CO) on or about Tuesday 7/21/2009, the CO first attempted to mace Bernadette Gregory when the mace failed to work the CO hit her in the head with his radio.
Bernadette Gregory was then handcuffed and leg shackled and put in a wheel chair to be transported to "Tango Dorm" lockdown, as she was transported across the Lowell Annex yard she was dumped out the wheel chair onto the ground and left to lay in the 90 degree heat.
Bernadette Gregory was placed in secure lockdown for her confrontation with the Lowell CO, while in secure "Tango Dorm" lockdown, Bernadette Gregory hung herself.
Bernadette Gregory was scheduled for release in 6 months in Jan 2010, she was in prison on a snatch and grab rap with no weapon, why would she hang herself ?
DC Number: G05707
Name: GREGORY, BERNADETTE
Hair Color: BLACK
Eye Color: BROWN
Weight: 165 lbs.
Birth Date: 02/28/1967
Initial Receipt Date: 02/26/2009
Current Facility: LOWELL ANNEX
Current Custody: CLOSE
Bernadette Gregory Current Release Date: 01/26/2010
SUDDEN SNATCH NO WEAPON 02/25/2009
MARION 0702552.... Prison term 1Y 2M 0D
I have written before on the "Hell Hole" this woman's prison at Lowell Correctional has become, see “Women in Chains” Ex-Florida prison boss: Drunken orgies tainted system, Female Inmates Sexually Abused at Lowell CI in Ocala Fl, In Texas Jailers Charged with Inmate Sex.
Deficient medical care for the inmates, constant abuse by the CO's (a lot of them are males), strip search's in public areas of the prison, rampant drug use smuggled in by CO's used as barter for sex, all of the dorms are concrete and metal buidings with no air conditioning and frequent plumbing problems with toilets backing up, try that with a 106 heat index day During July in Florida.
Lowell Correctional Institute Female Inmates’ Complaints Hit Wall. TAMPA WFLA, News Channel 8, reviewed 468 complaints alleging improper conduct ranging from love letters to voyeurism to sex between prison staff members and female inmates – Wendy Baker said she was handcuffed and helpless when the officer escorting her across the prison yard knelt down and pulled up her socks to ease the chafing of her leg shackles.
What he did next, she said, paralyzed her with fear, rekindled memories of childhood abuse and made her want to die. `I felt like I couldn’t breathe,” Baker said. “I wanted the world to end right there.” Baker later told prison inspectors that Lowell Correctional Institution Officer Shonne Webb-Bey molested her, and it wasn’t the first time. State records indicate Lowell’s warden, Gerald Abdul- Wasi, fired Webb-Bey based on Baker’s allegation and the sheer number of inmate complaints.
Lowell Correction Institution located in Ocala, Florida was the first Florida prison for women. It was opened in April 1956 as the Florida Correctional Institution. It houses all security levels: minimum, maximum, and death row. It has a maximum population of 1,244 female inmates ranging anywhere from youth (14-18) to adults (18+).
Offender Search for the Lowell CI Facility: Browse current population. Male officers are sometimes present during many of the private moments in the lives of women prisoners at Lowell CI, when they dress and undress, take showers, or go to the toilet. Still more of a problem is that in almost all states male guards are permitted to carry out pat-down searches of female inmates, touching women through their clothes, including their breasts and genitals.
Allegations of sexual abuse of women in prison and the number of successful lawsuits by women prisoners have both been growing. Serious charges involving well over a thousand women inmates have been brought, and in many cases substantiated, in forty-eight out of the fifty states. And that number almost certainly represents a small fraction of the incidents that occur.
So what really happened to Bernadette Gregory and what kind of "investigation" will take place ?