Upstream. A Mohawk Valley Blogzine.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Veteran Prison Guard Charges NYS DOCS With Racism.

Editor’s Note: Upstream received the following story via e-mail from a twelve year veteran New York State Department of Corrections officer who believes he was unduly fired and that his race was a factor in his firing. Upstream publishes his story in the interest of justice.

My name is Terrance L. Wilson Sr, I was a New York State Corrections officer from August 08 1994 until August 14 2006.

After filing a complaint of racial harassment against Then Deputy Superintendent William J. Connolly with the department and the State Division of Human Rights, I was suspended on false charges of assaulting an inmate on November 05, 2002. August 12, 2003. Nine months after being suspended I went to an arbitration hearing and the state requested an adjournment because they were not ready to proceed. I was placed back on payroll by the arbitrator because it was clear that the state was using the disciplinary process as punishment instead of going through the process and letting the punishment come at the end if needed.

Angered by the decision to place me back on payroll, Then Deputy Superintendent William J. Connolly had me arrested for the same charges I was already suspended for and then called me in to Sing-Sing Correctional Facility on August 26 2003 and suspended me again for being arrested and removed me from payroll thereby circumventing the decision of the arbitrator to place me back on payroll.

I went through a trial at the Ossining Village courthouse with Village Justice Raymond Barlaam presiding over the case. The trial dragged out until November. During this time I received numerous calls telling me to give up and resign. My family was harassed, I was followed, My information was illegally sent to the opposing attorney in my divorce case in Bronx supreme court and my son was removed from the home he shared with me for twelve years based on this information from NYSDOCS. Sing-Sing Superintendent Brian Fisher said the information was released without me being notified by mistake. My cousin who worked at the Westchester County Jail was placed under arrest by the New York State Department of Corrections and accused of worker's compensation fraud. Since he was on probation he was terminated without a hearing. My fiancée' who is also a New York State Correction Officer has been threatened on many occasions.

After finally finding an arbitrator that they could manipulate, NYSDOCS decided to go on with my arbitration hearing in May of 2006. I had been found guilty after a joke of a trial at the Ossining Village Court of the violation of Harassment 2nd in November of 2004, not even a crime. By NYSCOPBA contract and department directive this would not even have to be reported to the facility. A violation only has to be reported to the facility if it is in relation to drugs. My Notice of Discipline should have been thrown out but it was not. The union officials that stood up and spoke out on these wrongdoing were themselves targeted. The supervisor who was coerced into lying on me to initiate all of this, Sgt. Emerson Coulthrust was found to have immigration issues and taken into custody at Sing-Sing Correctional facility by Immigration and Citizenship and Homeland Security Agents. He was forced to retire.

I have written numerous letters to Gov. George Pataki, Commissioner Glen Goord, Senator Bill Larkin and Senator Jeff Klein to no avail. I have had my sealed court records illegally released and used against me at my arbitration hearing and used to terminate me. I have had my employers called and given false information hoping to have me terminated. I have had my creditors called and told I have illegally gained income. I am currently in Southern District Court fighting for my life and my career which was taken away by individuals allowed to act with impunity by Gov. George Pataki. Representatives of the department have knowingly perjured themselves in several different cases against the department.

How could I have been terminated for something that I could not have been suspended for?

When are these individuals held accountable for their actions?

There are countless examples of Caucasian Officers in similar or worse situations not being disciplined at all or even when they were it was never this harsh or prolonged. I know this sound incredible in this day and age but I have all of the official records as proof.

My life has been destroyed and I need help to get things right.

I thought the days of separate but equal were long behind us, but apparently only when you do not work for the New York State Department of Correctional Services.


  • Terrance: I know what you are talking about. DOCS seems to have it's own set of rules. They cover up what they want to cover up. I wish a reporter would have the gutts to investigate your claims...and many other people's. You never hear about all of what goes on with the "big shots". They never get disciplined. Look at the postings Dan has showed in the past about Main Office employees drinking and betting at OTB on state time and nothing happens to them. There was even video! Or Goord getting stopped talking on his cell phone, after having some wine with his dinner. He was still on state time.
    How about smoking in Bldg 2. The Health Department shows up
    (pre-announced) and they have air fresheners and fans running before they arrive! FOIL all of the employee complaints to the DOH.
    Terrance, I wish you luck in your endeavor. Your certainly are not the first. By the did that little "mis-hap" with the dummy in the chapel at Sing Sing work out? I understand that was covered up, as well? Did you even hear about it? They protect their own....and the list goes on. Good luck, my friend.

    By Anonymous looking from the inside, at 9:55 PM  

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