The Harassment Continues
by Barrilee Bannister

 labor  personal-narrative  sexual-harassment

On Friday, Sept. 6, 2002, at approximately 7:05 am, correctional officer (CO) Bradly approached me while I was doing my laundry. I was wearing my red shorts, blue sweatshirt and white socks with shower shoes. CO Bradly stared at my chest for approximately 20 seconds until I asked him,
“What are you looking at?” CO Bradly responded, “Go out to the corridor and help push meal carts.”
“Sir, I’m doing my laundry. It’s my day off. I cannot leave my laundry unattended nor can I go out to the corridor the way that I am dressed.” CO Bradly insisted, “Then go to your cell and put shoes and a bra on. Then go help.”

I explained to CO Bradly that my bra and jeans were in the washing machine and asked him why he had been staring at my chest. I also brought up the fact that there were two unit orderlies sitting down there doing nothing when helping with the meal carts happens to be their job. At that time, Inmate A. Case approached and informed CO Bradly that she was a unit orderly and it was her job and she didn’t need my help, especially because she would have to wait in order for me to get dressed. CO Bradly then told her to go sit down. He looked at me,
“I told you to go to your cell and get properly dressed and go help push carts. Are you refusing my order? If so, you can go to segregation.”
“Okay. Open Cell 209 so I can get dressed.”

I borrowed my cellmate’s pants and bra. When I was dressed I knocked on my cell door and CO Bradly had my door opened. I went directly out to the corridor without saying a word. By that time, the carts were already pushed back into the kitchen. I approached the corridor sergeant (Hotz) and explained to him what had happened. Sergeant Hotz told me to file a grievance. I went back to my unit and to the area where grievance forms are kept. There were none. So I asked CO Bradly for a grievance form out of the drawer of the officers’ station. He asked,
“What for?”
“A grievance, so I can grieve you”, I responded.
“You can just go ahead and cell in.”
“You’re celling me in because I asked for a grievance.”
“Go to your cell or you can go to segregation.”

So I went to my cell. CO Bradly opened my cell door approximately 5 or 10 minutes later and told me to come finish my laundry. At approximately 7:45 am, I was finished with my laundry and approached CO Bradly by the officer station to ask how long I was celled in for. CO Bradly said that he had spoken with CO Enriquez, who was in the control center, and that they had decided four hours. When I asked if I could have my cell-in memo, CO Bradly informed me that it wasn’t signed by Sergeant Hotz but that he would deliver it to me. I went to my cell. At approximately 8:30 or 8:40 am, CO May (a woman) knocked on my cell door and informed me that I was no longer celled in, that instead I was receiving a misconduct report.

At approximately 12:15 (after lunch), CO Bradly walked by,
“You want to play games?”
I just ignored him and decided that I would handle the situation and his intimidation tactics through the grievance system and internal affairs, if not through the higher officials within the facility. I saw Assistant Superintendent Humbert and asked to speak with her. We went into an empty classroom, GH13 on H Unit, and I explained to her what was going on. She left and spoke with Safety and Security Manager Mrs. Hainton. She came back and told me that it was under investigation and that Captain Decamp would be the one investigating. I filed a grievance about the incident on Sept. 8, 2002. On Sept. 9, 2002, I received a grievance response from Grievance Coordinator Ms. Casper, informing me that “The grievance you submitted is being returned to you due to non-compliance with the DOC Rule 109 Review System for the following reason(s): Incidents or Actions for which there exists a separate appeal or review process (i.e. Misconduct Reports, etc. (291-109-0015-3e). Ms Humber has informed you it would be investigated. Have you spoken to or written her a kyte to find out if the investigation is complete first before filing a grievance?”

I tried filing another grievance this one only about CO Bradly inappropriately looking at my chest. The second grievance was returned to me for the same reason, but with an added note: “Grievances are used to solve unresolved issues. According to your grievance submitted yesterday, you received a DR (Misconduct Report) on this entire incident. You also spoke to Ms. Humbert and she stated there would be an investigation. I have confirmed that your issue is being investigated. Due to the misconduct report and investigation, your grievance is denied.”

The DR (Misconduct Report) I received about this incident reads:

On the above date and time (Sept. 6, 2002, at 7 am) I was working in housing unit H. At 7 am, the corridor staff called Unit H over the radio and requested three inmates to come out to the corridor to assist with carts. I saw Inmate Bannister, B, SID#11309597, standing near the entrance. I told her that staff in the corridor needed help with moving carts. I then said, ‘Would you please go out to the corridor to help with carts?’ She began to tell me that it was the orderly’s job and that she wasn’t going to do it. I repeated myself and told her, ‘Go get fully dressed and go out to the corridor and help with the carts.’ Instead of complying with my order to help, she began to challenge my authority to give her this directive. There were about ten inmates in the dayroom at this time. She continued to argue that it wasn’t her job and to ask questions such as, ‘How long have you been working for the Department of Corrections?’ She went to her cell to get shoes on. Several minutes later, she left her cell and went to the corridor. Although she did eventually go out to the corridor, by the time she did so the carts had already been moved. After about two minutes of leaving the unit, she returned to Housing Unit H. End of report. Charges written up for: Disobedience of an Order 1 1 and Unauthorized Area 2.2

On Sept. 11, 2002, at 9:30 am, this misconduct report was dismissed without prejudice, meaning that the officer has to rewrite it within 24 hours or let it go. As I am writing this, it’s been 48 hours, so I’m assuming it’s been let go.

On the morning of Sept. 12, 2002, I was called out of my cell by Assistant Superintendent Humbert and informed that Lieutenant Yoder was investigating instead of Captain Decamp. Then she went on to inform me that my visiting orderly/assistant photographer job was going to be cut from full-time to part-time and recommended I look for another job.

I have had no job/work related problems. In fact, I’ve had real positive comments made to me about my behavior and how good a job I am doing. These comments have been made to me by Captain Wilson, Captain Bjerke, Christine Popoff (Administration), CO Davis, CO McGinnis and Sergeant Yancy. Three of these officials are ones I’ve had issues with at other facilities and were mentioned in a lawsuit that I filed against Oregon Women’s Correctional Center so to receive a compliment from them is something I take seriously. I honestly believe that the cutback of my job from full-time to part-time is retaliation for reporting CO Bradly’s conduct. I’ve been put on part-time, yet two other inmates were hired on as full-time under the same position I had.

Please have anyone you can round up call here to Coffee Creek and ask to speak to the Superintendent Joan Palmateer. Ask why this has been allowed to happen and if it’s normal procedure for male correctional officers to sexually harass female inmates. If such an incident occurred with a female officer reporting a male officer’s misconduct, it would clearly be work-related sexual harassment and discrimination if that female officer then lost her job or was placed on part-time. Please have someone call and inquire so that the officials know that someone out there knows. Thanks.


Joan Palmateer, Superintendent, can be reached at:
(503) 570-6412 or at (503) 570-6400 (this is not a direct line, so you may get transferred around for a bit)

The fax number is: (503) 570-6417

The address is:
Coffee Creek Correctional Facility
24499 SW Grahams Ferry Road
PO Box 9000
Wilsonville, OR 97070

1 An inmate commits disobedience of an order 1 if she overtly refuses to promptly or in a timely manner comply with a valid order, creating a threat to the safety, security or orderly operation of the facility, such as when one or more other persons are present.

2 An inmate commits unauthorized area 2 when she is in any location not designated by assignment, programmed activity, call out or staff directive.