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State prison inmate bitter over treatment by DoSS

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To The Editor:

You Have a Friend at DSS,

First of all, I would like to thank the staff at SLCCF for treating me with respect while I called SLCCF my home for almost 2 1-2 years while I was an inmate dealing with my case. The saying is true. If you give respect, you will get respect. The staff at SLCC are highly trained and does a great job at running the jail. Thank you again, by no means does this letter reflect on SLCCF.

Back when I was arrested in June of 2011, I was sent to SLCCF without bail due to a prior felony charge. So on September of 2012 I took a plea for a long-term program in St. Lawrence County Court.

By taking this plea, it would address my issues with addiction with substance abuse and if completed the program it could give me a lesser sentence or give the judge other options to deal with my case.

On Dec. 1, I was brought over to DSS to get funding, so I could go to this program. I was approved for the funding, so I thought it was the beginning of the program. Little did I know it was the start of a nightmare.

On Dec. 3, I was sent to Clifford Springs Rehab. for a 28 day program then a halfway way house to follow. After about 3 1-2 weeks into the program I was told to by staff that I had to call DSS in Canton. When I called I was put through to a DSS employee, right from the start the DSS employee was rude and unprofessional.

The DSS employee told me that she was a supervisor at DSS and that my assistance was being cut off. She said that when a was approved I must of fell through the cracks. The reason why I was being cut off was when I was arrested I was suppose to call DSS and let them know that I was arrested, in jail, and let them know what I was arrested for and how much money I made off the crime. In all the time that I was at SLCCF, never once did I ever heard of anyone calling DSS from there. Nor has the staff at SLCC heard of it.

I was told that DSS has left word at the jail that they didn’t want no phone calls coming from the jail. So who is telling the truth, DSS employee.

So what the DSS employee is trying to say, is if a person gets arrested for a sales charge and was sent to jail they are suppose to call DSS from the jail and report the arrest and how much money they made off the sale. What if you are innocent, I wonder. But again I was told that you can’t call from the jail.

My question to the DSS employee is how is your office giving out funding to people in Drug Court, Rehab. but no one calls your office. When I was at SLCCF, I saw over 75 people go to programs. So I asked the DSS employee what do I do, the DSS employee said to me, if you do the crime do the time.

So On Jan. 3. I was brought back to SLCCF without bail, and I was sanctioned from DSS. In the long run I was sanctioned, and I lost my program.

At that point, I put in my appeal to Albany. Four months later I had my hearing. We had witnesses come in, one witness was the victim of the crime. By the way did I tell you that she also works at DSS with the DSS employee and she was also my landlord at the time, was receiving money from DSS on my behalf for rent. Conflict of interest wouldn’t you think?

My landlord stated that she asked the DA to drop the charges and was coming over to see me at the jail on the weekends. The DSS employee spoke at the hearing; the DSS employee stated that they take care of their own. What is that suppose to mean, when the DSS employee said that I thought I was at a mob hearing. Like Tony Soprano use to say on the Soprano, “Once You Get In You Can Never Get Out.” Well that hearing didn’t go well. They upheld the 10 month sanction.

So my family called over to DSS and asked if they could pay the amount that was given to me back, DSS employee stated that they didn’t want the money. The DSS employee then said that what are you trying to bribe me. She has watched way to many mob movies. So I was sanctioned to 10 months.

I said to the DSS employee do you know how much it’s going to cost keeping me over at SLCCF? The DSS employee said that she didn’t care, because it wasn’t coming out of the DSS employee’s department.

So in the mean time the victim called one of my family members and said that she thinks she made a mistake back in December. While she was working she received a phone call from the DSS employee wanting to talk to her. The DSS employee asked her if she would go down on her lunch hour and go to the bank. The DSS employee wanted copies of the checks that I was accused of taking. So Carol went into the bank and got copies and gave them to the DSS supervisor. The victiml the whole time thought she was helping me. Instead the DSS employee used her to get the copies so she could pin my budget on me. Then she cut my funding and sanctioned me. DSS led the victim to believe she was helping me in which it was the opposite. The DSS employee also asked the victim if she knew where I was? She told the DSS employee no. Then DSS employee went on to inform the victim where I was and where I was going.

By doing this, the DSS employee violated my rights by telling the victim information on me and DSS employee let other people know with DSS where I was.

This is called the HIPPA Law. This law was put into effect to stop having people giving out information about their clients. This law was suppose to protect people like myself to stop given out information to people looking into someone’s private affairs.

Later I find out that person in the probation department handling my case found a note attached to my file, it was the DSS employee’s husband who also works in the probation department put the note on my file. He had nothing to do with my case. Until his wife made him part of it. Have you heard of the saying called the good old boys? Its starting to look like it.

So now 11 days until the sanction is lifted the county judge decides that he doesn’t want to wait it out. I was sentenced to prison.

The reason why I am writing to you is remember when the DSS employee said she didn’t care how much money it was costing the taxpayers of St. Lawrence County because it wasn’t coming out of her department.

So let’s do the math and break it down. I was in SLCCF for 835 days at $135 a day to house me. It comes out to be around $120,000 and add about $10,000 for six days at Canton-Potsdam Hospital that I stayed there. And the cost of having one police officer watching me their. The total cost was around $135,000. Wouldn’t you of thought it would have been cheaper if at the beginning the DSS employee would have accepted the $335 that my family offered to pay back. That was the amount DSS said I was over paid. Now compare $335 to $135,000. What do you think? But don’t worry DSS employee it didn’t come out of your department. Then in the long run who ends up paying this bill? The taxpayers of St. Lawrence County do.

So look at the big picture DSS employee people like her who run a department at DSS can’t see the big picture. Maybe its time for a change;maybe that’s why this county is always in debt.

Maybe its time that the St. Lawrence County legislators should look at the people who is running these departments. People like the DSS employee don’t belong being a supervisor.

I am following through with a lawsuit against the county because of the DSS employee due to the fact that she lacks the knowledge or didn’t care about my rights about the HIPPA Law.

If this happened to me I wonder how many people this has happeedn to other than myself. Maybe after reading this more people will speak up.

Jon Sawyer

13A-4701

Coxsackie

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