Joint Regional Correctional Facility Continues Human Rights Abuses, Save Our Heroes Files Complaint with the DoD Inspector General.
This past March, SOH submitted a letter of concern to the commander of the Joint Regional Correctional Facility at Fort Leavenworth Kansas, regarding the denial of access and contact with minor children of those detained at that facility . Our March 27th letter, addressed to Army Lieutenant Colonel Karin Watson, informed her of the potential violations of the provisions of the United Nations Human Rights Commission, Rights of the Child.
As our previous article points out, this involves the case of Army Staff Sergeant Michael Guinn who has been convicted of one specification of child sexual abuse. SSG Guinn emphatically proclaims his innocence and is appealing his wrongful conviction. The alleged victim is not his minor child.
Since he has been incarcerated, SSG Guinn has been denied access and contact with his own minor children, despite the pleas from the children’s mother and grandparents for JRCF to allow access, which they have continued to deny. SSG Guinn has also been unsuccessful in resolving the issue with JRCF officials via the internal grievance process and has been threatened with reprisals for doing so.
As such, we now delve into a conundrum and a ‘Catch-22’ of the military detention facilities rules and regulations.
SSG Guinn has been denied access and contact with his minor children as JRCF claims that he is in a state of non-compliance as he has not participated in JRCF’s sexual offender treatment program. In a further obfuscation and double speak, and in order to be allowed entry into this program, the detainee must admit guilt.
The problem with this requirement however is if Guinn, or any other wrongfully convicted service member, capitulates to JRCF’s mandate to admit guilt in order to be accepted into the program, then that admission will be used against them in any future appellate proceedings.
This is nothing more than a de-facto form of extortion and it’s as if JRCF is telling him, “admit guilt or you won’t see your kids until you get out of here years from now.”
As a result of our first letter, SOH received a response from then commander, LTC Watson, JRCF LTC Watson response to SOH 11 April 2018. Essentially, LTC Watson proclaims that JRCF does not compel detainees to participate in the program and as such, they do not feel that it violates any self-incrimination issue.
Since LTC Watson’s response was non-responsive to the specific issue involving SSG Guinn, SOH sent a second letter to the new commander, Army LTC Robert Rodock who took over after the departure of LTC Watson. That second letter dated June 13th, SOH Letter to LTC Rodock 13 June 2018 although SOH has not received a response from LTC Rodock.
As such, a problem that essentially could be resolved in a matter of minutes has expanded into a month’s long campaign of letters and indifference.
On July 17, 2018, SOH filed an official complaint with the Department of Defense, Office of Inspector General, requesting an investigation of the actions and inactions of both LTC Watson, LTC Rodock, and the policies and practices of JRCF. Our letter also indicates that this has been an ongoing routine pattern and practice and may affect hundreds of service members incarcerated in military detention facilities worldwide. SOH Letter to DoD IG 17 July 2018
The ACLU of Kansas was initially involved in the case of SSG Guinn, but it appears that they are no longer involved.
In plain and simple terms, there appears to be a pattern and practice at military detention facilities worldwide of a convoluted ‘catch-22’ system, that by design, further punishes wrongfully convicted service members of their basic human rights of access and contact with their own children.
Place yourself in the shoes of a service member who knows that he or she is innocent of some type of sexual misconduct offense, emphatically proclaims their innocence and are in the appellate process, who then refuse, under pressure to admit guilt, then be denied contact with your kids.
Just imagine the agony and sadness that someone having those experiences must feel?
It is believed, based on the number of complaints from confined service members, that this may have affected dozens of service members across all confinement facilities, yet they’re mostly met with silence by those in positions of decision making.
That silence should be considered ‘inhumane.’