Interim RIDOC Director Wayne Salisbury oversaw torture and death as Wyatt warden
When Ng was finally allowed to see a doctor, he was diagnosed with liver cancer and a broken spine. He died five days later, a result of the preceding months of negligence and cruelty from the prison administrators at the Wyatt. During this time, Wayne Salisbury was the warden at the Wyatt and had legal custody of Ng.
In late January, Wayne Salisbury was appointed as interim director of the Rhode Island Department of Corrections despite his past abuses of incarcerated people.
Hiu Lui “Jason” Ng was detained by ICE in 2007 based on a faulty deportation order. In early 2008, he became sick and complained of excruciating back pain. At the Wyatt Detention Facility, Ng’s medical needs were neglected and exacerbated by officers. As recounted during a vigil for Ng, he was accused of lying and faking his pain even though by mid-July he was unable to walk or stand to use a pay phone to call his family. Wyatt officers denied him a wheelchair and ignored his pleas for proper medical attention.
On July 30th, Ng was dragged out of his bed, and carried in shackles into a car bruising his arms and legs. The guards drove him for two hours to a federal lockup in Hartford, Connecticut where ICE officials pressured him to withdraw all pending appeals of his immigration case and accept deportation.
This was torture.
When Ng was finally allowed to see a doctor, he was diagnosed with liver cancer and a broken spine. He died five days later, a result of the preceding months of negligence and cruelty from the prison administrators at the Wyatt. During this time, Wayne Salisbury was the warden at the Wyatt and had legal custody of Ng. Salisbury was aware of and could have stopped the inhumane treatment of Ng. Instead, he created and maintained policies that caused Ng physical harm.
For instance, people detained at the Wyatt are required to walk to a counter and stand in line to receive medication, which was impossible for Ng due to his disability. Wyatt staff denied Ng’s requests to receive medication in his cell, so Ng could not access medication. This was just one of many cruel actions by Wyatt staff detailed in a complaint later filed by the ACLU. Salisbury’s direct and indirect support of these inhumane policies violated Ng’s constitutional rights and actively contributed to his death.
Salisbury was later fired from his position as warden in 2009. On top of this, criminal charges were brought against him in 2010 for obtaining money from the prison under false pretenses by allegedly falsifying the amount of unused vacation time he was owed. These charges were only dropped after he paid restitution.
Now, in spite of all this, Salisbury is being promoted into a greater leadership role with even more power to do harm. Our state institutions are rewarding those who perpetuate violence and who view immigrants as disposable. The Rhode Island Department of Corrections and the Wyatt cannot be trusted to uphold safety or humane treatment of people who have been detained. This is why we need to #ShutDownWyatt and #FreeThemAll.
There is no ideal director for this position because the Wyatt, the ACI, and all prisons need to be shut down. However, for as long as this position exists, we demand a national search be opened to find someone more suited to reducing harm within the Rhode Island Department of Corrections.
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- Direct Action for Rights and Equality – Behind the Walls Committee
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