Rhode Island corrections union President accused of intimidating solitary confinement reform witness
Richard Ferruccio, President of the Rhode Island Brotherhood of Correctional Officers, is under fire for using intimidation tactics against a man testifying on solitary confinement reform. He has previously released confidential records, potentially violating state law. This alarming behavior is raising concerns about the misuse of power within the Rhode Island Department of Corrections.
Richard Ferruccio, who last year released confidential and personal records of the formerly incarcerated, in a violation of Rhode Island Department of Corrections policies and possibly in violation of state law, told a person at the State House who planned on testifying against the prison’s use of solitary confinement that he knew who he was because he had looked up the man’s phone number and home address, and had viewed the man’s home online. Richard Ferruccio is the President of the Rhode Island Brotherhood of Correctional Officers.
“He said, ‘Oh yeah, I saw your testimony last year in the Senate and I found your phone number, and I found your address, and I looked at your house. What a nice house you have,” said the man testifying before the House Committee on the Judiciary on Tuesday evening, regarding Ferruccio. The man did not identify himself to the committee, but Uprise RI did speak to him before he testified.
“Oh boy,” said First Committee Vice-Chair Carol Hagan McEntee (Democrat, District 33, South Kingstown, Narragansett).
“This individual made that comment to me – tonight – in that hallway,” said the witness. “And I feel threatened, and I feel scared that some one has described to me, ‘Oh yeah, you have such a nice house. I noticed the white part in the background.’ That’s frightening.”
“Yes,” agreed Representative Hagan McEntee.
The bill under discussion, H6161, would “establish the restrictive housing oversight committee for the purpose of monitoring the use of restrictive housing (solitary confinement), as well as disciplinary and administrative confinement at the Department of Corrections. This act would also authorize the committee to hire an ombudsperson to assist it in its oversight duties.” The bill was submitted by Representative Leonela Felix (Democrat, District 61, Pawtucket).
This is not the first time Richard Ferruccio has used intimidation against people testifying in support of abolishing or reforming Rhode Island’s practice of solitary confinement in prisons. Last year Ferruccio released private and personal prison records in an attempt to impugn the testimony of formerly incarcerated people testifying in favor of prison reform.