I started working at the Martinsburg Correctional Center in 2013 and was initially placed on day shift. From the very beginning I was harassed and made fun of regarding my learning disability, a disability the MCC was well aware of when they hired me.
They knew that it takes me longer to learn things than regular people from during my time at the academy. They knew this type of disability affects basic skills like reading and other skills like staying organized and thinking things out, along with memory issues and attention problems.
Now when I say harassment I do not mean simple name calling or the stupid jokes you normally get, I am talking about real mean spirited personal stuff like putting pepper spray in my food at work, and throwing buckets of water on my car in the winter time so it froze up and I could not get in or get the ice off.
Sometimes it would take me 45 minutes to leave work because of the ice I had to remove. Then they would occasionally get on the radio intercom and announce to everyone what a worthless piece of shit I was and how I needed to kill myself. It went on and on and on. Anyone who has worked there knows what I mean.
Yes the stories people hear about the old Eastern Regional Jail now renamed the Martinsburg Correctional Center are true. Those in charge enjoyed treating employees and inmates like dogs in a kennel. But, when you need a job sometimes you just have to stick with it, so I endured. That was bad enough, but then my grandmother passed away and it was necessary to take off work for the viewing and funeral services.
Following that absence when I returned to work I found that I had been moved onto the night shift and the constant harassment only got worse. I finally asked the warden if there was any way I could be transferred to a different shift and he told me no. At that point I realized I could not endure the harassment any longer so I put in my two weeks notice and quit.
I then felt I had no recourse but to file a Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) complaint with the state of West Virginia. Of course, in my opinion, the EEOC (state operated) basically covered up for the Martinsburg Correctional Center (state operated) and said that they found there was no grounds for harassment. Imagine that? Absolutely no conflict of interest there!
I did subsequently reapply for employment with the MCC and they
told me during my interview that because I filed a EEOC complaint they were not going to rehire me. (*edit: when the acting warden and the LT interviewed me he had told me before i went into the interview room that i would not be rehired due to me filing a EEO complaint.) I have learned since that it is against the law to refuse to rehire because someone had previously filed a EEO complaint and it is supposedly/hopefully being investigated by federal EEOC.
Even though I will probably never get my job back, these are real issues that should get the proper attention, they should be openly discussed in public, properly addressed and fixed. I was constantly and repeatedly harassed by both Wardens, a CPL, SGT and two LT’s, and when I reported that harassment to my superiors (the ones doing the harassing) they said go get a job at a gas station.
Based on my experience I would not ask my own enemy to work at this place. If you can help or if you have some idea what I could do to get this noticed, properly addressed and rectified, I would sincerely appreciate the assistance. Thank you!
Special note: This story was edited in part by WVpac staff to assist in getting the story out to the public. The final draft was approved by the author for publication.