It was a year ago that the Department of Correction administrators, here at MCI-Concord, decided that they were going to threaten, intimidate, and then punish me for going against their wishes and speaking with a reporter from Boston Magazine. They tried to misuse their power to prevent me from standing up for my rights. Ultimately, the prison’s administration took away privileges that I had earned and then removed me from the facility’s NEADS Service Dog Training Program, in a malicious attempt to hurt me. I was devastated and heartbroken. Once again, I was being punished and had done nothing wrong.
Since then, with the help of a dynamic civil rights lawyer, Sonja Deyoe, we filed a civil rights law suit in District Court outlining the abuses of power and discretion by prison authorities. We filed this lawsuit in an attempt to stand up for what was right and to prevent those in power from mistreating people who are weaker than them, simply because they can. The complaint that was filed with the court detailed allegations that the prison authorities threatened and intimidated me to prevent me from speaking with the reporter; and then, after I did, the authorities punished me by removing me from the NEADS Program after two years of successfully training service dogs for disabled children.
However, today I am very happy and proud to announce, thanks to Sonja’s help, I have been reinstated back into the NEADS Program. That’s right; I am now back training service dogs for disabled people.
I really want to thank Sonja for her help. Without her, I don’t think any of this would have been possible. Her dedication to helping those who are in need and her commitment to defending what is right, is the reason I am training service dogs once again. Although I have not yet been given my own dog to train, I am very happy merely to have the opportunity to be back in this amazing program. On behalf of me and my family, thank you, Sonja.