Prisoner suing over alleged beating

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May 4, 2004

SOMERS — A Connecticut prisoner claims he was beaten by guards at the state's toughest prison. He claims it was retaliation for having tried to go public about what really goes on behind bars.

On March 9, Robert Joslyn, an inmate at Northern Correctional Center, turned on the sprinkler system flooding his cell block. He says the way guards punished him makes them the criminals.

Joslyn is serving four years at Northern for having a weapon in prison and assaulting a guard but Joslyn's attorney, Antonio Ponvert, says it is his reputation as a talker that got him in trouble.

"He feared for his life by the guards, he broke sprinkler as a way to get attention and get officials to investigate and put him into protective custody,"said Ponvert.

Joslyn claims he told the deputy commissioner of corrections about guard abuse just one day before the March 9th altercation. Joslyn was also the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit, suing the state for sending prisoners to Wallen's Ridge prison in Virginia.

A videotape of the incident shows Joslyn being heavily restrained by corrections officers. Ponvert says the force they used was excessive.

"They are saying he is resisting,"he said,"I don't know how he can be resisting with this many men of this size on top of him."

Medical records showed severe injuries to Joslyn's face and head. He is now planning to sue the state over the alleged beating but Ponvert says this is not just about one prisoner.

"This case has the possibility of blowing open the doors on a cover up, a code of silence that has been taking place at Northern and other correctional facilities around this state for years,"he said.

Commissioner of the Department of Corrections, Theresa Lantz, was contacted for comment and issued this statement:

"Upon report of this incident the department of corrections initiated an investigation and it has been referred to the state police."

The department says corrections officers Patrick Maia, Shane Maloney and Captain Matthew Regan are all on paid administrative leave pending an investigation. Joslyn has been moved to McDougal Corrections Center.