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Florida Inmate Sues Jail Claims Movie Night Polar Express Chinese Water Torture

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by hearit

hearit's picture
In The News

Jail’s not known to be the happiest of experiences—but a Florida inmate is claiming an abuse so terrible that he’s filing a lawsuit. Brevard County movie night: "It's a lot like Chinese water torture," claims the inmate who's now suing the jail for psychological damages.

Ironically, the jailed man isn’t supposed to have seen quite so many movies: Poulin was only supposed to be in detention for a short time but has delayed his own trial date by years--filing 15 motions to block the start of alleged DUI charge and vehicular manslaughter over the related death of a woman.

Brevard County Detention Center inmates in Florida aren't allowed to watch regular television. Jail inmate Poulin says that the jail’s residents are forced to watch the same movies repeatedly. Movies shown recently at the jail include wartime epics "Saving Private Ryan," and "Black Hawk Down," and holiday classic "Polar Express”.

Poulin takes specific insult to those featured children on a speeding train, “Polar Express” apparently topping the inmate’s list of “torturous” movie titles: "I hear those little kids [from “Polar Express”] screaming through my brain. All night long I can hear them," the jailed man says. "I can close my eyes, but I'm still going to hear them over and over and over.”

No word on whether the hears the voice of the woman he’s alleged to have killed in a drunk driving accident, while behind the wheel. Poulin has been at the Florida jail for almost four years now, since early 2007, when the inmate was charged in a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) car accident crash that killed his female passenger.

The inmate should’ve been at the jail only a short duration, but has filed 15 court motions for continuances that have severely delayed his court trial date for the DUI charges.

Lawsuits aren’t new to the inmate: the jailed Poulin’s filed six lawsuits against the Brevard County Detention Center jail, all while behind bars. All previous court lawsuits have been thrown out or dismissed—with the exception of one, in which he demands access to newspapers and publications.

The inmate’s allowed to receive magazine and newspaper subscriptions but must pay for those subscriptions himself.

The complaint over magazines and newspapers in the jail has become less important, while the Florida inmate now complains, via his newest lawsuit, that he has to watch the same movies over and over while jailed.

Poulin isn’t really forced to sit and watch reruns on movie night—but he doesn’t like the lack of choice. The jail Brevard County Detention Center has been cutting costs over recent times and, when networks switched to digital, didn’t want to invest in new equipment. The result: the jail maintained its older TVs and DVD players—unable to receive TV channels.

Jail officials say they restructured the Brevard County Detention Center “program”—the facility claims it’s offering more educational DVDs, as a way to help the inmates. "We try to keep them [jail inmates] informed, and provide something that could keep them from getting AIDS or hepatitis....instead of watching Jerry Springer," says the jail spokesperson.

The titles aren’t the newest in theater history: the jail says historical DVDs are often followed by movies about the time period. The Brevard County Detention Center jail inmate, however, says he’d prefer standard television to movie titles like "Saving Private Ryan, and "Black Hawk Down". "The jail has the necessary equipment already to go ahead and give us regular TV," says the inmate.

"We have a right to the media in jail," claims Poulin.

The Court may have a different view on that “right” to media and the inmate’s lawsuit—particularly to his claim as to the specific form of television access.

Since institution of its lack of tv, jail officials say that the lack of live TV access has reduced inmate-on-inmate violence drastically, and defends its position on the cost-cutting measure: "there are families [with the economy] that don't even have cable TV . We can't bring it [live TV access] in for his [inmate Poulin's] benefit, at the taxpayers' expense."

The jailed Poulin isn’t being forced to watch the movies that he claims are equivalent to “Chinese water torture”. In fact the inmate is allowed to be in his room or read a book, in lieu of “movie night” at the jail. The jail says, “No one forces him to watch. When you have someone here as long as him, he [Poulin] is going to see a [movie] rerun."

With movie night so serious, apparently the U.S. should’ve looked into other options in the nation’s oft-criticized methods for extracting information from suspected terrorists.


Brevard County Detention Center
860 Camp Road
Cocoa, FL 32927
United States
Phone: (321) 690-1500
28° 26' 48.0696" N, 80° 47' 4.9812" W
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