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Cover Story

Lost In the Hole Page 3

Mentally ill felons locked in own hell

By Stephen Dark
Posted // September 26,2012 -  


Once in Uinta 1, Cameron became a target for manipulative inmates looking to amuse themselves, fellow Uinta 1 inmate Paul Payne wrote in a motion to re-open Cameron’s case and have him moved to the medical unit, Olympus, “which houses the mentally ill, those with brain trauma.”

While some inmates, Paul Payne writes, try to keep Cameron occupied with constructive things, exercises and reading, “when that voice of reason is not there, he is led astray.” Paul Payne continued that Cameron is on a section with “several outcasts/sex offenders/victimizers, and they act like they are the guard speaking on the intercom and give Cameron ‘a direct order’ to lock himself in the shower.” When the actual guards came to get him out, a tussle ensued, Paul writes, leading to Cameron being handcuffed and slammed to the ground.

That resulted in Cameron Payne ending up in “the hole,” in Section 4, Curtis Allgier wrote in a letter to Cameron’s parents, “where you can’t order anything [from commissary] but 5 envelopes a week, not even soap! The bright-ass lights are on 24/7, they come look in your cell every 15 min. and there are people yelling, banging, fighting SWAT, rubbing shit everywhere, etc. every day, all day! It’s the worst of the worst for sure!”

Alison Payne wrote to warden Alfred Bigelow, saying her son’s treatment was “cruel and inhumane.” Bigelow wrote back that Cameron was “housed appropriately,” allowing the prison “to maintain his safety, staff safety and other inmates’ safety.”

She says she sees a ray of hope in that the unit’s captain and caseworker have been responsive to her concerns, but she worries about the psychological impact of long-term solitary confinement on someone with a traumatic brain injury. “They’ve probably made him so he can never come home again.”


Ryan Allison, who’s 20, was in state-care facilities since he was “a young age,” according to 4th District Court documents, resulting in unspecified “mental problems,” nursing staff told a deputy after Allison was arrested. Allison writes that he’s been diagnosed with “bipolar, depression, anxiety, borderline personality disorder and reactive-attachment disorder.”


When Allison turned 18, his Department of Child & Family Services caseworker put him in a foster home for teenagers with drug and violence issues. Two months after his 18th birthday, according to court documents, on April 11, 2010, Allison inhaled “Axe body spray in an attempt to get high,” then refused to go with the foster family to a barbecue. He pointed a kitchen knife at a relative of the foster father and was charged with three misdemeanors.

Allison initially appeared before 4th District court Judge Fred Howard in Provo. After a month in Utah County Jail, where, he writes, “I was constantly harming myself, attempting suicide and struggling with hallucinations,” he threatened to kill both a deputy and Judge Howard, resulting in him being charged with a third-degree felony for threatening a judge.

He threatened the judge, Allison writes, because Howard had talked “about possibly sending me to prison after I was told they would release me from jail on probation if someone could find an apartment for me.”


Judge Howard recused himself, to be replaced by Judge Claudia Laycock, who found Allison competent to stand trial. Allison pleaded guilty to threat or use of a dangerous weapon in a fight on Sept. 1, 2010, but a month later, changed his plea to Guilty Mentally Ill, although he says he doesn’t know why. “My public defender and judge kind of made that choice for me so they could get me into the [Utah] State Hospital to get me some help.”

Laycock gave him a suspended five years in prison for threatening a judge and sent him to the Utah State Hospital for 18 months for treatment. Post-treatment, she would then revisit the sentencing.

At the Provo-based mental hospital, Allison attended groups to help him with substance abuse, depression and “impulsively acting out,” but he also attacked staff and patients and broke chairs, closets and shelves and fire sprinklers. He claims he tried to break the neck of a man he was sick of “talking trash on me.”

In March 2011, the hospital returned Allison to the county jail. Laycock found that the hospital couldn’t care for him, so she sent him to prison for five years.

In a letter to the Board of Pardons, she wrote, “This is a young man who needs more help than you and I can provide for him. Unfortunately, the prison is the last resort for a defendant with his violent and disturbed background.”

While not specifically referring to Allison, the prison notes in its statement to City Weekly that, “Some of the offenders we currently house have spent time in the State Hospital but have been deemed too violent to remain there and are subsequently returned to our institution.”

Despite the judge’s recommendation to the board that Allison be put in the prison’s mental-health unit, Allison writes that he was placed in general population. “I was very angry and depressed.” He attempted suicide his third day there. After just two weeks, he threatened to stab an officer and was sent to Uinta 1. There, he “started to go off,” he writes, fighting guards, attacking officers through the cuff board on his cell door.

He’s been in Uinta 1 for a year and five months. Paul Payne argues that Allison uses “stories of violence in his past to try to minimize threats of confrontation” from other inmates. He writes that Allison “is a big-hearted guy,” albeit one who is very thin because “he forgets to eat.” In his letter, Allison writes that he speaks with “mental-health staff regularly and sometimes they give me self-help books.”


Jeremy Haas’ life, according to his letters to City Weekly, has been a quest for love. His father frightened him with his violence, according to Haas, and his attempts to get high led only to more trouble. He joined a gang while at a Cottonwood Heights treatment center. “I wanted to fit in. I wanted to feel, I need, I wanted friends cuse I did not really have many friends so I thought if I put my loyalty to a gang then I’ll ways have friends!”
He writes that in Weber County Jail, he ended up in maximum security because, to prove his loyalty, he fought so much with the cops to where, “it was just hurting me.” He continued the same pattern, he writes, in prison, “and they put me in a big-ass hole now I can’t get out but try to be better and do better for I can go home ... I miss home!! I miss my family. I hate this box I live in.”

When he got to prison, “I want to kill myself my first day cuse I new I fucked up big time. I could not find out what to do as they tuck me off all my meds and I could not get them back.” He attempted suicide numerous times, once trying to hang himself with a sock.

Paul Payne describes Haas “as a really caring person and people in here will take advantage of that if they can.” For five months, Haas and Paul Payne were almost neighbors, being within shouting distance in cells 1 and 9 in Section 3. Payne learned that Haas’ mispronunciation of words was something the young man viewed as making him unique. Payne tried to help him sound out words, but “he is super hard headed and willful. We’d argue like two hillbilly brothers.”

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Posted // October 25,2012 at 13:23


He was not convicted of the charges he simply did not have the money to post bail. And as for the others who are convicted how is beating them and stripping them of their God given rights gonna better society? Has anyone ever heard of a poem called a child learns what they live? Well God has no grandchildren!!!


Posted // October 9,2012 at 13:13

You people are ignorant Mormon brainwashed terrorists.  I truly hope one of your loved ones does something to get himself sent to USP then has someone beat them 1/2 to death only to be sent to the hole for being beaten.  BTW, they're stripped naked even in the freezing winter months for that.  You're all going to your hell.  Judgemental freaks.


Posted // October 12,2012 at 08:11 - We can be judgemental when your "loved one" has made the wrong choices in life over and over. It is time for you and your family to take responsibility for your actions. It's no one's fault but your own if you are in prison. Inmates don't get beaten up in the USP by officers,they aren't denied medical care in fact they receive better medical/dental than these people would receive on the outside,at the taxpayers expense! All units including Uinta one are monitored by video cameras. Calling people names isn't an argument.


Posted // October 7,2012 at 07:24

To the family members claiming that Cameron Payne's accident in 2007 is why he is a criminal then how do you explain this?  http://www. utahsright. com/charges. php?first=cameron&last=payne&search=1 he has been arrested for numerous incidents well before 2007 including violent crimes.

Which doesn't even include his juvenile record which I'm sure is also terrible. This accident is just another ploy to try to get sympathy from the genral public.


Posted // August 7,2013 at 17:54 - Mr. Swordonvik. My reply to you is obviously you have not seen the research that has been completed. I am a registered nurse of many years, I believe you also have been brainwashed like germany soldiers. The first cases of isolation were investigated during WWII , ISOLATION is nothing more than POW behavior, there has been much research it is human rights issue and the Federal Prison committee is looking at this right now, Supreme Court has deemed it against human rights and they are releasing prisoners as we speak. The ACLU is actively involved, there is so much you need to learn. God only hopes you are never in that position. How would you like to be there because you gave your pregnant wife and young children groceries without calling a po at 2 am when they came to your work? honesty is not the best policy and you teach that by how you respond to honesty people are penalized, and I believe we called that Communism. . . hmmmmmm . good luck with that. .


Posted // November 6,2012 at 20:32 - My name is Carly, I am Camerons former wife. I checked out the page you recomended. Yes his record looks legnthy, but its a bit decieving. His disorderly conduct charges were very minor and dumb. Not even worth tax payers money of being arrested for them. I witnessed his aggravated assault charge. No weapon was used by either parties, the fight lasted all of 40 seconds. Both boys got a little beat up. The other boy started the fight, Cameron just happened to be the better fighter and he obviosly won. I am not trying to defend Cameron, because believe me there is a reason why I am his 'EX' wife. I do believe that he needed to spend some time in prison as punishment for his actions. I happen to be an activist for humans in general, and their treatment. I agree with this entire article about the mistreatment of these boys. Although I do not fully support Cameron, yes I do believe that his handicap played a part in his most recent charge. Read the police report before you pass your judgement. His accident is no ploy for sympathy. Cameron died several times having to be revived, he was on life support for quite some time, and even had to live in a nursing home for a while after that. He is truly and legally 'handicap. ' No, good people do not go to prison. All of those boys committed crimes that earned themselves a ticket straight there. None the less I still advocate healthy, sanitary and reasonable treatment of all individuals, even those in prison. That is only my opinion, although I do respect yours.


Posted // October 6,2012 at 08:48

The fact is that the men housed in Uinta 1 are extremely dangerous. Whether you want to blame that on mental health issues or not,these are people that cannot live in prison general population or in society. Maybe Kinikini can have them move into his house when those who are eligible parole because I sure as hell don't want them near my family. To the family members with their sob stories I have no sympathy for you. Your son will rob,rape or kill without any remorse and he doesn't deserve to be anywhere other than Uinta 1.


Posted // October 6,2012 at 09:06 - This is some of the worst one sided reporting I have ever read! You want to make it appear that these are just misunderstood little angels. It's unfortunate that scummy people always pop out kids and keep the cycle going. I'd guarantee that most of these idiots have parents and family members with long criminal histories too. The only solution is to gas all these bastards because you can't rehabilitate violent nutjobs.


Posted // October 1,2012 at 19:17

Ahh, they're treated like inmates?!?!  Really?  Like James said, where's the story for their victims.  Where's the report on how these nice fellows have assaulted officers and damaged the prison?

Do mentally ill offenders need help?  Yes.  Do we excuse their behavior as they lie and manipulate their way through the system?  NO!