An article by Larry Harris, about the soy food that ruined his health, the soy lawsuit, injustice, lockdowns, punishments for litigating, and surviving to be able to care for his daughter again. Click on the pages please in order to enlarge the fonts.
May 20, 2010
The governor on Thursday downplayed a scathing federal report calling on Indiana to address widespread abuses within its juvenile correction facilities.
A Jan. 29 letter and report from U.S. Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez to Gov. Mitch Daniels details troubles within the former Indianapolis Juvenile Correctional Facility, including a mentally ill inmate left dirty and pulling out her hair and male guards having sex with and performing strip searches on young female inmates, 6News’ Joanna Massee reported.
The letter follows a civil rights investigation launched by the U.S. Department of Justice in 2008 that documented inadequate abuse investigations, excessive use of force and isolation, inadequate mental health care and inadequate special education services. The investigation into allegations of abuse began in 2004.
Daniels initially declined to comment on the report, but when asked about the issue at a jobs announcement on Thursday, he told Massee the report was “hopelessly out of date.”
“The problems there (the Indianapolis Juvenile Correctional Facility) — which were very severe and obviously needed attention — are many years old,” Daniels said. “They’re doing their job and tidying up what is really a six- or eight-year-old inquiry.
“When the report was originally released, Daniels volunteered to make improvements at all the facilities and to provide reports resulting from a partnership with the Indiana Juvenile Justice Task Force, an agency charged with monitoring the expected improvements.
The Indianapolis Juvenile Correctional Facility was closed in 2009, and female inmates were moved to the new Madison Juvenile Correctional Facility.
A statement from the Indiana Department of Correction called it “a much different facility than its predecessor in Indianapolis,” but a former employee told 6News that conditions for inmates worsened after the move.
“I do not think any child inside Madison Juvenile is safe,” the former employee, who did not want to be identified, told Massee.
6News was not allowed inside the Madison facility.
State Sen. Mike Delph, R-Carmel, who sits on the Senate Corrections Committee, said he is concerned about the allegations of abuse at the state’s juvenile correction facilities.
“When we have people in our custody, under our care, we have a responsibility and a duty, under our constitution, to take care of their wellbeing,” he said.
Delph said that the Department of Correction has not brought any issues involving juvenile justice to his attention. He said he has requested a meeting with the agency.
Correction Commissioner Edwin Buss declined requests to be interviewed.
Link to Article Here
This is devastating...
—this is why letters from prisoners and family members are so important to take seriously—
PEKIN, Ill. –
A former inmate of the Federal Correctional Institute-Pekin alleges in letters to his mother that inmate Adam Montoya begged for medication while in excruciating pain for several days prior to his death on Nov. 13.
Randy Rader was transferred to a California medium-security prison shortly after the death of Montoya, 36, of Albuquerque, N.M., with no explanation for the transfer. He later learned the transfer was for disciplinary reasons, though he claims he did nothing wrong except push the issue about Montoya’s death.
Rader is not alone. Former Pekin prison inmate Jae Eads is now in a Pennsylvania prison. He too believes he was transferred because of his knowledge of what happened at the prison with Montoya, he said.
On Nov. 14, 2009, Rader wrote to his mother, Debbie Rader, in Michigan. He told his mother, “Look, something really bad happened here on 11-13-09. I’m going to give you this name (and prison ID) number. I want you to get Brandon to Google it or whatever on (the) computer for references to this guy’s last name. Try to find his people.”
Montoya arrived at FCI-Pekin on Oct. 26 to serve a 27-month sentence for counterfeiting-related offenses. His scheduled release date was April 18, 2011. Previously he had been incarcerated in a Texas jail, where, according to his father, Juan Montoya, he received all of his medications.
Rader tells his mother that Montoya was his roommate in the “yard” prior to Montoya’s death.
“(Montoya) had only been here for a month or so. (He) just got locked up (for the) first time. He was 37 years old. He was a good guy in for a white-collar crime — stole money from some firm or other embezzlement,” said Rader. “He had a medical condition when he came — a tumor in his head.
“He begged them people to do something for him — over and over. They took him to medical a few days after he begged them so much. He went for about five minutes, maybe 10. He just got worse for the next six days. He pressed the panic button — begged them, told everyone to do something. Mom, he died between 10 p.m. and 6:30 a.m. on Nov. 12 and Nov. 13 sitting up on his bed. I don’t want to go into all of the details, but I would like to tell his people what I know.”
Tazewell County Coroner Dennis Conover said Montoya was bruised in a continuous band around his waist. He said it looked as if Montoya had been beaten, but once the autopsy was completed it was easy to see the bruising was from the internal bleeding.
A Tazewell County coroner’s autopsy report for Montoya revealed that internal bleeding was due to, or a consequence of, a rupture of the spleen. The ruptured spleen was due to or a consequence of B-Cell non-Hodgkins Lymphoma — a cancer of the lymphatic system.
The autopsy showed that 754 milliliters, or 25.49 ounces, of blood had leaked from the spleen into the abdominal cavity. Tumors were noted on the kidney and spleen, and Montoya had multiple enlarged lymph nodes.
Part of autopsy protocol is a toxicology screen. Despite Montoya’s many health issues, the only drug in his system was regular Tylenol, which had not been taken immediately prior to his death because it was found in his urine. There were no prescription pain medications or condition-related drugs in his system, according to the autopsy report.
Montoya’s father, Juan Montoya, said immediately after the death that his son was on medications while at a Texas jail prior to being sent to an Oklahoma prison before being assigned his final destination at the Pekin prison.
Federal Correctional Institution-Pekin Public Information Officer Jay Henderson said Wednesday that he could not answer questions about inmate transfers or inmate health issues, even for Montoya, who is now dead.
Henderson said there have been no changes to protocol for medicine disbursement at the prison because, “There was nothing wrong with the protocol (the prison officials) were using at the time.”
Henderson also said he does not know of any investigation into Montoya’s death. Previously, after the autopsy, Henderson had said there was no need for one because, according to Henderson, the autopsy report labeled the death accidental.
Conover said there is nowhere on the autopsy report that says accidental death. Patients with diseases such as Montoya’s are typically on medication of some kind, said Conover.
Conover has issued protocols to all departments with first responders that in the event of a death the body is not to be moved until the coroner arrives on scene. The prison, he said, ignored those protocols after Montoya died.
Prison personnel, said Conover, ordered paramedics to remove the body from the cell even after the paramedics said they could not. An IV line was started and the body was moved to the outside of the prison gate. Paramedics then called OSF Saint Francis Medical Center and were told to take the body to Pekin Hospital, where Montoya was pronounced dead immediately.
“(Montoya’s) arm was sticking up in the air,” said Conover. “Of course he was dead. He had been dead all night.”
Conover said a new warden has been assigned to the prison, Ricardo Rios. Conover met with him earlier this month. Conover said Rios guaranteed him that the coroner’s office will have total cooperation in the future regarding inmate deaths.
There will be no Tazewell County coroner’s inquest into Montoya’s death, said Conover, but there is an ongoing FBI investigation into the death. FCI-Pekin’s new warden and assistant warden recently met with Conover and confirmed to him the existence of the investigation.
Conover said an FBI investigation had been started immediately after Montoya’s death, but it was halted quickly after the prison said it was a natural death.
“This office did everything it could do without a warden or assistant warden at the prison (at that time),” said Conover. “I just want people to know we’ve done our job.
“My problem is that this man died in agony, asking for medication, and it wasn’t given to him.”
Excerpts from prison letters about the death of inmate Adam Montoya, and the removal to other prisons of inmates who witnessed the alleged events:
• “(Montoya) spoke to his dad on the phone (and) told him he wasn’t getting medical attention at one point. His dad has got money and knows some big people. Mom, something needs to be done. This is the fifth person to get denied medical attention in the last two years that died. They just tell us to drink water, take Ibuprofen — stuff like that. Not all the time, but it goes through spells where they just don’t give a …” Former Pekin inmate Randy Rader to his mother, Debbie Rader, Nov. 14, 2009.
• “They let him die. I’m scared, I was right there and heard it all.” Randy Rader to his mother, Nov. 14, 2009.
• “It’s really messed up to send (Randy Rader) all the way out there (to a California prison) because he’s standing up for Adam. It’s the right thing to do because (Adam) was just allowed to die.” Jae Eads, former Pekin inmate, to Rader’s mother, undated.
• “They might put me on diesel therapy. … Diesel therapy is when they move (an) inmate around for a while — go from one jail to another, so on and so forth on the road. A lot don’t stay in one spot for long. I hope not, but if they do they (are) just digging a bigger hole because I didn’t do what they wanted me to do and because I’m in contact with (Adam Montoya’s mother).” Randy Rader, to his mother, Feb. 2.
• “I filed a (complaint) to region on 2-03-10 and sent it out about (Pekin) transferring me because of me pushing the issue about Adam Montoya dying! A lieutenant pretty much told me, ‘We said you got to know how to pick your battles.’” Randy Rader, Feb. 4, 2010, to his mother.
Montoya’s Death…an inexcusable injustice.
PEKIN DAILY TIMES editorial (Friday, March 5, 2010.), Pekin, ILL.
As reported in Thursday’s edition, an autopsy and toxicology tests revealed that when Montoya died on Nov. 13, 2009, the only trace of medication in his system was a little Tylenol. Montoya was very sick, so where were all the medications that should have been in his system?
Montoya’s family and some of his fellow inmates allege that FCI-Pekin was not providing him the meds he needed. Their claims standing alone would have to be treated with skepticism — after all, you can’t safely trust the word of a prison inmate, and maybe the family was just angling to win a huge civil settlement against the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
But the autopsy results confirm that Montoya really was a gravely sick man, and toxicology has confirmed that he was not getting his meds. The inmates are right: Montoya’s last days had to have been spent in the most excruciating pain, with no one to provide comfort or solace.
We all should be outraged. No one, not even a convicted criminal, no matter how heinous his crimes, should be left to die in agony and alone — not when we have it in our power to prevent it.
As Tazewell County Coroner Dennis Conover said to me, “He should have died under medication in a hospital, and not in agony in a prison.”
There’s just no other way to say it: the uncompassionate way Adam Montoya was treated in his last days, and the manner of his death, is an inexcusable injustice. It doesn’t matter what Montoya did — he was sentenced to 27 months in prison, not to a miserable death.
All of that is bad enough by itself, but the way FCI-Pekin responded after discovering Montoya dead in his cell is even more damning. Instead of notifying the coroner and leaving the death scene intact, the prison ordered paramedics to start an IV — after rigor had plainly set in — and transport the body to a hospital emergency room, despite the paramedics’ objections.
Transporting a dead body violates the most basic protocols in handling a death, interfering with a possible crime scene and making it difficult if not impossible for investigators to establish the true circumstances of a death.
It smells of a cover-up, as did the transfer of inmates such as Randy Rader and Jae Eads, and the prison’s actions couldn’t help but raise suspicions about how Montoya had died. At first Conover thought he might be dealing with a homicide, because when he arrived at Pekin’s ER he saw terrible bruising across Montoya’s abdomen. Thanks to the autopsy, it was determined that Montoya hadn’t been beaten, but instead had suffered a ruptured spleen, a result of his illness.
Conover attributes the prison’s improper response to Montoya’s death to something that has become ingrained in the culture of our federal prisons. Conover calls it the “no one dies in a federal prison” adage.
Conover tells me that in the 13 years that he has worked in the Tazewell County Coroner’s Office (first as chief deputy coroner, then as coroner), the coroner has been asked to respond to the death of an FCI-Pekin inmate only twice. Rather than have an inmate be pronounced dead in prison, the usual practice has been to have an ambulance take the inmate to a hospital — but sometimes, as in the Montoya case, the inmate was already dead before the ambulance was called, Conover says.
Because federal prisons have a high turnover rate for wardens and assistant wardens, more than once the coroner has had to explain proper protocols to new wardens.
It is very encouraging that the new administration at FCI-Pekin has pledged full cooperation with the coroner, but something needs to change in the FBOP’s culture to ensure that the next warden also will be cooperative.
Changes also are needed to ensure that the rights and dignity of the prison inmates are always respected. Yes, convicted criminals have violated the rights and dignity of others, but that cannot excuse our doing the same to them.
When we violate their rights, it’s everyone’s rights that are endangered.
Community editor Jared Olar may be reached at 346-1111, ext. 660, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The views expressed in this column are not necessarily those of the Pekin Daily Times.
Here are the snippets of the forced feeding of Warren Lilly, taken from Isthmus:
Three questions have presented themselves in letters during these past few months that I would like to address. Question 1. Does WPW avoid news articles and opinion about sex offenders? Question 2. Should WPW “tone down” the rhetoric and seek credibility? Question 3. Why don’t you do more investigative articles and more research?
Question 1. Does WPW avoid news articles and opinion about sex offenders? No, our mission is to highlight and expose the crimes committed by the DOC, Parole Commission and (in)justice system. We never ask, nor do we feel it important to consider the crime of the prisoner. Our newsletter also tries to highlight the societal penchant and immorality of putting people in cages as a method of solving social problems. We do not express an opinion on the crimes of those behind bars – it is not our concern. Our concern is with the crimes committed by those in uniform.
Question 2. Should WPW “tone down” the rhetoric and seek credibility? We are what we are. Actually, we do curb our contempt and disgust with the abuse and indignity heaped on prisoners. We are outraged and hope that message is loud and clear. We wonder, from whom the questioner thinks we should seek credibility? Certainly not from the institutions and bureaucrats who run them, they are not responsive to polite pleas or reasoned arguments. Have you filed an ICI lately?
Maybe the questioner thinks the public needs to hear a “reasonable” articulation of the “problems” behind the walls? On this point we agree – to a degree. WPW does inform the press whenever important stories arise. For the most part, the press is not interested, because the public is not interested and if the public’s not interested the advertisers lose interest. In a capitalist system the merit of the story is subjugated to the profit margins. But, as I said, we agree and do our best to inform the main stream press.
But, we are not the main stream press; our newsletter goes to prisoners who already know they are being abused, degraded and dehumanized. The families kinda know it but don’t believe it from their loved ones. So, the purpose of the WPW newsletter is to, not only expose the rot, but to heighten political awareness and understanding of “how the system works”, and how we need to resist the oppression. If you don’t think you’re being oppressed then this newsletter is not for you. If you think prisons serve a legitimate purpose then this newsletter is not for you. If you think bending a knee to the powers that be will reform prison policies, this newsletter is not for you. If you think the public will be moved to compassion if one more story of abuse gets published, you’re deluding yourself.
Question 3. Why don’t you do more investigative articles and more research? The primary reason is, we don’t have the time or resources. There’s an important book written by the feminist group INCITE!, titled The Revolution Will Not Be Funded, from which we draw a lesson. We don’t seek funding from institutions, charities, or foundations because we do not want our message or objectives to be blunted or coerced by the funders. We are funded by YOU, the people who are impacted by the prison system. If what we say and do serves a purpose, the funding will continue. If we become insipid and ineffective, we will disappear.
Another reason why we don’t do investigative journalism is because we don’t have a large volunteer staff. We would love to have a bunch of people sitting around with nothing to do, ready to research and investigate. Hey wait a minute, there are a bunch of guys sitting around with nothing to do. Get busy and send in articles and reports.
So, you see, it’s up to you. Send us contributions and ask others to subscribe and support our work. Also, send us your reports and investigations or just send your reflections on “how the system works”. Send us news articles and court cases. This is your newsletter.
Some of you are really busy. We’ve received some really powerful court cases. Some guys are trying to shake things up in the courts. Some have sent us reports of success despite the many hurdles placed on their efforts. Many of us don’t understand the law and its convoluted language. Many of us are frustrated by the lying, cheating, and corruption we face when trying to get some justice. Here at WPW we are continually frustrated by the lack of public concern, the lack of revolutionary spirit, the lack of political awareness, and the lack of outrage, but we fight on. Not because we think we can win, but because we must. We must resist, we are compelled to resist the dehumanization and stupidity of prisons. We cannot do otherwise but resist this culture of oppression.
The winter weather has chilled the desire to protest and leaflet outside of the DOC and prisons but PAW is making plans for the spring. One thing for sure, a contingent of PAW members will be visiting the Capitol to let the Governor know that Al Graham needs to go. He’s up for reappointment in March and PAW wants to make it clear, families are being victimized by the Parole Commission. We urge all families of incarcerated to call or write to the governor to let him know what you think of Al Graham. More info on page 5.
American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) has organized a campaign called STOPMAX whose mission states, in part: “To promote and support a national movement to end the use of solitary confinement and related forms of torture in US prisons”. Your editor has been invited to sit on the steering committee and I will bring my knowledge and experience in dealing with Wisconsin’s overuse of segregation units to the national discussion. Comments from those suffering this barbarity are welcome.
We are in the process of compiling a handbook for families of incarcerated. The purpose is to help families understand the process and negotiate the bureaucracy while supporting their loved one. Suggestions are welcome – please tell us what you think your families should have known or should know in order to help you on the inside
Illinois Prisoners Win $8 Million for Failure to Treat Hep C, from PLN
A federal jury has awarded four Illinois prisoners over $2 million apiece in a civil rights action filed against state prison officials for denying treatment for Hepatitis C (Hep C).
In 2005, Edward J. Roe, Anthony P. Stasiak, Timothy J. Stephen and Jackson Walker, all state prisoners at the Logan Correctional Center (LCC) in Lincoln, Illinois, were denied Hep C treatment. Hep C is a blood-borne disease that can cause liver failure if left untreated; it is most often spread through IV drug use, needle sharing (including tattoo needles) and unprotected sex.
Larry Sims, the Chief Administrative Officer at LCC; Willard Elyea, Medical Director for the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC); and IDOC Director Roger Walker refused to provide Hep C treatment based on a blanket policy that denied such treatment to prisoners with fewer than 18 months left to serve on their sentences.
In September 2005, the four LCC prisoners filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois. They claimed the non-treatment policy resulted from the defendants’ deliberate indifference to their serious medical needs, in violation of the 8th and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
On February 15, 2008 a federal jury agreed that the policy was unconstitutional, and awarded the prisoners $20,000 each in actual damages and $2,000,000 each in punitive damages.
Attorney H. Kent Heller of Mattoon, Illinois represented the plaintiffs; he said this was the largest monetary judgment he had ever won for a client. Attorney fees have not yet been awarded in this case. See: Roe v. Sims, U.S.D.C. CD Ill., Case No. 3:06-cv-03034-HAB-CHE.
Hep C-related prison litigation appears to be on the upswing, since large numbers of prisoners are infected with the disease and most prison systems are unwilling to provide the expensive – though necessary – medical treatment for it.
For example, on July 8, 2008, a class action lawsuit was filed against the California Dept. of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) on behalf of California’s 159,000 state prisoners. The complaint states they do not receive adequate treatment for Hep C, which infects an estimated 40 percent of the CDCR population. See: Jackson v. Dezember, U.S.D.C. CD Cal., Case No. 2:08-cv-04454-GHK-FMO.
“This is a nasty, nasty disease,” said attorney Shawn Khorrami, who filed the class action suit. “We don’t allow this kind of punishment in America, where someone has a disease and we have them suffer from it and have all kinds of problems going forward in their lives just because they’ve committed a crime.”
Actually prison officials routinely allow such punitive medical neglect to occur, which is why such lawsuits are necessary.
UPDATE ON THE HEP-C CLASS ACTION
A few of you have contacted attorney Heller on this but we know more under-treated and untreated cases of Hep-C are out there. Spread the word because this action could have some deep implications for the DOC (financial) and for those suffering this disease (financial and health). For more information write to:
Attorney Kent Heller
Heller, Holmes & Associates, P.C.
P.O. Box 889
Mattoon, IL 61938
Dear Prison Watch,
Hey! I’ve been down for 25 years all together in this fucked up system and all I can say is, it’s about time somebody kept an eye on these freaks!
This is my eighth time in, 4 were revocations, and the other four were all property crimes, yet I’ve served more time than a few lifers I’ve met.
Right now I’m almost done with a five year sentence for breaking my probation by going to Texas (absconding) for two months. This five year sentence stems from a 1998 burglary conviction where I stole a check for $420 and cashed it.
So, yes it’s true, I’m sitting here, taking up a single cell (red tag) in Green Bay, for a crime that occurred over ten years ago. And, it was my only violation after three years of supervision; working, paying rent and minding my own business. No ATR, no work release; five years on a ten year withheld sentence. They extradited me 1620 miles on an eight day bus ride from Hell.
All this for going down to Texas to roof houses damaged in Katrina, to make $15 an hour cash instead of $11.50 minus taxes here in Wisconsin. The state has spent thirty thousand dollars a year “punishing” me for stealing a check and then leaving the state for a better job.
Anyway, I’ll be out soon with 20 months of parole which I may or may not get revoked on. And of course when I get released I will have zero dollars and zero cents because that’s the way the DOC likes to see you leave. But you can bet I’ll get that “good luck out there” on the way out the door, because they always smile and say that when you leave prison, just to let you know they care, you’re their friend and it’s not personal.
Doyle named Obama’s Commerce Secretary (parody by Bonnie Abzug)
Wisconsin Governor was recently chosen to replace Gov. Bill Richardson for US Commerce Secretary. Doyle was chosen and then his name was quickly withdrawn due to the fact that the State of Wisconsin stands at the top (worst) ranking of Black incarceration rates in the whole United States of Amerikkka!
Wisconsin Prison Activists were elated by the nomination, hoping that a new Governor would realize the highest ranking of top Black Incarceration rates were sure signs of the racism in Wisconsin state laws, justice system and its whole state government. Activists hoped a new Governor would stand on a bully pulpit and make this gross and shameful record a thing of the past. They were sure that a new governor would get rid of the regressive Parole Chair, Al Graham.
Obama and his aides must have made note of Doyle’s and the State of Wisconsin’s abysmal treatment of its Black population and decided that this type of politician is not wanted in their cabinet. Unfortunately Obama’s de-cision does not bode well for our state.
As a matter of reference, Minnesota and Wisconsin both have the same minority population demographics and crime rate. Minnesota houses 9000 prisoners while Wisconsin houses over 22,000. How many times must these statistics be shown before our state’s citizens force our government representatives to rectify this inequity.
Notes from Starvin’ Naked Marvin: The Day After
What does Barack Obama’s election mean for Black prisoners?
Very little and a great deal. Very little in that it’s unlikely he’ll make sweeping changes to the justice system. Obama was not elected on a platform for social change, he ran and won with an economic agenda and was supported by the same money ‘strokers’ that have supported every president. IF Blacks, especially those imprisoned, expect social change they’re going to be disappointed.
Obama’s election though, in a psychological sense, means a great deal to prisoners. Prisoners are quicker than free persons to believe they can not fight and win against an entrenched system and that color is an inherent bar to success. Obama has shown that the bar to success of Black men is mostly a bar of their own making, a self-imposed limit on how high they can climb.
Obama’s victory is a classic lesson in vision and persistence all prisoners should study, especially Black prisoners. For in that lesson is the means to overcome the horrors of both imprisonment and the justice system. His victory instructs us to first recognize our own worth and to respect the worth of others, then to establish a goal and pursue it through planning and preparation, and finally, most importantly, to embrace a single-minded focus toward achieving that goal.
Obama’s victory has shown us that even ‘blue sky’ is not limited to one who’s determined to achieve a goal. How then can we, given his example, fail to take on and defeat the problems of injustice and imprisonment we face?
Let me propose a goal for all prisoners: The reduction and reformation of the prison system into a more human-centered service through the non-violent destabilization of the current dehumanizing system. Prisons operate efficiently and effectively because we prisoners allow them to do so. Without our support, mentally by obeying orders, and physically by working in prisons, the prison system, as it now stands, would collapse. This is a fact we’ve known but have been afraid to exploit.
To achieve this goal we must first set aside our fear. Fear is the mind killer, it prevents self defense. For unless you are willing to abandon your fears and risk everything you stand to gain nothing. Ask yourself if your life has value and worth not just to you but also those with whom you interact – your family, your friends. If you answer is yes then you must vigorously defend your life from the ravages of a system which as declared your life worthless.
Since, to this system, you’re only a body give them that body without its mind. Do not perform any function or obey any order which supports the orderly running of any prison. Non-violently refuse to be an intelligent but willing victim of a rogue system. Refuse to accept their pronouncement of you as worthless. Make them work like hell to maintain you and this system.
In this country we’ve allowed morality and conscience to be replacement with bad laws. To obey such law is to deny your humanity and the responsibility you bear, as an American , to raise protest in the face of injustice.
Look to President-Elect Obama as your inspiration towards this goal. It only seems like ‘blue sky’ because we fear to fight for our worth.
Warren G. Lilly, Jr.,, pen name Starvin’ Naked Marvin, has been hunger striking for over four years in protest of Wisconsin’s and America’s abusive overuse of imprisonment. He refuses to eat, wear clothing, and obey orders, and is force fed thrice daily, Monday through Saturday. Warren asks prisoners and free persons to fast with him every Sunday then to e-mail or write to their Governor in support of his protest.
Contact Warren at: Warren G. Lilly, Jr.
DOC # 447655
WCI, P.O. Box 351
Waupun, WI 53963-0351
Studies: Wisconsin has highest racial disparity in drug sentences
MILWAUKEE — Two new studies show Wisconsin has the highest racial disparity in the nation when it comes to sentences for drug convictions.
Blacks in the Badger State are 42 times more likely than whites to be sentenced to prison for drug convictions, according to studies by Human Rights Watch and The Sentencing Project. In Minnesota, blacks are ten-times more likely to be sentenced, the report said.
The Sentencing Project examines data from 43 of the nation’s largest cities between 1980 and 2003. The Human Rights Watch study looks at racial disparities among drug offenders sent to prison in 34 states.
According to the research, blacks are sent to prison for drug offenses at a rate at least 10 times that of whites in 16 states, with the disparity the greatest in Wisconsin.
Ratio of black/white rates of prison admissions for drug offenses, 2003.
(Rates calculated per 1,000 residents of each race)
Alabama **** 3.5
California *********** 10.6
Georgia ***** 5.0
Hawaii ****** 5.8
Illinois ************************* 23.6
Iowa ******** 7.7
Louisiana ******* 7.3
Maryland ***************** 17.4
Michigan ************ 11.8
Minnesota ********** 10.1
Mississippi ** 3.0
Missouri *** 2.7
Nebraska ***** 4.6
New Hampshire *******7.1
New Jersey *********************20.6
New York **************14.3
North Carolina *********** 10.9
North Dakota **** 3.8
Oklahoma **** 4.4
Oregon **** 4.1
Pennsylvania ************* 13.1
South Carolina ********* 9.3
South Dakota ********* 9.0
Tennessee ******** 8.4
Texas ************ 11.7
Utah ******** 7.5
Washington ********** 10.1
West Virginia **************** 16.3
Wisconsin ***************************************** 42.4
Total ********** 10.1
HOME DEPOT ACCUSED OF VIOLATING CIVIL RIGHTS OF JOB APPLICANTS WITH CRIMINAL RECORDS—National Employment Law Project seeking other people who have been denied employment
Two African-American men have filed charges of discrimination against Home Depot alleging that the company’s rejection of their job applications based on their past criminal records violates federal civil rights laws forbidding race discrimination because the practice has an adverse impact on African Americans and Hispanics. The charges were filed with the New York office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The charging parties are being represented by the Legal Action Center (www.lac.org), Outten & Golden LLP (www.outtengolden.com), the National Employment Law Project (www.nelp.org) and Goldstein, Demchak, Baller, Borgen & Dardarian (www.gdblegal.com).
As part of their investigation of these claims, the charging parties counsel are interested in speaking to other African Americans and Hispanics who have been rejected for employment by Home Depot because of a past criminal record.
People in New York State should contact the Legal Action Center, 212-243-1313 (outside of NY City, call 800-223-4044), and ask to speak to a paralegal about the Home Depot case. People in California should contact the National Employment Law Project, 510-409-2427. People outside of New York or California should contact Justin Swartz at Outten & Golden, 212-245-1000.
A note from a friend at WCI
As a Wisconsin State prisoner at the Waupun “correctional” Institution (WCI), the guards, the wardens, and other administrative staff don’t have to say out loud what they really think of me and other state prisoners, (That prisoners are sub-human), they show it to us every day by exploiting our labor; by locking us up in cells – some of us double celled – that even animals would deteriorate in; by keeping us away from those we love; by instilling in our minds, fear, anger, hatred, disgust and a deep contempt for the injustices inherent in the “rule of law”; by keeping us prisoners locked up, away from, and alienated from each other when we try to educate and organize ourselves to do something about our sub-human conditions and subhuman treatment; and by subjecting us to endure years and years of this systemic dehumanization without ever knowing if, when, or how we will finally be released.
Such is the stuff that keeps Wisconsin prisons overcrowded and the recidivism rate at nearly 70% which begs the question, what are they correcting? And even more deplorable, all this state sponsored systematic dehumanization takes place in the name of “corrections” at taxpayers expense of $30,000 or more per year per prisoner!
Signed – Just another forgotten and anonymous WCI state prisoner. (I am not afraid to sign my name to this letter to the editor of WPW; I’m just not stupid enough to sign it publicly as I know if I do, I’ll end up in HSU again for stating what I know to be the facts and truth… so much for the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and for freedom of speech!)
5,000 prisoners on hunger strike across Greece in demand for reforms!
All 21 Greek prisons are in the grip of prisoners 3-stage campaign in demand of 45-point reform. As part of the protest, more than 5,000 inmates are now on hunger strike.
As of Monday the 3rd of November the totality of prison across Greece are under a 3-stage campaign in demand of a 45-point reform, asking amongst other things for abolition of all juvenile prisons, greater freedoms, reduction of prison service and better conditions. The first stage of the prisoners struggle in which 8,000 out of 15,000 inmates took part consisted of refusing food from the prison catering. On Friday the 7th, 1,000 of them upgraded to the second stage of the campaign by going on hunger strike. The number of the hunger strikers today (11/7/08) is 5,120, 17 of whom have sewn their mouths. The third stage of the campaign, general uprising, looms over the prison establishment as outside the prisons solidarity campaigns are filling the streets of the Greek cities with protest marches, concerts and various forms of direct action.
Sen. Webb’s Call for Prison Reform
January 1, 2009
Editorial – N.Y. Times
This country puts too many people behind bars for too long. Most elected officials, afraid of being tarred as soft on crime, ignore these problems. Sen. Jim Webb, a Democrat of Virginia, is now courageously stepping into the void, calling for a national commission to re-assess criminal justice policy. Other members of Congress should show the same courage and rally to the cause.
The United States has the world’s highest reported incarceration rate. Although it has less than 5 percent of the world’s population, it has almost one-quarter of the world’s prisoners. And for the first time in history, more than 1 in 100 American adults are behind bars.
Many inmates are serving long sentences for nonviolent crimes, including minor drug offenses. It also is extraordinarily expensive. Billions of dollars now being spent on prisons each year could be used in far more socially productive ways.
Senator Webb — a former Marine and secretary of the Navy in the Reagan administration — is in many ways an unlikely person to champion criminal justice reform. But his background makes him an especially effective advocate for a cause that has often been associated with liberals and academics.
In his two years in the Senate, Mr. Webb has held hearings on the cost of mass incarceration and on the criminal justice system’s response to the problems of illegal drugs. He also has called attention to the challenges of prisoner re-entry and of the need to provide released inmates, who have paid their debts to society, more help getting jobs and resuming productive lives.
Mr. Webb says he intends to introduce legislation to create a national commission to investigate these issues. With Barack Obama in the White House, and strong Democratic majorities in Congress, the political climate should be more favorable than it has been in years. And the economic downturn should make both federal and state lawmakers receptive to the idea of reforming a prison system that is as wasteful as it is inhumane.
P.O. Box 05669
Milwaukee, WI 53205
Prison Action Wisconsin General Membership meetings are held on the second Saturday of every month at:
All God’s Children Church
3356 N. Martin Luther King Dr.
January 10, 2009
February 14, 2009
March 14, 2009
Committees meet more often and on different days.
We ask all prisoners to urge their family attend our meetings and support our effort. It is only through a united voice that we will be heard.
Prison Action Wisconsin asks that all who read this message call or write governor Doyle to let him know we are being victimized by Alfonso Graham and the Parole Commission. Many of our loved ones are ready to come home and we are ready to help them restart their lives.
Let the Governor know it is cruel and unusual punishment to keep families waiting, not knowing what is expected of their loved ones and what they need to do to get released.
Tell the Governor to appoint a progressive and reasonable Parole Commission Chair who will listen to the families.
PAW also asks that you call your State Senator and Representative with the same message.
We can force a change. We need to make the calls. We need to lobby the legislators. Please join us at the Capitol in February for a day of lobbying. Please make the calls.
Office of the Governor
Senator Lena Taylor
Senator Spencer Coggs
Representative Marc Pocan
Representative Leon Young
Representative Tamara Grigsby
WORT – Madison’s progressive, community owned, volunteer operated radio station sent holiday messages over the airwaves to those locked up behind the walls. Families called and left a recorded message for their loved one which was compiled and aired during the holiday season. We hope you caught the show. Some of the folks who called in:
Beverly Pittman, Unity Brown, Draylon Oliver, Roy Taylor, Wayco, Lavail Coleman, Chazna Hopkins, Rhonda Oliver, Duvila Rivers, Carl Brown, LaQuanda Jones, Carolyn Arrington, Rosenil Hicks, Awdarrah Bowman, Zolo Farrior, Kathleen Hart, Sarah Freeman, Montrell Oliver, Frank Van den Bosch, Avishareail Stringfellow, Cencreaha Alexander, Ajinai Kenyadah, and many others.
WORT is not a powerful radio station and many in the remote areas of Wisconsin probably didn’t get the holiday greeting so…
ARTISTS AGAINST THE PRISON INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX
817 E. Johnson St. Madison
January 30 – Feb 5
Reception, Fri., Jan 30 7pm -10pm
Gallery Hours – 10am – 5pm M-F
Sponsored by Justseeds’ Artists
Cooperative & WI Books to Prisoners,
A project of Rainbow Bookstore
Over 30 prints by printmakers nationwide addressing the use of policing, prisons and,
punishment as a “solution” to social, political and, economic problems and more than
70 critical drawings by prisoners will be on display.
Artwork is welcome year around for public education.
Please send or deliver artwork to:
Wisconsin Books to prisoners
426 W. Gilman St.
Madison, WI 53703
Contact: Camy or John at 608-262-9036
WSPF – When will it ever convert into a general population?
by: Comrade Muhammad Crutchfield
For almost two years now WSPF, formerly the WI SuperMax, has supposedly been converting into a “general population” prison. Prisoners who first arrived have told me that the place has been a mess from day one, with no real format as to how it operates. I’ve been here since Sept. 17, 2008 and know from personal experience that the place is nothing more than a continued human experiment, as it was originally designed to be.
Every week there’s a new rule on top of a rule. Memos are constantly being put out by the so-called Charlie and Delta Unit Manager on just about everything you can imagine, mainly non-sense.
For instance, no prisoner can get state soap unless they are indigent. Also, only prisoners without type-writers may put in a request to use the so-called ‘law-library’ type-writer. They must get the typing ribbon from the bubble Sgt. and return it to him once done. They must also show him/her what they typed to prove that it was strictly legal materials.
About a month and a half ago a prisoner wanted to call his attorney, but had to go through all kinds of hoops. The reason being, his so-called social worker thought that the forms he produced to her (DOC FORMS) were fake, because she’d never seen them before. He was told by her that she’d been a social worker at WSPF for years and had never seen such forms, nor had she ever heard of any prisoner having a non-monitored phone call to his attorney. She told him that she “felt he was getting away with something and am going to investigate”.
Her investigation found that she’d been un-informed, WSPF was/is recording/ monitoring even prisoners attorney calls, at least one of his attorney phone calls had been “monitored” (which was quickly denied by the Warden after an outside concerned person called and inquired about the matter), and that WSPF is basically violating client/ attorney confidential rights. He was told that notices would be put up in each phone call area notifying prisoners of the bogus monitoring of even attorney calls. This was at least two months ago and still nothing is posted.
Among the numerous other problems here of major significance, the lack of contact visiting is the biggest felt, especially on those who get regular visits. Because WSPF was not designed for population there was never an area built for visiting. However, as soon as it was decreed that WSPF would be converting into a general max, it became the DOC’s responsibility to build a visiting room or convert some area in the prison into a temporary visiting room until one was built. Denying us contact visits is a violation of the WI Admin. Code (see visiting regulations regarding visits in its entirety). The WI Admin. Code clearly states that the only way a prisoners visits can be made non-contact is for punitive reasons. I can’t speak for everyone else, but I haven’t violated any WI Admin. Code, nor have my visits been restricted (except forcefully by the DOC sending me here). Rumors have it that a visiting room will be built within another one or two years.
WSPF has made an art of penny-pinching. Three times a week prisoners are fed bag breakfasts, they aren’t given state boots, no state hygiene items are given out, job wages are being intentionally kept low that normally pay higher elsewhere. The main kitchen better not catch a worker-prisoner eating an extra sugar packet or salt packet if he values his job.
There is no population here. Prisoners are constantly being put through one form of psychological game play after another by staff. Last week prisoners signed up for “rec.” only to be told they didn’t have it, even though a schedule was passed to all saying they did. After complaints, they were eventually let out that afternoon. Ironically, later that evening, the list with all of the names on it for phone calls was suspiciously “lost” and guys were told they couldn’t call their loved ones. These are just some of the problems, but the real problem is us……
DARE TO STRUGGLE!!!!!!!
“SETTLE YOUR QUARRELS, COME TOGETHER, UNDERSTAND THE REALITY OF THE SITUATION, UNDERSTAND THAT FASCISM IS ALREADY HERE.”
“DO WHAT MUST BE DONE, DISCOVER YOUR HUMANITY AND YOUR LIFE IN THE REVOLUTION. PASS ON THE TORCH, JOIN US, GIVE UP YOUR LIFE FOR THE PEOPLE.”
Comrade/Brother, George Jackson
Comrade Muhammad Crutchfield
Free the San Francisco Eight!!!!!
Notes pertaining to SORP:
from Chris Klingeisen
The DOC is administrating Civil Punishment on the persons who are incarcerated by enforcing the policy 301.45 (10) and thus turned the punishment towards the families of the incarcerated, due to the fact that 95% of the inmates cannot afford to pay this fee. This fee has doubled, prior was $50.00 a year, now $100.00 a year. This action by itself is punishment especially when it is administered to the incarcerated. It is different when the offender is released and then he can take this responsibility. The only factor that is in question is the timing of this policy.
Also, the threat of submitting offenders to collections will cause issues in the future. This can have adverse effects on the person while he is attempting to apply for a job, (many employers look at a person’s credit history). There are some offenders like myself who have good credit and this action threatens it. Also, this action would cause issue when a person is applying for credit, DVR, school, S.S., & grants. This may seem small at first but it is major to a person who is trying to be a positive person in the community. This action over time will explode into many infractions in a person’s life. Simply by waiting when the offender is released it then would be more responsible to apply this action. In some cases, offenders may be incarcerated for a number of years and building debt. This action is added stress and possibly a factor on one’s desire to correct their issues.
“The two greatest obstacles to democracy in the United States are, first, the widespread delusion among the poor that we have a democracy, and second, the chronic terror among the rich, lest we get it.” – Edward Dowling
“…it is essential if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression that human rights should be protected by the rule of law.” (preamble) – Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Message from Moso
I’m writing this article to hopefully welcome our new readers. As mentioned in the last edition, there has been an effort by PAW to bring more attention to our struggle by passing out material in front of the prisons during visiting hours.
I believed this was a good idea because, as we have seen, most prisoners have not attempted to get their families and loved ones involved. We have been depending on inmates to contact their families from prison and have them sign them up or join them up with the organization.
It appears only when they face adversity and experience abuse of power by correctional officials by getting a unjustified conduct reports or having their visitors mistreated, do they then seek assistance from a outside source once they realize they themselves have no power. But unless the organization itself has a sufficient amount of members and resources, it can help no one. So we ourselves have to be the leaders, as no one else will save us, but us.
I think Frank did a good job of explaining the different mission of this organization from that of the others. It’s nice to have them attempt to at least do something different than what a lot of progressives are doing. Now that society has made some progress with the recent election of Barack Obama, doors are about to open.
Insanity has been defined as when a person does the same thing over and over, but always expects a different result. A lot of the progressives now want to institute a lot of the same things tried in the past, in the belief that it will make things better such as treatment programs and counseling, etc., etc.
These are good intentions, but are misguided. This stuff has already been tried back in the late 60s and 70s when liberals were in control. It had a lot of beneficial results, however, we still have a lot of the same problems today as we had then.
So now, it’s time to think of a radical solution, which even the so called “Progressives” are afraid to tackle for fear of not being “politically correct”. They want to talk about: the problem of the incarceration rate. However, they don’t want to discuss the root cause of the high rate of incarceration.
Why is there no discussion of what was really behind this conspiracy called the War on Drugs? Everyone want to speak on the ill effects of drugs and how it is destroying communities and society. That’s really a sham. The drugs are not what’s causing the crime and violence, instead it is the laws that are the culprit. It is the enactment of these draconian laws that has reinvented prohibition.
Most have some limited knowledge of history – it was prohibition that gave rise to the “gangster age”. It was only after seeing the effects on the White Majority population, (mass arrests and prison sentences), that a Constitutional Amendment was passed, to abolish the Prohibition Act. However, the effects of the prohibition laws were studied and mastered by social scientists, to where they have now been reapplied to carry out a agenda of political power, population control, and subversion of the United States Constitution.
The only way these power hungry “one worlders” can take people’s rights away, is if citizens voluntarily give them up. Before Bush and his backers so clumsily exposed this secret technology and plot under the guise of the war on terror, it was being used to target people and organizations under the guise of the war on drugs. They already knew the prohibition of drugs would cause rival drug gangs and warfare, armed robberies and violent crimes, just as gangsters did back in the prohibition era, lured by profits and riches. This is assured by making the product illegal. Look at the prisons today. Once we could buy tobbacco in pouches which cost about 85 cents. However, now that this item is “prohibited”, the same item will sell for over $50.00 a pouch.
The same principle applies. Thus, it is the law that is causing the destruction of poor people and making them “victims” of the conspiracy. This is why over 80% of us are in prison. We walked into the trap and many more will follow unless and until we deal with the real causes of these social ills. As long as they have the community’s eyes stuck on the trick that the drugs are the problem, and the false “solution” to stop using, selling and buying drugs, they will be blind to the real crooks who knows it is the law (which they control), that is the real enemy. However, it is politically incorrect to say drugs should not be illegal even though they were only made illegal as part of a conspiracy. So even though it’s the truth, it is a radical truth whose time for light has come.
For those who have access to a library, a book entitled Down by the River, authored by Charles Bowden, reveals a lot of information and history about the secret dealings of the United States Government and the Mexican Government and this fake “war on drugs” and its real purpose. So it will be the WPW that will be reporting on and organizing to address such topics.
Additionally, who is advocating for the prisoner victims to these past plots? Who speaks for those who have been given these life ending terms of incarceration for crimes like armed robbery, burglary, felony murder, etc., etc.? Who will expose how they stacked the state Courts with these Federalist Judges, (which is a judicial cult), bent on protecting the corporate and police state interests against the little people who have no power?
With sufficient political power, relief could be gained by organizing and getting the political power to have laws changed to where inmates can get adequate post conviction relief and sentence modifications. When these extreme Right Wing Republicans were in power, they pretty much shut the door to make sure a lot of their handy work does not get undone. We have to change that. And as the recent election of Barack Obama has shown, if you organize from the grass roots, ordinary people can do extraordinary things. If you want justice and relief, get involved and support the WPW and PAW. More information will be submitted in future editions.
The United States: A Country Without Mercy
By Paul Craig Roberts
December 16, 2008 The Christmas season is a time to remember the unfortunate, among whom are those who have been wrongly convicted.
In the United States, the country with the largest prison population in the world, the number of wrongly convicted is very large. Hardly any felony charges are resolved with trials. The vast majority of defendants, both innocent and guilty, are coerced into plea bargains. Not only are the innocent framed, but the guilty as well. It is quicker and less expensive to frame the guilty than to convict them on the evidence.
Many Americans are wrongfully convicted, because they trust the justice system. They naively believe that police and prosecutors are moved by evidence and have a sense of justice. The trust they have in authorities makes them easy victims of a system that has no moral conscience and is untroubled by the injustice it perpetrates.
Lt. William Strong, son of a military family, tired of his wife’s unfaithfulness and filed for divorce. The unfaithful wife retaliated by accusing Strong of rape. There was no evidence of rape, but Strong was deceived into a plea bargain. Once Strong entered a plea, he was double-crossed and given 60 years.
Christophe Gaynor took an adolescent skate board team to New York City for a competition. One of the kids attempted to buy illicit drugs. Gaynor threatened to tell the boy’s parents, and the boy preempted Gaynor by accusing him of sexual molestation.
Gaynor was openly framed in the Arlington, Virginia, court system.
Americans, or perhaps more accurately some Americans, were horrified by the photographs showing the torture of Iraqi detainees in Abu Ghraib by the US military. The Senate Armed Services Committee has issued a report which concludes that the torture policy originated at the highest level of the Bush administration. Those Americans with a moral conscience have reeled under further revelations–the torture of Guantanamo detainees, the transport of people seized by US authorities to third world countries to be tortured.
We have to ask ourselves why American service men and women and CIA operatives delight in torturing people about whom they know nothing? It has been well known since the Stalin era that torture never produces accurate information. Yet, US soldiers and CIA personnel jumped at the green light given to torture by President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, and the US Department of Justice. Why weren’t our soldiers shocked instead at the immorality of their leaders?
One answer is that the US military no longer operates according to a code of honor. Military discipline in the traditional sense does not exist. The ethos of the US military has degenerated into kick-ass macho. Major General Taguba, who, instead of covering up the Abu Ghraib scandal, attempted in his report to hold the US military to its traditional principles, was forced to resign from the US Army.
Another answer is that the work of torture, like police work and prosecutorial work, attracts brutal people who enjoy inflicting harm on others. The two Republican female US Attorneys in Alabama who framed Democratic Governor Seligman enjoyed ruining Seligman and bringing grief to his family.
Deborah Davies of the BBC’s Channel 4 undertook a four-month investigation of the torture of American prisoners inside American prisons. Videos taken by sadistic prison guards and videos recovered from surveillance cameras reveal horrible acts of torture and even of murder of prisoners by prison guards.
An American prison reformer told Deborah Davies, “We’ve become immune to the abuse. The brutality has become customary.”
Few Americans seem to be disturbed as these inhumane and illegal practices continue unabated. Americans continue to see themselves as the salt of the earth, the “indispensable people.”
“Law and order conservatives” have a great responsibility for this evil. Just as “law and order conservatives” created hysteria among the people about crime, they created hysteria about terrorists. Hysterical people condone great evils and arm government with power in the mistaken belief that it will protect them.
What kind of people have we become when we exercise no oversight over a criminal justice (sic) system that destroys the lives of innocent people and locks them away in prisons to be tortured by sadistic guards?
Results of a Washington and Lee School of Law examination into the principle causes of wrongful convictions.
DNA Inclusions *
Other Forensic Inclusions *****
False Confessions ************
False Witness Testimony ************
Bad Lawyering **************
Microscopic Hair Comparison ****************
Defective/Fraudulent Science ********************
Prosecutorial Misconduct ***********************
Police Misconduct **************************
Serology Inclusion ***************************
Mistaken Identification *******************************************
0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%
WISCONSIN PRISON WATCH NEWSLETTER
Dear Prison Watch,
Please subscribe me to your newsletter
Enclosed is a remittance in the required amount (please check one)
I am currently incarcerated in the state of __________________ ___ $5.00 per year
I am an “outside” friend, relation, or supporter of a prisoner ___ $15.00 per year
I work for the DOC, FBI, ATF, DEA, CIA, Milwaukee Police Dept. ___ $100.00 per year
Please also accept $_________ as a donation to be used in the struggle for justice.
Postage stamps are acceptable as payment.
Please send your newsletter to:
Remit to: Wisconsin Prison Watch – P.O. Box 292 – Boscobel, WI 53805
By the time you receive this newsletter we will have elected a new president. The important word in the last sentence is ‘we’, because the right to vote is not available to thousands of Wisconsin citizens. About 70,000 Wisconsinites are under some sort of oppressive state authority. Not all of those 70,000 are precluded from voting, but most are. Many of those denied the right to vote are working and paying taxes which makes us wonder about the taxation without representation issue. Who is representing us?
Aside from the voting problem, census figures show the 53rd state assembly district claims about 5,000 prisoners as “constituents” of that district even though their legal residences are elsewhere – mostly from Milwaukee Co. These census figures are important in proportioning seats in the legislature and funds (Federal and others) to those communities.
As a note of clarification, our WPW legal team is engaged in research and the evaluation of general legal questions about the criminal (in)justice and prison system. The team is not a legal resource for specific legal questions about pending litigation or procedures. Any opinions given will address general topics of legal process. We cannot offer legal assistance to prisoners.
Have you been getting the proper and prescribed treatment for your Hep-C? Prisoners in Illinois won a huge class action suit due to lack of treatment. It appears that the Illinois and Wisconsin policies are identical and the same goes for the lack of treatment administered. We are in conversation with the attorney who won the Illinois suit. He is studying the possibility of bringing the same class action against the WIDOC. Stay tuned, we’ll keep you informed.
Speaking of class action suits, has anyone heard from the folks in Frisco, TX and the Parole class action suit? We haven’t. We became concerned a couple of months ago when communication ended and the primary architect of this suit filed a parole related suit on his own behalf. Of course he claimed that, if he wins, it will help all similarly situated prisoners. We’ve heard that before and it appears that his appeal for “class members” was a way to bolster his own case and argument. That’s how we see it; let’s hope we’re wrong.
The rally in front of DOC headquarters turned out pretty well considering how the effort was undermined by the “leader” of PAM who actually sent out an email to around 150 prison activists, legislators and press that the “rally has been canceled”. We’ll not speculate on the motivations but suffice it to say that the PAM leadership has developed a cozy relationship with Alfonzo Graham. I’m going to be generous here and attribute this stupid behavior to naiveté and a belief that “working with the system” will get something accomplished.
Hence the split and new organization called Prison Action Wisconsin. This split has been another frustrating setback in the organizing effort, but it was essential. Aside from the above described foolishness PAM was also heading down the “post release assistance” path intent on becoming another toothless organization looking to feel good about itself by “helping” returning prisoners. The mission of addressing conditions of confinement and parole abuse were becoming secondary to the mission.
PAW will remain focussed on the criminality of the DOC in their abusive treatment of prisoners; on the degrading and inhuman warehousing of our loved ones; on the utter failure of the DOC to complete its stated mission; on the merry-go-round of needed programs – parole consideration – early release – carrot dangling manipulation.
One of our comrades, 15 years in on an excessive 30 sentence just came up for parole. He had over 100 letters of support, letters from State Representatives, a letter from one of the jury members who was shocked at the original sentence. No conduct reports in over 10 years, a job waiting, family waiting, lots of support. He got a 36 defer. Just another example of the ideologically driven parole commission.
The ten year Critical Resistance anniversary conference in Oakland, CA was a great gathering of prison abolitionists and activists. Former Panthers, community organizers and young anarchists all came together for a weekend of networking and workshops. The primary message coming out of all the talks and workshops was ORGANIZE!!! Organize in the communities, organize in the prisons, organize, organize, organize.
Attending the CR10 conference reinforced the truth that PRISONS DO NOT SOLVE SOCIETAL PROBLEMS – THEY MAKE THEM WORSE. If you think prisons are about rehabilitation and punishment, you’re looking at it the wrong way, prisons are about controlling populations, poor populations. As our economies collapse and jobs become even scarcer, we can expect desperation and crime to increase. As state budgets tighten we will see a tug of war for funds; social programs will be slashed as repressive systems get funding, speeding up the regressive spiral. The next few years will be very interesting and if we prepare, if we organize, we will be able to resist the oppressive machine. We can either hang together or separately hang.
in solidarity, WPW & PAW
Employment Discrimination Based Upon Arrest and Conviction Record
by Dujuan Walker
In my last piece I discussed the John Doe Statute and how this statute may be used by prisoners to help enforce their rights. In this issue I will address a legal problem which seems to plague almost every prisoner upon their release to the community: Illegal employment discrimination based on arrest and conviction record. Many former prisoners are finding that employers are basing their decision not to hire strictly upon the former prisoner’s past criminal background. In many situations, as I will discuss below, this practice is illegal and in violation of Wisconsin State Statutes s.. 111.335 et. seq. If you are discriminated against based upon your arrest and conviction record, you may be able to recover damages in civil court AND get the employer to hire you at that place of employment. The following information is quoted directly from a fact sheet published by the State of Wisconsin’s Department of Workforce Development, Equal Rights Division (ERD-7609-P).
How does the law define (Wisconsin Fair Employment law, Wisconsin Statutes. 111.31-111.395) arrest record?
Arrest record is defined as information that a person has been questioned, apprehended, taken into custody or detention, held for investigation, arrested, charged with, indicted or tried for any felony, misdemeanor or other offense by any law enforcement or military authority.
How does the law define conviction record?
Conviction record is defined as information indicating that a person has been convicted of any felony, misdemeanor or other offense, has been judged delinquent, has been less than honorably discharged, or has been placed on probation, fined, imprisoned or paroled by any law enforcement or military authority.
Can an employer discharge a current employee because of a pending criminal charge?
No. An employer may, however, suspend an employee, if the offense-giving rise to the pending criminal charge is substantially related to the circumstances of the particular job or licensed activity.
Can an employer refuse to hire a person because or a record of arrests that did not lead to conviction?
No. An employer is not allowed to ask about arrests, other than pending charges.
What can an employer ask regarding arrest and conviction records?
An employer may ask whether an applicant has any pending charges or convictions, as long as the employer makes it clear that these will only be given consideration if the offenses are substantially related to the particular job. An employer cannot, legally, make a rule that no persons with conviction records will be employed. Each job and record must be considered individually.
Can an employer refuse to hire an applicant because of a lengthy record of convictions or conviction for a crime the employer finds upsetting?
An employer may only refuse to hire a qualified applicant because of a conviction record for an offense that is substantially related to the circumstances of a particular job. Whether the crime is an upsetting one may have nothing to do with whether it is substantially related to a particular job.
What is meant by substantially related?
The law does not specifically define it. The “substantially related” test looks at the circumstances of an offense, where it happened, when, etc. – compared to the circumstances of a job – where is this job typically done, when, etc. The more similar the circumstances, the more likely it is that a substantial relationship will be found. The legislature has determined that certain convictions are substantially related to employment in child and adult caregiving programs regulated by the Department of Health and Family Services.
What if an employer believes a pending charge or conviction is substantially related but the employee or applicant believes it is not?
In this situation, the employee or applicant may file a complaint and the Equal Rights Division will make a determination as to whether there is a substantial relationship, with either party having the right to appeal the decision.
Can an employer refuse to hire or discharge a person with a pending charge or conviction because other workers or customers don’t want the person with a conviction there?
No. The law makes no provision for this type of problem. The employer must show that the conviction record is substantially related to the particular job. Co-worker or customer preference is not a consideration.
Is it a violation of the law if the applicant’s conviction record is a part of the reason “for not being hired, but not the who!e reason?
Yes. A conviction record that is not substantially related to the particular job should be given no consideration in the hiring process.
How should an applicant answer questions on an application regarding conviction record?
It is best to answer all questions on an application as honestly and fully as possible, and to offer to explain the circumstances of the conviction to the employer.
Should an employer ask about the circumstances of a conviction during an interview?
Yes. An employer must obtain enough information to determine if the conviction record is substantially related to the job. If the employer decides there is a substantial! relationship, employment may be refused but the employer must be prepared to defend the decision if the applicant believes there is not a substantial
relationship and files a complaint.
What should a person do if refused employment or discharged because of an arrest or conviction record (that is not substantially related)?
Complaints about violations of the law protecting persons from discrimination because or arrest and/or conviction may be filed with:
State of Wisconsin Department Of Workforce Development Equal Rights Division
201 E Washington Ave. Room A300
P.O. Box 8928
Madison, WI 53708
Telephone: (608) 266-6860
819 N. 6th Street
Milwaukee, WI 53203
Telephone: (414) 227-4384
For more information on this issue see, for example, County of Milwaukee v. LIRC, 139 Wis. 2d. 805, 407 N.W. 2d. 908 (1987). Keep in mind that the filing of a complaint with the Equal Rights Division is a prerequisite to filing any court action against the employer for refusing to hire you based upon arrest or conviction record or firing you because of arrest and conviction record. You have 300 days from the date of the incident to file a complaint with the ERD or else your issue is time-barred. In many cases, the issue is resolved without litigation ever being necessary. Many employers would rather just hire a former prison than deal with litigation by the former prisoner or his/her attorney. Also, the ERD may find during their investigation that the employer did in fact discriminate against you because of your past. Many employers try to cover it up by listing some false reason for refusing to employ people but still many employers will admit that they “Do not hire felons” or “Will not consider non-competitive (felon)” applicants. Either way, we need to make sure that these employers are held responsible for their violations of the law and crimes against the public.
Census Bureau counts Wisconsin prisoners in wrong place; access to state and county government distorted
Prison Policy Initiative
The federal Census counts state and federal prisoners as part of the local population, and that creates big problems for state and local government, charges a new report by the Prison Policy Initiative.
“Governments rely on the Census to count the population so they can update legislative districts,” said Prison Policy Initiative Executive Director and report co-author Peter Wagner. The Supreme Court’s “One Person One Vote” rule requires that legislative districts each contain the same number of people, so that each person has the same access to government. “Unfortunately, the Census Bureau has counted 20,000 prisoners in the wrong place,” said Wagner.
Historically, Wisconsin’s state legislative districts are drawn by federal judges and far more equal in population than in most states. “Only 4 states drew more perfect districts” said report co-author John Hejduk. “But we found a district where 10% of the population is prisoners; that’s a problem 5 times larger than what the federal judges who drew the districts were trying to avoid.”
“The problem is even larger in some rural areas,” said Wagner. The report, Importing Constituents: Prisoners and Political Clout in Wisconsin, finds rural county and city government districts that are as much as 79% prisoners. “This allows the real residents of a district with a prison to unfairly dominate their local government.”
The report calls on Wisconsin to lobby the Census Bureau to change how prisoners are counted; and urges counties and cities with prisons to follow the lead of Michigan’s counties and draw legislative districts that are not based on flawed Census counts of prisoners.
Counting incarcerated people as residents of prison towns skews demographic data
Counting incarcerated people as if they were residents of prison towns leads to misleading portrayals of such communities.
Wisconsin has the second highest Black incarceration rate in the country, and the fifth highest racial disparity in incarceration, with Blacks 10.6 times as likely to be in prison as Whites. Counties with large prisons, though, tend to be disproportionately White: 87% of the state and federal prison cells are located in counties that are have a larger White population than the state as a whole. In Dodge County, 89% and in Marquette County, 91%, of the Black population reported in the Census is not residents, but prisoners.
The prison communities also tend to be small enough that incarcerated populations are a significant portion of the total “residents” counted by the Census. Twenty-four percent of the population reported in the Census for Waupun City (in Dodge and Fond du Lac Counties) is actually prisoners at the Waupun, Dodge and John C. Burke Correctional Facilities. About 5% of the “residents” counted in Dodge and Jackson Counties are actually prisoners. In Marquette County, more than 8% of “residents” are incarcerated.
There is also a geographic disparity in who goes to prison in Wisconsin. The residents of Milwaukee, Racine, Kenosha and Rock counties are much more likely to be incarcerated than the residents of other counties. The residents of Milwaukee County are more than twice as likely to be in prison than the average resident of the state, and more than 7 times as likely as the residents of prison-hosting Dodge County. Milwaukee County contains 18% of the state population and is home for 42% of its prisoners.
The Census Bureau’s practice of counting prisoners as residents of the prison location complicates using the Census for demographic analysis of rural communities, but this problem is overshadowed by the serious damage the prisoner miscount does to state and local democracy.
Redistricting and “One Person, One Vote”
The basic principle of American representative democracy is that every vote must be of equal weight. When governments draw districts with equal populations, they ensure that each resident has equal access to government, no matter where she or he lives. When districts are of substantially different sizes, the weight of each vote starts to differ: in underpopulated districts, each vote is worth more, and in overpopulated districts, a vote is worth less.
The U.S. Supreme Court first declared that the “One Person, One Vote” principle applied to state legislative redistricting in the 1963 landmark case Reynolds v. Sims. The Court struck down an apportionment scheme for the Alabama state legislature that was based on counties and not population. In 1960 Alabama, Lowndes County, with 15,417 people, had the same number of state senators as Jefferson County, with 634,864 people, giving the residents of sparsely-populated Lowndes County 41 times as much political power as the residents of densely-populated Jefferson County. The Supreme Court ruled that the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause required that districts be drawn to be substantially equal in population.
Subsequent U.S. Supreme Court cases defined the limits of “substantially equal.” In White v. Regester, the Court ruled that the State of Texas was not required to justify how it drew lines resulting in an average district deviation of less than 2% and a maximum deviation of 9.9%. Today, most states draw their districts so that the smallest district is no more than 5% smaller, and the largest no more than 5% larger, than the average district. This keeps the difference between the largest and smallest district within 10%.
Wisconsin has historically applied a much higher standard, drawing districts with a maximum deviation of less than 2%. Only four states currently have districts that are more equal in population than Wisconsin’s. For three decades, federal judges have drawn the state Assembly and Senate legislative district maps. In 1982, at the first redistricting since the U.S. Supreme Court allowed Texas to have a population deviation of 10%, the federal judges who drew Wisconsin’s districts set a higher standard, explaining that “We believe that a constitutionally acceptable plan should not deviate as high as 10%, and should, if possible, be kept below 2%.” The plan they drafted met even that high standard: “The deviation in our plan is a scant 1.74%.”
In 1992, the court drew a plan with an even smaller total deviation from exact population equality: 0.52%. In 2002, the court drew a plan with a deviation of only 1.48%, still within the 2% threshold established in 1982.
Wisconsin rightly prioritizes population equality when drawing districts, but the Census Bureau has undermined these efforts by crediting thousands of prisoners to the wrong place.
by Phillip Torsrud
WCI, Waupun, WI
Many entities like taking credit for the freedom that the American people have. Politicians, the military, even the media at times use the mantra, “fighting for our freedom”. It’s a surprise that the scientists and engineers who develop our weapons don’t feel the need to explain that if they didn’t invent the atom bomb, stealth bomber, M-16, etc…, we would not be the “leader of the free world”. Perhaps the billions of dollars we spend on our weapons industries keeps them from wasting time explaining how much we need them to maintain our freedom.
The problem is that a free country cannot remain so if people believe that it is someone else’s responsibility to provide them with their freedom as though it were a service. The justification for personal freedom is that people have a conscience that makes them aware of the significance of being free and the faculties to exercise that freedom responsibly. When people lack a conscience or are irresponsible, they are sanctioned through a loss of freedom. This can range from taking away someone’s driver’s license to putting them in prison.
While sanctions have always existed, the current trend of legislating away personal freedom is a reaction to a tremendous number of irresponsible people who abuse their freedoms. Rather than do the real work needed to develop’ a society of educated, fully developed adults who can function in a free society, people are satisfied with simply reiterating the sanctions we’ve always had by passing a new law. This is an offered service, which only results in empowering the government. Does this address the dysfunctional nature of the people who abused their freedom? Empowering the individual to take responsibility for their community and self is the only workable solution in a free society.
Freedom is a revolutionary idea, and only in recent history became a social norm. As societies constantly organize and reorganize, whatever party takes on the power of the establishment in our ever shifting political landscape will try to control people, markets, ideas, etc… to serve their agenda. Therefore, the individual is always faced with the dilemma of conforming, or staking out their values against the herd of sheep who will trample over their own freedoms in pursuit of a leader who promises to do their work for them. Free societies depend on individuals with the backbone to reject these false promises and thereby manifest their identity and maintain their culture.
Today, Americans have a false sense of freedom that is manifested in style, not substance. Through the clothes they wear, the way they talk, tattoos, body piercing, or even riding a motorcycle, Americans like to present a facade~ of having a rebel mentality, implying how deeply they value freedom. Yet when a problem arises, the first institution they call on to solve it, is the government. No matter what the cost in freedom or money, only the government is thought of as having any problem solving ability.
In France, there are 63,000 inmates in prison, and 1,100 are for terrorist related activity. That works out to almost 1,000 inmates for every million people. Wisconsin would have around 5,000 inmates at those rates, but instead has over 23,000 inmates, and zero for terrorist related activities. Paris itself has more people that all of Wisconsin, and has more visitors per year than any place on earth, some of whom commit crimes.
After liberating France from the Germans, the French now value freedom more than Americans. In France, incarceration is only used when absolutely necessary. Why is it the last option? So that the government can invest in an educational system that is far better than ours, national health care, and an infrastructure that makes people want to go there to live or travel. It’s called having your priorities straight. Since the French are educated, they would never allow their politicians to use fear to turn their nation into a police state. Only people with a slave mentality would sacrifice their future by wasting so many precious resources on institutions that only offer the illusion of safety.
Freedom starts in the mind. it is an idea that once embraced becomes an attitude. When a sufficient number of people adopt that attitude it becomes a movement. When that movement is successful, a society begins to have institutions that reflect that attitude in their policies. The reason that America’s national anthem ends with, “in the land of the free and the home of the brave,” is because freedom and bravery go hand in hand. The freedom to live a worthwhile life will never be risk free. America will never be a free country until it stops living in fear.
The Day My Mother Was Sent Away
by Wenona Thompson
The day my Mother was sent away
The day my mother was arrested was the beginning of my life’s destruction.
No one will ever actually understand me until their mother is legally separated from them.
I know what my mother did was wrong, or against the law, but I already don’t have a father now they done took away my mother.
I can’t seem to understand this, for where is my mandatory love, attention, discipline, understanding, and home education gonna come from?
A lot of people assume that my mother is the cause of these changes. But regardless of who cause such problems, the consequence are not solving them.
For so long I tried to make sense out of these state rules and regulations, but for some reason I can’t understand why there isn’t any alternative punishment for crime-convicted mothers with babies.
I know this may not be true, but is the state trying to rectify the problem, prolong it, or maybe just create something totally new? Hmm, I truly don’t know.
I’m now an older lady with children of my own, facing many issues not only within myself, but also the issues of my mother, who I impatiently await to re-meet.
I sometimes ask myself if this punishment my mother and I are receiving is accurate. In all honesty I say it is not, for this was my mother’s first offense and the crime was not violent.
But still, the state changed my life goals and also the goals of my mother, my children, and my sisters and brothers the day my Mother was sent away.
This story is one of many wonderful, heartbreaking stories excerpted from the zine:
WRITERS BLOCK: The voices of women inside
Women and Prison Program
c/o Beyondmedia Education
4001 N. Ravenswood Ave. #204C
Chicago, IL 60613
The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
Gil Scott-Heron -1975
You will not be able to stay home, brother.
You will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop out.
You will not be able to lose yourself on skag and skip,
Skip out for beer during commercials,
Because the revolution will not be televised.
The revolution will not be televised.
The revolution will not be brought to you by Xerox
In 4 parts without commercial interruptions.
The revolution will not show you pictures of Nixon
blowing a bugle and leading a charge by John
Mitchell, General Abrams and Spiro Agnew to eat
hog maws confiscated from a Harlem sanctuary.
The revolution will not be televised.
The revolution will not be brought to you by the
Schaefer Award Theatre and will not star Natalie
Woods and Steve McQueen or Bullwinkle and Julia.
The revolution will not give your mouth sex appeal.
The revolution will not get rid of the nubs.
The revolution will not make you look five pounds
thinner, because the revolution will not be televised, Brother.
There will be no pictures of you and Willie May
pushing that shopping cart down the block on the dead run,
or trying to slide that color television into a stolen ambulance.
NBC will not be able predict the winner at 8:32
or report from 29 districts.
The revolution will not be televised.
There will be no pictures of pigs shooting down
brothers in the instant replay.
There will be no pictures of pigs shooting down
brothers in the instant replay.
There will be no pictures of Whitney Young being
run out of Harlem on a rail with a brand new process.
There will be no slow motion or still life of Roy
Wilkens strolling through Watts in a Red, Black and
Green liberation jumpsuit that he had been saving
For just the proper occasion.
Green Acres, The Beverly Hillbillies, and Hooterville
Junction will no longer be so damned relevant, and
women will not care if Dick finally gets down with
Jane on Search for Tomorrow because Black people
will be in the street looking for a brighter day.
The revolution will not be televised.
There will be no highlights on the eleven o’clock
news and no pictures of hairy armed women
liberationists and Jackie Onassis blowing her nose.
The theme song will not be written by Jim Webb,
Francis Scott Key, nor sung by Glen Campbell, Tom
Jones, Johnny Cash, Englebert Humperdink, or the Rare Earth.
The revolution will not be televised.
The revolution will not be right back after a message
about a white tornado, white lightning, or white people.
You will not have to worry about a dove in your
bedroom, a tiger in your tank, or the giant in your toilet bowl.
The revolution will not go better with Coke.
The revolution will not fight the germs that may cause bad breath.
The revolution will put you in the driver’s seat.
The revolution will not be televised, will not be televised,
will not be televised, will not be televised.
The revolution will be no re-run brothers;
The revolution will be live.
The editor of WPW was with a lawyer supporting a lawsuit initiated by an ex-prisoner. The lawyer mentioned an interesting story, as follows: He was at a dinner party with some muckymucks (judges, DAs, lawyers, etc.) including a high ranking member of the DOJ. The DOJ official told him that he knows the DOC is corrupt and they (the DOJ) were silently pleased that a few good lawyers and prisoners were bringing some of the abuses to light so the corruption can be weeded out. This story should be a shout out to all jail-house lawyers – give yourself a pat on the back! The work you are doing does matter! There is an understanding, throughout the system, that the DOC is out of control. Keep up the good work!
Institutional Inertia or, On the Job Training
A prisoner at WSPF created a disturbance at his cell door when he knocked his meal tray off the door trap, into the hall. Two guards were at the scene, a new guy and a long timer. After some words, the long timer kicked the trap shut. A day or two later the CR arrived indicating how the prisoner had misbehaved. Later, the prisoner asked the new guard why there was no mention of how the other guard had kicked the trap shut. The new guard said, “I included that in my report but the white shirt had me rewrite it, leaving that part out.” Lesson learned.
For Some, Rules Apply
Our friend Matlock sends us word from KMCI that Deputy Warden Beck went on a foul mouthed abusive tirade directed at a group of prisoners. This kind of behavior is specifically NOT ALLOWED and is unprofessional, so Matlock went looking for an Inmate Complaint form and discovered that retribution and cover-up are swift and sure. He received 4 CRs – inciting a riot, group resistance, failure to obey an order and, disruptive conduct. He was thrown in the hole and kicked out of his required program with only two weeks to go. After sending letters to the press and legislators and outside supporters, the two major tickets were dropped and he was offered a chance to start his programming over next month. The two tickets that remain are being contested and if we know Matlock, a lawsuit against Beck is smoking in the typewriter.
PRISON ACTION WISCONSIN
Milwaukee, WI 53205
Parole Commission Chair Alfonzo Graham
Wisconsin Parole Commission
3099 E. Washington
Madison, WI 53707
Dear Chairman Graham,
Our group has developed the following five points to express our deep frustration with the policies of your office. A clear response to these points would help us begin to understand how the Commission functions. Many of these concerns were expressed with our signs and chants in front of your office on September 22nd but we wanted to more clearly articulate these concerns and offer you an opportunity to respond.
PAW steering committee
1. We believe the Parole Commission is keeping prisoners longer than the intent of the legislature and sentencing judges. We believe the Parole Commission is keeping prisoners longer than is good for them, their families, and the community.
We want serious and realistic parole consideration at the legislatively mandated parole eligibility date.
2. We believe the Parole Commission is ideologically driven and making parole decisions based on politics.
We want the “tough-on-crime” mentality within the Parole Commission to end and parole decisions to be made on the basis of what is good for the community and good for the prisoner.
3. We believe the Parole Commission operates in a capricious and irregular manner.
We want consistency, predictability and transparency of process. We want prisoners and prisoner families to know and understand exactly what needs to be accomplished by prisoners for a meaningful parole consideration.
4. We believe the parole criteria, “has not served enough time for punishment”, is too subjective, arbitrary and beyond the scope of the Commission.
We want that criteria eliminated, as the punishment time was determined by the sentencing judge who was aware of all the facts of the case and who was guided by legislative intent.
5. We believe the criteria for meaningful parole consideration are ambiguous and the commission has no “standard” for measuring a prisoner’s success.
We want the Parole Commission to develop a standard model of criteria that gives guidance to parole commissioners, prisoners and DOC staff on the “parolability” of individual prisoners.
Hunger Strike Continues
by Warren Lilly #447655
New Lisbon Correctional
A friend of mine, upon hearing that I’d been maced and tazered by the guards at New Lisbon prison, urged me to “make them earn their pay” by continuing my hunger strike. I appreciate the support. I’ve refused prison food and authority for over four years and will not bow down, even to escalating violence.
However, something bothered me about my friend’s statement of support. That something was his unwillingness to “make them earn their pay.” During my four years of hunger striking I’ve met hundreds of prisoners who’ve stood behind my strike, way, way behind it. So far behind that they actually became invisible. I could still hear their distant and muffled shouts of “Go for it!”, but I just couldn’t see who was shouting it.
Such distant support makes it impossible t fight anything but a very lopsided war. One where the enemy, the Justice system, freely and purposely destroys our lives while we, the prisoners, just as freely give up our lives and freedoms.
We cower in the face of the imagined indestructibility of our enemy. We make it easy for our enemy to scorn, despise, and abuse us. We believe their propaganda that says we we are worthless and powerless, and that they have the right to control and waste our lives.
We fear to take even the riskless chances to fight for freedom and life or to assert our personhood. Less than a hundred of the twenty-two thousand prisoners answered my call to fast with me on Sundays then to send our moralless governor a letter demanding change.
To those who fasted I send my heartfelt thanks and ask you to continue fasting and recruit others. Hold a “fast-in” after the skipped meals to gather and write letters of support for the cause and protest of imprisonment to the governor.
To those who fear to fast, I ask what risk is there in forsaking a meal in support of a stand, or writing a letter of protest? We have let our fears conquer our personhood and rule our reason, and by doing so have abandoned life and liberty in favor of the false safety of cowardice.
I’m reminded of the time in my youth when people would say “when the revolution comes I’m gonna…” Well, the revolution never came because no one brought it forth. Now, like then, people sit and wait for others to blaze the trail so that they can travel it without sacrifice, without difficulty, without personal strife.
I waited forty years for the revolution to come. I let the world go from bad to worse, and now at nearly sixty years of age, the truth has dawned on me, a very simple truth: If it’s to be, it’s up to me.
“If it’s to be, it’s up to me”. So powerful a revelation in such a simple and yet painfully obvious truth. A god is not coming to save me or make right the wrongs of others, good is not about to spring from bad nor virtue from evil, and the only thing that will happen to those who treat me cruelly is that they will prosper upon my misery. Those are the lessons of life. Another lesson, a hope filled one, is that those who strive for justice and peace and freedom achieve it.
The revolution is here, the revolution is now, do something to sustain it, stand up for something. Begin by reading the letter to the governor and understanding this protest, then hold a “fast-in” and get those letters mailed. Find a non-violent way to “make them earn their pay”.
Stop buying the propaganda that your life is worthless, that you are powerless, and that they have the right to control and waste your life. Stop cowering before the paper tigers and giant shadows cast by imperious runts. Abandon your fears, be driven by the simple truth, “If it’s to be, it’s up to me”.
REVOCATION: The Life Blood of Corrections
by Mike Weston #000155
RCI, Sturtevant, WI
Late in his tenure as secretary of the Department of Corrections (DOC), Michael Sullivan said on television that men would “No longer be sent back to prison for rule violations”. The sole exception to this radical mandate would be failing a urinalysis test, implying possession and use of forbidden head candy.
Given that the never-ending flow of humans returned to the doc as rule violators never ended, it is eminently logical to hold that king Tommy Thompson promptly called Sullivan and demanded of him a reply to “ What the hell are you doing!?” The new policy was silently rescinded…..
The king was erecting his prison empire and here one of his lap dogs was attempting to abort the birth by terminating the death march from liberty to the slow death chambers of the DOC.
Since some 54% of the prison population is comprised of probation and parole (P+P) violators, it is uniquely self-evident that the system would collapse were the DOC’s division of community corrections (DCC), under whose egis exist the apparatchiks of P+P, the agents, indeed ordered to cease revocating all those who have not violated a statute (and releasing now all those returned for violations).
When one rationally presumed sanity might crawl out from ‘neath the detritus of the king’s reign with the ascension to the throne of Jim Doyle, an alleged democrat who, erroneously it appears, was touted as left-to-moderate on social issues, all that really eventuated is that Doyle is the mirror-image of his supposed arch enemy and nemesis, King Tommy.
When it comes to “corrections”, both willingly sacrifice lives and untold wealth from the pockets of citizens. So as to maintain the prison empire at its artificially inflated state of over 22,000 prisoners.
Tommy did it deliberately, Doyle is too afraid to end the farce which has the DOC at least twice the size it should be by all rational and realistic determinants. For example, Minnesota’s prison population is 7,000. Wisconsin and the Gopher state are virtual clones in that all of the relevant demographics are mirror-images of one another.
The populations are the same, numerically, racially, economic status, education and the like; crime rates and offenses categories match well as do arrests and convictions. And yet, Minnesota knowingly incarcerates two-thirds less people than “wonderful WIsconsin”. Why here?
Indeed, on a per capita basis, Wisconsin is a “leader” in locking way human beings, despite the fact that our crooks, as a rule, are virtual “pussycats” compared to criminals in most other states! For instance, which Wisconsin warden would “trade” his prisoners one-for-one with the warden of San Quentin? Again, why here?
In the December 2007 issue, in their article on parole and politics in WIsconsin, the authors provided the answer by quoting U.W. Law professor Walter Dickey’s public statement; “men are being kept in prison because of money and politics”. Obviously, they cannot be kept there if not first sent there…. and remember, Professor Dickey was the first DOC secretary, he knows of what he speaks – while Doyle and State and Federal Justice personnel ignore the criminal activity implicit in Dickey’s charge.
The criminal justice” and “corrections” systems are growth industries and are subsidized by Wisconsin and federal funds flooding law enforcement and corrections like hurricane rains. No other industry has the stability, money and growth potential of the DOC – the fat sow at the public trough gulping down more tax dollars than any other element of Wisconsin government.
The plethora of “correctional” facilities planted throughout the kingdom by Tommy are the cash cows for the locales in which they fester. Tommy gained power and support from weed beds as well as “rewards” from the Federal government for locking up everyone in sight, i.e., the poor and minorities, and bribes from construction companies and others building and equipping the prison empire: they donated millions to Tommy’s campaign, to his puppet successor, McCallum, and to our “enlightened” current governor, remember “money and politics” rule in sending people to and keeping them in prison…
There is a distinct racial factor in all of this: Milwaukee and Racine, more than other counties, deny legitimate opportunities to minorities and then jail them at record rates when they rebel at being suppressed and denied their humanity.
It is fully documented that WIsconsin owns the nation’s highest incarceration rate of minorities: further, over two-thirds of Wisconsin prisoners are African American. Another effect of racism is that many lack educational levels commensurate with their ages. This debilitation is both aggravated and reinforced by the deficient, nickel and dime DOC education system which is little more than a mill grinding out “graduates” now blessed with a GED certificate signifying nothing of merit.
These “programs”, completely devoid of substance and depth, are offered under the guise of “rehabilitation”, but are either debilitating or serve simply to reinforce the criminality they purport to treat.
The manifest and cumulative results of incarceration, ever demonstrable, are in fact the stated reinforcement of criminality leading to the DOC’s egregious failure to redirect the lives of prisoners. The goal of the DOC (it is clear), its very raison d’etre (reason for existence), is infact to ensure recidivism.
The methodology is simple: The economic and political systems create criminals, their “criminal justice” system sends the felons to the DOC which later sends those people to the DCC who then seek out petty, trivial or false “reason” to revocate one’s liberty. The DCC files revocation papers with the third leg of this eternal triangle, the department of administration’s division of hearings and appeals who send the violators back to the DOC!
Once the revocation process begins, fughetdaboutdit! administrator David Schwarz rarely reverses a verdict to revoke liberty: he and his boss, DOA secretary Mike Morgan, are also Doyle lap dogs ordered to revocate as many probationers and parolees as possible to maintain the inflated prison population.
The system is clear: send people to the DOC, reinforce their problems, send them to the DCC, find “reasons” to revoke, send them to DOA’s hearings and appeals who then ship them back to the DOC – round and round she goes, where she stops is the permanent count of 22,000 humans in prison on a daily basis.
Doyle prides himself on adopting two African American boys and on his support for Senator Obama, while he oversees a racial disaster in the state and in the DOC – his DOC.
Doyle and his crew fear that if the river to nowhere ended, half to DOC would shut down: that is not true. Every facility is overcrowded, if all rule violators were released each facility would still have all their beds filled when they go from the current four, three or two in a room to single man rooms.
This would free up the people, time and resources to truly attempt to help those in prisons sent by the courts, not DCC and DOA for a rule violations.
Governor, implement Sullivan’s aborted policy to not revocate for rules violations…
WANTED – ARTWORK BY PRISONERS
Wisconsin Books to Prisoners was the recipient of a powerful set of posters created by 20 printmakers from the JUSTSEEDS Visual Resistance art collective. These posters were created in anticipation of the 10th anniversary of Critical Resistance, a prison abolitionist movement, and call attention to the human rights catastrophe in U.S. jails and prisons, and the use of policing, prisons and punishment as a “solution” to social, political and economic problems.
The posters and artwork by prisoners will be displayed at a gallery in Madison –mostly likely in February of 2009. Art that addresses the condition of prisons and the daily drudgery and cruelties of prison life would be particularly appreciated.
Please do not send anything that you want returned or is not copyright free. Also, please let us know how you wish to be (or not be) identified. Many thanks in advance to those who make contributions to this event.
Inmates Bring Civil Rights Class Action Against Becker County
Becker County, Minnesota and several of its law enforcement officials are facing a civil rights class action lawsuit. The suit, brought by inmates at the county jail, alleges that the county illegally monitored and possibly recorded confidential and privileged telephone calls between inmates at the jail and their attorneys.
According to the suit, the inmates of the jail and their attorneys are informed in writing that attorney/client telephone calls are confidential and consequently not subject to monitoring or recording. However, the suit alleges that illegal monitoring of telephone calls to discuss inmates’ cases has taken place, and the information gained has been used against the inmates during prosecution.
Editor’s note – This article caught our eye because we heard from a comrade at WSPF who discovered that a privileged phone call made to his attorney had been recorded. We called the warden who confirmed that “all day room phones are monitored and prisoners calling their attorneys from those phones should not expect privacy”. He also said that “we are going to post this information at those phones.” The signs were not yet posted a week after our conversation with the warden.
Wisconsin Prison Watch
U.S. Constitution, Amendment XIII: Neither slavery or involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime…
First off, my apologies for the confusion. July’s newsletter was wrongly dated (May) and the return address was that of the defunct PAC. Any mail sent to the PAC address has been forwarded to WPW. Thanks to all of you who sent a check or stamps for a subscription. This will be the last newsletter sent to those who have not subscribed and remember, we do not demand payment. If you’re indigent or only have a few stamps and want the newsletter, just let us know. If you’re flush and want to send us something extra, well, it’s much appreciated. We’re going to keep going as long as we can.
This issue is different than the last; not many “breaking news” stories of abuse and neglect and no reports of courtroom victories. This newsletter is filled with stories by prisoners and prisoners now living outside the walls. The stories are not “news” but they should be. What these guys are talking about happens every day to prisoners in Wisconsin and has become “normal”.
What’s important about their stories, is that they are telling them. They are unafraid of reprisal or retribution. They know that sitting back and “taking it” is not a way out, it’s not a solution. They refuse to let the system degrade and dehumanize them.
The point is, filing complaints and appealing the rejection and taking things to court or to the press or to the outside is the only way to retain any sense of dignity. Fighting for dignity and humanity is all they have left – everything else has been stripped away by the system. They refuse to let the system strip away the only thing remaining. Nuf said.
We know the guards’ union and others are ginning up another try at John Doe “reform”. They say this is needed because prisoners abuse the system. Well, let’s talk about abusing the system. Ken Harris (Matlock) has been trying to get two perps in front of a judge for three years now. Yes, a judge found probable cause THREE YEARS ago!! How long did it take for you to get convicted? That’s abuse of the system!
In case 2007 CF 380, Dodge County, a guard was charged with felony abuse of a prisoner. I went to CCAP to review the case and found it had disappeared!! I called the Dodge Clerk of Courts and was told that the case had been expunged!! Expunged!? Cases cannot be expunged!! My name is on CCAP even though charges against me were dropped and I won a suit against the city of Platteville for false arrest. I asked that my case be expunged and was told “that is not possible”. I guess it’s only possible if you belong to the club. Even a pissant guard gets special treatment because he belongs to the club. That’s abuse of the system!!
In the above case, the accused guard quickly filed a complaint against the prisoner saying that the prisoner bit him. DA Bauer was quick to charge the prisoner, threatening him with a twelve year sentence, but at preliminary hearing, the DA had to drop the charges because it was obvious that the guard was lying.
When the guard union started pushing for John Doe “reform” last year, DA Bauer was right there in front of the cameras with warden Thurmer and Secretary Raemisch, squealing about how prisoners abuse the system. DA Bauer is now Judge Bauer taking the newly created 4th branch in Dodge County.
The Wisconsin State Journal, Sunday August 24 has a story of a Sauk Co. cop who willfully and knowing ran over his girlfriend. Columbia Co. DA was brought in as special prosecutor and guess what, without contacting the victim, “a deal was made” and charges were dropped.
We all know that “justice” is a concept that only applies to the connected, the rich, and those who work for the system. The poor, the disenfranchised, the addicted, and mentally ill get a different kind of “justice” – swift and sure. Poverty, and desperation along with addiction and mental illness are criminalized while exploitation, cruelty and arrogance are handsomely rewarded. Different standards apply. If you wear a uniform, a robe, or a business suit, the laws work to protect you and your property. If not, watch out!
Wisconsin Books to Prisoners Project has sent thousands of books to Wisconsin prisoners, free of charge. The all volunteer staff has devoted thousands of hours and spent thousands of dollars trying to help prisoners help themselves. This sort of self help and autonomy are frightening to the DOC who want to control every aspect of your lives. They have used the pretense of “security” (the universal trump card) to ban WBTP from sending free books to prisoners. No other state has banned WBTP from sending books directly to prisoners. Many other prison book projects in other states send books into Wisconsin prisons. The courts will probably have to sort this out – just like they did with our newsletter.
WPW has filed an open records request with the Parole Chair, Al Graham, for all the minutes of every meeting of the Commission since his appointment. We’ve asked for any correspondence with the Governor’s office regarding parole policy and criteria for parole. We want to know how his office is wasting a million dollars a year pretending to give meaningful parole consideration.
We know the Parole Board, the PRC and BOCM are part of the merry-go-round the DOC uses to keep prisoners longer than needed. We’ve been informed by a few guys stuck in the “Bermuda Triangle” of CCI barracks where classification and movement come to a halt. This so-called “transition facility” is an interim placement for those moving from maximum and medium to minimum settings, but it has become a holding pen where guys languish for many months “waiting for bed space”. In the mean time, the Parole Commissioners will not even consider parole for them because they are not at a minimum setting. Just another part of the Merry-go-round.
Here’s another Merry-go-round scheme. Say that PRC recommends a minimum placement but BOCM head Heise disapproves. Guess who evaluates the appeal? One of Mr. Heise’ subordinates! Yeah right, that’s a meaningful review where a subordinate evaluates his boss’ decision.
Power to all the people!
WPW & PAW
Wisconsin Prison Watch Legal Primer
Subject: John Doe Proceedings, Wisconsin Stats. s. 968.26.
My name is Dujuan M. Walker. I am a former prisoner and current full-time college paralegal student, member of Wisconsin Prison Watch Legal Team, and member of Prison Action Wisconsin (PAW). Our goal of the WPW Legal Team is to educate prisoners and to help them expand their resources so that they are not powerless against official corruption inside and outside of the Department of Corrections.
When prisoners’ rights are violated, the United States Constitution provides that these prisoners shall have access to the Court System for a meaningful redress of their grievances. In most cases, when a prison official has violated the civil rights of a prisoner, that official has also violated state and/or federal criminal statutes in the perpetration of the civil rights violation. For instance, when a prisoner is beaten by prison staff or denied medical care or left naked in a barren cell for several days, etc., a prisoner may have a cognizable claim in Federal Court for violations of the U.S. Constitution (See: 42 U.S.C. s.1983), or in State civil court for intentional tort claims, medical malpractice, etc.. Of course in civil court a prisoner’s remedies are limited to monetary damages and injunctive relief against the perpetrators. However, the judicial system offers another remedy. The same prison official(s) who committed the above stated civil rights violations are guilty of violating Wisconsin Statute s. 940.29, “Abuse of a Person In a Correctional Institution.” This crime is a Class I felony and punishable by three years in prison and fines. The statute which directs and authorizes a judge to investigate your claims of criminal conduct by prison staff and to file criminal charges after the judge has found probable cause against the perpetrators is 968.26, stats., and this statute is called the “John Doe” statute.
When a complainant files a petition under 968.26 stating that he/she has “reason to believe that a crime has been committed” within the jurisdiction of the judge, the judge must examine the complainant and any witnesses in order to determine whether or not probable cause exists to charge the potential defendants with a crime. State ex.rel.Reimann v. Circuit Court214 Wis. 2d. 605, 611 (S.Ct.1997). The judge must act as a “neutral and detached magistrate” in his probable cause determination. State v. Washington, 266 N.W. 2d. 597, 605 (S.Ct.1978). The complainant need not offer proof that a crime has been committed, that it is more likely than not that it was committed, or need not offer evidence in his/her complaint, but only need to cross the “reason to believe” threshold. Reimann, Supra. Upon the request of the complainant, and at the judge’s discretion, a John Doe Proceeding may be conducted in secret in order to protect the complainant, prevent the perps from collecting perjured testimony, prevent them from escaping, tampering with evidence, or intimidating witnesses. State v. O`Connor, 252 N.W. 2d. 671, 678 (citing State ex.rel Jackson v. Coffey,18 Wis. 2d. 529, 546, 118 N.W. 2d. 939). Again, do not worry about being discriminated against because you are a prisoner, because the judge must act as a neutral and detached judge and “should not weigh the credibility of the complainant or choose between conflicting facts and inferences.” Reimann, supra, 214 Wis. 2d. at 625. (citation omitted). Also, do not worry about your complaint being inadequate, as you are a pro se (on your own) and untrained litigant and the courts must liberally construe your filed papers regardless of misspellings, improper form, etc. In addition, the courts have held that “Where a mere technical error on the face of the petition, or an inadequacy therein, can be cured by a simple request for additional information, justice may be best served under Wis. Stat. s. 968.26 by the judge simply making such request or examining the complainant.” State ex.rel. Williams v. Fiedler, 2005 WI. App. 91, 282 Wis. 2d. 486, 498-499(Ct. App. 2005).
Be sure to include the names of any and all witnesses in your complaint/petition and do not hesitate to include prison officials because although they will likely lie to cover up the crimes of their co-workers and their own crimes, you get them on record testifying under oath and committing perjury. The John Doe statute command a judge to summon any and all witnesses which you request so that they may be questioned under oath as to the matters alleged in your complaint. See: Williams v. Fiedler, supra. But use discretion and only request witnesses that you really feel have relevant information about the crimes committed against you.
The power of this statute is invaluable to prisoners. Past experience shows that district attorneys in the small, rural counties where most prisons are located are not exactly excited about prosecuting prison staff when they have violated and victimized prisoners. There are personal and political implications involved in situations such as this, and although these concerns are not supposed to take precedent over the Federal and State Constitutions, they almost always do.
However, the John Doe Statute and the caselaw which interprets it guarantees that a complainant is entitled to a “neutral and detached” judge. Of course there is no guarantee that a state judge, who is elected and not appointed, will obey the law if it would make him/her unpopular.( That is, if ruling in a prisoner’s favor will make the judge appear to be “soft on crime” the judge may ignore the law, in violation of his/her oath, in order to stay in good standings with prison staff and their political allies, etc.). In that case, a judge’s abuse of discretion would be reviewable by a higher court. But as long as you present “reason to believe” the judge must act. And during the investigative process hopefully the judge finds probable cause and appoints someone whose not afraid to prosecute state officials for violating the law.
Most prisoners simply file lawsuits when their rights are violate by neglectful, malicious, and vindictive prison staff. But filing criminal charges against them is another level of justice. The perpetrators cannot hide behind the state’s attorney general’s office and taxpayer money to represent them and cover the costs of the damages awards which they must disburse to prisoners after they’ve broken the law. In criminal court they must pay their own lawyers and do their own jail time if convicted, and pay their own fines.
In many cases when prisoners prevail in civil court and prove that prison officials violated their rights, the DOC continues to let those officials work for the department as if nothing ever happened, sometimes even promoting them. But when they are convicted of a crime for abusing, neglecting, or ill-treating a prisoner (940.29 stats.) or misconduct in public office (946.12), etc, then they can no longer work in the DOC. Therefore justice is much more personal and other crooked “correctional” staff are deterred from violating prisoners’ rights.
This is not to say that suing prison officials is ineffective, on the contrary, you are entitled to a remedy in civil court as well. So bring both actions against the perpetrators who have violated your rights.
Should your criminal action not succeed then your burden of proof in the civil court is much lighter. Should the criminal action succeed, then your civil suit for money will be a “slam dunk”, as the perps will be collaterally estopped from denying certain facts which were already proven in criminal court! Stand up and defend your dignity against people that will not respect the fact that you are human beings!
If you have any questions or comments please contact me at the WPW address as soon as possible. I will respond as time permits, as I am gainfully employed, a full-time college student, and involved in several projects that are developing to benefit our communities. We wish you well in this struggle for justice and equality.
“I should have been a cow!”
by Kenneth Harris #062836 AKA: Matlock
Recently the news reported about how cows at the slaughterhouse slated to become hamburger had been abused, and the abusers were dealt swift justice in order to protect the future hamburgers rights. On April 17, 2005, I was abused by guards at the Columbia Correctional Institution (CCI), which sent me to the hospital. Since cows received swift justice, I expected the same, but I was wrong. For details see Harris v. Grams, 2008 u.s. Dist. Lexis 3103, District Court Case No. 3:07-cv-678-bbc.
Prior to me filing the federal lawsuit, pro se, on April 24, 2005, I filed a John Doe complaint with the Columbia County Circuit Court pursuant to wis. Stat. ~968.26 alleging that I was the victim of crimes committed by CCI staff.
On September 14, 2005 the hearing was held in front of the Hon. Daniel S. George, Branch I, of the circuit court. I supplied the court with affidavits of nine witnesses, and I subpoenaed a nurse to whom the perps had bragged about what they did to me. On January 26, 2005 the court found “probable cause” that the guards abused me. Once this happened the cover up machine of the DOC and the state went to work, by first going after the nurse who testified to the truth. To see what the DOC did to this nurse, read page 3 of the May 2008 edition of the “Wisconsin Prison Watch” newsletter.
Once probable cause of a crime was found, the Judge referred the case to the Columbia County D.A, who never contacted me, nor any of my witnesses, and left the case stagnant for months. I contacted the court, and on March 14, 2006, the court again referred the case to the D. A., who again never contacted me, “THE VICTIM!” I then filed a motion with the court to get the D.A. to do his job and prosecute the perps. On January 31, 2007 (over one year after I filed the complaint, and nine months after the court referred the case to the D.A. a second time) the D.A. now informs the court that the “D.A.’s office had not had the opportunity to review the transcripts of the September 14, 2005 court proceedings.” On February 14, 2007 the court gave the D.A. 30-days to review the transcripts and the record of the John Doe proceeding, and report to the court.
Six months went by and neither I nor the court had heard from the D.A, which caused me to file more motions with the court trying to get (now unswift) justice. I asked for a court date to argue the issue of a biased D.A’s office, and the motion was granted. The end result was that I also filed a motion for a “Special Prosecutor” to be brought in pursuant to wis. Stat. §978.045(lg) and prosecute the perps. On August 13, 2007, the motion was granted, and on September 17, 2007, the court appointed Patricia Barrett, Sauk County D.A. as the Special Prosecutor for the criminal John Doe case. It is now July 13, 2008, or over nine months since Ms. Barrett became the Special Prosecutor, but like the Columbia County D.A.’s office, Ms. Barrett never responds to my letters, and she contacted me once, and that was in response to WPW s Frank Van den Bosch calling her and asking why this case is not being prosecuted. The Wisconsin Constitution provides residents of the State of Wisconsin court access and rights, as it states:
“Remedy for wrongs. Section 9. Every person is entitled to a certain remedy in the laws for all injuries, or wrongs which he may receive in his person, property, or character, he ought to obtain justice freely, and without being obliged to purchase it, completely and without denial, promptly and without delay.”
See Article 1, § 9 of the State Consti-tution. In my case, it appears that the words “completely and without denial,” and “promptly and without delay” were removed from the State Constitution, as the case is now three years and three months old, yet the case remains stagnant, this in spite of the fact that there were nine witnesses, and a nurse whose credentials were impeccable. Looking further into the State Constitution it states in relevant part:
“Victims of crime. Section 9m. … This state shall treat crime victims, as defined by law, with fairness, dignity and respect for their privacy. This state shall ensure that crime victims have all of the following privileges and protections as provided by law; timely disposition of the case; . . . . “
See Article I, §9 of the State Constitution. In my case the “fairness,” and the “timely disposition of the case” were thrown out the window by both D.A.’s offices, and it appears that I can’t get help from the court. What’s interesting about this is the fact that the state has prosecuted citizens with far less or no reliable evidence or witnesses, and gave them big time in prison, yet this case has both reliable witnesses and evidence, and here it is over three years later and no prosecution.
WPW’s Mr. Frank Van den Bosch has repeatedly called Ms. Barrett and left messages with her asking that she return his calls, but as of late she refuses to. No matter, a trial date of March 9, 2009 has been set by the federal courts, so I will see the perps in court.
A blowhard Senator, one Jeff Fitzgerald was on the radio bragging how “no prisoner John Doe has ever been successful, thus John Doe reform is needed so prisoner’s cannot use the statute.”
Of course, this case alone shows exactly why no prisoner John Doe has been successful, and it’s because the state’s and the DOC’s massive cover up machines see to it that none are. If this case had no merit it would not still be languishing as if stuck in an ocean of goo, the goo being a quagmire of bureaucracy, as no D.A. wants to be the one to break the state’s record of ZERO successful prisoner John Does. It appears that the “Special Prosecutors” give prison guards “Special Protection.”
Finally, this case needs the help of other prisoners, both incarcerated and free. I ask that you bombard Ms. Barrett with letters asking why this case is not being prosecuted. Ms. Barrett’s address is: Sauk County Courthouse, 515 Oak Street, Baraboo, WI 53913, and write to Prisoner Action Wisconsin (PAW), and the WPW, as well as Senator Lena Taylor and others. Comrades, it is time that we prisoners band together and use the courts and legislature to fight the corruption that runs rampant and unchecked in the DOC, and we must fight for each other, as this case shows why John Doe Reform must never happen. Remember, “A coward dies many deaths, but the brave die but once!” Until next time, all I can say is, “I SHOULD HAVE BEEN A COW, MOOOOOOO!
Comrade Kenneth Harris AKA Matlock
In 1964 Malcolm X gave a famous speech called “The Ballot or the Bullet”. In that speech he accused the United States of violating the human rights of twenty-two million Afrikan Amerikans and vowed to take this complaint to the United Nations.
Over the past few years, the United Nations has conducted an investigation into contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. Reports to the U.N. have urged the U.S. to halt racial profiling of Muslims and Arabs, to place a moratorium on the death penalty and to end the sentencing of youth to life in prison until the racial bias in the justice system is uprooted.
Stan Willis, a civil rights attorney and Chair of Black People Against Torture said, “part of the reason why the U.S. thumbs its nose at the U.N. is because Americans are ignorant about the World body and how to use it for change.”
My brothers and sisters, not a day goes by that the DOC staff does not commit an act of what I call “Prison Staff Terrorism.” The last issue of WPW had an article that exposed the retaliation of DOC bureaucrats against a psychiatrist who refused to change a prisoner’s diagnosis. Dr Narinder Saini says that refusal to change the diagnosis cost him his job. The DOC wanted to send this mentally ill prisoner to the mental torture chambers of WSPF. I’ve sent a copy of that article to the Special Rapporteur.
Wisconsin has a long history of racist prison staff using their power and prison regulations to harass, intimidate, & terrorize New Afrikan and Latino prisoners. It’s important that we contribute our experiences to this U.N. Commission. Attorney Willis also said, “pushing Black concerns in the international arena does not replace hard work on the ground in Amerika. The work against racism has to continue on the domestic front, but Blacks should learn and use the United Nations structures as another tool against oppression.”
I encourage all New Afrikan, Latino, Native Amerikans, Muslims and all prisoners of color to write and give their personal accounts of racial discrimination and DOC Staff Terrorism, especially those of you on administrative confinement.
May Allah guard, guide and bless us all.
Comrade Muhammad Crutchfield #224332 CCI
from the U.N. website
Upon receiving reliable and credible information the Special Rapporteur transmits, either under the form of an allegation letter or urgent appeal, information or case summaries concerning alleged violations regarding contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination and related intolerance to the State concerned, in order to induce the national authority to undertake the necessary investigations of all the incidents or individual cases reported. The Rapporteur will also ask to be kept informed of the outcome of the investigations carried out.
Consideration of communications concerning human rights violations will enable contemporary forms of racial discrimination to be detected and identified accurately. The analysis of these cases of alleged violations and government replies will help towards a better grasp of manifestations of racial discrimination and thus help to identify and determine indicators of its contemporary forms.
Please note, that as a general rule, both urgent appeals and letters of allegation remain confidential until published in the annual report of the Special Rapporteur to the Commission on Human Rights. A summary of such communications and the replies received from the concerned State are formally included in the Special Rapporteur’s annual report to the Commission.
Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance
8-14 Avenue de la Paix
1211 Geneva 10
From the Shawshank Redemption
The chairman of the parole board says, “The files say you have been locked up here for the past 40 years. Do you feel rehabilitated?”
Red looks at him and says, “Rehabilitated… well, let’s see… rehabilitated, I don’t have any idea what that means.”
The board member says, “That means, are you ready to re-enter society?”
Red says, “I know what you think it means, sonny. To me it is just a made-up word, a politician’s word so young fellows like yourself can have a suit and tie to have a job. What do you really want to know? Am I sorry for what I did?”
The parole board member responds, “Well, are you?”
Red says, “There is not a day that goes by I don’t feel regret. I look back on the way I was then, a young, stupid kid who committed that terrible crime. I want to talk to him, and try and make him see the way things are, but I can’t. That kid is long gone. This old man is all that is left. I’ve got to live with that.
AT THE WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS
3099 E. WASHINGTON
SEPTEMBER 22, 2008
PRISON ACTION WISCONSIN INC.
P.O. BOX 05669
MILWAUKEE, WI 53205
* Demonstration and rally at DOC headquarters for the purpose of supporting our loved ones behind bars and for holding the Parole Commission to account for the waste of one million dollars per year of our money.
* The Parole Board is keeping our loved ones locked up beyond any reasonable time. They are violating the intention of the sentencing court for political and ideological reasons.
* We will be heard. Our concerns will be answered. Our loved ones will come home.
Busses leave from Lena’s Grocery in Midtown Mall at 9:30 A.M., Monday, September 22, 2008. They will return to Milwaukee in the early afternoon. Fare is on a sliding scale according to what you can afford. To save a seat, call Unity 414-491-6514 or Anthony at 414-464-9094.
Attend our next meeting, September 13, 2008, 10 A.M. until noon, at Johnson Park, 17th and Fon du Lac Ave., Milwaukee, WI. PAW is open to anyone concerned about the state of the criminal justice system, the prison system and the impact these systems have on our community. Come one, come all. Let’s make some noise!
Wisconsin Books to Prisoners/Rainbow Books
426 W. Gilman St., Madison, WI 53703
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 4, 2008
ARE WISCONSIN PRISONERS LOSING THE RIGHT TO READ?
WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS BANS WISCONSIN BOOKS TO PRISONERS FROM SENDING BOOKS TO ALL PRISONERS IN WISCONSIN
Wisconsin Books to Prisoners (WBTP), an all-volunteer group established in 2006 by Rainbow Bookstore staff, volunteers, and other concerned citizens received a letter on May 13, 2008 from John Bett, Administrator at the Wisconsin Department of Corrections Division of Adult Institutions (WI-DOC-DAI) stating “effective immediately, the WI-DOC Division of Adult Institutions will no longer allow books or publications from Rainbow Bookstores in any DOC facility.”
Mr. Bett’s letter stated that DAI policy required books and other publications to be new, shipped to the facility directly from the vendor, and claimed that Rainbow Bookstore was not a vendor.
Rainbow Bookstore, however has been incorporated in WI since 1989, and has operated a retail bookstore at 426 W. Gilman St. in Madison ever since. WBTP sent this information to Mr. Bett on June 6th, who then responded on July 2nd informing Rainbow Bookstore that the DOC-DAI requires all approved inmate property items to be “received new and from an approved vendor.”
The DOC Administrative Code, however, distinguishes between inmate property and publications in specific listings of the code. Although the code for inmate property indicates that property must come from “approved retail outlets,” this language does not appear in the code for receipt of publications, nor does the code specify that books and publication must be new. The code in fact says: “The department shall facilitate inmate reading of publications, including books, magazines, newspapers, and pamphlets” -a policy that should be applauded given that a wide variety of studies indicate that in-prison education reduces rates of recidivism. The policy also states that inmates may receive publications directly from commercial sources.
Wisconsin Books to Prisoners has asked Mr. Bett to supply information about how to apply for approved vendor status. The DOC has not responded.
Since their inception, Wisconsin Books to Prisoners has sent over 4000 packages of books nationwide. Wisconsin is the only state in the U.S. that is banning books to prisoners.
10 year Anniversary Conference
Members of PAW, WBTP, and WPW will attend this conference. We’ll report in the next (November) newsletter.
Update on Warren Lilly
The DOC, in an effort to stop Warren’s 1200 day hunger strike, began a new force feeding regime where they kept Warren strapped down with a tube in his nose for two hours, three times a day, six days a week. The pretense for this cruelty was to “insure Mr. Lilly would not regurgitate his food”. Warren has never vomited his food. This was pure and intentional torture. He went to court and won an injunction to stop the torture. The feedings are again one half hour in length.
While strapped down with a tube in his nose, another group of goons entered his cell and stole all his legal work and his address book. He remembered my address and has sent word out that he needs support. He asks that others join him, fasting every Sunday in solidarity with his struggle. Write the Governor and let Warren know you’re taking part in this protest.
September 1, 2008
Governor Jim Doyle
Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 7863
Madison, WI 53707-7863
ph. 608-266-1212 fax 608-267-8983
Dear Governor Doyle,
On Sunday, (Month, Day, Year), I fasted with Warren Lilly, Jr., a hunger striking Wisconsin prisoner, in support of the following objectives:
1.) The immediate reduction of the national (city, county, state, federaL) prison population by 70 – 80% through the release of all non-violent offenders.
2.) The nationalization of state’s laws which govern imprisonment. We are a nation of people not a nation of states. The laws we face, which affect our freedom, must be uniform.
3.) A national limit on the number of Americans that can be held, by any authority, to 1 in 1250 per census population.
4.) The abolition of parole and probation. They serve no function other than to extend imprisonment, and to entrap those least likely to obey severe limitations on their freedoms.
5.) The re-enfranchisement of all disenfranchised Americans, and the abolition of the practice of disenfranchisement. There must be an end to retribution. To perpetually punish an individual for a past wrong is a wrong in itself.
Warren’s pledge of support to these objectives is his more than three years of hunger striking. I pledge to support his strike and objectives. I call upon you, as Governor to embrace these objectives and put an end to how your father described the institution of prisons, “… as intolerable within the United States as the institution of slavery, equally brutalizing to all involved, equally toxic to the social system, equally subversive to the brotherhood of man, even more costly by some standards, and probably less rational.”
COINTELPRO , RGCI and Cowardly Complicit “Inmates”
by Carlos Abadia
COINTELPRO (an acronym for Counter Intelligence Program) was a series of covert and often illegal projects conducted by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation aimed at investigating and disrupting dissident political organizations within the United States. The FBI motivation at the time was “protecting national security, preventing violence, and maintaining the existing social and political order.”
The FBI used many COINTELPRO tactics to break up many political groups such as The Black Panthers Party, The American Indian Movement, the Communist Party and Students for a Democratic Society. People like Martin Luther King and Caesar Chavez were also targeted along with many others.
They infiltrated, used informants, wrote false letters, and used other dirty tricks to pit one member of a group against another. This in fighting disrupted the real mission of many groups. Need I say more when I say don’t forget AIM and the Panthers and SDS?
Here at Red-Planet Corruptional Institution we have our own brand of COINTELPRO. The J. Edgar Hoover wannabes accused me of posting anonymous messages regarding John Doe reform and favoritism by staff for their pet “inmates”. I was hauled off to the catacombs of segregation, questioned and taunted. I was told that if I admitted to authorship of these notes, “a deal could be made”. I refused. The offer was brought again after further threats of Boscobel, Administrative Confinement and so called “proof”; I refused! The false and stacked up charges and lies against me were part of a conduct report fabricated by RGCI staff. All sorts of “evidence” was claimed to prove my guilt, but nothing was ever presented because they knew I had real evidence to counter the bogus CR. Some “inmates” who claimed knowledge (lied) of my authorship of these offending notes got special treatment; one was sent to Fox Lake CI, and the list goes on.
When special treatment is handed down by prison staff to “inmates” for lying on another prisoner, the entire system breaks down. Of course, gossiping “inmates” will lie for a better job (or any job) or a transfer or some special treatment. When staff encourage lying and engage in playing one prisoner against another, COINTELPRO is at work. But it only works when prisoners become “inmates”, when they forget who their comrades are, when they put their own personal interests above the interests of all prisoners.
I stood up and called these people out. I wrote to my representative, I wrote to WPW, I wrote to the press, I alerted my entire network of outside support and what I got in return was retaliation by staff and a stab in the back by “inmates”.
My legal mail was “inadvertently” opened. My job was taken away. My property was stolen (by my “inmate” cellie) while I was in seg. and the prison refuses to investigate. Prisoners who lined up to lie on me were shocked to learn there was no 360 or Boscobel. My family, network and support system were lied to by the Evil Empire of family run and operated, crony & nepotist system. I had to defend myself from these false charges. And I had to endure all this stress.
To those who understand, this article is written as a way to expose the “normality” of this incident. The staff mentality of hyper-security and petty tyranny is normal. The retribution and blatant reprisal for filing complaints is a daily life occurrence for most prisoners and most prisoners accept this or are cowed by it. Accepting this shit is NOT acceptable. I pray for the day that inmates become prisoners and set aside their opium of choice – TV, radios, game boards and sports – and wake up to the reality.
The goons in uniform cannot stand a challenge and they are continuously looking for petty rule infractions to justify their existence. Their petty minds create fantasies of plot and mayhem so they can justify their abuse, lock-downs, pay raises and overtime.
In closing, inmates and prisoners both know that I have always stood up for them and helped them, legally, to stick it to the Department of Corruption! I’m done. From now on I’ll only accept applications from prisoners – “inmates” need not apply.
“A guards’ job is talking, not yelling. A guard who is yelling at prisoners has lost control”
WISCONSIN’S ROBBER BARON
By Guiseppe DiPiazza
On June 1, 2004 the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC) instituted a change in policy, which stipulated that the families and friends of prisoners could only send money in in the form of cashiers checks, and money orders, for prisoners’ benefit. Cash, and personal checks were no longer permitted.
Prisoners as a whole, come from the lower social economic spectrum of society. Therefore this change in policy has put a financial strain on both prisoners and their loved ones. Where once friends could slide a dollar or two in with a letter, now the first couple of dollars is spent purchasing a cashiers check or money order. This means many prisoners, the largest percentage of whom are paid $1 a week, no longer have the financial help they need for the mere necessities (e.g. toothbrush, soap, shampoo, etc.).
But was this change in policy legal? No, according to Ron Sklansky of the Wisconsin legislative council staff. According to Sklansky the “agency must follow the rules it promulgates in the administrative code.” Those rules are very clear in stating that “all money in any form” shall be credited to the appropriate prisoner account. Clearly allowing for personal checks and cash to be sent to prisoners.
Several prisoners have filed complaints, using the DOC’s Inmate Complaint Review System (ICRS), noting the DOC’s violation of administrative code. The DOC has acknowledged they are in violation of this rule, but refuse to change their policy. Which begs the question why would the DOC want to illegally funnel money from prisoners, their families and friends into the pockets of the financial institutions, and big businesses that sell money orders?
The definition of exploitation is those in power taking advantage of those they have power over, which this is a classic example of. This is yet another example of the state’s DOC robbing money from the have nots – this time illegally – and putting it into the hands of the wealthy. It is time to make some noise. Tell the DOC that they are not above the law. We need to start writing letters, and e-mailing our state representatives, placing posts on internet message boards, and blogs. Stop this government sanctioned theft.
An Appeal from Moso
Just a short article to get the news out about the last case we just won in the Federal Court in Johnson V. Raemisch, et al. We had litigated that case on grounds that I produced the documentation to prove everything said in the articles they objected to as “inflammatory” and a “threat to security” was actually true.
The court quoted my words in its opinion, where I argued this is a case where the Emperor has no clothes on, as they didn’t want the published articles to “expose” what they were doing. But once the court was presented with the documents showing everything said was true regarding the secret deal made to keep prisoners locked up in prison who are under the old law by blocking release on parole. The powerful Guard and Police Unions forced changes in the law that stripped a lot of our rights in court. Now they are careless and arrogant and have no regards for how they treat us.
Some of the points I made in the “offending” article and proved to true in front of Judge Crabb were: 1. The political scheme of the Republicans when they controlled the Federal government, was to block Democratic voter turn out by locking up minorities and others they felt would vote Democratic. 2. The corruption of the Parole Commission, making decisions to carry out the Governor’s political agenda, rather than use legal criteria for parole consideration. 3. The lack of any accountability of the lower level prison staff who make the PRC and programming decisions.
I produced all the documentation that proved each and every allegation published in the paper and argued the defendants knew it was all true, and their decision to block delivery of the publication was to keep it all under wraps, a “cover-up” if you will. They made their mistake by attempting to argue the articles were spreading “false” information, and thus it was “Inflammatory”. They didn’t anticipate that I had the evidence to prove it, which included a lot of confidential documents. This is what blew them out of the water.
I even produced a secret email, that accidentally “leaked” into my possession, where it showed two right-wing judges conspiring with each other trying to figure out a legal angle to block an inmate from relief on his post conviction motion. The inmate had proved he was correct under the law, which was admitted in the communication but, the judges had no intention on providing him with any relief. I’m sure Barbara Crabb was impressed with such documentation proving the articles were not based on the ravings of some left-wing radicals in prisons trying to simply stir up a riot. This is the picture the defendants tried to paint. A bunch of whining prisoners making outlandish accusations against these “honest” prison and government officials. Well the proof was in the pudding, and we produced the pudding.
However, I must complain that I had asked for more members to join this lawsuit, but no one else was willing to step up to the plate. We could have won a large settlement had most of you done so. We have entered a settlement and one fourth of the settlement was donated to the WPW. It really wasn’t for the money, but instead the principle and to stand up for what we believe in.
In any case, it’s time for others to make some sort of contribution. As I have said in the past, which is now coming to the light, the political winds are changing. And we have our voice loud enough, it will now get heard. It will take contributions so the machine can continue. All of you who will get some benefits of what this organization is trying to do, send in a couple of dollars. As stated before, you can send it straight out of your prison account. There is nothing more that would cause these people concern than to see us support this chance we have to change “politics as usual”. So if you want to do more than talk, send in what you can. The time is coming when we will need to move and make things happen to help all of us.
WSPF-GP Frequently Asked Questions – Answered
by Shawn L. Pierce
Many of you have seen the advertisement for “volunteers” to join WSPF-General population which was used to trick “fools” like me. Here’s a REAL Frequently Asked Question sheet
1. Question: Is there a library?
Answer: There are 4 ranges on Charlie and only range 2 has a library which is only available on Saturday & Sunday.
2. Q: How about canteen?
A: The list is considerably smaller than at other institutions and the prices are three times higher. Staff buy the same items for a lower price. The $3.50 bi-weekly we get doesn’t buy anything.
3. Q: Is there a Law library?
A: The book/paper items are all 5 to 6 years out of date.
4. Q: How’s the air conditioning?
A: Probably pretty good in the offices. In the cells it sucks. In the winter it’s frigid and in the summer it’s hot.
5. Q: Can I PRC out of WSPF?
A: Everyone wants out of this place! The problem is, not enough “fools” are volunteering and not enough beds in other joints are opening up. So to keep this place full, we get held back.
6. Q: How about jobs?
A: There are no utility workers and only one unit clerk.
7. Q: How are visits?
A: All visits are no contact – through glass, just like seg units in other joints. Why would family drive three hours to talk through a phone?
8. Q: How’s the recreation area?
A: Let’s call it what it is. Dog pens. Small cyclone fenced cages. I wont even go out there. I’m no dog.
9. Q: Satellite TV and radio?
A: No CW or MYTV-14. We must keep our antennas facing one way so we can’t pick up ethnic radio programs. Word is that the warden doesn’t want “Black” programming shown. I believe it.
10. Q: How’s the programming and education?
A: These people don’t care about helping a prisoner. I’ve written the warden twice, asking how WSPF will help me with my goals or how they will help me to re-enter and re-integrate. 2 months later, I’m still waiting for an answer. Other prisoners have written with the same questions and the warden hasn’t responded to them either.
I’ve personally asked every man on Charlie unit do they want to be at WSPF-GP and all 125 answered NO!! They would rather be at any other maximum institution.
If this place cannot function as a real general population institution, they need to go on and call it what it really is… a facility that enforces idleness, deprivation of all meaningful environment stimulation, little to no constructive activities and an environment that assures maximum control over us.
WSPF is a warehouse and needs to be shut down. It’s not a GP facility. It’s a waste of tax dollars. Only the prison staff and WIDOC benefit.
Why the Drug War is a Crime Against Humanity Explained
By Carmen Yarrusso
09/08/08 Like the Iraq war and the “war on terror”, the so-called “drug war” is a government contrived “war” based on lies that generates massive profits for a few while causing massive suffering for many.
The drug war is futile by design (and thus never-ending) because it doesn’t “fight” drugs—quite the contrary—it strongly encourages production and distribution of prohibited drugs by guaranteeing extremely high profits.
But the most insidious and evil aspect of the drug war is it manufactures its own enemies by criminalizing the most basic of human rights—the right of sovereignty over your own body. The drug war could not exist without first inventing a bogus crime.
Our government wastes billions of tax dollars each year harassing and jailing millions of decent, productive Americans for a government-invented “crime”. The use of drugs (even dangerous drugs like alcohol and nicotine) simply doesn’t meet any reasonable definition of “crime”.
Real crime requires action that harms another. Real crime requires both a victim and a perpetrator. For example, robbery harms another and has both a victim and a perpetrator. Only a corrupt, depraved government could invent a crime you commit against yourself.
If you use certain drugs, our government claims you’re both a criminal and a victim at the same time. Since the perpetrator can’t be separated from the victim, the victim is further punished for the “crime”. This pathetic perversion of justice is vigorously championed by our government for selfish political reasons.
More than 50 government agencies share billions of your tax dollars each year “fighting” a government-created crime. Of the millions of illegal drug users, the vast majority use marijuana. If marijuana were legal like alcohol, these government agencies would suddenly lose billions of dollars because millions of former “criminals” would suddenly be granted sovereignty over their own bodies. The vast army amassed to fight the drug war would need to be dissolved at great cost.
That’s why our government strongly opposes even honest debate about marijuana legalization because this massive money-making scam would soon end.
Ingesting nicotine, alcohol, fatty foods, or certain drugs may be unwise. But why is it a crime? If a drug user or a non-drug user harms another they should be treated equally. But the bogus “crime” of drug use doesn’t require harming anyone. Nor does it require a victim and a perpetrator. It only requires a government-invented, bogus criminal/victim, a drug user.
By using lies and deception our government convinces gullible Americans that simply putting something into your own body is a serious crime. But evidence clearly shows that nearly all the harm associated with drug use is caused by creating the bogus crime, not from the actual drug use. There are millions of drug users, but relatively few are harmed by their drug use. These few should be patients, not criminals.
But it’s not just the millions arrested for drug use who suffer from this gross injustice. We gullible Americans have allowed our government to invent a bogus crime that causes massive misery worldwide while costing the taxpayers billions.
Consider the following list of easily avoidable human tragedies that are the direct result of a government-invented, bogus crime: A tax-free, unregulated, multi-billion-dollar drug industry necessarily run by violent criminals; a giant law enforcement bureaucracy wasting billions in a futile attempt to curtail this drug industry, which, in fact, guarantees its extreme profitability; a deteriorating public education system robbed of billions to support this law enforcement bureaucracy; courts and prisons over-flowing with non-violent “criminals” while murderers, rapists and real criminals go free; tens of thousands of children enduring the suffering and stigma of having one or both parents in jail for a bogus “crime”; the gradual erosion of our Constitution as more and more civil liberties are sacrificed to fight a crime “made in USA.”; rampant corruption of foreign governments (like Mexico and Columbia), so driven by US drug profits that life and human rights are secondary; thousands of adults and children infected and dying from HIV because distributing clean needles is a “crime”; violent street gangs with little incentive for education or legitimate jobs reaping huge drug profits made possible by a bogus crime; a growing death toll from police breaking down doors to catch people using substances less dangerous than tobacco, alcohol or fatty foods; a growing cynicism and disrespect for all laws and authority fueled by the knowledge our government can arbitrarily invent a bogus crime…
This sordid list goes on and on.
We’re appalled when Islamic regimes invent bogus crimes against reading certain books, or listening to certain music. Using certain drugs is our government’s version of the same thing. But the worldwide consequences of US drug prohibition are far more serious and severe. All of these “crimes” lack the moral basis of real crime. All are clear cases of a repressive government dictating the private personal behavior of its citizens.
If real crime is knowingly causing harm to others, then the real crime here is not drug use, but making drug use a “crime”. And the real criminals are not drug users, but ordinary people like us, who sit back and condone a ruthless scam that has been exported and exploited around the world leaving massive human suffering in its wake.
Wisconsin Prison Watch
P.O. Box 292
Boscobel, WI 53805
The United States spends about $57 billion annually on its prison and jail system. Over $500 billion on the military budget. Hundreds of billions on police and courts. How much on schools?
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