Bridge Of Voices
Newsletter of Forum For Understanding Prisons (FFUP), a 501c3 non profit
Corrections Department not embracing plan to scale back Meals/STEVEN ELBOW | The Capital Times 3/24 /11
State Department of Corrections officials appear lukewarm over a Democratic lawmaker's proposal to scale back inmate meals to two a day."Generally, there would be some concerns about the climate that might create within the institutions," says DOC spokesman Tim LeMonds, "and any health risks that might be involved."
Rep. Mark Radcliffe, D-Black River Falls, is seeking co-sponsors for his proposal to cut state inmate meals from three to two a day. He also plans to introduce a bill that would require prisoners to pay part of the cost of medications they receive.
LeMonds says DOC officials have yet to review Radcliffe's proposals, but in elaborate, but dissatisfaction with food is a common cause of prison riots, and hungry inmates are likely to be irritable inmates.
A similar proposal in Tennessee died last year after critics said it would make inmates unruly and increase the possibility for prison violence as inmates grappled over scarcer amounts of food.
Radcliffe didn't return a phone message on Wednesday, and attempts to reach him Thursday were unsuccessful.
But he told the Janesville Gazette that his proposal to cut one meal a day from the DOC's budget would save $5 million a year.
Donna Weihofen, a senior nutritionist with UW Hospital and Clinics and former dietary consultant at the federal prison in Oxford, says the proposal could work, "as long as you can prove that you meet the nutritional needs of adult men, and I think you can easily do that in two meals." But she says prisons would need to offer something for breakfast, like a granola bar and juice or milk, that could be served to inmates in their cells, which would save money because it wouldn't require the staffing of a dining facility. "It's not a bad idea because not everybody has to eat three meals a day," she says. "That's just sort of our social custom."
But Carol Seaborn, a professor of food and nutritional sciences at UW-Stout, has a different take. Even if standards for calories can be met, she says, "we all tend to get hungry every four to six hours. It's in our nature."And hunger makes people unmanageable. "You can go to an elementary school to see that," she says. "You can't control students before lunchtime."
According to LeMonds, the DOC has already cut food service costs to the tune of $2 million a year by consolidating food services systemwide. As of last fall, the department offers the same fare for each meal at all DOC institutions.
"That allowed us to buy things in bulk, and preparation is easier and cheaper," he says. County jails would be exempt, but they would have the option to scale back meals. But some are locked into contracts with vendors to provide three meals a day, according to an e-mail to legislators looking to drum up support for the proposal.
Dane County Sheriff's Capt. Jeff Teuscher, who administers the jail, says the jail already has cut costs by delivering cold breakfasts to cell blocks and serving most lunches cold. He says jails could meet caloric guidelines in two meals, but doing that would disrupt power dynamics between jail staff and the inmates. "Food is an inmate management tool," he says. "If people are behaving well they get the regular meal like everyone else. If they're in segregation sometimes the meal's different." And inmates would not likely take kindly to the change.
"There's not a lot to look forward to," he says of people in lock-up. "Mealtime is one of those times."
Radcliffe's proposal would allow a third meal for medical reasons, but Teuscher says that, too, creates a potential problem.
"There's a real possibility that you could get an increase in requests for special diets," he says. "Each one has to be analyzed and you have to verify that whatever their diet needs are is being done. That would be a workload issue."
LeMonds says the state's prison dietary guidelines, which call for three meals a day, meet joint nutrition standards by the departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services. But they are also designed to provide "sustained energy for manual labor."
The state runs numerous prison labor enterprises, including printing, furniture manufacturing, textile production and laundry services. Corrections also runs agricultural enterprises that include two dairy farms, a state-of-the-art creamery, a feed lot and cash cropping. LeMonds had no comment on Radcliffe's proposal to require inmates to pay part of the costs of their medication because DOC officials had not reviewed the proposal. In a memo, Radcliffe says no inmates would be denied medications if they can't pay, but they would have to pay after their release or through their canteen accounts.
News: we are always looking for concrete news about what is/will happen prison-wise and ask for your help on page 2. Here are some facts we have:
Earned release is gone as is Parole Chair man Alfonso Graham. Acting chair is Steve S Landreman.
Lena Taylor is no longer on Justice Committee and new members are listed page 2. We are working to get liaison with at least one to have our juvenile and elderly bills introduced.
April 28 update from one legislative aide:
1)The two meals measure was introduced by Representative Radcliff. However, he failed to advance the meal measure in the last legislative session. He also offered the bill as an amendment to the budget repair bill, but it was not accepted. Gary Bies, the chairman of the committee on criminal justice and corrections, does not support the bill. As of now, he will not give the bill a hearing and it won't make it out of the committee. Additionally, many sheriffs and other DOC officials do not support that measure. So, it is very unlikely that will happen.
2) According to a DOC spokesman, privatization of prisons is not included in the governor's budget. Also, the Corrections Secretary Gary Hamblin does not support privatization. So, it looks like that will not be an issue, at least not until later in the future.
SLAVERY By Another Name by Mansa Lutalo lyapo -aka- Rufus West.
(Verse #1 ) In the end it's the same song - name gone, replaced with digits to go along with a sentence. - That you will never finish - it's long as hell, you'll die of natural causes before they let you out of jail. People tell to avoid jail cells by any means, honor among thieves and G's (Man please!). If you didn't know these are the sign of the times, a time where signs dictate subliminal minds. - So they can't rise - because to rise is to grow, above what they've dubbed "Psychological Jim Crow." These dudes in the game are slow - fast lane wheels spinning in the sand, because they don't understand.
(Chorus) Slavery by another name - these slaves are penitentiary slaves, time to peep game. Rearrange everything so you can win, because right now all roads lead to the pen. Slavery by another name - these days are penitentiary days, time to peep game. Rearrange everything so you can win, because right now all roads lead to the pen.
(Verse #2) Where the age of a slave is pre-teenage, the "Birth of A Nation" of inner-city slaves. Where they break people's hopes and belief in God, believe me Home Team - I've seen it all. I've seen families broken - dreams straight shattered, people of color treated like our life don't matter. It's time to break this pattern - don't let no one, put you in a predicament where you will go from - Plantation to ghetto - from pyramids to projects, from drugs to prisons to the cemetery - what's next? A generation under siege (Man please!), third eye is blind therefore they can't see.
(Chorus) Slavery by another name - these slaves are penitentiary slaves, time to peep game. Rearrange everything so you can win, because right now all roads lead to the pen. Slavery by another name - these days are penitentiary days, time to peep game. Rearrange everything so you can win, because right now all roads lead to the pen.
Mr. Rufus West, #225213;P.O. Box 900 (CCI);Portage,WI 53901
Legal and Political Notice and Bulletin
RE: Information and assistance
Information is needed for marshalling and preparation for a class action- like suit, meaning it will be filed for all similarly seated, however filed by one or two people as plaintiffs. The information we need and what we need prisoners to send us and look out for is as follows:
1) Policies, laws, codes etc. that require the executive, legislative branches of government and the DOC to provide adequate notice to prisoners of laws that effect them. An example of this is the new laws concerning prisoners proposed by the Walker administration: what are they and why are not we notified?
2) Any information on the new laws and bills:What particulars in the bill/law affect prisoners and how are they affected? What law or bill do you think we should have to insure we are notified of impending legislation that affects us directly?
3) We have a constitutional right to participate in the legislative process. However, all the time we learn of these laws only after they have passed and are going into affect.
4) Our right to petition this government must be heard. This is a peaceful call for collective voices. Let us not be mute.
5) You can help by researching and finding ideas and operative ways to strengthen this suit and the rights at hand. The better the research, the more the suit will get traction. We want to file something soon but will wait till we have the right data and laws supporting us.
6) Send all helpful stuff to: FFUP or Prince Atum-Ra Uhuru Mutawakkil; (Mr Norman Green#228971;WSPF, PO Box 9900; Boscobel. Wi 53805 ________________________________________________________________________________
NEW ADDRESSES First, Lena Taylor is no longer on judiciary committee. We will have to establish new ties.
Here are some to try.
Senate Committee on Judiciary, Utilities,
Commerce, and Government Operations
Senator Zipperer (R)(Chair)
Senator Neil Kedzie(R) (Vice-Chair)
Senator Pam Galloway (R)
Senator Fred Risser (D)
Senator Jon Erpenbach (D)
Address for all: Senator's name;
Senator's name; P.O. Box 7882;Madison, WI 53707-7882
Assembly Committee on Criminal Justice and Corrections
Representative Gary Bies (Chair)R ;
Representative Andre Jacques (Vice Chair)R
Rep Steve Kestell R
Rep Ed Brooks R
Rep Scott Krug R
Rep Frederick Kessler D
Rep Robert Turner D
Mailing Address: PO Box 8952 (Reps A-L) or PO Box 8953 (Reps M-Z), Madison, WI 53708
Names and Addresses Needed : Due to frustrating arbitrary denials of parole and programming for so many deserving prisoners, we have started a letter writing network in which concerned citizens and prisoners’ family members send letters for 3 prisoners a month to the powers that be .It grows slowly but it does grow - About 30 fliers have been sent out that ask for letters for the first three prisoners. The members copy the letters, sign and send. This is how Amnesty International does their political prisoner support network and it works . We need names and addresses of folks you know that would like to see a strong prisoner support coalition and would be willing to put in about a half hour's worth of work a month to get it. We are starting with parole issues but can tackle any issue.
Researchers needed: We are looking for examples of programs, bills, ideas that work and people to do research on these programs and bills so that we can connect people to implement them for WI. If any one wants to help with research and/or help us inform WI legislature on possibilities , let FFUP know and we will see you get the literature/docs. One such program is POPS program in MA (see below . In another, the majority of prisons in England and Wales now have a 'Listener' scheme. Prisoners are trained by a group called “Samaritans “ to be “listeners” and help prevent suicides by listening to the problems of inmates suffering from depression and (2) the “listeners”get support as they do this. In Maryland, a group of bills have been introduced which would considerably reduce incarceration and save money thru reform of the practice of reincarceration for non felony parole law violations and thru several other laws and these MD bills are getting bipartisan support. Other research ideas are below. FFUP has much lterature and can get more. We just need more hands and brains on the job. .
Research ideas for WI
Dreaming: George Washington University Law School The Project for Older Prisoners (POPS) encompasses a number of prison projects in which students are involved as volunteers or work for academic credit. Some students assist individual low-risk prisoners over the age of 55 to help them obtain paroles, pardons, or alternative forms of incarceration. In a typical case, a student will prepare an extensive background report on a prisoner to determine the likelihood of recidivism. If the risk is low, the student will then locate housing and support for the prisoner and help prepare the case for a parole hearing. Other students are involved in a Prison Environmentalism project that is working to introduce recycling and environmental industries in prisons. POPS also runs a "Books for Crooks" program to help build prison libraries, while another project involves students in a study of the federal prison system and the sentencing guidelines for the U.S. Sentencing Commission.How about POP for UW Law students? Again, FFUP has the data, research /contacting help needed- this was done in WA through the legislature.
Recidivism’s High Cost and a Way to Cut It April 27, 2011 Editorial from the NYTimes
Corrections costs for the states have quadrupled in the last 20 years — to about $52 billion a year nationally — making prison spending their second-fastest growing budget item after Medicaid. To cut those costs, the states must first rethink parole and probation policies that drive hundreds of thousands of people back to prison every year, not for new crimes, but for technical violations that present no threat to public safety. According to a new study by the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Center on the States, 43 percent of prisoners nationally return to the lockup within three years. The authors estimate that the 41 states covered in the study would reap a significant savings — $635 million in the first year — if they managed to cut their recidivism rates by just 10 percent. For California’s hugely costly prison system, that would mean $233 million in savings; for New York, $42 million; and for Texas, $33.6 million.
The study, which looked at prisoner release data in 1999 and 2004, found recidivism rates varied widely. Some of the highest rates were in California (57.8 percent) and Missouri (54.4). New York is slightly under the national average (39.9 percent). Oregon had the lowest: only 22.8 percent of inmates released in 2004 returned within three years. Crime has also declined significantly.
In the 1990s, the Oregon Legislature created a rating system that allows parole officers to employ a range of sanctions — short of a return to prison — for offenders whose infractions were minor and did not present a danger. A parolee who fails a drug test can be sent to residential drug treatment or sentenced to house arrest or community service. In 2003, the state passed a law requiring all state-financed correctional treatment programs to use methods that have been shown to improve client compliance and to reduce recidivism.
Pressured by the dismal economy, many states, including New York, are looking for ways to cut recidivism. The wise approach would be to adopt the programs that have proved so successful in Oregon.
Fixing the Mistake With Young Offenders April 3, 2011 from the NYTimes
There is new evidence that state governments are finally understanding what a tragic mistake they made during the 1990s when they began trying ever larger numbers of children as adults instead of sending them to the juvenile justice system.
Prosecutors argued that harsh sentencing would protect the public from violent, youthful predators. But it has since turned out that most young people who spend time in jails and prisons are charged with nonviolent offenses. As many as half are never convicted of anything at all. In addition, research has shown that these young people are vulnerable to battery and rape at the hands of adult inmates and more likely to become violent, lifelong criminals than those who are held in juvenile custody.
A new study by the Campaign for Youth Justice, a Washington advocacy group, shows that state legislatures across the country are getting the message. In the last five years, the authors say, 15 states have passed nearly 30 pieces of legislation aimed at reversing policies that funnel a quarter of a million children into the adult justice system each year.
Ten states, including Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana and Nevada, have cut the number of offenses that get youthful offenders automatically transferred to adult courts. Three states have expanded the jurisdiction of the juvenile courts, so that children under 18 are no long automatically prosecuted as adults. And several states have limited the circumstances under which young people can be housed in adult lock-ups before or after conviction. Momentum is building for similar reforms all across the country. For example, Nebraska is considering a bill that would give people sentenced as juveniles to life without parole an opportunity to petition for reductions.
Far too many children are still being sentenced by adult courts and confined to adult prisons. But this study shows that the tide has begun to turn.
Disclaimer: FFUP usually sounds like an immense organization- it is big in dreams only. We started as a medium sized group and our numbers have dwindled to founder and a few allies and lots of prisoner coworkers. This goes forward because of prisoner involvement and we work very hard at getting more of the rest of the community also involved but the that is slow. So keep in mind that the grunt work is done by one old lady. Penpals are done last so do not pass FFUP name around as a penpal project. We advertise that all prisoners on our blogs and web want penpals. Also, I am particularly swamped at this time and funds are very limited. Finally,as noted above,I will be out of state attending a family emergency from May 11 at least til end of May and will not be answering many letters. As always, Donations and help neededd.
2 excerpts from Comments on our Juvenile Blog
Comments come anonymously on blogs, we cannot communicate directly usually. But the blogs are educating and getting your message out there.
1)My son was convicted as an adult at age 15. Adopted, he spent the first 5 years of his life neglected and abused. When placed in a foster home, he was also abused. He has Reactive Attatchment Disorder and several other emotional disorders. His emotional age at(3)
the time of his conviction was about 10-12 years of age. I believe strongly that he has poor legal council, was forced into a plea and has recieved a sentence that went way overboard. He has spent the last one and a half year in a lock-up/treatment facility, will spent 5 years on probation, will be on the sex offender list for as least 25 years and will be a felon for life. We are treating chidren with mental/emotinal disorder in lock-up facilities. More private facilities are starting, so you will be seeing more kids being put in these poorly run hell holes. Most of the children that I see in my son's facility, do not belong there. They belong with their families and in some community based program. We are making bad criminals out of them. We are not making our communities safer. Please read the research that is out their on this subject. It is clear, our courts are making some big mistakes with our children. January 3, 2010
2)I have never known what to do or how to help my son other than to pray keep the faith and wait. Until this evening after praying, I literally Googled unfair sentencing given to youths and found this link. Wow! cases just like my son David .1st time offender at the age of 15. A Troubled teen with learning disabilities 3rd grade reading level at the time. Is now 29 years old. His paid attorney continued/rescheduled every court date each month or just didn't show up and would send a representative from his office to continue/reschedule. This went on for 3 years. Until David was 18.. His attorney literally did not represent him not on 1 single court date. We have tried a few things but to no avail it lead to nowhere. Somebody please tell me where do we go from here. I have always been an advocate for my son regarding his learning dificulties up until that dreadful day. Maybe someone can teach me how to be an advocate in this situation. Because I can hear the fight on this page. FYI David has had a good behavior for the past 14 years. Has awards and certificates, reads and speaks 4 different languages. Swahili,French,English and teaches inmates who have deaf family members sign language. Our legal system is throwing away our children like Tuesday mornings trash pick up days. Where does their concern lie, asleep I guess. January 15, 2011
Prison is no place for people with mental illnesses
By DarRen Morris 12/2010
Today is international human rights day, and one thing we can do in the United States to honor it is to stop incarcerating persons with disabilities.
I was the young, urban teen ribbed for wearing thick glasses and hearing aids. I was placed in special education classes. I fought a lot. And I ended up in the juvenile justice system, where about 70 percent of us had mental health disorders.
I am now a man with a floating diagnosis of schizophrenia and bi-polarity.And at age 17, I was sentenced to life in prison and quickly ended up in solitary confinement, a condition that added to my mental suspicions, my fears and my frustration at not being able to hear or see well.
You, as a taxpayer, now pay $30,000 a year for my care. Early, effective community mental health and diversion programs could have helped me become a non-threatening, productive member of society — and could have saved you a lot of money.
I don't deny that I should be punished for my crime. I do contend it did not need to happen.
We need to provide access to treatment services for all people. We need to evaluate disabilities early and help families understand the need to get help for their special- needs children. We need programs to help these families pay for the treatment and glasses or hearing aids or other adaptations that their children need.
We need to step beyond the stigmas of mental illness and disability. We need better communication among treatment providers, our courts and corrections.
If, as Dostoevsky wrote, "The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons," then we have a long way to go.
Let us start by acknowledging that incarceration is not the answer for persons with disabilities. Treatment is a human right for people with disabilities. On international human rights day, we can at least affirm that.
DarRen Morris is an inmate in Wisconsin. He wrote this for Progressive Media Project, a source of liberal commentary on domestic and international issues Posted: 12/10/2010 01:00:00 AM MST (DarRen Morris #236425; CCI)
Some case summaries by Lorenzo Balli #238265; GBCI,
Dole v. Chandler,438 f.3d 804(7th cir.2006)
Dole appeals the U.S. Dist. Dourt of the Southern Dist. of IL. when it granted summary judgment to defendants for plaintiff's failure to exhaust administrative remedies. Dole claimed he strictly complied with all regulations when he filed grievances and claimed he was beaten by prison guards in retaliation for punching an assistant warden & did all that he was capable of doing to assure his complaint reached the administrative review board. that, he claimed should have been enough to constitute exhaustion under the PLRA. The inmate fully complied with the strict compliance requirement since he filed suit in the place and at the time required by prison administrative rules, but his complaint remained unresolved through no apparent fault of his own. The prison authorities could not employ their (4)
own mistake to shield them from possible liability, relaying upon the likelihood that the inmate would not know what to do when a timely appeal was never received. The district courts judgment was reversed and the case remanded for further proceedings on the merits of the inmates claims. Before Honorable Justices Flaum, Bauer, & Evens.
INADEQUATE EXERCISE OPPORTUNITIES.
Delaney v. Detella, 256 f.3d 679 (u.s.ct. of apps. 7th cir.2001) Plaintiff, prisoner sued defendants, prison officials alleging an 8th amendment violation for being denied all out of cell exercise
opportunities for six months. The US. district court for the northern dist. of IL., denied the defendants motion for summary judgment based on qualified immunity. The 7th circuit held the district court properly denied defendants summary judgment. When the inmate posed no special security risk, and he was being housed in a cell the size of a phone booth, his allegations that defendants denied him all out of cell exercise opportunities for six months alleged a violation of his 8th amendment rights. The prisoner filed numerous complaints and requests to the defendants giving the proper (4) notice of the unconstitutional conditions and yet the defendants failed to act sufficiently to clearly established deliberate indifference
Allen v. Sakai, 48 f. 3d 1082 (9th cir. 1994)Defendants, state officials appealed a denial of summary judgment on their claim of qualified immunity, when prisoner brought a civil suit for being deprived adequate recreation opportunities, use of a pen, and access to photocopies which resulted in a denial of access to the courts. The 9th cir. held that plaintiff alleged deprivations of a basic human
need. A fact finder could determine defendants acted with deliberate indifference for plaintiff's basic human needs by placing inconsequential logistical concerns above plaintiff's need for exercise, and access to the courts.Thus, the court affirmed the district courts denial of summary judgment finding plaintiff alleged conduct, if true, violated established constitutional rights which defeats defendants qualified immunity claims.
Antonelli v. Sheahan, 81 f.3d 1422 (7th cir.1996)
Plaintiff, a prisoner in a county jail filed a civil rights suit. The district court for the northern district of IL., dismissed the suit outright, plaintiff appealed. The 7th cir. held that 1.) remand was required to determine if the plaintiff provided the marshals enough information to allow them to serve defendants, or if the marshals failed in their duty to serve the defendants.2.) Sheriffs and jail director could not be held personally responsible for local, and not wide spread violations. 3.) Alle¬gations that plaintiff was forced to sleep on the floor for one night, that jail staff took his personal property, that lock downs were arbitrary and capricious, of denial of access to the courts, of denial of opportunities to take rehabilitative programs to earn good time credits failed to state a claim, and, Allegations of deliberate indifference to prolonged pest infestation of the jail cells, of interference with plaintiff's mail, of ransid & nutritionally deficient food, of inadequate exercise, denial of mental & physical health treatment & necessary medication, of excessive noise, and that discriminatory motives were the reason of the placement in lock downs were enough to state a claim. The case was sent back to the district court to address these claims.
Dole V. Chandler,438 f.3d 804(7th cir.2006)
Dole appeals the U.S. Dist. Court of the Southern Distr.of. of IL. when it granted summary judgment to defendants for plaintiff's failure to exhaust administrative remedies. Dole claimed he strictly complied with all regulations when he filed grievances and claimed he was beaten by prison guards in retailation for punching an assistant warden & did all that he was capable of doing to assure his complaint reached the administrative review board. That,he claimed should have been enough to constitute exhaustion under the PLRA. The inmate fully complied with the strict compliance requirement since he filed suit in the place and at the time required by prison administrative rules, but his complaint remained unresolved through no apparent fault of his own. The prison authorities could not employ their own mistake to shield them from possible liability, relaying upon the likelihood that the inmate would not know what to do when a timely appeal was never recieved. The district courts judgment was reversed and the case remanded for further proceedings on the merits of the inmates claims. before: Honorable Justices Flaum, Bauer, & Evens.
Each person has a specific place that holds more luster and mistique than all the others that they have been to, of this I'm positive. I myself have a mystical place of favor and it can only be found in my dreams. Not my hopes, goals, and asperations. I mean Dreams in the literal sense.
You see this world, the world I lifelessly live in, holds little or no mystery. Every morning at 7:00 a.m. a trap on my cold steel door is noisily opened and a tray that hold insufficient food shoved in the gaping wound of the inpenatrable steel door, once I take the tray from the slot that wound is mended by a bang and a key to secure it in place. After half an hour slowly ticks by that wound is once again exposed only to engulfed the now empty tray and be mended in the same fashion as before.
This process of mended wounds is repeated at both 11:00 am and 4:00 pm with equally unsatisfactory food and the sounds of the clashing of steel on steel. At approximately 5:30 pm to 6:00 pm a correctional officer walks down the tier with a stack of mail as inmates stand at their door and pray for a letter in that stack to bear their name and prison number. I am one of the fortunate that, on ocasion, gets a letter slid under my door.. And this is the high light of our day. Now most would be happy, estatic even, to receive mail, I am not one of those eager mail worshipers.
Mail only bring me news of the activities that are going on in the outside world and reminds me that I am not a part of them and I won't be for quite some time. This reminder is not a necessary one for I'm reminded every time I glance at my distorted reflection in the steel mirror, that is dented from years of unleash frustration, and bears the engravings of long lost gang members and their coat of arms, that is bolted to the concrete wall.
Now there are others who yell and bang on their doors for the pure satisfaction of hearing himself so he knows he is alive. Others tell lies to each other and hope that there is not a "Real Nigga" on the tier to catch their ficticious life stories. Others sit in there cells and play with their pet insects. Some contemplate on life and who they are, these are the ones that keep the C.Os busy trying to save their unwanted lives.
These contemplators of understanding can not face who they truely are so they try to escape through means of suicide. With all this activity I sit in my solitude and allow my thoughts to roam my mind as it please. My stomach is in constant agony from the lack of nutrition. My feet suffer sharp pains with every step, due to lack of shoes, yet I still pace my cell for unknown hours at a time. All the while I grimace in pain with a smile, thankful for the undying hunger and lightning bolt pains for they are my reminder that I am still alive. With out pain we would not know what joy is when it comes along..
Now I have a question for you. If this was your life wouldn't your favorite place lie in your Dreams???
By: Mario savage #406307 CCI, PO Box 9900; Portage, Wi 53901
Below is a summary of several articles on the infamous Stanford Experiment by Juan Quentin Ward. We will be using this in (6) our educational newsletter for the general public but it is a cautionary tale for all.
“The Experimentation of America’s Prisons”
In 1971 a team of researchers led by psychology Professor Philip Zimbardo, at Stanford University, conducted an experiment of the psychological effects of becoming a prisoner and or prison guard. Twenty four undergraduates were selected out of 75 to play the roles of both guards and prisoners and become residents in a mock prison in the basement of the psychology building.
These roles were randomly assigned and the cast adapted to their roles well beyond that which were expected, so much so, that many of the characters playing guards became authoritarian in their demeanors, displaying draconian measures. Their action and conduct became so real, that a couple of participants quit the experiment quite early. Thus leading to the experiment being put on hold only after 6 days.
Many found themselves disturbed by the experiment and even held that it was too controversial to allow it to continue. The news media and all of America was outraged over the torture and abuse of prisoners al Abu Ghraib but surprisingly no one is outraged over the mistreatment and manufacturing of conduct reports, violation of constitutional rights, denial of parole of prisoners who are rehabilitated, and the continuous promoting of dehumanization of Americans locked behind these walls and gates.
In Zimbardo’s study, he was overheard telling the guards, “ you can create in the prisoners feelings of boredom, a sense of fear to some degree, you can even create a notion of arbitrariness that their life is totally controlled by us, by the system, you, me, and they’ll have no privacy… We’re going to take away their individuality in various ways.”
This practice can be seen today where prisoners are forced to feel this sense of powerlessness.” That is, because of their incarceration, the guards and the administration have all the power and prisoners have none.”
Much like the study at Stanford University which grew out of hand, prisoners all over the country have suffered, and been forced to accept sadistic and humiliating treatment from guards.
Unfortunately the high level of stress and anxiety progressively has led from rebellion to inhibition and mental breakdown as men began showing severe emotional disturbances. My own experience in various institution segregation units I’ve seen men begin to smear feces all over their bodies. I have witnessed men begin to scream, to curse, to go into fits of rage having lost all sense of control. As a prisoner myself, I can only become angry and frustrated at the conditions which excascerbate these symptoms and cause these men to want death over life. Even here at Racine Correctional Institution, there are guards who use the knowledge of prisoner’s mental illness and another method to harass prisoners.
Sanitary conditions decline rapidly, made worse by some prisoners who are suffering from mental illness that urinate and defecate on the floors, beds, walls and doors of the cells. And as punishment guards punish these mentally ill prisoners by removing their mattress, leaving them to sleep on slabs of concrete, or rubber floor mats – Some are even forced to go nude for days and fed their meals off the floor as a method of degradation, as they are ordered to the back of the cell, directed to face the wall and to kneel down.
I have witnessed many new guards come in with some sense of humanity and after the probationary period grow increasingly cruel--- at least half of the prison guards exhibit genuine sadistic tendencies and racial predjudices for blacks and gay males.
The Stanford experiment ended on August 20, 1971, only six days after it began instead of the fourteen it was supposed to have lasted. Professor Zimbardo, reported his findings in 1971 to the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary.
Many would probably argue that such a study as that which was held in 1971 would not be conducted today. However, the truth is these acts are carried out daily in prison all around the state, here in Wisconsin. All too often tyrannical leadership and arbitrariness and capriciousness is a reality for men and women locked inside these Correctional Institutions.
And yet, Wisconsinites are not angered or outraged by the mistreatment and abuse that haunts many who already come from abusive backgrounds, mental illness, as well as alcohol and drug addictions by Juan Ward#275760; WCI
Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note
For Kellie Jones, born 16 May 1959
Lately, I've become accustomed to the way
The ground opens up and envelopes me
Each time I go out to walk the dog.
Or the broad edged silly music the wind
Makes when I run for a bus . ..
Things have come to that.
And now, each night I count the stars
And each night I get the same number.
And when they will not come to be counted,
I count the holes they leave.
Nobody sings anymore.
And then last night, I tiptoed up
To my daughter's room and heard her
Talking to someone, and when I opened
The door, there was no one there ...
Only she on her knees, peeking into
Her own clasped hands.
By Imamu Amiri Baraka (Leroi Jones)
TWO ADDS (7)
I know this man through email only and his blog- which is well done and seeks to tell the prisoners’ story . He is an ex prisoner and seems to want to help. Let me know how his services are.
The Free Prisoner
PO Box 92, Deep Gap, NC 28618
Receive emails from friends thru regular mail: $2.50/email (up to 4 pages)
Have friends email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Must include your name/inst.#/address and their name and address. Send Self-Addressed Stamped Envelopes with purchase.
Send emails to friends thru us: send typed letter $2.00/page or $5.00/ page neatly handwritten. Overly filled pages will not be processed. Remember to include their email addresses.
Internet searches: Any topic permissible to your facility. $1.00/page.You decide how many pages and we will find the most relevant info. (Internet searches may be purchased with Stamps.)
Send Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope with purchase.
Start your own BLOG or Join Pen Pal Sites: $25.00 to start. Send personal info,favorite quotes, essays, photos, artwork, whatever. Seeking relationship?And we will do the rest. $2.00 to check messages up to 4 pages. $5.00 to update with new info, new messages, new friends, etc. Let old friends find you. Find new friends. Meet someone special.
Sell your Artwork and Crafts online: Send photo, size and weight, desired price, and lowest acceptable bid with Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope for pre-approval. We will get the best price for your quality work.
Get FAST duplicates of your prison photos. $7.00 per page. You decide. Sizes: 1 enlarged full page or two 4 x 6 in or five 3.5 x 5 in or 9 wallet.
Affordable Gifts for special occasions: $30.00 includes shipping.Stuffed toy with balloon, candy, and card. Special wrapping.Want something extra special? Contact us in advance.
Order one service or start an account: You or a friend can send a Money Order today.
* Have any interesting prison news which would be good for the Internet or Blogs?
Send it with all the details…REAL prison activism at coreyrichardson.blogspot.com
FFUP has a new ally in a fun loving, artistically gifted woman who is concerned about the inhumanity in our prison and wants to help. She makes her own card and will sell them through FFUP on commission and is now starting FFUP's own card selling project using prisoner donated art. For a brochure, write FFUP or give your family and friends the address for our sites. All linked to www.prisonforum.org
OR go directly to:
http://littlesun.etsy.com for Renee's cards and http://www.zibbet.com/prisonart for cards made from donated prisoner art
Heard 'em ask 4
So he beckoned
4 a hearse,
Lost the race against
picture the curse.
Try 2 imagine
or get lost in
introspection based on
a what if,
what if that was
A hope in the unseen,
dude died this morning
and he asking if they're
God bless the child
that can hold his own,
what about when the
child become grown?
I said a prayer wit’
my eyes open,
confined and broke
so my day is spent hoping.
and like a bird it
"Special Count in 5 minutes,"
Damn, I guess
Life goes on....
Dated this 11th day of January, 2011
Mr Todd Jones #333660, CCI
I knew Arthur through occassional letters. He was confused, angry, unhappy. In his first letter he sent me a picture of his cousin, stating it was him. Gradually he told me his story of daily, mindboggling sexual abuse and sent a picture of himself. I do not think the man had ever had the experience of true friendship or love. He needed intensive daily care, love, and patience. He needed to start over. In his last letter he wrote that he was scared, he was going to have his toes amputated because of his diabetes. We know nothing more.
When listening to stories of people in prison I am amazed at the resilience and healing power of people, the ability of so many to become wise and good after so much abuse. But there has to be a window -somewhere in early youth I think- often it seems to be a grandmother that shows real kindness- just the vision of real love and friendship can carry someone through the hell of early years to the time when a growing consciousness can digest experiences. I don' t think Arthur had any windows. He was looking for some at the end. Arthur Boose , died sometime late December, early January. Be at peace, Arthur. PSwan
1)(From PLN) Nationwide PLN Survey Examines Prison Phone Contracts, Kickbacks
by John E. Dannenberg
In a research task never before accomplished, Prison Legal News, using public records laws, secured prison phone
contract information from all 50 states (compiled in 2008-2009 and representing data from 2007-2008). The initial survey
was conducted by PLN contributing writer Mike Rigby, with follow-up research by PLN associate editor Alex Friedmann.
The phone contracts were reviewed to determine the service provider; the kickback percentage; the annual dollar
amount of the kickbacks; and the rates charged for local calls, intrastate calls (within a state based on calls from one Local
Access and Transport Area to another, known as interLATA), and interstate calls (long distance between states). To simplify
this survey, only collect call and daytime rates were analyzed.
With very few exceptions, prison phone contracts contain kickback provisions whereby the service provider agrees to pay “commissions” to the contracting agency based on a percentage of the gross revenue generated by prisoners’ phone calls. These kickbacks are not insignificant. At more than $152 million per year nationwide for state prison systems alone, the commissions dwarf all other considerations and are a controlling factor when awarding prison phone contracts. (FFUP has full PDF report plus chart of all states)
2)From:Georgia Prisoners Strike for Wages, Better Medical Care and Food by Naomi Spencer (PLN)
Prisoners at seven Georgia state prisons called a strike on Decem¬ber 9, 2010 to protest against unpaid labor practices, poor conditions and violations of basic human rights.
Thousands of prisoners participated in the protest by refusing to work and remain¬ing in their cells. Prisoners coordinated the action using contraband cell phones. Black, white and Latino prisoners were unified in the strike, a significant development considering the brutal and fractious racial culture within U.S. prisons
In a press release, the prisoners listed foremost among their demands a wage for their work. Prisoners under the state's Department of Corrections (DOC) are forced to work without pay.Protesting prisoners demanded ac¬cess to educational opportunities beyond General
Equivalency Diploma (GED) certification, improved living conditions, access to medical care, fruit and vegetables in their meals, family visitation and tele¬phone communication rights, just parole decisions, and an end to cruel and unusual punishments.
Initially planned as a one-day protest, prisoners extended the strike when the DOC responded with violence. Prisoners at the Augusta State Prison said at least six prisoners were forcibly removed from their cells by guards and beaten. Several men suffered broken ribs and, according to a press release, prisoners said another was beaten "beyond recognition."
The prisoners' demands reveal the hellish conditions in which some 60,000 Georgians are held for years on end. Pris¬oners are confined in overcrowded cells, with very little heat in the winter months and sweltering heat in the summer. Prisoners protested the fact that the state now prohibits families from sending money through the US postal service; instead, families have to transfer funds through J-Pay, a private company, which skims ten percent of the money spent. Another for-profit firm, Global Tel-Link, controls family telephone communications at the prisons, raking in more than $50 per month per prisoner for weekly 15-minute calls. Many families of prisoners are poor, and such costs effectively prohibit regular contact with incarcerated loved ones. Prisoners also complained that the DOC had stripped them of any opportu¬nity for training in trades, exercise, or other type of self-improvement. The state offers no educational opportunities beyond earn¬ing the equivalent of a high school diploma or training in the Baptist ministry. Instead, prisoners are subjected to extremely long sentences and unpaid work assignments that amount to state enslave¬ment. Prisoners are made to cook and serve meals, clean, and maintain facilities within the prison system. They are also sent to clean, maintain, re-paint and repair other government property, pick up trash, mow and maintain state grounds, and perform other jobs without pay. After serving years behind bars, most prisoners are released with only $25 and a bus ticket. Conditions in U.S. jails and prisons have deteriorated as state budget crises have deepened. Georgia has the highest prison-er-to-resident ratio in the nation, with one in every thirteen people incarcerated or on probation or parole. In all, the state holds 60,000 prisoners and oversees 150,000 people on probation. The state's prison budget for 2010 exceeded $1 billion. Prisoners are serving longer and longer terms in Georgia, with fewer op¬portunities for rehabilitation. This is the product of "tough on crime" judicial policies ushered in by the Clinton admin¬istration, and in Georgia in the 1990s by right-wing Governor Zell Miller. Miller introduced a "Two strikes and you're out" law, and classified certain crimes as deserving of life sentences under the 1.994. "Seven Deadly Sins" law. Update from PLN The non-violent protest by Georgia prisoners extended until December 15, when the DOC began to lift the lock-downs at four state prisons and prisoners said they were ending the work strike. "We needed to come off lockdown so we can go to the law library and start ... the paperwork for a [prison conditions] lawsuit," said one of the prisoners who coordinated the protest. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, planning for the strike began in September 2010 after the DOC banned smoking. The poverty of litigation is that the bulk of the prison¬ers' demands, such as being paid for their labor, are perfectly acceptable under the United States' 18th century constitution.' If DOC officials fail to take action on the prisoners' demands, additional protests may occur.
3)Better Protecting Prisoners- April 6, 2011 Editorial from the NYTimes
The Justice Department is finalizing new rape-prevention policies that will become mandatory for federal prisons and state correctional institutions that receive federal money. The rules, based on recommendations from a Congressionally mandated commission, would be a major improvement. But the department needs to remedy several weaknesses before it issues final regulations.
Rape and other forms of sexual abuse by fellow inmates or correctional officers are a chronic hazard in prisons, jails and juvenile facilities across the country. According to federal estimates, 200,000 adult prisoners and jail inmates suffered some form of sexual abuse during 2008.
That works out to about 4.4 percent of the prison population and 3.1 percent of the jail population. The numbers are even higher in juvenile institutions, with 12 percent of the total population suffering some form of sexual abuse. Statistics showing that some institutions (9)
have higher rates of assault than others are consistent with the finding of the rape commission, which reported that some prisons had successfully created an atmosphere of safety while others tacitly tolerated assaults.
The commission came up with a long and compelling list of rape prevention recommendations, most of which have been adopted by the Justice Department. It is demanding a zero-tolerance approach to rape behind bars and will require better training of staff members, more effective ways to report assaults, more thorough investigations and better medical and psychiatric services for victims. In perhaps the most revolutionary development, prisons would be required to make sexual assault data public so policy makers could get a clear view of how well or how poorly vulnerable inmates were being protected.
Still, there are problems with the Justice Department’s approach. The decision to exclude immigration detention centers holding noncitizens goes against the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003, which defined a prison as any confinement facility administered by federal, state or local government.
Victims of sexual assault are often too traumatized to immediately speak out. So the provision permitting prisons systems to invalidate most complaints not lodged within 20 days seems arbitrary. Complaints should be taken seriously whenever they are reported. The department has obviously done the right thing by limiting cross-gender strip searches to emergency situations. But it should also set a goal of ending cross-gender pat-down searches.
Finally, the Justice Department needs to adopt the commission’s call for regularly scheduled, independent audits of prison rape prevention programs. That is the only sure way to know whether they are obeying the law. (FFUP has available January initial Justice dept proposal)