January 2012 Graterfriends newsletter


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January 2012 Graterfriends newsletter

  1. 1. Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― January 2012 A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society Promoting a humane, just and constructive correctional system and a rational approach to criminal justice since 1787Volume 43 Issue 1 January 2012   www.prisonsociety.org www.facebook.com/PennsylvaniaPrisonSociety How Serious are You about Freedom? by LaFaye Gaskins, BF-8329, SCI Mahanoy I have been in prison over twenty years, and it has After our return, it’s like we don’t care about the familybeen the worst experience of my life. It has also been and true friends we left behind. The best years of our livesharrowing for my beloved family. They support me, but are evaporating in these steel and concrete prisons and allmy incarceration has caused them severe pain. As a fam- we care about is playing games and eating chi-chis. So, Iily, we have not achieved what we could have had I not ask again, “How serious are we really about freedom?”been imprisoned. So, I am truly dumbfounded by how Eventually, the cell door closes shut and reality sets inmany parolees return to prison. It’s as if they think that and regret pricks our thoughts. We blame everyone butprison is the place to be. It’s not. ourselves — the parole man, the cops, the guy in the car I have to ask, “How serious are you really about free- — but deep down we know it was out fault, our bad deci-dom?” As fast as a person is paroled, he or she is back — sion. We get back into our old routine as if we never werethe same prison, the same block, and sometimes the paroled; back on the phone calling our mothers, aunts,same cell. I see them coming in every day and wonder if wives, and friends to hassle them for what we need. Wethey realize that they are a drag on their families’ ability demand money, visits, and other support. As always, ourto be a productive unit. Are they content to waste the family members give in. Our families are back in prisonbest years of their lives languishing in a prison cell? with us again, doing time. When people are imprisoned, they lose control over Until that day when they get fed up — no more visits,their lives. They have to rely on others — family, friends, money, or phone calls. We take and take without givingorganizations — to take care of almost all of their needs. anything back. Like mice running on a wheel goingFamilies and friends spend hard-earned money on com- around and around but going nowhere, we give up ourmissary items for them. They accept their collect calls freedom to live the life of a dependent: told when to sleepand visit them. and when to wake, when to eat and what to eat, what to We try our best to convince them that we have changed, wear and how to wear it, and when to use the bathroomthat we will never return to prison once released. They or take a shower, but never allowed to truly be a man ortake us at our word because they want to believe in us, woman. Is this what we want? The only difference be-but most of the time our words are more chaff than tween us and the mice is that if the mice are ever re-wheat, more ruse than sincerity. I include myself in this leased they will run away and never come back.because I am a prisoner and am no different. So, for those of us who will be released I ask again, But as soon as we reach the halfway house, all good “How serious are you about freedom?” If you are serious,sense goes out the window. Our “I’ll do good” promissory make the choice to never come back to prison; make thenotes go straight into default. Pledges of responsibility choice to have a life. Choose freedom over incarceration.and accountability are forgotten. It’s back to hanging outwith old “friends,” standing on the same corners, party-ing, until it is as if we never went to prison. Families are In this Issueleft disappointed, and organizations that supported us From the Editors, Mrs. GE-6309 Time .........................2are left looking foolish. Our Voices, Pass the Word ............................................3 While we are running the streets, thoughts of what we From the “Doc”, Birthdays, Crossword Solutions.........4owe our families and society never cross our minds, and Legislative Highlights....................................................5it is inevitable that we get arrested and violate parole. Legal Chat, Through a Far Eastern Window ............6-7Back in prison, all our so-called homies and old heads are Mailroom, Medical Alert .............................................8-9happy to see us. Are you serious? Why should anyone be Literary Corner, Graterfriends Order Form ...............10happy that we are back in prison? All they want to talk Crossword.....................................................................11about is: Who got money? Who got shot? and other trivi- “The Last Word” by William DiMascio .......................12alities. Are they really friends? 1 The opinions expressed are of the authors and not necessarily those of Graterfriends or The Pennsylvania Prison Society.
  2. 2. Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― January 2012 From Mrs. GE-6309 the Editors Time Good news! As of February 2012, Graterfriends will go SOCIETY’S MIRROR: DEALING WITH SHAMEback to the 16-page format. Now that we’ve shrunk a fewthings down in order to fit as much as possible in the By Reesy Floyd-Thompson, Mrs. GE-6309current 12 pages, we’ll be able to share even more infor-mation than before. Have you ever been to the carnival and stood in front of a fun house mirror? Your true likeness reflects back to You may notice that we have a new column: “Mrs. GE- you as something to make fun of — a distortion. When a6309 Time” by Reesy Floyd-Thompson. Ms. Floyd- partner goes to prison, prisoner’s wives (or partners) areThompson has been submitting columns to us pretty distorted into a twisted, mangled mess. This big houseregularly over the last few months, so we thought it was alteration is not so fun.time we gave her column a name of its own. She writesabout what it’s like to have a husband in prison, and I spent the better part of two years feeling ashamed ofgives wonderful advice about how to deal with the differ- my husband’s incarceration. I didn’t talk about it; Ient emotions prison spouses (and partners) go through. couldn’t. I felt as if no one understood my decision toMs. Floyd-Thompson is the founder of Prisoners’ Wives, stand by him. I lied to many people about his where-Girlfriends and Partners (PWGP) and her website is abouts. When I did tell a few people, I felt the need towww.pwgp.org. explain my choices. Back then, lying was much easier than telling the truth, or so I thought. Also in this issue, you will notice that we address both It wasn’t easier for me to lie about my husband’sbreast cancer (see “From the ‘Doc’,” page 4) and prostate whereabouts; it was easier for others. Shame lives incancer (see “Medical Alert page 9). We know that medical secrets. With every untrue word, I twisted my reality.care for prisoners can sometimes be an uphill battle, and we Each lie served to validate the idea something was wronghope the information in these two columns is helpful to you. with my life and relationship. I allowed society’s percep- tion of me to become more important than my own truth. Finally, don’t miss Executive Director William DiMas- I was mangled in the distortion of acceptance.cio’s article (“The Last Word, page 12) about lifers who finda way to make their lives meaningful. We’d like to hear People’s opinions of us are rarely true. If we use soci-from other lifers, or those who have long sentences, regard- ety’s mirror as the barometer by which we measure ouring how you try to be a positive force in the life of others. (See Society’s Mirror, continued on page 5) Letters more than a page in length (200 words) will not be published in their entirety in Mailroom or Legal Chat Room, and may be considered for another column. All columns should be no more than 500 words, or two double-spaced pages. To protect Graterfriends from copyright infringement, please EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: William M. DiMascio attach a letter stating, or note on your submission, that you are MANAGING EDITOR: Mindy Bogue the original author of the work submitted for publication; date and sign the declaration. FOUNDER: Joan Gauker If you have a question about Graterfriends, please contact Mindy Bogue, Communications Manager, at 215-564-6005, ext. 112 or mbogue@prisonsociety.org.Graterfriends is a monthly publication from the PennsylvaniaPrison Society. The organization was founded in 1787 andworks toward enhancing public safety by providing initiativesthat promote a just and humane criminal justice system.This issue is made possible through contributions from ourreaders and funding from Phoebus Criminal Justice Initiativethrough the Bread & Roses Community Fund. 245 North Broad Street · Suite 300We reserve the right to edit submissions. Original submissions Philadelphia, PA 19107will not be returned. We will not print anonymous letters. Telephone: 215.564.6005 · Fax: 215.564.7926Allegations of misconduct must be documented and statistics www.prisonsociety.orgshould be supported by sources. www.facebook.com/PennsylvaniaPrisonSociety 2 The opinions expressed are of the authors and not necessarily those of Graterfriends or The Pennsylvania Prison Society.
  3. 3. Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― January 2012 Our Voices Pssst… Pass the Word MEETING THE AUTHOR OF DON’T TRY TO PLAY THE SYSTEM THE NEW JIM CROW by Kenny B. Davenport, AF-7921, SCI Dallas by John Freddie Nole, AF-0346, SCI Graterford In an opinion filed on June 20, 1011, a U.S. District I’m sure that there are people better suited than me to Court in New Jersey held that to be timely, a complaintwrite about meeting Michelle Alexander. But for lack of under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) must be filedthe knowledge that that’s absolutely true, I share my both within two years of when the claimed accrued andexperience and hope it will make for good reading. within six months of the federal agency’s denial of the Attractive, passionate, and very empathetic: expres- claim. See Seiss v. United States, Civil No. 11-763. Thesions and comments shared by so many about her, and I opinion deals with how to interpret the limitations periodagree. She’s also engaging, to say the least. Her pose under §2401(b) of the FTCA.stops you in your tracks, allowing you, if only for a brief With respect to claims under the Prison Litigation Re-second, to know the potential for greatness is still alive form Act (PLRA), a judge of the Middle District Court inwithin you. Pennsylvania (i.e. Rambo) ruled that Pennsylvania’s two- Ms. Alexander is humble as she begins to tell us about year statute of limitations for bringing a personal injurywriting The New Jim Crow. She jolts her readers to ex- claim is tolled during the time a prisoner is exhaustingpress excitement: “I have been saying that for years,” his administrative remedies. See Soto v. Leskowsky et al.,they tell her. She conveys her experiences of being USDC-MD Pa. Civil No. 1: CV-10-2366 (Memorandumcaught in the syndrome of typecasting, and cuts to the filed 9/27/11).underbelly of this disease of mass incarceration that The judge, in denying the defendants’ motion to dis-plagues minority communities. miss, stated in pertinent part: The “new Jim Crow” no longer displays the “WhitesOnly” signs and the Confederate flags that were the old “At first glance, it would appear that [Plaintiff’s] claimssymbols, announcing the prejudices and racism of white against [Defendants] are time barred. However, variousAmerica. Today, a new spider web has been woven: the courts of appeals, as well as district courts in the Thirdmyth that black America has created its own upheaval. Circuit have concluded that the statute of limitations isThe sensationalizing of the war on drugs depicts users as tolled for the time period during which a prisoner ex-sale-kingpins. Drugs remove fathers from households hausts his administrative remedies pursuant to the Prisonwhile family values decay, allowing pride, dignity, and Litigation Reform Act (PLRA).” (Memorandum at *13)integrity to become meaningless to a generation where The court cited Brown v. Valoff, 422 F.3d 926, 942-43instant gratification pollutes the honest work ethic and (9th Cir. 2005); Johnson v. Rivera, 272 F.3d 519, 522 (7thharms our drive toward social equality. Cir. 2001); and Brown v. Morgan, 209 F.3d 595, 596 (6th As I hear and listen to her words, I’m reminded of a Cir. 2000).juvenile at the beginning of the pipeline through the jus- However, the time period prior to actually filing atice system. I am that eight-year-old being carted off to a prison grievance does not toll the time. See e.g. Gonzalezreformatory, with only tears conveying my message of v. Hasty, et al., No. 07-1787 (2nd Cir. 2011) *12, n.2hurt. There were no words yet in my vocabulary…only (observing, in part, that “courts that toll PLRA claimsheart-wrenching pain; there’s something tragically apply the toll only to the time period in which the inmatewrong with this picture. Today, Ms. Alexander illumi- is actively exhausting his administrative remedies, andnates by relating battles; I reflect on learning at an early not the anterior time period in between the accrual of theage how to befriend failure. At such an early age it was claim and when the prisoner initiated the administrativeeasy to make my negative lifestyle look positive. The act remedy process”).of paying back the system through more and more self-destruction has stumped my life potential. I would urge all concerned to pay careful attention to accrual dates and time periods for both the administra- She signs my copy of The New Jim Crow, “To Freddie, tive appeals process and also the statute of limitations.with hope for justice.” Don’t kid yourself by thinking you can game the system. We end the official session with a question put to all The courts will carefully check and review accrual dates.present… “What gives us hope?” I say in turn, “That as It doesn’t matter when the defendants happen to raisewe educate ourselves, we eliminate our differences, and the limitations period as a defense.our differences becomes our sameness.” 3 The opinions expressed are of the authors and not necessarily those of Graterfriends or The Pennsylvania Prison Society.
  4. 4. Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― January 2012 From DEATH ROW the “Doc” by Samuel L. Krakow January Birthdays BREAST CANCER 101 Ralph Birdsong Michelle Sue Tharp AF-9092, GRA OF-6593, MUN I recently received two reminders not to ignore the Dustin Ford Briggs Christopher Williamswomen of the DOC. One was from my editor, Ms.Bogue, GN-8696, GRN BT-3553, GRAwho called to my attention that incarcerated women often Daniel Gwynnfeel unheard. The second came from a letter authored by CW-5713, GRNMs. Mira Rainey (OH-6793), a victim of breast cancerduring her incarceration. Her ordeal, a rather painful and Sheldon Hannibal GRA = SCI Graterforddisfiguring one, prompted me to write about this topic. CG-5771, GRN PO Box 244 Graterford, PA Breast cancer is the most common gender-related can- James Lambert 19426-0244 AK-7472, GRNcer of women. (Of note, lung cancer is the most commoncancer overall.) In 2004, there were 216,000 cases of inva- GRN = SCI Greene Jerome Marshall 175 Progress Drivesive breast cancer and approximately 40,000 deaths. No AY-5932, GRN Waynesburg, PAwonder this illness receives so much attention! The good Thomas James Meadows 15370-8090news is that rates relating to mortality are decreasing as BL-5087, GRAa result of improved screening methods and treatment. MUN = SCI Muncy David Allen Sattazahn Post Office Box 180 What is breast cancer? Harrison’s Principles of Internal BT-7445, GRN Muncy, PA 17756-0180Medicine says it best: “Breast cancer is a hormone-dependent disease.” The next line is more telling: “Women If you do not want your name published, send a letter towithout functioning ovaries who never receive estrogen Graterfriends each year you do not want it to be included.replacement therapy do not develop breast cancer.” Be sure to note your date of birth. In short, anything that decreases a woman’s exposureto estrogen decreases her risk of getting breast cancer. CROSSWORD SOLUTIONSFor example, early initiation of menarche (your period)coupled with the late onset of menopause increases risk. Below are the solutions to crossword puzzles printed in thisFurthermore, never having gone through pregnancy (a issue and the previous issue of Graterfriends.full term one) has the same effect. (Curiously, a protec-tive effect occurs only if the pregnancy takes place after December 2011 January 2012the age of 18.) Your risk of getting breast cancer alsoincreases with age. It’s important to note that not all breast abnormalitiesare related to breast cancer, especially in youngerwomen. A “mass” could be a cyst, fatty changes withinthe tissue of the breast, an anomaly related to the hor-mone changes that occur during the cycling of menstrua-tion, or any number of benign conditions. The importanttake-home message is to learn the unique architecture ofyour own breasts and bring any changes to the attentionof a physician immediately. Coupled with regularly-performed mammograms starting at the age of 40, self-exams help to reduce the rate of breast cancer. What will happen if a mass is detected? It depends. apy, radiation, and specialized drugs that act as “anti-However, the most important consideration is establish- hormones.” These treatment recommendations are al-ing a diagnosis and finding out how far the cancer has ways changing, so it’s difficult to summarize them all.spread. (For example, has it moved beyond the breast tothe lymph nodes or beyond?) Another consideration is Of special note, to all those who have a diagnosis ofdetermining if the cancer is “hormone responsive.” In breast cancer while in the DOC’s custody: I send you myother words, does the cancer have receptors that bind concern and prayers. It’s scary to undergo the complica-estrogen? All these situations have implications regard- tions of this illness while away from family and friends. Iing treatment, from local surgery that conserves the want you to know that you are not alone, that the womenbreast to radical mastectomy coupled with chemother- haven’t been forgotten. 4 The opinions expressed are of the authors and not necessarily those of Graterfriends or The Pennsylvania Prison Society.
  5. 5. Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― January 2012 Legislative Highlights Ann Schwartzman Policy Director, The Pennsylvania Prison SocietyThe Pennsylvania House of Representatives and Senate are in session for several voting days during the holidays.Below are several bills that are currently under consideration and moving. Please note that SB1153 is still in theSenate Judiciary Committee.BILL NO. DESCRIPTION CHIEF SPONSOR PPS POSITIONPRINTER NO.HB 1958 Revises registration for sexual offenders in relation to Rep. R. Marsico OpposePN 2702 SORNA and federal stipulations. Certain juveniles who R-Dauphin are transient or homeless must register as sex offend- ers. (see SB 1183) (Amended in House Judiciary Committee 12/5/11; now on House Floor)HB 1963 Calls for sentencing enhancement by the court for cer- Rep. W. Keller OpposePN 2710 tain firearms offenses by those on probation or parole. D-Philadelphia Will be a consecutive sentence if found guilty. (In House Judiciary 11/3/11)SB 100 Provides for prison reform measures such as risk as- Sen. S. Greenleaf SupportPN 1668 sessment, alternative sentencing, pre-release, and R-Montgomery and more. (Passed Senate 10/18/11; referred to House Bucks Judiciary 10/19/11)SB 397 Prohibits the death sentence for cases of mental retar- Sen. M. J. White SupportPN 380 dation post-trial. (Passed Senate 10/18/11; R-Butler, Clarion, referred to House Judiciary 10/19/11) Erie, Forest, Venango, WarrenSB 775 Further provides for mandatory DNA testing; includes Sen. D. Pileggi OpposePN 1826 arrestees and those charged with crimes; mandatory R-Chester, Delaware DNA sampling and record purging; impact and costs for Pa. State Police. (Passed Senate Judiciary and Appropriations 12/6/11; sent to Senate floor 12/7/11)SB 1183 Extensively revises provisions relating to registration of Sen. J.C. Orie OpposePN 1821 sexual offenders, pursuant to federal mandate; makes R-Allegheny, Butler editorial changes. (see HB 1958) (Passed Senate 11/15/11; Amended in House Judiciary 12/5/11)SB 1220 Requires expungement of criminal history records for Sen. T. Solobay SupportPN 1496 certain misdemeanors committed when under the age D-Allegheny, Beaver, of 25. (Passed Senate Judiciary 9/27/11; now in Green, Washington, Senate Appropriations 10/25/11) WestmorelandSociety’s Mirror, continued from page 2 shame, we need to stop peering into society’s mirror, expecting strangers to legitimatize us. People who doworth as a person, or the value of our relationship, then not know or care about us cannot be our vessel for vali-we are sure to receive carnival-like reactions. Fun begins dation. When we examine ourselves in our own lookingwhen we recognize we do not have to prove anything to glass and recognize our true being, not the twisted,anyone outside ourselves. mangled, distortion of having a partner in prison, shame dissipates. Being ashamed about our partners’ incarcerationmeans believing the distortions, “We are not worthy.” Reesy Floyd-Thompson is the founder of Prisoners’“No one understands.” “We don’t matter.” “We are crazy.” Wives, Girlfriends, & Partners (PWGP). Contact her atThis is absolutely 100 percent not true. To eradicate pwgp.org 5 The opinions expressed are of the authors and not necessarily those of Graterfriends or The Pennsylvania Prison Society.
  6. 6. Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― January 2012 simply because of the following: Legal Chat • Phone calls from here to Philly are $13.50; to New York, $20. Local calls are $5.50-$7.50. • Commissary items are much more expensive, and the maximum spending limit is $60. • Visits are 30 to 45 minutes and are non-contact. The only exception is the Charlie Unit, which re- ARE YOUR MEDICAL NEEDS NEGLECTED? ceives two-hour non-contact visits. There indeed are a number of other issues that I have Many Pennsylvania state inmates do not know that not touched on. But if you are in the process of an appeal,physicians and physician assistants are required to be you are in trouble because the law library is not adequate.licensed, and failure to properly care for patients can beinvestigated and disciplinary action taken by the state. In the event your number is called and you’re toldThey are licensed through the Department of State. If “pack up, ID Room,” get all your affairs in order.you believe you are not being properly treated for your Jamal McNeilmedical condition, file a complaint against them, as well DE-8533, Lackawanna County Prisonas Prison Health Services (105 Westpark Drive, Brent-wood, TN 37027). Include Prison Health Services in yourcomplaint. Write to the address below and ask for a“Statement of Complaint” form to file against a medical BEWARE OF BIASprofessional or physician: Anyone pursuing relief for “convicted criminals” beforeDepartment of State the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court should considerProfessional Compliance Office submitting a related motion for recusal of Anne Covey,2601 N. 3rd St. that court’s newest member.PO Box 2649Harrisburg, PA 17105 During the 2011 election campaign for a vacant seat on the Commonwealth Court, Ms. Covey’s campaign televised The more of you who speak out about the lack of proper daily political ads that derided her opponent for havingmedical care, the sooner you can make changes in how your sought, “to spend your tax dollars to register convictedmedical needs are handled. Changes come from everyone criminals to vote.” She added: “That’s just nonsense!” Any-speaking, and filing complaints can make a difference. one who so blatantly heralds such bias against convicted Ted Savage, criminals cannot be trusted to suppress such prejudice CB-2674, SCI Cresson during the court’s disposition of civil cases involving any aspect of relief sought by a “convicted criminal.” Prior to 2001, convicted felons were denied the right to register to vote for five years following release from IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE prison. The Commonwealth Court annulled that five- year restriction, which was the foundation for Ms. Recently I was ambushed and told to pack for transfer. Covey’s anti-convict-registration campaign ads.It was a Wednesday, so of course I already knew where I Imagine what that court’s decision may have been hadwas going — Lackawanna County Prison (LCP). After Ms. Covey then been a court member espousing her biasspending 15.5 years in a state prison, out of the blue I against convicted criminals registering to vote.was told to pack for a move I never requested. Appar-ently, I fit the requirements, which include: Jon E. Yount AC-8297, SCI Greene • Misconduct-free for at least 6 months • Good block and work reports • Not serving a life sentence When submitting a letter or column I was also informed that the legislature is the one whoauthorized the Department of Corrections to move state to Graterfriends for publication,inmates to county facilities. I don’t know if that is true. I please remember to attach a letterwas told that I must stay at least 9-18 months before Ican return to SCI Dallas, and that there are specific re- (or note on your submission) that itquirements for my return. Regardless of my transferstatus, I’m not to be housed at LCP for more than two is for publication and that you areyears, and I must use a request slip to get a transfer the original author; date and signback to Dallas. the declaration. Thank you. This is a financial burden upon me and my loved ones, 6 The opinions expressed are of the authors and not necessarily those of Graterfriends or The Pennsylvania Prison Society.
  7. 7. Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― January 2012 Through a Join the Pennsylvania Prison Society’s Far Eastern Poster Competition Window by Michael H. Fox to celebrate our 225th anniversary! "RIKAI," NOT REVENGE Sitting in an interior lobby at SCI Greene en route tovisiting my friends on death row, I struck up a conversation Posters due by thewith the corrections officer (CO) overseeing the drug detec-tion machine. Whenever I am back in the United States, I end of this month!make it a point to chat with COs. Like a trip to Walmart, itis a clear glimpse into the raw heart of America. This competition is open “I dont see why we don’t execute,” he remarked. “It to all prisoners in Pennsylvania.really is unjustifiable.” “No, actually there are many rea-sons,” I responded: “the possibility of executing the inno- Requirementscent; the chance of a botched procedure (like RomellBroom in Ohio — still alive); and the lack of closure for • Posters must be received by January 31, 2012 atthe family of victims.” our office (see address on page 2). Not wanting to lecture, I stopped short. But I did skip • Posters must be either 11x17 inches or 18x24one significant reason: the importance of comprehending inches.the motivation behind the action. Why crimes occur, and • Artwork requires an accompanying paragraph orwho commit them, is a critical concern of modern sociology. two about the artist. Interestingly enough, this very topic is in the forefront The posters will be judged by a three judge panel, exhibitedof news here in Japan. Several days ago, the last defen- at Eastern State Penitentiary in April 2012, and the follow-dant in the crimes committed by a religious cult in the ing month at our annual meeting. They will also be dis-1990s was sentenced to death. Overall, dozens received played on the Prison Society’s website.criminal convictions, and 13 were sentenced to death. The 12 winning posters will be made into a calendar for the The most heinous crime was the release of sarin gas on Prison Society and the winners will each receive a small giftTokyo subways in March 1995. Twelve died, and hun- certificate from Jerry’s Artarama. Once submitted, owner-dreds were sickened. And in 1989, well before the gas- ship of the artwork and reproduction rights become those of the Prison Society.sings, a lawyer investigating the cult, his wife and youngbaby, were murdered. The disaster brought a rage of hate against the cult.But as the public knows, the cult does not carry sole re- Regarding Ms. Eakle’ssponsibility for the tragedy. The attorney mentionedabove was interviewed for a documentary. He and his Sex Offender Reentryfamily disappeared after the interview’s contents were Programleaked to the cult. The TV station should have informedthe authorities, but chose to hush up the incident. Many of you have been inquiring Likewise, after the murder, a high-ranking member ofthe group went to the police and requested mercy in ex- about Ms. Eakle’s Sex Offenderchange for information. His ministrations were ignored. Reentry Program, which was inHad the media informed the police of the interview, andhad the police listened to the whistleblower, many more the July issue of Graterfriends.people today would be alive. Support for the death penalty runs high in Japan. Un- Unfortunately, we have sinceder the Confucian mentality, one is supposed to exercise found out that this program doesself-control and sacrifice egoistic intentions for commu-nal advancement. Those who infringe these strictures not exist. We regret the frustration and confusion this has caused. (See Rikai, continued on page 11) 7 The opinions expressed are of the authors and not necessarily those of Graterfriends or The Pennsylvania Prison Society.
  8. 8. Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― January 2012 were fired and arrested for abusing prisoners and allow- ing them to be assaulted sexually and otherwise. While Mailroom these examples stand out and are in the public eye (and will be excused by some as isolated incidents), in reality these situations occur frequently — perhaps to a lesser degree almost every day — but they are not exposed. Those in authority should stop fronting and start doing RE: SCARED the right thing by us because they won’t always be in a position that allows them to abuse their power. When Ms. Hartsfield-Stokes states that the system has failed they fall, they will be on the same level as us. Theyus because people are getting killed for being good citi- might wind up being our cellies. How much power andzens and testifying in court. If I understood the letter authority will they have then?correctly, people should be encouraged to cooperate withthe system to help incarcerate more people, but on the Michael Twiggsother hand the system is corrupt and unjust. AF-6967, SCI Greene I understand that something has to be done to stopviolence in society, but prisons are full and crime has YOU MAY HAVE UNCLAIMED MONEYonly gotten worse. Speaking from my experience with thesystem for over a decade, many people that do testify I am a prisoner, have been for some time now. The firsthave ulterior motives. Some are involved in the case and part of my sentence was at SCI Albion. I’m now at SCIsell their co-defendants out to receive a lesser sentence. Dallas, closer to my home for my family. Now 52 yearsMany lie. Some honestly report a crime they witness. So, old, I try not to let this place harden me. I’m a lifer, and Ithey take one person off the streets, then what? Are the believe to help myself is to help others. There are a lot ofstreets now safe with him in prison for life, or sitting on us who were never able to return to our homes, apart-death row? I’ve been in prison for almost 14 years. Is my ments, or other places where we paid bills, down pay-neighborhood safer because I am in here? Not at all — it ments, security deposits, or income tax refunds that weis worse. A new generation has taken my place. Many of never received.them are more of a danger to society then I was then, or The state may be holding this money for people, and toam now. find out costs nothing. I did not think I had anything I don’t understand how anyone can be about justice but coming, but I did, and so did two of my friends here inpromote the idea of imprisoning more people to rot in prison. If you want to see if the state is holding moneythese prisons. Many prisoners are children that are only owed to you, just follow the instructions below. You cana product of their environment. even claim money that was owed to a deceased family How many prisons have to be built, how many children member who never claimed it.have to rot their lives away in these so-called “correct- Write a letter requesting a record search for possibleional” institutions before society sees that this is not the money owed to you, and that you are asking them toanswer to the problems in our communities? If society send you the necessary forms to fill out to claim thatdoes not understand that we must use alternatives to money. Be sure to include your full name and sign theincarceration, it will only get worse. letter. Ask them to send any correspondence to your cur- Shariff Ingram rent address. DV-6749, SCI Greene Send the letter to: Pennsylvania Treasury Dept. A CULTURE OF ABUSE OF POWER Bureau of Unclaimed Property IN PENNSYLVANIA PO Box 1837 Harrisburg, PA 17105-1837 By the time this is printed, the eyes of the nation may Timothy Mark Dodgeno longer be focused on Pennsylvania. However, at the EP-6184, SCI Dallastime I’m writing this, the nation is transfixed on the she-nanigans of individuals entrusted with authority overothers — children, in this case. The Penn State debacle MY HAT IS OFF TO THE OCCUPY MOVEMENThighlights a culture of abuse of power and authority of-ten practiced by individuals who are responsible for pro- My hat is off to the Occupy Wall Street and relatedtecting the rights of others. “Occupy” protestors throughout the country. We recently discovered that Pennsylvania leads the Public recognition of the immense economic inequal-nation and the world in jailing its juveniles for life with- ity that our nation not only harbors but nourishes isout the possibility of parole. Pennsylvania judges have long overdue.been convicted of sending juveniles to jails and other For too long, the wealthiest one percent of our popula-facilities for cash profit. Pennsylvania legislators have tion has manipulated and used the rest of us in an ongo-been charged and convicted for corruption and abuse of ing effort to provide themselves with a seemingly endlesspower. Several correctional officers at SCI Pittsburgh supply of luxuries. It is time to break this cycle. 8 The opinions expressed are of the authors and not necessarily those of Graterfriends or The Pennsylvania Prison Society.
  9. 9. Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― January 2012 Hopefully, any success achieved by the Occupy move-ment will include easing the oppression of those at thevery bottom of the socio-economic exploited heap —namely, prison inmates. Medical Alert Corrections employees have always depended on asteady influx of prisoners for their livelihood. However, inthe last couple of decades, large and wealthy corpora-tions, such as Corrections Corporation of America, KeefeCommissary Network, and Aramark Correctional Ser-vices, have been increasingly influential in absorbing UNDERSTANDING PROSTATE CANCERhuge profits from the misery of prisoners. These corpora-tions vehemently oppose plans to reduce prison popula- Mr. Antonio Thomas (GG-1872, SCI Graterford) hastions through parole, good time, or clemency by procuring sent us more information regarding prostate cancer thatlobbyists to be “tough on crime.” Meanwhile, prisoners he wants all readers to see. Thank you, Mr. Thomas, forare left captive consumers with no option but to use these helping others who are dealing with this disease whileservices. This, too, is a cycle that needs to be broken. incarcerated. The following information is from Us TOO International Prostate Cancer Education and Support I wish the Occupy protestors well, and appreciate the Network (www.ustoo.org).struggle and sacrifices they are making. Jeffrey Watson Stage I (T1) and stage II (T2) cancers are found only in AY-7494, SCI Dallas the prostate. T1 cancers are small enough that your doc- tor is unable to feel it during your DRE (Digital Rectal Examination). T2 cancers are larger and can be felt as firmness or a lump on a DRE. Stage III (T3) and Stage SOUND ADVICE TO TAKE INTO THE NEW IV (T4) cancers are no longer confined to the prostate YEAR AND BEYOND gland. T3 cancers have spread to nearby tissues but still remain inside the pelvic area. T4 tumors deeply invade Plan your work and work your plan. Learn to love in- surrounding tissues and may have metastasized tostead of hate. Spend less time talking and more time lymph nodes or bone.listening. Stop spending your money in places you are Prostate cancer appears to transition from latent tonot respected and appreciated. Only cowards remain aggressive disease sooner, and to grow more rapidly, insilent when they know something is wrong and that it African-American (AA) men than in men of European-needs to be corrected. Always examine both sides of the American ancestry. Dr. Isaac J. Powell of Wayne Statestory. If you do not know the history of your ancestors University School of Medicine in Detroit has found thatand their struggles, you are doomed to make the same although the average age at diagnosis does not differmistakes. It is wise to share when you have more than between the two races, specimens from black men hadothers. Take responsibility for what is yours. Say no to great cancer volume at a higher stage. Prostate cancer isanything that does not validate or support who you are. four times as likely to be advanced or metastasized inOne must give respect to get respect. Teach your children black as in white men.the truth. Take time to laugh. Set an example. Thinkand examine before doing. Forgive, but don’t forget. Have Lifestyle factors that may contribute to prostate cancerfaith. Strive for excellence. Don’t stress about things or include obesity and diets high in fat.situations over which you have no power. Know that you Dr. Stephen Freedland of Duke University Medicaldeserve better; dream it, see it, taste it, touch it, live it. Center writes, “Although our contention that prostateBe your own best friend. Understand the power of words; cancer grows more rapidly and transforms earlier fromthey can cut, crush, soothe, heal, and create. Keep your latent to aggressive disease in AA men requires valida-word. Choose your battles wisely, and know that a sol- tion, it is undisputed that AA men bear a greater pros-dier never knows his/her strengths until he/she meets a tate cancer burden…Continued efforts to vigorouslyfoe. Learn to rise when you fall, and when you rise, stand screen for prostate cancer and understand underlyingtall. Know that no one can ride your back unless it is reasons for more aggressive disease in AA men are des-bent. Success only comes to those who have the courageto pursue their dreams. It is often necessary to fight abattle more than once before you win. The pessimist sees We have an incredible opportunity to reshapedifficulty in every opportunity, while the optimist seesopportunity in every difficulty. When successful people the way in which our nation fights poverty,make mistakes they don’t quit, they keep trying; that’s and one of the most critical elements is tohow they became successful in the first place. When you significantly and substantively reform ourget closer to that mysterious Reality out of which allthings emerge, and into which all things return, you will prison system to break the cycle of recidivism.become closer to God. —Sam Brownback (R) George Rahsaan Brooks-Bey Governor of Kansas AP-4884, SCI Frackville 9 The opinions expressed are of the authors and not necessarily those of Graterfriends or The Pennsylvania Prison Society.
  10. 10. Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― January 2012 treacherous downhill grade – a dead end line with fatal consequences. Your journey has evolved into a life or Literary death struggle. The hurtling juggernaut tosses you about, as you attempt to make sense of your predica- Corner ment. You manage to work your way forward, only to discover that the engineer and the crew are asleep, and refuse to wake up. As it turns out, you are the only passenger. You see – the engineer is actually a judge and the crew de- DEATH ROW RAILROAD fense attorneys. The police and prosecutor have diverted by Kevin Brian Dowling, DY-6243, SCI Greene your train in an act of sabotage. The smooth rails of truth and righteousness have beenA shrill whistle blows and pierces the stillness of the replaced with the warped iron of lies and deceit.dawn, as the train approaches at a rhythmic gait, until itstops to pick up its precious cargo. The journey begins Emblazoned on the screaming engine is the namelike any other, yet unlike any other. “Freedom.” Your destination was the town called “Justice,” but that is not where you are headed. YourYou are unsure of your destination, only that you were ticket says, “One Way Only,” and was compliments of thetold to climb aboard. You assume the tracks are solid and house.the course is certain, trusting the crew to guide yousafely to your station. There is only one stop on the Death Row Railroad.Without warning, the tracks divert the locomotive onto a Prepare to disembark. BOOK FOR PRISONERS WHO WANT TO LEARN SPANISH Spanish for Prisoners: Learn a Second Language and Improve Your Chances for Employment on Release is a 275- page book offering a unique opportunity for prisoners to learn Spanish. Written by Ronald Bilbrey (#18705-018, FCI Coleman Low, FL) this can help them prepare for entering a diverse society and competing in today’s demanding job market. If you are interested in purchasing Spanish for Prisoners, please send $18.95 + $4.50 (shipping and handling) to: Infinity Publishing 1094 New DeHaven St., Ste. 100 West Conshohocken, PA 19428. You may also call them toll-free at 1-877-289-2665 if you have questions.SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION Support our mission and become a member!Receive Graterfriends and Correctional Forum for: Make a check or money order payable to$5 Prisoner $200 Patron The Pennsylvania Prison Society$10 Prisoner Family $250 Sponsor 245 North Broad Street, Suite 300 Student $500 Founder Philadelphia, PA 19107$40 Regular Membership $1,000 1787 Society$100 Friend of the Society Prisoners may pay with unused postage stamps.Are you a prisoner who just wants Graterfriends? You maysubscribe just to Graterfriends for $3.Name _________________________________________ Prisoner Number_______________ Institution _________________________________Address ______________________________________________ City _______________________________ State _______ Zip ________________Payment Amount _____________________________________ Payment Method _____________________________________________________ NEW SUBSCRIBERS: Please allow 6-8 weeks for receipt of your first issue. 10 The opinions expressed are of the authors and not necessarily those of Graterfriends or The Pennsylvania Prison Society.
  11. 11. Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― January 2012 Lifers, continued from page 12 were attending a World Congress at the University of Pennsylvania. The Graterford meeting was titled “Ending the Culture of Street Crime.” The inmates pre- sented their paper and sought feedback from the distin- guished visitors. It was a truly remarkable undertaking and it continues today. In similar fashion, lifers at SCI Dallas developed a re- storative justice program called a “Day of Responsibil- ity.” The men spend an entire day in sessions with crime victims, community leaders and others and they discuss in raw and vivid detail how crimes such as the ones they committed have hurt their victims, their families and their communities. In the end they ask participants to pledge to themselves to live a better life. The Day of Responsibility is now held at Retreat, Hun- tingdon and other prisons using a guidebook available at the Prison Society. None of this should suggest that life in prison is any-Across Down thing pleasant or that inmates don’t get depressed. But in the gloom and misery of life behind bars, it is possible1. Coin opening 1. Tater to construct something of a positive life experience.5. Mas’ mates 2. Ear part8. Certain evergreen tree 3. Aces, sometimes That’s a New Year’s resolution worth making.12. Small horse 4. What the Michelin man13. Illuminated sells in England14. Length times width 5. High tableland15. Above, in Berlin 6. Be under the weather16. Beer 7. Knight’s mount17. Send 8. Did a decorating job18. Dry place 9. __ horse (locomotive)20. Happenings 10. Egg holder Rikai, continued from page 722. Fast driver 11. Diner sign24. Exposed part of an iceberg 19. Certain weapon, abbrev.27. Tank filler 21. Dog doctor deserve severe reprimand. The death penalty reinforces28. Camper’s shelters 23. School assignment this mindset.32. Brainwave 24. Food container For these reasons, those of us in the abolitionist camp34. Employ 25. Bachelor’s last words were rather shocked when the victims support group36. Bug spray ingredient 26. The ‘p’ in m.p.g. publicly announced opposition to placing 12 of the 13 cult37. Civil War side 29. Colo. neighbor defendants (minus the leader) on death row.39. Will Smith title role 30. Mad Hatters drink41. San Francisco or Chesa- 31. Pig’s enclosure These defendants are not a ragtag bunch of social mis- peake, for example 33. Map books fits. Most of the twelve have advanced degrees (medicine,42. Courtroom VIPs 35. Put in office immunology) from flagship universities. The abandon-45. Make waves 38. Controls ment of occupation and family by social elites for a new48. Crowds in on 40. Like some verbs, abbrev. religion with a blind, apocalyptic guru is a perplexing52. Bakery offerings 43. Humpback, e.g. phenomenon. It demands study.53. Inclined 44. Smooths Instead of execution, the survivors group has called55. “Me neither” 45. Unwanted e-mail for “rikai” — a term that embraces enquiry, compre-56. Basilica area 46. Organ part hension, and sympathy. Such progressive thinking57. Fib 47. Not as much deserves commendation. Rikai, rather than revenge,58. Haul 49. “Encore!” comforts the deceased, brings closure to victims, and59. Clutter 50. Kind of fall advances humanity.60. Call off 51. Email enders, abbrev.61. Adjusts, as a clock 54. ATM need Michael H. Fox is director of the Japan Innocence andEasy Crossword #11 by Dave Fisher (puzzles.about.com) For solution, see page 4. Death Penalty Research Center (www.jiadep.org). 11 The opinions expressed are of the authors and not necessarily those of Graterfriends or The Pennsylvania Prison Society.
  12. 12. Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― January 2012 NON-PROFIT First Class postage is required to re-mail January 2012 ORGANIZATION U.S. POSTAGE PAID CLAYSBURG, PA PERMIT NO. 84 245 North Broad Street Suite 300 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107THE LAST WORD Lifers Find Ways to Give Their Lives Meaning, Even Behind Bars by William M. DiMascio Executive Director, The Pennsylvania Prison Society With such a huge number of men and women serving sen- at SCI Graterford, re-focused itself several years ago.tences of life without possibility of parole, the question often The organization used to meet periodically with the solecomes up about how one manages to live without hope. intention of finding ways to advocate for parole release. But as commutations slowed to a trickle and the political I have yet to meet a prisoner who does not want to be environment turned increasingly sour, members beganfree. There are some, of course, who are probably better thinking about more positive pursuits.off in prison than they would be on the street. Still, thedesire for freedom is a powerful draw and for lifers it can They began strategizing about what they might do tobe the cause of deep depression. change the culture of street crime. They acknowledged the damage they had done to their communities and Somehow, however, these lifers get by – not especially their families and wondered what they might do frompleased or happy with their circumstance – but trudging prison to improve the situations their families were con-along one day at a time. For most of them, the dream of tinuing to experience.freedom dies slowly; eventually, though, reality pro-claims itself. For some, at least, this is a turning point The result was the Public Safety Initiative – an effortbecause as the dream fades so too does their depression. by men convicted of murder or being accomplices to mur- der to convince others who were eligible for parole to One seasoned prison visitor who also happens to be a become kind of urban missionaries when they were re-noted psychiatrist recounts this experience from a meet- leased. They wanted the men getting out to not return toing with a group of lifers: prison as so many do but also to talk truth to younger men who appeared to be headed for incarceration. “I once asked them how they can be so cheerful andjoke with one another and seem not to have any depres- The organizers were convinced that they alone, by vir-sion. They were quiet for a few minutes and finally came tue of their own experience in the life, could persuadeup with one answer with which everyone agreed. They others to chart a different course.say, ‘We have each other.’ They are able to make a fam-ily out of fellow prisoners to whom they attach.” Methodically, these men met and deliberated on how best to achieve their goals. They wrote a white paper Hope is a yearning for something which leads to de- explaining their theory and had it published in thespair if it is unrealized. But hope of a sort may be re- Prison Journal.channeled to focus not on what is out of reach but onwhat can be accomplished. Then, in 2005, they hosted a conference at Graterford for scores of criminologists from around the world who Lifers, Inc., the organization of life sentenced prisoners (see Lifers, continued on page 11) 12 The opinions expressed are of the authors and not necessarily those of Graterfriends or The Pennsylvania Prison Society.