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March 2012 Graterfriends
 

March 2012 Graterfriends

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Graterfriends is a monthly newsletter written primarily for and by prisoners in Pennsylvania. I am the managing editor and create the newsletter every month. I write the editorial on page two, and ...

Graterfriends is a monthly newsletter written primarily for and by prisoners in Pennsylvania. I am the managing editor and create the newsletter every month. I write the editorial on page two, and sometimes write additional news articles.

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    March 2012 Graterfriends March 2012 Graterfriends Document Transcript

    • Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― March 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 3 March 2012   www.prisonsociety.org www.facebook.com/PennsylvaniaPrisonSociety To My Brethren and Sistas on the ‘Row’ By Mumia Abu-Jamal, AM-8335, SCI Mahanoy It has been barely a week since I departed Death Row, No matter what the world says of you, see the best inyet I cannot help but look back, for many of you are in each other, and radiate love to each other.my heart. Be your best self. I may no longer be on Death Row, but because of you,Death Row is still with me. How could that not be so, If you are blessed to have family, send your love towhen I’ve spent more years of my life on Death Row, them all—no matter what. If you have a spiritual familythan in “freedom”? Or, spent more time on Death Row or faith, practice it fully and deeply, for this links you tothan with family? something greater than yourself. No matter what: Chris- tianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Krishna Conscious- I write to tell you all—even those I’ve never met—that ness, Buddhism or Santeria (or Move).I love you, for we have shared something exceedinglyrare. I have shared tears and laughter with you that the This broadens and deepens you.world will neither know nor see. I have shared your an-guish when some judge shattered your hopes and spat I have been blessed to have many of you as my teachersdisappointment; or when some politician sought to use and my students. Some have been my sons; some haveyou to climb to higher office. been my brothers. Yet I see all of you as part of my family. Take heart, for the death penalty itself is dying.You are all far more than others States and counties simply can’t afford it, and politi-say of you, for the spark of the cians who run on it are finding fewer and fewer buyers.infinite glows within each of you. Juries (especially in places like Philly) are increasingly (See Brethren and Sistas, continued on page 14) We have seen time and disease take some of our peopleoff the Row. In this Issue We have seen several choose their own date to die, From the Editors, News.................................................2cheating the hangman via suicide (Tilley, June). From the “Doc,” Pass the Word .....................................3 But, brothers and sisters of the Row, I write not of Mrs. GE-6309 Time, Birthdays, Crossword Solutions .4death, but of life. Legislative Highlights....................................................5 If I can walk off, so can you. Legal Chat ...................................................................6-7 Mailroom .....................................................................7-9 Keep rumblin’; Keep fightin’; Keep rockin’; Check outyour Mills issue. Our Voices ....................................................................10 Think About It..............................................................11 But, there is more. Live each day, each hour, as if it is Through a Far Eastern Window, Literary Corner .....12the only time there is. Love fiercely. Learn a new thing.A language. An art. A science. Keep your mind alive. Announcements............................................................13Keep your heart alive. Laugh! Graterfriends Order Form ...........................................14 Crossword.....................................................................15 Look at each other not as competitors, but as fellowtravelers on the same red road of life. “The Last Word” by William DiMascio .......................16 1 The opinions expressed are of the authors and not necessarily those of Graterfriends or The Pennsylvania Prison Society.
    • Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― March 2012 From the Editors News As you’ve probably already read, the front page article VVA PROPOSED NEW RESOLUTIONS MAYthis month is from Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was recently ALLOW US SECOND LOOKremoved from Death Row. We hope his words to those of youwho are still on Death Row are encouraging and uplifting. from SCI Dallas Veterans Group Stop by the Mailroom section to read the ongoing debate To our benefit, in August 2011, delegates from Vietnamover smoking in Pennsylvania’s prisons. We are currently Veterans of America (VVA) announced 15 New Resolu-checking how other states handle this issue and will print an tions that will have a direct effect on incarcerated Viet-article about our findings in a future issue of Graterfriends. nam Era veterans who have been overlooked for so long. On page five, you will see suggested actions that These resolutions include: jobs in the public sector, jobcame out of the recent report on children of incarcer- training, veterans in business, judicial review for PTSDated parents, The Effects of Parental Incarceration on (with support and readjustment counseling), medicalChildren: Needs and Responsive Services. The report treatment, research, benefits for female veterans, andis a compilation of findings and recommendations more. The resolutions likely to be most important to vet-from the Joint State Government Commission and an erans are listed below:advisory committee that was led by the Prison Soci-ety’s Policy Director, Ann Schwartzman. VIN-3, Parole/Clemency: One question we’ve been asking ourselves here for a few Resolve, that Vietnam Veterans of America strongly rec-months: Do you enjoy the crossword puzzle we have ommends that the U.S. Sentencing Commission and statesstarted to include every month? No need to use extra pa- that have no parole review for individuals sentenced forper or stamps to just answer that question, but if you are life, establish special and specific mechanisms within theirsubmitting a letter or column, please just let us know. respective court systems and the boards of pardons, whereWe’re curious if you like it and if you find it too easy, too such exist, to address the issues of the veterans with ser-difficult, or just about right. We try to keep all of you in vice-connected post-traumatic-stress-disorder (PTSD), whomind when deciding what to include in each issue. were arrested prior to 1980, and thus have not been af- Finally, be sure to catch Executive Director William forded the opportunity to present evidence of the influenceDiMascio’s “Last Word” on the back page, where he dis- of PTSD on their criminal actions.cusses the difference between justice and retribution, andhow there can be no justice without compassion. (See VVA Resolutions, continued on page 11) 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. EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: William M. DiMascio To protect Graterfriends from copyright infringement, please MANAGING EDITOR: Mindy Bogue attach a letter stating, or note on your submission, that you are the original author of the work submitted for publication; date EDITORIAL ASSISTANTS: and sign the declaration. William Bradley, Danielle Collins, Bridget Fifer If you have a question about Graterfriends, please contact FOUNDER: Joan Gauker 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.
    • Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― March 2012 From Pssst… the “Doc” Pass the Word by Samuel L. Krakow TACKLING DEPRESSION ONE SHINING TRIUMPH Depression is a common mental illness in the general IN THEWAR FOR JUSTICEAmerican population, afflicting upwards of 9% of indi- by Lee A. Horton, CN-2067, SCI Mahanoyviduals. However, prison environments have a muchhigher rate, something I suspected when my block emp- Since my arrest several years ago for a crime I did nottied for evening pill line during my recent incarceration commit, I have maintained my innocence and allowedin SCI-Mahanoy. The statistics bore out my observations. two principles to guide me in overturning my wrongfulApproximately 40 to 50% of America’s prison population conviction. One is the belief that good men and womenhas a major mental illness diagnosis, ranging from de- can triumph over injustice; the other is that you neverpression to schizophrenia. give up in a fight to right a wrong, no matter how pain- Despite depression’s frequency, it remains poorly man- ful. At times these ideas have seemed like nothing moreaged even in those individuals in which it has been rec- than useless words, but once in a while a shining exam-ognized by the healthcare system. Such knowledge is ple appears to give substance to their meaning.frightening due to the lethal outcome of this illness, one Recently, my adherence to these principles has beenthat comes in the form of suicide. buoyed by just such an example. A friend of mine, a native Why am I bringing up depression in relation to incar- New Yorker named Lorenzo “Cat” Johnson, just won aceration? Simply, this illness is exacerbated by the envi- huge victory in his fight to extricate himself from an un-ronments encountered in jails and prisons. One of the just incarceration. Against all odds, and by sheer determi-most common symptoms of depression is anhedonia, a nation, he has overturned his wrongful conviction for firstfeeling related to decreased interest in pleasurable experi- degree murder and his sentence of life without parole.ences, a sensation of hopelessness or decreased self-worth. After sixteen painful years of appeals and litigationNo single experience in my life brought on this symptom with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Cat has suc-more that the monochromatic, grinding daily sameness of cessfully persuaded a panel of Third Circuit Court ofblock life. I suppose others let it get to them as well. Appeals judges that he is innocent. In a 2-1 decision, the There is help for those who suffer from depression. (In court ruled that his conviction was patently unconstitu-case you suspect it in yourself, other symptoms include a tional, opining that the evidence against him at trial waschange in sleep habits, eating, the ability to concentrate, non-existent, and therefore, constitutionally insufficientand the desire to commit suicide.) Medications are avail- to sustain his conviction. For this reason, they orderedable, specifically the SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reup- his unconditional release and barred a retrial.take Inhibitors) such as Prozac or Celexa. They have fewside effects. Equally as effective are various therapeutic Although elated by the good news, I was far from sur-techniques, especially talk and cognitive-behavioral ther- prised. When I first met Cat he impressed me as beingapy (CBT). Both methods help to change thinking pat- very capable — someone whom prison bars would not beterns related to depression, i.e. extremes in thought. able to contain. His personality and physical appearance reminded me of our champion, Paul Robeson, and what I I realize prisons push meds much harder than therapy, saw in his eyes was sincerity and a look of raw determi-and understably so. Their therapists are overworked, which nation; he would not be dissuaded from his goal, nor de-sometimes leads to a lack of empathy. As such, I’d support nied his freedom. Indeed, one of the first things he saidutilizing the various chaplains in the religious department. to me was, “I am innocent,” and, “I am going to overturnMany of them are trained in at least minimal therapeutic my life sentence and get out.” He convinced me that hetechniques. Otherwise, consider a spiritual outlet or honest would do just what he said. We became fast friends.conversations of feelings with a trusted friend. Since then, we have shared hundreds of conversations. If you suspect someone close to you is depressed and Innocence, justice, freedom, education, parole for lifers —has expressed a desire to harm him or herself, now is not you name it, we discussed it. What I have learned overthe time to honor the code of not snitching. Despite the the course of our friendship is that he walks it the waydraconian methods the DOC employs with those who are he talks it. In the face of the all-consuming possibility ofsuicidal (i.e. restraints), it’s better than death. Know that losing his life to the de facto death sentence of life with-depression is an illness rather than a moral failing. Rise out parole, he has never wavered in speaking up andabove the code of the street and express yourself as amember of humanity. (See Triumph, continued on page 14) 3 The opinions expressed are of the authors and not necessarily those of Graterfriends or The Pennsylvania Prison Society.
    • Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― March 2012 Mrs. GE-6309 Time DEATH ROW by Reesy Floyd-Thompson March Birthdays DIMINISHED CAPACITY Arthur Jerome Bomar Angel Luis Reyes DK-1677, GRN CG-0732, GRA I’m often asked to categorize the worst part of having Aquil Bond Don Mitchell Tedfordan incarcerated husband. My answer has changed over GH-1499, GRA AP-1138, GRNthe years. In the beginning, the separation was unbear-able. I was lost in love, stuck on the corner of bitter and Michael Conforti Donte L. Thomassweet. As the sentence moved on, it was hard to stay mo- BQ-0537, GRN HF-4745, GRNtivated. I’m a married-single woman. My left ring finger Robert Cooktells the world I’d been through a ceremony, but no per- AS-0603, GRA Jose Uderrason appears to claim the rights to me. Today, the worst CC-3832, GRN Lester Fletcherpart of this life is that the relationship is not in real time. FB-8882, GRN My life with my husband is clearly divided into before Darien Houserprison and after. Before, life happened to us. We made GRA = SCI Graterford GL-7509, GRN PO Box 244decisions as a couple. We were always a speed dial awayfrom sharing joys and sorrows. After, the person who George Ivan Lopez Graterford, PAshould be the first to know everything is often the last to CZ-3198, GRN 19426-0244know, long after the excitement has worn off or I’ve fig- Lenwood Robert Mason GRN = SCI Greeneured out how to handle the problem. Life happens to CY-4048, GRA 175 Progress Driveme…and I have to wait to share it. Isaac Mitchell Waynesburg, PA All the other “worst” parts, I can and have overcome. EG-7580, GRN 15370-8090But, this never changes. Our relationship is on a con-stant time delay. I keep a running tally of things I needto say, but reliving excitement is like eating reheatedpizza. It satiates, but it’s not as enjoyable as when fresh. If you do not want your name published, send a letter to I’m an old-fashioned kind of girl. My husband is head of Graterfriends each year you do not want it to be included. Be sure to note your date of birth.the family. His location doesn’t negate that, but livingwith a built-in lag time threatens it. I can’t pick up thephone to ask what he thinks before I make a decision.Knowing him as well I as do, I can confidently speak forhim. His power is in communicating for himself, not inme scripting his portion. If my husband were asked to describe the worst part ofthis process for me (aside from the obvious), he’d say, his CROSSWORD SOLUTIONSlife happens from him, not to him. Confidently speaking.Reesy Floyd-Thompson is the founder of Prisoners’ Wives, Below are the solutions to crossword puzzles printed in thisGirlfriends, & Partners (PWGP). For more information issue and the previous issue of Graterfriends.about this group, please write Reesy at:PWGP February 2012 March 2012P. O. Box 14241Norfolk, VA 23518 Did you know? Less than one percent of lifers granted clemency return to prison. 4 The opinions expressed are of the authors and not necessarily those of Graterfriends or The Pennsylvania Prison Society.
    • Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― March 2012 Legislative Highlights Ann Schwartzman Policy Director, The Pennsylvania Prison Society The PA General Assembly is now in its second year of the 2011-2012 session. Here are several criminal justice billsthat may be of interest. Please note that this list is current as of February 15, 2012.BILL NO. DESCRIPTION CHIEF SPONSOR PPS POSITIONPRINTER NO.HB 645 Rep. A. DeLuca Oppose Requires that the minimum sentence for all violent of- D-Allegheny CountyPN 3044 fenders be not more than 85 percent of the maximum sentence and a consecutive two-year probation. Also makes violent offenders ineligible for pre-release status. (In Judiciary 2/14/2011; amended and tabled 2/6/12.)HB 1958 Rep. R. Marsico Oppose Revises registration for sexual offenders in relation toPN 2807 R-Dauphin County SORNA and federal stipulations. Certain juveniles who are transient or homeless must register as sex offenders. (Tabled 2/9/12.)HB 2187 Rep. W.C. Thomas Support Amends Title 61 (Prisons and Parole) of the Pennsyl-PN 3066 D-Philadelphia vania Consolidated Statutes, in miscellaneous provi- County sions, establishing the Pennsylvania Interagency Coun- cil on Inmate Reentry. (In Judiciary 2/8/12.)SB 1019 Amends Title 61 (Prisons and Parole) of the Pennsylvania Sen. D. Argall StudyingPN 1300 R-Berks, Carbon, Consolidated Statutes, defining "corrections manager"; Lehigh, Monroe, and, in general administration, providing for salary of Northampton, and corrections managers. (Passed Senate, 45-5, 1/24/12.) Schuylkill counties REPORT ON CHILDREN OF INCARCERATED PARENTS: UPDATE The recently released, The Effects of Parental Incarceration on Children: Needs and Responsive Services, will be offi-cially presented to the Pennsylvania Senate Judiciary Committee on March 6. The report is a compilation of findingsand recommendations developed by the Joint State Government Commission and an advisory committee. This reporttook two years, and represented agencies from criminal justice, children, welfare, aging, foster care, and more. See thereport here. Recommendations include:• Enact legislation to establish a statewide arrest pro- • Enact legislation clarifying that incarceration alone tocol for law enforcement and child welfare authori- is not grounds to terminate parental rights. ties when arresting the parent of a minor. • Provide caregivers with support and information• Facilitate in-person and contact visitation between about providing resources for these children. incarcerated parents and their children. • Support incarcerated parents in achieving successful• Implement and support methods of regular communi- reentry and enhanced parenting skills. cation such as videoconferencing, email, tele- phone, and letters. • Enhance data collection on these children.• Provide training for professionals in all fields • Encourage cross-system collaboration among serving children of incarcerated parents. agencies serving such children. 5 The opinions expressed are of the authors and not necessarily those of Graterfriends or The Pennsylvania Prison Society.
    • Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― March 2012 original currency to make a drug buy. Once the under- cover officer makes the buy — usually $20 or $30 worth Legal Chat of suspected drugs — he immediately removes his hat or glances at his watch, signaling a posse of backup officers — wearing leather gloves, bulletproof vests, and armed to the teeth — to jump out, shout “FREEZE (expletive)!,” and then (literally) pounce on the suspect. Once the sus- pected dealer is in handcuffs, some of the police “high- CASE ANALYSIS MADE EASY five” each other for a job well done; while others rifle through the suspect’s pockets, ferociously scrambling to Case Analysis involves more than just merely search- find the buy money, as if searching for a winning Power-ing for words to parse language in support of your propo- ball ticket! Once the buy money is matched up to thesition of law. Those words must be classified — to know photocopy, the suspects fate is sealed! (Or is it?)what they mean and how to use them. Some words have According to the Counterfeit Detection Act of 1992,value and some don’t. Proper case analysis identifies, Public Law 102-550, in Section 411 of Title 31 of theclassifies and only uses words of precedential value. Code of Federal Regulations, photocopying U.S. currency The core objective of case analysis is the dissection and is permissible for any non-fraudulent purpose, provideduse of judicial decisions and the ability to distinguish that the items are reproduced in black and white and aredecisive utterances from judicial dicta and obiter dicta, less than three quarters or greater than one-and-one halfand to distinguish the relevant facts from narrative times the size of the currency. In other words, it is a vio-facts. In analyzing judicial decisions, what must be un- lation of federal law to photocopy U.S. currency in itsderstood is that not all propositions of law uttered by the actual size.court are of equal precedential value. The mere fact that My question is: How can police and prosecutors usea statement has recently been made by a court does not illegally-photocopied U.S. currency as evidence againstmean the statement is “the law.” There are three classifi- defendants in court? Yes, its illegal to deal drugs, but,cations of judicial utterances: according to federal law, its also illegal to photocopy U.S. • A decisive utterance is a proposition of law which currency in its actual size! is in answer to a question of law before the court Any feedback on this would be greatly appreciated! and is “necessary to disposition” of the case. Rob Boyden • A judicial dictum is a proposition of law uttered by Drexel Hill, PA the Court in answer to a question of law raised by Rob1988@hotmail.com the parties which “is not necessary to disposition” of the case. CALLING ON “THE WINGS OF JUSTICE” • An obiter dictum is a proposition of law expressly uttered by the court which is “neither in answer to I’m calling on “the wings of Justice,” because state and any question of law nor necessary to disposition of city public officials have lied, manipulated evidence, and the case.” withheld official documents from my trial. I am an inno- Your analysis and objective is to classify the court’s cent man under a 30-60-year sentence on two falseutterances by asking: 1) “Is it necessary to disposition of counts of house burglaries, and had it not been for mythe case?” and 2) “Does it answer a question of law in the trial attorney’s incompetent assistance, I wouldn’t havecase?” Only decisive utterances have precedential value. been convicted on these alleged crimes. I’m requesting anAre you “analyzing” a case or just reading it in persua- evidentiary hearing to be held so that I can show thesive words? Order via I.L.L. from Law Library Goodhart. court that my jury trial was flawed by poor defense work(“Determining the ratio decidendi of a case” 40 Yale L.J. and illegal tricks by the prosecution in which the com-161, 1930). monwealth’s prosecutor had built his case around lies and fabricated testimonies, manipulated evidence and perjured testimony during the time of trial. Frederick T. Ray III I have official legal documentary evidence of proof to GF2852, SCI Camp Hill support my claim of being innocent. I know for a fact that this evidence will refute all statements/testimony and allegations made by the commonwealth’s alleged case POLICE USING ILLEGAL CURRENCY against me. AS EVIDENCE IN COURT Note that the victim and witness in this case had not identified me through their description to the Philadel- The scenario is all too common on "COPS" and various phia police on October 28, 1997 and December 5, 1997:other police shows: Prior to making a controlled drug buy the victim in this case was influenced by a police officerfrom a suspected dealer, police photocopy their pre- who was one of the arrest officers who arrested me onrecorded buy money - in its actual size - and then use the December 5, 1997. (CP #9712-0614) 6 The opinions expressed are of the authors and not necessarily those of Graterfriends or The Pennsylvania Prison Society.
    • Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― March 2012 The Philadelphia Police and state prosecutor gave thevictim and witness the identification of me. I have rebut-tal evidence to the trial court’s testimony statementsfrom two state public officials during the time of my de- Mailroomfense counsel’s cross-examination on June 15, 1999. Thisevidence was withheld during the time of trial by thestate prosecution office. Also, I have documentary evi-dence that shows my whereabouts on the dates and GET INVOLVED!times of the alleged incidents of October 28, 1997 andDecember 5, 1997. I have my medical records that cor- I just want to give all my brothers/sisters who findroborate claims to my physical conditions at the time of themselves trapped behind these walls year after year athe October 28, 1997 alleged incident of burglary, rob- word of advice. I want to suggest that we always main-bery, and simple assault. My conditions make it physi- tain our poise and keep our dignity despite being undercally impossible for me to be able to commit the attack on such dehumanizing conditions. I want to remind all pris-this alleged victim on the above dates. oners to get more involved with the various organiza- I am being held in custody in violation of the constitu- tions that have been created to protect our rights. I amtional laws of the United States and the Commonwealth also asking you all to seek your family and friends toof Pennsylvania. I am only requesting that the court re- help support various organizations that are geared toview my claims of innocence and to thereafter allow me deal with prisoner rights as well as human rights. I aman evidentiary hearing. If the court would agree to an in my 14th year of incarceration with multiple hits de-evidentiary hearing, and I cannot show proof through the spite all the programs the DOC has mandated (and manydocumentary evidence that I am innocent, then I will of us have found ourselves caught up in the matrix of thewaive all my rights to appeal my convictions under case justice system). However, this year, I implore individualsCP# 9712-0613, 0614, 1/1. to stand in solidarity, unite, and be of use in turning the system around. We must fight on against mandatory life Daryl Dushawn Pitts sentences without the chance of parole, and support juve- DQ-9998, SCI Greene nile lifers. Most of all, we must help push to have the antiquated Board of Probation and Parole revamped so that they truly step in line with what rehabilitation is. HELP REGARDING They need to be able to properly make decisions that are THERAPEUTIC COMMUNITY not politically driven and have a system that is not based on partial truths. I also, in closing, want to offer my un- dying support to my brother Mumia Abu-Jamal and let I’m writing to ask for help. I’ve been in the therapeutic people know his fight is not over. Continue supportingcommunity for eight months and was discharged for lack him. We must keep the fighting spirit and oppose oppres-of participation and not using house tools. I believe that sion at every turn.this is not true and I don’t know what to do. Is there any-thing I can do to be reinstated or be given my golden Kendrick Prattticket? I cannot say anything to change the minds of the DQ-2960, SCI Frackvillestaff or prison. I want to know if anybody else is havingthe same problem or has any advice for this problem.Now I might not be able to finish my carpentry class be- THE PIPELINE TO PRISONcause of being discharged from the program. I also havea problem with group speaking that they don’t see as an The pipeline from urban school districts to the peniten-issue. Any help please.? tiary is now put into motion. With all the recent budget cuts and the already low academic performances at these Senator Greenleaf has a bill (#1161). Does anybody schools, there’s nothing to be expected but a future ofknow about this bill? mass incarceration for this segment of society. Terry Graham It is truly a lack of vision by legislators when the only JG-2267, SCI-Fayette growth industry that they can come up with is expanding the prison industrial complex to make profits off of hu- man beings. All students deserve justice with education. Justice in When submitting a letter or column to the sense of having their basic needs for good quality Graterfriends for publication, please re- education met, to allow them to meet their full humanmember to attach a letter (or note on your potential, and to advance civilization in a positive way. Denying any child the chance to be properly prepared for submission) that it is for publication and a successful future educationally is downright criminal!that you are the original author; date and After spending millions of dollars during the past dec- sign the declaration. Thank you. ades on building new prisons and cutting educational (see Mailroom, continued on page 8) 7 The opinions expressed are of the authors and not necessarily those of Graterfriends or The Pennsylvania Prison Society.
    • Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― March 2012Mailroom, continued from page 7 When people acknowledge the racial discrimination but fail to directly address the solution, they allow the prob-budgets, society does not appear to be any closer to lem to be perpetuated and are just as guilty as thoseachieving the goals of public safety. committing the discrimination The money spent on warehousing non-violent, geriat- John Shabaka Thompsonric, reformed or medically ill offenders should be used for AM-5557, SCI Fayetteeducating our youth. A total of 19 prisons have been builtsince 1974- making a total of 27 prisons in Pennsylvania-and it hasn’t done anything to deter crime or makeneighborhoods any safer. CLEAN AIR ACT SHOULD APPLY TO PRISONS It must be understood that about ninety percent of all This letter is in response to Allan Buyna’s letter, “Helpprisoners will be released back into society someday. for Non-Smokers in Prison” that appeared in the OctoberSome will be in worse shape (morally and educationally) issue of Graterfriends.than when they first entered the penal system. Regardless of what prison you are in, smoking is preva- If the bad decisions by those in charge of our children’s lent. I’ve been at SCI Huntingdon over a year and haveeducation are left unchecked on the front-end, it will cost been told by a former unit manager that the jail and mysociety big time on the back-end. blocks are smoke-free, yet when I complain about getting a smoker for a cellie, that man is told not to smoke when Budget cuts to education, plus low performing schools, I am in the cell. So much for the Indoor Clean Air Act,plus increased spending for the Prison Industrial Com- which is a LAW and not DOC policy. The DOC has is-plex equals: Pipeline to Prison. Reverse this equation sued policies against smoking, but these policies areand things may get better for everyone concerned. never adhered to. Larry Stephenson I’ve seen guards and higher staff members at SCI Dal- AM 1449, SCI Graterford las and Huntingdon walk past a cell that had a cloud of smoke in it because the person inside was smoking. The grievance procedure, as useless as it is, is the only RE: “SIGNS OF RACIAL INJUSTICE ARE procedure available to us and it must be used in its en- EVERYWHERE, EVEN ON VANITY PLATES” tirety in order to file any possible lawsuits concerning the smoking issues. Being a black prisoner, confined in the “Super-Max” atSCI Greene in the State of Pennsylvania, I don’t need to The ONLY way to stop the smoking inside the prisonssee vanity plates or national statistics to know that ra- is to have the DOC remove any and all items relating tocial profiling has been and continues to be a serious prob- smoking. This was already done in Michigan, Virginia,lem and a form of oppression that blacks and other mi- and Minnesota. It can be done here, but must be done innorities suffer daily. a legal and civil manner. It’s almost like Mr. DiMascio had an epiphany about Brian Blaineracial profiling/racial discrimination. However, Mr. Di- BG6571, SCI HuntingdonMascio does not have to look far (or to national statistics)for examples of racial discrimination. Right here in theState of Pennsylvania, at SCI Greene, he can find an PEN DIARIESoverwhelming picture of racial profiling/racial discrimi-nation, where approximately 80 percent (personal obser- Pen Diaries (Penitentiary Diaries), is a website thatvation) of the men locked down on indefinite administra- offers prisoners the opportunity to have their online di-tive custody (A.C.) are black men, with a general popula- ary while incarcerated. This website was created from antion of approximately 65 percent black (personal observa- idea that was based primarily on bridging the social gaption). Most black inmates are put on A.C. simply because between prisoners and the general public. Having anthey are young black men. online journal (while incarcerated) that allows prisoners to continuously log their most intimate thoughts and So I say to Mr. DiMascio: You don’t need to quote sta- experiences is an excellent way to assure optimism andtistics, all you need to do is open your eyes. Come visit compassion from the general public. There is no mone-some of the black men being unlawfully held on A.C. at tary fee for any prisoner who would like to have a diaryGreene and you can have a personal view of racial profil- on the Pen Diary website. However, there are specificing/racial discrimination within the DOC. Or maybe this guidelines that must be followed before being allowed atype of racial discrimination is not important. Hopefully, diary space.Mr. DiMascio will take his own advice and look directlyinto the “eyes” of racial profiling inside the Pa. Depart- Pen Diaries is basically a window to which the generalment of Corrections — or will he continue to turn a blind public has an unobstructed view of a prisoner’s unfilteredeye and be one of those people who (as he quoted) “refuse expressions regarding life in prison. Diaries will be ac-to do anything, or refuse to take time to see the signs of cessible worldwide! This is a sure way to create a net-injustice all around them”? work of enthusiastic supporters. Having a diary on the 8 The opinions expressed are of the authors and not necessarily those of Graterfriends or The Pennsylvania Prison Society.
    • Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― March 2012Pen Diary website allows prisoners to turn their situa- against the ringleader Harry Nicoletti, 59, a guard in-tion into productive resources, pen pal connections, legal dicted on 94 felony and misdemeanor counts, includingadvice, family outreach, and much, much more! Each 10 counts of institutional rape.personal diary will have storage space for a photo gallery The other guards arrested were Sean Thomas Story,and other written material. This space will only be avail- 26; Jerome Lynch, 35; Tory Kelly, 40; Kevin Freiss, 31;able to those who have diaries on the site. Also, Pen Dia- Bruce Lowther, 33; and Brian Olinger, 32. Besides theries will send out a monthly copy of its message board charges cited above, some of these men are also chargedexchanged to all prisoners with a diary on its website. with terroristic threats, with at least one charged with The experience of living behind bars for any amount of criminal solicitation and another with stalking. (Thetime is one that can only be told by you. This is your op- Movement, Issue 13, pgs. 15-16, 33-35).portunity. Pen Diary is your platform! Speak up and tell Correction office officials are also investigating a reportthe world what prison life is really about by destroying that guards and administrators at a third Pennsylvaniathe preconceptions and misunderstandings. prison, SCI Fayette, ran a secret “fight club” pitting in-If you are interested, contact: mate against inmate.Pen Diaries: The Human Rights Coalition in Pittsburgh has sentP.O. Box 23543 out a letter asking that the families of inmates and in-Philadelphia, PA 19143 mates themselves offer any information of abuse that(856) 208-7062 may be relevant to the ongoing investigations that maywww.pendiaries.com help widen them to cover other prison facilities. There is no doubt that abuse is widespread in Pennsylvania’s George Rashaan Brooks-Bey prison system. Any relevant information should be for- AP-4884, SCI Frackville warded to: Anthony Zisser, Trial Attorney Department of Justice, Civil Rights DivisionCHANGE IS POSSIBLE, IF YOU REALLY WANT IT Special Litigation Section 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. First, let me say, Graterfriends inspires my circle of SPL, 601 D. StreetPeer Education assistants (and myself) here at SCI Mer- Washington, D.C. 20530cer. I’ve taken notice lately of the stress in other inmates’passages in your letters. Well, let me first get a positive Denise McElveenword out about our Therapeutic Community Program. Philadelphia, PAThree men and I oversee 61 men and I get the specialprivilege of seeing positive change seven days a week.I’m 31 years old and on my second state number and MORE ACTION IS NEEDED FOR CHANGEhave done a total of 81/2 years in our “lock ‘em up” state ofPennsylvania. I’ve always been one of those inmates who I would like to update those of you who would like tonever thought that a program would help anyone until I change the TV stations on our Inmate Cable System.entered this program a year ago. People are changing On November 22, 2011, Mr. Kusick received a responsehere. We are getting them to the root of where they went to his letter from Jeffrey Witherite, Staff Assistant, inwrong in their path of life and teaching them that change regard to a request to change some of the stations in theis possible. I see racism take a backseat on a daily basis, cable contract.and it gets replaced with teamwork and new friendships. Mr. Witherite said, “We take into consideration inmates’ I really want all the readers to know change is possible, request for changes to the channels provided and will dis-but you have to really want it. It’s time to hang the spurs cuss possible changes when the contract is renegotiated.”of fellow inmates and help change our lives and the worldin which we live. Helping others inside these walls has We NEED to request changes, and we MUST contactpermanently changed me in a way that is indescribable. Mr. Jeffrey Witherite for proposed changes:Thank you for reading this and know here at S.C.I. Mercer Mr. Jeffrey Witheriteour motto is “Our past will no longer define our futures.” Department of Corrections Matthew A. Maxwell PO Box 598 UV-2778, SCI Mercer Camp Hill, PA 17001-0598 Thank you, Mr. Kusick, and those who are trying to make a difference to our inmate cable TV. INVESTIGATION INTO SCIS Send more requests for this change to happen! On December 1, 2011 it was reported in the Huffington Thank you in advance to those who want to see aPost that seven guards from SCI Pittsburgh have been change by taking action in this matter.arrested since September and face criminal charges in-cluding rape, assault, witness intimidation and official Dan Spuckoppression. The most serious charges were brought CZ-4825, SCI Mercer 9 The opinions expressed are of the authors and not necessarily those of Graterfriends or The Pennsylvania Prison Society.
    • Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― March 2012 to speak with new commitments who are sentenced to life as they enter the institution; and to have fundraisers selling fresh vegetables and fruits because of the poor Our Voices quality we receive in the dining room. Consuming fresh produce could reduce many illnesses, especially as we age. This would reduce and save on the cost of certain medications, vitamins, laxatives, etc. Part of the money could be used to help the lifers who do not have financial help for hygiene and other needs, and those who cannot CHANGES NEEDED AT MUNCY work due to illness and aging. Medical pay is a measly by Jessie Alexander OO-7361, SCI Muncy $10 per month. Also, part of the money can be used for Christmas gifts for lifers grand- and great- grandchil- One need that is greatly critical to lifers is to allow dren. Angel Tree does not supply gifts for our grandchil-voices to be heard on the issues of commutation and dren; A Lifers Association will be of great encouragementwhat is assisting us in rehabilitation. I often ask, “What and support to each other.is rehabilitation and what is the process of rehabilita- Guest Speakers: To hear from lifers who were grantedtion?” Recently, a staff member stated that there is none commutation and are living successful lives; to hear fromfor lifers because of the sentence of life. Yet, commuta- women’s organizations, judges and legislators/senators.tion is offered. What I desire for myself is to restore my- Far too many women do not know the law (although ig-self back to the absolute perfection of a law-abiding citi- norance of the law is no excuse) but have had poor repre-zen. This should be offered (rehabilitation) to all who are sentation and/or were under severe mental strain, men-incarcerated regardless of the time frame of their sen- tal disorder, or heavily medicated.tence. My growth is dependent not only on myself but on Medical: Medications and needed surgery are pro-the staff here at SCI Muncy also. longed or denied to lifers. There is help from one long- What is offered within this institution is offered to time doctor’s assistants but there are always constantthose with an expected release date and only offered to new ones who do now show concern, nor bring relief fromthe inmates serving life. pain and illness. You may have heard the women express they want to Mental Health and Psychotropic Drugs: Comparing thebe like the male inmates. I just want the same opportu- prison population to the number of psychologists andnities as the male inmates, not only for myself, but for all psychiatrists, lifers will also go unassisted in times offemale lifers: exposure of our good, and assistance from crisis, may be prescribed misjudged medications, and arestaff in organizing a committee or association for lifers as subject to misdiagnosis. I am very fortunate that Psy-the male inmates have. A Lifers Organization should chologist Ms. Kling has helped me improve my copingdevelop knowledge as a whole on the judicial system and skills and understanding of my diagnosis, along withlegislation which I, for one, have minimal knowledge of; explaining and answering my questions. KEEP HOPE ALIVE hope of any sort may be rechanneled to focus not on what is out of reach, but on what is accomplished.” by Phillip Pratt, DB1830, SCI Mahanoy I disagree. In his article entitled “Lifers Find Ways to Give TheirLives Meaning, Even Behind Bars,” Graterfriends editor- Hope is not linear, as are the minutes in an hour or thein-chief William M. DiMascio sought to applaud efforts months in a year. Hope is a feeling, desire, or belief; itmade by an organization of lifers at SCI Graterford. The permeates a person’s very being, providing a reason fororganization originally had the sole purpose of advocat- living. There is no expiration to it, and no “turning point”ing for lifers’ parole, but, confronted with stiff resistance, at which “reality proclaims itself.” Moreover, for manyrefocused, seeking instead to help those eligible for re- lifers, hope, along with the efforts made to obtain its re-lease become better citizens. However, this humanitar- alization, is their liberty.ian endeavor by a group of condemned men was over- Yes, hope in most forms entails disappointment, evenshadowed by Mr. DiMascio’s attempt to explain the psy- depression, but to propose that lifers “rechannel” theirchology behind their selfless act. hope and not focus on “what is out of reach” does an ex- Lifers face a long and uphill battle for liberty, Mr. Di- treme disservice to all. Where would human civilizationMascio observed, which often leads to depression, and, be if individuals or, better yet, groups of individuals“[f]or most of them, the dream of freedom dies slowly; failed to devote their lives to a cause? We once believedeventually, though, reality proclaims itself. For some, at that space travel was “out of reach.” Countless humanleast, this is a turning point because as the dream fades achievements would have indeed been out of reach, hadso too does their depression.” we failed to continue reaching. “Hope,” Mr. DiMascio continued, “is a yearning for Thus, I deeply encourage everyone reading, no mattersomething which leads to despair if it is unrealized. But what your hopes or goals, to never, never stop reaching. 10 The opinions expressed are of the authors and not necessarily those of Graterfriends or The Pennsylvania Prison Society.
    • Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― March 2012 they’re all throw-away lives that cannot, under any cir- Think cumstances, be redeemed. They are discarded to the trash cans of prison to do LWOP. Without any mecha- nism for evaluating the possibility of being returned to About It society as productive individuals, they decay away as being insignificant. The redeeming process for individuals who receive LWOP remains inconceivable to law makers, who hold BUYING INTO THE TRASHCAN THEORY crime and punishment as their primary ace in the hole; by John Frederick Nole, AF-0346, SCI Graterford their fall-back propaganda to dupe an uninformed general public, that everyone doing LWOP is exactly the same. Parole eligibility for individuals convicted and sen- Pennsylvania continues to lead the nation in sentenc-tenced to Life Without the Opportunity for Parole ing juveniles to LWOP. This distinction is only shared by(LWOP) can be justified on some levels. Where common countries that America frowns upon as having the worstsense does not prevail, the unjustified expenses related of worst human atrocities.to a life sentence, whether children or adults, should. The reality being that many of our legislators and law It’s time that Pennsylvania’s penal system came inmakers have not yet considered… individuals serving from the cold and began to be reevaluated. Those whoLWOP for killing no one. There’s also the burden in- have undergone periods of extreme incarceration shouldcurred by the general public to pay the price for incar- be recycled. The continuation of buying into the trashceration and increased medical expenses for those grow- can theory, that these are just throw-away lives, or thating old and for those too sick to commit crimes. There’s we can pay the price for unnecessary incarceration inno sound strategy for legislators not to consider real lieu of funding education and other socially productivechanges and to do away with excessive prison expenses, treatment programs, is just not good, old-fashioned com-under Pennsylvania’s second death penalty. Applying mon sense.LWOP to every situation of felony murder is counterpro- Parole consideration for life-sentenced prisoners is notductive to having a healthy economy. There is a need for a “let them all go” deal. It’s evaluating who can functiondiscretion to distinguish the exceptional circumstances under external supervision of the state Board of Proba-by which felony homicide is inappropriately applied. tion and Parole. It’s “Who has changed their life enough Because the common theory is that anyone receiving to be productive and responsible?”LWOP must have committed some heinous or unthink-able crime of murder, slipping through the cracks are Parole eligibility for lifers in Pennsylvania is soundcircumstances of accomplice. Individuals who had no economics. It’s practical criminal justice planning andpart in the actual crime are, nonetheless, used as statis- legislatively responsible in creating a workable incar-tics, to help the general public buy into their theory that ceration program.VVA Resolutions, continued from page 2 address the specialized treatment needs of veterans who are incarcerated with PTSD disabilities. VIN-4, Restitution of Benefits for Incarcerated So we urge all veterans to insist that their family andVeterans: friends write or call their state and national representa- Resolve, that Vietnam Veterans of America strongly tives to support and pass these proposed resolutions.urges and recommends to the Executive and legislativeBranches of the U.S. Government that the Code of Fed-eral Regulations be amended, removing the reduction inpayments to veterans with service-connected disabilitywho become incarcerated of felony conviction for morethan 60 days. VVA asserts that such payments are in- Correctioncome-earned as a result of disabilities incurred whileserving in defense of their country, and that the regula- The February issue of Graterfriendstions and policies which create such reductions are pat- incorrectly stated that artist Elizabethently unfair and discriminatory to disabled veterans. The Johnson also wrote the poem "Cora."law and regulations involved in this resolution are: 38USC §5313 and 38 CFR §3.665. In fact, the artwork was from Ms. Johnson, but "Cora" was written by VIN-5 PTSD Treatment for Vietnam IncarceratedVeterans: Reginald S. Lewis, AY-2902, SCI Graterford. We regret the error. Resolve, that Vietnam Veterans of America stronglyurges and recommends to the Department of VeteransAffairs that protocols and programs be established to 11 The opinions expressed are of the authors and not necessarily those of Graterfriends or The Pennsylvania Prison Society.
    • Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― March 2012 Through a Far Eastern Literary Window Corner by Michael H. Fox SOCIOLOGY 101: TAKE A LOOK INTO MY LIFE EXECUTIONS AS SOCIAL CONTROL by Hakeem Butler, DW-8032, SCI Fayette If you took a look into In any society, when the social order is threatened by my life, you may not seean outside force, the masses will cuddle behind their what I see, because youleaders for security and comfort. On the other hand, haven’t been through what I’vewhen the social order is threatened by domestic unrest, been through. If you see brutalityleaders will usurp civil rights, expand detainment, and don’t cringe or run, I waseven murder to intimidate the populace. just misguided. If you see violence, please don’t fear me; The tremors of the 2011 Arab Spring continue to rattle the I was only seeking attention.Middle East. Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya have stabilized, but If you see pain, don’t feel sorrythe leadership in neighboring vicinities sleep in anxiety. for me. For I don’t requestThe leadership of Iran and Saudi Arabia are in turmoil. sympathy. You may view me as a thug, please know that I needed love. Business and commerce in Iran are in stagnation. Its If you see a child, treat him asnational airline is grounded. The masses have grown such. If you see a miseducated man,disgusted with rule by Mullah, and the threat of a new try to understand or help. Don’t pre-revolution looms on the horizon. or misjudge me. For I am like any other human being: I cry, Saudi Arabia, basking in oil riches, and in possession of I laugh, I have fears and doubts, I smile,Islams sacred sites, may be one of the few civilizations I have insecurities, I feel pain,on Earth without a government. The Saudi Arabian I am a seeker of joy and happiness, I breathepopulace are usually quite complacent, but the Arab and I made mistakes. Please knowSpring has offered an alternative vision of the 21st cen- though, that my mistakes are not me.tury. Saudi Arabia hosts a huge foreign workforce, and I am much greater than my mistakes.these workers have the ability to infect the locals with If by chance you are ableideas of elections, government and democracy. to look into my life and see what I see… then you would know that How are Iran and Saudi Arabia dealing with the God has forgiven me.threat of internal eruption? The answer is textbookSociology 101: intimidate the population with abun-dant and visible executions. I FIND LITTLE COMFORT Executions in Iran and Saudi Arabia soared in 2011. by Bob Clark, JJ-9669, SCI GreeneIran carried out 252 executions in 2010, and 600+ in2011. Saudi Arabia executed 27 prisoners in 2010, but I find little comfort in the momentarily numbing effecthas already executed five in January of this year. of a cigarette as I ponder my predicament. Sitting cross- legged on my bunk, my feelings have sunk to the pit of These numbers are startlingly high. But even more my stomach! It’s not everyday I feel this way. Just whenshocking is the visibility. Iran has taken to hanging as- I’m homesick. How ‘bout you; do you ever feel this way,sumed criminals in public squares. Each week, new pho- too? Tell the truth; I know you do! Sure, tomorrow istos are posted on the internet. The accused, often in another day, and this too will pass; perhaps I need a goodgroups of five or six, in street clothes, are hoisted up by kick in the ass! Probably a lot more than one! Ha Ha, butconstruction cranes. While I have yet to view a full exe- what’s done is done! Prison was not designed to be fun!cution on YouTube, close-ups of the executees’ faces are Anyway, I just wanted to share these thoughts with you,available to anyone with Internet access. to let you know sometimes we all get to feeling blue... I hope you find the strength within your soul to under- Another disturbing aspect are the faces of the audi- stand there are some things you’ll never know.ences who come to view the spectacle. The public are Acceptance, recompense, and forgiveness —then theinvited to take photos with their cell phones. Little chil- healing can begin, but first you must find the courage to (see Far Eastern Window, continued on page 15) be true to yourself. I wish you well! 12 The opinions expressed are of the authors and not necessarily those of Graterfriends or The Pennsylvania Prison Society.
    • Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― March 2012 AnnouncementsFight for Lifers West meets every third Saturday Training Launched in Philadelphia toof each month at 325 N. Highland Ave. (E. Liberty sec- Administer Mental Health First Aidtion), Pittsburgh, PA 15206. We welcome anyone who isinterested in justice for lifers and their families. We are What should one do when encountering a stranger mum-handicapped accessible. There are over 5000 lifers in PA bling incoherently or panicking on the street? Most peopleand we hope that some of their family members in West- do not know. Mental Health First Aid is meant to helpern Pennsylvania will come to our meetings and try to people understand how to approach someone who is in amake a difference. If you dont think you can, think about crisis situation. Volunteers learn how to listen, assess thea single mosquito in your bedroom when you are trying situation, and refer him or her for treatment, if neces-to sleep. Please join us — WE NEED YOU! sary. As with regular first aid, volunteers will not provide actual treatment.Please check out our website for more information: at:http://www.fightforliferswestinc.com/default.html/ . Twelve-hour courses for faith groups, community organiza- tions, and the general public are expected to begin in June. For more information, contact Mary Harper at Mary.L.Harper@phila.gov or 1-888-545-2600.Beccaria: A Chapbook Anthology by AjaBeech will once again be available, for a limited time, inApril. To order a copy, prisoners may send a check ormoney order for $5 to: Remember to register to vote after you are released!Aja Beech2445 Coral St. Vote because:Philadelphia, PA 19125 • You are an important piece of the puzzle • Returning citizens need to be heard • Your vote impacts current and future resources forThe Womens Criminal Justice Network is our children and youthseeking information about women who have been wrong- • It’s your right!fully convicted, or convicted by tangential connection tocrimes committed by male acquaintances (“guilt by asso- Register by March 26, 2012 for the April 24, 2012ciation). For more information, go to www.wcjn.org. If Primaryyou wish to share your experiences with this group,please write by, April 1, to: In April, voters will make important decisions leading up to the November 2012 General Election.Michael H. Fox225 Shore Brook Voters will select a candidate to compete against Presi-Walled Lake, MI 48390 dent Obama in November, as well as candidates to com- pete for several State and Federal offices.or email wcjn.org@gmail.com Register by October 9, 2012 for the November 6, 2012 General Election.Life Support for Women with an In November, voters will make final selections for impor-Incarcerated Loved One is a new support group tant federal and state leaders. This includes:for women looking for a safe place to share feelings and • The President of the United Statesconcerns about incarcerated family members. The groupmeets the second Tuesday of every month, from 4:00 p.m. • 33 members of the State Senate, and 203 people forto 6:00 p.m., at the Pennsylvania Prison Society: 245 N. the PA House of RepresentativesBroad Street, 3rd Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19107 (Race- • A new PA Attorney General, Treasurer, and Audi-Vine station, across from Hahnemann Hospital). tor General as well as a U.S. Senator and members of the United States House of RepresentativesFor more information:Mason Barnett, 215-564-6005, ext. 106 (Prison Society) Thank you to Malissa Gamble, Founder/CEO of TheDesiree Cunningham 215-758-5877 (Support Group Time is Now to Make a Change (Philadelphia), for thisquestions only) information. (215-847-5652) 13 The opinions expressed are of the authors and not necessarily those of Graterfriends or The Pennsylvania Prison Society.
    • Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― March 2012 Triumph, continued from page 3 Brethren and Sistas, continued from page 1speaking out to educate the public about the injustices in reluctant to vote for death, even in cases where it ap-the criminal justice system. pears imminent. Sisters on the row, while we may have never met, my He participated in the institution’s lifers group and heart has felt your tears as you are forcibly separatedserved as one of the group’s committee chairmen, intro- from your children, unable to hold them or kiss them. Inducing proposals for innocence seminars and justice many ways, as women, your anguish has been the worst,events. He has also been a frequent contributor to Grater- as your loves and sensitivities are the deepest.friends and other newspapers, magazines, and newslet-ters, writing to highlight the disparate treatment of the My words to my brothers are yours as well: Keep yourpoor in the criminal justice system. While most people mind alive. Keep your hearts alive. Live. Love. Learn.would be thinking about themselves and going forward Laugh!upon release, Cat is talking about what he can do to makea difference for those of us left behind. I know you all as few outsiders do. I’ve met artists, mu- sicians, mathematicians, managers, jailhouse lawyers He is a very dynamic brother who has never ceased to and stockbrokers.be a source of inspiration and amazement. Whenever Iasked him how his appeals were going — his case was I’ve seen guys who couldn’t draw a straight line emergepending before the Third Circuit for five years — he master painters (Cush, Young Buck); I’ve seen guys gowould reply by throwing punches and exclaiming Mu- from near illiteracy to fluency in foreign languages; I’vehammed Ali’s mantra, “Rumble, young man, rumble!” met teachers who’ve created works of surpassing beautyFeeling his energy, I would respond, “That’s right, and craftsmanship (Big Tony).brother, stick and move, stick and move; and don’t stop You are all far more than others say of you, for theswinging until the fight is won.” spark of the infinite glows within each of you. So today I congratulate my brother on his victory. You You are on Death Row, but what is finest in each of youhave faced the warlords of tyranny and scored a shining is greater than Death Row.triumph in the war for justice. All of us who face thesame circumstances should be inspired by your success So, care for each other. Not in words, but in the heart.and motivated to fight even harder. As you exit the gatesof the prison to recover your freedom, I would ask that Think good vibes to each other.you look back and say a prayer for those of us who press Lastly, don’t rat. (If ratting was so cool, they would’veon into battle to defeat our unjust captivity. Brother, I beat me off the Row).hope that the next chapter in your life brings you greatsuccess. “Rumble, young man, rumble.” Keep rumblin;’ ‘cause your day is coming.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. 14 The opinions expressed are of the authors and not necessarily those of Graterfriends or The Pennsylvania Prison Society.
    • Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― March 2012 Justice, continued from page 16 opposite of love” and serves to increase and intensify hatred. The fleeting sensation of winning a verdict is not worth the price of one’s individual happiness, recounts the lawyer who had career success in civil as well as criminal law. “The meager benefits justice affords come nowhere near outweighing the costs,” he says. Kimmel believes we have been conditioned to pursue victory over our opponents in lawsuits and criminal cases, as well as in international affairs and personal conflicts. It’s an obsessive, winning-at-all-costs philoso- phy that — like a sugar high — evaporates quickly and leads to suffering and anguish. “Justice is the cruelest addiction of all,” Kimmel writes. ‘The very thing we believe will save us is the very thing that’s destroying us.” The words of a minister and great civil rights leader,Across Down the observations of an award-winning journalist and au-1. It might be ticking 1. Uninteresting person thor, and the reflections of an experienced courtroom5. Fuel for a fireplace 2. __ mitts practitioner poke holes in the commonly held belief that8. Invites 3. Become liquid justice is a black and white issue, that it can be chiseled12. Above 4. Short in stone by technocrats, that it can be mandated by13. Go into debt 5. Shellfish overly ambitious elected officials.14. Finished 6. Wise flyer15. Can be counted on 7. Silly flyers Concepts of justice that are fashioned by legalistic17. “The __” (daytime show 8. Warned parsings can be illusory and unfair. Righteousness that hosted by women) 9. Tiller’s target springs from the mind and the heart constitutes the pow-18. Goes into 10. Santas seat? erful morality needed to address the crises of our times.19. Opposite of frowns 11. Makes clothes21. Parents 16. United __ Emirates23. Fedora, e.g. 20. Sra in USA26. Pollen spreader 22. Warms up Far Eastern Window, continued from page 12 23. Pork cut27. Does an usher’s job 24. Past31. Matures dren are also in attendance, watching the bodies sway in 25. Letterman’s list number33. Uncooked the wind. 28. Its often left hanging35. Let go of 29. Likewise36. One for the __ In Saudi Arabia, public beheading of the condemned is 30. Look through a keyhole38. More specific than ‘a’ common, and these photos are also viewable on the inter- 32. “__-six Trombones…”40. Plaything 34. Tired? net. Last year, six Bangladeshi workers were executed41. Containers 37. Affirmative for the death of a single Egyptian businessman. Some of44. Totally up to date 39. Or __ the six were innocent, perhaps all. As the national econ-47. Get away 42. Part of a seat belt omy depends on remittances from foreign workers, no51. Flatten 43. Old soldiers may have diplomatic imbroglio ensued.52. Let go of them54. There’s three in the yard 44. Vitality This recent slaughter is of course more than retribution55. “___ you nuts?” 45. District for a single murder. It is a message to foreign workers to56. __tone (cell user’s 46. Little piggies? work hard and watch your backs. download) 48. Largest continent57. Piece of cake! 49. __house (luxury digs) Executions are a potent force to scare the public from58. Where rests the mouse 50. Border the political arena. Interestingly enough, the government59. Fill to excess 53. Baseball stat of Japan, always an ambivalent bystander to the politics of its global customers, has taken note. Alarmed at see- ing its cranes used in public executions, manufacturers have been ordered to stop export. For a country whichEasy Crossword #13 by Dave Fisher (puzzles.about.com) For solution, see page 4. hangs its own prisoners, it is a bold move. 15 The opinions expressed are of the authors and not necessarily those of Graterfriends or The Pennsylvania Prison Society.
    • Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― March 2012 NON-PROFIT First Class postage is required to re-mail March 2012 ORGANIZATION U.S. POSTAGE PAID CLAYSBURG, PA PERMIT NO. 84 245 North Broad Street Suite 300 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107THE LAST WORD Justice: Retribution or Doing What is Right? by William M. DiMascio Executive Director, The Pennsylvania Prison Society It is precisely this collision of immoral power with powerless morality which constitutes the major crisis of our times. – Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King We can talk about the economics of criminal justice or We have John Wayne blasting away with a six shooterthe politics that drive it. We can argue about the value of to avenge some villainous acts. We have Bruce Willisrehabilitation or the virtue of frontier justice. All these with his pistol and his imagination saving scores of timiddiscussions will take us as far as a dog chasing his tail. hostages from teams of heavily armed bad guys. The sto- ries are always the same; payback is glorified. The missing ingredient in most considerations of ourjustice system is morality – not necessarily religiosity, In “The Caging of America” (New Yorker, January 30,but the aspect of justice that ensures fairness and embod- 2012), Adam Gopnik observes, “The scale and the brutal-ies compassion. It has to do with doing what is right, and ity of our prisons are the moral scandal of American life.”no one says it any better than the Reverend Dr. Martin He says we are obsessed with process and procedureLuther King. In an address to the Southern Christian rather than principles. This has created an impersonali-Leadership Conference, August 16, 1967, he explained: zation of our criminal justice system that has led to the U.S. becoming famous for harsh and inhumane prisons. “What is needed is a realization that power withoutlove is reckless and abusive, and love without power is The strategy of mass incarceration has resulted insentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love imple- more black men being in prisons, on probation and pa-menting the demands of justice, and justice at its best is role than were in slavery in 1850, Gopnik notes. Overall,power correcting everything that stands against love. more than 6 million men and women are under correc-And this is what we must see as we move on.” tional supervision in America, and that is more than were in the Gulag Archipelago under Stalin. He adds: You have to think about those words for a bit until theysink in and you can appreciate the potency of his think- “The criminal law should once again be more like theing. Too bad this speech didn’t get half the attention of common law, with judges and juries not merely findingthe “I have a dream” speech, or some of his other inspira- fact but making law on the basis of universal principlestional oratory. of fairness, circumstances and seriousness, and crafting penalties to the exigencies of the crime.” Unfortunately, we have a tendency to take things forgranted. We relate justice to retribution, vengeance, and James P. Kimmel Jr., a former prosecutor, in his booksettling scores or getting even. This concept is deeply Suing for Peace, writes that “justice as vengeance is theingrained in our psyches and reinforced constantly bymedia seeking to glamorize heroic actions. (see Justice, continued on page 15) 16 The opinions expressed are of the authors and not necessarily those of Graterfriends or The Pennsylvania Prison Society.