April 2012 Graterfriends
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April 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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  • Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― April 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 4 April 2012   www.prisonsociety.org  www.facebook.com/PennsylvaniaPrisonSociety Not in My Footsteps by Lee A. Horton, CN-2067, SCI Mahanoy “Happy are the sons whom fathers educate. There is Thus, it is all up to us to teach them that it would be anot error in their being’s plan.” (Ptaah Hotep, c. 2340 grave error to put on our old shoes. Tell them the truthB.C.). This missive is written to all incarcerated men and — that those shoes are too small, will only cause pain inwomen concerning our responsibility to our families. Too the long run, and will not last the distance of a lifetime.many of our family members are following in our foot- Warn them not to travel the roads we once travelled.steps to prison. This trend is destroying our families and Tell them that those roads start out wide but soon nar-our communities. Increasingly, parents are finding them- row; that at first they seem easy to navigate but quicklyselves doing time with their children, older siblings with turn rocky; that they appear as shortcuts but are reallyyounger siblings, and uncles and aunts with nieces and paths to nowhere. Let them know that the longer a per-nephews. This is not acceptable. son walks those roads the farther they lead them away from their best future, ultimately leaving them strand- To quote Jesse Jackson, “Every generation needs the ed, wandering the barren wasteland of lost opportuni-instruction and insights of past generations in order to ties without a compass to help find their way back.forge its own vision.” Just because we are in prison doesnot remove our familial obligations. Our families need People, we must fulfill our obligations to our familiesour instruction and insight to help them see where they today. If we do so, limitless futures will be hatched forare going, regardless of our prisoner status. them tomorrow instead of caged futures. It is time for us to act now, our inaction is not a viable option. We may Zora Neal Hurston once wrote: “[T]he present was an not be able to help those who are here with us already,egg laid by the past that had the future inside its shell.” but we can help the ones standing at the cross-roadsFor us, this means that our past actions are the dysfunc- trying to figure out which way to go. Our mantra totional parents of our loved ones’ present day bad deci- them must be, “NOT IN MY FOOTSTEPS.”sions. Even as prisoners, we have family members wholook up to us. Our sons and daughters idolize us, ouryounger siblings revere us, and our nephews and niecesadmire us. They want to be who we once were — or whothey believe we were. As such, we have a profound influ- In this Issueence over them and they will listen to us. From the Editors, News ................................................. 2 Therefore, it is incumbent upon us to tell them the Spotlight ......................................................................... 3truth about the streets, the court system, and prison in Mrs. GE-6309 Time, Birthdays, Crossword Solutions.. 4order to lead them in the right direction toward the highroads and away from the low ones. It is our duty to de- Legislative Highlights .................................................... 5stroy their unrealistic vision of life, where they believe Report on Smoking, Think About It .............................. 6hustling is a career choice and it is OK to rob, steal and Legal Chat ...................................................................... 7cheat to get by, and that it is acceptable to go to prison. Mailroom..................................................................... 7-9 We should engage them with the wisdom we have Our Voices .................................................................... 10learned from our experiences. Whether during visits, Pass the Word .............................................................. 11over the phone, or in letters, our goal should be to say Announcements, Literary Corner................................ 13whatever we can to prevent them from following in our Graterfriends Order Form, Save the Date .................. 14footsteps. I don’t care who you are — innocent, guilty orunrepentant — we should all want a positive prison-free Crossword ..................................................................... 15future for our family members. “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 ― April 2012 From the Editors News Mr. Lee A. Horton’s front page article could not have by Cory Clark, Occupy Philly Mediacome at a better time. We recently presented the reporton children of incarcerated parents to the Pennsylvania On February 20, the Occupy movement as a whole heldSenate and it has been getting a lot of attention in the a national day of action for the reduction of prison popu-press. At the presentation, Rev. Dr. Wilson Goode stated, lations and improvement in prison conditions in the“I saw in that prison a grandfather, a father, and a United States. Occupy Philly, members of The Pennsyl-grandson -- all in the same prison, at the same time. And vania Prison Society, Decarcerate PA, and communitythey met for the first time in prison. As I was leaving, activists from around Philadelphia gathered at 1717the grandson pulled me aside and asked, ‘Dr. Goode, I Arch Street to protest Hill International Ltd., a companyhave a son that Ive never seen. Do you think I will see heading the expansion of SCI Graterford.him for the first time in prison, too?’” Protesters held signs saying, “No More Prisons!” and In response to the several letters we’ve received over the similar thoughts. There were several speeches aboutpast months regarding smoking in Pennsylvania’s prisons, the current statistics regarding incarceration in Penn-Editorial Assistant Danielle Collins has written a report sylvania, and others that related conditions in the(page 6) about our state’s policies, the smoking policies of prison system.other states, and their effect on the prison population. “Inmates have nothing to do but work at slave wages, watch TV, drink coffee, and go to programs that don’t Editorial Assistant Bridget Fifer has written an article work and often repeat each other. There’s no real educa-(page 3) about mandatory minimum sentencing, why tion in prisons — no way to build yourself up — aftersome consider it unconstitutional and why it doesn’t they’ve torn you down,” said Assad Jackson, a formerwork. She has also included a timeline featuring im- offender who is now an activist in his community.portant dates in the history of mandatory minimum sen-tencing in the United States. It’s been said that if you don’t have a strong commitment to education, then you need to have a strong commitment Finally, don’t miss our information in the Legislative to incarceration. Pennsylvania’s government has under-Highlights section (page 5) about the recently passedVoter ID Bill, now Act 18. It will be important infor-mation for you when you are released and wish to vote. (See Occupy Philly, continued on page 12) 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: Danielle Collins, Bridget Fifer 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.
  • Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― April 2012 it” (FAMM: Families Against Mandatory Minimums), has resulted in large numbers of low-level offenders fac- ing long sentences. In addition to threatening checks and Spotlight balances and doing little to attack the drug trade while increasing the prison population, mandatory minimum sentencing also poses problems for the judicial system in many other ways. Minimum sentencing laws make it difficult for individuals with drug abuse histories to re- cover, and make it impossible for a judge to treat eachWHY MANDATORY MINIMUMS DON’T WORK case circumstantially. This results in about 60 percent of by Bridget Fifer, Graterfriends Editorial Asssistant the prison population being locked up on drug charges. The United States government is structured in a three- It’s estimated that 1.4 million people in the Unitedbranch system with checks and balances in place to ensure States prison system have serious drug and alcoholthat no one branch becomes more powerful than the oth- abuse issues. Mandatory minimum sentencing stronglyers. In school, children are taught about how these checks affects first-time offenders. Often, this sentence is theand balances work, but nobody mentions areas in which first time in a person’s battle with drugs that he or she isthey are threatened. One way the checks and balances faced with ceasing use. Being locked up makes it almostbetween the Judicial and Executive branches are being impossible for these individuals to seek and receive thethreatened is the concept of mandatory minimum sentenc- treatment they need to recover.ing. The timeline below illustrates a background of keymovements in the progression of mandatory minimums, Not only does mandatory minimum sentencing stronglywhich are essentially in place to attack the drug trade. contribute more to punishment instead of rehabilitation, which the American prison system seems to value, it also What seems like an effective way to “catch those at thetop of the drug trade and deter others from entering (See Mandatory Minimums, continued on page 15) AN OVERVIEW OF IMPORTANT CHANGES MADE TO MANDATORY SENTENCING 1970s 1990s -New York implements mandatory sentences -Increase in opposition campaigns for some drug offenses (Rockefeller Drug Laws) -Arizona promotes treatment for first- and second-time drug offenders as alternative to prison (Proposition 200) -Michigan implements a minimum sentencing for possession of over 650 grams of cocaine -Michigan 650 Lifer Law repealed or heroin (Michigan 650 Lifer Law) -Increase in minimum sentences for gun offenses -U.S. Supreme Court rules that federal -Drug sentence “cap” lowers sentence for low- sentencing laws do not violate separation level drug offenders of power (Mistretta v. U.S.) -Constitutionality of mandatory sentencing reiterated (Harris v. U.S.) 1980s -It is declared unconstitutional to increase sentences based on evidence not admitted or proven as fact by a jury. Decision affects mandatory minimum laws in 13 states (Blakely v. Washington) 2000s 3 The opinions expressed are of the authors and not necessarily those of Graterfriends or The Pennsylvania Prison Society. View slide
  • Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― April 2012 Mrs. GE-6309 Time DEATH ROW by Reesy Floyd-Thompson April Birthdays HOW TO BE A PRISONER’S WIFE Herbert Blakeney Michael Pruitt FB-5713, GRN GF-1448. GRN Keeping a marriage together with an incarcerated spouse Edwin R. Romero, Scott Blystoneis hard. Relationships of this kind tend to have a high fail- CZ-3206, GRN AP-9152, GRNure rate. I am determined not to let his incarceration be-come a death sentence for our relationship. Here’s how: Michael Brandon Singley Richard Boxley EP-2753, GRN EL-5206, GRA Don’t live in shame: People in love with prisoners are Brian Thomascrazy — at least, that’s what the world believes. It is not my Terry Ray Chamberlain AY-7427, GRNjob to make others feel ‘OK’ with the choices I make. What CL-6265, GRNothers think of me and my decision to stay with my husband Stephen E. Treiberis not my business. I will not hang my head in shame. Michael Conforti FD-8026, GRN BQ-0537, GRN Have a support system: I’m still adjusting to this, James W. VanDivneralmost nine years in. I surround myself with a strong Jermont Cox GY-6354, GRNsupport system. That goes a long away to keeping me CE-8242, GRA Ernest Wholaver, Jr.sane. I’m not afraid to ask for help. There are days when FY-3325, GRNI feel like I can’t carry on. In fact, I schedule at least two Jose DeJesusemotional breakdowns a month. But, my support system DS-0256, GRN Craig Williamsloves and helps me. BX-9919, GRN Robert Anthony Flor Budget and plan: Loving an incarcerated spouse is GW-0422, GRNexpensive. Bills such as postage costs, calls, visitation, GRA = SCI Graterfordpackages, and books add up quickly. I figure my normal Randy Todd Haag PO Box 244monthly budget, then factor in prison expenses AK-7856, GRN Graterford, PA(distinguishing wants from needs), and plan, plan, plan. 19426-0244The number one reason for divorce in free-world couples is Kevin J. Marinelli CT-9974, GRN GRN = SCI Greenemoney. Money concerns are an added stress we don’t need. 175 Progress Drive Keep love alive: One of the biggest challenges as a Kenneth Miller Waynesburg, PAprisoner’s wife is staying in love. Communication is the EC-6130, GRN 15370-8090foundation of any relationship. It does the relationship adisservice to downplay my true thoughts. Letters and If you do not want your name published, send a letter to Graterfriends each year you do not want it to be included.calls are dates; I savor them. Each word and action is an Be sure to note your date of birth.offering of the heart. Being a prisoner’s wife taught methe art of courtship. Love is mental. Love is a commit-ment. I’m committed to having a boundless love, in spiteof the boundaries. CROSSWORD SOLUTIONS Our relationship is under new management and re- Below are the solutions to crossword puzzles printed in thisquires us to think outside the system. The only institu- issue and the previous issue of Graterfriends.tion that matters is our marriage. I expect to be in a rela-tionship, not a “prison relationship.” Living life as if the March 2012 April 2012prison doesn’t matter is the only way to ensure we do notface life without the possibility of a strong, healthy, last-ing relationship. Reesy Floyd-Thompson is the founder of Prisoners’Wives, Girlfriends, & Partners (PWGP). For more infor-mation about this group, please write Reesy at:PWGPP. O. Box 14241Norfolk, VA 23518 4 The opinions expressed are of the authors and not necessarily those of Graterfriends or The Pennsylvania Prison Society. View slide
  • Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― April 2012 Legislative Highlights Ann Schwartzman Policy Director, The Pennsylvania Prison SocietyThe Pennsylvania General Assembly has been holding Appropriations Hearings to discuss budget items. Theyhave also voted on several criminal justice bills in which you may be interested. This information is current as ofMarch 15, 2012.BILL NO. DESCRIPTION CHIEF SPONSOR PPS POSITIONPRINTER NO.HB 934 Requires everyone to show picture ID before they are Rep. Daryl OpposePN 3166 allowed into a voting booth. This bill may impact indi- Metcalf viduals without driver’s licenses, including senior citi- R-Butler County zens, people who use public transportation, young peo-ACT 18 ple, and individuals just released from prison. (Passed House 6/23/11; passed Senate 3/7/12; Governor signed as Act 18, 3/14/12)HB 1352 Rep. T. Stephens Oppose Amends the Public School Code of 1949 by furtherPN 2227 R-Montgomery providing for background checks of prospective employ- County ees and the conviction of employees of certain offenses;ACT 24 collection of identifying information of students attend- ing institutions of higher education, and more. (Passed House and Senate 6/30/11; Governor signed as Act 24, 6/30/11)SB 1428 Rep. Kitchen Support Amends Title 18 (Crime and Offenses) of the Pennsylva-PN 1966 D-Philadelphia nia Consolidated Statutes, further providing for crimi- County nal history record information and expungement of non- violent offenses after maintaining a clean record for five years. (Referred to Judiciary 2/16/12) UPDATE ON THE VOTER ID BILL (HB 934) The Voter ID Bill (HB 934) has passed both the Pennsylvania House and Senate. Governor Cor-bett signed HB 934 into law as Act 18 of 2012 on March 14, flanked by Secretary of State CarolAichele and Representative Daryl Metcalfe, the sponsor of the bill. This bill was opposed by a coalition of organizations led by Pennsylvania Voice, AARP, and theCounty Commissioners Association. Our concern is that thousands of Pennsylvania citizens willbe deprived of their right to vote. Moving forward, lawsuits challenging Pennsylvanias Voter ID Law in an effort to block its im-plementation and have it overturned are expected shortly. We are seeing the same scenario inseveral other states that also passed similar legislation. You will hear more about these legalchallenges in the future. Now, we need to educate the public about the new requirements for voting and work to ensurethat every voter in Pennsylvania gets the documentation he or she will need in order to vote inthe November and future elections. Groups are already coming together at the local, regional, andstatewide levels to help make this happen, and we will all need to be a part of these efforts. 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 ― April 2012 REPORT ON SMOKING IN PRISONS Think by Danielle Collins Graterfriends Editorial Assistant About It Editorial note: Due to the recent debate we’ve seen regard- “UPDATING THE STATISTICS”ing smoking in Pennsylvania’s prisons, we have researched by Paul Schlueter III, AY-8900, SCI Dallasthe issue and printed this report for your information. Between 70 and 85 percent of prisoners smoke, com-pared to 20 percent of the American public. Smoking and In a New York Times opinion piece dated January 10,tobacco use have long been considered an inherent part 2012, A. Blumstein and K. Nakamura report that Newof prison culture, but in the early 1990s, many states York reviewed the cases of 88,000 people, all first con-began to restrict smoking and tobacco use in prisons due victed in 1980, for subsequent recidivism. About 30 per-to concerns over healthcare costs for inmates. In 1993, cent of the first offenders never reoffended. Of the rest,the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the incarcerated have the likelihood of individuals reoffending dropped to abouta right to breathe clean, smoke-free air and that forcing what is expected of someone with no criminal recordnon-smoking inmates to live in smoke-filled prisons con- (“redemption time”), about 10 to 13 years.stitutes a form of cruel and unusual punishment prohib-ited by the Eighth Amendment. Their point is that people should be protected from dis- Currently, 46 out of the 50 states have indoor smoking crimination in jobs, housing, and licensing for five yearsbans, while 14 of those states ban tobacco products and after a misdemeanor and 10 years after a felony. Aftersmoking on all prison grounds. These represent the most that, criminal records should be sealed from public access.restrictive policies for tobacco use in state prisons, andmany more states seem to be following suit. Only four In the Justice column of The Atlantic (Jan./Feb. 2010),states do not restrict tobacco or smoking in state prisons: “Misfortune Teller,” Nadya Lahi writes about UniversityAlabama, Missouri, North Dakota, and Mississippi. In of Pennsylvania professor Richard Berk, who has comeMissouri, Senator Jim Lembke has proposed legislation up with a statistical algorithm for determining the riskto completely ban tobacco in all state prisons. of recidivism of prior offenders. He finds that the earlier When enacting an indoor/outdoor tobacco and smoking the first offense, and the later the most recent offense,ban, state prison officials typically announce the policy the more likely a person is to reoffend. Also, he finds thatanywhere from six months to a year in advance. This gives the severity of a crime previously committed DOES NOTinmates and staff the chance to adjust without going “cold predict whether the offender will commit a violent crimeturkey,” and to access smoking cessation support. When in the future; this suggests that the distinction betweenthe Federal Bureau of Prisons went smoke- and tobacco- violent and non-violent offenders in parole decisionsfree in 2004, inmates and guards were offered smoking- should be re-evaluated. In fact, Berk set up a similarcessation programs, as well as nicotine patches. The algorithm system for Philadelphia in 2006, and has beenpatches were free to guards, but inmates were required to “working with” the Pennsylvania Board of Probation andpay for theirs. Often the cost of nicotine patches is prohibi- Parole for about two years. Berk claims his system is liketive, making the transition even harder for prisoners. a Ferrari compared to the LSI-R survey, a 54-question survey now used by Pennsylvania and many other states Florida implemented a statewide prison tobacco ban in to evaluate risk, which Berk compares to a Ford Focus.September 2011, and made nicotine patches available to However, critics worry that Berk’s algorithm still reliesinmates for $34.99. Six months before enforcing the 2011 too heavily on prior record scores, which unfairly biastobacco ban, prisoners and staff were informed that they results against African-American offenders, simply be-were going to gradually implement the new policy. Until cause they are over-represented among the sampling.the ban took effect, inmates were permitted to smoke dur-ing recreation time in designated areas to steadily weanthemselves off of tobacco. Employees are currently permit- It is too soon to tell for sure whether Berk’s algorithm isted to smoke in designated areas off prison grounds. a good thing or a bad one, and who will benefit the most. Pennsylvania officials are likely to be reluctant to consid- In implementing a successful tobacco ban, the Virginia er letting currently-unparolable lifers to benefit at all.Department of Corrections also took a gradual approach.Inmates and staff were informed a year in advance andhad access to smoking cessation and nicotine replace- One thing is certain; real science requires not only peerment therapy programs. In a February 6, 2012 email, review, but also replication of results through independentDirector of Communications Larry Traylor shared some follow-up studies. Until these safeguards have been ap- plied, we should be wary about grand conclusions or policy (See Smoking, continued on page 12) decisions which may be based on premature findings. 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 ― April 2012 Legal Chat Mailroom NEED HELP WITH PRISON PROGRAM PRISONERS FORCED TO MOVE TO VA. HAVE NO JOBS AFTER RETURNING TO PA. I’m writing to ask for help. I’ve been in the therapeuticcommunity for eight months and was discharged for lack As of late, lifer inmates who were previously workingof participation and not using house tools. I believe that in the Correctional Industries Shops at SCI Graterfordthis is not true and I don’t know what to do. Is there any- have been returning from Virginia. These inmates werething I can do to be reinstated? I cannot say anything to transferred unwillingly to the care of the Virginia DOCchange the minds of the staff or prison. I want to know if and were informed that upon their return, as long asanybody else is having the same problem, or has any they had not been cited for misconducts while temporari-advice. Now I might not be able to finish my carpentry ly in Virginia, they would be getting their jobs back. Soclass because of being discharged from the program. I far, that has not been the case.also have a problem with group speaking and they don’tlook at this problem. Any help is appreciated. They have now been told that lifer inmates WILL NOT be given their old jobs back in the Correctional Indus- Terry Graham tries Shops that they had been removed from as a result JG-2267, SCI-Fayette of being unwillingly transferred and taken to Virginia. Not only are they losing their former jobs, but they are more or less being punished unfairly. CELL EXTRACTIONS And not to pick on the non-lifers that were also relocat- ed, but the returning non-lifers ARE getting their previ- ous jobs back with Correctional Industries, as long as On January 25, 26, and 27 of 2012, SCI Albion per- they did not engage in any type of misconduct in Virginia.formed approximately 30 cell extractions. What triggeredthese was a corrections officer (CO) slighting a man who I find this situation totally unfair and I hope that thishas a great many friends. The CO in question has a loss of job is corrected and rectified for the good of thoseshady past at another facility, and was reportedly trans- who did not deserve to lose their jobs and were informedferred here for a fresh start. For some reason, the CO initially that they would not.said the man threw an RHU shoe at him during a strip James R. Cruzsearch for a trip to the law library. This was false; no CL-1798, SCI-Graterfordsuch assault took place. In fact, the man was only twodays away from completing his solitary confinementtime, plus he had no motive to attack. RE: “HEY, WHAT ABOUT US?” As further punishment, each extractee was placed inthe restraint chair for at least four hours in a suicide Back in August 2011 (Our Voices column), I wrote asmock. One man has endured some ten days in the chair. letter entitled, “Hey, What About Us?” The article wasThe staff put this chair in the main RHU hallway, like a for long-term incarcerated men — men looking for helptrophy of their hard work. Once time is up, the still- and programs that will provide them with assistance.smocked man is placed in a cold Albion cell with no blan- Upon further digging for answers, I found that I couldket, mattress, pillow, or even toilet paper or soap. SCI contact the Bureau of Treatment Services in HarrisburgAlbion RHU would have less than half the problems and and answers could be found there.grievances it does if the on-site administration, superin-tendent, and deputies would make rounds as done in Finally, I received a reply from Keith Fenstemaker,other facilities. If the superintendent and/or one deputy Treatment Programs Specialist, Bureau of Treatmentsuperintendent would make weekly rounds, many issues Services. He wrote:would be resolved. “The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections is cur- rently piloting a long-term offenders program at several In closing, the unity I witnessed shocked me, as every- of our facilities across the state. After the pilot programone is normally out for themselves only. I urge all read- is complete, there will be a determination if the programers of this story to please cut it out and ask family mem- will be offered on a larger scale. We are optimistic thebers to send it to the governor and the media. Together program will do well and are anticipating that it will bewe can right all these wrongs. made available to more facilities.” Darren Gentilquore GX-1572, SCI Albion (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 ― April 2012 I’m asking that if anybody knows of this pilot program sion. I crashed and burned after several telephonic hear-at their facility, please let it be known and explain exact- ings before Judge Ember S. Jandebuer. Although sympa-ly what the inner-workings of this program are. thetic to our cause, she dismissed the case for not stating a claim, all of which I reported here in Graterfriends. Kevin Coleman AJ-2978, SCI Fayette I then followed this attempt up with dozens of letters to everyone I could think of. Two things are noteworthy of the effort. First, John Shaffer, Ph.D, in the Office of Ad- MY RESPONSE TO SMOKING ISSUE ministration within the DOC, gave me a breakdown on the funds collected for the use of the phones. In a letter There must be a compromise. If you don’t like to smell that I have to this day, he said “eight million dollars”smoke on someone, or smoking period, don’t cell up with were collected. Of that, the Inmates General Welfaresomeone who smokes. If the person is smoking outside, Fund received “three million” and the remaining “fivecome on! It is the only place we can smoke without get- million” was put into the State General Fund. Who elseting a write up. has a problem with this? Smokers and non-smokers have rights. Smokers have Second, I used the Freedom of Information Act to getthe right or privilege to smoke, and non-smokers have what I could about the Inmates General Welfare Fundthe right to clean air inside. However outdoors is a public and its charter with the DOC and State. Guess what Iarea. I haven’t heard any bans on smoking outdoors ex- found? The people that handle these funds cannot becept at bars and restaurants. People smoke to enjoy it, audited by State auditors, only in-house audit staff!relieve stress, or because they are ADDICTED. As pris- What a racket that supports John’s words!oners we have no right to tell other prisoners what to do.There are many other issues more important than What I’d like is information on what has happened tofighting about smoking. HR 4466, known as “The Family Telephone Connection Protection Act of 2005.” During our fight, it was stuck in Indoors, technically, our cells are our homes. We sleep the Committee on Energy and Commerce. I fear that, asthere, sometimes eat there, and go to the bathroom always, something worthy fell between the cracks andthere. If you are complaining about the ventilation sys- these monies were put in the hands of those who don’ttem, allow smokers the ability to buy filters to place on deserve it. It’s our money that could go to much neededthe vents. Besides, the air we breathe in the cells is not education. I ask anyone with information concerning this100 percent pure, either. Allow smokers to buy ashtrays subject to please contact me. I really appreciate it.which eat smoke (which they do make), or air purifiers. Jeffery Neal Saxberg I understand that smoking in government buildings is DX-5126against the law, but also where you sleep or live is your P.O. Box 200home. Would you want someone telling you what to do in Camp Hill, PA 17002-0200your own home? Brothers and sisters, prison life is hard enough without Editorial Note: Research done by the Pennsylvania Pris-fighting each other over minor issues, like smoking. What on Society has led us to believe that the last action re-about parole, over-crowding, prison wages, commissary garding HR 4466 was referral to the Committee on Ener-prices, and equal treatment of prisoners as human be- gy and Commerce. Anyone with any further informationings? Positive, effective change can only come about if is asked to contact Mr. Saxberg or the Pennsylvania Pris-people are willing to set aside differences and come to- on Society. Thank you.gether, willing to learn, understand and have compassionfor each other. Thank you, and God bless you. When submitting a letter or Jesse Keith Blough HQ-7572, SCI Albion column to Graterfriends for publication, please remember to STILL FIGHTING THE PHONE SYSTEM attach a letter (or note on your submission) that it is for In the February issue, Mr. Yount brought up what hecalled a “socially regressive commission on Pennsylvania publication and that you areinmates and their families.” I mention this because those the original author; date andof you that have been around for a minute should re-member his fight with the then T-Netix phone system. sign the declaration. In late 2005 and early 2006, I picked up the torch and Thank you.filed my own complaint with the Public Utility Commis- 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 ― April 2012 IN RESPONSE TO MR. TERRY GRAHAM’S the commonwealth through the use of these release INQUIRY REGARDING SB 1161 mechanisms for geriatric prisoners alone. But, in the hue and cry for these needed reductions, where does the Board of Parole and Pardons stand on these issues? They Thanks to Graterfriends reader Dana Lomax Williams seem to be the greatest hindrance to these necessary re-(OP-2742, SCI Muncy), we have news to share regarding ductions. The common person would think they’d have aSenator Greenleaf’s SB 1161. Ms. Lomax found infor- moral obligation to help the state reduce the budget inmation in our November 2010 Graterfriends (Legislative this crisis situation. They seem to get a free pass for notHighlights) indicating that this bill was passed, becom- doing their part to help.ing Act 95 on October 27, 2010. The information aboutthe law is below: Where are the voices calling for those over at the Board of Parole and Pardons to act? There is silence from the “The Prison Reform Bill of 2010, sponsored by Senator politicians, DOC officials, the press, the governor, theGreenleaf, has undergone several revisions due to numer- prison population, our family members, faith-basedous amendments. Although the bill is quite different from groups, and prisoner support organizations. Silence eve-the original version…it provides provisions that will im- rywhere! No one is calling for these gate-keepers of free-pact programs, policies, and populations in corrections, dom to act in the best interest of the state in this crisisparole, and other criminal justice agencies. The new law situation.calls for adoption of risk assessment tools, sentencingguidelines for state intermediate punishments, evalua- Together, we can change this. There is a solution fortion of boot camps and state intermediate punishments, returning released citizens safely back into the communi-confidentiality of victim information, distribution of pro- ty. To find out what you can do to help, write to me:ceeds from inmate labor, use of evidence-based practicesin parole decisions for better reentry coordination, gradu- James Taylorated sanctions for technical parole violators, conditions of AF-4120parole to include drug screenings of parolees regardless of PO Box 244offense, omitting program non-completion as a reason to Graterford, PA 19426deny parole, notification requirements for certain offend-ers going to group homes in certain counties, and more.” We thank Ms. Williams for sharing this information. SCI CAMP HILL DAY OF RESPONSIBILITY, Mindy Bogue SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2012 Graterfriends Managing Editor Editorial Note: This article was featured in “Monthly In- mate News,” a newsletter from SCI Camp Hill. It was sub- mitted to us by Harry Twiggs, AF-3025, SCI Camp Hill. A GLARING CONTRADICTION On Saturday, February 25, 2012, the Activity Depart- Somebody, please tell me if the following makes sense: ment hosted a daylong event entitled, “A Day of Respon-According to political figures and high-ranking DOC offi- sibility.” It was held from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Over 125cials, the State of Pennsylvania is facing an economic CDCC and GP inmates attended the event.crisis and needs to reduce its prison population “out ofnecessity” as a cost-saving measure. Clearly, the state The day was organized and planned with input fromhas in parole, pre-release, and the commutations process, inmate Harry Twiggs and a committee, along with a for-three release mechanisms available to achieve any level mer employee, Ms. Cathy Sabatino, overseeing the event.of reductions it wants. After opening remarks by Harry Twiggs and Ms. Sabatino, three guest speakers (Ms. Lynn Shiner, Karen Laird, and The Board of Parole and Pardons, as the gate-keepers Destiny Brown) shared their experiences of the impact ofto freedom or continued imprisonment of the Common- crime on their lives. After a lunch break, the inmates werewealth, can independently evaluate and release people as divided into small groups and rotated among subjects suchthey see fit. But, for too long, a genuine show of mercy as responsibility, confession, repentance, forgiveness, rec-has been absent from the Board of Pardons. There are onciliation, restoration, amends, and health.hundreds of release-worthy candidates in the state: menand women who, once granted their freedom, would nev- The main guest speaker for the day, Mr. Jonathoner come back. This is especially so among geriatric pris- Queen, an ex-offender, ended the day with an insightfuloners, many of whom have served more than 30 years. and inspirational talk on the “hows and whys” of a re- sponsible life. The “powers that be” could make much better use ofsuch people. They are qualified to make contributions to Before ending the day, all the inmates recited and signed apublic safety upon release. Instead, this untapped hu- pledge to take responsibility for their past, present, and fu-man potential is allowed to waste away needlessly, sub- ture actions and to make a difference in their communities.ject to a conviction turned into a cruel sentence of death A “Thank You” is extended to all the staff and inmatesby lethal incarceration. When is enough enough? who worked so hard to make this “Day of Responsibility” Tens of millions of tax-payer dollars could be saved by a huge success. 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 ― April 2012 purchase cards from the prison commissary.” Our Voices My second personal challenge followed just days later. Three approved phone numbers on my phone list suddenly, without notice were inaccessible. The three numbers were all local Erie 814 numbers that my brother and two sisters obtained through a service called Google Voice. In short, Google Voice is a service that allows individuals to assign STICK TO YOUR MISSION additional phone numbers to an already existing land or cellular phone line, at no cost. For a year I was able to en- by Joshua Michael Uhrich, HS-4335, SCI Albion joy calling my siblings weekly, at a rate of $1.69 per 15- minute phone call, as it was financially feasible. Now, that As we entered 2012, I reflected on two DOC challenges opportunity is nearly a financial impossibility because a 15I faced just prior to the Christmas season. Then, when I -minute long distance call is at least $6.00. Eventually, themost recently learned of a certain change in DOC policy, DOC removed all Google Voice phone numbers.all mere reflection was translated into a motivation toact. I felt obliged to put pen to paper. Most recently the Pennsylvania DOC discontinued one day of inmate visitation every month due to a cost saving My first challenge was as follows. For Christmas 2010. initiative. It was this most recent issue that compelledI sent out 75 cards—nearly all purchased from the com- me to expose the Pennsylvania DOC’s hypocrisy.missary—to family and friends. This year, to be morethrifty, I asked my parents to send me 50 blank Christ- The DOC’s mission statement in part reads: “The mis-mas cards from their wealth of extras. After I did not sion of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections is…receive the package for a week, my father investigated. to provide opportunities for inmates to acquire… valuesHe called the SCI-Albion mailroom and spoke with a necessary to become productive law-abiding citizens…”gentleman—probably the mailroom supervisor. The DOC One such value for successful and productive reintegra-employee informed my dad that the package was confis- tion into society is maintaining—or forming—a healthycated by the mailroom because inmates are not permit- support system while incarcerated. Research has provented to receive “unsigned cards.” After my dad asked what that those who upon exiting the DOC’s custody are sur-safety/security risk is associated with unsigned cards,the employee responded, “Well, we prefer that inmates (See Mission, continued on page 14) DO YOU KNOW ABOUT THE UNIFORM went through our paperwork page-by-page, looking for COMMERCIAL CODE (UCC)? UCC information. So, naturally, I inquired as to why they were so interested in confiscating this information. by Dominic Hershey, JM-5721, SCI Somerset One of the COs went on a brief rant about how inmates were trying to use this information to put liens on peo- A few years ago, I was introduced by a friend to the ple, they’re clogging up the courts with frivolous motions,world of “The Uniform Commercial Code”. At the time, and they don’t know that this is pertaining to corporatethere was a wealth of information in our institution. Fas- law and has nothing to do with us. At which time thecinated, I studied night and day for months. Aside from other officer stopped him and said, “hold on now, I havethe initial shock of the material and its claims, I was a friend in Oregon who is sovereign; he has no birth cer-equally puzzled as to how this “taking back of one’s tificate, no social security card, no license; doesn’t payTRUE freedom” could exist without the public as a whole taxes or anything!”taking advantage of it, or even being aware of it! I surely This was confirmation for us that the information, athad never, in my 35 years, heard of it! So, of course, I least in part, was valid. Several days later I was toldgrew skeptical. that someone, using this sort of information, had put a Then, on an otherwise normal day, a war was waged, lien on then-Secretary of the DOC Jeffery Beard, andand it had become obvious that either we were already that is what spurred the war on this information. Also,being watched, or someone on the block was informing to my knowledge, all commercial and maritime lawsecurity who had this information. There were three books, as well as anything pertaining to the UCC haveshake-downs that day. All three cells belonged to my been removed from our law library! Correct me if I’mcomrades, who also had UCC information in their cells. wrong, but isn’t that denying us access to the courts?It was obvious that the COs were there solely for our And isn’t that my right under the 14th Amendment?paperwork. It’s not what we might do with the material; it’s wheth- After having my paperwork taken, I was escorted to anempty dorm area along with my cellie, where we wereinformed to stand by while one of the security members (See UCC, continued on page 14) 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 ― April 2012 together, or were married and dated each other. And they have the audacity to talk about the inmates. The Pssst… nerve. If we go in front of the hearing examiner, we are doomed if we do not have four legs. She loves the pup- Pass the Word pies here in the puppy program. I have never been a problematic inmate, like so many others here. However, because I grieved a particular staff member for discharging me from a program with- SOUND OFF! out a legitimate reason, they had it in for me. This indi- by Dana Lomax-Williams, OP-2742, SCI Muncy vidual happened to be very good friends with Kerrs- Barr. Let’s just say, after I was paroled, this individual We here at Muncy’s Women’s State Penitentiary are made sure that the hearing examiner punished me se-elated to know that Representative Ronald Walters verely for something that truly didn’t warrant suchstated that the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights harsh punishment. Due to me going to the hole, my re-Division is opening a federal probe of Pennsylvania’s lease was delayed by two years.prison system, and that it will eventually cover all the Unfortunately, the staff can call the hearing examinerstate prisons. Many women are very hesitant about and either plead on our behalf, or ask for us to be cruci-speaking out about the sexual harassment due to retali- fied. She’s judge and jury. Well, it’s about time someoneation, especially with these lengthy sentences. Who will spoke up and sounded off. There are numerous issuesprotect them? that need to be exposed, and this is just the beginning For one thing, we are in dire need of an unbiased, bo- many. I have nothing else to lose, but I am speaking outna fide, certified hearing examiner. Kerrs-Barr (our for all my sisters that are imprisoned by their fear ofhearing examiner) gives out state sentences with the retaliation. We need an outside advocate. Changes musthelp from and under the influence of her friends, who be made here. Look for more from me speaking out andare usually the ones who wrote you up. How do I know? sounding off.So glad you asked. From experience. Many of the em-ployees here either grew up together, went to school Thank you. AN IMPORTANT CASE as “an accomplice.” Under Pennsylvania law, one is an accomplice if, “with the intent of promoting or facilitatingby George Rahsaan Brooks-Bey, AP-4884 SCI Frackville the commission of an offense,” he or she either “solicits such other person to commit the offense or the crime” or The third circuit court of appeals recently overturned a “aids or agrees or attempts to aid such other person infirst degree murder conviction in the case of Johnson v. planning or committing [the offense].” (See Everett vMechling, No. 08-2477. Johnson argued that the evidence Beard, 290 F3d500, 512 [3d cir. 2002]; Commonwealth v.to convict him was insufficient to support the conviction. Cox, 863 A. 2d 536, 551 {PA. 2004].)The court set out by applying the established federalstandard by the U.S. Supreme Court in Jackson v. Vir- The Third Circuit ruled Johnson’s conviction “did not”ginia, 443 U.S. 307 (1979). (“The Constitution prohibits survive the due process challenge because the “state rec-the criminal conviction of any person except upon proof ord” did not contain sufficient evidence to permit anyof guilt beyond a reasonable doubt of each element of the reasonable fact finder to conclude that Johnson, as anoffense.”) However, “a properly instructed jury may occa- active partner, shared intent with his co-defendant tosionally convict a person even when it can be said that no commit murder or that Johnson acted in such a mannerrational trier of fact could find guilt beyond a reasonable as to encourage or facilitate the murder. (See, Smith v.doubt (Jackson at 318). A reviewing court must deter- Horn, 120 F. 3d. 400, 410 [3d cir. 1997].) The Court ruledmine “whether, after viewing the evidence in the light that Johnson “was not the shooter and that securing amost favorable to the prosecution, any rational trier of first-degree murder on accomplice liability where sharedfact could find the essential elements of crime beyond a intent is involved,” is no easy task. (See Commonwealthreasonable doubt” (Jackson at 319). This standard must v. Raymond Johnson, 966 A2d 523, 543 [PA 2009]; Com-be applied with explicit reference to the substantive ele- monwealth v Murphy, 844 A. 2d 1128, 1238 [PA. 2004].)ments of the criminal offense defined by state law. The The Court ruled it is essential “that there be a logicalCourt looked to Pennsylvania law only to establish the and convincing connection between the facts establishedelements of the offense. They then turned to the “federal and the conclusions inferred. Put another way, the differ-question” of whether the Superior Court was objectively ence between an inference and a speculation is that anunreasonable in concluding that sufficient evidence sup- inference is a reasoned deduction for the evidence; aported Johnson’s convictions. speculation is a guess.” (See Commonwealth v. Konz, 402 A. 2d 773, 788 [PA. Super 2003].) Pennsylvania statutes define murder as an “intentionalkilling.” Johnson was found guilty of first-degree murder (See Important Case, continued on page 13) 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 ― April 2012Occupy Philly, continued from page 2 Smoking, continued from page 6funded, to a significant extent, both basic and higher edu- of the secrets of Virginia’s successful policy. Wrote Tray-cation in Pennsylvania, while continuing to build prisons. lor: “The effects were minimal because almost all Virgin- ia jails had already eliminated tobacco products prior to America has the highest persons per capita incarcer- this ban so inmates coming from local and regional jailsated in the world, exceeding even China and Russia. were already tobacco free prior to coming into the state“We have more frivolous laws that require prison sen- system.” Additionally, Virginia prisons implemented atences than any other country in the world, including “step down” program for inmates and staff using a curric-rogue dictatorial states. We have become a country ulum developed by the National Commission on Correc-where the prison industrial system has taken control, tional Health Care (NCCHC). Penalties for violating theour answer to everything has become, ‘put them in tobacco ban will not be as harsh as other infractions, andprison,’” said Danielle Finger, artist and political ac- will be cited as administrative offenses that lead to losstivist with Occupy Philly. of privileges but not criminal prosecution. “There are so many problems that feed into the prison Many familiar with state prisons have warned that ban-industrial complex in Pennsylvania, but the injustice ning smoking and tobacco products will only serve to in-becomes clear when the state spends more on prisons crease violence in prisons and turn the items into contra-than it does on schools,” said Nate Kleinman, a human band. Since implementing a tobacco ban in March 2009,rights activist in Philadelphia. “This is just a disaster. Ohio officials have noticed an increase in violence and areIf we spent more money on educating our young we investigating to discover the cause. Gary Mohr, Director ofwouldn’t need as many prisons. Most crimes committed the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction,are committed by desperate people — stealing something expressed concern over the rise in violence in Ohio prisonsto pay a bill, or feed an addiction — and they don’t have and stated “Tobacco has become a currency that’s used inthe education to get the few jobs that free trade has left our prisons.” There have been incidences of guards smug-us with.” gling and selling cigarettes, but such events are rare in proportion to the number of state prison employees. More than 70 percent of Pennsylvania’s prisoners comefrom minority communities, and 99 percent of them are Pennsylvania’s policy, effective September 11, 2008, isfrom poor communities. The solution is simple: educate consistent with the Clean Indoor Air Act, which prohibitsour young people, bring jobs to the state. Don’t hinder smoking in a public place. Smoking is permitted only in designated outdoor areas, and staff and inmates who smoke are offered resources pertaining to smoking cessa-We have more frivolous laws that tion. Additionally, the Inmate General Welfare Fund hasrequire prison sentences than any funding available to facility managers for smoking cessa- tion programs.other country in the world. In deciding whether to begin a smoke and tobacco free policy, officials must weigh a number of concerns and companies with out-of-date over regulation, but imple- considerations to make an informed decision. This in-ment smart regulations that take business, the environ- cludes balancing concerns over inmate health with ques-ment, and — most importantly — people into account. tions of whether inmates have a right to smoke. It also If you want to lower the state budget in this “time of involves careful planning, as ending a nicotine habiteconomic crisis,” lower the prison population and put the “cold-turkey” can be dangerous and terribly unpleasant.right people in jail, such as violent offenders. Apply fair Nationally, it appears that banning smoking is becomingprison sentences appropriate to the crime instead of the norm, and many state prison systems are eager tothree-to-seven years for a crime of omission, or a two-to- get on board.four-year sentence for a drug problem. References: 100% Smokefree Correctional Facilities. Issue brief. American Non- We need to depopulate our prisons and repopulate smokers Rights Foundation, 2 Jan. 2012. Web. 17 Feb. 2012. <http://our schools! www.no-smoke.org/pdf/100smokefreeprisons.pdf>. Blitstein, Ryan. "Smokers Behind Bars Can Quit, Too." Miller-McCune. 18 Dec. 2008. Web. 17 Feb. 2012. <http://www.miller-mccune.com/health/ smokers-behind-bars-can-quit-too-4060/>. Have you read the recent report Fitzgerald, Sandy. "Tobacco Ban Might Be Igniting Ohio Prison Vio- lence." Newsmax.com. 23 Jan. 2012. Web. 17 Feb. 2012. <http:// about children of incarcerated par- www.newsmax.com/TheWire/prison-violence-ohio/2012/01/23/id/425101>. ents? If you want to learn how we Gardner, Amy. "Cigarette Ban Being Implemented in Va. State Pris- can help these “invisible victims” ons." Washington Post. 16 June 2009. Web. 17 Feb. 2012. <http:// www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/15/ of incarceration, go to: AR2009061502330.html?nav=emailpage>. www.prisonsociety.org and click on "Maxwell Muff Et Al. v. Terry Collins Et Al." Web. 17 Feb. 2012. Zoroya, Gregg. "Smoking Bans Spread to Prisons." USATODAY.com. the “What’s New?” page. 21 July 2004. Web. 17 Feb. 2012. <http://www.usatoday.com/news/ nation/2004-07-21-prison-smoking-usat_x.htm>. 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 ― April 2012 Announcements Literary CornerPreserving Your Claim Under the Prison KANGAROO COURTLitigation Reform Act (PLRA) is a new docu-ment that was recently sent to all of Pennsylvania’s state By David Lusik, CQ-3760, SCI Forest prison libraries. It was written by Alex Rubenstein, 2012Candidate for J.D. at Rutgers School of Law-Camden. It As I lay awake on my bunk waiting to got to court,is intended to provide some background information on I had a vision of court jesters and barristers,the PLRA, and also explain how the law impacts court all disguised even to the eyes in fraud,claims filed while in jail or prison. Additionally, thispamphlet explains how to properly follow the grievance then came the judge in her polka dot robe that lookedprocess employed by the Pennsylvania Department of like a dress,Corrections, in order to help protect any claims you may what a masquerade a real kangaroo court.bring relating to prison conditions from being dismissed Next came Tyranny,for failure to exhaust administrative remedies. Even for Here ye! Here ye! Here ye!claims that are not affected by the exhaustion require- This court is now in session!ment, this pamphlet should serve as a helpful tool for The evil prosecutrix called her first witness,correctly filing grievances. A fat clown who left me panic stricken, I felt like Alice falling down the rabbit hole in wonder- land,Beccaria: A Chapbook Anthology by AjaBeech is once again available, for a limited time. To or- Then came the verdict of anarchy’s tempestuous cry,der a copy, prisoners may send a check or money order Guilty, guilty, Guilty, on all charges,for $5 to: My poor mother fainted, My sister cried,Aja Beech I picked myself up and told the judge give me liberty or2445 Coral St. give me death,Philadelphia, PA 19125 The lone old hag laughed and snarled, She declared, I am the Queen, God and the law of this land,Life Support for Women with an Take this scoundrel off to jail forever!Incarcerated Loved One is a new support groupfor women looking for a safe place to share feelings andconcerns about incarcerated family members. The groupmeets the second Tuesday of every month, from 4:00 p.m.to 6:00 p.m., at the Pennsylvania Prison Society: 245 N. Important Case, continued from page 11Broad Street, 3rd Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19107(Race-Vine station, across from Hahnemann Hospital). For an inference to be reasonable, it “must flow from facts and circumstances proven from the record, andFor more information: must be of such volume and quality as to overcome theMason Barnett, 215-564-6005, ext. 106 (Prison Society) presumption of innocence and satisfy the jury that anDesiree Cunningham 215-758-5877 (Support Group accused one’s guilt is beyond a reasonable doubt.” A rea-questions only) sonable inference is one where the facts must flow from inferences, not conjecture, speculation or suspicion. Infer- ences must be reasonable and establish a prima facie We seem to have a gap between case of criminal culpability; anything less rises no higherour cherished ideals about than “guess work.” (See Commonwealth v. Wodjak. 466 A. 2d 991, 996 [PA 1983].)justice and the realities of the Lorenzo Johnson (who has written articles inprison environment. Graterfriends about his actual innocence) is black, poor —Nicholas deB Katzenbach, and happened to be on the scene when the crime oc- former U.S. Attorney General curred. Mere presence has “never been a crime,” but that’s not how an all-white jury saw it. 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 ― April 2012 Mission, continued from page 10 Save the Date! rounded by a spouse, close family members, and/or friends are most likely to succeed in home and communi- ty environments. The 225th Annual Blank Christmas cards, reasonably priced phone calls, and daily visitation: all three directly affect inmates’ Business Meeting systems of support. Inmates’ support systems directly affect inmate values and the success rate of reintegra- 11:00 a.m., May 8, 2012 tion into society. The DOC should be applauding the fact that prisoners have family members who can help their incarcerated loved ones send special cards to other fami- To be held at ly and friends. The DOC likewise should be praising The Defender Association inmates for finding a legitimate, legal service that helps them call family and friends at a reasonable cost. The of Philadelphia DOC should be adding days and hours to allotted visita- 1441 Sansom St. tion times in order to accommodate family connection. Instead, the DOC implicitly is discouraging and jeering Philadelphia 19102 at these inmate-initiated attempts at rehabilitation. Shame on you, Pennsylvania DOC, for not adhering A light lunch will be served to your mission statement. C’mon… you can do better. after the meeting. Please RSVP to tspence@prisonsociety.org or 215- 564-6005, x116 UCC, continued from page 10 er or not we have the right to possess these materials. Has anyone heard of the right to bear arms? Yeah, we Later in the day we will be celebrat- might shoot someone with the gun we buy and possess; ing 225 years of service. Please nevertheless, we have the right to it. So, at this point, I would like to know what is being done about the prohi- watch for your invitation to this tick- bition and confiscation of said legal materials. Does eted event or check our website for anyone have anything in front of the courts? I would more details. like to know the status of any action being taken, and if there is any class action, if I can be named as a plain- tiff, and how.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 ― April 2012 Public Acting, continued from page 16 and so forth – rather than prisons and correctional officer overtime. What we have are approaches that favor facts and evi- dence and others that reflect the way people’s percep- tions shape them. And when it comes to perceptions, it seems everybody has one of their own. The fact is that on complex social issues such as these there are so many shades of understanding that progress doesn’t get made until people agree on an acceptable gray tone. Folks who pushed for a black or white re- sponse have to accept the compromise they can live with. David Mathews, president of the Kettering Foundation, suggests that both types of knowledge are critical. “There are no experts on what should be, but forum organizers have helped distinguish public knowledge from expert knowledge and have validated its importance,” he wrote in the Kettering Review. “This has been important at a time when the attraction of research-based knowledge threatens to devalue other time-tested ways of knowingAcross Down and deciding.”1. Stalemate in tic-tac-toe 1. TV option4. “___ Maria” 2. __ well (no problem) He goes on to note that deliberations almost always7. “Naughty you!” 3. Work groups broaden the definition of a problem, creating multiple12. Ginger __ 4. Biblical boat options for actions. Public action that follows is often13. Name fit for a king? 5. Flying formations difficult to discern. The public rarely falls into lock step14. Bank contents 6. Prolong behind a solution; indeed, on the more intractable prob-15. Serape 7. Brainy lems in our society there are frequently a variety of steps17. Separate 8. Tiger’s target needed to address an issue. And, consensus is less often18. Margarita fruit 9. Bar request an immediate outcome than a shared sense of direction.19. Hush-hush 10. Chess pieces21. Attempt 11. CBS logo Participants then move in a variety of ways to advance23. “___ so fast!” 16. Almost that shared direction. That’s what Mathews calls “public 20. Charges acting.” It occurs in ad hoc associations, other civic or-24. __-been (former somebody) ganizations and in involvements with related local 22. Nays opposite27. Is literate groups – like the ripples spreading when a stone is 25. Behave dropped into a pond.29. Head support 26. Wild blue yonder30. Priest’s apparel 28. Bearing weapons Public acting, in essence, becomes the bridge or missing33. Days in September 29. Most kind link between informed judgment and political will. It’s35. One-__ 30. Limit the way the public does nonpartisan politics and it hap-36. Its got the beat 31. “__ to Joy” pens without storming the Bastille.38. Write down 32. Ship’s light39. Animal house 34. That guy40. Stands for 37. Nervous44. Swapped 39. Challenger Mandatory Minimums, continued from page 347. Detect 41. Fourth in a series of 1248. Not our places judges in a position where they are incapable of 42. Brouhaha exercising their discretion. “I resent the fact that Con-50. Vienna is its capital 43. Commence gress has…put me in a position where I have to send a52. Not so good 45. Ascend young man…to jail for 10 years for a crime which doesn’t53. Hit the slopes 46. Fist, slangily deserve more than three or four…They do it for political54. Leb. neighbor 48. __-night doubleheader reasons. It looks good when some candidate stands up55. Private 49. Sweetheart, briefly and says ‘I voted for a 10-year mandatory minimum.’ I56. “Amen!” 51. Bro’s counterpart wish that candidate could come into this courtroom57. Allow and…have to sentence this young man to 10 years in jail. They wouldn’t find it easy,” says Alan H. Nevas, (U.S.Easy Crossword #14 by Dave Fisher (puzzles.about.com) For solution, see page 4. District Judge, Connecticut). 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 ― April 2012 First Class postage is required to re-mail April 2012 NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION U.S. POSTAGE PAID CLAYSBURG, PA PERMIT NO. 84 245 North Broad Street Suite 300 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107THE LAST WORD “Public Acting” Essential Element of Social Justice Reform by William M. DiMascio Executive Director, The Pennsylvania Prison Society For almost twenty years I have been associated with judgment, but generating the political will to act is an-the Kettering Foundation, a nonprofit research institu- other matter. What’s missing?tion headquartered in Dayton, Ohio. The Foundation iscommitted to studying the way the public works in a de- Emotion, fueled by high profile (intense media buzz)mocracy, and it has supported the activities of the Na- crime, certainly moves people to act quickly – often timestional Issues Forums Institute. in ways that create more problems than they solve. The hastily imposed moratorium on parole in response to the The Institute identifies emerging concerns that impact police shooting in 2009, for example, caused a dramaticthe public in areas such as education, crime, economics, spike in the number of state inmates and wound up cost-family values, etc. Because these matters are so huge, a ing untold millions of dollars as Pennsylvania was as aframing process has been developed so that the issue of result forced to send some 2,000 prisoners to rented cellsthe day can be taken up by a group interested in deliber- in Michigan and Virginia.ating the pros and cons and arriving at common groundfor action. But here’s what may be missing ultimately: discussion that moves away from statistics and so-called expert It all sounds rather sensible and neat, but reality has a opinions and focuses on the way everyday people viewway of dampening the effort. What a good framing can do the issue. While there are people who look at corrections,is help participants have a productive discussion. What it for example, from a humanistic vantage, many others docannot do is get people to act. not. For most people, the primary concern is safety. Will I and my loved ones be safe from violence and secure It’s like discussing the fact that the incarceration from corruption by incarcerating individuals? The publicrate for African American men in the U.S. is more certainly seems to think so, despite statistics that some-than four times greater than it was in South Africa times indicate otherwise.during apartheid, then refusing to advance legislationaimed at racial justice. Another concern people share has to do with money. No amount of spending is too much when personal safety is It’s like reaching understanding that the parole system at stake, but as folks feel less threatened they would likeis designed to provide post-release guidance, then requir- to have their tax dollars used for more quality of lifeing those who are most in need of supervision after being items – like better schools, a cleaner environment,released from prison to max out. In other words, you can bring the public to informed (see Public Acting, continued on page 15) 16 The opinions expressed are of the authors and not necessarily those of Graterfriends or The Pennsylvania Prison Society.