Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― May 2012                        A Publication of The Pe...
Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― May 2012                       From                    ...
Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― May 2012                   Our Voices                  ...
Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― May 2012                             Mrs. GE-6309      ...
Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― May 2012                                Legislative Hig...
Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― May 2012                                               ...
Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― May 2012                                               ...
Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― May 2012 WHEN DO LIFERS GET A SECOND CHANCE?           ...
Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― May 2012could easily become a thing of the past as thes...
Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― May 2012           HOW     TO    GET BACK          TO A...
Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― May 2012Circuit Court case law, for that matter), I’ve ...
Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― May 2012                                 Think         ...
Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― May 2012                                               ...
Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― May 2012                                               ...
May 2012 Graterfriends
May 2012 Graterfriends
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May 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 sometimes write additional news articles.

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May 2012 Graterfriends

  1. 1. Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― May 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 5 www.prisonsociety.org  www.facebook.com/PennsylvaniaPrisonSociety May 2012 Disadvantaged Children to Disadvantaged Adults by John F. Nole, AF-0346, SCI Graterford Many juveniles who came through the Juvenile Court Too many children of the indigent remain low prioritysystem, were bound to stand trial as adults, and received on the scales of equal treatment, most particularly whenlife sentences, may have experienced abuse by the sys- they are the children of the disenfranchised.tem without their knowledge. Violations of their consti-tutional rights may have been the primary reason they If equal justice is being graded on a curve, it appears toentered into an adult criminal system while still chil- be downward, where unprotected children are not so-dren. Many, due to the introduction of illegally obtained phisticated enough to understand what rights they areconfessions, became witnesses against themselves. Often forfeiting without adult guidance. Children, who, under the law are in infant status, mayToo many children of the indigent never have been provided the protection of being a child.remain low priority on the scales Behind closed doors, away from the public eye, with theof equal treatment. courts in consort, attorneys and prosecutors are allowed to perpetuate judicial rape.ignorant of juvenile procedures and law, attorneys were Failing to champion equal justice for all children, evenill-prepared to provide adequate and meaningful repre- those who commit serious crimes, only fuels a fire of dis-sentation to their child clients, and waiver proceedings of parity and widens the gap of unfair and unequal protec-the juvenile courts merely went through the motions. tion. Can we continue to allow the constitutional protec-Lawyers were allowed to abandon their clients before tions of our most vulnerable citizens, our children, to behearings even began. Abandonment by counsel left ap- ignored? The answer should be NOT AT ALL.peals of procedural and statutory violations routinelyunchallenged and unpreserved. Equal protection of the law is supposed to require judgesto adhere to and apply the principle of the law to every- In this Issueone fairly; however, this is not the reality. Where chil- From the Editors, News ................................................. 2dren are at issue, they are often taken into custody, in-terrogated by police, and statements taken and used Our Voices, Spotlight ..................................................... 3against them. In far too many instances there are no Mrs. GE-6309 Time, Birthdays, Crossword Solutions.. 4adults or legal guardians ever present. In instances of Legislative Highlights .................................................... 5children being arrested, parents are supposed to, andshould always be contacted, yet such treatment and Legal Chat ...................................................................... 6practices remain visibly absent in the treatment of mi- Mailroom .....................................................................7-9nors accused of serious crimes. How to Return to State Prison from County Jail ..10-11 Think About It, Pass the Word .................................... 12 There are no advocates to retrieve these children’srights against such abuses. For those who were disad- Literary Corner ............................................................ 13vantaged by the legal process, the care is in spirit, but Graterfriends Order Form, Announcements ............... 14produces nothing in practicality. LWOP (Life Without Crossword ..................................................................... 15Parole) has been the fate of too many children. Are those “The Last Word” by William DiMascio........................ 16poverty stricken youth the exception to equal justice andequal protection? 1 The opinions expressed are of the authors and not necessarily those of Graterfriends or The Pennsylvania Prison Society.
  2. 2. Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― May 2012 From the Editors News While we at the Prison Society have been busy plan- PUBLIC HEALTH AND CRIMINAL JUSTICEning our 225th anniversary of advocating for social jus- ISSUES OFTEN INTERSECTtice, we continue to offer help and programming to thosewho need it — prisoners, former prisoners, and their by Mindy Bogue, Graterfriends Managing Editorfamilies and communities. “If we don’t provide ex-offenders with the opportunity We recently held an informative public forum about to have housing, how can we expect them to succeed?”the intersection of public health issues and criminal jus- asked John Wetzel, Secretary of the Pennsylvania De-tice issues. It’s not a subject that is often talked about, partment of Corrections at the recent public health pan-but we found that without help from public health insti- el: The Nexus Between Public Health and Criminal Jus-tutions, ex-prisoners can find reentry into society very tice. Along with Secretary Wetzel, the 200 attendees alsodifficult. Some of the findings from that forum, where heard from Estelle Richman, Acting Deputy Director forSecretary John Wetzel was a keynote speaker, may be the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Develop-found in the article to the right. ment. A panel of five specialists on the subject of public Dante Overby of SCI Rockview has written a very help- health also made remarks based on the keynote speechesful pamphlet for people who were sent to county jails and answered questions from the audience. The eventfrom state prisons. He is one of a few who was able to file was presented by the Public Health Initiative of thethe correct paperwork to allow for his return to a state Pennsylvania Prison Society.institution. We have reprinted the information on pages Public health and criminal justice are rarely mentioned10-11; perhaps it can also help some of you. in the same sentence. However, Amalia Isaa, Ph D, of the The Pennsylvania General Assembly was in recess when University of the Sciences stated, “Criminal justice inthis newsletter was published, but recently a hearing took the manner it is currently carried out is a health issue inplace regarding Senator Greenleaf’s SB1153, tackling its own right.”changes to the Post Conviction Relief Act (PCRA). See Facts that were highlighted in the session include:Legislative Highlights on page five for details.  25 percent of former offenders are homeless upon Don’t miss Executive Director William DiMascio’s col- their release Their death rate is highest in the firstumn on page 16. He writes about the evolution (or devo-lution) of the commutation process in Pennsylvania. (See Public Health, continued on page 13) 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.
  3. 3. Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― May 2012 Our Voices Spotlight INAPPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR AT SCI MUNCY DECARCERATE PA MARCHES ON PHILADELPHIA by Dana Lomax-Williams, OP-2743, SCI Muncy by Cory Clark, Occupy Philly Media I wish to expose some of the overlooked sexual violationsand injustices that we at SCI Muncy endure every day. Oneissue is how we are searched by one of the male instructors On April 5, Decarcerate PA held a series of marches(who also is a supervisor) in the dietary department. It’s and rallies in Philadelphia. Decarcerate PA was formedunderstandable that policy mandates that we be searched in 2011 in response to the proposed $685 million expan-upon leaving the kitchen. However, for him to touch us in sion of the Pennsylvania prison system.inappropriate places is completely unacceptable. Manywomen were fired after complaining about him. Most wom- SCI Graterford near Collegeville is set to have two newen already have pre-existing sexual abuse issues, and this state-of-the-art maximum security prisons built on thejust makes them feel violated again. We complained to his grounds of the old one, with another scheduled to be built atsupervisor, and she concluded that it was appropriate. Are SCI Rockview — each costing about $200 million. Formeryou serious? I would love to see her searched — or perhaps Secretary of the Department of Corrections Jeffrey Beardher daughter. Maybe then her views would be different. initially proposed the expansion before he left the office.Why can’t the female officers search us? Not all staff are disrespectful in this manner. Most are Beginning at 2:55 p.m. in front of Governor Corbettsvery respectful, but there are a few who are like the man I Philadelphia office at 200 South Broad Street, membersmentioned. If we file a grievance, procedure demands that of Decarcerate PA announced their Three-Point Platformwe are placed in the hole or lose our bed date. If a prisoner is that calls on the governor and the state legislature to stopon pre-release, it’s doubtful she will go that route. It is also a building new prisons, reduce the number of incarcerated,well-known fact that officers and high officials have had and reinvest that money into communities and schools.sexual relationships with the inmates, and some still are. After successfully working in the dietary department At 3:30 p.m., they marched toward Philadelphia Citytwice, I refused to be sent back there, explaining why I Hall. Continuing on to the Criminal Justice Center atdid not want to work there. I was denied the opportunity 1301 Filbert Street, they met up with a rally for the re-to work anywhere else. I wrote our programs coordina- lease of Mumia Abu- Jamal. Pam Africa was speakingtor, our major, and our lieutenant — no one responded. about the activist/journalist’s recent release from deathSo, I wrote our Executive Deputy Secretary of Correc- row and calling for his life sentence to be commuted.tions, Mrs. Shirley Moore-Smeal at Camp Hill. Miracu- Members of several advocacy groups then spoke outlously, I was called down to the security office by Cap- about prison conditions, juvenile life sentences withouttain Powley. He told me that I made a lot of paperwork parole (JLWOP), and mandatory sentencing policies.for him. REALLY! I asked him what he suggested I do ifI wanted to work. He told me to go back to the dietary “Mandatory Sentencing doesn’t allow for any mitigat-department, and excused me from his office. I wrote our ing circumstances,” said Atiba Kwesi, Executive Directoremployment officer and was scheduled two different in- of And Justice for All, a program that helps former of-terviews. Both were cancelled. The supervisor said he fenders get their records expunged. “Prosecutors havewas told NOT to hire me. So, does it really pay to exer- the power to impose mandatory sentences on people tocise your chain of command? You be the judge. pressure them in to taking deals they otherwise would Editorial note: We have received other complaints of not have taken.”misconduct at SCI Muncy, and have discussed them withNancy Giroux, Superintendent of SCI Muncy. We recently The day ended with a march to Love Park at 4:45 p.m.,received a letter from her in which she says: where they called for a “housing-first” policy so that "The origins of these recent complaints surround a re- those without a home can be placed in an apartment re-cent change to policy that subsequently led SCI Muncy to gardless of their mental state or addiction situation. Thehold training on proper pat search technique for all per- reasoning is that it is easier for them to get needed treat-sonnel who conduct searches. In addition to the proper ment if they are in a stable living environment.pat search technique staff is acutely aware that the popu-lation they serve are often subjects of abuse." Ironically, America has the highest persons per capita We hope that, due to the proper training mentioned, the incarcerated in the world – more than countries that arenumber of these incidents have decreased. considered to be the worst human rights violators. 3 The opinions expressed are of the authors and not necessarily those of Graterfriends or The Pennsylvania Prison Society.
  4. 4. Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― May 2012 Mrs. GE-6309 Time DEATH ROW by Reesy Floyd-Thompson May Birthdays SUPER SPOUSE SYNDROME Michael Bardo Manuel M. Sepulveda CP-9596, GRN FH-1368, GRN In the beginning of my husbands incarceration, I wrotetwo to three letters a day. Anything he could have, I sent Richard S.Baumhammers Raymond Solanoin abundance. I sat by the phone and stalked the mail ET-8465, GRN FK-6135, GRNcarrier. I drove ten hours round trip every two weeks for a Stephen Edmiston Andre Statonone-hour visit. I ate, breathed and slept commissary, vis- BC-7886, GRN GR-3024, GRNits, calls. I forwarded calls to my cell. I promised I wouldalways be there and doing so meant never missing a call. Leroy Fears Patrick Jason Stollar One Sunday morning, I ditched my commitment to CQ-7760, GRN HM-3365, GRNlead worship to go home to retrieve my forgotten phone. I Harve Johnson William Wright, IIImissed a call soon after this. I was devastated. My ve- JG-7444, GRN DV-2181, GRAneer cracked. I was always on the edge of a meltdown.The proverbial “S” on my chest faded. Reginald Lewis GRA = SCI Graterford AY-2902, GRA PO Box 244 I was in the advance stages of “Super Spouse Syndrome.” Graterford, PAI overcompensated to make up for lost time and worse, to Noel Montalvo 19426-0244keep up with the Joneses — prisoner wife edition. FH-9391, GRN Super Spouse Syndrome is easy to cure. Here’s what Albert Perez GRN = SCI Greeneyou can do if you are trying to leap tall prison sentences JB-2916, GRA 175 Progress Drivein a single bound: Waynesburg, PA William Rivera 15370-8090 1. Talk to your partner. Ask about expectations. You DN-4295, GRA may find you are doing far more than what he/she requires. If two letters a week are acceptable and you are writing five, let go of three. If you seek to do more than what is necessary, examine the reasons why. 2. Learn to say, “No.” Stop creating impossible ide- If you do not want your name published, send a letter to als; have a relationship not powered by incarcera- Graterfriends each year you do not want it to be included. tion. Ask yourself if it is realistic to do everything. Be sure to note your date of birth. Don’t equate volume with love. 3. Push back peer pressure. People love giving ad- vice. Keep the inner workings of your relationship to yourself. (Note: The wives you are emulating are probably in the midst of the syndrome and in case you haven’t heard, the Joneses are faking it.) CROSSWORD SOLUTIONS 4. Take a day “off”- Spend the day doing nothing. Pamper yourself. Decompress from all things prison-related. Below are the solutions to crossword puzzles printed in this Today, I write whenever I feel the need, whether one issue and the previous issue of Graterfriends.letter a week or a month. I visit when finances allow andour calls are more manageable. As a Super Spouse, I April 2012 May 2012tried to cram years into minutes. Now I use minutes tocreate moments within the years. I cannot erase the ef-fects of incarceration; therefore, I work within my limits.However, I am not any less super. Ask my husband.Reesy Floyd-Thompson is the founder of Prisoners’ Wives,Girlfriends, & Partners (PWGP). For more informationabout 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.
  5. 5. Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― May 2012 Legislative Highlights Ann Schwartzman Policy Director, The Pennsylvania Prison SocietyThe Pennsylvania General Assembly is on recess for the holidays and then later for the upcoming elections. They areconsidering several criminal justice bills and holding numerous hearings as the list below describes. BILL NO. DESCRIPTION CHIEF SPONSOR PPS POSITION PRINTER NO.HB 1994 Amends Title 61 (Prisons and Parole) of the Pennsylva- Rep. J. Preston SupportPN 3326 nia Consolidated Statutes, in Pennsylvania Board of D-Allegheny County Probation and Parole, providing for the reduction of sentence for certain minors under 18 when the crime was committed and sentenced to serve at least 10 years in prison, or received a life without parole sentence and served up to three years on that sentence. (Referred to House Judiciary 4/2/12.)HB 2187 Rep. W. C. Thomas Support Amends Title 61 (Prisons and Parole) of the PennsylvaniaPN 3066 D-Philadelphia Consolidated Statutes, in miscellaneous provisions, estab- County lishing the Pennsylvania Interagency Council on Inmate Reentry. (Referred to House Judiciary 2/8/12.)HB 2256 Rep. R. Waters Support Amends Title 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure) ofPN 3228 D-Delaware and the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, in sentencing, Philadelphia counties providing for consideration of race in sentencing in capi- tal cases. (Referred to House Judiciary 3/16/12.) UPDATE ON SB1153: THE POST CONVICTION RELIEF ACT A hearing on March 30 to hear testimony on SB1153 was sponsored by the Senate Judiciary Committee. SB 1153 wasauthored by Senator Stewart Greenleaf (R-Montgomery County). It provides for changes in the timeframe of filing forpost conviction relief. The deadline would be changed from 60 days to one year from the date of the claim. If there is amiscarriage of justice leading to a conviction of an innocent individual, there is no deadline. Some of the witnesses testi-fying included: Marissa Bluestine, Esq, (Legal Director of the Pennsylvania Innocence Project), James McCloskey(Founder and Executive Director, Centurion Ministries), Vincent Johnson (a former prisoner who was found to be inno-cent of the crime for which he was imprisoned), and others. UPDATE ON THE EFFECTS OF PARENTAL INCARCERATION ON CHILDREN: NEEDS AND RESPONSIVE SERVICES Another hearing on March 30 was sponsored by the Pennsylvania House Democratic Policy Committee to discuss thereport about children of incarcerated parents, based on SR 52 (sponsored by Senator Stewart Greenleaf) and HR 203(sponsored by Representative Cherelle Parker). Members of the Committee were joined by other House and Senatemembers, and City Council Member Marian Tasco. Witnesses included: Ann Schwartzman (Policy Director, Pennsylva-nia Prison Society), Ann Adalist Estrin (Director, National Resource Center on Children and Families of the Incarcer-ated Family and Corrections Network), Kathleen Creamer (Staff Attorney, Stoneleigh Foundation Fellow, CommunityLegal Services), Keeva King (child of an incarcerated parent), Reuben Jones (Founder/Director, Frontline Dads and aformer offender), and several others. 5 The opinions expressed are of the authors and not necessarily those of Graterfriends or The Pennsylvania Prison Society.
  6. 6. Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― May 2012 he stated that Kidd had done so “in his passion.” Legal Chat Surely, had the Crown’s tyrants been compelled to com- ply with Brady vs Maryland (Supreme Court – [U.C. 1963]; Pa.R.CR.P #573[B]), and disclose these prior in- consistent statements, the outcome of Kidd’s trial would have been different. He probably would have been found guilty of manslaughter, not outright murder.DISCRIMINATION AGAINST LGBT PRISONERS In his subsequent trial for piracy, Kidd’s exculpatory evidence — two French passes taken from the ships at I first would like to say “Hi” to all my fellow inmates. issue — were misfiled. Kidd complained of the unavaila-My name is Juicy. I’m 25 years old. I am sharing some bility of these passes, to no avail. These passes were laterinformation with my fellow LGBT inmates that will discovered in the wrong file —TOO LATE, then. Captainhelp you if you need to file a grievance against staff for Kidd was dead, his corpse hanging in irons at the mouthabuse, harassment, or discrimination. This is known as of the Thames river.sex-stereotyping under 18 USCA Section 249: HateCrime Motivation. You can press charges because you An additional bit of stark irony:can get jail time on the street for acting out against us. “In 1670, William Penn, future founder of Pennsylva- Next is under 42 USCA 1514: Harassment. That’s nia, along with anther staunch Quaker, Henry Mead,another constitutional right you can use in your claims. was charged with preaching to an unlawful assembly atYou can use 5 USCA 556: Due Process in your miscon- Friends Meeting House in Grace Church. The judge grewduct appeals for being denied a fair hearing. All inmates so infuriated at Penn’s legal arguments he threatened tocan use this information if they believe they are being have his tongue cut out. Against all odds, the jury camediscriminated against. You must use this information back with a verdict of not guilty for Mead and foundfor yourself if you proceed to file in federal court against Penn guilty of preaching, but not of the much graverstate and federal officials. charge of holding unlawful assembly. The Lord Mayor The next issue is that we all need to come together as ordered the jury locked up overnight without meat,one to fight for our rights because if we don’t fight for drink, fire, or candle, ‘We will have a positive verdict orthem, nobody will. Keep strong and don’t let anyone you shall starve for it,’ he threatened. The jury was keptdiscourage you from doing what’s right and best for you. an additional day and night but refused to change their verdict; they were ordered locked up in Newgate until William “Juicy” Coward they each paid a fine of forty marks (thirteen shillings). JS-6508, SCI Huntingdon (The Pirate Hunter: The True Story of Captain Kidd by Richard Zacks, 2002 Hyperion Books, Page 357.)CAPTAIN KIDD COULD HAVE USED A LITTLE It is most ironic then, that 340 years later the trial courts here in “Penn’s Woods” systemically DENY with- BRADY VS. MARYLAND out reasoned opinion, every pro se defendant (as Penn surely was) who petitions or motions the court. Anyone Captain William Kidd, the purportedly notorious pi- who has taken the time as a pro se defendant to studyrate, was ultimately found guilty by jury for his alleged and fashion a meritorious legal argument (as Penn’scrimes. He was sentenced to death by hanging in Eng- surely was) in an attempt to vindicate his rights on hisland, 1669. A little known fact is that Kidd was first in a own behalf — (after court appointed counsel has complet-succession of trials where he was found guilty of mur- ed his purposeful tour of duty) has experienced this typeder. In his murder trial, an eyewitness testified to have of tongue cutting by the trial court.seen Kidd pacing the deck of his ship before deciding tostrike the victim with a bucket. However, in a previousdeposition, this same eyewitness had stated that he was Randy Carl Hinckleybelow deck when Kidd struck his blow; and, moreover, GE-9649, SCI Coal TownshipWhen submitting a letter or column to Graterfriendsfor publication, please remember to attach a letter (ornote on your submission) that it is for publication andthat you are the original author; date and sign thedeclaration. Thank you. 6 The opinions expressed are of the authors and not necessarily those of Graterfriends or The Pennsylvania Prison Society.
  7. 7. Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― May 2012 here, we notice many are still with us; but we also realize that many have passed away. Some of them are some- Mailroom where sick and looking for better days to come their way. So, I pray for those who are still around and I say, “Keep teaching and putting men and women on the right path.” A lot of us are losing brothers and sisters in here. To be straight with you, I cry, and tears fall from my cheeks. I have constant thoughts and prayers for those precious ANOTHER THOUSAND DOLLAR FIX FOR A lives lost. We must keep in mind that they were fathers HUNDRED DOLLAR PROBLEM and brothers and sisters and mothers. And, some were more than that, you feel me? For just over five months (at least 150 days) the foodcooler at SCI Greensburg was out of service. It broke So, I say to you: eat right, exercise and stay healthy sodown again; it’s over 25 years old. The DOC rented a 48- you can have a shot at getting back to your family andfoot refrigerated trailer box that ran on diesel fuel. loved ones. If you can help it, do not die in prison. To theMaintenance staff put 15 gallons of diesel in the tank others who already met this terrible demise, I say, “Soeach and every day. Even if the DOC got the fuel for $3 long, my friends.”per gallon, multiplied by 15 gallons, that’s $45 per day. Vincent BoydMultiplied by 150 days, that comes to $6,750, Plus, the AM8121, SCI Albioncost of the rental truck box. (These figures were very con-servative, as it was closer to 169 days and $4 per gallon). Within a week of my writing a letter to the editor of the PUNISHMENT ALONE IS NOT THE ANSWERHarrisburg and Greensburg newspapers, repairmencame and fixed the cooler, which I was told cost about Editorial Note: Below is a copy of a letter that Mr. Lusik$450. This money could have been better spent providing sent to State Senator Stewart Greenleaf. Mr. Lusik re-us with better programs and/or maybe a little more food quested that we reprint it here in Graterfriends.on our trays. I ask as many of you as possible to clip thisstory and send it to the governor. As an inmate of the Pennsylvania Department of Cor- rections, I believe it is time for someone to investigate Darren R. Gentilquore the complete failure of the DOC to make pro-social indi- GX-1572, SCI Albion viduals out of the current 51,000 incarcerated inmates. The cold, harsh reality of the matter is that the state and county prison systems are bursting at the seams SO LONG, MY FRIENDS with parole violators and inmates who are being held beyond their legal minimum sentences for lack of pro- This is for all the men and women who come to prison gram completion.looking good and healthy but never make it back to theirloved ones. So, I say, “Farewell, my friends.” This matter has reached the point of being beyond all hope. Let me be more clear. Inmates are placed on year- It’s been nice knowing you and the wise and strong long waiting lists to get into yearlong programs and thenwords you have always found time to share with me. You are often expelled for petty violations, clogging the entirehelped me see things in the right light, and along the system. Parole violators are mandated to do these pro-way you have always told me the real deal about every- grams on the street and are being likewise sent back tothing. So again, you will be missed. prison for petty violations. (i.e. having a cell phone, late I heard the bad news, and the pain hurt me deeply; curfew, etc.)but, in life we all understand that we are born to die and As a former District Attorney, you know well that aneveryone has a turn. Just now it was yours. For those inmate needs to be given a fair chance to grow underwho knew you and took the time to understand you and circumstances that help create a positive change in atti-the wisdom you had to share, they received something tude. When inmates see their peers successfully complet-invaluable. I say to you, “Thanks, my friend.” ing programs and making parole, that encourages them Some would say that you’re at peace, but I will say to do the same.your journey has just begun. The Lord will take you from The addiction to the punishment mentality of the 1990shere, so walk tall like you did here and you will be fine. must come to an end. Nationwide polls have found that It’s sad to see so many people we call friends dying in the public does not support a “lock ‘em up and throwprison, but it’s happening at a fast rate in Pennsylvania away the key” mentality.and across the country everyday. It’s so sad to come to David Lusikprison young and die old with nothing. It happens daily CA-3760, SCI Albionin these warehouses. When we as prisoners sit back and think of all thosewho helped us along the way while we’ve been stuck (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.
  8. 8. Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― May 2012 WHEN DO LIFERS GET A SECOND CHANCE? opportunities in legitimate enterprise. But we still often talk about starting a business or investing for our fami- lies’ futures. A business channel such as CNBC not only Free your mind and heart of all the preconceived and offers information about markets, but also has program-manufactured ideas about lifers. Lifers are misunder- ming about starting one’s own business, financing one’sstood, underrated, ignored, and basically relegated to goals, saving for the future, and planning for retirement.being carried out of these institutions in body-bags dueto old age, loneliness, snuffed-out spirits, fatal diseases, Business channels also discuss economic trends andhomicides, suicides, abandonment, and a lot of people’s developing job opportunities. Even though watching awishes for lifers’ instant and constant sufferings. This business channel may not always be your first choice, itgoes against God’s will, especially for those lifers who is hard to argue against having the option of one thathave made it a point to rehabilitate. allows us to set more informed goals and objective for our Lifers have accomplished much and still contribute economic freedom. An additional advantage with CNBCmuch as facilitators, leaders, mentors, and teachers to as a choice is that they also have Olympic Games cover-many of the young and old lost, convicted souls. age as well as travel specials. Free your mind and heart of all preconceived and man- I would hope that you would take the time to write andufactured ideas about lifers and come talk with us. Come voice your support for these two channels. Please try toand see for yourself, why you should be advocating for include honest reasons (such as those listed above) as toparole for lifers and not having them wasting tax dollars, why they would be important to you. If you agree with thisadding to these overcrowded institutions, and eventually position, write. Just agreeing will probably not be enough.perishing inside these razor wire fences and sandstonewalls. Subramanyam Vedam AK-7129, SCI Huntingdon Deserving lifers should get that proverbial secondchance since there are 5,000 plus and counting. SE- Editorial note: We recently received a memo from Mr. Jef-COND CHANCES! When do lifers get theirs? Especially frey Witherite to include in Graterfriends. The text is below.when lifers are less likely to recidivate? To all state prison inmates: Thanks for hearing us out. may God bless and keep you. Ronald L. Smith, aka Baye Camara The current cable TV channels that you receive are AP-0580, SCI Coal Township what are contracted to the DOC. We understand that you may have suggestions about channels you would like to see added or deleted; however, at this time there are no plans to change the current services that are of- WRITE LETTERS REQUESTING IMPORTANT fered. Prior to any changes to the system being made, you CABLE CHANNELS will be notified of the changes and of any price changes. If you have further questions about the current cable TV Recently, there was a letter in Graterfriends stating system line up or prices, those issues should be directedthat the Pennsylvania DOC Staff Assistant, Mr. Jeffrey to your prison administrators.Witherite, had said, “We will take into considerationinmates’ requests for changes to the channels providedand will discuss possible changes when the contract isrenegotiated.” VISITS FOR PROFIT I encourage all inmates to request that two channels —i.e. PCN and a business channel — be included in any In January 2012, I wrote to the Prison Society concern-new package. I realize that these two channels are not as ing an article about the privatization (for-profit) of pris-popular to us (myself included) as sports, music and movie on video visitations. Since the Prison Society has been achannels, but they are still important to us nonetheless. bellwether in virtual visitations (creating its own pro- PCN covers our state’s legislative sessions and commit- gram in 2001) I was seeking some firsthand information.tee hearings. It provides us knowledge of upcoming legis- The Prison Society was aware of JPAY’s focus on corner-lation and concerns that directly affect our present situa- ing the virtual visitation market but felt that for thetion, our future, our families, and our communities. It short term, at least, the present system was safe.allows us to have the awareness to be an active part of To my dismay, I read in the recent edition of Correc-Pennsylvania’s concerns, and thus be positive members tional Forum that after a brief expansion of the virtualof change in our society. An added benefit is the coverage visitation program, the Prison Society was forced to dis-of state sports championship games in which many of continue the service due to a lack of funding.our family members, friends and neighbors participate. A business channel can be equally beneficial. Many of My concern is not so much the possible privatization ofus here already have an entrepreneurial streak. Unfor- the virtual visit service at all Pennsylvania State Pris-tunately, in the past this may have manifested itself in ons by JPAY or some other enterprising profiteer, butsomething illegal because of a lack of knowledge of the that the very real possibility exists that contact visits 8 The opinions expressed are of the authors and not necessarily those of Graterfriends or The Pennsylvania Prison Society.
  9. 9. Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― May 2012could easily become a thing of the past as these would prisoners and their families and continuing to punish in-compete with the “for-profit” venture of the contractor — mates for crimes that happened 5, 10 or even 20 years ago.not to mention the guaranteed “kick-back” for the Penn- When is there going to be positive change that benefitssylvania DOC. all: victims, society, and the prisoners who want to change? Of course this hasn’t happened yet, but the stars cer- Jessie Keith Bloughtainly seem to be lining up for it to occur. I’m just saying! HQ-7572, SCI Albion Preston B. Pfeifly AK-7971, SCI Rockview IN RESPONSE TO: MOTHER MARY (FEBRUARY GRATERFRIENDS) FORGOTTEN FAMILY VALUES I agree with you, and I’m certain that there are many Everyone is quick to get the dollars together for pris- other men and women within these institutions as wellons. Everyone knows just how to build communication to as outside who want to take action to alleviate the extor-get talks together about housing inmates in other states. tion that has been taking place with the phone system inWe don’t focus enough, though, on family values. Welfare Pennsylvania. The DOC receives a 44.4 percent kick-is a loss if there’s no one to collect the check! Family val- back, which amounts to $7.5 million! Where is this mon-ues are all but forgotten. Centers for Disease Control ey going, anyway? Anyone interested in this just causehelp families keep from being created by giving birth should write to:control to women. People help keep families from being Michigan Curecreated by abusing drugs and committing crimes. P.O. Box 2736 What happened to the home? Where did the care for the Kalamazoo, MI 49003-2736family go? Supporters for more prisons don’t see the trou- They will take some basic steps for achieving this goal.ble with forgetting family values. All they see are the If anyone else has any information to help this cause,dollar signs. “Who is the mother, and who is the father?” please provide it.It doesn’t matter. “Who is an inmate” is what the ques- Michael Santiagotion is. Now that we have a prison, who will support the DW-6270, SCI Albionbroken family? The parent is the inmate and the child isthe victim. It doesn’t matter who’s to blame. The focusmust return to family values or there will be no children. ATTENTION VETERANSEveryone will be inmates. Everyone will be victims. RAS-I ALL-JAH-NOOH We are now making preparations for our operations in HK-9886, SCI Chester 2012. We have completed an organizational chart which depicts what services we will all benefit from. However, we must get more people involved and we need more COMMISSARY donations. We are asking you to ask a friend or relative to help us build and serve the incarcerated veterans, who It is nice to hear you support us on the commissary have criminal cases with merit, and need to be reviewedissues, soups which went up from 24¢ to 28¢. This seems by the Department of Justice. The time bar prohibitsa bit much when on the street you can buy 10 or 12 for a veterans from appealing their cases.dollar at some stores, and $2.97 for 4 oz. of coffee. I un- We need to hire attorneys to represent the seventy-twoderstand they have to cover costs, but the DOC is mak- veterans who are on our mailing list. One veteran hasing pure profit off the prisoners and their families, when already told us, “Your best bet is to free a vet.” As youthe DOC is supposed to be a non-profit agency. It makes already know, we must help ourselves, pull everyoneme wonder how much of the price increases go to over- together and be committed to the mission — FREE Ahead costs and how much goes to pure profit for the DOC VET. We need your help. Your five or ten dollars canadministration’s pockets. help hire an attorney to look into these cases. If everyone I feel a happy medium can be achieved. Collect in- pitches in and sends a donation, we will be that muchmates’ dollars while encouraging free enterprise in Penn- closer to getting a criminal defense/appeal team to repre-sylvania, giving work and tax dollars back to Pennsylva- sent the seventy-two veterans.nians. We don’t need to rely on out-of-state companies to We will be addressing eight critical areas of operation:provide commissary to our prisons. When jobs, tax dol- legal research, transitional housing, transportation, VAlars, and fair pricing are kept in-state, everyone wins. claims/benefits, finances, public relations, recruitment If the DOC can spend $500 for office chairs for the and a mail clerk. We will attempt to fill these positionsCOs, why can’t they afford to provide things like good, at our next meeting. Until then, please have your familyfair commissary prices, corrective programs and educa- members or friends contact us. And you can send yourtion to the inmates who are truly committed to bettering donation to help with the operational expenditures. Askthemselves, not committing any new crimes and being yourself, “What can I do to help?”productive, law-abiding citizens? Melvin Dill, President But no, the DOC wastes dollars in making money off of Veteran Legal Foundation Incorporated 9 The opinions expressed are of the authors and not necessarily those of Graterfriends or The Pennsylvania Prison Society.
  10. 10. Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― May 2012 HOW TO GET BACK TO A STATE PRISON AFTER BEING SENT TO A COUNTY JAIL By Dante Overby, GZ-5437, SCI Rockview If you are a state inmate whose maximum sentence is monwealth Court, asking the court to encourage the wardenmore than five years, and you’ve been sent to a Pennsylva- to “commit you to the Department of Corrections for confine-nia county jail to serve that sentence, these step-by-step ment,” as mandated by § 9762 (a) (1). You must do the exactdirections can help you get back to a state prison. By fol- same thing for the state grievance, but use the name of thelowing these steps, I was allowed to move back to a state Superintendent of your state prison name as respondent.prison after I was sent to a county jail. In your mandamus, you must explain: 1. What Commonwealth Office or Officer (i.e. the DOC orA. Understanding why you should not be committed one of the Wardens)to a county jail to serve your state sentence: 2. What duty did they fail to perform (i.e. failed to commit If your maximum sentence is more than five years, you you to the DOC for confinement)must serve your time in a state facility. For example, I wassentenced to 11½ to 24 years. My “maximum term” (or my 3. What right do you have to the performance of this dutymax) is 24 years, and that’s way more than five years. 42 (i.e. 42 Pa. C.S.A. § 9762 (a) (1), which states…[see sec-Pa. C.S.A. § 9762 (a) (1) states that “(a) all persons sen- tion A of this article])tenced to total or partial confinement for the following 4. And what remedy you are seeking (i.e. to be committedterms shall be committed as follows: (1) maximum terms to a DOC facility “for confinement”)of five or more years shall be committed to the Depart-ment of Corrections for confinement.” C. What to do if your grievance is not answered in a Further, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court said that, “in timely manner:Allegheny County 1, we held that the DOC must accept and More than likely, both the warden of the county jail andconfine all persons committed to its custody pursuant to 42 the superintendent of state prison will try to impede thisPa.C.S. § 9762 (1), which encompasses persons receiving a grievance process by failing to respond in a timely manner.maximum sentence of five years or more, such persons are If this happens to you, like it happened to me, your nextcommitted to the custody of the DOC. In these cases, there move is to file a writ of mandamus to the Commonwealthis not discretion to be exercised by the DOC; rather, the Court, asking the court to encourage whomever has not an-legislature has directed where custody is to be vested and swered your grievance in a timely manner to do so immedi-the DOC has no choice but to provide placement in one of ately. Again, you must address the four points that I de-its facilities for confinement.” (see County of Allegheny v. scribed at the end of Section B, but in the grievance context.Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 544 A2D 1305, 1307-1308 For example:[Pa. 1988], citing County of Allegheny v. Commonwealth of 1. What Commonwealth Office or Officer is failing to re-Pennsylvania, 490 A2D, 412 [Pa. 1985]). So I was not sup- spond to your grievanceposed to have been “committed” to a county jail to serve mystate sentence. 2. What duty did they fail to perform—they failed to an- swer your grievance on time To reiterate, if your max is more than five years 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 9762 (a) (1) applies to you, and you should not 3. You have to state what policy entitles your to a timelyhave been committed to the county. response to your grievance 4. The remedy you are seeking is for the respondent toB. What you must do to get back to a state jail: answer your grievance immediately, otherwise your 1st and 4th Amendment right to petition the court will be In order to address this issue, you must use both thestate and the county grievance systems. Both grievances impeded, in that, in order to seek court intervention, Ishould state (using Clinton County Jail as an example): must exhaust my administrative remedies, and I can’t do that if the respondent doesn’t respond. “My commitment to the Clinton County Jail violates 42Pa. C.S.A. § 9762 (a) (1), because § 9762 (a) (1) states that: Note: When filing your writ of mandamus, be sure to send a(see Section A for what § 9762 (a) (1) states)—REMEDY: copy to the respondent and a copy to the court via certifiedPlease commit me to the Department of Corrections for mail, and keep one copy for yourself. This is to prove that you sent it in case the copies get lost.confinement as mandated by § 9762 (a) (1).” Note: In the contract between the DOC and Clinton The address for the Commonwealth Court is:County Jail, section 13 (B) states that “the County shall Commonwealth Courtforward to the Department [of Corrections] all such griev- 601 Commonwealth Ave.ances that pertain to the legality of the inmate’s detention, Harrisburg, PA 17120sentence, transfer or alleged prejudice due to the inmate’sincarceration at the county. The Department shall be re- D. Challenge the conditions of your confinement:sponsible to further process and respond to such grievanc-es. The County shall forward such grievances to the De- I’ve been there and I know that everything from the lawpartment within one business day of the time that they are library to the living spaces is nuts! You must file anotherreceived by the County.” Be sure to mention this obliga- county grievance to address the conditions of yourtion in your county grievance! confinement. Once you successfully complete the grievance process, Because I know that the law library in my county jail doesyour next move is to file a writ of mandamus in the Com- not allow you access to 3rd Circuit case law (or any other 10 The opinions expressed are of the authors and not necessarily those of Graterfriends or The Pennsylvania Prison Society.
  11. 11. Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― May 2012Circuit Court case law, for that matter), I’ve included the you are housed in a dorm doesn’t mean that you are notconditions I’ve witnessed and complained about, and the entitled to “the evolving standards of decency.” (seerelevant case law that you should quote concerning those Tillery, supra.)conditions in your attachment to your grievance (because  Inadequate Ventilation: One block at my county jaileverything won’t fit on the official grievance form). See had no ventilation inside the cells. “Insufficient ventila-Appendix A. tion, which undermines the health of the inmates and Immediately after you file the county grievance about the sanitation of the institution, itself violates the 8ththese conditions, three people should be contacted: amendment.” (see Tillery v. Owens, 719 F. Supp. 1256, 1. The county commissioner responsible for overseeing 1271 [W.D. Pa 1989]) the your county jail. Send him a letter via certified  Unsanitary Showers: The shower floors at my county mail, putting him on notice about the conditions of your jail, if they have not been fixed, have a dip in them confinement just in case you have to go to court. Keep which allows water to puddle up over your shower a copy for yourself. shoes, subjecting your feet to the germs and bacteria 2. Mr. Angus Love, Esq., from everybody that showered before you. This is un- The Pennsylvania Institutional Law Project sanitary, and “sanitation is one of the basic human 718 Arch St., Suite 304 S needs guaranteed by the eighth amendment.” (see Till- Philadelphia, PA 19106 ery v. Owens, 719 F. Supp. 1256, 1271 [W.D. Pa. 1989], Explain to him the conditions you’re living in, see what citing Union County Jail Inmates v. DiBuono, 713 F2D kind of assistance he can offer, and request a copy of 984, 984 [3rd Cir. 1983]) the Prisoner’s Rights Handbook and the Jailhouse Lawyer’s Manual. You’ll find all the case law you need Appendix B: Document Formats: in them. 1. Grievance Attachments: 3. Graterfriends. The address is on page two of this news- letter. The attachment to your grievance should begin like this: For the three months that I was in the county jail, I did ATTACHMENT TO COUNTY (OR STATE) GRIEVANCE # not receive one Graterfriends newsletter, and I’ve been a member for at least four years. If this is the case with ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- you, contact Mr. William DiMascio at Graterfriends A. Mandamus and let him know that this is happening to you. The beginning of your mandamus should look like this:E: In closing: IN THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA Please see the following sections for a few document for-mats for those who are not familiar with legal writing. PETITION FOR WRIT OF MANDAMUS In case you don’t know, there’s strength in numbers, so Now comes YOUR NAME, Petitioner, to this Honorableget as many people as you can to join you, even if that Court seeking a writ of mandamus, encouraging a Common-means that just one of you will do the paperwork and just wealth Officer to perform a purely ministerial duty of his/one of you signs it. That’s what I did, and it worked for me hers.and everybody that signed. MR. YOUR NAME attests to the following in support of being granted a writ of Mandamus:Appendix A: Case Law About Conditions Your second county grievance should address substandard (and then explain the four points from Section B)conditions. Some I have encountered are listed below: PROOF OF SERVICE  Inadequate Law Library: My county jail law library Your proof of service should look like this: did not have case law from any of the Federal Circuit Courts, and there was no “assistance from legally B. Proof of Service trained persons” to file papers. (see Tillery v. Owens, I, YOUR NAME, hereby certify that I am this day serving 719 F. Supp. 1256, 1281 [W.D. Pa. 1989], citing Bounds a copy of the forgoing document upon the below named Par- v. Smith, 430 U.S. 817, 828 ]1977]). This amounts to a ties via certified mail: violation of your 1st and 4th Amendment right to access to the court. (The court and the respondent’s names go here, one on top  Inadequate Cell Space: A survey of the case law on of the other, along with the type of mail service you used next this issue reveals that 60 to 70 square feet per cell con- to their names, then sign and date the bottom of the page.) stitutes the present ‘evolving standard of decency’ re- garding cell space per inmate.” (see Tillery v. Owens, 719 F. Supp. 1256, 1270 [W.D. Pa. 1989], quoting In- mates of the Allegheny County Jail v. Wecht, 699 F. Supp. 1137, 1144 [W.D. Pa. 1988]). The two main cells at my county jail are not 140 square feet, which is the Thank you Mr. Overby for taking the standard amount of space required for a two-man cell, according to the above cited case law. time to put together this information However, if you live in a dorm style setting, there is not and send it to Graterfriends so that we 60 to 70 square feet of space per inmate. Just because may share it with others. 11 The opinions expressed are of the authors and not necessarily those of Graterfriends or The Pennsylvania Prison Society.
  12. 12. Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― May 2012 Think Pssst… About It Pass the Word WILL PA. INMATES WORK TOGETHER TO JUST CHOOSE ONE OR THE OTHER DECREASE THE PRISON POPULATION BY by David Allen, AP-9132, SCI Greensburg BEING PART OF THE SOLUTION? by Allen Ross, AJ-1152, SCI Greene With the addition last year of a new CAS at SCI Greensburg (a transfer of staff from SCI Albion), the facility’s Activities Department has undergone many It was a cloudy, melancholy, dark day coupled with the changes. Of note is the development of a rowing programambience of SCI Greene’s chow hall, silent and filled with resulting in the construction of the first rowing room ininmates eating breakfast. I was waiting in line to receive an area of the prison that had been the home of the pris-my breakfast tray while I was conversing with an inmate on’s music instruction classes and various inmate treat-about how the prison system has changed during the ment programs. Later this year the Activities Depart-past couple of decades. ment opted to relocate its rowing program and renovated Essentially, only if inmates can stop being judgmental a second rowing room in an abandoned classroom space.toward other inmates can we alleviate animosity toward The program, which I assume is somewhat costly (theeach other. Then we can come together as a collective renovation of two separate rooms, eight rowing ma-whole to focus on the real problems of Pennsylvania’s chines, air-conditioning, stereo system, television, furni-over-crowded prisons. ture, etc), is relatively limited and can only accept eight of the facility’s inmates in its single class enrollment (a In the late 80s, the prison population was half of the per class participation of less than 1 percent of the pris-current prison population. Yet in the late 80s there was on’s 1100 inmate population), causing some contentionunity among inmates as opposed to today. There is no among the residents of the institution, as funding andunity among inmates in Pennsylvania prisons, where staff availability for other programs has been reduced.over-crowding conditions and other germane issues exist. “So what if it costs them a lot,” some of the men have Pennsylvania has 26 state correctional institutions argued, “it doesn’t cost us anything!” Sadly, the truth isthat currently house 51,336 prisoners, which really ex- that it has cost the men dearly in ways they haven’t yetemplifies Pennsylvania’s problem with over-crowded recognized. As president of the facility’s inmate organiza-state prisons. tion I field daily complaints as to why one program and We inmates, held in captivity in these state prisons, event after another is either closed, canceled, or post-have an arduous job ahead of us: we must convincingly poned, and I must explain that the staff is no longerrelay the adverse effects of coming to prison to young available to oversee those things because they have beenpeople and adults in the general public. This task is not reassigned to supervise rowing classes now. “But,” theeasy to accomplish because of the rhetoric the populace men bemoan, “they are taking everything from us,”receives from the mass media and government officials. pointing to the reduction in monthly envelopes, elimina- tion of inmate overtime wages, discontinuation of some State government officials have not alleviated prison of the treatment programs and the closing of the prison’sover-crowding problems in Pennsylvania. visiting room on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Crimes in Pennsylvania occur every day, and our Undoubtedly, the men have not yet understood that theyoung people are coming to prison with long sentences, building, re-building, equipping and staffing of a rowingin addition to adults becoming wards of the state. Crime program requires a great deal of both time and moneyvictims are suffering the indelible effects of crime. This that has to come from some other places (i.e. other thingswill continue if we inmates do not set aside our differ- have to be cut or reduced). “Now they’re taking ourences to unite as a collective whole to decrease Pennsyl- morning and afternoon recreation times and giving usvania’s prison population. Each and every inmate in more stupid rowing instead,” the men lament as theyPennsylvania must get involved to change things in our begin to see more of their favorite events gobbled up bycorrectional institutions, to decrease the prison popula- the rowing agenda, and I can only look at them in pitytion by keeping our young people and adults out of pris- and disbelief as I try again to explain, “You men (not theon, and to stop them from ruining their lives and becom- staff) are the ones who keep signing up for the rowinging wards of the state. program; you men are the ones who thought that the rowing program wasn’t going to cost you anything; you So, let’s make reducing the prison population a reality men are the ones who made the prison’s Activities De-in Pennsylvania. We can lessen the burden on the tax-payers by becoming part of the solution. (See Choose One, continued on page 15) 12 The opinions expressed are of the authors and not necessarily those of Graterfriends or The Pennsylvania Prison Society.
  13. 13. Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― May 2012 Public Health, continued from page 2 Literary two weeks after their release, often due to having no home and no access to health care. Corner  A large percentage of Pennsylvania’s current prison population is nonviolent, behind bars for misde- meanors.  In Pennsylvania’s prisons, 17 percent of men and 48 BIGGER BROKEN HOME percent of women have diagnosed mental health by Zechariah “True” Thompson, HV-3696, SCI Forest issues.  A specialty court helps determine VA benefits avail-In this cell I lay again to witness the time, able for veterans so that they may better cope withand time I have spent…in a cell and in my mind. PTSD and other traumas suffered due to battle con-My thoughts race at a pace I can’t maintain, ditions.my sanity in question, because I’m too numb to complain.It becomes so loud here, so I drift into a zone,  Five years ago 60 percent of the prisoners in theonly to be disturbed by the man on the speakerphone. Philadelphia Prison System were tested for HIV; today 80 percent are tested. Twice as many cases ofMy pictures are bitter memories, of a once existed past, HIV are now being identified and treated in jail.now nearly ten years later, those photos are only ash.I’m so afraid to change, because mistakes happen fast,  Prisoners leave the Philadelphia Prison System withso I try to fight the future, to rectify my path. at least five days of medication, plus a 15 day pre-I’ve become obsessed with metaphors, to avoid talking long, scription – if they can pay for it. Out of 5200 pre-addicted to relief, from a poem or from a song. scriptions last year, only 37 were filled.  The incarceration rate for women has grown by 800I’m so used to chaos, I sleep better in madness, percent over the past twenty years. Most of theseI wake up in this tragedy and write this rhyme in sadness. women are in their 30s and 40s and in prison forI try to test God, to seek the proof of his wrath, drug infractions and other nonviolent crimes.so I can believe and say, “I’m sorry” to the people at once I laughed.  Nearly 80 percent of the women entering SCI MuncyMaybe this is it. This sentence could be his will. have suffered various forms of abuse. A high propor-For a kid that killed a man, is given time to kill. tion of women enter prison suffering from PTSD and various addictions.But I’ve labored for them, and shown my growth, but never is it noted, Ms. Richman, focusing on public housing, said, “Ifjust bias looks and unjust treatment, shows the system’s we’re going to make an impact on those coming out of motive. prison, we have to offer safe and affordable housing…IfEasy to find what’s wrong, harder to find what’s right, we don’t spend now but spend three times as much inthat’s what we live in. the future, are we really saving taxpayers’ money?”Motions denied, too empty to cry. Not hard to fail, not It was concluded that public health and criminal jus- easy to win. tice professionals must use science – empirical data andHow long is long enough, for a man or woman who wants theory – to determine who goes to prison and who may a chance? qualify for alternatives to prison; the issue must beto prove they’ve changed, to show their love, and teach looked at in a holistic manner.their children how to dance? In addition to the Prison Society, the University of theThis is how it feels, when you’re sentenced to be alone, Sciences in Philadelphia and LaSalle University’s Mas-far away from family, in an even bigger broken home. ter of Public Health Program sponsored the event.We need to correct some errors found in the March “Our Voices” column. The article entitled "ChangesNeeded at Muncy" by Jessie Alexander had the following errors (in bold italics):The second paragraph should read: What is offered within this institution is offered to those with an ex-pected release date and not offered to the inmates serving life.Part of the sixth paragraph should read: There is help from one long-time doctors assistant but there arealways constant new ones who do not show concern nor bring relief from pain and illness.We apologize for the confusion, and thank Jessie for letting us know. 13 The opinions expressed are of the authors and not necessarily those of Graterfriends or The Pennsylvania Prison Society.
  14. 14. Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― May 2012 Solitary Confinement: Torture In Your Backyard is a 20-minute film created by The Nation- al Religious Campaign Against Torture as a resource for Announcements congregations to learn about the destructive use of pro- longed solitary confinement and to engage people of faith to call for an end to prolonged solitary confinement in their state. The film features several former prisoners discussing the mental harm they endured as a result ofPreserving Your Claim Under the Prison being held in solitary confinement. Sarah Shourd, one of the three American hikers captured in Iran, who spentLitigation Reform Act (PLRA) is a new docu- 14 months in solitary confinement also describes her ex-ment that was recently sent to all of Pennsylvania’s state perience. Additionally, the film highlights how the reli-prison libraries. It was written by Alex Rubenstein, 2012 gious community in Maine helped secure a drastic reduc-Candidate for J.D. at Rutgers School of Law-Camden. It tion in the number of Maine prisoners held in solitaryis intended to provide some background information on confinement. The film is available online and DVDs canthe PLRA, and also explain how the law impacts court be ordered for $5. Faith-based discussion guides are alsoclaims filed while in jail or prison. Additionally, this available on the website. Go to www.nrcat.org/backyardpamphlet explains how to properly follow the grievance for more information and to view the film.process employed by the Pennsylvania Department ofCorrections, in order to help protect any claims you maybring relating to prison conditions from being dismissed Life Support for Women with anfor failure to exhaust administrative remedies. Even for Incarcerated Loved One will not be meetingclaims that are not affected by the exhaustion require- in May, but will meet again on June 12.ment, this pamphlet should serve as a helpful tool forcorrectly filing grievances. This is a support group for women looking for a safe place to share feelings and concerns about incarceratedIf your law library does not have this pamphlet, please family members. The group usually meets the secondcontact Graterfriends (address on page 2). Tuesday of every month, from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., at the Pennsylvania Prison Society: 245 N. Broad Street, 3rd Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19107 (Race-Vine station,Beccaria: A Chapbook Anthology across from Hahnemann Hospital).by Aja Beech is once again available, for a limited time.To order a copy, prisoners may send a check or money Please note:order for $5 to: For more information:Aja Beech Mason Barnett, 215-564-6005, ext. 106 (Prison Society)2445 Coral St. Desiree Cunningham 215-758-5877 (Support GroupPhiladelphia, PA 19125 questions only)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.

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