Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― June 2012                        A Publication of The P...
Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― June 2012                                              ...
Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― June 2012                                              ...
Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― June 2012                             Mrs. GE-6309     ...
Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― June 2012                               Legislative Hig...
Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― June 2012                                              ...
Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― June 2012                                              ...
Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― June 2012                                              ...
Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― June 2012  AN OPEN LETTER TO SECRETARY WETZEL          ...
Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― June 2012                                              ...
Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― June 2012                                              ...
Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― June 2012                                              ...
Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― June 2012                                              ...
Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― June 2012Bernie Mac continued from page 7              ...
June 2012 Graterfriends
June 2012 Graterfriends
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June 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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June 2012 Graterfriends

  1. 1. Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― June 2012 A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society Promoting a humane, just and constructive correctional system and a rational approach to criminal justice since 1787  Volume 43 Issue 6  June 2012 The Haves and Have-Nots: A Story of Inequality and Unfairness by Omar Askia Ali (Sistrunk), AF-0814, SCI Houtzdale I have often heard it said that the U.S. is the greatest the full force and weight of the system with a blatantcountry on Earth. There is no doubt that it is a military disregard to fairness and due process.superpower and, without question, it has shown flashes Imagine two first-time offenders. Both eighteen, andof greatness. But at its core, the U.S. is a country grap- both arrested for the same crime — drug possession. Thepling with its conscience over how it treats certain seg- only difference separating them is that one is rich — aments of its citizenry: i.e., African-Americans, Latinos, “have,” and the other is poor — a “have not.” What hap-and poor whites. pens next is sinister. It is no secret that there is an ever-widening chasm of The rich kid’s family attorney will usually resolve thisopportunity separating the rich from the poor, the problem at the arrest level and it goes no further, while“haves” from the “have-nots,” in this country. According the poor kid’s court-appointed public defender won’t evento an Associated Press article on the wealth gap be- show up until the preliminary hearing, or a few weekstween the rich and the poor, “the richest one percent of before trial. In most cases, the rich kid will be releasedAmericans have been getting far richer over the last with a slap on the wrist; the poor kid, unable to makethree decades, while the middle-class and the poor have bail, will be held until trial.seen their after-tax household income only crawl up incomparison.” It went on to say, “the distribution of after- Say, for some reason, the rich kid’s case makes it totax income in the United States was substantially more trial. He or she will have the best representation moneyunequal in 2007 than in 1979.” can buy. The poor kid, however, will have to make do with an underpaid, mistake-prone, overworked, indiffer- Another aspect of this chasm is the disparate treat- ent public defender. The rich kid will no doubt get a dis-ment of the poor relative to the rich in the criminal jus- missal or the charges drastically reduced from felony totice system. Aside from the few Martha Stewarts andLindsay Lohans, who serve extremely short prison (See Have and Have-Nots, continued on page 12)stints or run in and out of court and county jail, but nev-er do any time, and the Bernie Madoff anomalies, thereare few rich and wealthy people serving hard time in In this IssueU.S. prisons. From the Editors, News ................................................. 2 It is not that they don’t commit the same crimes as the Pass the Word ................................................................ 3poor, they do. Rather, it’s because every system in theU.S. is set up by the rich and wealthy (the “haves”) for Mrs. GE-6309 Time, Birthdays, Crossword Solutions.. 4their benefit. These systems tend to also keep the poor Legislative Highlights .................................................... 5(the “have-nots”) at the bottom stratum of society. Legal Chat ...................................................................... 6 The equation is very simple —the rich have money Think About It ................................................................ 7and the poor have it not. Therefore, the system views Mailroom...................................................................... 8-9the “haves” as valuable, important, and essential, while Bookcase ....................................................................... 10seeing the “have nots” as inconsequential, and thereby Literary Corner ............................................................ 11expendable. Thus, when a “have” comes into contact Our Voices .................................................................... 12with the criminal justice system, every excuse, excep-tion, consideration, and accommodation is made to Announcements ............................................................ 13shield the offending “have” from prosecution and incar- Graterfriends Order Form ........................................... 14ceration. On the other hand, contact with the “have Crossword ..................................................................... 15nots” is always met negatively and prejudicially, with “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.
  2. 2. Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― June 2012 News From the Editors The Pennsylvania Prison Society celebrated its 225th SUPPORT FROM THE HOME FRONTanniversary on May 8. At the event we awarded SenatorStewart Greenleaf with our Justice Award, an honor by Kim Anglerarely given — and usually given to long-time boardmembers who have given so much to the organization. There are many organizations in Philadelphia thatThis is the first time we have given it to a legislator. We work diligently to support those behind bars, to assist inare very proud of the work Senator Greenleaf has done successful reentry, and work for much-needed changes inin the past decade to help reform criminal justice in the criminal justice system. There is also a strong move-Pennsylvania. He has realized the “tough on crime” laws ment on the part of the loved ones of the incarcerated toare not working and believes there is a better way. He have a voice and to effect change. Two events held re-also garnered a special proclamation from the Pennsyl- cently in Philadelphia help to demonstrate these effortsvania Senate for the Prison Society’s 225th anniversary. and commitment.For more information, please see page 9. The Pennsylvania Coalition for the Fair Sentencing of On page 7, you’ll read a story about one of Reginald Youth saw a standing-room-only crowd at the FriendsLewis’s neighbors on Death Row at SCI Graterford — Center for a two-hour program on April 14. Agenda itemsnicknamed “Bernie Mac.” Mr. Lewis and others look out for this inaugural gathering for family and friends of ju-for this prisoner, who they all know is mentally ill. Mr. venile lifers included a description of the National Cam-Lewis also wonders why he’s never seen a psychiatrist paign for the Fair Sentencing for Youth (CFSY), reflect-visit with Bernie, and why the Pennsylvania DOC ing on the national and legal landscape, areas for familyspends so much money on those who are mentally ill and to take action, and individual stories. The testimonies ofcould benefit from living elsewhere. loved ones brought tears and inspiration to all in attend- ance. One 86-year-old matriarch attended with the assis- Last but not least, do not miss Executive Director William tance of a walker in support of her two grandsons, sen-DiMascio’s “Reflections on Turning 225” on page 16. Our tenced as juveniles to life without parole 27 years ago.long history goes back to 1787, when prominent citizens of She remains committed to getting her “boys” home.Philadelphia, many who signed the Declaration of Inde-pendence — going up against the strongest nation in the CFSY plans to meet regularly to develop a Philadelphiaworld at the time — decided to visit prisoners in Philadelph-ia and take a stand against the day’s harsh criminal code. (See Home Front, continued on page 14) 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 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. 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 ― June 2012 The article seemed to also suggest that the communi- ties that prisoners would eventually be released into Pssst… were concerned regarding reintegrating former offend- ers. However, the prisoners themselves believe that they Pass the Word have found the answer for all concerns. On March 22, 2012, prisoners introduced, at the institutional level, a proposal that will not only prepare them for cognitive reentry under socially acceptable terms, but also give the communities a new sense of confidence in them. In addi- PRISONERS AGAINST VIOLENCE tion, it would place the prisoner in a phase of maintain- by Nurriddin Bullock. AS-1035 ing responsibility under socially acceptable behavioral and Jermar Hines, EW-5823, SCI Houtzdale norms, and increase the likelihood that the offender will (Creators and Founders) succeed when released. The fact that gang members are working together for Prisoners at the SCI Houtzdale, who are former and the first time with an initiative that’s designed to stopNew Day gang members of various ethnicities, have violence and associated behaviors is indeed an accom-come together for the first time with an initiative to stop plishment, as well as a first step toward a resolution atgang violence and behaviors that contribute to recidi- combating violent behaviors, and thus, recidivism. Eachvism. Our goals are in line with the Secretary of Correc- person can be proud of this accomplishment, and societytion’s “Map Plot Course for Parolees.” We call it the Pris- can trust it.oners Against Violence (PAV) Project. There is also a belief that if the superintendent at SCI The idea came together easily after reading an article Houtzdale denies their proposal, this could be a tremen-that was written in the Patriot-News newspaper, intro- dous let-down. SCI Houtzdale has been notorious forducing Secretary Wetzel’s initiative to combat recidivism “gang-related violence.” Thus, if their initiative couldand allow for re-entry. bring the myriad of gangs together to stop violence under their own initiative, there is an even stronger belief that It is the prisoners’ belief that Secretary Wetzel’s “Map this initiative could be relevant statewide.Plot Course for Parolees” is a new approach that will work “Can’t we all just get along?”to stop one from re-offending. Additionally, it will preparecommunities for prisoners’ reentry in a more trusting way. Just say “Yes” to the PAV Project. REGARDING BANNED PUBLICATIONS of his grievances, the Court lacked jurisdiction to provide an additional layer of review beyond the internal appealsby George Rashaan Brooks-Bey, AP-4884, SCI Frackville process established by the Department of Corrections; (2) The Commonwealth Court also incorrectly held that, to In Brooks-Bey v. Doriha Varner, Chief Grievance Ex- the extent petitioner’s claims that his Constitutionalaminer, No. 322 M.D. 2011, the Commonwealth Court rights were violated by the confiscation or denial of theruled that prison grievances and misconduct decisions publications at issue, he summarily failed to establish theare not subject to judicial review unless the case involves requisite personal involvement on the part of respondenta constitutional right not limited by the Department of by establishing and maintaining a claim pursuant to ArtCorrections. To the extent that the petitioner is challeng- 1, Section 7 of the P.A. Constitution and (3) the Common-ing the respondent’s decisions denying his grievance ap- wealth incorrectly failed to state a claim or retaliation.peals, the claim is dismissed for lack of jurisdiction, cit-ing, Weaver v. Department of Corr., 824 A. 2d 750 (PA. The Supreme Court granted Allocatur and ordered Ap-Cmwlth. 2003). pellant to file his brief on or before April 24, 2012, at No. 2 WAP 2012 and for the attorney of the grievance exam- The Court further ruled, to the extent that the petition- iner to file his brief on or before May 24, avers his constitutional rights have been violated bythe confiscation and/or rejection of his publications, he I filed my brief on April 20, 2012 and as soon as thefails to allege any personal involvement on the part of Supreme Court renders a decision I will share it with thethe named respondent. Graterfriends readers. This is an important case for all Pennsylvania prisoners who have had their publications Lastly, the Court ruled the petitioner failed to state a rejected by the Inmate Publication Review Committeeclaim for retaliation and failed to aver facts necessary to (IPRC) and told by them their publication was rejectedestablish that the publication policy is unconstitutional, because the content advocated, assisted or is evidence ofciting Yount v. Dept. of Corrections, 966 A. 2d 1115 (PA. criminal activity, facility misconduct, racially inflamma-2004); Thornbers v. Abbott, 490 U.S. 401 (1989). tory material, or material that could cause a threat to I filed for Allocatur in the State Supreme Court argu- the inmate, staff or facility security; their publicationsing: (1) The Commonwealth Court incorrectly held that, might have been banned due to the IPRC’s own personalto the extent the petitioner is challenging the disposition (See Banned, continued on page 12) 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 ― June 2012 Mrs. GE-6309 Time DEATH ROW by Reesy Floyd-Thompson June Birthdays NO SUGAR REQUIRED Jesse Bond Craig Murphy BZ-2493, GRA AY-2939, GRN I often hear prisoners’ wives comparing themselves tomilitary spouses. Early on, I too offered this analogy to Edward Bracey Donyell Paddyhelp explain away the blank stares, in the context of: BU-0711, GRA CX-3459, GRN“My husband is incarcerated, but it’s no different than John W. Brown Ernest Porterhis being in the military.” Sure, there are similar tenets: BP-1313, GRN AY-7434, GRNpartners are away from each other for extended periods;families must figure out how to raise kids, maintain a Kevin Brian Dowling Rasheen L. Simpsonhome, and create intimacy despite distance. Both rela- DY-6243, GRN CT-1781, GRNtionships face difficulty with reintegration. That’s where Joseph A. Eilliott James M. Smiththe similarities end. For obvious reasons, prisoners’ CA-1717, GRN AY-4901, GRAwives do not receive the same respect as military wives,and there’s another public distinction: military wives James Frey Paul Gamboa Taylorstand by their partners, prisoner’s wives wait. GD-5345, GRN BT-2525, GRN When our partners come home, flags do not wave, TV Ronald Gibson Gerald Watkinscameras do not appear, and friends may not even call to BQ-5220, GRN DD-5212, GRNsay, “Welcome home.” Our partners’ homecoming comeswith far less fanfare with some standing in line ready to Kenneth Hairston Herbert Watsonbrand our family — dishonorable. FA-9174, GRN AY-3075, GRN Mary Poppins said it best, “A spoonful of sugar helps Damon Jones GRA = SCI Graterfordthe medicine go down.” Likening ourselves to a military AY-2893, GRA PO Box 244partner tastes sweeter than admitting our actual situa- Graterford, PA Alexander Keatontion. When we try to convince someone our relationship 19426-0244 CM-9724, GRNis (like) something else, it devalues the true definition of Emanual Lester GRN = SCI Greenethe relationship. Comparisons seek to offer explanations BS-0997, GRN 175 Progress Driveand justifications. The mere act of analysis diminishes Waynesburg, PAone side over the other. Glenn Lyons 15370-8090 The decision to remain in a relationship with someone KK-2323, GRNincarcerated is far more than a function of the heart. Wetake in to account the offense and whether or not it lines If you do not want your name published, send a letter toup with who we are spiritually and morally. We factor in Graterfriends each year you do not want it to be included.the long-term effects of the tenure of the sentence. We Be sure to note your date of birth.ask ourselves if we have the mental fortitude to take on,not only the separation, but also the perceptions andcriticisms we face. Once we conclude the relationship is CROSSWORD SOLUTIONSworth the hardship, the relationship is valid — nothingelse required. When we backpedal with the military com- Below are the solutions to crossword puzzles printed in thisparison, we wear away at the legitimacy of our relation- issue and the previous issue of Graterfriends.ship, with each spoonful of sugar. May 2012 June 2012 Respect comes when we stand our ground and exudepride by stepping into our true skin. The validity of ourlives is not in the likeness to another institution, but in theunlikeness of it, and in embracing the notion that our livesare different, not less — eliminating the need for sugar.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 ― June 2012 Legislative Highlights Ann Schwartzman Policy Director, The Pennsylvania Prison SocietyThe Pennsylvania General Assembly is focusing on the state budget. They have also voted on several criminal justicebills. Here are several bills that you may find of interest. Please note that this list is current as of May 15, 2012. BILL NO. DESCRIPTION CHIEF SPONSOR PPS POSITION PRINTER NO.HB 61 States that private collection agencies must cease ef- Rep. C. Metzger Oppose R-Bedford andPN 29 forts to collect fines, costs, and restitution from defend- Somerset counties ant after 48 months. Currently, the limit is 180 days. (Passed House 6/23/11, 197-0; passed Senate 5/1/12, 41-4. Presented to the Governor 5/8/12.)HB 1289 Provides for sentencing enhancement for trafficking Rep. J. Pyle Oppose R-Armstrong andPN 3480 drugs in the presence of a minor. (Passed House Indiana counties 5/8/12, 197-0.)SB100 Amends Titles 18 (Crimes and Offenses), 42 (Judiciary Sen. S. Greenleaf Support R-Bucks andPN 1668 and Judicial Procedure) and 61 (Prisons and Parole) of Montgomery counties the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes. Provides for prison reform and justice reinvestment; sentencing and guidelines via Pennsylvania Commission on sentencing; court-imposed sanctions for probation violators; visita- tion; providing for time eligibility for prerelease; provid- ing for definitions in boot camp, State intermediate pun- ishment, recidivism risk reduction incentive, county intermediate punishment details; establishing the Safe Community Reentry Program; and provides for the pow- ers and duties of the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole and the Department of Corrections. (Passed Senate 10/1//11, 50-0; In House Judiciary, vote pending.) Sen. S. Greenleaf SupportSB 1454 Amends Titles 23 (Domestic Relations), 42 (Judiciary & R-Bucks andPN 2099 Judicial Procedure) & 44 (Law & Justice) of the Penn- Montgomery counties sylvania Consolidated Statutes, providing provisions recommended in the recent Joint State Government Commission Report on The effects on children of incar- cerated parents. It includes: in proceedings prior to peti- tion to adopt, further providing for grounds for involun- tary termination; in juvenile matters, further providing for disposition of dependent child; and adding provisions relating to certain arrest protocols. (In Senate Judici- ary 4/5/12.) 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 ― June 2012 crime but neglect to present said evidence within 60 days, you have no recourse to get out of prison. Senate Legal Chat Bill 1153 seeks to change that. To keep an innocent man/ woman in jail is a “miscarriage of justice”! Governor Corbett’s spokesman, Eric Shirk, said that Corbett opposes the bill because it would be difficult for courts to assess who is “factually innocent” because the term in the bill is undefined! The Governor’s office is an ELECTED position! (Pa. Law Weekly, Vol XXXV, No.13). LEGAL REASONING Keep this in mind the next time you shrug off the im- What is “Legal Reasoning”? To understand it, we must portance of politics and how it adversely affects our in-ask ourselves: What are the methods by which law is carcerated lives!made, developed, and applied? How do concepts of law Terrance Washingtonoperate within the world of legal decision making, affect- DN-3858, SCI Somerseting the thought process of lawyers and judges? To un-derstand the context of legal reasoning, we must under-stand the rules of legal thinking. There’s a thinking andlogic in the practice of law and we must learn to com- UNPUBLISHED POLICY REVISIONmunicate with the court through that thinking and logic.Such thinking involves an awareness of legal precepts There has been an unpublished policy revision to DC-and principles underlying the process of legal reasoning. ADM 803 under “postage and copying.” A “Petition forIt’s a methodology of thinking in principles. Review” to respondents is the only legal document to be served by certified mail, return receipt. In Grievance Legal reasoning is premised upon application of princi- #380751, I cited that the “return receipt” requirement inples formulating rules of law governing categories of department policy actually contradicts State Law, Pa.facts. It’s an intellectual process of adjudication involv- Rules of Appellate Procedure 1514C dictates certifieding legal precepts premised upon principles applied by mail only. The Chief Grievance Office at Central Officethe judge to justify his/her decision. Just as there are upheld my grievance, stating “Policy will be reviewedarticulable rules of reasoning, there are rules for the and necessary changes made.” Yet, three months later,identification and formulation of the principles that are here at SCI Albion, they tried to enforce the return re-the tools of such reasoning. Legal precepts formulating ceipt requirement, citing they were unaware of thisgeneral rules of law apply categories of facts. change. Without the revision, we were forced to spend at The basic pattern of legal reasoning is reasoning from LEAST another $4.60 of our money. That, to some, is acase to case. Like cases are to be decided in like ways serious deterrent, which I believe was the basis for thebecause the same principle controls the decision: department inserting that requirement. Please notify your business office and mailroom of the change and cite 1. Similarity is seen between cases (Facts). grievance 380751. Together as a united front, we can 2. Rule of law in first case is identified (Principle). make a difference. 3. The rule of law is made applicable to second case Darren Gentilquore (Reasoning). GX-1572, SCI Albion Thinking in principles is the key to understanding legalreasoning. Legal principles and doctrines are the tree, caselaw is its fruit. Educate yourself to protect yourself. Ordervia I.L.L. The Myth of Legal Reasoning 40 MD. L. Rev. 338(1981), Logic for Lawyers 13 PAC. L. J. 59 (1981). Frederick T. Ray III When submitting a letter or GF-2852, SCI Greene column to Graterfriends for publication, please remember to THE IMPORTANCE OF POLITICS attach a letter (or note on your To all those who think that politics and voting don’t submission) that it is formean anything, dig this: State Senator Stewart Green-leaf and seven co-sponsors are trying to pass/introduce publication and that you are theSenate Bill 1153, which would extend the time period wecould file petitions with new evidence that could show original author; date and signthat we’re ACTUALLY INNOCENT. the declaration. Thank you. As it stands now, if you are actually innocent of your 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 ― June 2012 the policy of the Dept. that every individual committed Think to its custody shall have access to a formal procedure through which to seek resolution of problems or other issues of concern arising in the course of the confine- About It ment;” and (3) Policy 3.1.1. (Fiscal Administration)/IV.K (Inmate General Welfare Fund/IGWF), which consists of non-appropriated funds — from various sources — “solely for the benefit of inmates.” It is composed of coun- cil members responsible for: making decisions based up- FALLEN CITIZENS on the best interest of the beneficiaries of the fund by Torrey Real, EL-1916, SCI Frackville (inmates); and developing an annual budget. Each facili- ty “shall” bring select inmates into the operation of the They say we are the non-producing members of society, fund at each facility, and “post a monthly statement ofthe criminal element, lower percentile. I believe that the fund [activities] on all inmate bulletin boards…”problem is due, in part, to lack of education and aware- Now, I’ve surveyed a few dozen of my fellow communi-ness. Still, I look around my current surroundings and ty members (inmates). And it wasn’t shocking to learnsee men who are supposedly in a sober frame of mind, but that over 90 percent of them didn’t know what IGWF is.there seems to be a lack of interest in our social environ- Why? Maybe for some of the same reasons I didn’t: it’sment or community. Yet, we wonder why things are still not advertised or broadcast. The inmates appointed don’tbad, and steadily getting worse. represent (in a sense of election) the population, our in- The DOC has very detailed policies that govern the put isn’t sought, properly recorded, or thoroughly arguedstandard of our incarceration. Although they pertain to in meetings, and so on. No one, besides me, seems to carerules, procedures and expectations of conduct, these poli- or take interest!cies work both ways (toward staff and inmates, alike), The solution I propose — especially at my facility—isand most are for our benefit. It’s up to us (inmates) to for people to stop being reactive and to start taking a pro-properly utilize the resources available to us (education, active approach to constructively seeking ways to benefitgrants, etc.). from the tools (IGWF, etc.) we’re given. One idea or ex- I’d like to share a few of the things that I’ve come ample would be to spend the IGWF funds toward voca-across, and what ideas I have concerning them, beginning tional programs like “Pen American Center,” which offerswith: (1) Policy 7.2.1/section 3. (Request Slips) B. (Staff writing trades to prisoners. There is very little offered toResponsibility) 1, which states, “Staff receiving a DC- inmates who already have diplomas or have obtained a135A [must] respond to the request within five working GED. There are lots of other ways to appropriate funding.days;” (2) DC-ADM 804/III. (Policy), which states, “It is Just be creative. But we must get involved. MY NEIGHBOR, BERNIE MAC “How you doin’ today, Salahud-din?” He calls me by my Muslim name. “I’m fine,” I reply. “How you doing today, by Reginald S. Lewis, AY-2902, SCI-Graterford B?” He also likes it when I call him “Big ‘Nard.” Among the numerous policies implemented by the “Salahud-din. You got any coffee?” He asks politely.Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, one requires I pass him coffee through the bars. I know what’s com-Security Level 5 Inmates to move to a new cell every 90 ing next.days. This is one rule the peaceful Old Heads on DeathRow dread. Having to move next to some idiot always “You got any cookies?”running his mouth, trying to act tough, cursing, blasting We personally memorize the names of every inmate onhis television and radio. the block and lock them in for future reference. Bernie Mac used to flood his cell when he couldn’t get anything So when they moved fellow death row inmate Bernard to eat — so the administration finally took his televisionMcGill next door to me, the tightness in my chest loos- and radio to prevent him from electrocuting himself. Butened. He is one of our more mentally unstable brothers, he has his own internal entertainment center. From hiswho suffers from multiple personality disorder or schizo- cell I hear vicissitudes of sounds and voices that rise andphrenia. But he is unfailingly polite and respectful. The fall, depending upon his mood. His tough, gritty voice isadministration probably moved him to G-Wing because an inflection of the musical assonance of rappers Jahthey know we’ll look out for him. You see, he has a fero- Rule and DMX: a hypnotic euphony anchored on a swirl-cious appetite. ing vortex of driving rhythms. The defiant lyrics of Tupac We call him “Bernie Mac” because he puts his food hus- Shakur spitting tragic, Shakespearean tales of love andtle down. He’s turned panhandling into a fine art. He pain and social injustice.hits me up almost everyday — but I don’t care. He’s al-ways grateful and thanks me profusely. (See Bernie Mac, continued on page 14) 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 ― June 2012 Allen, the son of the Rev. Frank Dick and Nora Allen, is a graduate of Lincoln High School, Rhema School of Mailroom the Bible, St. Francis College, Berean Bible College, Global University, and Calvary Christian Seminary, where he has earned degrees in Business Administra- tion, Education, and Theology. The author of several col- legiate texts, including A Survey of the Old Testament, New Testament Survey, and The Moses Style Ministry, he earned his ThD in May 2012 with a concentration in RE: INAPPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR Biblical Theology and Hospice Ministry from Calvary AT SCI MUNCY Christian Seminary, South Bend, Indiana. I’d like to thank sister Dana Lomax-Williams, OP-2742, In addition to his educational pursuits, Dave has spentfor the very powerful message. his 28 years of incarceration in service to his fellow in- mates, serving three terms as the president of the Altar Yes, sisters. It’s time to let your voices sound off as Rock Jaycees and two terms as the president of Hunting-well. Stand firmly in what you believe in. God will give don Literary Council while housed at SCI Huntingdon,you the grace you need. Thanks to sister Dana Lomax- and two terms as the president of the Phoenix GroupWilliams for speaking out. Your courage is appreciated. Organization at SCI Greensburg.So many are afraid; every word was the truth. Thomas Dougherty God bless all the sisters. GB-6452, SCI Greensburg Paulette Carrington OO-5801, SCI Muncy LACKAWANNA COUNTY BLUES I am a state prisoner from SCI Dallas and I’ve been sent RESPECT here to Lackawanna County Prison, like 49 other prison- ers from Dallas State Prison. I have just a few months to I look out my window and see a goose sitting on her go, to max, but I want to make the pitiful treatment of thenest. The nest is on the ground approximately 50 feet prisoners in Lackawanna County Prison known.from my window. It’s on the other side of the yard next to This is all about financial gain and profit for SCI DallasD-block. I’m housed on C-block. I observe how the in- and this county prison. I’ve never been in a prison thatmates and goose react to each other as the footsteps and doesn’t give prisoners milk in the morning with theirimages approach the nest. There’s no spreading and flap- breakfast. No milk at all, with any meal! They make sureping her wings or flying at them. They look at the goose that you get juice that is made in the prison kitchen withsitting there incubating her eggs to sustain her way of every meal. This place is the pits. This is a maximumlife. They do not disturb her! It pleases me to see respect security prison: controlled movement, 22 hours on ashown to the goose. I wish we could have shown the same small 14-cell block with two hours of recreation time in akind of respect to the victims of our crimes and to society. yard that is the size of SCI Dallas RHU yards (THAT’S At the same time, I wish society could have shown that SMALL!) The library has no books in it, just a couple ofsame kind of respect to some of us. An example of society computers. They strip you of everything before you getnot showing respect to all its citizens is what is happen- here so that once you’re here, you’re forced to spend youring to Trayvon Martin’s family in Sanford, Florida. money on the things that you need, like cosmetics and food from commissary (and the prices are extra, extra The point is that inmates can learn to respect “life, liber- high.) They even strip you down out of your boots orty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Like the goose shifts sneakers, so that everybody walks around with prison-direction from time to time when sitting on her eggs, in- issued shower slippers.mates can change their course of direction — especiallythose who were imprisoned during the latter part of the Phone calls from here to Philadelphia cost $13 for‘60s and earlier part of the ‘70s. Some of these seniors no twenty minutes of phone time. If you came here withlonger pose a threat to society and, in my opinion, no long- your own medication that was issued, say, up at SCI Dal-er belong in prison. This is simply a matter that society las, they discontinue it so that you pay $6 to receive itneeds to look into. Otherwise, society is doing itself and again. They have us SCI Dallas prisoners scatteredthese changed men and women a grave injustice. throughout the prison, on different blocks, mixed in with the county inmates. Earl Box What did we do to deserve this treatment? Oh, I know. AK-2618, SCI Graterford For some of us, we are getting close to our maximum sentence. For all of us, they’re making room for the pris- CONGRATULATIONS TO DAVID M. ALLEN oners that are coming back from Virginia. They should have never been there in the first place. I would like to extend congratulations to my friend Steven WalkerDavid M. Allen for earning his doctoral degree. Lackawanna County Prison 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 ― June 2012 AN OPEN LETTER TO SECRETARY WETZEL All checks may be sent to: Attorney Matthew Weisberg I suppose congratulations are in order for your appoint- 7 South Morton Avenuement as Secretary of Corrections. You have inherited one Morton, PA 19070of the largest cesspools in America today. You are nowking of the world of suppression, and 52,000 of us are You must put "Fight AWA" onto the memo section of thewondering once again how one man thinks he can change check, so that the attorney can separate it!the system — a vengeful system that supports loss ofdignity, freedoms, and identity. All this in the name of The attorneys contact number is: 610-690-0801.penological interests, injustice licensed by the legislatureand enforced by the courts and your minions in uniform. Additional questions can be directed to: Frank (volunteer) at or Sorry we missed you recently on your tour of the grounds.Hope that everything was to your satisfaction. They had us RSOLspit polish everything. Did we disguise the true milieu of P.O. Box 45756the institution as we were ordered and forced to do? Did you Philadelphia, PA 19149enjoy your meal? We did not like ours. RSOL is a volunteer organization attempting to change What are your true aberrations [sic]? Will you use us laws that do not work. We are not a legal aid organiza-as many before you for political aspirations? With your tion, and we cannot offer any legal advice.staff’s parasitical unions playing on the fears of the pub- Submitted by RSOLlic and the parole board operating with no oversight, Iwish you luck in your quest. Bleeding out from the slashing of educational budgetsand programs; where will it all end? I counsel men everyday on patience, men that have made parole and awaitrelease; for some months, and others years. The Pa. DOC PRISON SOCIETY PRESENTS JUSTICEis under the microscope of the Federal Government forabuses of inmates and staff. You know these actions are AWARD TO SENATOR GREENLEAFcommonplace and true, and we wonder about your sanity. At an event in Philadelphia on May 8, Senator Greenleaf was presented with the Pennsylvania Pris- If you truly believe in what you have been quoted in on Societys Justice Award for his steadfast supportthe papers as saying, then it is with respect that I say, of prison reform. The award was presented during“Thank you for wanting to do the right thing. Welcome to the organizations 225th year anniversary celebra-Little Bighorn.” tion. The Senator is only the third person to receive the Justice Award. Jeffery Neal Saxberg DX-5126, SCI Camp Hill Senator Greenleaf has led efforts in the Pennsylva- nia Legislature for a number of years responding to the states prison overpopulation crisis driven by years of harsh punishments for non-violent drug of-REFORM SEX OFFENDER LAWS.ORG (RSOL) fenders. The Senator is currently working on legisla- FILING LAWSUIT AGAINST PENNSYLVANIA tion (SB 100) that would enhance Pennsylvanias alternative sentencing programs for non-violent of- fenders and improve rehabilitation and community RSOL (Reform Sex Offender Laws.Org) is seeking do- re-entry for inmates.nations from all offenders and their family members fora lawsuit that is going to be filed against the state of "I am truly honored to receive this recognition fromPennsylvania. This lawsuit will be challenging the Adam one of the most highly regarded advocacy organiza-Walsh Act (Senate Bill 1183), which was recently signed tions in Pennsylvania," said the Senator. "I am proudinto law by Governor Corbett. It is imperative that all to have the opportunity to work with the Prison Soci-offenders and their family members band together on ety on issues that are so important for humanity andthis issue. This law is very serious and is detrimental to the future of our state. The important progress thatthe rights of everyone involved. This law will drastically we are making today is a direct result of their hardchange every offenders current registration scheme. It is work. And not only do they have a profound impactimperative that we challenge this law! on public policy, but their wide network of staff and volunteers who visit and work with inmates truly We understand the tough economic times that everyone turns lives around. Rehabilitation programs withinis currently facing, along with their status as a sex offend- prisons are just as important as good law enforce-er; however, any donation that you can make is better ment in keeping our streets safe."than nothing. All donations will be confidential, and yourinformation will not be divulged to any third party. 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 ― June 2012 this trend to the creation of the Pennsylvania Commis- sion on Sentencing. Writes Sprecher: “On average, a new penitentiary was built every ten years in the twentieth Bookcase century. The passage of mandatory minimum sentencing began in the late 1970s. But since the creation in 1982 of the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing, the Com- monwealth added nearly one new prison each year for the next two decades instead of one prison every decade: a tenfold increase.” BOOK REVIEW: JUSTICE OR JUST THIS? A CONSTITUTIONAL TRESPASS A quick and readable 140 pages, the volume also con- BY HON. JEFFREY KENT SPRECHER tains a helpful glossary of basic legal terms pertinent to Pennsylvania law. Sprecher’s writing is clear and acces- Book Review by Danielle Collins, Editorial Assistant sible, though his outrage at the injustice of the current system becomes increasingly palpable as you turn the Trial Court Judge Jeffrey Kent Sprecher isn’t the first pages. The author loses a bit of his focus in later chap-to identify and articulate the relationship between sen- ters as he includes a lengthy section about corporatetencing, judicial independence and over-incarceration in misconduct and makes marginally relevant references toPennsylvania. However, his position as a veteran Berks 20th century history. His attempts to draw parallels be-County judge might make some more sympathetic to the tween Nazi fear-mongering in pre-WWII Germany andpassionate and reasoned plea contained in Justice or US political overreaction invite skepticism, but theJust This? A Constitutional Trespass. Sprecher, who has warning is sound given the magnitude of mass incarcera-twenty years of experience on the bench in Reading’s tion in this country.Court of Common Pleas, gives a historical and anecdotalaccount of the creation of the Pennsylvania Commission While citing statistics and offering a historical accounton Sentencing and the far-reaching impact of the man- for the deterioration of criminal justice in Pennsylvania,datory minimum sentences the Commission imposes. Sprecher intersperses personal stories and thoughts thatSprecher links this phenomenon to the decline of judicial illustrate his sense of frustration with the current sys-independence and discretion in Pennsylvania, noting tem. This view from the “other side” of the bench is illu-how legislators bend to political pressure in imposing minating and helps communicate the author’s anger atharsher sentencing laws that strip judges of the ability handing down sentences he believed unjust. While muchto decide sentences they deem appropriate. of the data contained in Justice or Just This? is available elsewhere, the book is worthwhile just for the uncensored In Justice or Just This?, Judge Sprecher lends his reflections of a veteran judge in the twilight of his career.voice to the multitude who have noted the disproportion-ate impact of the war on drugs on racial and ethnic mi- To order this book, please send a check or money order fornorities. This discrimination plays out in numerous $24.95 ($19.95 + $5 S&H) to:overt and covert ways, but serves to ensure that AfricanAmerican and Latino youth are more likely to be caught Hon. Jeffrey Sprecherand punished for committing the same crimes as whites. P.O. Box 884Sprecher comments on the growth of prison as an indus- Reading, PA 19601try in Pennsylvania over the past 30-40 years, linking IN MEMORIAMWe regret to announce that Graterfriends contributer Jon Yount (AC-8297, SCI Greene) died in late April. We appre-ciated his work to keep other prisoners informed of various criminal justice issues through his articles here inGraterfriends. In honor of his passing, Jeffrey Neal Saxberg (DX-5126, SCI Camp Hill) has written these words: Sentenced To A Life Of Castigation. A True Pundit Who Stood Up To Retribution. I’ll Never Forget Your Lessons. Finally May Peace Be With You Brother.Also, Samuel C. Stretton, an attorney in West Chester, Pa., wrote us saying, “You know Jon Yount and I know him.He and I worked on many cases together. I believe you actually gave him an award through the Society…It is just agreat tragedy.” 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 ― June 2012 Literary Corner MESSAGE TO THE BLACK MAN So try to work harder…so you can be smarter Then you can take charge and get the things that you oughta by Paul Perry, AF7966, SCI Graterford Be a model for success… not a demon bringing death To your community… we’ve got to get some unityTo be a real man takes more than heartTo win the game of life you’ve got to be smart If you gotta die… don’t die for no lieWith information you gain, succeed and maintain You’ve got a mind with the power to take you sky highTo find solutions to your problems you must use the brain Who’s intellectually inferior…Who’s superior to you or me As far as I can see…we just got caught in the mixYou need money for honey… So don’t be ridiculous Of some sophisticated tricks…so if your life is messed upTo accomplish your mission you must be meticulous Then get it fixedGather the data, be a smooth operator. The more you learnThe greater you earn… Troubles will burn… You turn Make a decision…It’s time to take a standYour world into a pearl This is a message to the black manSo stop fantasizing… and start visualizing Brothas don’t wait for fate to take you on a blind dateA future that will take you to a brand new horizon Take command…and try to understandDon’t dress to impress… work hard to be the best The future of our people is in your handsAt whatever you do Like a move in chess that could have took you to victory‘Cause when you get good… you get real respect You’ve got choices in your life that you don’t even seeWhen you master your game… you get a seven digit check If we keep a negative focus…Oppression will just croak usTry to specialize in whatever you can It ain’t too late… f___ that other hocus-pocusAcquire some knowledge that will put you in demand You can still win your case…just back up and retraceMake a decision… it’s time to take a stand The history of blackness is written in your faceThis is a message to the black man Remember Martin, Malcolm, Marcus, Steven Beko Geronimo Prate, John Jackson, Antonio MaceioDon’t play yourself cheap… your mind’s not weakStop living in darkness… walking in a deep sleep They were only a few… of the many who knewOpen your eyes… Wake up and be alive The power of the black man and what he could doStart living… Don’t merely survive We had great civilizations, mighty African Nations Great thinkers and healers, artists and buildersIf you think you’ll get over with a gun in your handRealistically… statistically… bad plan We were all that and more…but that wasn’t the end‘Cause in the criminal game of slinging drugs to make a name We had it all before and we can have it againLife expectancy is short… or you’ll end up in court So don’t learn about our own past…then just be poorFacing ninety-nine years ‘cause you never really thought filled with hate Use the knowledge you’ve gained to self-motivateYou’ll be on the news… and you’ll be crying the bluesPop goes your life…game’s over…you lose The purpose of my message is perfectly clearRoll correct brothas…Get your life in check Be intelligent black man… and you can make it anywhereFormulate a plan… and put it in effect THIS IS A MESSAGE TO THE BLACK MANBe creative… innovative…self educatedOnly positive minds can deal with the timesYou can live your life in riddles or make it a rhymeWe’ve got to think collectively… cause sometimes subjectivelyIs not enough… Life can be roughBut when we roll in together we’ve got some powerful stuff 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 ― June 2012 Have and Have-Nots continued from page 1 Our Voices misdemeanor, or will win an acquittal. The poor kid will not fair so well. His or her public defender will invariably advise him or her to accept a plea bargain regardless of innocence or guilt. If the poor kid goes to trial, the public defender, as usual, will fail to investigate and make nu- merous mistakes and cause a verdict of guilty. A HOUSE DIVIDED CANNOT STAND Recently, it was reported in the Philadelphia Inquirer by Brandon Bloss, EX0188, SCI Somerset that, “Scores of capital murder convictions in PA have been reversed or sent back because of error by defenders, I am writing this letter in regards to all the bickering whose low pay can take a high cost.” (Front page,that has been going on concerning smoking. Really, peo- 10/23/11).ple? You are complaining about smoking when there aremore important issues that we need to focus on andstand together to get changed. In the final tally, the rich kid is saved. He or she gets to go home, to college, and on with his or her life, allowed to “What things?” you may ask. Let me mention a few: 1) live to laugh about it years later. By contrast, the poorparole; 2) pardons for lifers/long-term; 3) inmate base kid will be convicted of a felony, sentenced to years inpay raise; 4) medical treatment and co-pay; 5) commis- prison, and stigmatized for life. Chances are that thesary prices; 6) quality of items sold in commissary; 7) poor kid will be just making parole when the rich kid iscable prices; 8) cost of phone calls; 9) denying publica- graduating college. Unlike the rich kid, who was giventions; 10) taking legal material out of the law libraries; every chance to succeed, the poor kid’s chances for a pro-11) I don’t know about your jail, but the Visiting Room ductive life have most likely evaporated with that firsthere is now closed on Thursdays; and the most recent to felony conviction.catch my attention —12) copying costs. Do you know that one case of paper has 5,000 sheets of This is a diabolical double-standard that reaches intorecycled paper? Let’s say that, at most, the DOC pays every aspect of this “great” county, ruining many lives.$40/case (no taxes, they are exempt), and the contract Of course, nobody wants a lawless society, but fair is fair,for the copier is $200/month (hey, let’s say $500/month, and the way it is set up now is completely unfair.why not?) So, doing the math at 10¢ per copy, the DOCmakes $500 (or more, if you are making double-sided What if the poor kid had sufficient representation like acopies) for one case of paper! That means after one case Leon Williams, Willie E. Gary, Johnny Cockran, Daveof paper, the DOC has paid the contract for the copier Rudovsky, or Peter Goldberger? I guarantee the resultfor that month. The next case of paper already starts would be different. The poor kid would not be convictedgenerating profit! They profit from your legal research and there would be a steep decline in the prison popula-when you print out case laws! How crazy is that? Why tion across the county.did they start selling Vend-a-Cards on the commissary?To make more money! Why aren’t we paying 1¢ per In fact, if the playing field were leveled for the have-copy? nots relative to the haves in all areas of concern: housing, Everyone wants to complain, but nobody wants to do education, employment, and criminal justice, there wouldanything about it because they don’t want to sacrifice be no question about the U.S.’s so-called greatness. But,anything. Let me ask you this, when the settlers of until it treats its have-nots commiserate to its haves, itNorth America got tired of British rule, did they sit will always fall short of its ideals and it will continue toaround and complain, hoping it would get better? How miss the mark of greatness.about when Germany started to run amok in Europe,did everyone sit around, hoping Germany would stop?Did Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. just make a lot ofspeeches and then sit back and hope change wouldcome? The answer to all of these questions is “NO!” Thepeople stood together and had to sacrifice their verylives to get the change they desired. Now, I am not saying that we need to rise up and be- Banned continued from page 3come violent. What I am saying is that we need to cometogether (including family, friends, relatives, etc.) to get prejudices or unconscious or subjective racism. A favora-these changes made. Dr. King, Jr. accomplished a lot ble decision from the State Supreme Court might openwith his peaceful demonstrations. the door for prisoners to attack and challenge the DOC’s So, for all of you who want to complain about smoking oppressive arbitrary and racist banning of books like 100and other matters, instead of standing together, I am sure Years of Lynchings, Speeches by U.S. Congresswomanthe DOC administration would like to say, “Thank you,” Maxine Waters, and Black Robes, White Justice by N.Y.because they know that a house divided cannot stand. State Judge Bruce Wright. 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 ― June 2012 $250 for first place, $100 for second place, and $50 for third place. Announcements Topics: Please write an essay addressing one of the fol- lowing questions:  What does fair treatment look like in prison?  How does your institution deal with inmates who arePreserving Your Claim Under the Prison violent or disruptive? Are people sent to solitary con-Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) is a new docu- finement? Is the disciplinary system fair, and does it help to maintain order?ment that was recently sent to all of Pennsylvania’s stateprison libraries. It was written by Alex Rubenstein, 2012  Tell us about a notable or surprising experienceCandidate for J.D. at Rutgers School of Law-Camden. It you’ve had with another person in the legal system—is intended to provide some background information on whether a judge, a lawyer, a guard, or anyone else.the PLRA, and also explain how the law impacts court What did you learn from it?claims filed while in jail or prison. Additionally, thispamphlet explains how to properly follow the grievance  The goals of criminal punishment include retributionprocess employed by the Pennsylvania Department of (giving people what they deserve), deterrenceCorrections, in order to help protect any claims you may (discouraging future crimes), and rehabilitationbring relating to prison conditions from being dismissed (improving behavior). What purpose, if any, has yourfor failure to exhaust administrative remedies. Even for time in prison served? Should one of these purposesclaims that are not affected by the exhaustion require- be emphasized more?ment, this pamphlet should serve as a helpful tool forcorrectly filing grievances.  Have you ever filed a grievance with jail or prison authorities to complain about conditions? Tell usIf your law library does not have this pamphlet, please about it, and explain how the grievance processcontact Graterfriends (address on page 2). works. Are grievances effective? How do prison au- thorities respond to them? How do you feel aboutLife Support for Women with an federal law’s requirement that prisoners file griev- ances before suing about prison conditions in court?Incarcerated Loved One is a support group forwomen looking for a safe place to share feelings and con-  If you have been released from prison, what chal-cerns about incarcerated family members. The group lenges did you face in reentering society?usually meets the second Tuesday of every month, from4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., at the Pennsylvania Prison Socie-  How, if at all, do you maintain relationships withty: 245 N. Broad Street, 3rd Floor, Philadelphia, PA your family while in prison? Describe the prison19107 (Race-Vine station, across from Hahnemann Hos- rules that govern how much contact you can havepital). with your family. How has being in prison affected your family relationships?Please note: Please do not discuss your innocence or guilt or ask forFor more information: legal assistance with your case. Submissions are not con-Mason Barnett, 215-564-6005, ext. 106 (Prison Society) fidential. Whatever you write will not be protected byDesiree Cunningham 215-758-5877 (Support Group attorney-client privilege. If you have an attorney, pleasequestions only) speak with your attorney before submitting your work. Rules: You may submit an essay if you have been anThe Yale Law Journal welcomes submis- inmate in a prison or jail at any point from January 1,sions for their first Prison Law Writing 2010 through September 30, 2012. We welcome essays ofContest. If you are or recently have been in jail or about 1000-5000 words, or roughly 4-20 pages. Pleaseprison, we invite you to write a short essay about your type your submission if possible. If you must write byexperiences with the law. The three top submissions will hand, please be sure your writing is readable. Feel free towin cash prizes, and we hope to publish the best work. work together with others, but your essay should be in your own voice.Background: The Journal is one of the world’s mostrespected and widely read scholarly publications about Essays must be received by October 1, 2012. Email yourthe law. Our authors and readers include law professors submission to if possible. If youand students, practicing attorneys, and judges. The con- do not have email access, please mail your work to: Thetest offers people in prison the chance to share their sto- Yale Law Journal, ATTN: Prison Law, P.O. Box 208215,ries with people who shape the law and to explain how New Haven, CT 06520-8215. Please include your namethe law affects their lives. Where permitted by state law, and the name of the institution where you are or werethe authors of the winning essays will receive prizes: imprisoned, and tell us the best way to reach you now. 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 ― June 2012Bernie Mac continued from page 7 Home Front continued from page 2 Sometimes I hear the rapturous, staccato-tongue of a base of support and action. The next meeting will be heldpreacher rousing his congregation. the stentorian baritone on June 23.pontificating on worldly affairs with a professorial eloquence. A week later, the Reentry Support Project, an initiative A dashiki-wearing character chants: “Say it Loud! I’m of the Fox Rothschild Center for Law and Society atBlack and I’m Proud!” He explodes into rage and rants Community College of Philadelphia hosted the day-longabout child molesters. BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! The Prison Advocacy Summit. Several years in the planning,sound of gunshots rumble up from his throat as he exacts this conference offered numerous workshops on thestreet justice and comeuppance. Vicious left hooks and many ways to work on behalf of our loved ones behindhard right hands whistle on the wind as he destroys an bars. Advocacy sessions included: Overcoming Obstaclesimaginary opponent. He sometimes roars like a barbaric to Movement Building, Creating a Voting Power, Legis-post-war survivalist in Mad Max. lative Advocacy, Mobilizing Families and Networks Against Prisoner Abuse, Using Social Media for Move- But the most dominant voice that emerges from this ment Building, Developing Youth Leadership, and manymotley brood — (and probably the one that landed him others. A generous donation on the part of Pennsylvaniaon Pennsylvania’s Death Row) — takes on the person of State Senator Shirley Kitchen made the summit possi-a mob boss: ble. Numerous other co-sponsors added both their sup- port and expertise. Among those were Angus Love, the “Mother _____, you don’t want war! I’m Frank Nitti… director of the Pennsylvania Institutional Law Project,I’m Nino Brown…I’m Big Al Capone!” Hannah Zellman of the Institute for Community Justice, Hakim Ali and William Goldsby of Reconstruction, Inc., There are countless prisoners trapped in isolation in former political prisoner Laura Whitehorn, and commu-dark, cruel gulags all across the U.S. designed to enforce nity activist Bruce Cottman. Tyrone Werts, a recentlysensory deprivation that gradually chips away at the released lifer, was also in attendance.human spirit and mind. For well over 200 years, the U.S.Congress has enacted statutes that provide treatment forfederal prisoners. “Who are or Shall become insane dur-ing the term of imprisonment.” I’ve never seen a prison psychiatrist speak to BernieMac. Perhaps they’ve just resigned themselves to the fact “An individual has not started livingthat he is just too far gone to be helped. So what purposedoes it serve the State to continue to house the mentally until he can rise above the narrow con-ill, year after year, at an estimated annual cost of fines of his individualistic concerns to$36,000 to $40,000? the broader concerns of all humanity.” Listen to B Mac as he reminds his crew: “I did 19 years —Martin Luther King, Jr.on Death Row for y’all. 19 years!”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.