Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― July 2012                         A Publication of The ...
Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― July 2012                       From                   ...
Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― July 2012                                              ...
Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― July 2012                                 Think        ...
Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― July 2012                               Legislative Hig...
Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― July 2012                                              ...
Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― July 2012        ment was reserved only for sexually vi...
Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― July 2012                                              ...
Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― July 2012towns where the crimes were committed so that ...
Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― July 2012                                              ...
Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― July 2012                                              ...
Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― July 2012                                              ...
Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― July 2012                                              ...
Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― July 2012Ten Ways continued from page 2                ...
July 2012 Graterfriends
July 2012 Graterfriends
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July 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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July 2012 Graterfriends

  1. 1. Graterfriends ― A Publication of The Pennsylvania Prison Society ― July 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 7  July 2012 The Time is Now to End “Time With No Time Limit”! by Brandon Moody, HQ-9088, SCI Coal Township For the LIFERS who are serious about ending Life tions, etc. Then take these statistics and generate publicWithout Parole (LWOP) the TIME is NOW that we start awareness by the means outlined in Step Two.taking more effective and collective steps to accomplish Step Four: Encourage our families (who are part ofthis goal. Yeah, I’m talking to YOU, or better yet, US, society) to network with each other and the various ad-the LIFERS here in Pennsylvania! vocacy organizations, and to become members of such Most of us have diligently challenged this ungodly con- organizations. (We may have some loved ones that don’tviction by the way of the judicial process. This is highly feel a sense of urgency when it comes directly from us,commendable, especially for those of us that are truly or maybe they don’t think there is anything they can doinnocent or who were only accused as accomplices, but to help change the law. This is where communicationmaybe it is time that we also exhaust other remedies and with these organizations can help.)resources just in case the judicial system continues to Step Five: Contact the different advocacy organiza-fail us. tions and encourage them to form a database of every The other remedy spoken of is attacking this “TIME lifer in Pennsylvania so that they can reach out to usWITH NO TIME LIMIT” (LWOP) by going directly to the and get permission from those of us who aren’t readinglegislators who are responsible for making, enacting, up- this to get contact information for our loved ones. Forholding, and maintaining the laws which prevent US those of us reading this, we should provide these organi-from ever returning to our loved ones. If you are not zations with the information of these loved ones we be-aware, the judicial branch of government only has the lieve need the most convincing to join our cause. Thepower to impose sentences such as ours by way of the reason for this is because our loved ones often need alegislative branch. This means if the legislators changedLWOP to a numerical limit or parole eligibility, then thejudges would have to follow this law. So, the question is, (See Time Limit, continued on page 15)“How do we get the legislators to change the law?” Alt-hough it may seem unreasonable or somewhat complicat-ed to fathom us having the ability to change the law, it is In this Issuepossible. That possibility can be manifested by a collec-tive rally by not only US (5,000 lifers), but also by using From the Editors, Mrs. GE-6309 Time ......................... 2our resources in a collective effort. We need to considerthe following steps: Our Voices ...................................................................... 3 Think About It, Birthdays, Crossword Solutions ......... 4 Step One: Build a line of communication with the vari- Legislative Highlights .................................................... 5ous advocacy groups and organizations aimed at not onlyending LWOP, but the Prison Industrialized System as a Legal Chat ................................................................... 6-7whole. Mailroom...................................................................... 8-9 Bookcase ....................................................................... 10 Step Two: Don’t sit back and let the organizations doall the work, but assist them by reaching out to different Literary Corner ............................................................ 11churches, mosques, or other religious/ideological belief Pass the Word .............................................................. 12systems; and using new social media outlets to do so. Announcements ............................................................ 13 Step Three: Educate ourselves on the lack of effective- Graterfriends Order Form ........................................... 14ness long-term incarceration has on society as a whole, Crossword ..................................................................... 15e.g., by gathering statistics on the amount of money be- “The Last Word” by William DiMascio........................ 16ing taken away from education to be spent on correc- 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 ― July 2012 From Mrs. GE-6309 Time the Editors by Reesy Floyd-Thompson In this issue, Dana Lomax Williams has written anoth-er “sound off” letter about her experiences (page three). TEN WAYS TO DO TIMEYou will be happy to know that Dana was recently re- (FROM THE OUTSIDE)leased, but she still plans on fighting the good fight for by Reesy Floyd-Thompson, Mrs. GE-6309those of you still behind bars. Every day, our criminal justice system inducts new Jennifer Graber’s The Furnace of Affliction: Prisons partners into this lifestyle. Just as it was nine years ago,and Religion in Antebellum America is reviewed by Dan- resources on how to get through this are scarce. Howielle Collins on page 10. The book addresses how early does one maintain a relationship with someone incarcer-reformers from various religious backgrounds helped ated? If you are lucky, it’s a short sentence. If not, hereshape the corrections system before the Civil War. On are my ten ways for doing time from the outside.that same page you will see a list, sent to us by a prison-er in Missouri, of “sanity-saving” books that you may 1. Learn everything you can about yourwish to order. partner’s facility. You cannot advocate in ignorance. Know what all the rules are sup- Don’t miss the information about The Yale Law Jour- posed to be. Keep track of new laws and legis-nal’s first Prison Law Writing Contest. The rules and lation that might affect your partner’s sen-requirements are listed on page 13. This could be a great tence. Do your due diligence and research. Tapcontest for many of you who have taken an interest in into the best resource — the partners who’vethe law. gone before you. Let us know if you like the crossword puzzles we’ve 2. Take care of home — first! You cannot givebeen placing in Graterfriends each month. Don’t waste your partner everything and then figure outmoney sending us a separate note about it, but if you are how to maintain the home. Keep a roof overwriting us about something else, just let us know if you your head. No matter what happens to you,like them. We appreciate the feedback. your partner has a place to stay. Finally, Executive Director William DiMascio writes 3. Misery begets misery. If you decide to haveabout what it means to be a leader (page 16). Sometimes, a miserable life, you has to take chances when leading others — and beaccountable for decisions. (See Ten Ways, 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: and sign the declaration. Danielle Collins, Bridget Fifer, Francesca Schnalke If you have a question about Graterfriends, please contact FOUNDER: Joan Gauker 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 ― July 2012 staff included. Every crew works very hard to keep SCI Muncy running and looking good. We would be most grateful to have other educational opportunities and not Our Voices be discriminated against because of one’s sentence length. Freedom is always possible; it doesn’t matter if you have an indefinite sentence. The only thing consistent in this institution is the in- consistencies. By the way, how are we supposed to enjoy WHAT IS HAPPENING AT SCI MUNCY? the “new yard” when it seems like we are locked down most of the time? There is absolutely NOTHING serious by Dana Lomax Williams that goes on here except when an inmate passes away and the prison tries to cover it up. I am astounded at how frequently these commissaryprices go up, but the DOC pay rate hasn’t increased since When your officers are in training, can you tell them1986. Unbelievable! How are we supposed to purchase that just because we are in prison doesn’t mean that weour basic necessities with our mediocre pay! Are you kid- aren’t still women and human beings? The fact thatding us, DOC? I’m sure all inmates in the state of Penn- we’re locked up doesn’t give them the authority to treatsylvania would concur with me. What’s pathetic is that us any way they please and call us b______ or other de-the DOC expects us to work like government mules, be grading names. Ms. Giroux, the judge has already sen-disrespected, verbally abused, sexually violated, and not tenced us; abuse in many forms by your officers — malespeak up. Not so! and female alike — shouldn’t be tolerated. Ms. Giroux, whose ingenious idea was it to discontinue One sergeant is infamous for doing this over the inter-the incentive program in the kitchen? All we ever hear is com. How in the world can this sergeant still be permit-that there is never any funding for what’s really needed. ted to work at SCI Muncy when an inmate was sexuallyBut there’s money for a new yard that we didn’t ask for. assaulted and almost murdered while on his shift? I re-Oh, I forgot – WE paid for that. We would love having call several of us profusely pushing our buzzers to informthe hot water tank fixed so that we don’t have to travel him of what was happening. He came over the intercomfrom unit to unit with our belongings to take hot showers and not only joked about the incident, but told us if wefor an extended period of time. You’re a woman and it pushed our buzzers again we would be sent to the hole.amazes me that you don’t care. The inmate had to be flown out of SCI Muncy. We were once again locked down all day, while the state police Would you at least consider reinstating some type of came to investigate. This sergeant is totally unprofes-incentive program for the kitchen workers? After all, sional, rude, disrespectful — and we must trust him inthey do feed the entire population — officers, guests and an emergency? Lord, help us all! THE PRICE OF FREEDOM whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to by Darrell Ameen McKelvie, AF-5156, SCI Rockview their jurisdiction.” So what does that make us? The Fugi- tive Slave Law in 1850 made it difficult for those who It is said that history repeats itself, and now I can un- were free because if they were captured by the bountyderstand why. hunters and could not prove they were free, they were placed in bondage. Our ancestors in Africa were minding their businessand suddenly they found themselves captured, shackled, Today the law says “Innocent until proven guilty.” Thatand kidnapped from their homeland by foreigners, is rhetoric because as soon as you are stopped, shackled,placed on a ship and sailed away to a strange land. They and confined you are considered guilty, and if you cannotwere not only terrified, but devastated from this shock- prove your innocence, you will remain confined. Sounding experience, something far beyond their imagination. familiar? One summer evening I was also minding my business The judiciary system in America is filled with flawswalking down the street, and suddenly I was stopped, and has failed their concerned citizens for decades, andhandcuffed, and taken to the police station. I was this is one of the reasons America has the largest prisonshocked because I did not have a clue as to what was population in the world. If it was not for DNA, hundredsgoing on. After being questioned, I was charged with would still be languishing in prison. Unfortunately, mostmurder, and months later I was found guilty of first de- of us do not have DNA cases to prove our innocence.gree murder by a jury — not of my peers. Now I am serv- I am not only crying out about my injustice, I am cry-ing a life sentence on one of their modern-day planta- ing out for those who are no longer with us and did nottions, just like my ancestors centuries ago, being unjust- prove their innocence, and for those whose innocence wasly robbed of my liberty. proven after they were gone. I am also crying for those who are still fighting diligently to prove their innocence, The Thirteenth Amendment states, “Neither slavery norinvoluntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime (See Freedom, continued on page 14) 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 ― July 2012 Think DEATH ROW About It July Birthdays ALL TALK, NO ACTION David C. Copenhefer Landon D. May ON PAROLE FOR LIFERS AJ-3408, GRN FJ-4637, GRA by Lee A. Horton, CN-2067, SCI Mahanoy Anthony James Fiebiger Brentt Sherwood DW-5907, GRN GD-7549, GRN This missive is directed to the Pennsylvania lifer popula- Lewis Jordan Shonda Dee Waltertion. Where do we stand at this moment on parole for lif- JG-9949, GRN OJ-8227, MUNers? Over the past few years, there has been a lot of talkfrom lifers, but no real action from the masses. Most of us Christopher Kennedy John Waynewant parole, but there are only a few of us actively engaged FQ-9268, GRN CU-9870, GRAin making it happen. What happened to all the rest? Cam Ly Ronald Lee Weiss Recently, a few brothers (myself included), were en- AS-1690, GRN BS-9390, GRNgaged in an effort to build a vehicle that could carry lif-ers to the gates of parole. Suffice it to say, we stumbled;we had to take inventory and some time to reflect on our GRA = SCI Graterfordmethodology, but we did not fall and have since then PO Box 244have righted ourselves. Like all the efforts that came Graterford, PAbefore, our sincere effort was not in vain. Neither did 19426-0244our shortcomings toll the death knell for our quest. Trialand error has always been man’s most effective teacher, GRN = SCI Greeneand we have been schooled. So the struggle continues. 175 Progress Drive Waynesburg, PA Spread out across the Pennsylvania DOC are many 15370-8090dutiful servants of the cause of parole for lifers. Somehave been toiling in the field for 20, 30, even 40 years to MUN = SCI Muncyget a bill passed. There have been many close calls, but PO Box 180we came away with no prize. I would be remiss if I did Muncy, PA 17756-0180not give a shout out to Brother Omar Askia Ali, who istoiling at this very moment to grow support for a lifersbill. So, the question is, “Why haven’t we been able to If you do not want your name published, send a letter toget it done?” Graterfriends each year you do not want it to be included. It seems to me that the main problem is that the mass- Be sure to note your date of have not yet heeded the call. Many want to eat thefruit of parole, but few want to work in the orchard togrow public support. We constantly discuss what shouldor could be done to make parole a reality, but never takeany actions to do anything to get it done. Too many of us CROSSWORD SOLUTIONSare on the sidelines, waiting in the wings for someone Below are the solutions to crossword puzzles printed in thiselse to deliver the victory. Well, I have news for you: issue and the previous issue of Graterfriends.there will never be a victory without mass involvementfrom lifers, their families, and other supporters. For too June 2012 July 2012long, this has been the dagger in the heart of our strate-gy to obtain parole. If parole for lifers is ever to become areality, our attitude has got to change. We have got toget motivated. Right now, today, the wind of change in criminal jus-tice is at our backs. The criminal justice system is un-dergoing an unprecedented overhaul. Courts, laws, pris-ons, public opinion are all redirecting their focus towardreducing the size of the criminal justice system for the (see No Action, continued on page 14) 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 ― July 2012 Legislative Highlights Ann Schwartzman Policy Director, The Pennsylvania Prison SocietyThe PA General Assembly must complete the budget for the Governor by the end of June. As of June 14, the members areworking on it. Below are several criminal justice bills that may be of interest. BILL NO. DESCRIPTION CHIEF SPONSOR PPS POSITION PRINTER NO. Calls for the registration of transients who are convicted Rep. R. Marsico OpposeHB 75 sex offenders. (Passed House 2/9-11, 197-1; re- R-Dauphin CountyPN 3770 referred to Senate Appropriations 6/12/12.) Creates additional parole restrictions on repeat offend- Rep. T. DeLuca OpposeHB 645 ers of violent crime- must serve 85 percent of the maxi- D-Allegheny CountyPN 3663 mum sentence to be eligible for parole. (Passed House 6/6/12, 191-3; in Senate Judiciary.) Requires mandatory sentences for second and subse- Rep. T. Stephens Opposed toHB 2331 quent firearm offenses. (Passed House 5/23/12, 190-7; R-Montgomery Cty. mandatoryPN 3484 in Senate Judiciary.) sentences The Prison Reform and Justice Reinvestment Working Sen. S. Greenleaf GenerallySB 100 Group provides for numerous changes that the Prison R-Bucks and support, butPN 2272 Society is reviewing. Some of the provisions include: Montgomery counties reviewing recent  implementing risk assessment tools amendments  adding to the definition of crimes of violence  changes in eligibility for CIP, SIP and Boot Camps Oppose deletion as well as changes in RRRI of pre-release  intensive probation in counties  deleting pre-release option for prisoners  Safe Community Reentry Program to help reduce recidivism  changing CCCs and CCFs for new offenders so that technical parole violators and parolees in good standing will be diverted there as opposed to prison  clarifying official prison visitation  and much more. (Passed Senate 10-18-11 (50-0); Passed House 6/12/12 (198-0). In Senate Rules and Executive Nominations 6/13/12. Must have both chambers agree to all amend- ments for the bill to be finalized. ) 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 ― July 2012 heinous crimes. Heinous cases are typically murder and sex offenses. No judge wants to give someone a new trial Legal Chat and risk losing an election due to being “soft on crime.” Currently, the organization Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts is arguing for a merit-based system for appoint- ing judges. Meritorious Issues: Look for sound legal issues in WHY IS TAXPAYER MONEY USED WHEN your case that are easy winners (such as an illegal sen- STATE OFFICIALS ARE SUED? tence, defective jury instructions, and trial errors that are not considered harmless error). Remember, the law When prisoners file civil law suits under 42 U.S.C. sec- must fit the facts. Find a case that has the same legaltion 1983, they must sue state officials in their individual issue that you are raising and with a similar set of facts.capacities only. Prisoners are precluded from suing state This is called “On all fours.”officials in their official capacities because the EleventhAmendment to the U.S. Constitution precludes a state from David Lusickbeing sued. When you sue a guard in his/her official capaci- CQ-3760, SCI Albionty, you are, in a real sense, suing the state, as the guard isan agent of the state. So, the U.S. Constitution does notallow for taxpayer money to be used for this purpose. WHAT YOU MAY NOT HAVE KNOWN However, the taxpayer money is being used when the ABOUT SENATE BILL 1183 (ACT 111)state attorney general’s office represents a guard orwhen the office of the DOC’s staff attorneys represents a Under SB 1183 (now Act 111) sexual offenses shall beguard or prison official. When a prison official is sued in classified in a three-tiered system, within which the defi-an individual capacity, why is taxpayer money being nitions of these Title 18 offenses have been changed.used to pay for his legal defense? When the jury awards Under this tier system, the requirements for registra-damages, why is taxpayer money being used to pay the tion have changed as well. Thus if you thought that youdamages awarded? Does this not also violate the Elev- did not have to register before, you better think againenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, as well as the and make an attempt to go to your law library and findSupremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution? If a prison out what tier you are in. The tiers have been defined byofficial commits a crime in his individual capacity, he or criteria relating to the nature of their sex offense, not byshe must hire his or her own lawyer and pay out-of- the severity or risk of re-offense; nor does the systempocket expenses! So why is taxpayer money being used differentiate between violent and non-violent offenses.when both the Eleventh Amendment and Supremacy As for the Periodic In-Person Appearance Requirements,Clause forbids it? Does anyone have an answer? they are as follows: George Brooks-Bey 1. An individual convicted of a Tier I Sexual Offense AP-4884, SCI Frackville shall appear annually for a period of 15 years. 2. An individual convicted of a Tier II Sexual Of- fense shall appear semi-annually for a period of TIPS FOR YOUR CASE 25 years. Theory of your case: One of the hardest things for a 3. An individual convicted of a Tier III Sexual Of-pro-se filer to do is to stay focused on the theory of his or fense shall appear quarterly for the remainder ofher case. “The theory of your case” is the phrase or state- his or her life. (Previously, this type of require-ment that the court will instantly recognize as being thelynchpin, or centerpiece, of your case. In literature, thisis called the main theme. Recall O.J. Simpson’s theme. Johnny Cochran ham- When submitting a letter ormered home the following statement, “If the glove does column to Graterfriends fornot fit, you must acquit.” Find your theory and structureyour petition around that statement. Weave a story line publication, please remember toand apply the law to the facts of your case. attach a letter (or note on your Diligence: You should give some consideration to tak-ing a paralegal course or learning from reading other submission) that it is forcase briefs. Learn how other lawyers analyze case prece-dents. Learn the difference between controlling cases publication and that you are theand persuasive cases. Learn what it means to modify,extend, or make a new rule of law. original author; date and sign Politics: Beware, state and local court judges are the declaration. Thank you.elected officials and are averse to politically charged or 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 ― July 2012 ment was reserved only for sexually violent pred- On 4/16/12, I was issued a misconduct for “failing to ators, or SVPs). report to work.” I was given two weeks’ cell restriction. The unit manager didn’t want to hear the reason I could Under the Adam Walsh Child Protection & Safety Act, not go to work, even though it was a medical reason. Hethis form of registration has been made retroactive. The also wouldn’t pull me out of the kitchen.text of the act gives an example: “[a] Tier III sex offenderwho was released from imprisonment for such an offense Then, on 4/25/12, the psychologist FINALLY came toin 1930 will still have to register for the remainder of his the block to talk to me after numerous requests. To makeor her life. A Tier II sex offender convicted in 1980 is a long story short, I requested to see the psychiatrist duealready more than 25 years out from the time of release. to experiencing a very high level of anxiety, and the psy-A Tier I will have to register for 10-15 years. In such chologist would not let me in to see him. I also told hercases, a jurisdiction may credit the sex offender with the how much the kitchen job was worsening my condition.time elapsed from his or her release.” All she told me was, “I have nothing to do with employ- ment.” For the most part, the Adam Walsh Child Protection &Safety Act has been established primarily for federal Does this prison have the right to force someone who isprisoners. However, it does permit victims of state legally deemed permanently disabled and who collectscrimes to participate in related federal habeas corpus SSD to work in the prison? If not, what action can I takeproceedings, thus placing yet another road block in front to get out of the kitchen in order to avoid more miscon-of individuals who have been wrongfully convicted of ducts due to my medical problem?these offenses. This makes it even harder to either over- Also, when a mental health patient requests to see theturn their cases for a trial or to be released. psychiatrist, does the psychologist have the authority to The Adam Walsh Child Protection & Safety Act has deny that patient access to that doctor? If not, what ac-also established a post-conviction civil commitment tion can I take as far as that is concerned?scheme that authorizes the federal government to initi- One more question: Do prison officials have the right toate commitment proceedings with respect to any federal write up someone for not reporting to work because of aprisoner in custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons. medical condition? What can be done about that?Under this provision, even prisoners who have neverbeen previously charged with or convicted of a sex crime I have a record of the misconduct and sanction, all re-may be civilly committed after completing their entire quest slips I submitted (with the responses), and the griev-prison sentence. [See U.S. v. Comstock, 5513d 274 (4th ance I currently have pending against the psychologist.Cir. 2009).] Act 111 also addresses such actions pertain-ing to state prisoners. I would greatly appreciate any and all advice regarding these issues. Thank you. I have the utmost respect and sympathy for Mr. JohnWalsh, his family, and the actual victims of these night- Keith Connorsmarish crimes. However, as necessary as this law is for HB-7072, SCI Mahanoythose who have committed these types of crimes, thereare those of us who have been wrongfully convicted. Toadd to the already painful nightmare wrongful conviction CORRECTIONbrings, if their appeals fail, they are now looking at anew life sentence scarier than the one they already faced. In the January 2012 issue of Graterfriends, the article Please contact your families, your friends, and whatev- “Medical Alert: Understanding Prostate Cancer” waser state legislators and media outlets you can, and ask incomplete. The bottom paragraph should read:them to fight or lighten the weight of Act 111, or at leastfor those who have not been classified as SVPs or have Dr. Stephen Freedland of Duke Universitybeen wrongfully convicted. Medical Center writes, “Although our con- tention that prostate cancer grows more Jason Kollock rapidly and transforms earlier from latent HC-9934, SCI Houtzdale to aggressive disease in AA men requires validation, it is undisputed that AA men bear a greater prostate cancer burden… PERMANENTLY DISABLED, Continued efforts to vigorously screen for BUT FORCED TO WORK prostate cancer and understand underly- ing reasons for more aggressive disease in On the street, I receive treatment for mental health AA men are desperately needed.”disorders and, as a result, I was deemed permanentlydisabled and I collected Social Security Disability. We apologize for any confusion the last few missing words may have caused, and thank Frank Brown The problem is that SCI Mahanoy is forcing me to work (AY-6819, SCI Frackville) for noticing and informingin the kitchen, which worsens my condition. I informed us of the error.every official in that prison of that fact, via request slips,and they all claim that they can do nothing for me. 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 ― July 2012 for those sentenced with juvenile life without parole (JLWOP)! Mailroom Just to let the brothas know (Pittsburgh brothas in particular), Mr. Preston lost his primary election chal- lenge to (Pittsburgh City Democratic Party Committee Chairman) Ed Gainey on April 24, 2012. Mr. Gainey has no Republican challenger on the upcoming NovemberATTENTION PRISONERS: FREE NEWSLETTER election ballot, so he’s all but guaranteed to win and be sworn in as the 24th district representative. Mr. Gainey To get your free Under Lock & Key (UL&K) newsletter, send says his main concern is addressing the changesyour name, number and address to the following address: brought on by the new Voter ID Bill! If we want/expect Mr. Gainey to support legislation such as HB-1994, IUnder Lock & Key suggest we (particularly the brothas and sistas fromMIM (Prisons) Pittsburgh) contact him ASAP and do some networking!PO Box 40799San Francisco, CA 94140 Terrance Washington DN-3858, SCI Somerset UL&K prints issues that other newsletters do not. I evensent my grandsons copies of UL&K and Graterfriends. Editorial note: If you’d like to contact Mr. Gainey, hisUL&K is a must-have for jailhouse lawyers. office address is below. Thomas Barndt Ed Gainey CT-7510, SCI Graterford 6014 Penn Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15206 WE LOST ONE ANOTHER THOUSAND DOLLAR FIX TO A I learned today that we lost one. Our sister, Wanda HUNDRED DOLLAR PROBLEMMoore, who was released from here five years ago, passedaway March 31. Although it hurt to know that I’d never The Pennsylvania DOC has instituted a state-wideget to talk to her again, or read her sloppy handwriting meal ticket program to discourage the small percentagethat I teased her about, I was consoled by the fact that of us that eat twice. Meal trays on average cost about 40she died basically free, and that she had been granted cents each to prepare. The Department of Correctionsvaluable time with her family (children, grandchildren, must now have over 50,000 meal tickets printed weeklyand husband). God bless her in whatever is next for her! and have at least two more corrections officers assigned to each dining hall. The extra staff doesn’t just come in What pissed me off was that the DOC posts everything during meals; they work the full eight hours and withabout us, especially the negative, but they didn’t let us jails that have three dining halls. This is very costly.know we lost a sister…a comrade…a friend. Why? Herdeath, to US, was important, as was her compassionate All this money could be better spent providing pro-release and her living beyond what they expected. I bet grams to assist us and maybe, just maybe, putting athat pissed them off — a strong, black woman, who once little bit more food on the trays in the first place, there-made a grave decision that cost someone else’s life, defied by cutting the NEED to eat twice. This is, yet again,the odds that fueled their compassion. another reason I call into question the wisdom of Cen- tral Office Administration, wasting a dollar to save a Well, great for you Wanda, and great for every second dime. As in my case, personally, they are spending thou-you got to truly live outside these gates. God bless your sands of dollars litigating a matter with me opposed tohusband and all your children, grandchildren, and other spending less than eighty dollars to remedy the matter.loved ones. You became one of my heroes, and I (WE) will Like the headline states, “Another thousand dollar fix tomiss your beautiful smile. a hundred dollar problem.” I ask you all to clip this sto- Terri Harper ry out and mail it to the Governor of Pennsylvania. OB-7637, SCI Muncy Darren R. Gentilquore GX-1572, SCI AlbionHELP REGARDING VOTER ID LAW MAY COME FROM PITTSBURGH PRISONS: NOT JUST PUNISHMENT I read in the Legislative Highlights section of the May Prisons should not be just for punishment, but should2012 Graterfriends that Allegheny County State Repre- be a means of reintegrating offenders back into society.sentative Joseph Preston (D-East Liberty) introduced Without education, prisons are just black holes thatHouse Bill 1994, which would reduce sentences for cer- swallow up prisoners and hide them from the public. Totain individuals under the age of 18, and/or parole review be a real deterrent, prisons should be in the cities and 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 ― July 2012towns where the crimes were committed so that friends VISITS CANCELEDor relatives can learn from their mistakes. FOR STAFF APPRECIATION DAY James Detmer #525-717, 3505 Frederick Ave. Today was a sad day for those inmates who receive St. Joseph, MO 64506 visits on Wednesday, or any other weekday visit. All visits for Wednesday, May 9, were cancelled so that the inmate visiting room and play area for the visitors’ THE HARM AND THE BENEFIT children could be used for Staff Appreciation Day. It seems it’s easier for Taliban prisoners to get re- As far as I know, not one inmate nor family memberleased than it is for Pennsylvania lifers to get commuta- complained, nor made a complaint to any higher-upstion. On May 7, 2012, CNN aired a story revealing that about this blatant misuse of the inmate visiting room, andU.S. officials were reported to have “released up to 20 the unwarranted cancellation of all visits on this day.Taliban prisoners over a two-year period in an effort to In the 10 years I have been here at SCI Graterford, thepromote peace talks” with the Taliban. They felt that inmates have not lost visits to this event in the past. So,the benefit from their release would outweigh any harm. why now? Why should the inmates and family members Meanwhile, Pennsylvania prisons are overflowing with be subjected to no visits when this has nothing to do withprisoners, costing taxpayers more money that could be a lockdown, as per the DOC policy, in which a lockdownused for education and communities. But it doesn’t look or security breach would be the only reason for visits tolike Pennsylvania officials see the benefit of parole eligi- be canceled.bility or commutation for proven rehabilitated lifers. No disrespect to staff, but we were denied visits so that Unlike the “up to 20 Taliban prisoners” that were re- staff could have a BBQ, and that could have been takenleased just to “promote” peace talks, Pennsylvania lifers care of outside the walls of this institution as in the past,simply ask that the legislature and the Board of Pardons and another area could have been used instead of deny-and Parole take an honest look at deserving, rehabilitat- ing visitations just for Staff Appreciation Day.ed lifers’ behavior, work records, academic and vocation- So, what gives? This might aggravate some, but rightal records, and home plans, and grant them commuta- is right, and wrong is wrong regarding the cancellationtion (life on parole), with all of the monitoring and su- of visits just to have a party.pervision necessary. James R. Cruz The cries for parole for lifers are getting louder, and an CL-1798, SCI Graterfordestablished process like commutation can be an easy testto show how smart this would be. When you considerhow low recidivism is for paroled lifers, it’s hard to seehow any harm can outweigh the benefits. IN LOVING MEMORY OF JON YOUNT Marcus Lloyd I am saddened by the death of a very dear soul, Mr. DY-7903, SCI Coal Township Jon Yount. Jon was intelligent man; kind, inspiring and gentle. He, in my opinion, was certainly one of the many lifers who deserved a second chance at life outside the KUDOS walls. He will never get that opportunity now. After serving 46 years in these state prisons, Mr. Yount I just received my May issue of Graterfriends, and I decided to take his own life. I suppose he’d had enough oflike the articles that were published this month. I espe- this cruel system we call the Criminal Justice System.cially liked the way that Dante Overby (GZ-5437) took Was it because the Board of Pardons shot him down yetthe time to lay out the proper procedures for overcoming again? Or, perhaps he was simply tired of all the jailhousea hard battle that a lot of men here feared to have to madness. I guess we’ll never really know. This system isfight themselves. Trial and error is a monster that no supposed to provide opportunities for inmates to showone wants to confront head-on. It’s nice to know that we redemption so that they may earn their way to freedom,have individuals out there who are fighting hard, and becoming productive members of society, yet it does not.not just laying down their proverbial sword. And evengreater, that you’re sharing your triumph with us and Mr. Yount had written many articles over the years,sharing the map to help us navigate rough terrain. several in this very publication. Jon was always active in advocating in some way. If he wasn’t studying law for We need more articles of shared wins. It helps to see the betterment of the system, he was writing to legisla-candles still burning bright. Too many individuals give tors, or inspiring others to get involved in some way. Heup, before they even start the good fight. And that, in was always trying to make things better.and of itself, is disheartening. Keep up the good work,and the fight. Jon kept busy all the time. He was either using his incredible brain for something positive, or going to the Torrey Real EL-1916, SCI Frackville (See Mailroom, continued on page 11) 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 ― July 2012 in which inmates reflected on their wrongdoings and engaged in wholesome, character-building activities. Eddy’s efforts were met with resistance from inmates who Bookcase consistently rioted and attempted to escape, causing pub- lic officials to question the efficacy of Eddy’s religion- centered policies and remove the Quakers from the prison inspectors board. In contrast with “the prison as garden,” Eddy’s succes- sors had a less gentle conception of the role of prisons inTHE FURNACE OF AFFLICTION: PRISONS AND inmate reformation. Baptist minister Reverend John RELIGION IN ANTEBELLUM AMERICA Stanford envisioned the prison as a furnace in which BY JENNIFER GRABER “criminals necessarily experienced state-imposed physi- cal and psychological pain” in order to prepare them for Book Review by Danielle Collins, Editorial Assistant redemption. Stanford’s model was exported to prisons across the state, including Sing Sing (the successor to Newgate) and Auburn prison. In The Furnace of Affliction, Jennifer Graber exploresthe historical intersections between prison and Protes- In the ensuing years, explicitly religious dimensions oftantism in pre-Civil War America. Graber, an assistant prison life were slowly marginalized. Protestant reform-professor of religious studies at Wooster College, places ers’ theology of redemptive suffering was pushed aside formodern conceptions about prison and punishment in a “religiosity of citizenship,” in which ethical behaviorhistorical context and notes that debates about the pur- and obedience to secular authority were tantamount.pose of prison have been ongoing for nearly two centu- Secularization resulted in a system quite unlike eitherries. Policy and public discourse throughout the nation’s the garden or furnace Protestant reformers had envi-history have swung wildly between viewing prison as a sioned. Secular prison officials heaped more and moreway to punish people or as an experience to aid in their degradation and physical punishment upon prisoners,rehabilitation, or both. For much of the country’s history, and by the middle of the nineteenth century, prison con-religion was central to the debate on both sides. ditions were widely acknowledged to be hellish. At this point, Protestant reformers shifted from attempts to in- As Graber demonstrates, early Protestant reformers fluence the direction of prison life to critiquing harsh in-had many different notions about how prisons should stitutional conditions and practices. In their attempts tofunction — and even what their role should be — but all institutionalize religious beliefs and practices in the pris-agreed that the nation’s penal institutions should feature on system and in society at large, antebellum Protestanthumane living conditions and practices. They operated reformers actually laid the foundation for a system thatunder the religious notion that “criminals can andshould be redeemed,” and wanted to make sure that pris-ons worked toward this purpose. Operating out of these SANITY-SAVING BOOKSconvictions, Protestant reformers were central players inthe process of shaping early American prisons. by James Detmer (#525-717, 3505 Frederick Ave., St. Joseph, MO 64506) Benjamin Rush, a Philadelphia physician, signer of theDeclaration of Independence, and a founding member of I am a new subscriber with an indeterminate sentence ofthe Philadelphia Society for Alleviating the Miseries of which I have served 10 years and 74 days. I filed threethe Public Prisons (now the Pennsylvania Prison Socie- lawsuits and lost them all due to a lack of any law li-ty), was among those who called for more humane prac- brary. Three books, free to prisoners, have helped metices in criminal justice. Rush advocated for “strict but keep my sanity. I especially recommend them to lifershumane environments designed for reform,” involving and death row inmates.labor and solitary cells for the worst offenders. Workingalong side Rush at the PSAMPP were Pennsylvania What is Karma?Quakers who advocated for similar practices, along with Larson Publications Dept. ABible reading and silence. 4936 Route 414 Burdett, NY 14818 Quakers were also a visible presence in the develop- Kabbalah Revealedment of prisons in New York State. Newgate Prison in Laitman Kabbalah PublishersNew York City, the state’s oldest prison, was established 2009 85th St. #51as the result of efforts by Quaker merchant and philan- Brooklyn, NY 11214thropist Thomas Eddy. As Graber writes, “Eddy’s prisonideal combined these internal [Quaker] traditions of The Story of Edgar Caycechild-rearing and group discipline with the Quaker ex- A.R.E. Pressternal concern for other people.” These influences and 215 67th St.concerns led to his conception of the prison as a “garden” Virginia Beach, VA 23451-2061 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 ― July 2012 Mailroom continued from page 9 Literary gym or outside to go for a walk. He kept active in mind and body. Jon has been a blessing for Corner many, and has touched the lives of far too many to count. He will be missed, but not forgotten. I and many others respect Mr. Yount — not only for how he helped others and how he held his head high, but for having the courage to HOMESCHOOLED leave this system on his terms, not on anyone by Hoodchild, aka James L. Hairston, #07762-068 else’s. Federal Correction Complex, USPII, Coleman, FL Rest in peace, dear comrade. We honor and respect you.As I contemplate tomorrow while living through todayDreaming my dreams, escaping my nightmares, Brenda Emerick Then I wake up. Rices Landing, PAIt is no longer about my dreams but my reality,Knowing that my destiny relies upon my PhD. Pure, heartfelt determination. ANOTHER “CALM BEFOREExercising patience, perseverance and the willingness THE STORM”to get back up after each fall, while vowingto relinquish my strength no more. Racism and racial discrimination is a blight on Books are my deliverance. the glory of American democracy. It withers the Self taught entrepreneur. hopes, dreams, and ambitions of millions of peo-I’ll rely upon man no more, I’ll create my own life’s ple. Left unchecked, it poses the greatest inter-doors. nal threat to the nation’s peace and prosperity. I long for freedom, but love tastes sweeter to To remove it, we must first expose it. We can-my heart. not allow it to hide behind the calculators and How can one be free from the incarceration of pocket protectors of “rational discriminators,” ortheir own reality when destined to fail from the start; beneath the robes of judges and corrupt employ-Under “The New Jim Crow.” ees in the profession of law. In order to gain a Past hurts and pains are the restraining hands deeper insight into our unconscious habitualthat prevent our manhood from maturing; responses to stereotyped groups, we all must Education is the eye opening cure to a life answer the call of what Abraham Lincoln callednot fit for a whore. the “better angels of our nature.” Either we rise “So I’ll be ignorant no more.” together or sink; the choice is ours as a people.A great man said, “Let us not seek to satisfyour thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup May God bless the familyof bitterness and hatred.” Of those who lost loved ones So I’ll eat from the plate of Absolution, while To the bullet of no colorsitting at the table of salvation and thank my No name or memory.Host Allah (ta) for the insight. My tomorrows can only be what I make them, Shameek Adamsand my dreams are actually my realities guiding JE-0551, SCI Mahanoyme to success. Refusing to succumb to life stealing forces ofpessimism, I will not surrender the light thatguides me out of the abyss of self-destruction,and onto the path that can only lead to Firdous. “I will succeed!” Do you want to subscribe to Graterfriends? See the order form on page 14. 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 ― July 2012 Rights Division and it works to protect civil rights of peo- ple in state or local institutions, including: jails, prisons, Pssst… juvenile detention facilities, and health care facilities and rights of people to practice their religion in a state or Pass the Word local institution. The Special Litigation Section only handles cases that arise from widespread problems that affect groups of people. They do not assist with individual problems. SEXUALLY HARASSED? It should also be noted that Art. 1, Section 26 of the CONTACT U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE Pennsylvania Constitution, also known as the Common- wealth’s “Non-Discrimination Clause” is designed to pro-by George Rashaan Brooks-Bey, AP-4884, SCI Frackville tect commonwealth citizens from harassment or punish- ment for exercising their constitutional rights. [Fischer v. I read an article by Dana Lomax-Williams (“Sound Dept. of Public Welfare, 502 A. 2d 114 (1985); Bronson v.Off,” Graterfriends, April issue) with interest and con- Lechward, 624 A 2d 799 (PA Commonwealth 1993).]cern. The Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Sec-tion-PHB is investigating/litigating sexual abuse/ A Pennsylvania prisoner states a cause of action underharassment and prisoners with mental disabilities in Art. 1, Section 26 when she/he avers “(1) The conductPennsylvania’s RHUs being warehoused as a cruel form which led to the alleged retaliation was constitutionallyof punishment and control. protected, (2) that she/he suffered some adverse action at the hands of the prison officials and (3) there is a causal If a prisoner (especially a female) is being sexually link between the exercise of his/her constitutional rightsharassed or abused, he or she should not be hesitant and the adverse action taken against her/him.” [Luckettabout contacting Jonathan M. Smith, Chief Investigator v. Blaine, 850 A. 2d 811, 819 N.14 (PA CommonwealthU.S. Department of Justice Section—PHB 950 Pennsyl- 2004); Anderson v. Davila, 125 F. 3d 148, 191 (3d. Cir.vania Ave. N.W. Washington, D.C. 20530. Your letter 1997).] I am presently working with Chief Investigatorwill be reviewed to see if there is a potential violation of Jonathan M. Smith of the U.S. Department of Justice. Ifyour civil rights. The information you send may be ana- you are being sexually harassed or retaliated against forlyzed and your case will be selected or used as evidence filing a grievance, please write to Human Rights Coali-in the present investigation. Your letters will be thor- tion, Thomas Merton Center, 5/29 Penn Avenue, Pitts-oughly reviewed and if deemed necessary, you will be burgh, PA 15224. Your letter/complaint will be lodgedcontacted for additional information. and I and others will be notified. Keep “sounding off!” The Special Litigation Section is a part of the Civil You are being heard! NEMO EST SUPRA LEGES If Judge Berry was your sentencing judge, you may be able to use this information to file an appeal. It is very by Mike McLaughlin and Mindy Bogue important that, if you do so, you file in a timely manner. The above is Latin for “no one is above the law.” This Also note that you should, as well, file a complaint withis the way justice should, in theory, work. However, in the Pennsylvania Judicial Conduct Board in Harrisburg,Philadelphia there is a judge who has apparently been stating that it is highly improper for this judge to sit inabove the law for over a decade: Willis W. Berry, Jr., a judgment of others in criminal cases, when he is stillCourt of Common Pleas Judge. open to criminal prosecution. Judge Berry was using taxpayer money to pay his sec- Have your family write letters to both the Pennsylva-retary to help him run a real estate office out of his judi- nia Attorney General and the Judicial Conduct Board ofcial chambers — for 12 years. He was sanctioned by the Pennsylvania.Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Disci-pline in 2009 (see: Re: Berry, 979 A.2d 991 [2009]), re- Remember: Nemo Est Supra Leges!ceiving a four-month suspension, without pay. However, several people do not think the sanction Pennsylvania Office of Attorney Generalwent far enough. The Philadelphia Bar Association 16th Floor, Strawberry Squarecalled for his resignation after the court found his action Harrisburg, PA 17120“constitutes conduct which brings the office into disre-pute,” violating the Commonwealth’s Constitution. In Judicial Conduct Boardaddition, State Representative Steve Barrar introduced Pennsylvania Judicial Centera resolution in the House Judiciary Committee that 601 Commonwealth Ave, Suite 3500Judge Berry be impeached. The resolution still sits in P.O. Box 62525committee, and Judge Berry still sits on the bench. Harrisburg, PA 17120-0901 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 ― July 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 ― July 2012Ten Ways continued from page 2 Freedom continued from page 3 4. Do not whine about what you cannot control (or whose cries fall on deaf ears. at all). Accept. Adapt. Activate a new attitude. A wise man said, “Injustice is a threat to justice every- where, and justice too long delayed is justice denied.” 5. Do not compare your relationship to oth- You could never imagine the thoughts or feelings of an ers. Everyone does time differently. individual who has been unjustly kidnapped, convicted, and confined. 6. Go with the flow. Rules change frequently, with and without notice, with and without After 38 years of being innocent and wrongfully con- justification. victed, I thank the Creator for blessing me to still have my health and sanity. Although I am sick and tired of 7. When visiting, stay focused. Do not spend being sick and tired, my faith is what keeps me strong time explaining, complaining, and arguing Adversities in life only test who we are. with corrections officers while precious visit minutes tick away. Visit time is more im- What a price we have to pay for freedom. portant than proving a point. Settle it after the fact, if you can. No Action continued from page 4 8. Do not lock yourself away. Its natural to first time in over 30 years. This is happening all over the want to isolate yourself. Its okay to wallow. country, and Pennsylvania is no different. A window — Wallow with a get-up-off-your-butt action plan. our window — of opportunity is open, but it won’t be Staying home, declining invitations and turn- open forever. When it closes, it may not open again for ing people away will not make you feel better; another 20 or 30 years. it makes time linger. One prisoner in the fami- ly is enough. So I ask again, “Where do we stand on parole for lif- ers?” Talk is cheap, but actions are priceless. We cannot 9. Do not let friends and/or family talk you use the lack of a politician to champion our cause as an out of your confidence. Live your life, not excuse not to act. Obtaining parole falls to our own ef- the one they have planned for you. forts and politicians are just public servants — tools of the people — who carry out the public’s wishes. It is up 10. Redefine normal. Normal is what is routine to us to assert the appropriate public pressure through to you. our family members and other supporters to move them to assist us in reaching our goals.Reesy Floyd-Thompson is the founder of Prisoners’ Wives,Girlfriends, & Partners (PWGP). For more information We have to find a way to centralize our effort throughabout this group, please write Reesy at: our supporters. We must turn them into dedicated lobby- ists and spokesmen. We have to develop an effectivePWGP marketing and advertising strategy. We need fresh ide-P. O. Box 14241 as. We. We. We. It is time lifers stop talking and takeNorfolk, VA 23518 action. I invite a response from any lifer.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.