Ind. scrambles to address ruling on mentally ill inmates

This article comes from USAToday, Jan. 2nd 2013, written by: Tim Evans:

INDIANAPOLIS — Weeks after a doctor at an Indiana prison determined a suicidal prisoner was experiencing “severe difficulty coping with segregation,” the Indiana Department of Corrections placed the inmate back in a segregation unit.
Isolated for 23 hours a day in a cell not much larger than a closet at New Castle Correctional Facility, the inmate’s mental state continued to deteriorate.
Two weeks later, he was dead — one of at least 11 mentally ill inmates who committed suicide while in IDOC segregation units from 2007 through July 2011.
Now state officials and advocates are scrambling for solutions in the wake of a federal court ruling that found Indiana’s treatment of mentally ill prisoners in segregation units violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment.
The decision was issued Monday by Judge Tanya Walton Pratt in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana in a suit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana on behalf of Indiana Protection and Advocacy Services Commission and a group of inmates.
Pratt found “mentally ill prisoners within the IDOC segregation units are not receiving adequate mental health care in terms of scope, intensity, and duration.”
The judge also noted IDOC was aware of concerns about its treatment of mentally ill prisoners and “has been deliberately indifferent.”
Ken Falk, the ACLU of Indiana’s legal director, hailed the ruling as a win not only for mentally ill inmates, but for all Indiana residents.

Jury issue brings new trial in slaying

This is from the Las Vegas Review-Journal dated Dec. 28th 2012, in which is shown that it can help if the defense questions the dismissal of jurors in a case. 

By Francis McCabe:

The Nevada Supreme Court has granted a new trial for Jermaine Brass, one of two brothers convicted of killing their brother-in-law in 2009.

In a decision handed down Thursday, the state’s high court ruled District Court Judge Doug Smith made an error by excusing a juror, whose dismissal from the jury pool was questioned by defense lawyers because she was black.

Juror No. 173 was dismissed by prosecutors using a peremptory challenge, meaning they didn’t have to give a reason for the dismissal. The law, however, allows for a hearing if defense lawyers believe race was the cause of the dismissal. The defense lawyers asked for a hearing because juror No. 173 was the second black juror to be dismissed by prosecutors with a peremptory challenge.

Smith sent the juror home and then held the hearing, during which prosecutors said they dismissed her because she had “Democratic views on law enforcement,” court documents show. Smith found that peremptory challenge valid.

The Supreme Court held that “dismissing this prospective juror prior to holding the (hearing) had the same effect as a racially discriminatory peremptory challenge because even if the defendants were able to prove purposeful discrimination, they would be left with limited recourse.”

All Smith had to do was delay excusing the juror until the hearing was held, according to the nine-page ruling written by Justice Michael Douglas.

Read the rest here.

Within week, 2 die at Hays State Prison in Trion, Ga.

From: Chattanooga Times Free Press, Dec 28th 2012

Dec 28, 2012 (Menafn – Chattanooga Times Free Press – McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) –The death of an inmate on Christmas night at Hays State Prison in Trion, Ga., was the second in a week.

State investigators say they don’t believe the deaths are related, though both died in the same cellblock at the maximum security prison.

“They weren’t tied any way together,” Georgia Bureau of Investigations Agent James Harris said. “That was the first thing on our minds.”

Damien McClain, 27, who was serving time on two armed robbery convictions, was killed in a prison cell late Christmas night after getting in a fight with another inmate, Harris said.

On Thursday, GBI agents arrested inmate Daniel Ferguson and charged him with murder in McClain’s death. Ferguson, who already is serving a life sentence for murder, was taken to the Chattooga County Jail to be booked and then likely will be returned to Hays to await a transfer, officials said.

GBI agents were at the prison Thursday investigating McClain’s death and that of 25-year-old Derrick Stubbs, who was found dead Dec. 19.

While Georgia Department of Corrections officials have been mum on Stubbs’ death, his mother, Shawn Singleton, said she was told her son was being held in protective custody after a fight when he was found dead. Stubbs had been at Hays for more than a year on two counts of armed robbery.

Singleton, who is burying her son today in Chicago, is searching for more answers to what happened, but she said corrections officials won’t return her calls.

Read the rest here: http://www.menafn.com/menafn/561d65d1-0c54-4990-a6be-e1d71789dd22/Within-week-2-die-at-Hays-State-Prison-Trion-Ga?src=main

Last inmates leave Tamms ‘supermax’ prison

One of the more contentious episodes in the history of Illinois penitentiaries ended Friday as the last inmates held at the “supermax” prison in Tamms moved out and Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration prepares to shut it down.

The final five inmates at the high-security home for the “worst of the worst” were shipped to the Pontiac Correctional Center, a prison spokeswoman said. Among the last to leave was a convict who helped lead a prison riot in 1979 and stabbed serial killer John Wayne Gacy while on death row.

Also bused out of the southern Illinois city were four dozen residents of the adjoining minimum-security work camp, packed off to Sheridan Correctional Center in north-central Illinois.

The departures mark the end of a nearly 15-year experiment with the super maximum-security prison, which supporters say the state still needs for troublemaking convicts — particularly during a time of record inmate population. But opponents contend the prison’s practice of near-total isolation was inhumane and contributed to some inmates’ deteriorating mental health.

More than 130 inmates were moved out of the prison in just nine days, after the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that legal action by a state workers’ union could no longer hold up the governor’s closure plans. The state has offered to sell the $70 million facility the federal government, but there are no solid plans for the future of the prison, often simply called Tamms.

“It’s sad for our area, but we’re never going to give up,” said Rep. Brandon Phelps, a Democrat from Harrisburg whose district includes Tamms. “We still have an overcrowding problem. That’s the deal with this. The governor has made it worse. Eventually, some of these facilities are going to have to reopen.”

But activists opposed to the prison’s isolation practices cheered Friday’s landmark moment. One organizer, Laurie Jo Reynolds, called the course to closure “a democratic process” that involved not high-priced lobbyists or powerful strategists but, “the people — truly, the people.”

Shuttering Tamms is part of Quinn’s plan to save money. The Democrat said housing an inmate at the prison cost three times what it does at general-population prisons. He has also closed three halfway houses for inmates nearing sentence completion, relocating their 159 inmates, and plans to shutter the women’s prison in Dwight. 

Read the rest here: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-last-inmates-leave-tamms-supermax-prison-20121228,0,1550702.story

Political prisoner Khalfani Malik Khaldun puts the Indiana prison system on trial

December 29, 2012

Since Dec. 13, 1994, Indiana political prisoner Khalfani Malik Khaldun (aka Leonard McQuay) has been held in control units, i.e. administrative segregation or isolation. It began when police and prison investigators manufactured a murder charge against him after a guard was stabbed and killed. Brother Khalfani is a Muslim and New Afrikan revolutionary educator who professes a strong sense of radical politics and culture.

Interview by the Campaign to Free Khalfani Malik Khaldun
Khalfani Malik Khaldun 042711
Campaign: How long have you been in Indiana’s prison plantation?
Khalfani Malik Khaldun: I entered the Indiana Department of Corrections in 1987, when I was a senior in high school.

Campaign: How old are you?
KMK: I was born Nov. 30, 1969. That makes me 43 years old.

Campaign: Explain to us what your life is like on the inside?
KMK: The best way to describe it is I am in prison sanctioned to indefinite solitary confinement engaged in multiple fights. One fight to regain my freedom, one fight to maintain my physical health, one fight to be released into the general population, and the last fight is to maintain my sanity – an all-day job.

Campaign: How has your activism made you a target for harassment or repression?
KMK: Being identified as a prison leader, political agitator, activist or revolutionary, we get automatically singled out as threats to others and threats to the safety and security of the prison plantations. Having been restricted from general population for so long, my influence has been reduced to small units. The idea behind all this is to destroy our ties and relationships with comrades and new youth coming in.

Campaign: Share your position on the political nature of your murder charge involving that prison guard, Phillip Curry.
KMK: On Dec. 13, 1994, the night this guard was killed at the Indiana State Prison, he was killed on the tier above where I lived. D-cell-house was where the prisoncrats housed the worst of the worst – their term, not mine. I was at that time agitating, educating and organizing the radical elements who would listen.
So when this happened, having been a thorn in the prisoncrats’ side already, they made me the responsible party that night; they were mad and wanted someone to pay. In 2001, they made me pay by finding me guilty and giving me a fresh 60-year hit.

One of the jurors who found me guilty, Juror No. 12, came forward after my trial; she regretted her actions and went to the judge. Instead of calling for a new trial and reversal of the charge, the judge told her to go home; the judge has since retired. They manufactured evidence to obtain their conviction against me.
I am in prison sanctioned to indefinite solitary confinement engaged in multiple fights. One fight to regain my freedom, one fight to maintain my physical health, one fight to be released into the general population, and the last fight is to maintain my sanity – an all-day job.

Campaign: Explain the corruption that exists inside Indiana’s criminal justice system.
KMK: Like any system of corrupt politicians and abuses of power, whoever can afford to pay a greedy lawyer to represent them here may stay out of prison. These lawyers have judges and prosecutors who will give one a pass as long as they receive a nice payoff.

Poor people get sent to prison to fulfill the schemes of the prisoncrats and political regime here; more bodies mean more money. As they say, power corrupts, but absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Indiana legislators have slashed prison funding for educating prisoners and providing meaningful rehabilitative programs, so that money would be solely for building new prisons. So they are perpetuating a system that leads to more recidivism. Not having a viable re-entry program for prisoners prior to their release ensures a return to prison: capitalism at its best and the human exploitation of prisoners.

Campaign: Why are they continuing to house you in solitary confinement after nearly two decades?
KMK: The executive body of the Indiana Department of Corrections launched its political war against me in 1994, the night they lost one of their own. Being the only person accused, then later charged and convicted for this murder, to them Khalfani Malik Khaldun is Indiana’s public enemy number one; so they have condemned me to a prison existence in solitary confinement.

This goes beyond my sentence of 60 years. The courts did not say serve out this term in administrative segregation. The Indiana Department of Corrections wants payback, so in retaliation they want me suffering to the point of psychological incapacitation. They want me an old grey-hair grey-beard and no longer imposing a potential threat.

I am currently “conduct clear” for eight years, and I have completed the following programs: Substance Abuse; Stress Management; Anger Management; Commitment to Change; Prison-Life Skills; Parenting; Cage Your Rage; Rage, Recidivism and Recovery; Prison-Life Skills No. 2; Houses of Healing; Bridging the Gap; and Inside-Outside Dads.

I have been eligible for release to general population for years now. Their justification for not releasing me is they say I killed their officer, and nobody is comfortable with signing off on my release from solitary confinement.

Campaign: Why is it so important to build a networking support base on the outside of prison?
KMK: For the revolutionary, political prisoner, jailhouse lawyer, prison activist, outside resources and support is crucial. The prisoncrats isolate us to control our movements and neutralize our influence on other convicts.

Having a network of loyal people who have your best interests in mind helps to keep the public informed. These supporters can be family members, friends or anyone doing prisoner support work. They can help us expose whatever ill treatment we go through. When the prisoncrats know you have people who genuinely love and care about you, they’re less likely to openly mess you around.

Campaign: Explain how the Indiana Department of Corrections utilizes control units and why?
KMK: In the early 1980s, Indiana experienced several prison riots as a result of racism and brutality by guards on militant aspiring revolutionaries and lumpen proletariat prisoners, forcing prisoners to take a stand to defend themselves. Indiana prisoncrats learned some lessons from these insurrections – and one lesson was that there was a threat to the Indiana Department of Corrections posed by politically-unified convicts.

Indiana prisoncrats lobbied for funds to build two solitary confinement units here in response to the rebellion of militancy from convicts willing to sacrifice for change. 

In 1991, the Indiana Supermax was built, a control unit meant to be a tool of social control of the state’s most violent prisoners.

In 1993, the prisoncrats built the Secured Housing Unit (SHU), a unit styled after the SHU at Pelican Bay State Prison.

Both units were meant to cut the prisoners off from normal prison relations, while helping to keep the prisoners in the general population sort of in check. No one wants to spend unlimited years in Administrative Segregation, or solitary confinement.

The fear of being held in these units creates snitches who will tell prisoncrats whatever to stay in population. You may read about these units by going to the Human Rights Watch report, “Cold Storage: Super-Maximum Security Confinement inIndiana.” Amnesty International just released a 68-page report called “The Edgeof Endurance,” exposing solitary confinement in California.

Campaign: How important is it to stay in touch with your loved ones?
KMK: Doing time is like having cannibals eat away at your flesh day by day. Family love and their help to assist us in maintaining are paramount. I am a conscious, self-educated New Afrikan (Black) man who loves myself and those who love me. That connection helps to keep me determined, motivated and hopeful in times of sadness and loss of loved ones.

Since 1997, I have lost my mother, two brothers, an uncle and two cousins. I am fighting for my life, unable to cry, mourn or be a comfort to my family. Since 1994, my loved ones have been harassed, intimidated, threatened and discouraged by prisoncrats to not visit or write me at times. I have not had a contact visit since 2000. We continue to persevere through it all – because it is necessary.

Campaign: How do you work to maintain your health both mentally and physically?
KMK: For years I have maintained a consistent physical exercise routine and a healthy study habit of reading quality books and magazines. I don’t eat pork, and that’s been since 1987. I stopped eating red meat for 15 years; I recently started back eating it. Exercise and study has kept me active and healthy for many years.
One realistic fact that I want to share is no one leaves these experiences the same as they were when they came in. I am scarred by anxiety, depression, paranoia and hypertension as a result of being in long term isolation so many years.

I have made a conscious effort to humble myself and be less reactionary in emotional situations. This way these prisoncrats won’t have any ammunition to use to justify keeping me in solitary confinement. As long as I am living, I’m going to keep on fighting.

Campaign: How long did they keep you on the SCU – Special Confinement Unit?
KMK: Prisoncrats sent me to the SCU unit way in January 2003, and I spent 10 years in that windowless torture chamber. For the most part, that is one of Indiana’s most racist prisons, and the staff are 98 percent all-white with this philosophy of Southern racism.

That was the worst 10 years of my 26 years in prison. Altogether now I have 18 years straight in units of solitary confinement. They have tried to break my will to be defiant and destroy my mental faculties. Allah has guided me out of each storm. Allah-u-Akbar.

Campaign: What do you think prompted the prisoncrats to finally transfer you out on April 18, 2012?
KMK: A variety of reasons, but one in particular is my constant pursuits in civil court. On April 4, 2012, I filed with the court a motion for an immediate permanent injunctive relief judgment and a memorandum of law requesting the court to order the Indiana Department of Corrections to release me to general population. These prisoncrats moved me 14 days later to Pendleton Correctional Facility.

This in my opinion was done to get me out of their custody so I wouldn’t be a problem any longer. I had been challenging my department-wide solitary confinement status for years. The classification supervisor and superintendent also refused to release me in 2010, when I had completed a program serving as re-entry back to population. That ACT Program is an incentive for release. They released my entire class but not me.
Photo: Indiana’s Pendleton Correctional Facility was built in 1923.

Campaign: What are the conditions like at Pendleton Correctional Facility?
KMK: The transfer on April 18, 2012, out of the SCU to Pendleton did not land me in general population. Right now the general population is run like a concentration camp with fences and cameras everywhere; the whole prison is “controlled movement.”

The prisoncrats placed me on DWAS, Department-Wide Administrative Segregation. Inside G-cell-house, where all the potential threats and alleged troublemakers are housed, D-block is where all disciplinary segregation prisoners are housed. Also, C-block, where I am held, houses prisoners on Facility Administrative Segregation and prisoners on DWAS, Department-Wide Administrative Segregation, the status I am on.

DWAS are all single-man cells, with recreation one hour a day and 23 hours locked in a cell. We get recreation on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sundays, showering only on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays. The only interaction we get is during recreation outside when we’re in the dog-run individual cages.

Campaign: Since your arrival at Pendleton, have any officials discussed with you your possible release from that status?
KMK: The prisoncrats are seriously playing games. Superintendent Keith Butts, who recently retired, sent me a letter claiming he would set up a plan to consider my release from DWAS status, but it was all a smokescreen to get me to ease up on my demands to be treated like the rest of these prisoners who are being released. They are picking and choosing and playing prison politics with our lives.

The current regime in the commissioner’s office at the Indiana Department of Corrections are not willing to give me a chance to prove them wrong. That is, if they released me and I transitioned without incident, they will not be able to say “That’s the bad guy” no more. There is no legitimate justification for my still being held captive in these units.

Campaign: How can people outside that are interested in helping you join the campaign to help free you? How can you benefit from their support?
KMK: Having been in prison since 1987, I have had the misfortune to lose family, friends; and my ties to relationships I’ve had with my female companions I have had to rebuild, which hasn’t been easy, then establish an extended family.

Right now, I need someone who is computer-savvy who can network with organizations to encourage them to take on my case. I need a website on Facebook that solely covers my entire case, and we need a law firm that assists political prisoners that is activist-conscious. We also need someone qualified and good with fundraising.

My success with Indiana lawyers haven’t been great. They seem to be afraid to go up against the Indiana Department of Corrections and the lawyers from the Indiana Attorney General’s Office. We must find a lawyer out of state who can practice in the state of Indiana.

Those wanting to join this campaign to assist me in my freedom, please write me directly and we’ll go from there; honestly, we need all the willing working bodies we can get on this campaign.

Right now, I need someone who is computer-savvy who can network with organizations to encourage them to take on my case. I need a website on Facebook that solely covers my entire case, and we need a law firm that assists political prisoners that is activist-conscious. We also need someone qualified and good with fundraising.

Campaign: How is your civil and criminal fight coming along in the politics of the Indiana Court System?
KMK: On Jan. 11, 2013, I have a hearing on my civil law suit challenging my continued confinement by the Indiana Department of Corrections. I filed several motions pro se that will be covering primarily my request for the court to order my release to general population.

My criminal murder case is currently at a standstill, and my initial post-conviction appeal was denied, because the Public Defender’s Office gave me an attorney who felt I was guilty and I should do my time. He messed my case up.

I am preparing a successive post-conviction relief petition. My rights are being violated civilly and criminally, and I will never relent nor lose my self-determination to fight.

Campaign: Any final words you want to share with the public and the revolutionary community?
KMK: I can honestly say that Indiana as far as prisoners abandoning their criminal mentalities and transforming to political consciousness goes, our “think tanks,” we’re very aggressive in producing politically-active prisoners, but we seem to have lost our momentum somewhere.

Prisoners are still studying and having individual dialogues, and I think prisoners, in an attempt to avoid being captured and held for 10-20 years in solitary confinement, are becoming less vocal and active. My having been held for the past 18 years is their prime example of where they don’t want to be.

To me, life is not easy, never has been, and to struggle means to reject being the victim. One who struggles is a rejuvenated fighter life-long. We are organized, prepared and multi-talented. To struggle is to understand complexity and to pick one’s own battles. There cannot be fruitful progress without a real struggle. I am not broken by my adversity, but I am experiencing psychological fatigue. A luta continua.

Send our brother some love and light: Khalfani Malik Khaldun (Leonard McQuay), 874304, Pendleton Correctional Facility, GCH 17/2C, 4490 W. Reformatory Road, Pendleton, IN 46064.

Las Vegas Sun: Prison News in a few words, circumventing the Real Issues

On Dec. 17th 2012 this article was published by the Las Vegas Sun about a study researching the question if there are not enough guards in Nevada’s prisons:

http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2012/dec/17/too-few-prison-guards-nevada-study-find-out/

This article is a mish-mash of news about Nevada’s prisons with just a few words, and without much research, which omits Real Issues.

For instance, towards the end of the LV Sun article, this sentence can be read:

On another subject, state Health Officer Stacy Green told the board that all the medical violations in the prison system have been corrected. The prisons are in “complete compliance” with the medical standards, she said.

Which medical standards? Those of the UN? Is this a response to the ACLU of Nevada’s Report of 2011?How can this be? Nevada Cure has expressed to its members that they still receive complaints by prisoners of the lack of medical care on a daily basis. See for instance documents 28, 29, 30 and 30a here. And documents 55, 57-58, 59-59A here. And document 60, 61 here. These are documents belonging to Nevada Cure’s ongoing project documenting abuses inside the Nevada Department of Corrections’ prisons.

Does this mean that the culture institutionalized inside Nevada’s prisons of disrespect and cruelty towards incarcerated people, of some dominant, authoritarian, unreasonable tyrant-wardens and unprofessional, revenge/retaliation-seeking staff is now over? It is simply not true!

Why are Real Issues like Solitary Confinement (two prisons are nearly completely on permanent lockdown (meaning being celled up 23/7) with no change in sight: HDSP and Ely State Prison, and other prisons like NNCC may follow), staff-to-prisoner assaults, unhealthy food, lack of programs, lack of care for mentally ill prisoners, to name but a few ills inside the prison system, not mentioned in more detail and more regularly? Why are prison deaths never investigated by journalists?

More money MUST be invested if we want to keep incarcerating people for such long times as Life Without Parole, or sentences of 20+ years. Why? Because people voted to have representatives who WANT this! The public PAYS TAX to have these long sentences inflicted on people who go to prison, whether they are guilty or not. And prisoners are still human beings! Therefore we have to review how they are being treated.

You do not have to like prisoners to treat them humanely just like any other person in a state-run or privately run institution. Because most people in prisons will one day return, and will not be reformed, if we go on like this. And crime is not being solved by building or expanding prisons.

We need a system based on prevention and reform, not revenge.

Nevada Jurisprudence and Prison Report Vol 2, No. 5 (Summer 2012), published Dec. 2012

Nevada Jurisprudence and Prison Report

Vol. 2, No 5      “Veritas in Caritatis”            
Summer Issue 2012

THEME: “Audi alterum partem”
Listen to the other side!

“Voice of the Nevada Jurisprudence and Prison Report”
E-mail:  nvjprudence@gmail.com  
http://nvjprudence.wordpress.com

Statement of Purpose:

The NJPR Newsletter reports on current prison conditions, good and bad; more importantly it looks at and evaluates the legal processes and the substantive laws which are designed to keep men in prison: Pre-trial issues, probation and parole policy, sentencing structures, post-conviction law, and most important, the philosophy underlying policy in practice.

The purpose of the NJPR Website is to provide a repository of affidavits, declarations and grievances in Web-Dossiers organized by categories of intuitional behavior. Fundamentally, this is a whistleblowing organization trying to associate with other “transparency” projects at an intrastate, national and global level. We seek to identify patterns which can be utilized by the U.S. Department of Justice.

We invite any resident, and especially judicial officers of the Courts and government Administration to write letters to the NJPR.

Index to this Issue:

Section One: Conditions

1. Civil Actions Against NNCC Law Library Closures
2. Parole News: AB 85 Committee Report, Aug. 20 2012
3. Compassionate Release DOES Exist?
4. Cop Beaten by Inmate

Section TWO: Law, Equity and Policy

1.     Ex-Con Travel Passport Policy
2.     Quis custodiet ipsos custodies? Administrative Law Loopholes

Section Three: Art, Culture, Education and Religion

1.    “Christian” Hater Habits and Correspondence Policy
2.    Inmate Intellectual Activities at Rock Bottom
3.    Call for Fast Against Injustice
4.    Thoughts on Henry David Thoreau

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Section One: Conditions

1)   Civil Actions Against NNCC Law Library Closures

The prisoners at NNCC have voiced their grievance at both the Federal District Court and the local district state court. The Federal petition was kicked to the curb  apparently. The local action taken was a writ of mandamus/alternative. The court tried to chill the inmate litigants by illegally demanding a federal level of proof of indigency.

The closure of the law library is conjectured to be a long-range plan to lock-down the last remaining medium custody yard in the Nevada system. At this writing, the plan is to create a level system here, which is usually reserved for high security situations. The administrator has just informed the Prison Industry workers they will be moved from cell-designed unit four, to a barn designed unit 10. The battle against state sovereignty begin.

2)   Parole News: AB 85 Committee Report, Aug. 20 2012

The Nevada legislature created in 1999 an Advisory Committee to study the draconian sex laws and the registration requirements. NJPR wrote to the Legislative Counsel and received the minutes of its second report. The committee is monopolized by the “criminal justice community” members and under the dominium of the Executive branch Attorney General.

The meeting minutes express with great satisfaction that their laws now conform to the Federal SORNA, which threaten individual states with a 10% loss in Federal Justice Assistance Grants. The Parole and Probation Department come into the prison to break the “happy” news about the decrease of liberties for released inmates condemned for sex crimes, leaving behind public information pamphlets on the subject. The Legislative Counsel refused to send additional documents (exhibits) of the AB 85 Committee, instructing us to contact the boss of the Committee, the Attorney General. Separation of powers issue seem to be implied.

3)   Prisoner Let Go on Compassionate Release!!

Some months back, NJPR reported on the lack of statutory authority for releasing men to families to die. Our old friend Doug died stuck on the yard we reported; but recently another very ill man was actually let go! Which is great, but what is the procedure? Is it a new procedure? Is it covered by an Administrative regulation, or by legislative statute? Or does it come under the common law of executive clemency of the executive branch chief, the Governor of the State of Nevada?
              To be continued…

4)   Cop Taken on in Fisticuffs After Taunting Inmate Complaining of Broken Property

The custody managers of the prison decided to do a deep search of a barn-like housing units at NNCC, and the staff well instructed by their supervisor to be zealous. The result was the destruction of the property (some say it was a trivial Styrofoam dinner tray) of an inmate, who went up to the unit officer in a rage, yelling about his loss.

The officer did not respond with an apology about the breakage and the inconvenience. The officer responded with aggression and a throat of immediate arrest and placement in the “hole”. The inmate apparently took the Cop’s aggressive comments to be an invitation to have a boxing match, and commenced to pummel the officer to the ground. Why taunt? Is it smart? Is it respectful? Is it prudent? Is it in accordance to the Code of Professional Conduct?

Section Two: Law, Equity and Policy

1)   Felons and Ex-Felons, and Foreign Travel

We still receive lots of inquiries about the truth of U.S. Passport policy. This is taken verbatim from a letter from San Francisco Passport Agency:

“Indeed, the information you received is correct… Felons and ex-felons are allowed to apply for and receive passports; but please note there are exceptions to this rule. In certain circumstances, felons and ex-felons are given a “namecheck hold” status (depending on the specific circumstances) by law enforcement and when we receive a namecheck hold we are required to have these applications approved by our legal department  in Washington D.C. If legal approves these, we issue the passports. If legal does not approve these, we do not issue the passport and send the applicant a letter and advise them that their passport could not be issued at this time. Please note that in these circumstances, no refunds are given.”

2)   Quis custodiet ipsos custodies? Administrative Blind spots

There used to be, among the American people, a healthy distrust of the individual states. The people were wary of the state’s disrespect and disregard for constitutional rights of the United States, and would look to the federal government for the vindication of those rights. But the states have been able to utilize the coercive power of mass media to create a unanimous identity between the American individual person and the nation-state. This identity between the “people” and its government is the hallmark of the “totalness” of a totalitarian nation-state. But this merging of identity is an extremely new phenomena, and infects both camps of the struggle between “federalists” and “state’s rightists”. The first identifies with the federal government, the second is loyal only to the local despot over the federal agent. The tension of this social conflict is perceptible in the Supreme Court of the United States, especially in the Marshall-Brennan era.

For a good illustration of the attitude creep over time, let’s look at a passage from Coleman v. Thompson 501 U.S. 702, in the dissent of Blackmun, Marshall and Stevens. This is a case that “states rights” philosophy continues the trajectory towards totalitarianism through “its crusade to erect petty procedural barriers in the path of state prisoners” seeking justice in the federal courts, by creating a “Byzantine morass of arbitrary… impediments to the vindication of federal rights” but the right being eroded, the right to come to a higher law, springs from a duty, as all rights do—the duty of the federal courts to keep a vigil over the state’s treatment of its citizens. About the source of this duty, Blackmun notes: “Indeed the duty arose out of a distinct distrust of state courts, which  this court perceived as attempting to evade federal review.”

This distrust reflects the truth of power, and the high degree of corruptibility of governments at local levels, and the higher likelihood of the breakdown of the Republican form of government that prohibits the merging of the branches into a “total” state at the local level. It is a prudent habit of caution and the intellectual virtue of circumspection to “distrust” the political seats of power in the shadows of localities. Even the federal district courts are subject to passively give in to the pressures of the various pressures of the executive and legislative branches.

This healthy intellectual distrust of local governments is evident in the Supreme Court insofar as there are judges on that bench that have not swallowed the mythology of the “states rights” doctrine. The Supreme Court is more impossible than local courts due to three things: the dignity of the institution, the extremely high public visibility, and lack of local connections that could influence its Justices. These natural political prophylactics against corruption are not present in local state courts.

And they are not present in state prison mechanisms of local “justice communities”. Normally, both state and federal executive branch agencies are constrained by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments (respectively) to provide due process in the formulation of agency rules and the actions these agencies carry out upon the non-governmental social agencies of the Executive branch, although authorized and funded by the legislature.

But in Nevada (and probably many other states) the prison administration is EXEMPT from normal public participation, oversight and scrutiny as provided for by it Administrative Procedure Act. Nevada Revised Statute 233B.039 (1) (b) EXEMPTS the Nevada Department of Corrections from its rulemaking guidelines. Of course, the effect of this exemption is to make its operations invisible and secret. Even though Nevada has grand jury statutes that permits them to enter into prisons, this is a very rarely, if-ever-used vehicle to draw prison officials into the light of public scrutiny. The only reliable public participation in rulemaking by prison officials has been the end-user, prisoners themselves. But since local courts are now so much under the thumb of the executive and legislative branch, very little justice comes from courts. But that is all the more reason to keep up the good fight!

Section Three: Art, Culture, Education and Religion

1) Ely Chaplain Transfers to NNCC with Hater Habits

Chaplain Stogner came to NNCC after being brainwashed into Ely-style institutional hatred of human beings called inmates. His first Jesus-loving act was to tear down the Chapel schedule and cancel all “inmate-led” services and violated AR 810.3-7A “Inmate Facilitators”. Then he disinfected the chaplain office, installed a huge stereo-system apparently so he can thump his bibles to the beat of Christian-rock (a bizarre oxymoron).

A lawsuit is pending on several issues against his acts. One issue regards a threat he issued to an inmate for writing to the Roman Catholic Bishop Randelph Calvo. To make the story short, the inmate said “Reeaally?” and wrote a letter to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, who wrote an e-mail back as follows:

“… Nevada State prison inmates corresponding to and receiving letters from ordained clergy who are also volunteers at the correctional center of the inmate, correspondence is permitted regarding religious matters of faith and morals. When this kind of communication occurs the ordained clergy is acting in the capacity of a professional for the Church and not a lay volunteer.”

As mentioned above, NRS 233B.039 (1) (b) exempts the Department of Corrections from the watchful eye of normal administrative rule-making and adjudication. This creates a dark shadow where citizens hired as staff are invited to be “role models” of the typical consumer culture I-do-what-I-want attitude!

2) Broken Record Tactics: Give Men Something to Do

The first thing Charles Dicken’s noticed about the Philadelphia experiment of mandatory solitary confinement was the amazing creative output of the inmates. The only alternative to stark raving madness was for the wardens of the … to give the inmates opportunities for intellectual stimulus and things to do with their hands.

The Nevada policy is to drive men stark raving mad so that the resulting raving madness can become propaganda that brainwashing (by mass media) the public mind into believing inmates are sub-human, the worst-of-the-worst. Many other “states” have the same policy. Any state that has such a policy has no right to the name or status of “state”. The state has turned into a “nation-state”, which is more of a civil religion than a state, according to contemporary thinkers like.

NNCC has lost its Toastmaster’s International group, the Blue Eagles Gavel Club, all of its inmate led religions programs, all college level course offerings, all of its Alcoholic Anonymous meetings led by inmates and has reduced all inmate activities to psycho-Therapeutics or “programming”. They leave open the gym, organized sports and pool (billiards). Of course also the typical prison “weight-pile” for the bodybuilder cult. But if a fellow would like to buy a Great Course college class, that seems to be excluded by the “safety and security” of the institution.

3) Fasting as Social Action and Prayer for Justice

The Nevada Prison News (NPN) ran an article in its last issue (Summer 2012, p. 5) by SAMAEL, who calls on the audience of that Zine for a fast against the terrible conditions of Ely State Prison. The editors of NJPR are in full support of this. Mahatma Gandhi kicked out British oppressors by his practice of Satyagraha. In the ancient prayer practices of the Roman Catholic, and other Eastern Christian Churches, fasting plays a major role. There are entire seasons of fasting-prayer (Advent before Christmas and Lent before Easter). Every week there is a required fast on Fridays, and the Saturday night before Sunday Mass. The word “breakfast”  refers to the nightly fast of the monastic tradition—break-fast.

The important part of the fast is the intentionality, the “giving” aspect of the suffering that accompanies a fast. There are three kinds of ends to prayer in the Christian monastic view: purgative, the illuminative and the unitire. Fasting can be used to any of these ends. By fasting for the purging of an injustice in the world, we are using petitionary prayer.

Now, there is a doctrine of equity and natural law called the doctrine of clean hands: he who asks for justice must DO justice. If we are unjust ourselves, how dare we approach the almighty Creator? So, the intention for justice must be universal—we must wash our hands of our own injustices at the same time as the purging of social injustices in a specific sense.

So, that being said, this editor will offer up and participate in fasting toward any end (if good) suggest by other Nevada prisoners.

4) The Civil Religion of Henry David Thoreau
           
In the famous essay “Civil Disobedience”, Thoreau drops numerous memorable one-liners and gnomic phrases. For example here is one that should tickle the ears of inmates: “Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison”. How about this one: “Even voting for the right is doing nothing for it”.

And this: all men recognize the right of revolution; that is, the right to refuse allegiance to, and resist, the government when its inefficiency or its tyranny are great and unendurable”. These are all reiterations, not to poorly spoken of principles of natural law Andthis is my “The mass of men serve the state thus, not as men mainly, but as machines, with their bodies… In most cases there is no free exercise whatever of the judgment or the moral sense”.

All of this secular wisdom is for naught, and completely nulled out by the following declaration: “There will never be a really free and enlightened State until the State comes to recognize theindividual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived, and treats him accordingly”. It can be, and has been demonstrated that there will never be a really free and enlightened state, period! Just like there will never be a man who is an angel, or impeccable (never making error).

The American writer looks at the state from an epistemological perspective, which really is the wrong category to use as a measure (although it continues to be the measure, which explains the wholesale acceptance of modern masses on the omniscient levels of “knowing” by the Homeland Security domestic surveillance program).

The correct category to use is merely Justice, and that is harder to reach perfection in than the techniques of government surveillance. So, as ear-tickling as Thoreau’s quips are, that is all they are. His mind is an early-middle stage onset of immanentism, and this means the loss of the imagination’s power to conceive of the true Power and Authority of the universe. If one cannot do justice to that One, how will justice be done in a plurality of men?