The New Forgotten Men and Women-Elderly Prisoners Appeal for Help!

Received via email from on March 16, 2018:

In December 2017, Major Tillery, sixty-seven years old and imprisoned for life without the possibility of parole in Pennsylvania State Correctional Institution at Frackville made a proposal to Superintendent Kathy Brittain for remedial policies and to stop the disrespectful and abusive treatment of the seniors.

“On behalf of all the Elderly Members of the General Population” Major Tillery asked for “humanistic consideration for health reasons” to implement some commonsensical, little or no cost changes: housing unit adjustments for the elderly; modifying shower times; providing additional blankets and cold-weather clothing items like gloves and long-johns; virtual visitation with even older parents. He also suggested a pilot program that combined seniors mentoring younger prisoners while getting their help in escorting the elderly in the prison. This program would “bridge the gap between the elderly and youth, create meaningful interaction—now and in the future with family and friends—and educate about diversity of true ethnic cultural differences.”

Pennsylvania has the second highest percentage of elderly prisoners in the U.S., related to the fact that it is one of six states that have prison sentences of life without the possibility of parole. In 1980 there were 370 elderly people in PA’s state prisons, as of 2014 there were 8000, which was 16% of PA prisoners over the age of 55. As of January 1, 2018, the DOC reported 10,442 inmates over the age of 50. The consequences of lack of adequate health care for any and all prisoners is exacerbated when it comes to elderly prisoners; years of prison life, including the food and quality of the water. The leading causes of death in the state’s prisons are heart disease, cancer, and liver disease. Studies establish that the elderly prison population is at higher risk for self-harm, suicide and victimization by staff and other prisoners
On January 3, 2018, Major Tillery re-submitted his proposals to Sup. Brittain, the Office of Legal Counsel to the Department of Corrections (DOC) and the Deputy Secty for the Eastern Region stating the denial of accommodations for elderly prisoners is a violation of the American Disabilities Act as applied to the Elderly. He said:

“It is cruel and unusual punishment for the elderly to be abused and mistreated by correctional staff, our primary caretakers…. Medical and elderly care is part of reasonable care, custody and control [by the DOC] under color of law.”

The prison response is a once-a-week activities program and to limit participation to the twenty-two prisoners at SCI Frackville who are over 65. This doesn’t even comply with the DOC recognition that in the prison system, 50 is considered elderly.

With the support of other elderly prisoners, Major Tillery on February 16, 2018 gave notice to the Office of Legal Counsel for the PA. Department of Corrections (DOC) and Sup. Brittain:

“I am required to try and solve the Elderly Prisoners’ Issues by law under the Prisoner Litigation Reform Act before seeking class action Litigation. Supt. Brittain you know this is a real issue, and I realize changes take awhile. However, not being taken seriously for something this important I have no other choice, to save my life and others. I’ve been housed in the hardest control units in the U.S. I have issues from years of isolation, starvation and other abuses while at Marion [infamous federal lock-down prison], they fed me one meal a day, in the dark and now I’m old and still going through it.”

Major Tillery asks for “proper medical care opposed to dismissing our concerns and needs.” This complaint is for consideration of aging prisoners, eliminating lengthy periods of standing for count, or in line for medications and commissary or out in the cold between buildings or in the cell without long johns, gloves, sweaters, extra blankets. It is also a demand to stop staff bullying and harassment of elderly prisoners for memory loss, inability to hear announcements, or time needed to walk through the prison from the cell to the mess hall to the infirmary. The proposals repeated the need for a mentoring program with younger prisoners that would also provide assistance to seniors.


Elderly Prisoners Need Respect and Additional Care
Implement Major Tillery’s Proposals, including an elderly housing unit and a mentoring program with younger prisoners; more medical attention; and appropriate clothing and additional blankets in cold weather

SCI Frackville Superintendent Kathy Brittain 570 874-4516
Dep. Secretary, DOC Eastern Region Michael Wenerowicz 717 728 4122 or 4123


Excerpts of testimonials from Major Tillery, Terrence Poles and Clifford Smith below. Read these in full on Justice for Major Tillery

The New Forgotten Men and Women!
Major Tillery AM978, January 18, 2018

Now we have a group of “New Forgotten Man and Women,” the elderly held in Pennsylvania state prisons. Take myself– in 1983 at the age of 33 I entered the prison with a life sentence, without the chance of parole. At that time I was both mentally and physically strong. Even back then I noticed how older people were being treated; the lack of concern [for] programming for elderly assistance didn’t exist.

Although I was 33 then, it struck me as wrong and on several occasions I complained to the administration on behalf of the elderly and mentally ill prisoners. This bothered me to the point that I filed a civil lawsuit on these issues. [Tillery v. Owens, a federal a lawsuit that ended double-celling (4 in a cell) in PA prisons and required the Pa. Department of Corrections to provide additional mental and medical health care to prisoners.] …

The DOC has a humanitarian problem as it relates to how people treat other people.
Now I face the same fears. Not dying, but to die among people and medical staff who would treat one of the dogs up here with more care and compassion than me. I’m not exaggerating, it’s true. I have it a little better than most older prisoners here, because after 35 years I helped raise a lot of these young brothers, so they check on me daily. But what about the others, the older people who are not Major Tillery? They get pushed around, cheated for phone time, medical treatment just flat out dogged by both staff and other prisoners. I only get problems mostly from administration. So when the old people come to me, I try to bring their grievances with mine. And like I started— ‘Forgotten Men and Women in 1983’ and now ‘Forgotten in 2018’ … .

Aging in Prison
By Bro Tacuma/Terrence Poles BL5740

NEGLECT, CARELESSNESS and DISRESPECT, are the main aspects of aging in prison that the general public isn’t fully aware of. First and foremost my name is Terrence Poles. I’m 55 years old, and I’ve been serving a DBI sentence since 1989. (Death By Incarceration: AKA LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE.)

We’re NEGLECTED because the state doesn’t offer any meaningful or therapeutic programs for the elderly.

Because of their CARELESSNESS and callousness, they won’t even give/allow me to use an extra mattress (for back pain and arthritis).

The DISRESPECT is manifested in so many ways. We aren’t given thermals, vitamins, or nutrients and other things that will prolong our health and well-being. There isn’t even a housing unit for the elderly. Some older individuals have serious medical issues, which may cause them to have to get in the showers at certain times. Instead of having to wait until 3 pm standing for sometimes 15 minutes to 20 minutes just to get into the shower.

A Summary of Life, My Life as an Old Man…
By Clifford Smith AM8913 (AKA) Robert Amin Atkins

It’s 2018: I’ve been incarcerated for 36 years, watching my life, my hopes, dreams, and visions slip away. That’s my perception. It’s a reality that society, my correctional community see me, and all the elderly at SCI Frackville.

Is it unreasonable to request civil, fundamental, basic human rights for the elderly? Fair treatment programs that inspire growth? Awareness of how to transition to old age? It’s a difficult task, with deliberate indifference from staff, and other inmates who don’t understand that they will eventually grow old, and die in prison. Why can’t we die with respect and dignity?

I’m fighting for the right to be treated fairly as we grow older. I’m afraid I will have my job taken from me because I am an old man and continue to question, challenge our treatment.

When you speak truth to power there are consequences; but we won’t be silent. The simple things we do day to day are a challenge, like walking to the dining hall. I’m bumped, pushed just because I don’t move fast enough. If I don’t chew fast enough, I’m not allowed to finish my meal. I’ve outlined many examples of abuse and questions about the treatment of the elderly.

In struggle, Amin The (Old Man)

Write separately to:

Major Tillery AM9786
Clifford Smith AM8913
Terrence Poles BL5740

SCI Frackville
1111 Altamount Blvd.
Frackville, PA 17931

For More Information, Go To:
Kamilah Iddeen (717) 379-9009,

Rachel Wolkenstein, Esq. (917) 689-4009,


Retaliation by Geo Against Hunger Strikers Leaves Two injured

From: NWDCResistance
Feb. 10, 2018
An update on the hunger strike going on at Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, WA:

At least two cases of assault by Geo guards have been reported by people refusing to eat.

Tacoma, WA – At least 2 people on hunger strike reported being assaulted by Geo guards for refusing to eat as their right to express their demands was met with beatings, leaving one person with a black eye and one with a neck injury. At least 5 units have reported joining the hunger strike that began on Wednesday, February 7th to protest the abuses they face inside the facility, which is owned and operated by GEO Group, a private prison company, for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

In an attempt to document the injuries and assault, legal counsel from NWDC Resistance grassroots group was denied entrance to the facility this morning. “This morning I was denied access to two people that called us requesting my visit so I could document the assault they were victims of. Geo guards claimed ICE is not on site and that I have to wait to talk to them until Monday showing a clear effort to deny these people access to outside witness of their injuries” said Toby Joseph legal counsel member of NWDC Resistance.

The partner of one the persons injured met with Mr. Joseph outside the facility this morning telling him she was able to visit her partner and saw through the glass in the visitation area his injuries of a black eye and neck injuries.

The supporters of the strikers are calling for a rally tomorrow Sunday at 1PM outside the gates of the facility.

NWDC Resistance is a volunteer community group that emerged to fight deportations in 2014 at the now-infamous Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, WA. NWDC Resistance is part of the #Not1More campaign and supported people detained who organized hunger strikes asking for a halt to all deportations and better treatment and conditions.

Over 100 People Detained in ICE Custody Begin Hunger Strike and Work Stoppage Inside the Northwest Detention Center

From: Northwest Detention Center (NWDC) Resistance:
Feb. 9, 2018

Over 100 People Detained in ICE Custody Begin Hunger Strike and Work Stoppage Inside the Northwest Detention Center
Migrants detained begin hunger strike, demand better conditions, lower bonds and end of indefinite detention

Tacoma, WA – At least 120 detained migrants in four units at the Northwest Detention Center (NWDC) have begun a hunger strike to protest the abuses they face inside the facility, which is owned and operated by GEO Group, a private prison company, for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The strike comes at the heels of a work stoppage on Wednesday February 7th by detained people who work in the kitchen and just days after NWDC Resistance held a People’s Tribunal in front of the NWDC.

Leaders of the strike report continued inhumane conditions and abuse at NWDC. Strikers are demanding GEO Group provide edible, nutritious food and emphasized the egregiousness of GEO’s practices by saying “food has gotten so bad it makes people sick. Food served in the hole [solitary confinement] is hardly enough, as we received smaller portions than people in general population.” The use of isolation, particularly as a form of retaliation, is a prevalent issue at NWDC. Strikers have also reported that GEO guards constantly search the beds and units of detained people without reason nor explanation and demand an end to these searches.

In addition, strikers demand ICE provide fair hearings and lower bonds, particularly in light of recent bond amounts as high as $35,000. This contributes to ICE’s practices of indefinite and prolonged detention, as do excessively long delays in carrying out deportation orders. Together, these have the effect of keeping people incarcerated and growing GEO’s profits.

Lastly, strikers delivered a message of resistance and called on others to join their efforts, “We are used to retaliation and intimidation, we are placed in the hole constantly, but no more! We need everyone to join us and stop working!”

NWDC Resistance activists and allies will mobilize to support strikers at the Northwest Detention Center. For live updates on the strike, visit

NWDC Resistance is a volunteer community group that emerged to fight deportations in 2014 at the now-infamous Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, WA. NWDC Resistance is part of the #Not1More campaign and supported people detained who organized hunger strikes asking for a halt to all deportations and better treatment and conditions.

Leonard Peltier Statement February 6-2018 – 43 years innocent in prison – Donate and sign!

Logo of Free Leonard Peltier Defense Committee

Free Leonard Peltier Defense Committee

Free Leonard Peltier Defense Committee
Greetings Family, Friends and Supporters

I am overwhelmed that today Feb 6th is the start of my 43rd year in prison. I have had such high hopes over the years that I might be getting out and returning to my family in North Dakota. And yet here I am in 2018 still struggling for my FREEDOM at 73.

I don’t want to sound ungrateful to all my supporters who have stood by me through all these years. I dearly love and respect you and thank you for the love & respect you have given me.

But the truth is I am tired and often my ailments cause me pain with little relief for days at a time. I just had heart surgery and I have other medical issues that need to be addressed: my aortic aneurysm, that could burst at any time, my prostate and arthritis in my hip and knees. I do not think I have another ten years, and what I do have I would like to spend with my family. Nothing would bring me more happiness than being able to hug my children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

I did not come to prison to become a political prisoner. I’ve been part of Native resistance since I was nine years of age. My sister, cousin and I were kidnapped and taken to boarding school. This incident and how it affected my cousin Pauline, had an enormous effect on me. This same feeling haunts me as I reflect upon my past 42 years of false imprisonment. This false imprisonment has the same feeling as when I heard the false affidavit the FBI manufactured about Myrtle Poor Bear being at Oglala on the day of the fire-fight. A fabricated document used to extradite me illegally from Canada in 1976.

I know you know that the FBI files are full of information that proves my innocence. Yet many of those files are still withheld from my legal team. During my appeal before the 8th Circuit, the former Prosecuting Attorney, Lynn Crooks, said to Judge Heaney. “Your honor, we do not know who killed those agents. Further, we don’t know what participation if any, Mr. Peltier had in it”. That statement exonerates me, and I should have been released. But here I sit, 43 years later still struggling for my Freedom.

I have pleaded my innocence for so long now, in so many courts of law, in so many public statements issued through the International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee, that I will not argue it here. But I will say again I DID NOT KILL THOSE AGENTS!

Right now I need my supporters here in the US and throughout the world helping me. We need donations large or small to help pay my legal team to do the research that will get me back into court or get me moved closer to home or a compassionate released based on my poor health and age.
Please help me to go home, help me win my freedom!

There is a new petition my Canadian brothers and sisters are circulating internationally that will be attached to my letter. Please sign it and download it so you can take it to your work, school or place of worship. Get as many signatures as you can, a MILLION would be great!

I have been a warrior since age nine. At 73 I remain a warrior. I have been here too long. The beginning of my 43rd year plus over 20 years of good time credit, that makes 60+ years behind bars.

I need your help. I need your help today! A day in prison for me is a lifetime for those outside because I am isolated from the world.

I remain strong only because of your support, through prayers, activism and your donations that keep my legal hope alive.

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse

Leonard Peltier

If you would like a paper petition please mail:

Please Donate

Please Sign

Darren Rainey: Family settles lawsuit in Florida Prisoner’s shower death

This news just in, about Darren Rainey, the man who prison guards in Florida tortured to death by putting him in a hot shower for two hours, without any consequences for their actions. Florida prosecutors endorse murder, as long as it is by “law enforcers.” What a messy state! Endorsing bullies…

Thanks to Heinz from Austria we have this set of links on the story of Darren’s awful death at the hands of bullies, and of the brave and ethics abiding Harold Hempstead, who deserves our respect and support for reporting on this tragic murder by the state of Florida:

Family settles lawsuit in Florida Prisoner’s shower death

The family of a mentally ill Florida inmate who died after being left for nearly two hours in a hot shower has settled a civil rights lawsuit against the state’s Department of Corrections.

Florida prosecutors refuse to charge guards for trapping prisoner in hot shower until it killed him

One inmate alleges Darren Rainey was yelling and screaming in the shower for two hours

Inmate Rainey’s death deemed not a crime; but an ‘accident’ — really?!,204,203,200_.jpg

Solidarity with the Hunger Strikers at the Alred Unit in Iowa Park – Texas

Comrade Malik in Texas stands in Solidarity with the Hunger Strikers at the Alred Unit in Iowa Park, Texas

By Keith ‘Malik’ Washington

Revolutionary Greetings Comrades!

There is a hunger strike going on right now at the Alred-Ad-Seg Unit which is located in Iowa Park, Texas. There is a High Security Unit in Iowa Park, Texas and my comrade and fellow IWOC member Xinachtili also known as Alvaro Luna Hernandez is housed there.

A lot of prisoners are on hunger strike in protest of the cruel and inhumane conditions which have been allowed to be visited upon the prisoners in the Ad-Seg Unit.

The key issues are:

  • Lack of opportunities to go to Outside Recreation.
  • Cold food being served every meal at the Ad-Seg/High Security Unit.

There has been rumors of physical abuse but I will let Xinachtli provide more in-depth details as he is housed there and I am not.

There are a lot of similar problems here at Eastham Ad-Seg and some of the common denominators which allow these problems to continue are:

  • Serious Shortages of Staff all over TDCJ
  • Lack of funds to make repairs on anything
  • Deliberate Indifference and Abuse by uncaring Staff at Alred!

The 85th Texas Legislature which convened in 2017 approved a massive multi-million dollar cut to the budget of the Texas Department of Criminal INJustice. I believe the amount was close to $212 million give or take. There have been numerous unintended consequences as a result of these cut backs—staff shortages is just one.

We have also seen an inordinate amount of prisoner deaths as a result of subpar medical care given by employees of the University of Texas Medical Branch whose headquarters is in Galveston, Texas and I believe the President of the Corrupt UTMB organization is a man named Dr. David Callender.

One issue that I’d like to bring to your attention is that prisoners who are housed in Ad-Seg all over Ad-Seg but especially at the Alred Unit are more vulnerable to abuse by TDCJ prison employees because they are more isolated from the general public, the Media and Their FAMILIES!!

Hunger Striking is the last ditch effort to have their grievances heard. This is a cry for HELP! We cannot ignore them.

My name is Keith ‘Malik’ Washington and I am a Human Rights Activist.
Please aid me in drawing attention to this serious situation.

Keith ‘Malik’ Washington is a co-founder and chief spokespersyn for the End Prison Slavery in Texas Movement, a proud member of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee and he is the Deputy Chairman of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party (Prison Chapter). Malik has been instrumental in calling for the abolition of legalized slavery in Amerika and is very active in the Fight Toxic Prisons campaign.
You can view his work at or you can write him directly at:

Keith ‘Comrade Malik’ Washington
TDC #1487958
Eastham Unit
2665 Prison Rd. #1
Lovelady, Texas 75851

Sacrificing Self: Activism Beyond the Wall

By Comrade Kado, Eastham Unit, Texas

Photo of Comrade Kado

Comrade Kado, who has been receiving retaliation for reporting human rights abuses in a Texas prison

Received: Dec. 18, 2017 and on Dec. 29th via email from recipient of his letter.

In the “care” and custody of prison nation’s notoriously cruel southern giant – Texas – one might question how so bad a circumstance could become worse… As an activist for human rights and prison abolition, housed in solitary confinement, you may consider that this is as bad as it gets.

Before picking up this pen and typing paper in pursuance of liberation for the human people bound, abused, and silenced by the oppressors of a corrupt nation – I safeguarded as best I could against retaliation. I had zero cases for any type of misconduct in a number of years, so [I] made this point known of misconduct in a number of years, so made this point known and clear. A very dedicated contact, and supporter in this – the revolution – even had the governor Greg Abbott request an inquiry of my disciplinary history. This [was] done because of how activists seem to “suddenly” get cases and thus receive very restrictive, repressive and oppressive custody levels. For a time this seemed sufficient to combat the silencing tactics used [to] lash out at me for [my] voice, my struggle… of course I had to endure such problematic issues as: mail being withheld going outside or coming to me, sudden moves to housing that is close proximity with violently disruptive prisoners, and even having my property and family addresses “mistakenly” into another offenders’ cell, along with property taken without receiving confiscation papers during annual lock down… I endured those things and considered them merely part of this struggle.

Current events I bring to you now are to expose the actions and lengths the oppressors go to.

Ad. Seg. is a very effective tool to pick apart any targeted “offender.” Separated, isolated with no witnesses beyond the officers and staff. Every action is not random and has purpose. Once a weakness presents itself it is capitalized upon. I bring this to the attention of you comrades, not for the purpose of discouragement, nor sympathy… Simply for you to know the opposition, to know what to prepare for.

Recently I received a Jpay email that my grandmother was in final stages of colon cancer. The doctors gave her a week. In Seg., only 5-minute calls are permitted upon request every 90 days (if offenders are case-free). As it had not been 90 days since my last call, I needed to request an emergency call. This is done for deaths in the family or similar circumstances. I spoke to each shift sergeant I saw. Everyone promised to let me say goodbye to the loved one I would never see or speak to again… As days ticked by and I paced that cell, people were pulled on my line building for calls only to stop right before my cell and feign some problem or another. This, of course, had me in a state of desperate anticipation – a desired effect… A man in an already agonizing state is expected to break or lash out when he is agitated further (i.e. losing mail, antagonizing, denial of recreation, cold or small portioned food trays adding hunger to the state of hurt… It goes on and on – it also works).

Around the tenth day I stopped a C.O. named “Skaggs” while he was doing phone calls and asked him to just look at the jpay email. After seeing that there had been so much time past the week my grandmother was given left, and also that those sergeants I spoke to still did not have me on the list for call, he took the Jpay email down to the office himself to see what he could do. He came back and took me to call. Skaggs also had to listen to my call (they do that for Seg). My mother answered while in the funeral home – Grandma passed and Mom was so overcome with emotion she was unable to speak… [had I] been given such a notice that I had plenty of time to say my goodbye…

C.O. Skaggs was very compassionate and since my mom was hysterical and unable to talk due to being in the funeral home – he told me to let my mother know I would call that following day between 7pm and 8pm.

No call was given. Two days crawled by – no doubt with my mother, who also had failing health, worried senseless about me or why I never called back… Skaggs returned to my cell front to apologize and let me know that “Higher up” reprimanded him for what he did and that I had to take it up with his superiors. No call was ever given.

By now it is known by the oppressors that I am in a bad state of mind on top of being in solitary – time to ply their trade: my mail is held ridiculously long periods of time, more “shake downs” of my cell, cold food… Then a suicide occurs and another liver failure which I expose, and the “big guns” come out: The day following my exposure of a young man’s suicide, (see “Dropping Like Flies”) I am approached by a female sergeant at my cell front close to ten-o’clock night-time and asked my statement on a bogus case. A case alleging I committed an offense in public at 9pm that night. Then I am ordered to strip out of my clothes, put on only boxer shorts, submit to restraints and go to level 2 without my property, without due process…

I am now housed surrounded by screaming, raving offenders who are the poor souls that have long ago lost themselves to the cruelty, the oppression and torture of TDCJ. Now they themselves are used as tools of torment… no way to find sleep, the smell of fecal matter, urine and bodies unwashed for mont… this is how Texas fights activism, this is Texas Justice. I am not to be broken, I have been lucky to land here… the terrible cruelties that I witness here will find a voice to the people who make the struggle possible. I worry that my health is at risk, and if I fall silent, it may be that they have stopped mail, or taken a step further…

I have gotten word Comrade Malik is very sick. (Following the triumph in federal court?) Please follow up on his condition and care under TDCJ custody – mine also. Today I had to stop every officer working, sergeant “Brown” still was left, for close to 4 hours dealing with chest pain and dizziness before being escorted to medical where my blood pressure was in the red! None of my medication was brought to my new cell. My concerns for my health and safety are very real, these people aren’t happy – looks like I’m doing my job. Struggle not and you are but a slave!

Revolutionaries, you are the voice to protest and with a great love for the people and mighty rage against oppression I shall struggle until I’m free or dead. Fight the power! Fight for freedom! Fight toxic prisons!!

Comrade Kado

Please contact me with any letters of support, news of the struggle or simple words in solidarity. If you email me & desire a response, leave your snail mail address please.

Email at: (Noah Jack Coffin #1795167)

Noah Coffin #1795167
2665 Prison Rd #1
Lovelady, TX 75851

Read more stories by Comrade Kado:

Cold disregard: Texas prison guards and University of Texas medical staff ignore excruciatingly painful spider bite (Dec. 15, 2017)

The condemnable and the condemned: To live and die in Texas prisons (with Comrade Malik, Sept. 16, 2017)

Exploited, abused, neglected: Mental illness and solitary confinement in Texas prisons (with Comrade Malik, July 18, 2017)