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?

From Nevada-Cure: Informational Bulletin nr 1

Received from Nevada-Cure, it is on the website here. Please print and distribute widely to those you know in Nevada prisons!

Here you find a copy of the NV-CURE Informational Bulletin (IB) Newsletter – No. 1 – that will be sent to prisoners on our mailing list this month.
You may want to print copies to send to prisoners that may not be on our mailing list and you may want to e-mail to any persons that may have an interest in the NV prison system.
We need to bring the problems with the NV prison and parole systems to as many people as possible. 
Good people should not tolerate the things that are going on behind barbed wire fenses in Nevada.
NV-CURE
(Citizens United for the Rehabilitation of Errants)
540 E. St. Louis Ave.
Las Vegas, NV 89104

702.347.1731

nevadacure@gmail.com
nevadacure.org

Informational Bulletin Newsletter (1) June 2012

NV-CURE is a non-profit corporation.  Our mission is to educate people on the issues and problems associated with the prison and parole systems through factual information to provoke intelligent and reasonable debate and discussion of those issues and problems.  Our goal is to find intelligent solutions to issues and problems and cause constructive change to the prison and parole systems.  We want humane and rehabilitative treatment for all prisoners and we want justice and fairness for all people regardless of their race, national origin, religious preferences, political beliefs, sexual orientation, or the nature of previous criminal conduct. 

We need your help, and the help of your family, friends and associates, to accomplish our mission and achieve our goal. Join us in the struggle to bring justice and fairness to all in the criminal justice system.

We hold meetings on the last Wednesday of every month at 6:30 PM in our Las Vegas Office.  All people are welcome to attend in person or through our telephonic conference line. (Call for Details).

NV-CURE Membership

NV-CURE Membership for prisoners ($2.00), basic ($10.00), family ($20.00) and sustaining ($50.00) is ANNUAL. Each person needs to keep track of their membership date and make a renewal membership donation yearly. This will save us having to write you to remind your yearly membership is due. 

NV-CURE Lifetime Membership is $100.00 and only needs to be paid once.

NV-CURE Members may assist the organization by contributing money and/or volunteering to perform tasks to assist NV-CURE in achieving its mission and goal.  All NV-CURE Members are expected to assist other NV-CURE Members in resolving issues and problems confronting them, to recruit more members to our cause and to assist others in furtherance of our mission and goals. NV-CURE Members are expected to actively participate in the struggle for justice and fairness for all. Struggle in Solidarity.

NV-CURE Mail

NV-CURE has a mailing address listed above.  All mail to NV-CURE, or any NV-CURE Directors or Officers, should be sent to the address listed above.  All mail to NV-CURE is scanned into our files and disseminated for response.  Responses will be provided within 30 days or as soon as possible.

NV-CURE Telephone Calls
NV-CURE has a telephone number listed above.  All calls to NV-CURE must be prepaid.  We do not have the funds necessary for us to accept collect calls.  Please do not make collect calls to us.  Thank you.

NV-CURE Prisoner Members

NV-CURE Prisoner Members are encouraged to help accomplish our mission.  Work together, help each other, help other prisoners and encourage other prisoners, and their family and friends, to join us in the struggle to make constructive changes to the prison and parole systems.  We need your help in building solidarity among all prisoners to make constructive changes and to bring justice and fairness to all.  We will accomplish more working together than struggling individually.

NV-CURE Prisoner Members need to organize as many prisoners as possible at each institution into a cohesive and united front to effectuate constructive change.  DO NOT VIOLATE ANY PRISON RULES.  Gather information regarding staff abuse, conditions of confinement, staff misconduct and other problems that need to be addressed.  Provide that information  – IN AFFIDAVIT FORMAT – to NV-CURE for our use in any manner deemed appropriate.  NV-CURE will compile that information, organize it into an articulate format and provide that information to persons responsible for investigating the problems addressed and to persons responsible for the adopting of laws, policies and procedures governing and controlling those matters and for correcting those problems.  We all need to work together to make NV-CURE a viable vehicle through which all our voices and complaints heard in an intelligent and reasonable changes made to the criminal just-us system.

NV-CURE Prisoner Members at each institution may elect a member at each institution to lead the struggle for change.  Each elected leader should be in weekly telephone communication through pre-paid calls to designated NV-CURE Community Representative. Only through coordinated and organized joint action may we effectuate the changes required for humane conditions of confinement and justice and fairness for all.

Legal Assistance

NV-CURE is NOT a legal assistance organization.  We are not lawyers and we do not provide legal advice.  We have lawyers and paralegals as members involved with us in the struggle and on our Board of Directors.  Those persons are acting as individuals in our struggle and pursue their professions separately from NV-CURE activities.  Please do not contact them for legal assistance or advice unless you have the money to pay for their services up front, or you have survived summary judgment in a civil action.  As much as they would like to help, they require financial resources for their survival in the community.  Please do not write them personally for help unless you are able to pay for their services.  Thank you.

Staff Abuse of Prisoners

As many of you are aware, for the past nine (9) months NV-CURE has been gathering information regarding staff abuse of prisoners.  We have received a great deal of information on the subject. (as well as on other problems) and we have reported those matters to NDOC Director COX and various other non-profit legal assistance organizations, legislators, NV Advisory Committee on the Administration of Justice (ACAJ) and the media.  
Director COX has assured us that each matter we reported to him as been referred to the Inspector General’s Office for investigation. (NDOC staff investigating claims against NDOC staff). We have received reports from our Prisoner Members that staff abuse of prisoners has diminished during the past five (5) months.  We hope that we have helped to reduce this problem.

If you have information regarding continued staff abuse of prisoners, in any form, please report that abuse to us in affidavit format.  We will continue to gather and correlate information on that subject.  We want all staff abuse of prisoners to STOP and we need your help to do that.

Documents

Please do not send us documents you want returned or copied.  Only send us copies of documents we may retain in our files.  We have attempted to copy and return documents, but the task was overwhelming and the costs overburdening.  We will no longer return or copy documents.  Send us only copies of documents we may retain.  Thank you.

Retaliation

NDOC Director COX has assured NV-CURE that there will be no retaliatory action taken against prisoners that report staff abuse or misconduct.  We have taken him at his word.  Unfortunately, we have received reports that prisoners who have reported staff abuse and misconduct have been retaliated against.  We want information on each instance of staff retaliation against prisoners for exercising their 1st Amendment right to expose staff abuse and misconduct.  We suggest reading the 9th Circuit decision in Rhodes v. Robinson, 408 F.3d 559 (9th Cir. 2005), to insure your retaliation complaints meet the five (5) point requirement for stating a retaliation claim.  We will report retaliation claims to Director COX and other appropriate officials  and attempt to make NDOC staff aware of the fact that reporting staff misconduct, filing grievances and filing lawsuits are authorized, encouraged, legitimate and reasonable forms of 1st amendment activities and are the intelligent and reasonable alternative to violent protest. If staff want to avoid being reported, staff should not engage in abusive or retaliatory misconduct. It is in all of our best interests to resolve complaints through appropriate channels.

Report each instance of staff retaliatory action to NV-CURE and pursue your claim through the grievance and, if necessary, the judicial process.

Please be aware that NDOC staff have been known to engage in devious and underhanded retaliatory misconduct.  NDOC staff have labeled prisoners as “informant”, “child molester” and other “undesirable” persons, regardless of the truth of the matter, to retaliate against prisoners that have reported them, or their fellow employees’ misconduct with the intent of causing those prisoner harm from other prisoners. Do not fall into their retaliatory games of deception.  NDOC staff are not your friends and reporting their misconduct does not make you a “snitch”.  Report staff misconduct and make NDOC staff follow the law and the policies and procedures governing their conduct.

Please provide NV-CURE with information regarding each and every instance of NDOC staff misconduct and we will report the misconduct to appropriate authorities.

False and Inaccurate Information in NDOC Files and Records

NV-CURE has received credible information indicating that in 2007 the NDOC had a computer “glitch” problem that result in various false and inaccurate information regarding past criminal history, good time and custody status being inserted into various prisoner files. It appears in some instances the NDOC removes the false information only to have it re-appear at a later date. An audit has been requested by the ACAJ and will be presented in the 2013 Legislative session.

NV-CURE has a Community Member interested in gathering information on this subject.  Should any prisoner have a problem with false and/or inaccurate information being contained in their NDOC file, appropriate action should be taken to correct the problem.  Document the false or inaccurate information (request a screen printout from your caseworker), request the information be removed and/or corrected, pursue a grievance if necessary and report each incident in affidavit format, with supporting documentation, to NV-CURE. Our Community Member will use information in attempt to resolve problems existing in NDOC files.

Hep C and HIV Issues

We have received information indicating that prisoners are being denied testing and treatment for Hep C and adequate HIV medications. Please provide any information in affidavit form regarding denial of treatment for HEP C and HIV to NV-CURE. The news media may be interested in this situation.

Medical and Mental Health Issues

NV-CURE is aware that, in spite of the settlement reached in Riker v. Gibbons (ACLU litigation against Ely State Prison for denial of medical care), medical care at ESP and several other NDOC facilities is far below a constitutional level of care. We have received letters complaining of prisoners being denied medical care for broken bones, hepatitis c, cancer, diabetes and other issues. Please provide information in affidavit form to NV-CURE, and file grievances. While it is difficult for prisoners to prevail in a medical case against the state, it has been done. Recently, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decided in favor of prisoner John Snow in a medical case and remanded his case back to district court for further proceedings.  It would be informative to read the Snow v. McDaniel, 681 F.3d 978 (9th Cir. 2012), decision to understand deliberate indifference to serious medical needs, which is the standard necessary to prevail in litigation against the state on this issue.

NV-CURE is in contact with the ACLU National Prison Project attorney that has an interest in the medical care and treatment being provided to Nevada prisoners.

Additionally, it has come to the attention of NV-CURE that mentally ill prisoners are being harassed and abused by NDOC staff. This is unacceptable. Please report any incidences of this type to NV-CURE in affidavit format. Our respect and thanks to those already speaking up in defense of the mentally ill in Nevada’s prisons!

Please provide information regarding medical and mental health issues in affidavit form to NV-CURE.

Clothing, Food, Personal Hygiene and Water Issues

Please provide information in affidavit form to NV-CURE regarding inadequate clothing, food, water and personal hygiene items issues within the NDOC.  We have received information that there are problems in these areas that need to be addressed.  One of our Prisoner Members is handling issues relating to inadequate food and we will channel the information on that subject to him.  In the event any other Prisoner Member is interested in handling the information provided concerning the other issues, please make that fact known to us.  We need your help to make changes to each of these problems.

NV-CURE Informational Bulletin Newsletters

A new NV-CURE member in the community has an interest in preparing NV-CURE Informational Bulletin Newsletters.  We welcome him to the struggle for change.  We intend to begin publishing this newsletter on a quarterly basis and provide you with news and information beneficial for use in the struggle for change.  Any suggestions for matters to be included in this newsletter would be appreciated.

National CURE Board of Directors Meeting

National CURE Board of Directors is meeting in Washington, D.C., in the end of August and early September of 2012.  Our President, who is on the National CURE Board of Directors, will be attending that meeting and representing the interests of NV prisoners.  In our next newsletter, we will report of his activities. Please provide any suggestions for topics of discussion for International and National CURE. 

Thank you for being a member of NV-CURE and for joining NV-CURE in the struggle for justice and fairness for all.

Financial Resources – Donations

NV-CURE requires financial resources to accomplish our mission and goals.  We currently have extremely limited financial resources.  We need your help, and the help of your family and friends.  Please contribute to our cause and induce other to contribute.  Donations may be sent to the NV-CURE office and made through paypal on our website. The more financial resources we have available, the more we can do.  Without financial resources, we cannot accomplish our mission or goals.  Help.  Thank you.

Affidavit Format for Providing Information

The following is the format that should be followed in providing information regarding the above referenced matters to NV-CURE.  Please use it.

AFFIDAVIT OF (NAME OF AFFIANT)

(Nature of Complaint, i.e., Medical treatment, Use of excessive Force, etc)

State of Nevada                  )

                                           : §

County of (Name of County)

            I, (Name of Affiant), hereby declare and state as follows:

            1.  I am a prisoner confined at (name of institution) and I am making this Affidavit for the use of NV-CURE in any manner NV-CURE deems appropriate.

            2.  I am above 18 years of age, I am competent to testify regarding the matters set forth herein and the matters set forth herein are stated based on my own personal knowledge and observations.

            3.  (Use as many numbered paragraphs as necessary to described the events you witnessed.  Be sure to include names, dates, times, places of the events and all relevant facts.

            4. Further, Affiant sayeth naught.

            Pursuant to the provisions of 28 USC §1746, I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing statements are true and correct.  Executed on this ____ day of _(Month)_, 2012, in the County of (Name of County) in the State of Nevada.

                                                                       _____________________________

                                                                       (Name and Address)

NV-CURE Meetings With NDOC Director COX

NV-CURE is scheduled to meet with NDOC Director COX quarterly on issues of concern related to the prison system. We are also in communication with other organizations, legislators and media regarding those issues.  We are advocates of your concerns and will do our best to address your issues in the community.

Nevada State Bar Notice

Please note that Veronica Melton is no longer answering prisoner mail for the State Bar Association and is no longer able to send the Jailhouse Lawyers Handbook to prisoners.  Sorry. A new person has been assigned to answer prisoner mail. Contact the Center for Constitutional Rights,  Attn: Jailhouse Lawyers handbook, 666 Broadway, 7th Fl., N.Y., N.Y. 10012, for a copy.

Problems Obtaining Identification Documents

Anyone having problems obtaining identification (Birth Certificate, Social Security Card, etc.) necessary for use when released to the community should provide an Affidavit on that subject.

STRUGGLE IN SOLIDARITY

The cruelest tyranny is practiced
Behind the shield of law and order

Nevada Jurisprudence and Prison Report

This is the latest Newsletter of Nevada Jurisprudence and Prison Report. You can find it on their site here.
Nevada Jurisprudence and Prison Report
Vol. 2, No 3 “Veritas in Caritatis” Winter Issue 2011 – 12
THEME: “Audi alterum partem”
Listen to the other side!
“Voice of the Nevada Jurisprudence and Prison Report”
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. Compassionate Release Does Not Exist
2. Food Degeneration
3. Clothing Degeneration
4. Inmate Beaten by Cops– Again
Section TWO: Law, Equity and Policy
White Collar Justice for All
Gödel’s Political Theory
The Tyranny of Parole and Probation
Section Three: Art, Culture, Education and Religion
The Evil Externalities of Computer Technology
Poem: Progress by Decree (for Doug, RIP)
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Read the whole Newsletter here.

SEPTEMBER 2009 NEWSLETTER (WI Prison Watch)

Friends,

First, an apology. Personal matters have interrupted my life and drained some of my energy and fight. With every letter I received asking “where’s my May issue?”, I said to myself, well, I’ll get one out soon so the questions will be answered. But, days turned into weeks and weeks into months and the longer I waited the harder it became to get something on paper. Life on the outside is full of distractions and responsibilities and when we don’t see the inhumanity on a daily basis (through letters) we lose our outrage, we become complacent. The Beast never sleeps, it is continually growing stronger while the few of us who care, get tired and weak. That’s how the system works, that’s why we need lots of fighters.

Anyone who understands the prison issues, knows that all the hoopla about releasing nonviolent offenders doesn’t amount to a hill of beans in the scheme of things. Over policing, career building prosecutions, and harsh sentencing remain the standard. The problem isn’t that prisoners aren’t being released soon enough (well, that’s a problem too) but rather that too many are being locked up to begin with.

Once in, we face another set of stupid reactionary people who’s ideology determines policy. Alfonzo Graham continues to give lengthy defers to guys who were ready to go home long ago; BOCM and PRC continue to place “program needs” on people and then keep them from entering the programs; Wardens and guards taunt and harass prisoners with write-ups for minor infractions, rotating the seg population to make use of all the beds.

In the meantime, politicians posture and weasel word and pass a John Doe “reform” Bill even though they KNOW the reason prisoners file with the courts is because the ICRS is worthless. The complaint system is fraught with nepotism and cronyism where justice and fair play are totally absent.

Hey, but you guys know all this. These have been constant and repeated themes in this newsletter. In fact, this newsletter has held its tongue and curbed its words lately in light of the “changes” that many perceived taking place in this country and state. Many prisoners believed Barak Obama would set a new standard and bring civility and dignity to the way America does business. They hoped that this new way would trickle down to the bottom of the barrel, the prisons. So many were under the spell of Hope-ium that speaking the truth, that Obama is a corporate salesman intent on maintaining empire abroad and repression at home, was out of bounds.

The same Hope-ium addiction afflicts many prisoners regarding the situation here in Wisconsin. The false hope that weasel-wording politicians will reform the prison system in any meaningful way, keeps prisoners pacified and complacent. Just in case you really don’t get it, things ain’t changin’. Punishment, retribution, and violence are the true values the privileged of this country hold and they ain’t giving in. Things won’t change unless YOU make them change. Sucking on that Hope-ium pipe only prolongs the misery. In the mean time, days and weeks and years slip by and the prisons get fuller and the conditions get worse.

That said, Wisconsin’s financial mess is not resolved and more and bigger cuts in all sorts of spending areas will be needed. Prisons are part of the conversation and that’s a good thing. We only wish the motivation was some sort of enlightened thinking instead of financial reality. Word is, some of the old timers with lots of time in, will be released this October. That’s just a rumor at this point so don’t start packing your bags.

Our brother Warren Lilly won a court order halting his forced feeding. The order is stayed while it runs through the appeal process. For those of you who did not receive our January 2009 issue, it is because we ran a piece written by Warren.

Judge Bissonnette actually had himself strapped into a restraint chair to understand the brutality Warren has been subjected to. Judge Bissonnette said in his order, in part, “Certainly, this Court, nor the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, nor the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, should in any way condone any type of mistreatment or torture of an inmate in a Wisconsin correctional facility. This debate should form no part of a discussion about how medical care is to be delivered to a U.S. citizen over his constitutional objection.” In other words, STOP THE TORTURE!!

Another comrade, Harlan Richardts has submitted an article on the continued ideologically (and politically) driven parole commission. His research is on the status of lifers but the trends he has teased out of the statistics are similar through every category of parole eligible prisoner. A recent report from the Sentencing Project, Life Without Parole, confirms the trends Harlan reports.

We hope this newsletter helps you sort out the conflicting news and dis-information presented by the DOC and the mainstream press. We hope to continue our efforts to bring critical analysis and revolutionary inspiration but make no promises. We always hold out hope that others will join our effort, providing the needed energy and vision. Thousands of prisoners are released every year and a few have offered assistance when released but the pressure of day to day survival along with the heavy and threatening hand of their POs as left us overwhelmed, stressed out, and tired.

We have engaged the Beast in the courts. Our case #09-C-062-C is moving forward in U.S. District Court WDWI. Hopefully the DOC will fund future newsletters. That will relieve some of our stress and invigorate our spirit. We’ll still be overwhelmed and tired but that’s the nature of battle. Onward!

in solidarity,
WPW

Quote to Ponder: “The press is so powerful in its image-making role, it can make a criminal look like he’s the victim and make the victim look like he’s the criminal. This is the press, an irresponsible press. If you aren’t careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.” – Malcolm X

Doyle’s Legacy
By Harlan Richardts

Back in the 1980s a person with a life sentence (lifer) would serve on average 13-15 years before release on parole. In the 1970s it was much shorter because Wisconsin’s governors routinely granted clemency to lifers by commuting their sentences to 50 years or less. This allowed lifers to receive parole hearings far in advance of the statutorily mandated 11 years, 3 months (one lifer had his sentence commuted to “time served” after only 5 years).

It was so rare for a lifer to spend more than 20 consecutive years in prison that in 1980 there were only two prisoners with that distinction. In 1990, it was a newsworthy item when Steve Urban died in prison after serving 47 years on a life sentence. He was released on parole in the early 1970s but by that time he had become institutionalized and quickly demanded that he be allowed to return to prison. When he died, he no longer had any family to claim his body, which was buried in a pauper’s grave outside of Waupun. The Waupun Correctional Institution Lifers Group took up a collection and bought a headstone for his grave.

Times have changed. The constant drum beat of vengeance, retribution and punishment has changed the political landscape. Newly convicted lifers no longer automatically become eligible for parole after 11 years, 3 months. The judge sets the length of time to eligibility and it is not uncommon for lifers to have to serve 30 or more years to their first parole hearing.

Fast forward to 2009, and those same lifers who could have been paroled in 13-15 years are now hoping for release after serving twice that amount of time. In the 1980s, release on parole was virtually assured based on past practice. While there are a few lifers still being released on parole after an average of 30 years, it has become the exception rather than the rule.

From only 2 lifers with 20 or more consecutive years served in 1980, there are now 255. The number is increasing every year. One of those lifers who had already served 20 years in 1980 is still in prison. Garold Rheinschmidt has now served 49 years. He is not alone. There are 6 lifers who have served over 40 years and an additional 37 lifers who have served over 30. There were none in 1980.
When data on lifers is evaluated based on year of admission, the critical year is currently 1979. That is the first year for which there are more lifers still in prison than have been released. The percentage of lifers incarcerated increases until 1989; none of the lifers who entered prison that year have been released.

Curiously, there are some anomalies. Two women came to prison in 1992 and were paroled relatively early. Lashonda Mayhall was released in 2005 after 12.5 years and Mary Leggate. One wonders why these two women were released in such a relatively short period of time while all other lifers spend years, or decades more.

To the lay person, it may seem right that “life means life”; that regardless of what was done in the 1980s and before, murderers belong in prison forever. It may seem that murderers are only now getting their just desserts. Perhaps that is true. Ex-governor Tommy Thompson made being “tough on crime” his mantra and served multiple terms as governor. The prison population was just 3,980 in 1980, grew to 7,362 in 1990 and hit 21,110 in 2005. Thompson made the warehousing of prisoners an established policy and became infamous among prisoners for his 1994 letter where he stated: “The policy of this Administration is to keep violent offenders in prison as long as possible under the law.”

The data reflect this change in attitude as most of the growth in time served to release occurred in the late 1990s and beyond. Dierdra Morgan, chairperson of the parole commission in 2001-02, is the only chairperson with the distinction of having gone an entire calendar year without paroling a single lifer (2002). In 2001, she paroled one lifer. He was housed in maximum security at the time and that generally means he was either paroled to a in prison or was released because he was terminally ill.

Jerry Smith, Ms. Morgan’s predecessor, was not much better. He released only 2 lifers in each of the two years he was chairman.

Lenard Wells was Governor Doyle’s first chairman. He started out slowly but once he gained confidence he began paroling many lifers. In 2005, he released 18 lifers. But he was forced to resign in 2006 due to the public outcry when he paroled two “cop killers.” The news media never did tell the whole story, prefering sensationalism to fair and accurate reporting. Robert Prihoda and LaVern Rogers were convicted in the 1975 shooting death of an off-duty police officer during a tavern robbery. They were both young men who made poor choices and paid the price of over 30 years in prison. Now approaching middle age, they no longer pose a threat to anyone and were appropriately released on parole. Neither one has been involved in any further criminal activity although they have now been free for years.

But Governor Doyle, ever the weather vane of public opinion, was spooked by the press coverage and replaced Wells with someone he could be sure would never make him look bad in the media again. Political expediency took precedence over fair paroling policies. The outcome of the 2010 gubernatorial election is more important than letting rehabilitated prisoners return to society. After all, nobody wants ta be “Willie Hortoned” in an election.

Governor Doyle’s adoption of Thompson’s warehousing policy seems very puzzling considering who Doyle’s father was. Honorable James E. Doyle, Sr., was a federal judge in the Western District of Wisconsin and was instrumental in bringing Wisconsin’s prison system out of the dark ages in the 1960s and 1970s. Gone are the days of bread and water diets, the silent system and a raft of draconian restrictions prison administrators once claimed were necessary to running a prison. It was so-called activist judges like Doyle who brought the cleansing light of judicial scrutiny to a medieval prison system. How ironic that decades later it is his son who is behind the erosion of those principles of justice and fair play upon which Judge Doyle’s legacy stands.

One of the basic constitutional protections our founding fathers guaranteed us was the right to be free from ex post facto laws. This includes not being subjected to increased punish-ment for a crime previously committed. It seems only fair that this principle be respected in our country. Still, many oppose such a basic guarantee.

The problem is that when the constitution was written it only proscribed actual changes in laws, not reinterpretation of existing laws. Although the spirit of the ex post facto Clause would prohibit doubling a prisoner’s time in prison after the fact,
the devil is in the details. In other words, our judges have chosen to rely on a strict literal interpretation rather than a more equitable analysis based on the intent of the constitution.
Many people listen to the controversy over judicial appointments to the federal bench with a yawn. For most citizens it does not matter who becomes a judge because they will never see the inside of a federal courthouse. But for those on the fringes of society – the prisoners and other social outcasts – federal courts are their only hope for justice. After decades of conservative judicial appointments, few judges remain who are willig to stand up for society’s most oppressed people.

Wisconsin’s lifers are trapped in a system which exists solely to perpetuate itself. In 1990, Thompson funded a study which called for the prison population to reach 20,000 by 2000. It became a self-fulfilling prophecy. The growing population of lifers has contributed to that growth. Those 255 lifers with more than 20 years served have cost taxpayers millions of dollars over the decades of their captivity. The annual cost to house a prisoner in fiscal year 2005 was $44,118. It is easy for Governor Doyle to blame our $6 billion budget shortfall on a bad economy. Much of it, however, appears to be the direct result of ill-considered corrections policies over the last 25 years.

There are hundreds of lifers still in prison under the old sentencing laws who could be safely released on parole. Jesse Derickson is 85 years old, serving double life for shooting 2 men and trying to make it look like they shot each other. Jesse has spent 26 years in prison and is now a doddering old man, wasting away in a prison cell. Wayne Lowe is 81 years old and has spent 21 years in prison on a life sentence for killing his wife’s boyfriend. Wayne weighs about 90 pounds and can best be described as frail. These men have spent decades in prison, are near the end of their lives and no longer pose a threat to anyone. Who would you rather see in a prison cell? One of the many aging, now harmless, lifers or the young gun toting gang member selling crack on a street corner near you? Which one do you have the most to fear from?

The time for vengeance is over. What Wisconsin needs is restorative justice: A system which heals the victim, the community and the offender. Now is the time to restore sanity to the correctional system. The Department of Corrections has numerous programs to help prisoners learn to be good citizens. When prisoners change their thoughts, beliefs and actions, it should be acknowledged and they should be permitted to return to being productive members of society.
Parole decisions should be based on suitability for release rather than the next gubernatorial election. Our elected officials are squandering tens of millions of dollars on misguided corrections policies while children go hungry and schools are
under funded. Isn’t it time that Wisconsin’s citizens speak out on this issue?

About the author:
Harlan Richartds is serving a life sentence for stabbing another man in a fight. He has served 24 years in prison. In April 2008, after 2 1/2 years at a work release center and 19 months on work release, Alfonso Graham increased the length of Richards’ parole defer which resulted in Richards’ transfer back to a prison for additional years of warehousing. Richards is a self-taught jailhouse lawyer who has litigated prison rights issues extensively during his incarceration. He earned a bachelors degree in business administration from UW Platteville in 1997, graduating summa cum laude. He is currently housed in Oakhill Correctional Institution.

All raw data and calculations may be found at: WisconsinLifers.blogspot.com

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Report wants life without parole abolished
By Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON — A record 140,610 inmates in state and federal prisons are serving life sentences and nearly one-third of those have no possibility of parole, according to a criminal justice research group that supports alternatives to incarceration.

The Sentencing Project, whose reports are regularly cited in academic and government reviews examining criminal justice policy, concluded that the number of inmates sentenced to life without parole has more than tripled to 41,095 since 1992. The report, citing in part the rising cost of incarceration, urges that life without parole be abolished.

The recommendation was met with strong opposition from some law enforcement officials who said life sentences, including life without parole, help drive down violent crime.

Joseph Cassilly, past president of the National District Attorneys Association, acknowledged that long prison terms are a “huge drain on resources.”

He said life sentences are appropriate for violent offenders and even some repeat drug dealers.

“Sometimes there is no way of getting through to these (criminals,)” said Cassilly, who did not dispute the report’s statistical findings.

In the project’s review, titled “No Exit,” researchers also found “overwhelming” racial and ethnic disparities for those serving life terms: 66% are non-white and 77% of juveniles sentenced to life in prison are non-white.

“Life sentences imposed on juveniles represent a fundamental and unwise shift from the long-standing tradition that juveniles are less culpable than adults … and are capable of change,” said Ashley Nellis, a co-author of the report.

Among other findings:

• In Alabama, California, Massachusetts, Nevada, and New York at least one in 6 prisoners is serving a life sentence.

• California, Florida, Louisiana, Michigan, and Pennsylvania each have more than 3,000 people serving life without parole.

• Pennsylvania leads the nation with 345 juveniles serving life without parole.

• The costs of housing an aging prison population also are rising. States should expect to pay $1 million for each prisoner who spends at least 40 years incarcerated, the report concluded.

Todd Clear, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said the cost of maintaining a permanent prison population is daunting. The total price tag to keep today’s “lifers” incarcerated for the rest of their lives could cost the nation tens of billions of dollars, he said.

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‘LIFER’ NUMBERS CLIMB

Number of people sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in the U.S.:

1992 12,453
2003 33,633
2008 41,095

The National Criminal Justice Act of 2009 – “undertake a top-to-bottom review of our entire criminal justice system” and to offer recommendations for reform.”

Senator Jim Webb of VA has introduced The National Criminal Justice Act of 2009.

Here is a fact sheet on the Bill which according to Senator Webb will be “undertake a top-to-bottom review of our entire criminal justice system” and to offer recommendations for reform.”

Here is part of Webb’s statement:

The National Criminal Justice Act of 2009 that I introduced in the Senate on March 26, 2009 will create a blue-ribbon commission to look at every aspect of our criminal justice system with an eye toward reshaping the process from top to bottom. I believe that it is time to bring together the best minds in America to confer, report, and make concrete recommendations about how we can reform the process.

Why We Urgently Need this Legislation:
With 5% of the world’s population, our country now houses 25% of the world’s reported prisoners.
Incarcerated drug offenders have soared 1200% since 1980.
Four times as many mentally ill people are in prisons than in mental health hospitals.
Approximately 1 million gang members reside in the U.S., many of them foreign-based; and Mexican cartels operate in 230+ communities across the country.
Post-incarceration re-entry programs are haphazard and often nonexistent, undermining public safety and making it extremely difficult for ex-offenders to become full, contributing members of society.

America’s criminal justice system has deteriorated to the point that it is a national disgrace. Its irregularities and inequities cut against the notion that we are a society founded on fundamental fairness. Our failure to address this problem has caused the nation’s prisons to burst their seams with massive overcrowding, even as our neighborhoods have become more dangerous. We are wasting billions of dollars and diminishing millions of lives.

We need to fix the system. Doing so will require a major nationwide recalculation of who goes to prison and for how long and of how we address the long-term consequences of incarceration.

Matlock on a Mission

Our friend Ken Harris is taking it to ‘em. Resistance to the abuse and oppression can take many forms. Some guys refuse to work, some refuse to eat, some stay in the hole, some write to politicians, some write to the press, and some learn the law and use the “tools of the Master” against the master. Our friend Matlock has done the latter, with vigor.

He recently settled his case, similar to Johnson v. Raemisch regarding the violation of his First Amendment rights in the denial of our newsletter.

He also won his Federal civil suit against the guards who abused him. That civil suit arose from the original John Doe filed by Harris in 2005. As we reported, Columbia County DA Bauer (now Judge Bauer) refused to prosecute the two guards and then Sauk Co. DA Barrett refused to interview Harris or his witnesses and asked to be removed from the case.

This case also created quite a stir when the DOC retaliated against a nurse who verified Harris’ claim of abuse.

In June, Judge George closed the case, falsely claiming that the prosecutors determined the case “lacked prosecutorial merit”. This, after 4 years of “investigation” where none of Harris’ witnesses were interviewed.

Harris has filed a Writ of Mandamus in the Court of Appeals forcing the Judge George to subpoena witnesses and documents that will prove the abuse.

The DOC, DAs, and courts want to keep their record intact – no prisoner will ever win a John Doe complaint on the 940.29 statute “Abuse of residents of a penal institution.” Who knows what pressure was applied on Judge George.

If you recall, Harris filed an ICRS against KMCI Deputy Warden Beck for foul-mouthing a group of prisoners. This resulted in Conduct Reports and other retaliation against Harris. He was removed from his program and transferred to a max.

He’s about ready to file suit in Federal Court on a claim of retaliation. You can bet he’ll prove his case. He’s a pit bull and he’s got a good chunk of their ass in his jaws.

He’s suffered a lot of abuse for standing up and fighting, but he’s satisfied and happy that he has done what he can to fight the abusive system. Fight on!

Stanley prison sucks up more state money
Published: August 14, 2009
Paul Snyder

The chorus of anger and resignation gets louder every time the state has to shell out more money for the Stanley Correctional Institution.

“It’s a white elephant,” said David Helbach, administrator for the Wisconsin Department of Administration’s Division of State Facilities and secretary to the state Building Commission. “It was a bad deal, and it never should have happened.”

But it happened and has cost taxpayers ever since.

Construction of the 43-acre prison began in 1998 as a joint venture between the city of Stanley and Dominion Venture Group, Edmond, Okla. The prison was built to state specifications with the understanding the state would buy the prison upon completion.

Helbach, who joined DOA two years ago, said the state negotiated an $82 million deal to buy the prison. But, he said, it was a curious deal considering the state was in the midst of a prison construction boom in the late 1990s.

“We bought it for about 30 percent more than we could have built it for,” Helbach said. “And we could have done it better.”

Since paying the $82 million and opening the prison in 2000, Wisconsin has dumped almost $20 million into upgrades and repairs, Helbach said.

That trend extended Wednesday when state Building Commission members unanimously approved a $313,250 boost to a security upgrade project, increasing the total cost of the security project to $1.4 million.

The project will add new door-locking and monitoring systems and fix defects in the buildings’ security systems, said John Dipko, spokesman for the Wisconsin Department of Corrections.

“We’re so far into the hole, we can’t get out,” Risser said.

State Rep. Dean Kaufert, R-Neenah, agreed, saying Wisconsin is stuck with the building.

“I don’t know if we can throw up our hands and say, ‘Forget it, we’ll build something new,’” he said. “I don’t know where the tipping point is, and I don’t think we can throw in the towel.

Wisconsin Prison Watch – November 2008 Newsletter

Friends,

By the time you receive this newsletter we will have elected a new president. The important word in the last sentence is ‘we’, because the right to vote is not available to thousands of Wisconsin citizens. About 70,000 Wisconsinites are under some sort of oppressive state authority. Not all of those 70,000 are precluded from voting, but most are. Many of those denied the right to vote are working and paying taxes which makes us wonder about the taxation without representation issue. Who is representing us?

Aside from the voting problem, census figures show the 53rd state assembly district claims about 5,000 prisoners as “constituents” of that district even though their legal residences are elsewhere – mostly from Milwaukee Co. These census figures are important in proportioning seats in the legislature and funds (Federal and others) to those communities.
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As a note of clarification, our WPW legal team is engaged in research and the evaluation of general legal questions about the criminal (in)justice and prison system. The team is not a legal resource for specific legal questions about pending litigation or procedures. Any opinions given will address general topics of legal process. We cannot offer legal assistance to prisoners.
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Have you been getting the proper and prescribed treatment for your Hep-C? Prisoners in Illinois won a huge class action suit due to lack of treatment. It appears that the Illinois and Wisconsin policies are identical and the same goes for the lack of treatment administered. We are in conversation with the attorney who won the Illinois suit. He is studying the possibility of bringing the same class action against the WIDOC. Stay tuned, we’ll keep you informed.
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Speaking of class action suits, has anyone heard from the folks in Frisco, TX and the Parole class action suit? We haven’t. We became concerned a couple of months ago when communication ended and the primary architect of this suit filed a parole related suit on his own behalf. Of course he claimed that, if he wins, it will help all similarly situated prisoners. We’ve heard that before and it appears that his appeal for “class members” was a way to bolster his own case and argument. That’s how we see it; let’s hope we’re wrong.
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The rally in front of DOC headquarters turned out pretty well considering how the effort was undermined by the “leader” of PAM who actually sent out an email to around 150 prison activists, legislators and press that the “rally has been canceled”. We’ll not speculate on the motivations but suffice it to say that the PAM leadership has developed a cozy relationship with Alfonzo Graham. I’m going to be generous here and attribute this stupid behavior to naiveté and a belief that “working with the system” will get something accomplished.

Hence the split and new organization called Prison Action Wisconsin. This split has been another frustrating setback in the organizing effort, but it was essential. Aside from the above described foolishness PAM was also heading down the “post release assistance” path intent on becoming another toothless organization looking to feel good about itself by “helping” returning prisoners. The mission of addressing conditions of confinement and parole abuse were becoming secondary to the mission.

PAW will remain focussed on the criminality of the DOC in their abusive treatment of prisoners; on the degrading and inhuman warehousing of our loved ones; on the utter failure of the DOC to complete its stated mission; on the merry-go-round of needed programs – parole consideration – early release – carrot dangling manipulation.

One of our comrades, 15 years in on an excessive 30 sentence just came up for parole. He had over 100 letters of support, letters from State Representatives, a letter from one of the jury members who was shocked at the original sentence. No conduct reports in over 10 years, a job waiting, family waiting, lots of support. He got a 36 defer. Just another example of the ideologically driven parole commission.
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The ten year Critical Resistance anniversary conference in Oakland, CA was a great gathering of prison abolitionists and activists. Former Panthers, community organizers and young anarchists all came together for a weekend of networking and workshops. The primary message coming out of all the talks and workshops was ORGANIZE!!! Organize in the communities, organize in the prisons, organize, organize, organize.

Attending the CR10 conference reinforced the truth that PRISONS DO NOT SOLVE SOCIETAL PROBLEMS – THEY MAKE THEM WORSE. If you think prisons are about rehabilitation and punishment, you’re looking at it the wrong way, prisons are about controlling populations, poor populations. As our economies collapse and jobs become even scarcer, we can expect desperation and crime to increase. As state budgets tighten we will see a tug of war for funds; social programs will be slashed as repressive systems get funding, speeding up the regressive spiral. The next few years will be very interesting and if we prepare, if we organize, we will be able to resist the oppressive machine. We can either hang together or separately hang.

in solidarity, WPW & PAW

page 1,

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Employment Discrimination Based Upon Arrest and Conviction Record
by Dujuan Walker

In my last piece I discussed the John Doe Statute and how this statute may be used by prisoners to help enforce their rights. In this issue I will address a legal problem which seems to plague almost every prisoner upon their release to the community: Illegal employment discrimination based on arrest and conviction record. Many former prisoners are finding that employers are basing their decision not to hire strictly upon the former prisoner’s past criminal background. In many situations, as I will discuss below, this practice is illegal and in violation of Wisconsin State Statutes s.. 111.335 et. seq. If you are discriminated against based upon your arrest and conviction record, you may be able to recover damages in civil court AND get the employer to hire you at that place of employment. The following information is quoted directly from a fact sheet published by the State of Wisconsin’s Department of Workforce Development, Equal Rights Division (ERD-7609-P).

How does the law define (Wisconsin Fair Employment law, Wisconsin Statutes. 111.31-111.395) arrest record?
Arrest record is defined as information that a person has been questioned, apprehended, taken into custody or detention, held for investigation, arrested, charged with, indicted or tried for any felony, misdemeanor or other offense by any law enforcement or military authority.

How does the law define conviction record?
Conviction record is defined as information indicating that a person has been convicted of any felony, misdemeanor or other offense, has been judged delinquent, has been less than honorably discharged, or has been placed on probation, fined, imprisoned or paroled by any law enforcement or military authority.

Can an employer discharge a current employee because of a pending criminal charge?
No. An employer may, however, suspend an employee, if the offense-giving rise to the pending criminal charge is substantially related to the circumstances of the particular job or licensed activity.

Can an employer refuse to hire a person because or a record of arrests that did not lead to conviction?
No. An employer is not allowed to ask about arrests, other than pending charges.

What can an employer ask regarding arrest and conviction records?
An employer may ask whether an applicant has any pending charges or convictions, as long as the employer makes it clear that these will only be given consideration if the offenses are substantially related to the particular job. An employer cannot, legally, make a rule that no persons with conviction records will be employed. Each job and record must be considered individually.

Can an employer refuse to hire an applicant because of a lengthy record of convictions or conviction for a crime the employer finds upsetting?
An employer may only refuse to hire a qualified applicant because of a conviction record for an offense that is substantially related to the circumstances of a particular job. Whether the crime is an upsetting one may have nothing to do with whether it is substantially related to a particular job.

What is meant by substantially related?
The law does not specifically define it. The “substantially related” test looks at the circumstances of an offense, where it happened, when, etc. – compared to the circumstances of a job – where is this job typically done, when, etc. The more similar the circumstances, the more likely it is that a substantial relationship will be found. The legislature has determined that certain convictions are substantially related to employment in child and adult caregiving programs regulated by the Department of Health and Family Services.

What if an employer believes a pending charge or conviction is substantially related but the employee or applicant believes it is not?
In this situation, the employee or applicant may file a complaint and the Equal Rights Division will make a determination as to whether there is a substantial relationship, with either party having the right to appeal the decision.

Can an employer refuse to hire or discharge a person with a pending charge or conviction because other workers or customers don’t want the person with a conviction there?
No. The law makes no provision for this type of problem. The employer must show that the conviction record is substantially related to the particular job. Co-worker or customer preference is not a consideration.

Is it a violation of the law if the applicant’s conviction record is a part of the reason “for not being hired, but not the who!e reason?
Yes. A conviction record that is not substantially related to the particular job should be given no consideration in the hiring process.

How should an applicant answer questions on an application regarding conviction record?
It is best to answer all questions on an application as honestly and fully as possible, and to offer to explain the circumstances of the conviction to the employer.

Should an employer ask about the circumstances of a conviction during an interview?
Yes. An employer must obtain enough information to determine if the conviction record is substantially related to the job. If the employer decides there is a substantial! relationship, employment may be refused but the employer must be prepared to defend the decision if the applicant believes there is not a substantial
relationship and files a complaint.

What should a person do if refused employment or discharged because of an arrest or conviction record (that is not substantially related)?
Complaints about violations of the law protecting persons from discrimination because or arrest and/or conviction may be filed with:

State of Wisconsin Department Of Workforce Development Equal Rights Division
201 E Washington Ave. Room A300
P.O. Box 8928
Madison, WI 53708
Telephone: (608) 266-6860

819 N. 6th Street
Room 255
Milwaukee, WI 53203
Telephone: (414) 227-4384

For more information on this issue see, for example, County of Milwaukee v. LIRC, 139 Wis. 2d. 805, 407 N.W. 2d. 908 (1987). Keep in mind that the filing of a complaint with the Equal Rights Division is a prerequisite to filing any court action against the employer for refusing to hire you based upon arrest or conviction record or firing you because of arrest and conviction record. You have 300 days from the date of the incident to file a complaint with the ERD or else your issue is time-barred. In many cases, the issue is resolved without litigation ever being necessary. Many employers would rather just hire a former prison than deal with litigation by the former prisoner or his/her attorney. Also, the ERD may find during their investigation that the employer did in fact discriminate against you because of your past. Many employers try to cover it up by listing some false reason for refusing to employ people but still many employers will admit that they “Do not hire felons” or “Will not consider non-competitive (felon)” applicants. Either way, we need to make sure that these employers are held responsible for their violations of the law and crimes against the public.

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Census Bureau counts Wisconsin prisoners in wrong place; access to state and county government distorted
Prison Policy Initiative

The federal Census counts state and federal prisoners as part of the local population, and that creates big problems for state and local government, charges a new report by the Prison Policy Initiative.

“Governments rely on the Census to count the population so they can update legislative districts,” said Prison Policy Initiative Executive Director and report co-author Peter Wagner. The Supreme Court’s “One Person One Vote” rule requires that legislative districts each contain the same number of people, so that each person has the same access to government. “Unfortunately, the Census Bureau has counted 20,000 prisoners in the wrong place,” said Wagner.

Historically, Wisconsin’s state legislative districts are drawn by federal judges and far more equal in population than in most states. “Only 4 states drew more perfect districts” said report co-author John Hejduk. “But we found a district where 10% of the population is prisoners; that’s a problem 5 times larger than what the federal judges who drew the districts were trying to avoid.”

“The problem is even larger in some rural areas,” said Wagner. The report, Importing Constituents: Prisoners and Political Clout in Wisconsin, finds rural county and city government districts that are as much as 79% prisoners. “This allows the real residents of a district with a prison to unfairly dominate their local government.”

The report calls on Wisconsin to lobby the Census Bureau to change how prisoners are counted; and urges counties and cities with prisons to follow the lead of Michigan’s counties and draw legislative districts that are not based on flawed Census counts of prisoners.

Counting incarcerated people as residents of prison towns skews demographic data

Counting incarcerated people as if they were residents of prison towns leads to misleading portrayals of such communities.

Wisconsin has the second highest Black incarceration rate in the country,[4] and the fifth highest racial disparity in incarceration,[5] with Blacks 10.6 times as likely to be in prison as Whites. Counties with large prisons, though, tend to be disproportionately White: 87% of the state and federal prison cells are located in counties that are have a larger White population than the state as a whole. In Dodge County, 89% and in Marquette County, 91%, of the Black population reported in the Census is not residents, but prisoners.[6]

The prison communities also tend to be small enough that incarcerated populations are a significant portion of the total “residents” counted by the Census. Twenty-four percent of the population reported in the Census for Waupun City (in Dodge and Fond du Lac Counties) is actually prisoners at the Waupun, Dodge and John C. Burke Correctional Facilities. About 5% of the “residents” counted in Dodge and Jackson Counties are actually prisoners. In Marquette County, more than 8% of “residents” are incarcerated.[8]

There is also a geographic disparity in who goes to prison in Wisconsin. The residents of Milwaukee, Racine, Kenosha and Rock counties are much more likely to be incarcerated than the residents of other counties. The residents of Milwaukee County are more than twice as likely to be in prison than the average resident of the state, and more than 7 times as likely as the residents of prison-hosting Dodge County. Milwaukee County contains 18% of the state population and is home for 42% of its prisoners.[7]

The Census Bureau’s practice of counting prisoners as residents of the prison location complicates using the Census for demographic analysis of rural communities, but this problem is overshadowed by the serious damage the prisoner miscount does to state and local democracy.

Redistricting and “One Person, One Vote”

The basic principle of American representative democracy is that every vote must be of equal weight. When governments draw districts with equal populations, they ensure that each resident has equal access to government, no matter where she or he lives. When districts are of substantially different sizes, the weight of each vote starts to differ: in underpopulated districts, each vote is worth more, and in overpopulated districts, a vote is worth less.

The U.S. Supreme Court first declared that the “One Person, One Vote” principle applied to state legislative redistricting in the 1963 landmark case Reynolds v. Sims.[9] The Court struck down an apportionment scheme for the Alabama state legislature that was based on counties and not population. In 1960 Alabama, Lowndes County, with 15,417 people, had the same number of state senators as Jefferson County, with 634,864 people, giving the residents of sparsely-populated Lowndes County 41 times as much political power as the residents of densely-populated Jefferson County. The Supreme Court ruled that the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause required that districts be drawn to be substantially equal in population.

Subsequent U.S. Supreme Court cases defined the limits of “substantially equal.” In White v. Regester, the Court ruled that the State of Texas was not required to justify how it drew lines resulting in an average district deviation of less than 2% and a maximum deviation of 9.9%.[10] Today, most states draw their districts so that the smallest district is no more than 5% smaller, and the largest no more than 5% larger, than the average district. This keeps the difference between the largest and smallest district within 10%.

Wisconsin has historically applied a much higher standard, drawing districts with a maximum deviation of less than 2%. Only four states currently have districts that are more equal in population than Wisconsin’s.[11] For three decades, federal judges have drawn the state Assembly and Senate legislative district maps. In 1982, at the first redistricting since the U.S. Supreme Court allowed Texas to have a population deviation of 10%, the federal judges who drew Wisconsin’s districts set a higher standard, explaining that “We believe that a constitutionally acceptable plan should not deviate as high as 10%, and should, if possible, be kept below 2%.”[12] The plan they drafted met even that high standard: “The deviation in our plan is a scant 1.74%.”[13]

In 1992, the court drew a plan with an even smaller total deviation from exact population equality: 0.52%.[14] In 2002, the court drew a plan with a deviation of only 1.48%, still within the 2% threshold established in 1982.[15]

Wisconsin rightly prioritizes population equality when drawing districts, but the Census Bureau has undermined these efforts by crediting thousands of prisoners to the wrong place.

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Freedom
by Phillip Torsrud
WCI, Waupun, WI

Many entities like taking credit for the freedom that the American people have. Politicians, the military, even the media at times use the mantra, “fighting for our freedom”. It’s a surprise that the scientists and engineers who develop our weapons don’t feel the need to explain that if they didn’t invent the atom bomb, stealth bomber, M-16, etc…, we would not be the “leader of the free world”. Perhaps the billions of dollars we spend on our weapons industries keeps them from wasting time explaining how much we need them to maintain our freedom.

The problem is that a free country cannot remain so if people believe that it is someone else’s responsibility to provide them with their freedom as though it were a service. The justification for personal freedom is that people have a conscience that makes them aware of the significance of being free and the faculties to exercise that freedom responsibly. When people lack a conscience or are irresponsible, they are sanctioned through a loss of freedom. This can range from taking away someone’s driver’s license to putting them in prison.

While sanctions have always existed, the current trend of legislating away personal freedom is a reaction to a tremendous number of irresponsible people who abuse their freedoms. Rather than do the real work needed to develop’ a society of educated, fully developed adults who can function in a free society, people are satisfied with simply reiterating the sanctions we’ve always had by passing a new law. This is an offered service, which only results in empowering the government. Does this address the dysfunctional nature of the people who abused their freedom? Empowering the individual to take responsibility for their community and self is the only workable solution in a free society.

Freedom is a revolutionary idea, and only in recent history became a social norm. As societies constantly organize and reorganize, whatever party takes on the power of the establishment in our ever shifting political landscape will try to control people, markets, ideas, etc… to serve their agenda. Therefore, the individual is always faced with the dilemma of conforming, or staking out their values against the herd of sheep who will trample over their own freedoms in pursuit of a leader who promises to do their work for them. Free societies depend on individuals with the backbone to reject these false promises and thereby manifest their identity and maintain their culture.

Today, Americans have a false sense of freedom that is manifested in style, not substance. Through the clothes they wear, the way they talk, tattoos, body piercing, or even riding a motorcycle, Americans like to present a facade~ of having a rebel mentality, implying how deeply they value freedom. Yet when a problem arises, the first institution they call on to solve it, is the government. No matter what the cost in freedom or money, only the government is thought of as having any problem solving ability.

In France, there are 63,000 inmates in prison, and 1,100 are for terrorist related activity. That works out to almost 1,000 inmates for every million people. Wisconsin would have around 5,000 inmates at those rates, but instead has over 23,000 inmates, and zero for terrorist related activities. Paris itself has more people that all of Wisconsin, and has more visitors per year than any place on earth, some of whom commit crimes.

After liberating France from the Germans, the French now value freedom more than Americans. In France, incarceration is only used when absolutely necessary. Why is it the last option? So that the government can invest in an educational system that is far better than ours, national health care, and an infrastructure that makes people want to go there to live or travel. It’s called having your priorities straight. Since the French are educated, they would never allow their politicians to use fear to turn their nation into a police state. Only people with a slave mentality would sacrifice their future by wasting so many precious resources on institutions that only offer the illusion of safety.

Freedom starts in the mind. it is an idea that once embraced becomes an attitude. When a sufficient number of people adopt that attitude it becomes a movement. When that movement is successful, a society begins to have institutions that reflect that attitude in their policies. The reason that America’s national anthem ends with, “in the land of the free and the home of the brave,” is because freedom and bravery go hand in hand. The freedom to live a worthwhile life will never be risk free. America will never be a free country until it stops living in fear.

**********

The Day My Mother Was Sent Away
by Wenona Thompson

The day my Mother was sent away

The day my mother was arrested was the beginning of my life’s destruction.

No one will ever actually understand me until their mother is legally separated from them.

I know what my mother did was wrong, or against the law, but I already don’t have a father now they done took away my mother.

I can’t seem to understand this, for where is my mandatory love, attention, discipline, understanding, and home education gonna come from?

A lot of people assume that my mother is the cause of these changes. But regardless of who cause such problems, the consequence are not solving them.

For so long I tried to make sense out of these state rules and regulations, but for some reason I can’t understand why there isn’t any alternative punishment for crime-convicted mothers with babies.

I know this may not be true, but is the state trying to rectify the problem, prolong it, or maybe just create something totally new? Hmm, I truly don’t know.

I’m now an older lady with children of my own, facing many issues not only within myself, but also the issues of my mother, who I impatiently await to re-meet.

I sometimes ask myself if this punishment my mother and I are receiving is accurate. In all honesty I say it is not, for this was my mother’s first offense and the crime was not violent.

But still, the state changed my life goals and also the goals of my mother, my children, and my sisters and brothers the day my Mother was sent away.

This story is one of many wonderful, heartbreaking stories excerpted from the zine:

WRITERS BLOCK: The voices of women inside

available from:
Women and Prison Program
c/o Beyondmedia Education
4001 N. Ravenswood Ave. #204C
Chicago, IL 60613

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The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
Gil Scott-Heron -1975

You will not be able to stay home, brother.
You will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop out.
You will not be able to lose yourself on skag and skip,
Skip out for beer during commercials,
Because the revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be televised.
The revolution will not be brought to you by Xerox
In 4 parts without commercial interruptions.
The revolution will not show you pictures of Nixon
blowing a bugle and leading a charge by John
Mitchell, General Abrams and Spiro Agnew to eat
hog maws confiscated from a Harlem sanctuary.
The revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be brought to you by the
Schaefer Award Theatre and will not star Natalie
Woods and Steve McQueen or Bullwinkle and Julia.
The revolution will not give your mouth sex appeal.
The revolution will not get rid of the nubs.
The revolution will not make you look five pounds
thinner, because the revolution will not be televised, Brother.

There will be no pictures of you and Willie May
pushing that shopping cart down the block on the dead run,
or trying to slide that color television into a stolen ambulance.
NBC will not be able predict the winner at 8:32
or report from 29 districts.
The revolution will not be televised.

There will be no pictures of pigs shooting down
brothers in the instant replay.
There will be no pictures of pigs shooting down
brothers in the instant replay.
There will be no pictures of Whitney Young being
run out of Harlem on a rail with a brand new process.
There will be no slow motion or still life of Roy
Wilkens strolling through Watts in a Red, Black and
Green liberation jumpsuit that he had been saving
For just the proper occasion.

Green Acres, The Beverly Hillbillies, and Hooterville
Junction will no longer be so damned relevant, and
women will not care if Dick finally gets down with
Jane on Search for Tomorrow because Black people
will be in the street looking for a brighter day.
The revolution will not be televised.

There will be no highlights on the eleven o’clock
news and no pictures of hairy armed women
liberationists and Jackie Onassis blowing her nose.
The theme song will not be written by Jim Webb,
Francis Scott Key, nor sung by Glen Campbell, Tom
Jones, Johnny Cash, Englebert Humperdink, or the Rare Earth.
The revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be right back after a message
about a white tornado, white lightning, or white people.
You will not have to worry about a dove in your
bedroom, a tiger in your tank, or the giant in your toilet bowl.
The revolution will not go better with Coke.
The revolution will not fight the germs that may cause bad breath.
The revolution will put you in the driver’s seat.

The revolution will not be televised, will not be televised,
will not be televised, will not be televised.
The revolution will be no re-run brothers;
The revolution will be live.

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Et Cetera

Secondhand Hearsay

The editor of WPW was with a lawyer supporting a lawsuit initiated by an ex-prisoner. The lawyer mentioned an interesting story, as follows: He was at a dinner party with some muckymucks (judges, DAs, lawyers, etc.) including a high ranking member of the DOJ. The DOJ official told him that he knows the DOC is corrupt and they (the DOJ) were silently pleased that a few good lawyers and prisoners were bringing some of the abuses to light so the corruption can be weeded out. This story should be a shout out to all jail-house lawyers – give yourself a pat on the back! The work you are doing does matter! There is an understanding, throughout the system, that the DOC is out of control. Keep up the good work!

********

Institutional Inertia or, On the Job Training

A prisoner at WSPF created a disturbance at his cell door when he knocked his meal tray off the door trap, into the hall. Two guards were at the scene, a new guy and a long timer. After some words, the long timer kicked the trap shut. A day or two later the CR arrived indicating how the prisoner had misbehaved. Later, the prisoner asked the new guard why there was no mention of how the other guard had kicked the trap shut. The new guard said, “I included that in my report but the white shirt had me rewrite it, leaving that part out.” Lesson learned.

********

For Some, Rules Apply

Our friend Matlock sends us word from KMCI that Deputy Warden Beck went on a foul mouthed abusive tirade directed at a group of prisoners. This kind of behavior is specifically NOT ALLOWED and is unprofessional, so Matlock went looking for an Inmate Complaint form and discovered that retribution and cover-up are swift and sure. He received 4 CRs – inciting a riot, group resistance, failure to obey an order and, disruptive conduct. He was thrown in the hole and kicked out of his required program with only two weeks to go. After sending letters to the press and legislators and outside supporters, the two major tickets were dropped and he was offered a chance to start his programming over next month. The two tickets that remain are being contested and if we know Matlock, a lawsuit against Beck is smoking in the typewriter.

page 4,

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PRISON ACTION WISCONSIN
P.O.Box 05669
Milwaukee, WI 53205
prisonactionwisconsin@gmail.com

Parole Commission Chair Alfonzo Graham
Wisconsin Parole Commission
3099 E. Washington
Madison, WI 53707

Dear Chairman Graham,

Our group has developed the following five points to express our deep frustration with the policies of your office. A clear response to these points would help us begin to understand how the Commission functions. Many of these concerns were expressed with our signs and chants in front of your office on September 22nd but we wanted to more clearly articulate these concerns and offer you an opportunity to respond.

Thank you
PAW steering committee

What we Believe, What we Want

1. We believe the Parole Commission is keeping prisoners longer than the intent of the legislature and sentencing judges. We believe the Parole Commission is keeping prisoners longer than is good for them, their families, and the community.

We want serious and realistic parole consideration at the legislatively mandated parole eligibility date.

2. We believe the Parole Commission is ideologically driven and making parole decisions based on politics.

We want the “tough-on-crime” mentality within the Parole Commission to end and parole decisions to be made on the basis of what is good for the community and good for the prisoner.

3. We believe the Parole Commission operates in a capricious and irregular manner.

We want consistency, predictability and transparency of process. We want prisoners and prisoner families to know and understand exactly what needs to be accomplished by prisoners for a meaningful parole consideration.

4. We believe the parole criteria, “has not served enough time for punishment”, is too subjective, arbitrary and beyond the scope of the Commission.

We want that criteria eliminated, as the punishment time was determined by the sentencing judge who was aware of all the facts of the case and who was guided by legislative intent.

5. We believe the criteria for meaningful parole consideration are ambiguous and the commission has no “standard” for measuring a prisoner’s success.

We want the Parole Commission to develop a standard model of criteria that gives guidance to parole commissioners, prisoners and DOC staff on the “parolability” of individual prisoners.

page 5,

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Hunger Strike Continues
by Warren Lilly #447655
New Lisbon Correctional

A friend of mine, upon hearing that I’d been maced and tazered by the guards at New Lisbon prison, urged me to “make them earn their pay” by continuing my hunger strike. I appreciate the support. I’ve refused prison food and authority for over four years and will not bow down, even to escalating violence.

However, something bothered me about my friend’s statement of support. That something was his unwillingness to “make them earn their pay.” During my four years of hunger striking I’ve met hundreds of prisoners who’ve stood behind my strike, way, way behind it. So far behind that they actually became invisible. I could still hear their distant and muffled shouts of “Go for it!”, but I just couldn’t see who was shouting it.

Such distant support makes it impossible t fight anything but a very lopsided war. One where the enemy, the Justice system, freely and purposely destroys our lives while we, the prisoners, just as freely give up our lives and freedoms.

We cower in the face of the imagined indestructibility of our enemy. We make it easy for our enemy to scorn, despise, and abuse us. We believe their propaganda that says we we are worthless and powerless, and that they have the right to control and waste our lives.

We fear to take even the riskless chances to fight for freedom and life or to assert our personhood. Less than a hundred of the twenty-two thousand prisoners answered my call to fast with me on Sundays then to send our moralless governor a letter demanding change.

To those who fasted I send my heartfelt thanks and ask you to continue fasting and recruit others. Hold a “fast-in” after the skipped meals to gather and write letters of support for the cause and protest of imprisonment to the governor.

To those who fear to fast, I ask what risk is there in forsaking a meal in support of a stand, or writing a letter of protest? We have let our fears conquer our personhood and rule our reason, and by doing so have abandoned life and liberty in favor of the false safety of cowardice.

I’m reminded of the time in my youth when people would say “when the revolution comes I’m gonna…” Well, the revolution never came because no one brought it forth. Now, like then, people sit and wait for others to blaze the trail so that they can travel it without sacrifice, without difficulty, without personal strife.

I waited forty years for the revolution to come. I let the world go from bad to worse, and now at nearly sixty years of age, the truth has dawned on me, a very simple truth: If it’s to be, it’s up to me.

“If it’s to be, it’s up to me”. So powerful a revelation in such a simple and yet painfully obvious truth. A god is not coming to save me or make right the wrongs of others, good is not about to spring from bad nor virtue from evil, and the only thing that will happen to those who treat me cruelly is that they will prosper upon my misery. Those are the lessons of life. Another lesson, a hope filled one, is that those who strive for justice and peace and freedom achieve it.

The revolution is here, the revolution is now, do something to sustain it, stand up for something. Begin by reading the letter to the governor and understanding this protest, then hold a “fast-in” and get those letters mailed. Find a non-violent way to “make them earn their pay”.

Stop buying the propaganda that your life is worthless, that you are powerless, and that they have the right to control and waste your life. Stop cowering before the paper tigers and giant shadows cast by imperious runts. Abandon your fears, be driven by the simple truth, “If it’s to be, it’s up to me”.

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REVOCATION: The Life Blood of Corrections
by Mike Weston #000155
RCI, Sturtevant, WI

Late in his tenure as secretary of the Department of Corrections (DOC), Michael Sullivan said on television that men would “No longer be sent back to prison for rule violations”. The sole exception to this radical mandate would be failing a urinalysis test, implying possession and use of forbidden head candy.

Given that the never-ending flow of humans returned to the doc as rule violators never ended, it is eminently logical to hold that king Tommy Thompson promptly called Sullivan and demanded of him a reply to “ What the hell are you doing!?” The new policy was silently rescinded…..

The king was erecting his prison empire and here one of his lap dogs was attempting to abort the birth by terminating the death march from liberty to the slow death chambers of the DOC.

Since some 54% of the prison population is comprised of probation and parole (P+P) violators, it is uniquely self-evident that the system would collapse were the DOC’s division of community corrections (DCC), under whose egis exist the apparatchiks of P+P, the agents, indeed ordered to cease revocating all those who have not violated a statute (and releasing now all those returned for violations).

When one rationally presumed sanity might crawl out from ‘neath the detritus of the king’s reign with the ascension to the throne of Jim Doyle, an alleged democrat who, erroneously it appears, was touted as left-to-moderate on social issues, all that really eventuated is that Doyle is the mirror-image of his supposed arch enemy and nemesis, King Tommy.

When it comes to “corrections”, both willingly sacrifice lives and untold wealth from the pockets of citizens. So as to maintain the prison empire at its artificially inflated state of over 22,000 prisoners.

Tommy did it deliberately, Doyle is too afraid to end the farce which has the DOC at least twice the size it should be by all rational and realistic determinants. For example, Minnesota’s prison population is 7,000. Wisconsin and the Gopher state are virtual clones in that all of the relevant demographics are mirror-images of one another.

The populations are the same, numerically, racially, economic status, education and the like; crime rates and offenses categories match well as do arrests and convictions. And yet, Minnesota knowingly incarcerates two-thirds less people than “wonderful WIsconsin”. Why here?

Indeed, on a per capita basis, Wisconsin is a “leader” in locking way human beings, despite the fact that our crooks, as a rule, are virtual “pussycats” compared to criminals in most other states! For instance, which Wisconsin warden would “trade” his prisoners one-for-one with the warden of San Quentin? Again, why here?

In the December 2007 issue, in their article on parole and politics in WIsconsin, the authors provided the answer by quoting U.W. Law professor Walter Dickey’s public statement; “men are being kept in prison because of money and politics”. Obviously, they cannot be kept there if not first sent there…. and remember, Professor Dickey was the first DOC secretary, he knows of what he speaks – while Doyle and State and Federal Justice personnel ignore the criminal activity implicit in Dickey’s charge.

The criminal justice” and “corrections” systems are growth industries and are subsidized by Wisconsin and federal funds flooding law enforcement and corrections like hurricane rains. No other industry has the stability, money and growth potential of the DOC – the fat sow at the public trough gulping down more tax dollars than any other element of Wisconsin government.

The plethora of “correctional” facilities planted throughout the kingdom by Tommy are the cash cows for the locales in which they fester. Tommy gained power and support from weed beds as well as “rewards” from the Federal government for locking up everyone in sight, i.e., the poor and minorities, and bribes from construction companies and others building and equipping the prison empire: they donated millions to Tommy’s campaign, to his puppet successor, McCallum, and to our “enlightened” current governor, remember “money and politics” rule in sending people to and keeping them in prison…

There is a distinct racial factor in all of this: Milwaukee and Racine, more than other counties, deny legitimate opportunities to minorities and then jail them at record rates when they rebel at being suppressed and denied their humanity.
It is fully documented that WIsconsin owns the nation’s highest incarceration rate of minorities: further, over two-thirds of Wisconsin prisoners are African American. Another effect of racism is that many lack educational levels commensurate with their ages. This debilitation is both aggravated and reinforced by the deficient, nickel and dime DOC education system which is little more than a mill grinding out “graduates” now blessed with a GED certificate signifying nothing of merit.
These “programs”, completely devoid of substance and depth, are offered under the guise of “rehabilitation”, but are either debilitating or serve simply to reinforce the criminality they purport to treat.

The manifest and cumulative results of incarceration, ever demonstrable, are in fact the stated reinforcement of criminality leading to the DOC’s egregious failure to redirect the lives of prisoners. The goal of the DOC (it is clear), its very raison d’etre (reason for existence), is infact to ensure recidivism.

The methodology is simple: The economic and political systems create criminals, their “criminal justice” system sends the felons to the DOC which later sends those people to the DCC who then seek out petty, trivial or false “reason” to revocate one’s liberty. The DCC files revocation papers with the third leg of this eternal triangle, the department of administration’s division of hearings and appeals who send the violators back to the DOC!

Once the revocation process begins, fughetdaboutdit! administrator David Schwarz rarely reverses a verdict to revoke liberty: he and his boss, DOA secretary Mike Morgan, are also Doyle lap dogs ordered to revocate as many probationers and parolees as possible to maintain the inflated prison population.

The system is clear: send people to the DOC, reinforce their problems, send them to the DCC, find “reasons” to revoke, send them to DOA’s hearings and appeals who then ship them back to the DOC – round and round she goes, where she stops is the permanent count of 22,000 humans in prison on a daily basis.

Doyle prides himself on adopting two African American boys and on his support for Senator Obama, while he oversees a racial disaster in the state and in the DOC – his DOC.

Doyle and his crew fear that if the river to nowhere ended, half to DOC would shut down: that is not true. Every facility is overcrowded, if all rule violators were released each facility would still have all their beds filled when they go from the current four, three or two in a room to single man rooms.

This would free up the people, time and resources to truly attempt to help those in prisons sent by the courts, not DCC and DOA for a rule violations.

Governor, implement Sullivan’s aborted policy to not revocate for rules violations…

**********

WANTED – ARTWORK BY PRISONERS

Wisconsin Books to Prisoners was the recipient of a powerful set of posters created by 20 printmakers from the JUSTSEEDS Visual Resistance art collective. These posters were created in anticipation of the 10th anniversary of Critical Resistance, a prison abolitionist movement, and call attention to the human rights catastrophe in U.S. jails and prisons, and the use of policing, prisons and punishment as a “solution” to social, political and economic problems.

The posters and artwork by prisoners will be displayed at a gallery in Madison –mostly likely in February of 2009. Art that addresses the condition of prisons and the daily drudgery and cruelties of prison life would be particularly appreciated.

Please do not send anything that you want returned or is not copyright free. Also, please let us know how you wish to be (or not be) identified. Many thanks in advance to those who make contributions to this event.

****************************
Inmates Bring Civil Rights Class Action Against Becker County

Becker County, Minnesota and several of its law enforcement officials are facing a civil rights class action lawsuit. The suit, brought by inmates at the county jail, alleges that the county illegally monitored and possibly recorded confidential and privileged telephone calls between inmates at the jail and their attorneys.

According to the suit, the inmates of the jail and their attorneys are informed in writing that attorney/client telephone calls are confidential and consequently not subject to monitoring or recording. However, the suit alleges that illegal monitoring of telephone calls to discuss inmates’ cases has taken place, and the information gained has been used against the inmates during prosecution.

Editor’s note – This article caught our eye because we heard from a comrade at WSPF who discovered that a privileged phone call made to his attorney had been recorded. We called the warden who confirmed that “all day room phones are monitored and prisoners calling their attorneys from those phones should not expect privacy”. He also said that “we are going to post this information at those phones.” The signs were not yet posted a week after our conversation with the warden.

page 6.