Update on Political Prisoner Robert Seth Hayes – June 2017

This was emailed by Prisoner News, and the link to where it was originally posted is here, by Jericho Movement.

For more information on political prisoner Robert Seth Hayes, who has been in prison since 1973, check out this video/audio.
Or read this bio on Prisonersolidarity.

As people know, Seth has been having serious problems with his blood sugar levels in the past month, especially since finally receiving the insulin pump. While the process of properly calibrating the pump is rather complex, there has also apparently been some medical incompetence in the use of the pump (without the monitor).

Seth’s sugars have, if anything, always tended to run too low, leading to incidents of him passing out, having “Code Blues” called, and being rushed to an outside hospital on an emergency basis. However, since the installation of the pump, his sugars have been running high (in the 200+ to 400+ range). In one recent incident, the infusion set was improperly inserted, and Seth was receiving no insulin whatsoever. His sugars were in the 500-600 range, which is life-threatening.

After one of the nurses arbitrarily removed the pump more than a week ago, stating that Seth was “too delicate” to have it, Dr. Wolf (the prison doctor) has been very concerned, since this is totally undermining her authority as a physician. This occurred during a weekend, when Dr. Wolf is not at Sullivan. (Also, the pump was removed, but the infusion set was still inserted into Seth’s body for 2 days after that. Luckily, he did not develop an infection.)

Dr. Wolf had Seth in the “infirmary” all last week, and that is where I visited him on Father’s Day. The last time I visited Seth when he was in the “infirmary,” he was allowed to come up to the regular visiting room. However, this time I had to visit in the “infirmary,” which was an educational experience for me. When I arrived to the visiting room, the Sergeant called down to the “infirmary” to ask if Seth could come up to the visiting room. I also asked if I could at least bring down some water and light snackage, and was told that I could not.

When I was on the elevator to the infirmary, I asked the CO, who was not wearing his name badge, when visiting was over, and he told me “We will kick you out of here at 2 p.m.” This was fine with me, as the bus driver had requested we all come out with the 2:30 escort.

So Seth and I are in a locked glass-walled small visiting room right in front of the COs’ desk. At around 11:30 a.m., the technician came to do the finger stick. He was very professional, placing the vial of insulin on the table so Seth (and I) could see exactly what he was being injected with. Seth stated that his sugars had been at 70 in the morning, but the fingerstick monitor showed his sugars were 280+. The technician then injected him with 6 cc’s of insulin.

So, the standard practice is that the patient is to eat shortly after receiving the insulin, even if the sugars are high. This is to prevent a precipitous drop and allow for a gradual decline in the sugars. Since the food cart had gone by shortly before that, we had to make sure that Seth got his lunch. Luckily, one of the nurses happened to arrive at that time, and I knocked on the glass to gain her attention. I asked for the lunch tray, but she could not hear me, so I made an eating motion, and she went down to the hall to speak with the COs, and then shook her head. So I made the motion of Seth getting an injection, and she nodded her head and the CO arrived with the food tray within 5 minutes. So kudos to the nurse who did the right thing and did not let herself be intimidated!

So I finally got to see the infamous “Class B” diet that Dr. Koenigsmann insists is an adequate diabetic diet. I don’t know where he went to medical school, but he obviously doesn’t know much about diabetes and nutrition. The lunch consisted of white pasta, a large hamburger on a white roll (with ketchup), and beets, all of which were cold by the time Seth got to eat. (Of course, since Seth’s sugars are high, let’s make sure we give him even more sugar!)

Since they keep giving Seth milk with every meal even though he is lactose intolerant (Seth has had diarrhea off and on for almost a week), I took the little milk container. This caused the CO (same one who brought me down to the infirmary on the elevator: a tall, slim white guy with glasses) to leap out from behind the desk, rush into the visiting room and come within an inch of physically assaulting me. He was screaming at me “That’s what I thought! You did this on purpose so you can eat his food!” with his fists up as if he was going to hit me. I haven’t seen anyone so enraged in a long time. I remained calm and replied, “I was told when I came in that I could not bring anything to eat in here. I’m only drinking the milk because Seth is lactose intolerant, and this gives him diarrhea.” The thought of anyone actually wanting to eat this food (which I would not serve even to a rat) was so hilarious that Seth and I burst out laughing. We couldn’t help ourselves. We were laughing so hard we were practically in tears. Meanwhile, CO FNU LNU (First Name Unknown Last Name Unknown) quickly locked the bathroom door before once again locking us into the visiting room and Seth literally forced himself to eat the hamburger and some of the beets.

Since the inside bathroom was locked, I asked to use the bathroom and thus got an informal tour of the infirmary. One thing I can certainly say is that it is freezing in there. Seth said that luckily, since all the beds are not occupied, he can grab an extra blanket from one of them.

Since I had been told by this same CO when I came in that visiting in the infirmary ended at 2 p.m., I was not concerned about the time, but it certainly seemed longer than it should have been. (There is no clock.) When the escort came to get me, it was already 3 p.m., so of course that meant I was late for the bus. I guess this was FNU LNU’s petty revenge for me having made sure, with the assistance of the nurse, that Seth was given his food (if you can call it that) in a timely manner.So I commented to the escort that I was late for my bus, and she replied, “That’s your responsibility.’ I replied, “Well, since I was told that infirmary visitation ends at 2 p.m., and since I have not yet developed the ability to pass through locked doors and walls, there wasn’t too much I could do about it.”

So I went back up to the regular visiting room with this young woman CO and waited for the rest of the visitors who were there. As we were walking out, we visitors were conversing. People asked where I had been, and I explained that we were visiting in the infirmary, where visitation is supposed to end at 2 p.m. I also commented the FNU LNU seemed to be hyperactive and extremely aggressive and possibly should be given some antipsychotic medication to calm him down.

When I finally arrived outside, it was 3:15 p.m. and the bus was not there. Since the prison now insists we cannot even put our cell phones in the lockers, my phone was also on the bus. I nice woman offered me a ride if I was going toward Albany, and I replied: “Oh, the bus probably went to Woodbourne to pick up people there and will come back for me.” Then I saw the bus coming up the hill. Jeff, the bus driver, said the COs said to leave me behind, and I said, “Yes, they did that once at Mohawk when a visitor was caught in the count and they wouldn’t let him leave. I went inside to see what the delay was, and the COs said to leave without him. I replied; “You are COs. You do that. We are community; we don’t leave our people behind.” Jeff smiled and said, “Exactly. I’ve been doing this for 30 years and have never left anyone stranded in the middle of nowhere!”

Seth called as I was getting off the bus in the Bronx to see how I was doing. He was concerned because I had not had anything to eat. So I told him not to worry about that and asked what his sugars were at 4 p.m. At that time, his sugars were at 202, but if he hadn’t eaten, they probably would have been at around 60 or 70. Seth is to see Dr. Wolf today, June 19, 2017, to discuss the current situation and see what next steps are. Of course, Seth wants to have the insulin pump and monitor and so does the endocrinologist at Coxsackie.

We have an update from Seth this evening, Monday, June 19, 2017 on the outcome of that conversation with Dr. Wolf. When I asked him what his sugars were today, he told me that not everyone is as professional as the technician who was there on Sunday, and he was not told what his glucose level was. He is still in the infirmary, but hopes to be out of there soon. In the meantime, people can write to Seth:

Robert Seth Hayes #74A2280
Sullivan C.F.
P.O. Box 116
Fallsburg, NY 12733-0116

Send him a get well card or write him a letter. Seth loves corresponding with people, and it also shows the prison that people are paying attention.

Also, you can call the facility at 845-434-2080. Ask to speak with the Superintendent and state you are concerned about Robert Seth Hayes #74A2280. Be polite but firm and say you are calling to make sure Seth gets the insulin pump and monitor returned to him as a life-saving measure for his diabetes.

Anne Lamb
NYC Jericho Movement

Seth wants to start a campaign about the issue of the COs, not the doctor and nurses, making medical decisions in the infirmary. Sullivan is supposed to be a regional medical hub, but the doctor and nurses are mostly upstairs in the clinic, and the COs are running the show in the infirmary. I will write this up in a follow-up shortly.

To contribute to ongoing efforts supporting Robert Seth Hayes, please donate online at:
https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/810a58

NYC Jericho received word on May 9, 2017 from Seth’s lawyer, Eve Rosahn, that his Article 78 appeal of his parole denial was also denied. You can read the decision here.


This is from Prisonersolidarity.net:

Seth has always maintained his innocence.

Life in Prison

Jailed for over 30 years, Seth has long since served the time he was sentenced to and while in prison he has worked as a librarian, pre release advisor, and AIDS councilor. He has remained drug and alcohol free throughout his entire period of incarceration and has maintained a charge free record in prison. Seth first came up for parole in 1998, but prison officials refused to release him and gave him another two years, after which he was again denied parole. Prison officials are effectively punishing him for having been a member of the Black Panther Party, and of having remained true to his ideals after 30 years behind bars.

Seth has been diagnosed with Hepatitis C and adult onset Diabetes since the year 2000. Unfortunately, despite his repeated requests Seth has not been receiving adequate health care from Clinton Correction Facility, (the prison where he is currently being held) and his condition has steadily deteriorated.

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In order to abolish slavery in Amerika we must acknowledge that it still exists!

By Keith “Malik” Washington, Chief Spokespersyn of End Prison Slavery in Texas Movement
[we received this via email from an outside supporter]

Peace and blessings sisters and brothers!

We cannot continue to make conscious decisions that ignore our past because those thoughts make us feel uncomfortable. Slavery happened here in Amerika and it is still happening, especially in Amerika’s numerous slave kamps and gulags which most call prisons.

I studied the Presidency of Barack Obama very closely and I noticed he constantly embraced an elitist or exceptionalist narrative when speaking of the United States. Former President Obama would give “the world” the impression that the US was a bastion of humyn and civil rights protections. When in reality the opposite is true – Amerika is just better than most at covering up the abuse and mistreatment of its citizens.

In an interview conducted by journalist Kamala Kelkar of the PBS Newshour Weekend, my friend and humyn rights attorney Ollie Jefferson said: “We have human rights violations here as much as in other countries”. Attorney Jefferson has spent most of her legal career working with immigrants so it goes without saying that she is very familiar with the criminal justice system in Amerika.

When we speak of prison slavery in Amerika, we think of forced labor and involuntary servitude and no-one says that this is not happening. However, there are other elements of slavery – the unsavory and despicable elements present in and out of Amerika’s prisons.

The torture, the sex slaves, the indentured servants, the political prisoners, the so-called eco-terrorists and the framed-up Muslims right here in Amerika.

The state of Texas hates it when I get to beating my ‘drum’ because the oppressors know there is nothing they can do to silence me. The tactic they have embraced is censorship claiming my words represent security threat information. I expose human and civil rights abuses, I engage in political and legal discourse in hopes of raising the public’s awareness.

The State sees nothing wrong with the current system, in their eyes all is well – but is it?

Let’s take a look behind the iron curtain and allow me to introduce to you Texas prisoner Omar Valdez. Omar has served approximately 24 years and 6 months on a 25 year sentence! Omar has spent approximately 22 years in solitary confinement right here on the Eastham Unit in Lovelady, Texas. Omar has been denied parole over 11 times! Omar has spent years not incurring disciplinary infractions with the hope that the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles would give him a chance to rebuild his life. They didn’t!

The Prison Legal News had a front page article in February 2017 entitled “TRAPPED: California wastes tens of millions of dollars a year keeping people in prison long after they’ve been rehabilitated – denying parole for arbitrary reasons and destroying lives in the process” by Sam Levin of the East Bay Express.

Now I want you to replace California with Texas and I want you to listen to Omar’s words and ask yourself “can’t we do better”? Without further ado I present to you Omar Valdez!

“Mr Malik, greetings, it is a pleasure to meet you. I appreciate you and folks like you who get out there on the ‘front lines’ fighting the good fight.

My name is Omar B. Valdez, TDC# 726686. I reside on the Eastham Unit located in Lovelady, Texas. I’ve resided here for the past 2 ½ decades! I’m serving a 25 year aggravated sentence for the charge of murder. I’ve been locked up since October 3rd, 1992. I arrived here on Eastham Unit on March 4th, 1996, and I’ve been here ever since! I have never left this unit.

I am in Administrative Segregation due to my previous gang affiliation. I have been a non-active ex-gang member since 2002. I made this choice in order to better my life and increase my chances of making parole. This did not help. TDCJ ignored my communications, my pleas fell on deaf ears!

I came to the realization long ago that no matter how good I did, it would have absolutely no bearing on my freedom. Nevertheless, I’ve continued to keep a very low profile and follow the rules. I’ve gone years at a time without incurring any disciplinary infractions. Sometimes 5, 6, even 10 years with not one infraction, to no avail. I received denial after denial after denial.

On January 30th 2017, I came up for parole for the 12th and final time. On March 10th 2017, I received my answer – parole denied – serve all! Well, now it’s June 2017 and I discharge my 25 year sentence on October 7th 2017, just a few months away.

TDCJ has given me no education, no job skills, nothing except solitary confinement and torture for over 22 years here on Eastham Unit.

There are limited resources we have back here in Ad-Seg. Unless you have money to pay for outside college courses, you are out of there. I would have thought that by now, after all these years, TDCJ and the State of Texas would have come up with some really incredible in-cell programming for us – they haven’t!

Many in free-world society are not aware of what we endure in these places. Brother Malik has only been here a few months, but I’ve been here for over 20 years to please allow me to enlighten you.

I understand this is prison and I’ve paid my dues for my crime, but does that justify me being subjected to live in unsanitary conditions? Rats and roaches all over the place, having to drink this contaminated water. At one point a couple of years back we were told TDCJ didn’t monitor or test the water properly for over a year.

Eastham Administrators put together an Inter-Office Communication which said “if you are experiencing a negative reaction of some type, put in a sick call, etc etc” Imagine that I said – they wait a whole year before informing us? Then they frequently post “boil notices” – how do we do that? We have no means to do that. So what are we to do? Go without drinking water? Thus far God has blessed me not to have had any serious problems, but I’ve experienced problems in my throat, like I lose my voice from time to time or I can’t talk too loud or I start choking and coughing. I don’t know if it is from the contaminated water or these chemical gas agents they keep using on us!

I do all I can to avoid the infirmary because they’ve shown me nothing but carelessness and negligence time and time again. UTMB don’t care about us – period. (UTMB is the University of Texas Medical Branch.)

I’ve seen a lot here at Easham. I’ve seen inmates get infected with TB, and I’ve seen folks get prescribed the wrong medication and it turn fatal. One time I saw a female sergeant coax a guy into committing suicide. Sad to say, but he was successful! Now that same sergeant is a Lieutenant right here at Eastham. Boy, if these walls could talk…

It has been hard to maintain my sanity all these years. Truth is one has to have a strong mind and strong will, otherwise it easy to be consumed by these walls. I’ve lost so many loved ones during this stretch. I lost both sets of grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, I lost my son and my sister! It hurts, you know? I’m paying for my crimes dearly.

So very soon I’ll be spit out into society at the age of 50. I have minimal job skills and education. I must ask all of you “what does this say about the Texas system? About their administrative segregation units? About the parole system? Thank you for your time and concern.

Respectfully, Omar Valdez TDC #726686”

Well, sisters and brothers, I really don’t have a lot to add to Omar’s story. It took some courage for him to come forward and speak out. I think a lot of us are tired of hearing people like Jason Clark and Robert Hurst, the spokespersyns for TDCJ, feed the public a bunch of deceptions and lies. As another session of the Texas Legislature comes to an end, the slavery continues inside Texas prisons.

Dare to struggle, dare to win.

All power to the people.

P.S. Breaking News! – Update

On May 18th 2017, 3 hours after Malik put the finishing touches on this essay, Omar B Valdez was notified by TDCJ staff that he is going to a pre-release program at the Estelle High Security unit in Huntsville, Texas! Omar vows to never return to prison. Let’s hope he can honor his words. After 24 years and 8 months in a Texas prison, the deck is unfairly stacked against him! Although he is elated to be leaving a couple of months early, he says the system is still very dysfunctional and broken.

In solidarity, Comrade Malik

Bio

Keith “Malik” Washington is a humyn rights activist currently incarcerated in Texas. He is a co-founder and chief spokespersyn for the End Prison Slavery in Texas Movement. Malik is a proud member of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC) and he is the Deputy Chairman of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party (Prison Chapter). Malik has been instrumental in calling for the abolition of legalized slavery in Amerika and he is very active in the Fight Toxic Prisons campaign.
You can view his work at comrademalik.com or write him directly at Keith ‘Comrade Malik’ Washington TDC# 1487958 Eastham Unit, 2665 Prison Road 1 Lovelady, Texas 75851 (936) 636-7321 ext. (**009)