On October 26, 1990, some 42 prisoners at CBCC showed up for what had been purported t be a "legal seminar" by Jean Schiedler Brown. It got started a half-hour late at 10 AM. It turns out Ms. Brown and her associates were not going to answer any questions but merely make a video, supposedly for prisoner viewing in the library. It was pointed out that prisoners are not allowed to watch video's and the existence of such videos had until now been kept from CBCC prisoners. The show went on.
Ms. Brown covered the basic researching of legal materials. It is worth noting that the DOC already has videotapes (a 3 part series) on doing legal research prepared by the DOC and DSHS; staff at WSR have offered to provide them to CBCC and that was refused.
After Ms. Brown stated that no personal questions would be answered and prisoners were expected to just sit there mute while the video was made over half those present left at 10:10. Several prisoners present complained that letters to Brown had not been answered in months.
Mr. Howard Comfort spoke about prison "grievances," including the DOC grievance system (incoming prisoners receive an orientation from each prisons grievance coordinator on this). Mr. Comfort cited at length about the provisions for prisoners found in WAC 289. That was fine and dandy except that it appears Mr. Comfort did not research the matter very well as WASC 289 applies only to county jail prisoners. Those of us in DOC custody are covered by WAC 137.
One prisoner had a copy of the DOC contract with Brown and Associates which shows the firm was paid over $21,000 last year for "services rendered." When asked what services had been provided Ms. Brown told the prisoner it was "none of your business." It has been suggested that a claim could be stated in state court based on contract law where the CBCC prisoners are supposed to be 3rd party beneficiaries of this contract.
Presumably the video came out well, I don't see why it wasn't made in their offices in Seattle and mailed to whoever keeps these videos at CBCC, the effect would be the same.
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