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Prison Journalist Punished

Letters from Readers

[One of the objectives of the PLN is to become a forum through which readers can express opinions on what they've read, or to point out issues we should be addressing. Paul and I feel it is important for there to be a dialogue with our readers, especially around matters of disagreement. We are not above criticism, nor do we claim to have all the answers. So give us your feedback and we will print as much of it as there's space for in our letters section.]

[Editor's Note: Adrian Lomax is a Wisconsin prisoner who frequently contributes articles to PLN. He also has a regular column in The Madison Edge, an alternative newspaper in Wisconsin. Adrian focuses on exposing injustice in prison and is an excellent writer. His story below is not unusual; it is typical of the prisoncrats' behavior toward prisoners who write about prison conditions. Adrian's latest misfortunes came about after he wrote about an abusive guard at a prison in Wisconsin for The Edge. The infraction report Adrian sent with his letter states: "Inmate Lomax was placed into TLU under DOC 303.11 (4b) due to a newspaper article which appeared in The Madison Edge (11//18/92) that encourages disrespect for captain Patricia Garro (WCI). The article encourages inmates to defy the captain's authority and ability to control a particular situation. Because this same article can easily be communicated to other inmates it has the potential for encouraging disrespect and defiance of all staff authority. Possible violations of DOC 303.16 Threats, 303.271 Lying About Staff."]

The fun never ends. As you can see I'm in segregation. Guess they keep didn't like my last column in The Edge. The could just keep me in TLU for 21 days and release me without ever giving me a conduct report (I do not have CR at this point). They've done that shit to me before, numerous times. Or they could ram through a bogus CR and sentence me to long term segregation. That lying about staff charge carries 360 days.

Of course, there are big first amendment issues here. I've already filed a lawsuit and asked for a TRO requiring my immediate release from seg.

The library will send over no law books. They will only send over photocopies of cases (loaners) on an exact cite basis. They will only send two cases at once and won't send more until you return the previous two. There is a 48 hour turnaround so the bottom line is that I can see four cases a week. There is a satellite library in the seg unit but it doesn't have much. And get this.One must wear handcuffs and a waist chain while using the seg library. You can't hardly even pull a book off the shelf, much less read it. And if you do get a book off the shelf, don't drop it on the floor because it's staying there. But here's the best part. They only let us have pens for two hours a day, pass 'em out at 7 P.M. and pick 'em up at nine. Refuse to give a pen back? Why riot gear and mace, of course. We can have pencils all the time but try to get a guard to sharpen one for you. So guys over here perfect the art of sharpening pencils with their thumbnails.

I'm sure the prison officials love the beauty of locking me up in seg for writing an article, then denying me the use of a pen.

Adrian Lomax
PO Box 900
Sturtevant, WI 53177
[Editor's Note: as we go to press Adrian has informed us he has been infracted, found guilty, and sentenced to 368 days solitary confinement.]

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