Skip navigation
Prisoner Education Guide

Prison Legal News: June, 1990

View as PDF
Issue PDF
Volume 1, Number 2

In this issue:

  1. Women Prisoners Meet Board (p 1)
  2. Clallam Bay Disturbance Update (p 1)
  3. Editorial Comments (p 2)
  4. Victims to Amend Constitution (p 3)
  5. Marion Prison to be Replaced (p 3)
  6. Blacks Have Higher Crime Victimization Rate (p 3)
  7. 1989 Crime Rate Up 3% (p 3)
  8. It Only Gets Worse, Says DOC (p 4)
  9. Women Prisoners Raped, Harassed by Guards (p 4)
  10. State Reneges on WSR Treaty (p 4)
  11. EPA Fining Florida Prison (p 4)
  12. Them Today, Us Tommorrow (p 5)
  13. A History of Rehabilitation Under Washington State Law (p 6)
  14. DOC Settles Immigration Suit (p 7)
  15. Book on Washington Prisons (p 8)
  16. Abolish the Death Penalty! (p 8)
  17. WAC Notification List (p 8)
  18. From the Editor (p 9)
  19. Prisoner AIDS Support Network (p 9)
  20. Prison Populations To Grow 68% by '94 (p 9)
  21. Newsletter for Prisoners with AIDS (p 9)
  22. Jail Populations Up 54% in 5 Years (p 9)
  23. Lehman Leaving (p 10)

Women Prisoners Meet Board

The Washington State parole Board has been going from prison to prison setting new minimum terms for offenders serving time for murder. In 1989 the average amount of time served on a murder one was 150.1 months. Along came the Sentencing Reform Act (SRA), which is tougher on violent crimes, and now the Board is making adjustments to the terms of old guideline prisoners. Male prisoners have been getting minimum terms in the neighborhood of 300 and 400 months.

These new Board reviews, conducted as a result of House Bill 1457 that was recently passed into law, are under legal challenge by prisoners at Monroe and at other facilities within the state. The Board recently conducted 1457 reviews at the Purdy women's prison. A prisoner there provides this report:

Several 1457 reviews were done last month and the rest will be done this month. The recommendations ran to the top of the SRA guideline range in most cases. Nobody got 240 months. Warnings were given by the Board that these were only recommendations, and that it likely the Board will return with even more time in the form of an exceptional sentence. The lowest recommendation was 257 months ...

Clallam Bay Disturbance Update

Paul Wright

As reported in the last issue of the PLN, there were 32 prisoners shipped from Clallam Bay to the Intensive Management Unit (IMU) at Shelton. The mainstream media reported that prison officials had told them there was a "brawl" between one prisoner and four guards lasting 45 minutes. Quite the fabrication to say the least. Communiqués and letters accurately describing the true course of events have been sent to most of the Puget Sound media.

On 27 April, 1990, Seattle Times columnist Rick Anderson printed portions of the letter as well as the Department of Corrections (DOC) response. While confirming the major events, the DOC still insists there was not "riot."

That's certainly odd because several prisoners, Jason Groll, Scott Duey, William Blado, Robert Lee, Shawn Frietas, Robert Lindell and Terry Grant were all accused of "rioting" and found guilty at kangaroo court, and sentenced to 540 days loss of good time, 30 days segregation, 20 in isolation, with IMU to follow up. So if there was no riot why is the DOC doing this to these men?

The true events were reported by at least one radio station, in Vancouver, B.C.

Three prisoners have been ...

Editorial Comments

Ed Mead

We are encouraged by the response to the first issue of Prisoner's Legal News. We have created some controversy. Prisoncrats confiscated the mast copy of PLN #1, another comrade and I received newsletter-related infractions, and my cage was kicked in and trashed twice during a four-day period. Such clear-cut repression is a sure sign that we are doing something right. These are times in which controversy is a good thing, it leads to struggle. We hope to generate some controversy within the ranks of our prisoner readers with a campaign to combat discrimination against prisoners on the basis of their crimes.

One of the objectives of PLN is to be a forum through which readers can express comments on what they've read or to point out issues we should be addressing. We feel it is important to open up a dialogue with those who support us, as well as with those who disagree. 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 as we can in the letters section on issue #3.

We also want to build links: Links between ...

Victims to Amend Constitution

Victims To Amend Constitution

A network of crime victim's rights advocates, concerned about difficulties in enforcing laws that were intended to give victims specific legal rights, is mounting a campaign to win ratification of amendments to state constitutions ensuring those rights. Six states have approved amendments to their constitutions providing some form of victim rights, and the Victim's Constitutional Amendment Network (Victims' CAN) predicts the movement will gather momentum in the 1990's.

The coalition's ultimate goal is an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would add the following language to the list of a criminal defendants' rights: "Likewise, the victim, in every criminal prosecution, shall have the right to be present and to be heard at all critical stages of judicial proceedings."

Washington State is one of the six states to have already passed constitutional amendments. Washington's law, approved in November of 1989, authorized both participation and restitution for victims. These amendments no only have the potential to run roughshod over the due process guaranteed defendants, they also fail to grasp that the criminal justice system is supposed to operate on the principle that it is the community, not the victim, who is wronged ...

Marion Prison to be Replaced

Marion Prison To Be Replaced

It's gonna get worse, fellas. A March 30th report issued by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons says the BOP is going to replace the federal prison at Marion, Illinois, with a new maximum-security penitentiary in Florence, Colorado.

Marion was built in the early `60s to replace Alcatraz Island. It holds about 400 prisoners and is the U.S. government's only level 6 (most secure) prison.

The money for the new ultra-max prison is already in the 1990 budget. Officials said nothing would change at Marion during the 2-1/2 years it will take to build the new prison.

Reports say that Marion was not built for the super-high security mission it has been given in recent years. BOP officials want to "start from scratch" with a whole new joint.

"There is something rotten in the very core of a social system in which crime grows even faster than the size of the population."

Karl Marx & Friedrich Engles
Collected Works, Vol. 13,
Page 515, Russian Edition

Blacks Have Higher Crime Victimization Rate

Blacks are more likely than whites to be victims of violent crime, and the crimes against black victims are generally more serious that those against whites, according to a new study by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS).

A review of the Bureau's National Crime Survey for the years 1979 through 1986 showed that blacks had an average annual violent crime victimization rate of 44.3 per 1,000, compared to 34.5 per 1,000 for whites.

The annual victimization rate for robbery was 13.0 per 1,000 for blacks, 5.4 per 1,000 for whites; for aggravated assault, 13.8 per 1,000 for blacks and 0.8 per 1,000 for whites.

Black victims of all types of violent crime were nearly twice as likely as white victims to have faced an offender with a gun - 20% versus 11%. And blacks hurt during violent crimes were more likely than white victims to sustain serious injuries - 24% versus 16%.

A copy of the 11 page report "Black Victims" (NCJ-122562) is available from the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, Box 6000, Rockville, MD 20850.

1989 Crime Rate Up 3%

One would think that with all of the new prisons constructed over the past 20 years the crime rate would be going down. Not so, according to the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting System. The feds say crime was up 3% in 1989. Crime rates rose 3% in 1988; a mere 2% during 1987; 6% during 1986; and 5% in 1985. The Crime Index increases took place in each geographic area of reporting.

The most rapid rise was in the area of violent crimes, which showed an overall 5% increase. Aggravated assaults grew by 5% while robbery jumped at 7%. While the murder rate averaged a 4% increase during the year, cities with populations between 10,000 and 50,000 experienced a 12% jump in murder rates.

It Only Gets Worse, Says DOC

The May 10th issue of the Seattle Times quoted Ruben Cendeno, director of the Division of Offender Programs for the state Department of Corrections (DOC), as telling a Washington Council on Crime and Delinquency sponsored forum that the Washington state corrections system is facing not only more overcrowding, but also an increasingly older prison population, more mentally ill inmates and prisoners suffering from the AIDS virus.

Cendeno said a recent tally showed 716 prisoners (or ten percent of the prison population) were serving sentences of 20 years or longer, 230 were in for life and 101 were sentenced to life without parole.

"It projected that in the next six years the inmate population is likely to double," Cendeno said.

Women Prisoners Raped, Harassed by Guards

Women Prisoners Raped, Harassed By Guards

As a result of a law suit filed late last year on behalf of 12 prisoners at the Ohio Reformatory for Women at Marysville, 18 prison employees have resigned or been fired for having "illicit relations" with female prisoners. The complaint charged numerous male employees with rape, sexual harassment and other sex crimes against women.

According to a report in the April 13th Columbus Dispatch, a total of 31 prison employees are being investigated, and reports of sexual assault were forwarded to the Ohio Highway Patrol for investigation.

State Reneges on WSR Treaty

State Reneges On WSR Treaty

The above headline is taken from an article in the Monroe Monitor of April 11th. "When a state senator gets fed up with broken promises from the state of Washington, you take notice." Said the article. It was Senator Cliff Bailey who was fed up because the state won't provide the promised community impact funds for double bunked prisoners at Twin Rivers prison.

The state's move to build the Twin Rivers prison t Monroe fueled active opposition form the community, and the town's mistrust did not abate until the state agreed to pay "continuing impact funds" of some $200,000 annually. The prison was built and the impact money was regularly paid as promised for several years.

Then the state announced its intention to double bunk the 500-man Twin Rivers facility. The city of Monroe thereupon asked the state for an increase in their impact funds. The governor not only reused the increase, he cut off all funds to the town.

"We get nothing," said Ellie Snyder, Bailey's aide. "They take away what we have now, plus we get double bunking." Said Bailey.

Commenting on the state's ignoring its promise ...

EPA Fining Florida Prison

Federal environmental officials plan to fine the State of Florida $100,000.00 for pollution violations at the Florida State Prison near Starke.

The violations involve operations at the prison's sewage treatment plant. United States Environmental Protection Agency officials said April 18th the plant has been releasing nitrogen, ammonia and organic matter into the New River in levels higher than those allowed by law.

The violations began in November 1987 and continued through February of this year.

Them Today, Us Tommorrow

"In Germany they first came for the Communists and I didn't speak because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me - and by that time no one was left to speak up."

--Pastor Martin Niemoller

The position of this newsletter is that divisions within the prison populations on the basis of crime (or offense) makes our captor's job of oppressing us a lot easier. The point we want to get across here is that what they do to the sex offender today they will be doing to you tomorrow. We also want to give you a peek at how Canadian prisoners have dealt with this issue, so you can decide if you want to follow their example. Let's start with a little local history.

About five years ago a bill was introduced into the Washington legislature to reinstate post-release supervision for ...

A History of Rehabilitation Under Washington State Law

A History Of Rehabilitation Under Washington State Law

By Matt James

[Editor's Note: The revised Code of Washington provides that the parole Board "shall not...release a prisoner, unless in its opinion his rehabilitation has been complete and he is a fit subject for release." (RCW 9.95.100) the board has never defined the meaning of the word rehabilitation. Old guideline prisoners, the only ones who must be rehabilitated, are treated no differently that SRA offenders, who are merely being punished. What follows is a recent history of the law of rehabilitation as it has unfolded in Washington State].

Persons who committed drug-related offenses prior to July 1, 1975, had a statutory right, created through RCW 69.32.090, to be rehabilitated by way of treatment programs within the prison. That statute was then repealed during the 1975 legislative session. See, State v. Barnett, 17 Wn.App. 53, 55 (1977).

In 1977, the state Supreme Court held, in the case of Bresolin v. Morris, 88 Wn.2nd 167, that rehabilitation of convicted persons is a legitimate governmental interest and institutional goal, but it is not an enforceable right of institutionalized prisoners. The court reasoned that "[t]he legislature ...

DOC Settles Immigration Suit

By Paul Wright

The INS (Immigration and naturalization Service) in collusion with the DOC holds deportation hearings at the Wash. Corr. Center in Shelton for so-called "criminal deportee's", these are convicted felons who have had their immigration status revoked because of felony convictions. At these "hearings" the accused is allowed counsel at his expense, which few can afford. The Seattle chapter for the national Lawyers Guild, under the direction of immigration chair Bernice Funk, has attempted to alleviate the worst aspects of this situation by providing deportees with the assistance of law students and paralegals on a volunteer basis. This is allowed under immigration law but requires the consent of the IJ (Immigration Judge). To date, IJ nail has largely rejected all such volunteer counsel for the deportee's on one ground or another, leaving them without representation.

Most of the deportee's do not speak English and are from a Hispanic, Vietnamese, Tagalog, etc., background with little knowledge of English. Several months ago the WCC Chaplain, Vern Flesnor, was fired by the DOC for attempting to inform Hispanic prisoners of their limited rights at these railroad "hearings." After being fired for his efforts Mr. Flesnor filed suit against ...

Book on Washington Prisons

"Impacts of Washington State's Correctional Institutions on Communities" is the title of a study available at no cost from the Washington State Institute for Public Policy. The study was commissioned b the state legislature in 1988. The main purpose seems to have been to find out what effects prisons have on the local community. With opposition to the building of new prisons the legislature and DOC wanted some type of statistical study to show their opponents. The results of this study are that there are few, if any, negative impacts on communities. For example, the biggest problem in Steilacoom from NcNeil Island prison is that parking has been adversely affected.

The report contains a wealth of historical and statistical information about all the medium and maximum-security prisons in the state. I highly recommend the report and suggest that anyone interested in prisons in this state get the report. It is available from:

Washington State Institute for Public Policy
Evergreen State College
3162 Seminar Bldg. TA-00
Olympia, WA 98505
(206) 866-6000 (ext. 6380)

Abolish the Death Penalty!

Abolish The Death Penalty!!!

Here in Washington state the Washington Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (WCADP) is working to do just that. They have a variety of resources available, including a quarterly newsletter. The Coalition is a variety of religious, civil liberties and civic groups opposed to the death penalty. The newsletter contains news and statistics about the death penalty nationwide as well as specific actions. (Vigils, speaking engagements, etc.) For more information contact:

Teresa Mathers
1720 Smith Tower
Seattle, WA 98104
Other resources:

Texas Abolition Network
PO Box 832041
Richardson, TX 75083-2041
Nat. Coalition Against the Death Penalty
1419 "V" St. N.W.
Washington D.C. 20009

WAC Notification List

by Gary Banning

Under Washington state law, each state agency which proposes a change in the Washington Administrative Code (WAC) must notify interested parties of the changes that it is proposing to give the citizens an opportunity to contact their legislators, organize against it, etc.

Under RCW 34.05.230(2) any interested citizen can write the relevant agency and ask to be put on their WAC notification list, should the DOC propose any changes in the WAC's. Under RCW 34.05.320(3) persons can also request to receive notice of interpretive rules (what the DOC thinks the WAC's mean) from the DOC. The DOC maintains a WAC notification list. To be added to it write

Attn: WAC Notification List
PO Box 9699
Olympia, WA 98504

From the Editor

by Ed Mead

We are encouraged by the response to the first issue of Prisoner's Legal News. We have created some controversy. Prisoncrats confiscated the mast copy of PLN #1, another comrade and I received newsletter-related infractions, and my cage was kicked in and trashed twice during a four-day period. Such clear-cut repression is a sure sign that we are doing something right. These are times in which controversy is a good thing, it leads to struggle. We hope to generate some controversy within the ranks of our prisoner readers with a campaign to combat discrimination against prisoners on the basis of their crimes.

One of the objectives of PLN is to be a forum through which readers can express comments on what they've read or to point out issues we should be addressing. We feel it is important to open up a dialogue with those who support us, as well as with those who disagree. 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 as we can in the letters section on issue #3.

We also want to build links: Links ...

Prisoner AIDS Support Network

Prisoner Aids Support Network

The Prisoner AIDS Support Network is already in contact with the inside and outside prisoner AIDS activists in Canada and the U.S. Experience is knowing that fighting homophobia and institutionally induced ignorance through peer education programs inside can make a difference in knowledge of transmission and treatment of Prisoners With Aids (PWA). These inside activists need strong outside support in order to function within the repressive and often hostile institutions. And prisoners living with AIDS particularly need high quality, current AIDS and treatment information.

The Prisoner AIDS Support Network is interested in networking with other activists who want to work along these lines. If you can help, or if you know someone who needs AIDS related assistance, then have them contact:

Prisoner AIDS Support Network
PO Box 1171, Station A
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5W 1G6

Prison Populations To Grow 68% by '94

Prison populations are expected to increase by about 68% by 1994, according to a report by the National Council on Crime and Delinquency. Effects of the "war on drugs" are expected to overwhelm the nations correctional systems during that time. Other findings include:

The states will require an additional $35 billion to build and operate prisons over the next five years.

By 1991, California will become the first state to exceed 100,000 prisoners; by 1994 it will have over 134,000 prisoners. It will cost an estimated $4 billion annually to operate California's prison system by 1994.

The already disproportionate rate of Black and Hispanics being sent to prison will increase considerably.

Despite the increased use of incarceration, there has been no positive impact on crime rates. In fact, crime rates have increased by nearly 13% since 1984.

Newsletter for Prisoners with AIDS

Newsletter For Prisoners With Aids

The Prisoners with AIDS -- Rights Advocacy Group (PWA-RAG) was founded by prisoners in May of 1988. The PWA-RAG newsletter is published by Jim Magner and Larry Snyder both prisoners at the federal medical center in Springfield, MO.

PWA-RAG offers support and educational materials to prisoners that are having problems related to the HIV virus. The group is seeking to lobby for improvements in living conditions for HIV positive prisoners. For a copy of the newsletter you can write to:

Jim Magner - #38670-019
PO Box 4000
Springfield, MO 65808

Jail Populations Up 54% in 5 Years

Jail Populations Up 54% In 5 Years

In a special report "Population Density in Local Jails, 1988," the U.S. Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) recently announced that between 1983 and 1988, 5.3 million square feet of new housing space and 29,000 guards were added to jails throughout the U.S. This is a 44% and 65% increase respectively.

According to the BJS, during the five-year period the inmate population grew by 54% - from 223,551 to 343,569 men and women. Consequently, housing space per inmate decreased by 6%, from 54.3 square feet to 50.9 square feet per prisoner.

There were 284 suicides among the 667 deaths in the nation's jails during the 12 months prior to June 30, 1988.

Lehman Leaving

Pennsylvania Governor Robert Casey recently announced that Joseph Lehman, 46, the Assistant Secretary of Washington State's Department of Corrections, has been selected to head the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. Lehman will be overseeing a prison system about three times as large as Washington's which is beset with severe problems of overcrowding, racism and inadequate facilities. Lehman's predecessor, David Owins, Jr. resigned as a result of recent riots.

Lehman had worked with the Washington DOC since 1969 when he worked as a probation and parole officer. When employed as the head of the Monroe Command Lehman approved computers to be purchased by prisoners and kept in their cells.


Advertise here



Prisoner Education Guide side



Federal Prison Handbook




Prisoner Education Guide side