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Prisoner Education Guide

Prison Legal News: August, 1994

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Volume 5, Number 8

In this issue:

  1. The Scandal of Prison "Management" (p 1)
  2. AZ Medical Care Unconstitutional (p 2)
  3. NJ Prisoners' Resource Center (p 2)
  4. Coalition and Prisoners Fight for Better Health Care (p 3)
  5. TB Alert (p 4)
  6. AIDS #1 Killer in FL DOC (p 4)
  7. Researching Medical Deliberate Indifference (p 4)
  8. WA Initiative to Increase Gun Penalties (p 6)
  9. WSR Consent Decree Loses S. Ct. Challenge (p 7)
  10. Little Diversity in WA State Courts (p 7)
  11. WA Punishment for Use of Religious Name Illegal (p 8)
  12. OR DOC Held in Contempt for Retaliatory Transfer (p 8)
  13. MDOC Sanctioned for Ex Parte Contacts with Prisoners in Court Cases (p 9)
  14. Suit Filed Over Conditions at Virgin Islands Criminal Justice Complex (p 9)
  15. UNICOR Info Wanted (p 9)
  16. Suit Challenges Inadequate PD Funding (p 10)
  17. Help Get Mumia Abu-Jamal Back on the Air! (p 10)
  18. Oppression on the Rise in Arizona (p 11)
  19. FBI Heroin Dealer (p 11)
  20. Crimes Against Habeas Corpus (p 12)
  21. Statistics Under Attack: F.B.I. Director Speaks out in Support of DNA Profiling (p 13)
  22. Recidivism Revisited (p 13)
  23. Prisoner Unrest in Georgia (p 14)
  24. Aids in WA DOC (p 14)
  25. Lucasville Riot Tab $34 Million Plus (p 14)
  26. Reviews (p 15)
  27. How to Win Disciplinary Hearings (Book Review) (p 15)
  28. From The Editor (p 16)
  29. Freedom for Political Prisoners (p 16)
  30. The Global Prison (Book Review) (p 17)
  31. Medical Help Sought for Danish POW (p 17)
  32. South African Prisoners Rebel (p 17)
  33. Peru's Lawyers: A High Risk Profession (p 18)
  34. Indonesia's Final Solution to Crime (p 19)

The Scandal of Prison "Management"

By Jill Brotman

Throughout the AFSC's decades of prison work it has encouraged reconciliation and nonviolent alternatives to conflict. But Massachusetts Governor William Weld has declared that a stay in prison should replicate a tour of the circles of hell. Current prison management is supposed to be part of the war on crime. But it is not a war on crime -- it is a war on prisoners.

A fundamental principle of American judicial practice is that people are sent to prison as punishment, not for punishment. However, the purity of this idea hardly ever exists in practice. The prisoners most vulnerable to the secondary punishments of confinement are long-term or lifers. When we talk about how severely we should punish, we always need to distinguish between long-term and short-term punishment. Some may detest the people in our prisons. Nonetheless, when they are old and ill, when they have served 20 years and can hardly be identified as the same individual who committed the crime, when the prison term is the person's life and the prisoner struggles to imbue that life with meaning, punishing takes on a different character.

Then there is a most grave consideration: the culture of ...

AZ Medical Care Unconstitutional

This lengthy (76 pages) opinion deals with a DOC-wide class action suit filed by Arizona state prisoners challenging the medical and dental care, treatment available for seriously mentally ill prisoners, and unequal medical treatment provided to females compared to that provided male prisoners. District court judge Muecke ruled in favor of the prisoners and ordered extensive injunctive relief.

The opinion sets forth extensive factual findings that give a great amount of detail concerning the provision of health care services in the Arizona DOC.

In its conclusions of law, the court sets forth the relevant legal standard to be used in reviewing prisoners' eighth amendment claims regarding the adequacy of medical care. The court notes that the denial, delay or intentional interference with medical care shows deliberate indifference by prison officials. While courts may consider expert opinions in order to determine constitutional requirements for medical care such opinions do not establish constitutional minimums. Prison officials can be held liable for failing to implement a proper mental health care program or failing to adequately train or supervise their subordinates in medical care positions.

The court held that one of the most significant problems in the Arizona DOC medical and dental care systems ...

NJ Prisoners' Resource Center

In conjunction with the New Jersey American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) former prisoners have set up a Prisoner's Resource Center (PRC) to provide services and advocacy for both current and former prisoners in New Jersey.

Among the services provided for prisoners are: assistance with parole plans, letters of assurance for the state parole board, information about available resources for education, vocational training, family services, etc., advocacy on behalf of prisoners and assistance in obtaining representation in civil/human rights matters.

Services for former prisoners include: referrals on how to effectively obtain and utilize community resources like food stamps, clothing, housing, welfare, etc., employment counseling, help in readjusting to life outside prison, substance abuse information and help in obtaining representation on human/civil rights matters.

The PRC's goal is to help both prisoners and former prisoners successfully make it back into society. Projects such as this are important and should be encouraged because they involve prisoners helping themselves. PRC hours are 9 AM to 12 noon, mon-thurs. For more information contact: PRC, 972 Broad St. 6th Fl. Newark, NJ. 07102. (201) 643-3079.

Coalition and Prisoners Fight for Better Health Care

San Francisco, March 10, 1994 -- Despite a demonstration of over 100 people at the gates of Chowchilla prison on January 29 for better health care, the daily medical neglect and abuse continues unabated. Since the beginning of the year, three women prisoners, two of whom had AIDS, have died at the Central California Women's Facility at Chowchilla (Chowchilla prison).

The recent deaths of Sonja Stapels, Molly Reyes and Jackie Jenkins sparked a public outcry for an immediate, impartial legislative investigation. The Coalition to Support Women Prisoners at Chowchilla called this week upon the State Assembly Committee on Public Safety to begin an immediate investigation into both the deaths and the quality of medical care at the prison. (Last year, the Public Safety Committee's scathing report on medical care at the California Medical Facility at Vacaville sparked substantive changes at that prison.)

Sonja Stapels died on January 2, 1994, of AIDS-related pneumonia and other complications. Stapels was not discovered to be HIV+ until two weeks before she died. Her cellmates tried in vain for over a month to bring her poor condition to the attention of medical staff. She never received any preventive care, monitoring or treatment which may ...

TB Alert

By David Gilbert

Tuberculosis (TB) is the leading infectious killer in the world. Long considered conquered in the industrialized nations, TB is now making a comeback in the U.S. Prison is one danger zone for this disease which can be spread by airborne bacteria. In recent mass screenings (with the PPD test) in New York State, 1/4 of the prisoners showed positive for exposure to TB. Ordinarily only a small portion of those who test positive, about 10%, will proceed to active TB, and it is only those who are actively sick who can transmit the germs to others. While New York has been particularly hard hit, including with treatment resistant strains, TB is an emerging problem in other prison systems as well.

Prisoners need to be aware of the particular problems of containing the spread of TB in populations with significant incidence of HIV (the AIDS virus). The typical TB screening with PPD tests, while a part of a public health program, is not adequate for finding every prisoner who may have active/contagious TB for purposes of isolation and treatment. Persons with compromised immune systems 1) will often show false negatives on the PPD test and ...

AIDS #1 Killer in FL DOC

According to Florida corrections officials, AIDS is the leading cause of death in Florida prisons and many prisoners are released without knowing if they are infected. Half of the people who die in Florida prisons die from AIDS. Prison officials estimate about 8 percent of that state's 50,000 prisoners are infected with HIV, the virus which leads to AIDS. That is 20 times higher than the infection rate in the general population outside of prisons.

Dr. Charles Mathews, assistant state corrections secretary for medical services, told the St. Petersburg Times: "They go back home, and when they go back there they spread the disease. This is not really a prison problem. It's a public health problem." The Florida DOC does not test prisoners for HIV/AIDS unless they volunteer to be tested. Because many don't take the test no one knows for sure how many are infected or how often prisoners infect each other. Each of the 3,000 prisoners entering the Florida DOC each month are tested for syphilis, gonorrhea and tuberculosis, but not HIV/AIDS.

Florida state law prohibits compulsory AIDS/HIV testing. DOC Secretary Harry Singletary said he would not ask the legislature ...

Researching Medical Deliberate Indifference

By Dude J. Rose

Prisoners have an eighth amendment right to adequate medical treatment. When bringing a claim of inadequate medical treatment, the plaintiff/prisoner must allege and show deliberate indifference on the part of the defendants towards the prisoner's medical needs and treatment.

The Supreme Court has adopted the "deliberate indifference" standard to determine whether officials display the requisite culpable state of mind with respect to conditions of confinement, as well as medical care and treatment of prisoners. See: Wilson v. Setter, 111 S. Ct at 2326-27 (1991).

What one must understand prior to bringing a § 1983 action dealing with inadequate medical treatment is, neither accidents nor inadvertent failure to provide adequate medical care constitutes deliberate indifference to a prisoner's serious medical needs. See: Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976). Also it should be noted that mere negligence does not constitute deliberate indifference. See: Wilson, 111 S.Ct. at 2328.

The Circuit courts are unclear as to the requisite degree of subjective intent on the part of prison officials in order to raise an eighth amendment claim. Liability for violations of the eighth amendment has two components, objective and subjective. In a 1992 decision ...

WA Initiative to Increase Gun Penalties

By Paul Wright

The Washington Citizens for Justice are the right-wingers headed by Dave LaCourse, of the Public Policy Institute in Bellevue, WA; John Carlson, of KVI radio and Seattle Times columnist and Ida Ballasiotes, Republican state representative for Mercer Island. [Editor's Note: writing for the Times plugging I-593 Carlson referred to it in the third person, neglecting to inform readers that he was the chairman of the initiative and his mother the treasurer. A database search turned up 77 references to I-593 in the Times and not once was this mentioned.] In 1993 their main project was to get Initiative 593 on the ballot. Better known as "3 Strikes You're Out" it was passed by Washington voters in 1993 [See PLN, Vol. 5, No. 6]. Not content with that, they have a new initiative going. This one is Initiative 159 with the slogan "Hard Time for Armed Crime."

The main purposes of this initiative are to increase the sentences given to criminal defendants convicted of committing crimes with firearms; an expansion of the death penalty statute and elimination of good time for these additional mandatory minimum sentences. It also changes the seriousness level of several offenses that ...

WSR Consent Decree Loses S. Ct. Challenge

By Paul Wright

As consistently reported in PLN, most recently in the March, 1994, issue, prisoners at the Washington State Reformatory (WSR) have been involved in nearly 13 years of litigation involving prison officials' challenge to the consent decree they entered into in 1981. The decree mandated that prison officials single cell prisoners at WSR in exchange for the prisoners dropping their other claims. The dropped claims dealt with medical care and virtually all aspects of prison conditions at WSR. Within one week of agreeing to a population cap which would forbid double celling at WSR, prison officials began trying to weasel out of it. As previously noted, they have finally succeeded in doing so. The district court ruled that the decree could be dissolved once prison officials complied with the decree and single-celled WSR. In other words, the day they met the decree's requirements in 1987 they were free to do as they pleased as long as no continuing constitutional violations were occurring. The ninth circuit affirmed this interpretation at Collins v. Thompson, 8 F.3d 657 (9th Cir. 1993).

In doing so, the ninth circuit deviated from every other court to consider the matter of consent decrees ...

Little Diversity in WA State Courts

A survey conducted by the Washington State Supreme Court's task force on diversity in the judiciary yielded not very surprising results. Out of 451 state judges in Washington 95 percent, all but 22, are white. Only three of those 22 are in courts other than King County (Seattle). Eastern Washington, with its substantial Hispanic population has no Hispanic judges.

By contrast, those sentenced for adult felonies (which ranges from theft to murder) in 1993 were 30 percent minorities, according to the state Sentencing Guidelines Commission.

The attitude of many court staffs towards judicial diversity tends to be cavalier. One Eastern Washington court responded to a survey question concerning judicial staff's racial background by replying "Asian", as in "Caucasian".

So far the only result of this survey has been a seminar on work force diversity in the judiciary held by the state's Minority and Justice Task Force. A question not asked in the survey, nor reflected in the felon population report, is the economic background of the state's judges as well as those of all people sentenced for felonies. It is quite likely that such statistics would show all or most of the judges, even the minorities ...

WA Punishment for Use of Religious Name Illegal

By Dawud Halisi Malik

On January 5, 1978, the superior court of the county of Walla Walla accepted my petition for name change as I had adopted Al-Islam as my religion. On May 8, 1990, I arrived at the Clallam Bay Correction Center (CBCC). I requested that I be acknowledged by my religious name as I gave a copy of the court order decree to my counselor to have the information distributed to whoever needed it. I requested an identification badge change reflecting Dawud Halisi Malik, which was denied by superintendent Neal Brown.

I had several petitions pending in various courts under my Islamic name. The institution was so bold as to reject legal and personal mail sent to me under my Muslim name. CUS Kathy Kaatz was even bolder: she tore up legal documents she had initially notarized because I had placed both names on the legal documents, my slave name of David Riggins in conjunction with my Islamic name. CUS Kaatz's display of arrogance, bias, bigotry and racism was very apparent by her totally unprofessional behavior. She had me escorted from her office and infracted for questioning her behavior .

The administration at Clallam Bay told me that ...

OR DOC Held in Contempt for Retaliatory Transfer

In 1988 Arlen Smith and several other Oregon state prisoners sought judicial review of Oregon DOC administrative regulations in Oregon state courts. Shortly before the briefs were due, Smith, the initiator of the litigation, was transferred to the Nevada state prison system. Upon his transfer Smith was moved without any ...

MDOC Sanctioned for Ex Parte Contacts with Prisoners in Court Cases

Over eight years ago, lawyers from the Michigan Attorney General's office sent interrogatories directly to prisoners about the Knop v. Johnson case without notifying the plaintiffs' lawyers. Judge Enslen entered a protective order on February 19, 1986, and he later relied upon that conduct by the defendant's counsel as one factor justifying a higher award of attorney fees to the plaintiffs' lawyers in that case. Knop v. Johnson, 712 F Supp 571, 586 (W.D. Mich. 1989).

In April 1994, the Michigan Attorney General and Department of Corrections sent one of their experts on classification, Jack Alexander of the New York DOC, to four Michigan prisons where he interviewed or tried to interview a total of sixteen male and female prisoners about the classification issues in the case of Cain et al v MDOC, No. 88-61119-AZ, a statewide class action case before the Ingham County Circuit Court, Hon. James R. Giddings. The MDOC did not notify the plaintiffs' representatives about these interviews, and Mr. Alexander did not make clear to the prisoners that he was working against their interests.

The Cain plaintiffs moved for a protective order and for sanctions. The court held a hearing on May 9 ...

Suit Filed Over Conditions at Virgin Islands Criminal Justice Complex

For almost two years, prisoners at Criminal Justice Complex have been locked up for 23 hours a day in overcrowded, filthy, rat and roach infested cells. They are only allowed out for a short period each day to shower and for an hour of recreation twice a week. Cells designed for one person are being used to house four or five, with mattresses on the floor which are frequently soaked by malfunctioning, overflowing toilets. Prisoners eat in their cells, on beds or on the floor. The food is often stale, their drinking water is filtered shower water and is contaminated. There is no running water in the cells other than the toilets, not enough light to read or write by, and the cooling and ventilation systems frequently do not work.

These conditions have brought the National Prison Project of the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation to join with St. Thomas attorney Benjamin Currence in filing suit on behalf of the prisoners against Governor Farrelly and Bureau of Corrections Directory Aiken and his staff.

In a complaint filed June 20, 1994, the plaintiffs' counsel seek relief from unconstitutional conditions that they claim fall below standards of human decency and deny basic ...

UNICOR Info Wanted

[Editor's Note: In the June, 1994, issue of PLN we reported on a lawsuit f led by BOP prisoners Joe Mohwish and Duane Olson alleging racketeering and other illegal labor practices by UNICOR. We received the following from Joe.] We would like to hear from federal prisoners who have any past or present knowledge, or can obtain copies of any documentation (such as invoices, quotations, shipping receipts, memorandums, directives, etc.) of UNICOR manufacturing any products for or providing any kind of service or making sales of any kind to any private sector business or any customer other than the US Government.

Thank you in advance for your help. Please circulate this ad to a friend who can help. Please mail copies or correspondence to: Research Project, Box 920474, Norcross, GA. 300192

Suit Challenges Inadequate PD Funding

By Marc Lee

Many lawsuits have been filed throughout this country addressing the problems in indigent defense programs. Although many of these lawsuits have been successful in showing the inadequacies in the indigent defense programs, for the most part they have been unsuccessful in obtaining relief. On May 12, 1994, prisoners at Arizona State Prison in Florence filed a class-action lawsuit which has taken a different approach to the problem (Ernst v. Symington, U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, Dist. Ct. No. CIV 94-0953-PHX-SMM (MM)). The defendants in the lawsuit are Fife Symington, Governor of Arizona, the Attorney General of Arizona, and the Boards of Supervisors for Pima and Maricopa Counties.

Instead of attacking excessive caseloads and workloads of indigent defense attorneys or the quality of indigent representation, as the other lawsuits have done, Ernst is attacking only the lack of funding and resources to indigent defense programs. This lack of funding and resources is so serious in Arizona that the indigent defense programs have no choice but to provide constitutionally inadequate representation to the vast majority of defendants. Few defendants are chosen to have their cases properly investigated, researched or prepared. This has resulted in many ...

Help Get Mumia Abu-Jamal Back on the Air!

By Noelle Hanrahan

Sunday May 15th, 1994: The New York Times ran an AP article "From Death Row: A Radio Show" highlighting the next day's premier of Mumia Abu-Jamal's radio commentaries on All Things Considered (ATC). Most major dailies ran the article. That same day, NPR News Managing Editor Bruce Drake (who was left in charge while his boss was on vacation) stunned NPR weekend staff by single-handedly--without editorial consultations--canceling the debut. This was after NPR had selected, recorded, and launched a nationwide publicity campaign highlighting the debut of these "unique" commentaries. In fact, NPR does not usually set an air date for commentaries but the press interest was so high they scheduled an air date of Monday May 16th.

Since July of 1992 as the director of the Prison Radio Project I have been recording and producing Mumia's commentaries for public radio (heard in the S.F. Bay Area on Flashpoints, KPFA 94.1 FM, Wednesdays). In February 1993, I went to Washington D.C. and scheduled auditions of Mumia's demo tape with Gail Christian, Executive Director of Pacifica National Programming and Ellen Weiss, Executive Director of All Things Considered. I was accompanied by Jane ...

Oppression on the Rise in Arizona

By O'Neil Stough

Arizona has joined the ranks of many other prisons nationwide where oppressive and tried-and-failed barbaric methods of the distant past are being re-instituted.

Governor Fife Symington, up for reelection this year, and Director of Corrections, Sam Lewis whose experience is in law enforcement and kowtowing, both with no experience in corrections, have spearheaded the drive to make the Arizona prison system an environment of suffering, rage and cruelty.

At a recent Republican fund raising dinner, Symington, with Lewis in the wings, announced a new "get tough" program. Regarding one of the facilities being planned, Symington bragged of the cruelty, "It will be a hellhole no man will ever want to go." Lewis boasted later that "troublemakers" (guess who defines that?) will be forced to perform hard labor in the hot Arizona desert without benefit of tools. "They will literally be breaking rocks with their bare hands," Lewis stated. Such "leadership" from the top has given rise to an increase in threats and abuse of prisoners by guards who perceive the "get-tough" philosophy as a green light to act out their basest hostilities.

Lewis has consistently demonstrated he has little regard for the suffering and abuse of ...

FBI Heroin Dealer

FBI agent Kenneth Withers stole one hundred pounds of high quality heroin from FBI evidence lockers and then sent mail solicitations with a one ounce sample packet of heroin, to drug dealers whose names he had acquired from FBI files. Withers, a seven year FBI veteran, instructed drug dealers to call him at a pager number and then asked them to send money, $75,000 per kilo, to private postal boxes in South Jersey. In his mail solicitation Withers offered drug dealers "unlimited quantities" of high grade heroin without prior payment and at half street prices. The FBI was tipped off to the scheme by drug dealers who received the offer. Withers was fired and then arrested in his FBI office. Apparently he had already made $75,000 on his idea.

Source: Seattle Times, June 4, 1994

Crimes Against Habeas Corpus

By Susan Blaustein

With its myriad new death penalty offenses, "three-strikes" provisions, mandatory minimums and moneys for prisons and police, Congress left only one thing out of its much-vaunted new crime package: any protection for Americans' most basic constitutional rights. In their poll-driven stampede to look tough on crime and improve the safety of the streets, members of Congress have once again compromised the safety of our individual liberties by voting to strip from both House and Senate versions of the crime bill all provisions aimed at safeguarding the right of habeas corpus.

In recent years habeas corpus has been threatened by a battery of Supreme Court decisions that have systematically narrowed prisoners' access to the federal courts. The provisions in the crime bill would have corrected the most egregious of these rulings, thereby restoring the historic balance between states' and individuals' rights in reviewing criminal convictions. Many constitutional scholars and lawyers and some Democratic legislators believe it is the duty of Congress -- which first incorporated habeas provisions into Article One of the Constitution in 1789 and has been responsible for its oversight ever since -- to make sure that the current Supreme Court does not jeopardize those essential rights habeas ...

Statistics Under Attack: F.B.I. Director Speaks out in Support of DNA Profiling

By Dale Gardner

The method used by the FBI to calculate the frequency of a DNA match has been questioned in a recent paper. It is reported that the FBI calculates match probability based upon a database of large pools of "Caucasians" or "Blacks". In an article in Science, Volume 254,1745 (1994), two geneticists contend that more fine tuning of the database is needed to adequately reflect efforts of genetically differentiated subgroups. For example, it is claimed that there is a higher probability for a chance match of a Polish American with another Polish American than would be indicated by the larger "Caucasian" Database. The FBI Director has vigorously defended the FBI approach as reliable and acceptable for use in court.

A study of DNA profiling by the National Academy of Sciences, due for release within the next month is expected to address the issue of population genetics (just as it did with voice identification, this report should have a major impact on the presentation of DNA evidence in court.)

Recidivism Revisited

Michigan's corrections department recently released a five-year study of its paroled prisoners that reached the same conclusion as a similar six-year Louisiana study released last year: 55.2% of Michigan's 1986 parolees never returned to prison (nor did 56% of Louisiana's 1987 released prisoners).

5-year follow-up study on first-time Michigan parolees released in 1986

% Success
% Failure


Sex Crimes






Auto Theft



3,574 released
1,973 parole discharges (55.2%)
1,601 parole violators (44.8%)

Source: The MCF Factor (Michigan)

These two studies debunk the popular myth that 70-80% of ex-cons return to prison. They are the latest to examine how people fare who were actually released from prison, providing sound data as to how many and which ex-cons pose a significant threat to the public.

Earlier studies by the U. S. Justice Department -- "Prevalence of Imprisonment" (1985) and "Recidivism of Prisoners Released in 1983" (1989) -- reached the ...

Prisoner Unrest in Georgia

By A Georgia Reader

On Sunday, June 19, 1994, prisoners at Hancock Correctional Institution in Sparta, Georgia revolted in one of the worst prison riots in Georgia history. Damages were estimated at over one million dollars. Establishment media reports erroneously blamed the disturbance on "faulty showers". In fact, captors at Hancock had forced prisoners at the 900 bed facility to go without running water for more than two days prior to the incident. Prison administrators offered no official explanation for the water cutoff, nor was there any attempt made to calm prisoner unrest during the weekend-long water shortage.<%0>

Problems began on Friday afternoon when water service to the prison's dormitories was turned off and prisoner sinks, toilets, showers and drinking fountains ceased to operate. Interestingly enough, water flow continued without interruption to utility rooms adjacent to each dorm and to the prison's kitchen. On Saturday afternoon water was delivered to the dorms by the prison fire truck, one bucket per room, for flushing toilets. Occasional deliveries of ice and drinking water were made to dorms through Sunday morning. The deliveries then ceased. Early Sunday evening ice chests containing dirty, foul-smelling water were delivered to the dorms for drinking ...

Aids in WA DOC


Beth Anderson, health services administrator for the Washington DOC, said that since 1985, 7,604 WA DOC prisoners have been tested for the HIV virus and 135 have tested positive. Currently, the DOC claims there are 63 HIV positive prisoners in custody, with 38 not yet showing symptoms of AIDS. Since 1985, nine prisoners have died in state custody of AIDS.

In response to this, the Governor's Advisory Committee on HIV-AIDS is in the process of holding hearings to make recommendations to the governor on how best to contain the spread of AIDS/HIV within the state's prisons. Current Washington DOC policy does not allow prisoners to have or receive condoms except for Extended Family Visits. Homosexual behavior is punished as a major rules violation.

Tim Hilard, a former television newscaster who was recently appointed to the panel, told the committee on June 14, 1994, that he will strongly urge the Lowry administration to lift the ban on condoms in prison. DOC boss Chase Riveland said he would consider changing the policy if the number of HIV cases grow. There is no forced or mandatory HIV/AIDS testing in the Washington DOC unless a ...

Lucasville Riot Tab $34 Million Plus

The 11 day rebellion at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility (SOCF) in Lucasville, OH, which began on Easter day, 1993, left cell block L in ruins. So far it has cost the state $19.2 million to repair cellblock L alone. It cost $32.5 million to build the entire maximum security prison in 1972.

The $34 million dollar tab to date, cited by state officials, includes costs such as the special prosecutors hired to pursue rebellion related criminal cases; the purchase of tear gas, gas masks and body bags; court costs, etc. This figure does not include the potential awards of damages to the guards and prisoners who have sued the state for injuries resulting from the rebellion.


By Paul Wright

North Coast XPress is a magazine for people who care about Constitutional issues, U.S. foreign policy, the criminal "justice" system, labor news, animal rights, global and domestic economics, the environment and other topics that the mainstream media won't touch. Each issue has prisoner art, poetry, and articles in the "Voices from prison" section. Recent issues have contained articles on AIDS, Hemp legalization and products, rethinking the war on drugs, the Pelican Bay trial, class justice and more. Subscriptions are $10 a year for prisoners (stamps accepted), $12 for others. Free to prisoners on death row or control units. Write: North Coast XPress, P.O. Box 1226, Occidental, CA. 95465.

Shut Them Down is the bi-monthly newsletter of the Colorado Coalition to Shut Down Isolation Prisons. Their primary campaign has been against the federal government's plans to open a new control unit prison, to replace Marion, in Florence, CO. Each issue contains information concerning prison activism, control units and more. Subscriptions are $10.00 a year from: Rocky Mountain Peace Center, P.O. Box 1156, Boulder, CO. 80306-1156.

Pelican Bay Prison Express is the bi-monthly magazine of the Pelican Bay Information Project, an independent citizens ...

How to Win Disciplinary Hearings (Book Review)

How To Win Disciplinary Hearings (Book Review)

Reviewed by Mark Cook

HTW is a manual for federal prisoners written by former federal prisoner Allan Parmelee. This gives the manual integrity from the git go but keep in mind that the undercurrent directions of how to beat a valid "shot" (rule infraction) should be taken with a grain of salt and a good sense of humor.

Parmelee gives detailed and positive directions on how to proceed with mandated due process rights to the best advantage. But one shouldn't rely solely on Parmelee's analysis of the law. Prisoners should research the law thoroughly as it is constantly being changed by the courts. For example, Parmelee incorrectly advises that prisoners have fourth amendment rights in regard to cell searches. The supreme court held otherwise in Hudson v. Palmer in 1984. But hey, if a dude can slide by the Disciplinary Hearing Officer (DHO) with such a claim, that is cool, but don't try to lay that on a court of law if court litigation is needed. [Editor's Note: this section has since been corrected.]

The manual correctly stresses the importance of establishing a sound case with evidence and witnesses ...

From The Editor

From the Editor

By Paul Wright

Welcome to another issue of PLN. As we reported last month, the ACLU has filed suit against the Washington state parole board over their no-contact parole condition on Ed Mead, PLN's former coeditor, which terminated his involvement with PLN. So far the case has gotten some local publicity with minor articles in the Seattle Times (on the weather and obituary page) and Post-Intelligencer. National Public Radio interviewed both Ed and Frank Cuthbertson, our lawyer, and they have also been interviewed by journalist Nat Hentoff who will be doing an article on the suit. The Progressive has also reported on the suit. So in that sense the suit is already a "success" in terms of raising public awareness about prisoners' rights and free speech issues.

The attorney general, Talis Abolins, has responded on behalf of the parole board, with a boiler plate reply. When I asked Frank how he could tell it was a boiler plate reply he said "because he asked the court to stay the suit until we exhaust state remedies over loss of good time in a prison disciplinary hearing." The suit challenges only the parole boards conditions of release affecting ...

Freedom for Political Prisoners

In July, 1992, different groups from around the world meeting in Munich, Germany over the 500th anniversary of the Columbus Encounter, formed a group called "Libertad!" around the goal of organizing an International Day of Action around the issue of political prisoners. The primary organizers of Libertad! are the Movimiento de Liberacion Nacional/Puerto Rico, National Democratic Front/Philippines, FMLN/El Salvador and the MLN-Tupamaros/Uruguay.

Libertad defines political prisoners as "Those comrades imprisoned because of their struggles, mobilizations and actions as well as those people oppressed in every country by their rulers. This includes prisoners of resistance, liberation and basis (sic) processes all over the world as well as prisoners of the class struggle fighting for the abolition of class society... it is only possible to succeed with an international campaign for the freedom of all political prisoners if it also has the aim of breaking the system of oppression and imprisonment as a whole."

There are currently over 150 political prisoners held in the US, over 800 in England, 700 in Spain, several dozen in Germany, Italy and other countries that normally don't come to mind as holding political prisoners. Thousands more are held in diverse countries ...

The Global Prison (Book Review)

The Human Rights Watch Global report On Prisons

Edited by Aryeh Neier 303 pp. 1993. New York: Human Rights Watch. $20.00 (pb).

Review by David Gilbert

The Brazilian Military Police's wanton murder of 111 prisoners involved in a disturbance is just one of the grim realities presented in The Human Rights Watch Global Report on Prisons (Global Report) in its study covering twenty countries around the world. We learn that brutal torture of suspects--men, women and children -- is routine in Turkey. We are told how a Chinese prisoner may be handcuffed behind his back for several weeks--he can only eat by lying on his stomach and lapping food like a dog--for the offense of picking up a guard's discarded cigarette butt. We're apprised of Palestinian "security" prisoners from the occupied territories being illegally held in Israel--where their families and lawyers may be restricted from visiting--packed into desert tent camps with 100o summer heat. We witness the stultifying overcrowding of a detention cell in Jamaica, where inmates sleep on a wet, filthy floor amid the stench of nearby pools of feces.

This volume is based on a six-year study that has already produced eighteen different books on ...

Medical Help Sought for Danish POW

An international campaign has been launched to obtain better conditions of confinement and medical care for Swiss militant Marc Rudin, who is currently serving an eight year prison sentence for alleged robbery in Denmark. Rudin is better known as Jihad Mansour, the movement name he adopted while working with the Palestinian resistance from 1979 to 1991. During that time he designed the covers of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) magazine Democratic Palestine, as well as other posters and graphics for the Palestinian cause.

In 1991 he was arrested while crossing into Turkey and spent 18 months in prison there before being extradited to Denmark. Once in Denmark he was accused of being the "fifth man" in the November, 1988, robbery of a post office. The proceeds, totaling over $2.5 million, were allegedly intended for the Palestinian resistance.

In October, 1993, Rudin was sentenced to eight years imprisonment after being convicted solely on the basis of police allegations. Since being imprisoned he has been treated far worse than other prisoners. He is denied both exercise and normal association with other prisoners. Rudin is held in a provincial prison, making it difficult for his friends in Copenhagen ...

South African Prisoners Rebel

On June 10, 1994, prisoners in seven South African prisons rebelled, taking prison officials hostage and destroying prisons. Prisoners demanding an amnesty held a warden captive for nearly 24 hours at the Modderbee prison east of Johannesburg before releasing him. One prisoner was killed and at least 30 escaped from the prison which holds 4,000 prisoners, said Correctional Services spokesperson Chris Olckers.

Another prison spokesperson, Lt. Rudie Potgeiter, said at least 80 prisoners burned down 80 percent of the Brandvlei juvenile prison in the Cape Town area. One prisoner was in critical condition and more than 30 were taken to a hospital suffering from burns. Potgeiter said that there had been violence at two Witbank prisons east of Jobannesburg after prisoners refused to return to their cells. 104 prisoners escaped from one unnamed prison during this time period.

Prisoners also rebelled at Leewkop Prison near Pretoria, J.C. Steyn Prison in Port Elizabeth and at the Ncone Prison in KwaZulu. At Ncone, 36 prisoners were injured when they attempted to take two guards captive. This series of rebellions follows earlier riots and rebellions in South African prisons shortly before the recent elections where South African prisoners demanded the right ...

Peru's Lawyers: A High Risk Profession

"In the eyes and ears of the sinister power, all of us are under suspicion." Oiga Magazine Feb 21, 1994, p.5

To defend political prisoners in Peru is a delicate matter. The war that has been going on in the Andean country since 1980 has atrophied the legal institutions because the government has applied the U.S. counter-insurgency policies.

State power is dictatoriay and human rights exist only in dreams. Being lawyers before the military justice system, defending those accused of "terrorism" or "treason to the motherland" (which for the army is synonymous with the insurgency), is a dangerous profession.

Those who were present at the trials of the leader of the Communist Party of Peru (also known as Sendero Luminoso), Abimael Guzman Reinoso, and other political prisoners, suffer psychological torture that is not merely limited to threats. Many of them are now being held in Peruvian prisons, for the "grave crime" of representing presumed members of the insurgency.

With a blindfold covering their eyes, the defense lawyers are taken to the island where Manuel Ruben Abimael Guzman Reinoso is held prisoner. They are conducted in the midst of warnings like the above quoted to the place where the ...

Indonesia's Final Solution to Crime

The American media was recently awash over the case of Michael Fay, an American youth sentenced to four months in jail and 6 lashes of a cane for vandalism by a court in Singapore. Singapore's laws and justice system received a fair amount of scrutiny resulting from the Fay case. However, compared to Indonesia, Singapore is pretty "soft on crime".

In 1965 the Indonesian military staged a coup against then President Sukarno. The CIA assisted both the coup and the bloody aftermath that left between 500,000 and 800,000 real or suspected members of the Indonesian Communist Party murdered, thousands more imprisoned and exiled. Since then the military dictatorship of General Suharto has ruled with an iron fist. His government is well supported by the United States and other West European countries. Labor costs are low which has resulted in mass impoverishment for the great majority of Indonesians. Any attempt at political or labor organizing is met with brutal repression. Not surprisingly, the poverty has resulted in a wave of petty crime by street criminals.

The Indonesian government's response has been for uniformed policemen to conduct public, summary executions of alleged criminal suspects. The killings take place ...


Federal Prison Handbook



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Federal Prison Handbook




Prisoner Education Guide side