Category Archives: Prison Industrial Complex

I Never Smoked Marijuana — But I’m Serving Life In Prison Over A Marijuana Charge

CESAL: I Never Smoked Marijuana — But I’m Serving Life In Prison Over A Marijuana Charge

By Craig Cesal

Aug 27, 2019

“I sentence you to a term of natural life imprisonment, without the possibility of parole.”

These were the words I heard just months after the events of Sept. 11, 2001. You see, at that time, the news was filled with theories that drug dealers finance terrorists, and I had just been convicted of my first felony: conspiring to distribute marijuana. This was the newest foray into the “War on Drugs.”

The government never claimed that I bought, sold, or even used marijuana, but rather my business repaired semi-trucks for a company that trafficked marijuana. I didn’t think I was doing anything wrong, as I didn’t do anything with marijuana. I was wrong, according to the federal court in Gainesville, Georgia. My business, nestled near Chicago, was auctioned by lawyers in Georgia to pay for their services to secure the life sentence, after my home and savings were spent.

Two months ago, recreational marijuana was approved for sale by the Illinois legislature. Some of my business equipment is likely being used again to repair trucks that haul marijuana.

For over 17 years, I have watched robbers, rapists and even murderers come and go from prison. Last year, a guy in my cellblock who killed two federal marshals was paroled after serving 30 years.

I’ve been watching the news, and I’m waiting to see if we prisoners will get the right to vote.

Here at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, the cornerstone, engraved with “A.D. 1937,” reminds me that the prison opened the same year the federal government made marijuana illegal. The construction workers likely used pot while they built the prison. Looking out from my job at the prison factory, where we make blankets for the military, I can see “Death House” — where Timothy McVeigh and others died. He spent less time in federal prison than me, although his current housing is likely worse.

From Cellblock D, a couple of weeks ago before the time I wrote this, John Walker Lindh, the so-called “White Taliban” who shot CIA agents in Afghanistan, went home after serving his 20-year sentence. He came in after me, and with good time credits, served only 17 years.

To my knowledge, he never aided others who schlepped marijuana. Whew, that’s a good thing, or he’d still be here in prison with me. He was convicted of providing aid to terrorists, but for anything related to marijuana.

Prison is intended to teach offenders not to violate the law again, or simply, for those, like me, the judge deemed irredeemable, to teach the public, who may be thinking of something related to marijuana. At times, I scratch my head trying to fathom who is learning what as a result of my sentence. Bradley Manning made WikiLeaks a household word, and President Obama sent him home because he wore a dress. Maxwell Klinger, of “M*A*S*H” fame, had no such luck.

Obama also turned down my clemency request. Just what am I, or anyone else, supposed to learn from my life-for-pot sentence?

The Terre Haute prison abuts the Wabash River, which separates Indiana from Illinois. From the right places, I can see Illinois across the river, where I lived, and where marijuana distribution, and thereby marijuana conspiracy, is encouraged by state tax collectors. Did I merely have bad timing in selling services to marijuana traffickers from my perch in Illinois? Nope, federal DEA agents are still nabbing distributors in Illinois, well, because they still can. Oh, and the money from the marijuana dispensaries likely pay their salaries. Hopefully, I’ll learn my lesson in prison.

I imagine I can learn from the Federal Bureau of Prison’s paycheck collectors charged with caging me. The prison buildings are surrounded by tall fences, razor wire and cameras. No one from the media, from a family, or from an auditor can get in to see what staffers actually do inside the fence. Guards often go days without so much as seeing an inmate, if they even show up for work. Most will spend more years receiving retirement benefits from the job than they spent actually working.

A sentence of life means a sentence until death. Staff are flummoxed trying to discern what to put in the Federal Bureau of Prisons Form for my release date. Death won’t work. It must be a number. The last time I checked, they were writing 2028. Remember, nobody is coming over the fence and razor wire to check on the paperwork. But no release is imminent.

The sentencing judge determined I am a marijuana reprobate. I am thus irredeemable, and unworthy of anything other than final damnation in prison. Murderers are released after 13.4 years on average, according to the Department of Justice, and a terrorist can go home after 17 years. But I am a prisoner of the War on Drugs. There’s no hope for me under existing federal law.

I’ve learned my lesson, and lawmakers should be pushed to learn a lesson. Federal drug laws, especially marijuana laws, are long overdue for reform. The “fix” must also include sensible relief for prisoners of the failed War on Drugs.

Craig Cesal is serving a sentence of life without the possibility of parole in Indiana’s Terre Haute prison for a “marijuana” offense. He co-owned a towing company that recovered and repaired trucks for a rental company, some of which were used by smugglers to transport marijuana. He graduated from Montini High School in Lombard, Illinois in 1977. His daughter, Lauren, has obtained more than 300,000 signatures on a petition calling for clemency.”

CONTINUE READING…

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.

Additional Links of Information for Craig Cesal:

https://www.facebook.com/FreeCraigCesal/

https://www.change.org/p/free-my-dad-serving-life-without-parole-for-marijuana

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2016/12/02/he-got-life-without-parole-for-pot-and-he-was-just-denied-clemency/

http://www.pow420.com/craig_cesal

https://www.civilized.life/articles/marijuana-lifer-craig-cesal/

Free KY Amish Farmer Samuel Girod

(Please read and follow the link to sign petition for a man who has been unjustly jailed for charges which originated with a labeling infraction that led up to him being incarcerated.  It is unbelievable that our Country has gone so far as to incriminate this man!  Just read the story by Sally Oh.  Smkrider)

Help us get a presidential pardon for KY Amish Farmer Samuel Girod!

Sally Oh started this petition to President Donald J. Trump and 2 others

The FDA successfully harassed, indicted and convicted 57year old KY Amish farmer Samuel Girod for charges stemming from an innocent labeling infraction!

Sam is now serving 6 years in federal prison. Sam has lived his entire life in the Amish tradition: no electricity. That means no lights, no running water, no electronic sounds, no cell phones, no internet, no planes, no driving cars. He’s a farmer and lived on a farm all his life.

He’s now in prison about 7 hours away from his family — his wife Elizabeth, their 12 children and 25 grandchildren. He is now surrounded by steel with armed guards, bells and whistles, loudspeakers, warnings, cement and little access to the sun.

UPDATE 4/16/19: Sam has been moved several times and is now in Big Sandy which is 120 miles from home. There are no fences and fewer than 100 people there. It is not home but it is not hideous either. His family visits every two weeks and he even gets to see his grands!!!

Sam has never harmed anyone. There are no victims of the 3 herbals salves he made and sold for over 20 years. He made the mistake of mislabeling one of the salves.

The story of his persecution is practically unbelievable.

Except that I live a few minutes from Sam and met him in 2015. By now, I have met scores of people who’ve known him for many years, if not their entire lives. All of us witnessed the entire goings on firsthand. You could not make this up!

Read the entire story at  KY Free Press

— follow the links in the left sidebar for “Condensed” story.
You’ll also find links to the 3 days of the trial and Sam’s sentencing as well as all of the court documents.

At this point, Sam’s only hope for release is a presidential pardon. Please sign this petition, then share it with your friends and family.

Besides signing the petition, please feel free to send letters, emails, and make calls to seven (7) Kentucky legislators and President Trump. Details, addresses, sample missives at KY Free Press — follow the links in the left sidebar

(It doesn’t take long — I contacted everyone via tweet, FB post and email in less than 20 minutes!)

At the very least, our elected representatives must know that PLENTY of people — at least 30K of you with more signing everyday — care about an Amish KY farmer being railroaded into prison by an out-of-control federal agency!

#freeamishsam #thefreedomcoalition

For updates, subscribe to kyfreepress.com and/or follow Sally Oh (xosallyoh) on Facebook.

CONTINUE TO CHANGE.ORG TO SIGN ONLINE PETITION!

Cases against NJ Weedman up in smoke. Prosecutors cite changing views of marijuana

Updated 9:11 AM; Posted Jun 6, 3:15 PM

Ed "NJ Weedman" Forchion reacts to someone who beeped their horn in support as he talked in front of his shuttered restaurant Friday, May 25, 2018 in Trenton, a day after he was acquitted of witness tampering and was released from jail. (Kevin Shea | For NJ.com)

Above:  Ed “NJ Weedman” Forchion reacts to someone who beeped their horn in support as he talked in front of his shuttered restaurant Friday, May 25, 2018 in Trenton, a day after he was acquitted of witness tampering and was released from jail. (Kevin Shea | For NJ.com)

By Paige Gross   pgross@njadvancemedia.com,   For NJ.com

The Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office announced Wednesday it will be dropping most of the remaining drug and related charges against Edward “NJ Weedman” stemming from a 2016 raid on his Trenton restaurant.

What is not dismissed will be downgraded to municipal court, where jail time is unlikely.

But Forchion’s not seeing this as all good news. 

Late last month, Forchion was found not guilty by a jury on third-degree witness tampering charges – a case that also grew from the drug raid.

The marijuana activist spent about 15 months detained in the Mercer County jail during two trials, and was set free hours after he was acquitted.

The prosecutor’s office said the decision to not move forward in prosecuting Forchion came after considering the shift in climate of marijuana legislation in New Jersey.

“They’re about 10 years too late,” Forchion said of a change in public opinion of marijuana. 

The office also considered the changes in law regarding the state’s bail reform – an issue Forchion railed against during his time in jail.

“I’m half-way happy and half-way mad,” he said Wednesday night. “Now the state just drops the charges, and I’ve already spent 16 months in jail. I had 42 charges against me total. It was a campaign of terror by the police department.”

NJ Weedman spent 400-plus days in jail. Turns out he was not guilty

Can he get anything for all the time he spent locked up?

“These factors call for an adjustment in the way the office most appropriately uses its resources and assistance from other law enforcement agencies in order to prioritize detention cases such as murders, attempted murders and violent crime,” the prosecutor’s statement said.

“The fact that the defendant has served more than a year in prison while these cases were pending was also taken into consideration,” it continued.

In all, Forchion had been indicted in 2016 and 2017 and was facing 11 charges related to narcotics dealings and cyber harassment. The prosecutor’s office has dismissed most of the charges, and downgraded five to “disorderly persons offenses,” all of which will be tried in Trenton Municipal Court.

The state is currently wrestling with ideas of how to deal with the hundreds of thousands of people who have been charged with marijuana crimes. Some legislators are considering expunging low-level convictions, but aren’t yet sure of the logistics.

“After a review of the defendant’s pending cases,” the prosecutor’s office said in its statement, “We feel the downgrade and dismissal of the charges is an appropriate resolution.”

Paige Gross may be reached at pgross@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @By_paigegross. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

CONTINUE READING….

(TN) Human Rights and Cannabis Activist “The King Pin” Thorne Peters Continues to Fight Shelby County Charges After Latest Arrest

Actus Reus Non Facit Reum Nisi Mens Sit Rea

For the act to be guilty, the mind must be guilty, for the mind to be guilty, the act must be criminal.

April 12, 2018

thorne

On April 3rd, Mr. Thorne Peters was “live” in front of the Shelby County Justice Center, awaiting his latest arrest for selling small amounts of  Cannabis in baggies – prior to his sentencing for the case which he lost to a Jury of his “peers” on March 1, 2018, in Shelby County Tennessee under Judge J. Robert Carter Jr.

Because of the nature of evil from within the System you have to realize at some point that we cannot allow them to continue legislating us to death.  Legislation promotes the prison industrial complex and every day another innocent person is sent into inhumane conditions to suffer for “imaginary” crimes, if you will.

Every time another piece of Legislation is enacted we all lose another piece of our Freedom!  This holds true particularly in the fight against prohibition of Cannabis/Hemp (yes, they are = ONE plant), because every time a piece of “medical” legislation is passed it regulates us out of our freedom.  The easiest example of this is legislation that would prohibit personal growing.  I have written about this subject before, as it all ties in with Agenda 21 and the fight for the control of all of our food and medicine. 

Cannabis is FOOD first.  It is an unalienable right from birth.  We cannot allow what we were given at birth to be stolen from us, literally one plant at a time.  Anyone who has ever been involved in any research about Cannabis knows the conspiracies or reasons behind it’s illegality.   The fight for our freedom must be a repeal of the prohibiting laws both on the Federal Statutes and U.N. Treaty levels.  That strategy alongside #NO MENS REA by defendants in possession of Cannabis cases of all kinds can change the Justice System as we know it today.  The bottom line is that Cannabis has to be freed for ALL not just SOME for A FEW REASONS!  If we do not push for change now and continue to allow the “legislating” of Cannabis it will not end with Cannabis – this I can promise you.  If you live long enough you will see regulation on the possession and use of fruits and vegetables and weeds, (just like “Hemp” has to be <.3 THC) !  It was started a long time ago and has progressed into what we see today.  And the regulation and control of Cannabis as a Schedule II Controlled Substance will be the launch of the Corporate Pharma driven market that we will be left with and you can forget about growing your own plants!

Cannabis has to be removed from control first and released back to the people in it’s full form.  At that point, if Corporate Cannabis can market a good product for sale at a reasonable cost and contribute to tax revenue system, I would be glad to try it…at the same time I am growing my own plants, for my own purposes, in my own backyard, or sunroom!

The injustice that Thorne Peters is subjecting himself to, to make a very real effort to inform the people at large about their Human Rights is to be noted and appreciated.  I think that more people should take the time to fully listen to what he is saying and not take offense to his expressiveness.  I also find it appalling that there has been no notable media coverage to speak of on his case.  I will ask you to share the information as far as you can and encourage other media outlets to cover this story.

THE SPECTER OF THE GUN was used to take THE TRIAL OF THE MILLENNIUM next level by labeling me a CRIMINAL who committed no crime and a VIOLENT OFFENDER who committed no act of violence according to the evidence and testimony. NO MENS REA is now “A FORTIORI”. As I will have some years to spend in prison, pending a multitude of appeals, I will find fellow prisoners who also have no name of a victim on their affidavit and unleash them upon the system. “

On the 10th of April Thorne Peters was arraigned for charges incurred on the Courthouse steps on the 3rd of April – which was supposed to be his sentencing day for the  Guilty verdict on March 1st.  That date was moved forward to the 12th of April.

Linda Harrah, known as “Lady L”, his partner, has indicated to me that the conditions inside of this facility are inhumane – a problem all unto itself.  He is being held in the “drunk tank” where  it is very loud all the time,  with trouble frequently breaking out and little or no supervision .  He is on “lockdown” 23 hours per day leaving only one hour for personal hygiene, phone calls or whatever else he may need to take care of such as commissary – I suppose if there is a long line that day you are just sh*t  out  of luck! 

“Lady L”  was in court for sentencing today.

He was sentenced to 36 months 100% time and 1 yr 30% time … so 39 months. He has hurt no one and only committed acts of civil disobedience.  He has committed no crime against anyone’s “person, property nor puppy”…

On April 24th he will be arraigned  for the two new pot charges from April 3rd.  On May 30th he will be back before Judge J Robert Carter Jr. for appeal.

“He was magnificent on the stand today testifying to all the history of the past that he represents. Can’t wait to hear or read the transcripts.” – “Lady L”

BE SURE TO FOLLOW “LADY L”, LINDA HARRAH, ON FACEBOOK !

Lady L” has been by Thorne’s side since the beginning and is  striving to keep the information flowing about this very important #NOMENSREA Case,.  She is on Facebook everyday giving updates thru video.  It is very interesting to watch.  Though it is heartbreaking to see someone so  dedicated to Activism be treated so unjustly and inhumanely by our Justice System, i.e., Shelby County, Tennessee, in particular.

WATCH & LISTEN
as THE KINGPIN takes The Ministerz of Injustice to task
for the ongoing CRIMINAL CONSPIRACY against him that
officially began November 11, 2008

THE PLANTED BUST

Call Governor  Bill Haslam (615) 741- 2001 ask for Constituent Services or Policy. Tell them you want to have the Thorne Peters conspiracy investigated # NOMENSREA…

Below listed are links to Facebook Video’s from “Lady L” which give updates for each day since Thorne’s arrest.

Thurs:  April 12th – Day 10   Additional Video

Weds:  April 11th – Day 9

Tues:  April 10th – Day 8

Mon:  April 9th – Day 7

Sun:  April 8th – Day 6

Sat:  April 7th – Day 5

Fri:  April 6th – Day 4

Thurs:  April 5th – Day 3

Weds:  April 4th – Day 2

Tues:  April 3rd – Day 1

Image may contain: text

Those of you facing PROHIBITION charges, who are not a target of your local Ministerz of Injustice, who have no guns to be tainted with, will follow the law to proceed PRO SE with the lawful offensive of NO MENS REA and the HUMAN RIGHTS declaration of “I AM THE LAW” in the name of THE KINGPIN Thorne Peters! Any other position is unlawful; a crime against humanity . . .

RELATED:

FOUND GUILTY, BY JURY, of “possession of pot – that I was not in possession of…” Thorne Peters

Thorne Peters LIVE from Shelby County Justice Center in Memphis Tn …

“NO MENS REA WAY MARCH UNTIL PROHIBITION ENDS”

The FREEDOMcast of THE KINGPIN THORNE PETERS!

HERE IS EVIDENCE OF A CRIMINAL CONSPIRACY & PROOF OF #NOMENSREA

THE KINGPIN PUNKS A PIG! DETECTIVE GARY BEANS. MAYOR MARK LUTTRELL. AMY WEIRICH, BILL GIBBONS

CHRONOLOGY OF CORRUPTION!

This is the highlight video of Thorne Peters , THE KINGPIN, selling POT on the front steps of the Memphis TN, Shelby County Courthouse on 4-3-2018.

PLEASE ALSO REMEMBER THAT FUNDS ARE DESPERATELY NEEDED FOR EXPENSES AND LEGAL COSTS!  PLEASE DONATE!

DANX for sharing with “THE FREEDOMfund” … I will be sentenced to 12 years in prison on April 3, 2018, with a projected release date of 10/2021, so I need your support to keep my home fires burning; I need to make phone calls to continue being heard LIVE daily on the phone to share the message of FREEDOM with those being oppressed; I need to take care of Lady L, so she is not in the dark in da hood and maybe some of our puppiez . . . I’d love to see them again in life. So, jump in and make a difference in my life as I go down fighting for our FREEDOM from PROHIBITION, even from behind the prison walls. “I AM THE LAW!” #NOMENSREA .

OTHER INFORMATION OF NOTE:

TO SEND LETTERS OF ENCOURAGEMENT:

Shelby County Criminal Justice Center

Thorne Peters
201 Poplar
Section LL Block A
Housing 14 Bed L
Memphis Tn 38103

Tennessee locks ailing, mentally ill, pregnant and juvenile prisoners in isolation to help jails save money.

FINDINGS LETTER RE INVESTIGATION OF SHELBY COUNTY JAIL

J. ROBERT CARTER, JR.

Untitled

J. Robert “Bobby” Carter – Ballotpedia

How the U.N. is stealing our “UNALIENABLE RIGHTS” to grow food and Medicine through U.N. Convention on Narcotic Drugs

smkrider

The East Mississippi Correctional Facility Is ‘Hell on Earth’

By Carl Takei, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU’s Trone Center for Justice and Equality

March 5, 2018

E. Mississippi Correctional Fire

At the East Mississippi Correctional Facility, where Mississippi sends some of the most seriously mentally ill people in the state prison system, even the most troubled patients are routinely ignored and the worst cases of self-harm are treated with certain neglect. The conditions at EMCF have cost some prisoners their limbs, their eyesight, and even their lives.

In 2013, the ACLU, Southern Poverty Law Center, and prisoner rights attorney Elizabeth Alexander filed a class-action complaint on behalf of all the prisoners held at EMCF. As the case heated up, the law firm of Covington & Burling LLP joined as co-counsel, providing major staffing and support. Despite years of attempts by Mississippi to derail the lawsuit before our clients even saw the inside of the courtroom, the case will finally proceed to trial Monday.

The lawsuit against EMCF describes horrific conditions at the facility: rampant violence, including by staff against prisoners; solitary confinement used to excess, with particular harm to prisoners with mental illnesses; and filthy cells and showers that lack functional toilets or lights. It also sheds light on a dysfunctional medical and mental healthcare delivery system that puts patients at risk of serious injury and has contributed to deaths in custody.

Nowhere was this institutionalized neglect more clear than in the life, and death, of T.H., a patient at EMCF with a history of severe mental illness and self-harm. On Jan. 31, 2016, T.H. stuck glass into his arm. Instead of sending him to the emergency room, a nurse merely cleaned the wound with soap and water. The following day, he broke a light bulb and inserted the shards into his arm. This time he required eight stitches.

Less than two weeks later, he cut himself with a blade hidden in his cell and then tried to hang himself. It was only later that month, after he reopened his arm wound with more glass, that mental health staff finally placed him on special psychiatric observation status.
Yet, because he wasn’t properly monitored, T.H.’s series of self-injury continued unabated until April 4, 2016. Early that afternoon, he stuck his arm, dripping in blood, through a slot in his cell door and asked to see the warden. A lieutenant saw T.H.’s bloodied arm, but, rather than call for emergency assistance, simply left the area. Two hours later, T.H. was observed unresponsive on the floor of his cell.

E. Mississippi Correctional Blood on the Door
In response, the prison warden opted to call for a K-9 team to enter the cell with dogs before letting medical professionals examine the patient. By then it was too late — T.H. was dead, having strangled himself with materials from inside his cell. He never once had a proper suicide risk assessment or any treatment to address his self-harm.

The lackadaisical and unconstitutional approach that EMCF staff takes toward prisoner healthcare cost T.H. his life and has caused well-documented suffering among countless other mentally ill prisoners. And it all happens in the context of a prison rife with violence, where security staff often react with excessive force to mental health crises and allow prison gangs to control access to necessities of life, including at times food.

The Constitution requires that if the state takes someone into custody, it must also take on the responsibility of providing treatment for their serious medical and mental health needs. This means, among other measures, hiring qualified medical staff to provide necessary care for people with mental health disorders, creating systems for access to care so sick patients can see a mental health or medical clinician, and making sure that medical care is provided without security staff impeding it.

The ACLU and our co-counsel are fighting to ensure that such care is available at EMCF, where the state of Mississippi has continued to lock some of the most vulnerable prisoners in dangerous and filthy conditions and deny them access to constitutionally required mental health and medical care.

I witnessed those conditions firsthand when I visited EMCF in January 2011 with fellow ACLU attorney Gabriel Eber and two medical and mental health experts. At that time, we were horrified to discover that Mississippi’s designated mental health prison was closer to a vision of hell on earth than a therapeutic treatment facility.

When I walked into one of the solitary confinement units, the entire place reeked of smoke from recent fires. I tried to speak to patients about their experiences, but I could barely hear them over the sounds of others moaning and screaming while they slammed their hands into metal cell doors.

Despite repeated warnings from nationally renowned experts brought in to assess conditions at the prisons, a meeting with top Mississippi Department of Corrections officials, and an offer by the ACLU to help MDOC pay to diagnose and fix the problems at EMCF, Mississippi officials permitted these conditions to continue unabated. Rather than take responsibility for fixing this prison, these officials merely switched contractors. In 2012, they swapped out private prison giant GEO Group, Inc. and replaced them with another private prison company, Management & Training Corp., which is perhaps best known for its horrific record of abusing and neglecting immigrant detainees. The state has also switched prison medical contractors multiple times, with little improvement from one to the next.

But the nightmare might soon be over. Over seven years since we first visited the cesspool that is EMCF, our clients will be allowed in court for the first time, asking that their constitutional rights finally be recognized. That recognition won’t undo the great harms they’ve suffered. But by fulfilling the Constitution’s promise of protection, we can stop new harms and horrors at EMCF, of which there have been too many for too long.

CONTINUE READING…

Milwaukee Inmate Died After Being Deprived of Water for 7 Days

Milwaukee Inmate Died After Being Deprived of Water for 7 Days

By DANIEL VICTORAPRIL 25, 2017

 

Terrill Thomas had bipolar disorder, a lawyer for his estate said.

Inmates, correction officers and investigators are testifying in Milwaukee this week to help determine whether jail employees will be charged with abuse in the dehydration death of an inmate who the authorities say was deprived of water for a week.

Prosecutors and a lawyer representing the estate of the inmate, Terrill Thomas, say that correction officers turned off the man’s water supply in an isolation cell in April 2016, and that he was unable to ask for help because he was having a mental health crisis. He died on April 24, 2016.

In March, the Milwaukee County district attorney’s office requested an inquest, a relatively uncommon legal procedure in which a cause of death is examined for possible criminal charges. After a week of testimony, jurors will decide whether to recommend charges against jail employees, though the district attorney is not bound by the recommendation.

Erik Heipt, the lawyer representing Mr. Thomas’s estate, said in an interview on Monday that Mr. Thomas, 38, had bipolar disorder, and that “he was not operating in a world of reality” when he was jailed.

 

“He needed mental health treatment, but instead of the jail treating his very serious mental health needs, they responded by punishing him for acting out,” he said. “They treated his mental illness as a behavioral problem and disciplined him.”

Mr. Thomas was arrested on April 15, 2016, on charges that he shot a man and later fired two gunshots inside the Potawatomi Hotel & Casino, according to The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

He was placed in a cell at the Milwaukee County Jail with no mattress, blanket or pillow, Mr. Heipt said. There was a toilet, but it wouldn’t flush after the water was turned off, he said.

Mr. Thomas was not given drinks with his food, which was an unsavory, brick-shaped dish called “Nutraloaf” that some states have banned. He did not eat the meals and lost at least 30 pounds, Mr. Heipt said.

While other inmates told correction officers that Mr. Thomas needed water, Mr. Thomas could not advocate this himself, Mr. Heipt said. On April 24, Mr. Thomas was found dead on the floor of his cell.

 

“Inmates are at the mercy of their jailers for basic life-sustaining necessities like water, food and medical care,” a court filing signed by Kurt Benkley, an assistant district attorney, said in March. “When a mentally ill inmate, like Mr. Thomas, is locked in solitary confinement without access to water, his life is totally in his jailers’ hands.”

The sheriff’s office did not respond to messages on Tuesday seeking comment.

Mr. Benkley said at the opening of the inquest on Monday that video showed three officers turning off the water in Mr. Thomas’s cell as punishment for flooding another cell, The Journal Sentinel reported. The officers did not notify supervisors or document the cutoff, Mr. Benkley said.

“This order to shut off Mr. Thomas’s water was highly irregular and contrary to standard operating procedure in the jail,” the assistant district attorney said, according to the newspaper.

Two correction officers who testified on Monday said they were unaware that the water in Mr. Thomas’s cell had been turned off, according to Fox 6, a Milwaukee television station.

Mr. Heipt said he planned to file a federal civil rights case on behalf of Mr. Thomas’s estate, and one of Mr. Thomas’s children has filed a separate federal civil suit against Sheriff David Clarke of Milwaukee County and his staff. Mr. Clarke gained national prominence last year as one of President Trump’s most enthusiastic supporters in law enforcement, delivering a speech at the Republican National Convention in which he declared, “Blue lives matter.”

Mr. Heipt praised the district attorney’s office for “really digging deeply into this,” which he described as unusual for abuse that’s reported behind bars. Families who believe their loved ones were abused often have trouble getting prosecutions, and typically rely more on the civil court system, where they can obtain monetary damages, he said.

While public interest in police shootings has grown in recent years, abuse in the prison system is more likely to remain hidden from the public, he said. That’s partly because police shootings in public spaces are often captured by videos that go viral and stoke widespread calls for justice, he said.

“That type of evidence doesn’t always exist in jail-related deaths, and so the people are often not demanding the same level of accountability,” Mr. Heipt said. “These things are often poorly investigated and get swept under the rug, and the citizens don’t even know it’s happening.”

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DO PRISONERS HAVE THE RIGHT TO LIFE?

Sonni Quick

Recently I watched a Conservative/Catholic news station on TV.  There was an interview with the executor of a religious political group. I failed to write down the names. There was a video of a meeting he participated in with Trump. This man’s concern was if there was enough protection for the right to life beginning at conception. I understand people are very divided on this issue and each side has their own reasons. This is not about that debate. Although I see validity in each reasoning,  neither side is going to convince the other.
This is my question. Do people – after they are born, have the right to life as well? Who cares about these babies after they are born that were forced to be born, especially to people who don’t want them, don’t give them up for adoption, abuse and neglect them and life gets no better from there. Where are the right to lifers then? What have these people done beyond wanting the babies born? Which of these children have they helped love, feed and protect from harm? Words are cheap and have no value.
Let me carry this a little father. Do prison inmates also have a right to life? If a man who is deathly ill that needs a programmed regiment to stay alive have the right to have that regiment followed in prison, because if it isn’t he will die – and he does, in a very short period of time? Does Corizon, a prison medical corporation have the right to claim they aren’t responsible? It’s not their fault? Really? You will find this article further down.
There are many examples of prisoners who obviously also don’t have the right to life. Their lives don’t matter. Why? They were conceived. They were born. Many are imprisoned by being forced to take a plea. Many are imprisoned longer than they should because of mandatory minimums. Many are innocent, and many are guilty. Many are mentally ill, and many should never get out because they are dangerous, often made that way by inhumane treatment while they are locked up. Isn’t that criminal.
But no matter the reason, many are sick with a variety of diseases. Some were already sick when they were jailed or incarcerated. Some were made sick over time from years of extremely poor quality of food with the lack of good nutrition. Some people became mentally ill because of being of being in prison often from being isolated. Regardless, they don’t get the treatment and medication they need. Anything that costs money, and they can get away with not providing it, they don’t. The bottom line is the lack of caring by people who work in these institutions. Many people commit crimes of all kinds but don’t get caught. These people did get caught or were unfairly locked up, but they are all looked at with disdain and are not treated with compassion even if they are at death’s door, as if it serves them right if they died. 815 people have died in jails since Sandra Bland’s death in 2015. ( See the article below from Prison Legal News.)

My experience is with what Jamie, the man at the center of my writing, has been through with epilepsy. He knows what seizure medication works best in controlling his seizures and they won’t supply it. I tried to intervene and talked with the medical unit to no avail. One separate problem he had diagnosed concerning his heart – pericarditis – wasn’t being treated. When I questioned them about the medication he was supposed to take I was told, what problem? It had been taken out of his file completely. That’s an easy way to get rid of an illness – erase it.

Further down the newsletter are some examples of what the medical corporations get away with, as well as poor medical care in the jails and juvenile detention centers. It’s inexcusable. Where are the right to lifers now? These people started out as babies. Many babies born now will end up in foster care. 80% of prisoners were raised in foster care. That percentage is scary high. The right to life should apply to everyone. It is not just about unborn babies, it’s about human beings. More people need to be aware humans come at all ages. No one should be swept under the carpet.

This is an interview with a half dozen or so inmates talking about the conditions inside prisons. I’ve heard these same stories from inmates everywhere about brown watar coming from the faucets, undercooked food from dirty kitchens, diseases that are prison wide and untreated medical problems. It’s an interesting interview. Also, check out their facebook page


When I started the ITFO newsletter during 2016 it was for a couple reasons. It is important to me to help educate people on issues with the prisons they may not know about.  Sometimes, on the facebook page, JamieLifeInPrison I will get comments that show me the person didn’t understand what was going on. But maybe that person didn’t know anyone who went through the system and relied on what certain media outlets telling people what they wanted them to think. They would write comments like, ” If they don’t to get treated badly, they shouldn’t have committed a crime.” or “If they do the crime they have to do the time.” That means they are unaware of how unfair our justice system is toward non-whites. It doesn’t mean there are no whites inside, but the percentages of the population on the inside should mirror the percentages on the outside – unless they believed the propaganda that black people have a gene that makes them more likely to commit a crime, which is bizarre, unless you were racist and wanted to believe it..
We are learning now, through other things that are happening in our government that it takes people getting mad and standing up, to change the wrongs that are happening. The youth stood up during the Viet Nam war, but for the most part a large segment of society has not fought back against injustice. Now this government wants to make criminals out of protesters because they don’t want people to fight back.  This time, finally, people aren’t laying down and taking it.  Do you remember the movie years ago, I think it was called “Network”? Everyone opened their windows and yelled outside, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”  That is how I feel. People in the prisons are being hurt, abused and starved. When the effects of that treatment causes medical problems, or if they entered the prison with illnesses and they get away with not giving them the proper care they deserve as human beings, it makes me angry. I have seen what that inhumanity has done.
I have family and friends who ask me why I spend so many hours of day doing something they think is pointless because what can one person do? But if you go through life with your head in the sand or maybe not doing something because it would take too much effort, I don’t call that living. I feel the only true legacy we leave behind is the effect we have on others. If it helps change someone’s life and they carry it forward then that part of you lives on.
Jamie Cummings has been a part of my life for over a decade.  We came into each other’s lives for a reason.  It hasn’t been one-sided. I have witnessed him growing from a boy to a man, helping to teach him things he didn’t have an opportunity to learn.  I teach him hope.  I teach him it is up to him to create the life he wants and not just let life slap him around. He knows I will be there for him when he gets out. Unfortunately, society is not forgiving of x-felons.  It is like the word ‘felon’ is tattoo’d on the forehead. Even if a sentence is completed they often have to keep paying.
I am doing my best to write a book worth reading, one that will bring benefit into his life – and mine.  Through the sales, and this is book one of 3, it has the possibility of helping him get the education he needs and possibly using the books to get through the doors where he can help others with his experience. There are books written by inmates about the crimes that put them in prison and even how bad they were during the years in prison, but that is not what this is about. It is about the human element and how those children raised in lower income neighbors have been pushed down the pipeline created for them with the end result already written for them, filling a prison bed. This book examines that pipeline from the first breath he takes. 
Chapter one takes place sometime in a present year in prison to set the stage of where he ended up.  Chapter two goes back to his birth, which was traumatic because he was having an epileptic seizure coming out of the birth canal and wasn’t expected to live. Book one goes until age 22 when he is sent to prison.  The second book is more detail of prison until he reaches close to getting out. Book three is the process of getting out and what happens after.  Obviously it will take some time before all books are written.  I hope enough interest will be created for people to want to find out how he fares and what he accomplishes. He was first locked up before he turned 17.  He is now 34.  He will be almost 40 when he gets out, so book three will take him into at least his early 40’s.
I need your help.  I’m hoping you will share this with people on your own social media accounts.  I know many of you share blog posts from his blog at mynameisjamie.net.  I need very much to keep increasing my mailing list to reach people who are not already connected to me somehow. Anytime you share a newsletter or a blog post you have my sincere appreciation. When the book is done, those people on the list will be able to get the ebook version for free.

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