Category Archives: Prisoners

Legendary pot grower Johnny Boone, leader of Kentucky’s ‘Cornbread Mafia,’ back in U.S.


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John “Johnny” Boone, the leader of Kentucky’s “Cornbread Mafia,” once the nation’s largest domestic marijuana producing organization, is back in the United States after eight years on the lam.

Boone, who was once featured on “America’s Most Wanted,” was apprehended in Canada in December 2016 and was ordered detained Wednesday after appearing in U.S. District Court in Burlington, Vermont, about 90 miles south of Montreal.

He had been extradited to the U.S. and will be transported to Louisville soon, according to Kraig LaPorte, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Burlington. Wendy McCormick, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s office in Louisville, said it could be a week or two before he is flown to Louisville on a U.S. Marshal Service flight.

Boone, 73, a legendary figure in central Kentucky, faces charges on a 2008 indictment that accused him of growing and distributing marijuana on his farm in Springfield, where more than 2,400 marijuana plants allegedly were found by Kentucky State Police and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The government is also trying to force him to forfeit cash, vehicles, a handgun and an AR-15 rifle.

He fled after a warrant was issued for his arrest, and he faces up to life in prison if convicted.

►EARLIER COVERAGE: ‘Cornbread Mafia’ fugitive in court

Federal prosecutors in Vermont requested his detention, saying he faces a long prison term and at age 73 has a strong incentive to flee. The motion also noted that he’d lived illegally in Canada for eight years, “which alone renders him a flight risk.”

The Cornbread Mafia, a group of mostly Kentuckians, pooled their money, machinery, knowledge and labor to produce $350 million in pot seized in Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska and Wisconsin, prosecutors said in 1989.

The organization operated on isolated farms in nine Midwestern states, some of which were guarded by bears and lions, and by workers described by the government as a “paramilitary force.” Boone’s exploits were the subject of a book, “Cornbread Mafia: A Homegrown Syndicate’s Code Of Silence And The Biggest Marijuana Bust In American History,” by Kentucky freelance writer James Higdon.

U.S. Attorney Joe Whittle said in 1989 that marijuana had been seized at 29 sites, including 25 farms outside Kentucky. Sixty-four Kentucky residents were charged, 49 of whom lived in Marion County.

The detention motion says Boone’s criminal history extends to 1969 and includes a 1985 conviction for marijuana possession with intention to distribute, for which he was sentenced to five years, and another conviction for unlawful manufacture of 1,000 plants or more, for which he was sentenced to 20 years and paroled in 1999.

Reporter Andrew Wolfson can be reached at (502) 582-7189 or awolfson@courier-journal.com.

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FRIENDS OF JOHNNIE BOONE


 

Image result for omerta johnny boone

Charlie Bickett

21 hrs ·

We have a challenge ;

FRIENDS OF JOHNNIE BOONE

,

What–Johnnie Boone Benefit

Where–Big Mamas,,Loretto Ky,,,

When–April 23,,Sunday,,3-8,,come early

Why–Our friend Johnnie,,has recently been captured,,He will soon [I hope] be transferred to Kentucky,to await trial.,,He will be needing money ,,for,,CANTEEN,,PHONECALLS and,,LEGAL DEFENSE

At the benefit ,,we will be selling CATFISH DINNERS $10 dollars a plate
We will also have an AUCTION [donated gifts]..which can be left with Jimmy Bickett at his home],,contact,,270-692-7920,,,

We will be buying all our food supplies at ”FOODLAND in Loretto ky]..any advance cash donations toward the food,,will be appreciated

If anyone is interested,,in helping that day,,contact me,,or Tessa Bickett..on FB,,,

Now,,all you people that are friends of Johnnie,,We need you to STEP UP TO THE PLATE,,and give,,,,Someone said that “”Johnnie had plenty of money,,,At one time,,he may had,,,But,,he needs YOUR HELP,,,NOW,,,,,

Free Bumper Stickers to everyone..FREE JOHNNIE w PIC,
There will be several people ,selling T-Shirts,,,to benefit Johnnie also,,that day,,,,,

Please make this a SUPER event,,Drink Responsibly and EAT like a HOG,,,

RAIN or SHINE,,CASH ONLY,,,PLEASE SHARE,,,

Image result for omerta johnny boone

 

SOURCE LINK

Image result for omerta johnny boone

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.

SOURCE LINK

‘America Is Full Of Hypocrites’: Marijuana Lifer John Knock Speaks Out


By Tess Allen  |  Feb 20, 2017

'America Is Full Of Hypocrites': Marijuana Lifer John Knock Speaks Out

Days after John Knock learned that his application for clemency had been denied – meaning he would have to continue serving out two life sentences plus 20 years for a non-violent cannabis offense – he found himself transfixed by a story on NPR.

“There was [someone on the radio] talking about how they’re going to handle the marijuana distribution stores in Pennsylvania, and here I am doing a life sentence for marijuana,” Knock told Civilized from the federal penitentiary in Pennsylvania where he currently resides.

“It was just one of those wakeup moments, where you realize that America’s idea of justice is only their idea. It is not true justice.”

Knock, a first-time offender with no history of violence or drug abuse, was indicted in 1994 in the Northern District of Florida on charges of conspiracy to money launder and to import and distribute marijuana.

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John Knock (center) with his wife and son.

Now a senior citizen at 70, Knock had high hopes he would be included in former US president Barack Obama’s final round of commutations for nonviolent drug offenders, a move that brought the total number of clemencies during his presidency to 1,715.

But Knock was denied, along with uncounted other ‘marijuana lifers’, in a decision-making process that activist Cheri Sicard of the Marijuana Lifer Project has deemed completely nonsensical.

Knock has now been incarcerated for more than 20 years, and every day faces the sickly ironic reality that he may die in prison while the cannabis legalization movement makes greater and greater strides outside his permanent four walls.

“We’re sitting in here watching as [state after state] legalizes… and there are people in here doing life for pot, an accepted recreational and medical drug in the majority of the states in America,” said Knock. “When are they going to recognize that?”

Like most others locked up for life for nonviolent cannabis crimes, Knock believes greater public awareness about the issue would go a long way. He’s certain that most people don’t even know ‘marijuana lifers’ exist.

“My sister runs LifeForPot.com, and whenever she talks to people [about my case], they say: ‘He’s got a life sentence for marijuana? There must be something other than that. Somebody must have died.’ And that’s just not the case,” said Knock.

“Society has to be the one to say ‘now wait a minute’… to realize that the War on Drugs is actually a militaristic [effort] against an open society.”

There’s not much that can be done to change things on the part of “somebody locked in a room”, said Knock, which is why cannabis advocates on the outside need to make clemency a part of their activism platforms.                   

“I read an article the other day about a gym opening in San Francisco that’s going to utilize marijuana in their workout [regimes] because it helps people concentrate and eliminate the pain of the workout,” Knock told Civilized.

When asked what this news signified to him, Knock replied: “America is full of hypocrites.”

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What You Can Do to FREE Sam Girod


What You Can Do to FREE Sam Girod

Please do whatever you can! The Backstory The FDA is trying to put Sam in jail for 58 YEARS for a labeling infraction. Basic story here: http://www.davidgumpert.com/2783-2

Indictment here with explanations: http://www.kyfreepress.com/2017/01/fda-girod-indictment/

Local CBS affiliate story here: http://www.wkyt.com/content/news/WKYT-Investigation-Amish-farmer-in-jail-awaiting-trial-facing-time-in-federal-prison-411915635.html

 

What You Can Do

1. We beg President Trump to issue an immediate pardon for Sam. Please sign this petition: http://bit.ly/freeamishsam. Sam’s trial is in 4 weeks.

2. An email to Trump could only help: https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact

3. We sincerely hope that Atty General Sessions will step in and stop this gov’t abuse. A quick email to him will help: https://www.justice.gov/contact-us

4. Call or email your legislators, all of them. Your U.S. Senators and House Reps as well as your state legislators, even if you don’t live in KY. Just do a search on your legislator’s name and you’ll find a phone number or email address.

5. Donate to Sam’s legal fees: https://www.gofundme.com/supportsamnow

6. Attend Sam’s trial on 2/27/17 at 9am at the Federal Courthouse, 101 Barr Street, Lexington, KY. It’s slated to go for four days. Even if you can’t stay very long, a presence at any time will be helpful. Probably earlier is better, but any time.

 

The FDA has been going after small farmers for decades and if they haven’t been doing so in your state, they will soon. What’s to stop them?

For evidence of FDA and USDA abuses, watch Farmageddon on Amazon or Netflix. This has been going on for far too long and it’s time to stop it. Only YOU and I can do that!

Just lately these agencies have been particularly venomous toward the Amish. Reining in federal agencies is a huge promise made by almost every politician of late. Let’s hold them to it!!!

Recent Articles:

KY Amish Farmer Jailed over a Salve Label; the FDA Wants Him Jailed for Life

Our mailing address is:

KyFreePress.com

312 Pine Crest Rd #117

Morehead, KY 40531

Vindicated: After 28 years in Kentucky prison, William Virgil walks free


By Jason Riley

Connect

William Virgil arrives for court on Jan. 6, 2017 (Photo by Jason Riley, WDRB News)

NEWPORT, Ky., (WDRB) – After insisting he was innocent for decades – including 28 years spent in prison – William Virgil has finally been vindicated, as a judge dropped charges against him Friday for the 1987 murder of a Veterans Administration nurse in Newport.

Virgil’s conviction was thrown out a year ago, and he was released from prison on bond thanks in large part to DNA testing that was not available when he was found guilty.

Prosecutors had said there was still enough evidence to convict Virgil and a retrial was scheduled for April 24, but during a hearing in Campbell Circuit Court on Friday, Commonwealth’s Attorney Michelle Snodgrass recommended dismissing the murder case because a grand jury last month found there was not enough evidence to move forward.

Judge Julie Reinhardt Ward agreed, dismissed the case without prejudice, which means it could be brought back up again.

Snodgrass said it is “not a declaration of innocence,” just what grand jury decided based on current evidence. The case remains open and Snodgrass said evidence was being sent for further DNA testing.

Virgil immediately hugged his attorneys with the Kentucky Innocence Project, which has been working on his case since 2010. It is the 14th person the state Innocence Project has helped exonerate.

In an interview with reporters after he was set free on Friday, Virgil, 66, was asked if he was angry.

“Why would I be angry?” he said. “It’s a waste of time.”

Defense attorneys for Virgil have filed a wrongful conviction lawsuit and had asked the judge to find prosecutorial misconduct.

“He was framed,” Elliott Slosar, the attorney for William Virgil said on Friday. 

Snodgrass says she has found no wrongdoing.

On April 11, 1987, Retha Welch’s body was found in a blood-filled bathtub of her Newport, Ky., apartment. She was reported to have been raped, stabbed repeatedly and bludgeoned with a vase. Her car and several items from her apartment were missing.

Virgil, who was living mostly in Cincinnati at the time, claims he had no idea when Welch died, only learning about it later from a parole officer.

But evidence, according to police and prosecutors, quickly pointed to Virgil, though it was all circumstantial.

A man who was dating Welch said he saw Virgil outside her apartment days before her body was discovered. His clothes and shoes had blood on them. (At the time, there was not enough blood on Virgil’s clothes for testing and DNA was not yet used as evidence in criminal cases.)

Virgil’s fingerprint was found on a lamp in Welch’s apartment. A bloody palm print on the wall couldn’t be matched to anyone involved in the case.

A jailhouse informant claimed Virgil confessed to him while the two shared a jail cell. A former girlfriend claimed Virgil asked for her help in killing Welch.

But the case fell apart in recent years.

Judge Fred Stine overturned Virgil’s conviction in December 2015 based on the findings from the Kentucky Innocence Project, which include: DNA testing showed blood on Virgil’s clothes did not belong to Welch and semen in her was not his; hairs found on Welch’s clothing did not match Virgil; witnesses’ stories no longer held up under scrutiny; and other suspects were ignored.

Last month, Virgil and his attorneys filed a federal lawsuit in Covington alleging police and prosecutors “manipulated witnesses, fabricated evidence and withheld exculpatory information that would have demonstrated his absolute innocence of this crime.”

The Innocence Project alleges, for example, that prosecutors were responsible for destroying a knife in 2005 that had been used as evidence during Virgil’s trial “with full knowledge that forensic testing of the knife could lead to Mr. Virgil’s complete exoneration.”

Prosecutors asked a judge to order the knife destroyed without Virgil being present or being provided notice that such a request took place, according to court records. The knife had been linked to another suspect in Welch’s death.

The Innocence Project claims nearly 100 pieces of physical evidence from the trial have been retained, including two other knives.

Virgil’s attorneys also allege that the jailhouse informant who told jurors Virgil confessed to him while the two shared a jail cell recanted his testimony in a sworn affidavit.

In a 2015 interview with WDRB, Virgil said he was offered a guilty plea that would amount to a slap on the wrist for such a gruesome crime.

Seven years in prison – possibly cut to three or four years with good behavior — but Virgil insisted he was innocent and turned down the deal, taking his case to trial, where he was found guilty and sentenced to 70 years in prison.

At his sentencing, Virgil remained defiant.

“I told them that they had the wrong guy and whoever it was that committed the crime was still out there running around,” Virgil told WDRB News.

He hasn’t budged from that position over the past 30 years, telling the state parole board in three different hearings that he was wrongly convicted, even though admitting guilt and remorse could go a long way towards his release.

For years, he had fought for his release, becoming a jailhouse legal expert for himself and other inmates. His case didn’t get any traction, however, until the Kentucky Innocence Project took him on as a client.

“I had been fighting it for 23 years by myself,” Virgil said. “I was overjoyed to know that someone was finally representing me…Without them, I don’t know what chance I would have.”

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…47 persons have been put to death in Florida under an unconstitutional process


gitmo

 

HHarry Lee Anstead, My View 2:46 p.m. EST November 22, 2016

In January 2016, in a case called Hurst v. Florida, the United States Supreme Court held that Florida’s death penalty scheme was unconstitutional and violated the Sixth Amendment, pursuant to its decision in Ring v. Arizona.

The Court held that Florida’s statutory scheme was flawed because it failed to require the jury, rather than the sentencing judge, to make findings of aggravating circumstances relied upon by the state to justify imposition of the death penalty. Ring first established that principle in 2002.

On remand in Hurst, the Florida Supreme Court followed the Supreme Court’s mandate and further held that to be constitutional under both the federal and state constitutions, the death penalty statutory scheme must require unanimous findings by a jury on aggravators, as well as to a recommendation of death. Because the Florida high court relied upon the Florida Constitution, its decision on unanimity is not reviewable by the U.S. Supreme Court. State high courts have the final say on state constitutions.

What may be overlooked in the aftermath of these decisions is the shocking fact that after the decision in Ring v. Arizona in 2002, some 47 persons have been put to death in Florida under an unconstitutional process. And while many may assess the blame as falling on Florida’s three branches of government for not acting after Ring to correct Florida’s statute, it is apparent that a large share of the blame rests with the discretionary review procedures of the U.S. Supreme Court.

 

Let me explain. Following the decision in Ring, many Florida death row inmates petitioned the Florida courts, including the Florida Supreme Court, to apply Ring and invalidate Florida’s death penalty scheme. However, relying on prior U.S. Supreme Court decisions generally upholding Florida’s scheme, Florida’s high court denied relief.

But many of these disappointed death row inmates sought further relief in the U.S. Supreme Court. Surprisingly, despite the clear holding in Ring, the Court inexplicably rejected these appeals, until finally, the Court accepted review in Hurst and specifically held Florida’s scheme unconstitutional under Ring. These many unexplained denials also sent a false signal that despite Ring, Florida’s scheme might be valid.

Tragically, in the 13 years since Ring, some 47 persons have been executed in Florida under an unconstitutional statute. Had the U.S. Supreme Court accepted review of a Florida case soon after Ring, those executions may arguably not have occurred – at least not until further review for harmless error, waiver or some other possible argument by the state was first evaluated. But none of that took place.

Of course, the U.S. Supreme Court has absolute discretion in deciding what cases to review. And ordinarily those decisions cannot be challenged. But, surely the exercise of this discretionary review authority should take into account the fact that lives hang in the balance.

As the high court itself has observed, “death is different.” Or is it?

Harry Lee Antstead is a retired justice and Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court.

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"Gentlemen, in order to produce marked changes in behavior and attitude it is necessary to weaken, undermine or remove the support systems…"


(The following is an excerpt from a blog that I ran across on WordPress that I believe is certainly worth noticing, SK)

gitmo

“Gentlemen, in order to produce marked changes in behavior and attitude it is necessary to weaken, undermine or remove the support systems of the old patterns of behavior and the old attitudes.  Because most of these supports are the face to face confirmation of present behavior and attitudes, which are provided to those with whom close emotional ties exist, it is therefore essential to eradicate those emotional bonds.  This can be done either by removing the individual physically and preventing any communication with those whom he cares about or by proving to him, the prisoner, that those whom he respects are not worthy of it and indeed should be actively distrusted.”  -Dr. Edgar Schein, Sept. 18, 1962

Dr. Schein then presented to the assembled group a literary of suggestions and tactics designed to attain “behavioral modifications” desirable by prison officials to control the thinking patterns of its incarcerated populace and to curtail or reduce an appetite for cultural or political aspirations.  These 24 accumulous and widely implemented tactics & maneuvers are set out below:

1.  the physical removal of prisoners to areas sufficiently isolated to effectively break or seriously weaken close emotional ties.
2.  identify and segregate all natural leaders.
3.  use of cooperative prisoners as leaders.
4.  prohibition of group activities not in line with brainwashing objectives.
5.  spying on prisoners and reporting back private materials.
6.  manipulating prisoners into making written statements which are then shown to others.
7.  exploitation of opportunist and informers.
8.  convincing prisoners that they can trust no other prisoner.
9.  treating those who are willing to cooperate in a far more lenient way than those who are not.
10.  punishing those who show uncooperative attitudes.
11.  systematic withholding of mail and other correspondence.
12.  preventing contact with anyone non-sympathetic  to the method of treatment and regimen of the captive populace.
13.  disorganization of all group standards among prisoners.
14.  building a group conviction among the prisoners that they have been abandoned by, and totally isolated from their social order.
15.  undermining all emotional support.
16.  preventing prisoners from communicating with family and supporters regarding the conditions of their confinement,
17.  making available and permitting access to only those publications and books that contain materials which are neutral to, or supportive of the desired new attitude.
18.  placing individuals into new and ambiguous situations for which the standards and rules and policies are deliberately kept unclear and then putting pressure on the prisoner to conform to what is desired in order to win favor and a reprieve from the pressure.
19.  placing the prisoner whose will power has been severely weakened or eroded into a soft living environment with others who are further advanced in their brainwashing reform who’s job is to influence the teetering prisoner to give up and assimilate into the desired behavior.
20.  using techniques of character invalidation, i.e., humiliations, revilements, shouting, isolation; to promote sensory deprivation, to induce feelings of guilt, fear, and suggestibility.
21.  meeting all insincere attempts to conform with the desired thought patterns with renewed hostility.
22.  repeatedly pointing out to the prisoner that those prisoners whom he respects as a leader and example of strength is not living up to the values and militant principles that he espouses.  supplanting the thought that all other prisoners are hypocrites and liars.
23.  rewards for submission and subservient attitudes which embrace the brainwashing objectives by providing praise and emotional support to those who embrace the desired behavior(brainwashing) which reinforces the new attitudes.
24.  making sure that if a once militant prisoner is ever revealed as being a snitch or a homosexual, that all prisoners learn of his disgrace in order to create doubt and misgivings in the environment.  Creating false rumor, character assassination on a militant prisoner.

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U.S. Supreme Court ruling on sentencing law could free hundreds in Ohio


Hozae Rodriguez Ward has been in federal prison since 2009.

By Earl Rinehart The Columbus Dispatch  •  Monday September 26, 2016 7:04 AM

 

 

Celia Ward has the menu planned for her son’s welcome-home dinner: fried chicken, cabbage, cornbread and mac and cheese.

It’s been a while since Hozae Rodriguez Ward, 39, sat down at his mother’s table.

From 1995 to 2007, he was in the county jail and state prison. Since 2009, he has been in federal prison. But according to the U.S. Supreme Court, he should have been home five years ago.

Ward is eligible for immediate release after the high court ruled on June 25, 2015, that the Armed Career Criminal Act, under which Ward was sentenced, was too vague.

The ruling probably affects many more than just Ward.

The federal public defender’s office in Cincinnati is conducting an “initial” review of 400 federal inmates sentenced under the act to see if they, too, have been in prison too long. The office covers only the Southern District of Ohio. The total number of inmates affected nationwide is unknown, but there are 89 district courts in the 50 states, including two in Ohio.

On Wednesday in Columbus, U.S. District Judge Michael H. Watson ordered Ward’s release, which should occur within 30 days. Watson sentenced Ward on June 30, 2009, to the minimum mandatory term of 15 years after he pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of ammunition.

“No one is terribly comfortable with that, given your previous record,” Watson said. “ Nonetheless, you’ve served more than twice the guideline range, as recalculated.”

The defense and prosecution agreed that, based on the high court’s ruling, Ward’s maximum sentence should have been 27 months.

The Armed Career Criminal Act imposed a mandatory minimum 15-year prison sentence on felons convicted of a firearm offense who had three previous convictions for violent felonies or serious drug offenses.

The act defined those violent felonies as burglary, arson, extortion and those involving the use of explosives.

The problem, the justices wrote in Johnson v. United States, is that the act continued to add a broad “residual clause” that included crimes that “otherwise involve conduct that presents a serious potential risk of physical injury to another.”

The court ruled that the residual clause violated the Fifth Amendment’s due-process provision because it was too vague and “invites arbitrary enforcement” by judges.

Ward was 17 years old in 1994 when he was prosecuted as an adult on two aggravated robbery and two burglary charges.

“We’ve had numerous folks who have walked out the Bureau of Prison door,” said Kevin Schad, appellate director for the federal public defender’s office for the Southern District of Ohio.

In addition to his office’s 400 cases, others are being reviewed by attorneys appointed by the court to help, said Schad, who filed the motion in Ward’s sentencing.

At Wednesday’s hearing, Watson told Ward: “My hope is you are a changed man eight years down the road, that you have skills you can use to transfer back into society, that you have skills that you can transition.”

Celia Ward said several relatives who own businesses have offered to hire her son. “He’s tired of doing time, and he knows this is his opportunity to get it right,” she said.

Watson was concerned about the violent nature of Ward’s 1994 crimes, in which two people were shot and wounded. “It’s a very serious offense,” the judge said.

In the 2008 case, police went to North 4th Street and East 8th Avenue on a call about a man firing a gun at people. When they arrived, Ward ran to a porch at a house on Hamlet Street. When he pointed the gun at police, an officer returned fire. Ward was not hit, and he dropped the gun. No one was hurt.

Ward has been moved from the federal prison in Columbiana County to the state Correctional Reception Center at Orient in Pickaway County. He’s waiting to hear whether he’ll be released from state parole. He violated that parole from his 1994 convictions when he was caught with the gun in 2008.

“He definitely has a place to go if he wants,” Celia Ward said from her two-bedroom home in Olde Towne East.

Schad said the number of inmates affected by the ruling might grow. The Supreme Court has agreed to hear an outgrowth of Johnson v. United States. The petitioners in Beckles v. United States argue that a similarly vague clause exists in other enhanced-sentencing guidelines.

“That opened up a whole number of other cases,” Schad said.

erinehart@dispatch.com

@esrinehart

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The message they are sending to striking workers is, we will only give you coverage if things turn ugly


Image result for china prison

Thousands of prisoners in over 24 states began a labor strike on September 9, the 45th anniversary of the Attica prison uprising, to demand better conditions and healthcare, the right to unionize and what one organizing group calls an “end to slavery in America.” But one would hardly know it watching major U.S. media, which has mostly ignored the largest prison labor strike in history. One week on, the New York Times, Washington Post, NBC News, ABC News, MSNBC, Fox News, CNN, and NPR have not covered the prison strikes at all.

In the same time period since the strike began, CNN has run stories on Clinton’s “body double,” the New York Times ran a piece on women getting buzzcuts and ABC News had an “exclusive trailer” for its parent corporation Disney’s upcoming film. There was certainly enough airtime and column inches to mention that workers had coordinated a national strike of unprecedented scale, but for these outlets the coverage has been nonexistent.

A handful of national outlets have covered the strike: The Nation, City Lab,Engadget, Money Watch, Buzzfeed, and as of Thursday, the Wall Street Journal, but every other major publication, network news and cable network has thus far been silent.

When we spoke by phone, Azzurra Crispino, media co-chair of Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee, one of the strike organizers, was hesitant to be too hard on the press out of hope the strikes would lose coverage in the future. But after some prompting, the four-year prison abolitionist veteran listed a few measured grievances at the media. Her most consistent theme was that to the extent the strikes were being covered, the focus was on spectacle over substance, and in doing so the media was making nonviolent resistance all but impossible.

“I’m a pacifist, I would like to see the strikes remain nonviolent,” Crispino told AlterNet. “Yet in terms of the mainstream press coverage when there’s blood on the ground the prisons have to fill out reports that guards were hurt so then they can’t deny strikes occurred,” she said in reference to the stonewalling of prison officials. The few reporters Crispino had spoken to said most prison spokespeople denied any strikes were taking place. “Between prisoners and TDCJ [Texas Department of Criminal Justice], who do you think reporters are going to believe?” she asked.

The power asymmetry and the media’s default position of siding with government officials over those seen as criminals creates just one more barrier to coverage. At its core, coverage of the prison strikes, as with any protest action, has an inherently perverse incentive structure that puts a premium on acts of violence and property damage and overlooks non-telegenic peaceful activity, such as hunger strikes and labor stoppages.

This dynamic was seen in the Standing Rock incident on September 3, when private security sicced dogs on Native American activists protesting an oil pipeline, and pictures of injured protesters went viral on social media. At the time, only Democracy Now, a relatively small left-wing news show, and AP and UPI filed original reports on the incident. Days after what the media called “clashes,” articles appeared with far greater frequency, including in major outlets like New York Times, CNN and NBC.

This warped incentive structure is even more pronounced in prisons, which are by definition cut off from society. The only time anyone bothers to notice prisons is when demonstrably violent action takes place.

“Which of the strikes are getting the most attention? Florida because they’re violent,” Crispino says, in reference to the September 7 uprising at Homes Correctional facility in the Florida panhandle. “They can’t deny in Florida because prisoners are setting things on fire and there’s been so much structural damage they can’t deny strikes are occurring.”

A similar dynamic is at work when prisoners are in solitary confinement or engage in body mutilation or destruction of property, often by flooding their cells or covering them with feces or blood. Similarly, Crispino contends, each time the media ignores peaceful activities, it tips the scales further in the direction of fires, property damage and rioting.

But this reason doesn’t fully explain the lack of mainstream coverage. A few outlets, as noted, have covered the strike to the extent they could, especially in the buildup to the protest, so it’s not as if there wasn’t enough information to compile a story.

One possible reason is that some of corporate media’s biggest advertisers use prison labor, so the disincentive to shine a light on the problem is high. AT&T, Bank of America, Chevron, Eli Lilly, GEICO, McDonald’s, and Walmart all use prison labor and all are sponsors of corporate media so much we can recite their commercials by heart. One corporation that uses prison labor, Verizon, even owns major media outlets Yahoo and Huffington Post.

Russia Today, a Moscow-funded media outlet, was the only cable news network to speak with Crispino, and to the best of her knowledge, the only one to cover the strikes. When Donald Trump appeared on RT last week, there was a frenzy of outrage by mainstream pundits, with some questioning why Trump would give credence to “Russian government-controlled propaganda.” RT’s position has always been that it covers stories the mainstream press doesn’t, and while some may see this as a cynical marketing ploy, in the case of the prison strikes it also happens to be true.

Another issue for IWOC is that all the coverage thus far, even in sympathetic outlets, has ignored their broader political aims, which is prison abolition, not reform.

“The IWOC is an abolitionist organization,” Crispino said. “Abolition is pretty much completely ignored. It’s interesting because people ask questions about that and they ask what would you do instead, but no one wants to hear that and they never write about it.” That the media is allergic to ideology, to having deeper discussions about our society’s core axioms and why the U.S. has 25% of the world’s prison population but 5% of the total population, is perhaps too knotty for a 800-word writeup but for those working in the trenches it can be frustrating.

As the strike enters its second week, perhaps major media outlets and cable news will take a cue from activist media and the Wall Street Journal (whose report is worth reading) and shine a light, if only briefly, on the largest prison strike in history. If not, Crispino feels other tactics will eventually become more commonplace.

“I almost want to say, the mainstream media is complicit if there’s violence. The message they are sending to striking workers is, we will only give you coverage if things turn ugly.”

Adam Johnson is a contributing analyst at FAIR and contributing writer for AlterNet. Follow him on Twitter @AdamJohnsonNYC.

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