26 April 2005
I cannot express enough how grateful I am to you for keeping me connected to the outside. The regular e-mail dispatches are engrossing and entertaining. I truely feel that those articles are the best scourse of alternative news I have access to in here.
My time in here has finally become routine. That is, boredom from the moment I get up, until the moment I go to sleep. I am considered a low security inmate by the BOP because my "crimes" were not violent, there were no victims, and I have (had) no criminal past. Apparently the BOP uses different criteria to determine how dangerous a person is, than our fascist friends at the BATF/E. Because of this designation, I am housed in a dorm of 49 individuals. I stay in a two man cell. The cells are 7'9"X9', containing two beds (bunk) and two stand up lockers with a desk (shelf-like) between the lockers. All furniture is made at some federal prison somewhere by a prison industry called "Unicor." The cells are created by a series of block walls, built in similar fashion to office dividers.
Regular (forced) work hours are 7:30 AM to 3:30 PM. Virtually all the work done here is bright work. (Repetetive non-productive busy work to train us and keep us from possibly organizing.) I work in the kitchen in a job I actually enjoy. I prepare kosher meals for the Jewish and Muslim inmates. I'm left alone for the majority of my time at work in a small kitchen that only officers with keys can access.
We are allowed to move from one place to another for 10 minutes each hour. After work (5:00 AM to 12:00 noon) I return to my cell and either read, nap, or go outside to the yard to walk and exercise. I spend no less than 1 hour each day walking in the yard. I've lost 29 lbs. and I am trimming up. My physical needs are being met. That is the minimum one can expect. The rest of the day is spent studying, reading, writing, some T.V., and visiting with inmates who desire to talk about more than just their criminal past.
I haven't really encountered any kindred souls, but I've met a few folks who listen and share some splendid social/political perspectives. As a whole, I keep to myself. Forced socialization was (is) never one of my favorite activities. I believe I've gained a level of respect by being me. I don't associate with only "my kind" as some would put it. I'll look people in the eye and tell them we are all the same in here. Anyone who even hints of white supremacist leanings, I don't go near. It's that innate hatred I have for all things Nazi.
Mike, I don't have it nearly as bad as Kevin does. I really feel for him. Do you believe for one second that if Kevin's mom could produce the bail that he would be released? I don't. The city would stpe in with some kind of emergency request to detain Kevin because of his alleged dangerousness. He is in a no win situation, like my own, designed by those who desire to quash all dissent with overwhelming force and brutal repression. The only hope for us, is the eventual victory of revolution over those fascist pigs. I can only hope that we will be better stewards of a more hopeful future.
I heard that the U.S. still leads the nation [the world? --Kevin] in numbers of incarcerated citizens. 1 in every 138 U.S. citizens is locked up. That's approximately 2.1 million and climbing, while funding declines. The majority of prisoners are here, are victims of the government's class war on drugs and poor people. Like you said, Mkie, a jobs program to keep useless bureaucrats employed.
Mike, thanks for sending me the copy of the "New Times" article about Copwatch. It was good to see all those familiar faces. The mundane nature of incarceration requires that I occasionally hear from people that I am indeed a targeted political prisoner. The distinction has a tendency to blur the longer you are surrounded by barbed wire.
Hey, if you get a chance, drop a line to Mark Hoy, the guy I told you about before. He is also interested in information about inexpensive publishing options. You would like his story, Mike.
My wrist is sore, so I will stop before moving to another piece of paper. Take care and remain strong.
In revolutionary peace and solidarity,
P.S. This letter to Eric was returned as undeliverable. --Laro.