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Dear November Coalition,
I write from Australia where the drug problem is addressed with some compassion and those not directly involved in the distribution of substances are more otten than not given a stint in a re-hab or let out to try and have another go at breaking the chains of addiction. My home town (city) has a free needle exchange, peer education, and regular updates on things like Hep C, HIV and all other issues; e.g. what to do when an overdose occurs. Our paramedics do not call police to OD's and therefore most people get to live instead of having their bodies thrown from a moving car near the hospital door. This is what happened 20 years ago. I am appalled at reading your website. I had no idea your country was so very inhumane.

I would appreciate any news or opportunity to do something for your cause. 30 year sentences are unheard of in Australia, murderers normally are released after about 12 years or so. I do not condone this but the difference in sentences here and there are amazing. I write articles for our using population called "Pure S" and included the story of Debbie Vineyard in a recent edition. Her story was received with horror and disbelief. God bless you all who are trying to get justice for the victims of the drug war industry. We worry about the US trying to rush in to Iraq without the blessing of the UN and because of Australia's alliance with the US we are now a target of terrorists and for the first time in our history we are on alert.

Sincerely, Scott McDonald

As a first time drug offender I find your magazine very enlightening and informative in this drug war, a war against our own people.

Also I was wondering if you've ever considered doing a story on the DEA, the police using certain rock concerts as bait for mass drug arrests, like the way they used to do with the Grateful Dead. It continues today; for an example, the weekend of April 26-28, 2002 at the Mountain View Stadium outside of Birmingham, Alabama, the police arrested over 200 people on drug charges and over 100 on felony drug charges at a "Widespread Panic" concert. Just an idea. 200 drug arrests at one show is outrageous.

Anyway, if you could provide me with a copy of "Razor Wire", it would be very appreciated.

Thank you, Robert L Scarbrough

I am writing to let you know that I am still at the same address and that I am still interested in receiving a copy of your publication. I last wrote concerning the use of the IONTRACK drug detection units being used in the visiting rooms of different BOP institutions throughout the country. This letter was sort of a response to the article, "My Whole Family Tested Positive", by Bev Draper. I also sent you a copy of the lawsuit recently filed in the Southern District of Texas, in which one of the issues of that suit was the faulty procedure used by BOP staff in the testing of prisoners' family and friends.

Well, thank you once again for seeing that my copy of the Razor Wire gets to me every couple of months. The best to you all, in the coming new year.

Sincerely, Scott Mark Lair

Recently, at USP Coleman were able to see the first hour of the TV program "Guilt by Association". The reason we were not able to see more was 'lockdown' occurs at 10 PM. The TVs were also turned off. But what we did see of the program was very good because it showed how the little fish does most of the time while the big ones get away since they have things to offer the prosecutor in most cases.

Now what needs to happen with that movie is for a major TV station to air it during prime time and on a major network. Maybe more Americans will see it and learn how the number system really works. You may also want to show that it is not only women who get caught up in this mess. You can take my case as an example. The CIs in my case are home while I am doing a life sentence without possibilities of making parole. But if you look at my CI's criminal records you will see that they are not church going types. As a matter of fact, their criminal histories were so long that it took the better part of several trees to make the paper for their past criminal records. On the other hand, me: first time drug violator. Look at where I am! Something needs to take place here and soon. My family has been destroyed while the real culprits are home with theirs. That does not sit well with me and I hope that America wakes up to this crime of locking us up forever while the real creeps go free because they have things or people to offer in exchange.

Sincerely, David Correa, Prisoner of the Drug War

How are you and your group doing? Fine, I hope. I'm sitting here in prison with a 19 year and 7 month sentence for crack cocaine. Sometimes I feel like my life has been taken by this government that is supposed to protect the people. I feel the government breaks up happy homes. I have a drug conspiracy charge. My mother has two sons; both of her sons are imprisoned, and my father is just sick about it. My big brother has two life sentences, and we have a best friend on our case who got 17 years and six months because people lied about us.

I was working as a service technician apprentice. I had put my past behind me. Me and my big brother never saw 'eye to eye,' but he put the past behind him, too. I guess you can't change who you are, or change your life. Before this happened our family was happy because we had just started doing everything like a family. My mother and father were so happy because their sons were doing good for the first time in their lives. I had my first son in November of 1997. I am going to end this letter with thank you for any help you can give. My brother's attorney told me to write you. She said you work with people with non-violent drug cases.

Lee Page Driver

For many, many years I have always heard the same old phrase when someone was referring to anything that was normal or common place or even mundane. But it seems we may need to change that "white bread" phrase. Especially if you go to Talladega Fed. Correctional. For those in charge of that facility have declared white bread is now to be considered a luxury item. And because the commissary is not permitted to sell or carry any luxury items it therefore will no longer carry white bread. And who knows, crackers may be next. I guess those purveyors of this inhumanity want or expect those inside to spread or place peanut butter and jelly, and even sardines, on pieces of paper. Mmmmm. Yummy. But, at this rate PBJ & Sardines may soon be categorized as gourmet fare!

The aforementioned information is from Robert Q Jonas a very old friend and resident of that facility and a victim of the War on Drugs, doing natural life. I do correspond with him and others. I visit when possible and because RJ is trying to transfer to Coleman FCI FL he is obviously not about to file a grievience or write to anyone about this today "it would definitely put the old kabossh on any request." Also RJ was hopeful that the new "Old Mans Bill" might assist with his situation. It was, I believe, ten years or half of a sentence and 65 years old to be eligible for release. But it does not seem those with life are going to be included even if they are not and were not violent or convicted of same.

My logic for that is 73, is the national average male life expectancy. So if you went in at 53 and have done ten years that would also be half of one's life expectancy or the national average. Everyone should get the same consideration. The only exclusion is of course violent offenders for they unfortunately can still be considered a threat to society. I do not fully agree with that stereotypical mind set. For there are many who made one mistake and are remorseful. But the System does not even think about those realities.

Respectfully Yours, Paul Wilson Meyer

I really enjoy your paper, enclosed are a few stamps, and I hope it will help. When I got busted in '98, a small army came into my house, "full riot gear" to serve me a community complaint. In a small east-Texas town. The local police weren't involved. The raid was from a unit calling themselves, Ark-a-Tex Task Force. Louisana, Texas and Arkansas combined. They raided several black men's homes. One wasn't home, and turned himself in later. Another man arrested wasn't the right guy, but he had to hire a lawyer and stay in county jail for three months. Two others were substance abusers. I was at home wondering what was going on. Everybody on the task force was white, except for Harry.
The reason I'm writing is for my old friend, Chester Lawson. He was shot and killed by the CADDO Parish task force. No one cared that a week prior to their raid, Chester had an attempted robbery at his house. He shot the attempted robber, but didn't kill him. No one cared that Chester was a recovering drug-addict. I know he was selling drugs, but that is what mostly happens. Nothing was done about their gung-ho raid. Justice had been done! It took a task-force and the FBI to arrest six black men and kill one back in 1998. Rest in Peace, Chester.

Raydeen Edwards

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The Razor Wire is a publication of The November Coalition, a nonprofit organization that advocates drug law reform. Contact information:
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