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ION Detector Reliability: Drug Tests Or Barriers To Prison Visitation?

By Nora Callahan

In April, my 85 year old mother -- part blind, two hearing aids, two heart attacks and 17 years of drug war imprisonment of her only son, G. Patrick Callahan behind her -- tested positive for illegal drugs at the prison visitation processing center at the federal prison in Seagoville, Texas. My sisters were processed, but my mother was too deaf to understand that she was being told to leave the federal premises entirely.

She's also too old to put up with much crap, and she dissolved emotionally. Hunched over, with her head buried in her hands, she sobbed and wandered alone into the fed parking lot.

She is sure that she will never see her son again, and due to bad health and finances, it was her first visiting session in 8 years.

According to reports, prison officials told her to leave and, without my sister's assistance, she physically can't. People, others rejected by the same bogus ION detectors, sold by a military industrial complex of evil corporations, circled my mother, keeping the guards at a distance.

My sisters called me with the sad news, and we began the task of finding a reporter and TV news station. Bea Callahan, my mother, waited the required 72 hours until local TV news CW-TV 33 out of Dallas, TX was at the gates to record the events that unfolded. (To watch the shocking video, click here.) She finally did get to see her son.

Not just our family, but everyone needs to write and call legislative aides about strategies to stop this harassment of visitors, the needless thousands of extra dollars it costs a family, and the anger and depression that results from the gamut of prison policies gone bad. My mom was able to visit for a last day to say goodbye, but hundreds of people simply, "leave the premises entirely" and return home.

Please write or call the House and Senate Judiciary Committees and tell them your ION detection non-visitation stories.

  • House Judiciary Committee
  • 2138 Rayburn House Office Bldg.
  • Washington, DC 20515
  • (202)-225-3951
  • Senate Committee on the Judiciary
  • 224 Dirksen Senate Office Bldg.
  • Washington, DC 20510
  • Democratic Phone: (202) 224-7703
  • Republican Phone: (202) 224-5225

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