Thank you for the offer to send your paper to our son for
free as he is in prison. We are praying God will make a way where
there seems no way and send him home to us. We are old and need
him home to help us; Herbert is 86 and I am 82.
Sincerely, Jessie A. McClain
Thank you for persevering and giving hope to so many. I think
the word you are putting out is the truth. I am an artist and
musician who also believes that people imprisoned by these draconian
laws are all political prisoners. I suggest you use that phrase,
as I intend to do through my music. It is absurd that marijuana
is illegal and millions of pharmaceuticals with horrible side
effects are not, and tobacco is not. I think that it is absurd
that we are not allowed to choose what we want to do with ourselves.
I also agree with your point that modern gang wars are comparable
to Prohibition gangland violence. I don't buy into all the hype.
The government spends billions of dollars on "anti-drugs"
youth media campaigns, the true purpose being to hammer in their
agenda that drugs not paid for by an HMO are evil and wrong.
It is more complicated than that and makes no sense. Since when
do I have any reason to believe that this government, acting
so paternalistically, has my best interest and health at heart?!
What precedent is there for me to believe that? I could go on
and on and on but I'll stop for now.
Anyway, I would like to help if I can. Please put me on your
mailing lists. Keep me posted!
From: Becky Henning
I have been interested in fighting against the Drug War for some
time now. I first came to know of your organization by doing
web searches on anti-prohibition coalitions. I also heard a lot
about you through other organizations like DRCNet, MPP, &
the Lyceum. I am willing to do whatever I can to help end Prohibition.
Unfortunately, I do not have very much money, so I have tried
to make a difference by writing letters to my representatives,
and spreading the word through whatever means possible, to let
people know about the atrocities of the Drug War. If you can
think of anything else I can do to help, please let me know immediately
so I can get started. This is a fight that I am determined to
win. Once again, thank you for your help, and I hope to hear
from you in the near future.
Yo!! What's up, fellow warriors for (real) truth, justice
and the (former, pre-Drug War) American Way? What are youse,
on the lam? I don't get no news from youse no more. Maybe my
recent change of location to the AmeriKan gulag's Garden of Eden
(aka Federal Prison Camp) has resulted in my being lost in the
shuffle. Don't worry, these prisoncrats still know just where
I am....here! So, hey, how 'bout it? Can I get back on the your
roll and receive Razor Wire...or do I have ta FUGGETABOUTIT?
In all seriousness, thanks for all that you are doing for us
Ernesto Benevento, Prisoner of the Drug War
I have checked out all the information on your website and after
much thought, I have decided that I would like to sponsor Vigils
in my area. I found out about your organization while looking
for information about human rights through the Internet. The
reason for my interest sadly enough is the same as yours, a loved
one: my 20-year-old daughter was in the wrong place at the wrong
time. Up until this happened I never gave the drug laws much
thought. I thought the laws where fair. Boy, was I wrong! Yesterday
I read in the newspaper about a man that raped a 13-year-old
girl, yet he was only sentenced to 3 years, and my daughter is
facing a 6-year sentence. My daughter, Rachel has never hurt
any one. Could you please send me information about your organization?
I'd like to get started as soon as possible.
We think your paper is very informative and I hope some good
will come from at. We have a son in an FCI who's been there for
9 years, with 4 more to go. It is a long trip to go to visit
him, almost 700 miles but we try to go every seven weeks. We
live on social security and that's not much when you retire at
62 years of age, but with careful planning we manage. I am 71
years old and my husband is 77. We don't look too far ahead in
the future, but God willing we will live long enough to see our
son come home.
Sincerely, Doris Evans
I can only say that in 17 years behind these walls I've learned
there is nothing like Justice in our criminal Justice system!
When I was placed in prison I earned my way. I do not say justice
was not served. It was.
But what hurts my heart is when these courts put my cellmate
in prison for 52 years. Sure what he did was wrong but it surely
did not add up to 52 years! Not when he was only 16 years old!
He has grown up around me for the last 2 years, but he is still
just a kid. Is a single small-time robbery without violence reason
for giving a child 52 years in prison?
I don't know why I am even writing about Kevin, but it hurts
my heart to see what the criminal justice system is doing to
our young people. This is just one example!
Jeffrey Snarke, prisoner in America
My boyfriend of 9 years and stepfather to my two sons, ages
13 and14, is presently serving 22 years in a federal prison.
He was convicted on a conspiracy law & possession & distribution.
I too was charged with the same, after being questioned by the
feds and giving them too many "I don't know" answers.
Three days after this questioning I was indicted. The conspiracy
charge was dropped after I reluctantly agreed to cooperate and
go to the grand jury. I was threatened with losing my kids and
my house, not to mention life in prison and up to $6 million
in fines. I pled guilty to possession and distribution, went
to jail, did my time and have been back home and back with my
kids for 6 months.
I have had a extremely difficult time accepting all this. My
role in the crime was "driver only". I drove my boyfriend
to the post office where he was picking up the drugs. I had no
previous record and they wouldn't even offer me an aiding and
Well, I'm always in the struggle these days. I am working full
time, trying to manage my home and teen-aged boys. I hate myself
for what I had no choice but to do. I have no dignity or self-worth.
I am on anti-depressants and live in mental anguish.
I can't afford to donate for two weeks, next week's check is
already spent on overdue bills but will happily send what I can
with money out of the paycheck after that because I feel your
publication is about the most worthwhile thing I can spend my
Always in the struggle,
Karla Davis (another victim in the war on drugs)
My son is in a federal pen in Florence Colorado. He found
out about your publication from a friend. He was sentenced to
life without parole on a conspiracy charge. All the witnesses
against him had been arrested on drug charges and served no prison
One witness, who was a reputed long-time drug family member from
Columbia, was given $68,000, a house, and an American social
security card for testimony against my son.
Bill Plunk, father of a POWD
I received the Jul/Aug razor wire paper and I almost cried when
I read some of the articles. The government is really pitiful.
I had written to you about my arrest on drug charges in February.
Just wanted to update you on my sentencing. I got lucky; very
lucky. The judge gave me 2 yrs. unsupervised probation. I just
have to pay my fines and stay out of trouble. The articles I
have read really scare me. They may come back and get me with
conspiracy. I think I would just die.
I had local police stop me for an expired tag and he said, "I
won't give you a ticket for your tag if you can give me the name
of a drug dealer" I couldn't believe what he asked me! The
police here are obsessed with this meth thing. If I can be of
any help, please let me know; I really want to help. I have an
ex in prison in Oklahoma City. He is there because of drugs.
Tells me there are more drugs in the place than out on the streets.
Now that is scary. I also know someone that never touched any
drugs in his life until he spent 13 months in an Oklahoma state
I am also a nonviolent war on drugs prisoner with three small
children. Accepting my outrageous sentence is one thing; accepting
the fact that my children and family are, in essence, serving
the same amount of time is yet another. Reading all of the stories,
tragic and supportive, I realize that this abuse of our justice
system is not going unheard.
Thank you for your time and the interest in something so meaningful
to so many.
Darren Thompson, POWD
I am a fifty-five year old African/American male, presently held
captive by a federal system that's constitutionally out of control.
After recently reading your publication for the first time, I'm
encouraged to know that the 'essence' and 'spirit' of civil struggle
remains alive. Your forum provides an education/information channel
for reconstructive dialogue, and effectively establishes a vocal,
socio/political, platform for more meaningful activism. I am
now, therefore, experiencing a rare level of elation and enlightenment,
which had become almost oblivious to me under these present conditions.
I encourage your ideologies, applaud your efforts, support the
movement, and am committed to your sense of struggle.
Jesse Lamont Kithcart, POWD
From: Linda Cruce
Subject: the war on us!
The war on drugs is nothing short of inhumane. The way the drug
war is fought is criminal in itself. This waste of human life
and the ruin of countless families is an American disgrace! Imprisoning
people for drug problems is cruel and unusual punishments. Give
killers, child molesters and rapists 10-life sentences! As with
any war there are always innocent victims: in the drug war they
only get about 10% of the real bad guys, the rest are innocent
or lowest-level offenders. I don't know how people sleep at night
knowing that this is happening. These people have families that
love and miss and grieve for them as well. I pray for release
for all innocent or low-level offenders. I CARE!
Subject: Drug War
From: Teresa Miller
First I would like to say thank you, and keep up the good work.
I am writing on the behalf of my father. He is serving a sentence
of 168 months which is unfair.
I have three kids and have to try to explain why "paw paw"
won't be coming home soon. My father is a great man, the best
in my book. He is my life. I will never give up hope. He was
placed in Forrest City AR, not to far from his family. Now he
has been moved to Texas where it is hard for our family to visit
himjust another example of how the federal system is
ran. I send my prayers out to all the families, God bless.
It is a great inspiration to me to keep on going knowing that
there are people out there who still believe in rehabilitation
and who are against long, mandatory prison sentences.
We need rehabilitation homes, treatment centers, halfway houses,
and education to help us get started in a job so we can take
care of our wives and children. We need to attend groups or get
counseling to help us stay off drugs. It doesn't even take a
third of the cost for a new prison to get some of these projects
started in our communities.
So, I'm asking all who read this, please, please, write to your
legislators or call them or go see them. Let them know how you
feel and which way your vote is going to be cast if they don't
act in a responsible way. Get involved for the betterment of
everybody, especially our children.
I just finished reading the latest Razor Wire. It's just great
to know that more and more people are starting to see that prison
cells are not the answer. We are people that need some help such
as treatment and counseling. I only wish I could have the chance
to be in treatment, instead I received 21.8 years federal time
and 20 years state time.
John Driskill, POWD
I wanted to tell you how much your paper has helped me. I
thought we were the only family going through this hell the government
has condemned us to. It helps to see we are not alone. I pray
that someday soon I will read something in your newspaper that
will bring our son home again.
Mrs. Delola Shaw, mother of a POWD
From: Donna McNelly
I read your message in the Jul/August 1999 issue of The Razor
Wire concerning the statement by Bob Weiner, a spokesman for
Gen. Barry McCaffrey, saying the reduction of the prison population
by 250,000 is 'the guts' of a new White House policy to be announced
later this year. I would be anxiously awaiting the details of
this policy but actually, I'm terrified about it! Since the only
new policies to solve the Drug War problem have been more harmful
to the prisoners and their families in recent years my first
thought wasOh my God, they're going to execute 250,000
prisoners! I hope the ONDCP will reveal the policy before the
end of the year and that hopefully it will be something good.
I have fought this battle since my son was arrested in January
1998 and am so tired. I've learned all about the Drug War and
how it's fought, how a person is guilty until proven innocent,
hearsay evidence is fine, conspiracy laws which lump you in with
people you've never seen or heard of, plead guilty or go to prison
for unbelievably long times, snitch on someone (lie if you want)
and serve less time etc. etc. etc.
If I sound disillusioned and bitter it's because I am. I have
lost every bit of patriotism and pride I ever had in my country.
I guess it's not my country destroying all of these lives and
families - it's the politicians. What do we have to do to make
them wake up and see what they are doing?
Keep up the good work with November and best wishes and good
luck for your brother.
I'm a friend of Donna Mcnellys. I unfortunately learned about
the injustices of the drug war first hand also!! My brother is
facing a sentence of 10-LIFE (and they want the most) on a drugless
drug conviction, on testimony of people who were caught red-handed
making and selling drugs (and will be out in 2-5 years, doing
the same thing) meanwhile my 37 year old brother sits in jail
awaiting, might as well be a death sentence for absolutely nothing.
Donna and her husband were at my brother's trial, even though
they know me they do not know my brother. They've heard his name
because we are all from the same area. They said they wanted
to see if he would be proved guilty. Donna wrote Jerry Costello,
it was the most pathetic mockery of a trial and that it was hard
to believe that this could happen to someone in the United States.
Absolutely no evidence! His son graduated from High School this
year, top of the class, his dad missed that. My brother's daughter
turned eleven on July 6th, he missed that. He turned 37 (in jail)
May 24, we missed that.
They want to give him more time than a killer, or child molester.
What can people in control be thinking? Only someone who has
went through this nightmare can know the shock of such injustices,.
We didn't know this wickedness went on, the grief is almost unbearable
and people don't believe a word you say, they think you're lying
for sure because after all that's their brother and the government
wouldn't allow this to go on.
Innocent people and lowest-level offends are doing the inhumane
mandatory minimum sentences. This is such a waste of human lives
and the ruin of countless families, that it's absolutely sickening.
For the most part the way I see it, the conspiracies are of and
by the feds on innocent or low-level offenders for personnel
gain, makes statistics look good, good for re-elections, etc.
Most of Americans want to blame everything that goes wrong in
the world on drugs, a plain case of ignorance and overkill. I
don't think most of them, who could change things care because
it won't happen to someone they love. Let's face it if my brother
were rich and famous he sure wouldn't be in jail. I think justice
is only for those who can afford it anymore! I'm bitter and angry
that this could happen to anyone, mostly common people! Thanks