Mail Call!

In the Sept/Oct/Nov Razor Wire a letter from my son (Boyd Gilbreath) was printed, and I would like to add a bit to his letter from my side of this situation.
Boyd is the only child I have, and I miss him terribly. His son misses him too, a child only seven months old when the judge sentenced his dad to 66 months. I think it is a shame such travesties of justice are inflicted on nonviolent drug users, POWDs.
On a recent Oprah show the subject was battered children. A young child was horribly tortured and murdered by his mother and father, including unspeakable acts of tying the child down, bite marks, stab wounds and other horrible things done to this baby. The parents were sentenced to less time in jail than my son who never committed such violence in his life.
I urge everyone related to a POWD family member, or someone simply passionate about the injustice being done to this cross-section of the population, to speak up and make our chosen leaders understand that "blanket incarceration" is not the answer for POWDs. In bitterness our callous politicians may speed up capital punishment for all on death rows just to make room for the POWDs.
Thank you for the opportunity to vent my frustrations and voice my opinion about the injustice being done too many people over possession of marijuana.
Sincerely, Deborah C. Gilbreath
Mother of Boyd M. Gilbreath, POWD

I am a prisoner of the dug war and just got a hold of a back issue of the Razor Wire. It really caught my attention even though it was a 1999 back issue. I would like to get your paper myself, it is very informative.
I don't know if you know, but I am one of the disabled prisoners of war, and the B.O.P. policy on medical care is that we are to receive the bare minimum of health care. And they do mean bare minimum.
I have seen the newest of the doctors here at FCI Pekin, and she even told me that the BOP would not allow her to give me the pain medication that she would if I was her patient on the streets. So I am left to endure pain everyday. And I have ten more years of this to look forward to. I suffer from Degenerative Disc Dease in which there is not cure and was declared fully disabled by the federal court judge.
I am medically unassigned, so I have no income from the B.O.P. and my wife is trying to raise four children alone, so she cannot afford to send me money. But I know she and I would like to learn more about your paper and cause. So I am placing both our names and address here so that we might learn more on how to receive your paper and help if we possibly can.
Jeffery Zoph, prisoner of the drug war

I'm interested in your campaign about what is going on in these prisons. I have a friend in jail doing 21 years for nothing! I also was arrested and spent two months in jail for something I did not do, but my court appointed attorney advised me to take the charge - and I would be able to go home faster to be with my children. I had no other choice but to do what he said. After going through all that, I believe what you are doing is the best thing for everyone. If we don't stand up for our rights, this will continue to happen. Convicted parents should be home under house arrest, working and taking care of their families, and not serving long time sentences. Serving time for whom?
Linda Billiot

My name is B.J. Smith from Kingman AZ. I would like to receive the paper from you. I am indigent but will send some stamps when I can. I was 53 when I was convicted for conspiracy to sell drugs and received 25 years to life. What kind of life will a 78-year-old man have when he gets out of prison?
I don't read much, but I just spent the best 3 1/2 hours reading the Razor Wire. You kept up the fight. I really like the stories about the Supreme Court on Apprendi v. New Jersey.
B.J. Smith, prisoner of the drug war

I got a chance to read your Razor Wire, and there were many letters and stories printed I could relate to very closely. I too have had assets and property illegally taken from me and prosecuted by both state and federal governments.
I was never charged with any sales, trafficking, conspiracy or violent offenses, only with possession and attempt to manufacture methamphetamine. My assets and property were seized, yet there were never any indications they were tied in any way to any kind of illegal activity.
When it became obvious that state officials would have to return my property, they, instead, turned the case over to the federal government, and that's when the 'feds' became involved and decided to indict me. Up to that point no federal government agency had been involved with my offense.
The State of Missouri and the county prosecutor violated State statutes and court rules in several ways in order to manipulate an illegal seizure. But that's not the strange part.
The State had seized almost $18,000 in cash and a bank account, but when the federal government handed down its indictment that amount had grown to almost $38,000. Where the additional $20,000 came from is still a mystery to me, and I don't yet have a straight answer to that question. I've since filed a motion for replevin to get my property back in the county where it was illegally taken, but the prosecutors' office won't even answer my filing.
I'm not claiming to be innocent, and for a year out of my life I did things that led to coming to prison, but for 20 years? I led a respectable life, and I've got tax returns to show I earned my money legally. My addiction to methanphetamine and being in possession of that drug was my offense, and not the sales, trafficking and weapons crimes that the seizure and forfeiture laws were meant for. My assets were never found with or near any illegal drugs, and no one could show a connection to any illegal act.
Mostly I just wanted to write and say how happy it makes me to see that people are starting to voice concern over the way some state and federal law enforcement officials are treating the ordinary people of this country. Even those citizens 'out there' thinking they'll never be in a position to be arrested should be concerned after reading my story with how easy their own precious property could be taken from them by our government.
Sincerely, Sam Dempsey, prisoner of the drug war

I am sending these Jubilee Justice names in regard for my daughter Lakethya Abdullah. We're hoping it would help her as well as someone else's child or children doing federal time in prison. Will laws be passed and time reduced for men and women in the state and federal prisons. Thank you very much for your kindness and the understanding of these unjust laws.
Ms. Patricia Ann Johnson

I am writing to you to let you know I'm in Greenville FCI now and would really appreciate getting the Razor Wire here. I saw the July Razor Wire and read the article Khalid Muhammad wrote about his friend, John Torre introducing him to a new friend, the November Coalition.
This article touched me deeply, you see, I'm John Torre, Khalid Muhammad's friend. I've been moved from Phoenix to Greenville IL, which is closer to my family and Khalid went to Victorville California to be closer to his. We lost touch with each other and I also lost touch with the November Coalition. I sort of gave up hope for awhile when the courts denied my direct appeal. It was devastating for me to lose when I knew I should win. But things are getting better for me now and I'm ready to get back up and try again. The Supreme Court's recent decision in Apprendi could help win my freedom as well as my friends in this prison system. It is at least a step in the right direction.
The article in the Razor Wire sort of woke me up again and made me realize that I had become one of those people who sit on the curb waiting for someone else to fix my problems for me. Thanks to you and my friend Khalid. I'm ready to get back off that curb and try to get back in the fight against this madness.
Please start sending my Razor Wire to me here and I will spread the word again about you, my friends, the November Coalition.
Thanks, John Torre, Prisoner of the drug war

Please find enclosed a check in the amount of $32 for annual membership ($25) plus $7 for one of our totebags. I really enjoy the Razor Wire. I have a husband in prison. I have learned a lot about the system in the past 8 months. I can't even believe our nation has come to accept locking up first time offenders and nonviolent people as our government continues to do. It is an outrage.
I am so glad that someone is trying to do something about it. I hope that every one can understand what our families go through when a loved one is locked-up and taken away for long periods for crimes where the convicted person was just with the wrong persons at the wrong time. Just hanging out with the wrong group. I pray that things change so other families don't have to go through what I am going through. And I have a long way to go until my husband will ever get to come home. Thank you for the hope.
Lisa Cantrell

Congratulations to all the people who worked so hard to pass Proposition 36 here in California, especially our friends at the Campaign for New Drug Policies.
The passage of this initiative signals a change in attitude that starts to view drug users as human beings deserving of help rather than the scourge of society that must be locked away. Is this the beginning of the end of zero tolerance drug policy- now that a large majority of voters say we can make some accommodation for drug users within society?
Thanks also to Representative Tom Campbell who helped educate the public about drug policy and the need for treatment instead of incarceration during his campaign for the US Senate.
Mikki Norris of Human Rights and the Drug War Co-author with Chris Conrad of Shattered Lives: Portraits from America's Drug War