I was waiting for the Jan/Feb issue to arrive and was so glad
to get it. Being in prison, I have three main concerns: 1) food
poisoning, 2) contagious diseases, and 3) not getting the Razor
Wire. Thankfully, now I only have two things to worry about for
the next 2 months. Thanks for a great issue.
I see everyone is all jazzed up about Proposition 36 passing
in California. While I too consider this a great victory, I am
still waiting to see how our political machine implements the
program. After all, some thought the 3 strikes law was a good
thing until we saw how "they" used it to throw non-violent
offenders in prison for 25 to life. I've got a pal doing 25 to
life for a dime of meth! It was good to see a proposition win
that the CCPOA (California Correctional Peace Officers Association)
fought so hard to defeat. We can win one step at a time. I overheard
a CO here saying they expect Prop. 36 to cut 3,000 new inmates
a month from the prison rolls. This is a growing possibility,
even if it's only another rumor now.
I've read many letters in the Razor Wire from inmates complaining
about low-paying jobs. Don't trip. Lots of workers in CA prisons
get no pay at all. Refusal to work gets you more time or loss
of privileges! Keep that great paper coming.
I have often wondered how long my composure would hold up
under these conditions. Let me say what my 39 years of life has
produced from my own life in modern slavery, and the constant
practices of discrimination against African Americans, Native
Americans, Hispanics, poor whites, and others outside the American
Dream. Based on my experience from being incarcerated, it is
now clear what the slavemasters' intentions were when they wrote
the 13th Amendment of the United States Constitution.
To completely abolish slavery meant also destroying the corporate
institutions and the economics of cheap labor. The Master wouldn't
have that. Slavery is the devil incarnate, a very evil institution
used to demoralize, dehumanize, murder, castrate, torture, exploit,
pimp. The war on drugs fabricated a scheme to use the 13th Amendment
to manufacture a system to legally retain and increase slavery
as a punishment for crime in America - making billions of dollars
off cheap labor. The frightening part is that American leaders
have the audacity to order a war on drugs that they bring into
After reading Oliver North's book Under Fire, I was shocked
by the uncompromising no tolerance policy the government claimed
to implement with the war on drugs. The Boland Amendment stopped
funds from going to Central America. The Contra rebels (a secret
military operation organized by the C.I.A.) purchased weapons
with cocaine to continue financing their military operation.
Drugs are destroying our society, but blacks, other minorities
and poor people on the whole don't control the flow or major
operations, and the government will never admit to being responsible.
So the war on drugs starts in the neighborhoods in America where
cocaine has never been manufactured. We are prisoners of war.
We have been victims since slavery, and still are according to
the 13th Amendment scheme to justify it all by the call to make
war on drugs. Mandatory sentencing policies keep the new slaves
in the 'factories with walls', as Supreme Court Justice Rehnquist
once promoted publicly. What a brilliant plan.
I just received my first issue of The Razor Wire. I find it
very informative as well as supportive. I am being "housed"
at F.C.I. Loretto that is supposed to be a "low" as
far as security classification is considered. This facility was
converted from a convent to house 300-500 inmates; the population
is now 1200 with the new building. Though there is a new building,
which houses about 600 - 700 people, services for the larger
population have not expanded.
I am in need of contacts with other organizations like yours
that inform and encourage inmates to hang in there no matter
what their individual situation may be. For one, I am in need
of professional medical services. Here at Loretta, the health
care professionals go by the general rule that the inmate is
lying or faking illness to receive narcotic drugs. While this
may be the case for some inmates, it is not the case for all.
Because of this general attitude found among paid staff, inmates
like myself, who are in dire need of medical attention, have
As anyone who has been or is incarcerated should know, the administrative
remedy process is not designed to help; its sole purpose is to
delay the filing of a civil cause of action. If there are other
organizations that could help with this medical injustice, please
send me information on them so I can have some help in this painful
battle. I think you in advance.
Dudley Kim Smith
(Editor's note: Inquiries about Mr. Smith may be addressed
to the Razor Wire Editor by phone, email or letter.)
Thought I'd share an interesting experience regarding the
method I used to pass out the 4-page Tabloid describing the November
Coalition. I made copies of the "Open the Can" CANpaign
and inserted that information in each issue. I checked the viewing
schedule for the movie "TRAFFIC" and positioned
myself so that as people were exiting, I could hand out copies
with both hands (door to my left and the door to my right).
I think that the movie certainly made a point as I did, shouting
"You've seen the movie; now get the true inside stories;
get the real deal!" I truly felt connected because people
were receptive, and a few asked questions such as: Why isn't
the government putting the drug users/dealers in programs for
rehabilitation? Another questioned the extent of time served
and the crippling affect to the families, whereupon children
suffer because they're denied the love and affection needed by
One interesting feedback was that of an elderly lady, furious
that this Drug War has caused more harm to the 'American' by
increasing the amount of families on public welfare and assistance.
A younger gent asked, "What is our government trying to
do to us? Not only do agents confiscate assets, but they incarcerate
the very same person, and then years later release he or she,
expecting them to pay taxes and fines even after being used as
"slave labor" by the government at 50 cents an hour."
Lee in Miami
I am a prisoner of the infamous war on drugs and a member
of The November Coalition. I have been getting a subscription
to The Razor Wire for some years now, and I am requesting that
the newspaper continue to be sent to me.
I have been recently transferred to FPC Leavenworth from FPC
El Paso. I arrived here on December 1st, 2000. I was granted
this furlough transfer via Greyhound bus. It was real cool to
say the least to travel this way. I have been locked up for 11
1/2 years now, and 9 years of that was spent in numerous FCI's
around the country. I was 'free' for 26 hours; I heard children
laugh and cry, so cute they were. I heard women talk, saw them
smile and laugh; my heart rejoiced at the smile of such wonderful
Needless to say when I was free for those 26 hours, I did not
want to return to prison. The furlough program in the BOP is
a partial solution to us who are confined, and sometimes one
cannot be selfish and think only of oneself when so many others
can also benefit from such a short relief from prison. That is
why I arrived at USP Leavenworth to see the Great Wall and gun
towers on time, so as to not be the one to run and help the BOP
rid itself of the furlough program with the "jargon"
that inmates ruin it for themselves. I hate hearing that because
that line is a cop-out by the BOP.
I received 30, 10, 10 in years to run concurrently in Judge Walter
Smith's Courtroom in Waco, Texas for 6 1/2 grams of LSD. I must
serve 17 1/2 years for a crime committed in 1987 for blotter
acid in which the weight issue of the LSD is considered by total
weight under the "old law", compared to the newer Sentencing
Guidelines. I have had a "petition for commutation of sentence"
filed with the U.S. pardon attorney since 01/09/00, as I had
exhausted most of my judicial avenues. Wish me luck!
I did receive the Sept/Oct/Nov issue of the Razor Wire while
still in FPC El Paso. I was amazed and yet extremely happy to
see that Amy Pofahl's sentence was commuted. I did follow her
case for some years and felt I knew her from reading reports
about her in the Razor Wire. I also noticed standing with Amy
in the picture in the newspaper, was one "Heather Silverstein
Jordan". If possible, could you tell Heather that I said
hello, and I am happy to see her free, alive, well and remaining
with her husband. I have lost contact with Heather after communicating
by mail years ago when we were both confined.
Thank you for your publication and help; look for a donation
from me soon. God bless and peace to all who work so hard for
John C. DeLario, Jr.
It gives me great pleasure to drop you these few lines. I
am an inmate at the Butner, NC federal facility, and I would
like to extend my gratitude to you and your staff in your progressive
works with the "November Coalition". I read your articles
on "Running out of time," and I was touched at your
willing effort about the drug policy issues, and the release
of first offenders and nonviolent prisoners.
I've been convicted by guilt of association and each and everyday
I'm hoping for your progressive effort to get some kind of recognition
in this judicial system. Thanks again Mrs. Callahan, and continue
your progressive works. I remain yours truly.
I would like to be placed on the free subscription list for
your publication, the Razor Wire, and if possible, to obtain
a copy of all issues of said publication for the year 2000.
I must thank you for the previous issues of the Razor Wire, which
you mailed to me in 1999. I used the information contained in
several issues to challenge by legal motion the New York State
sentencing policies; of course I did not obtain relief from the
unfair-by-definition and politically conservative state courts.
The State Department of Correctional Services, however, had a
reaction. After the motion was filed, papers in question were
unlawfully and surreptitiously withheld and read by the prison
and departmental officials in January 2000 before being mailed
to the court. The Department published in one of its monthly
DOCS Today publication, at the beginning of 2000, a pointless
article about, but acknowledging, the existence of the Razor
Wire. Keep up the good work.
I just received the January/February issue of the Razor Wire,
and thanks. Somehow, I perceive a touch of success from the articles
it contained. You all have taken on a monster, but surely you
all know that. The release of the two ladies is truly a victory,
may it be the very tip of the iceberg.
I'm now half way through my seventh year in this mess with an
out-date of 2016. Inside the wire there is no sense of relief.
They continue to pack us in here, closer and closer quartered.
Here in FCI Yazoo City we sleep in hallways, TV rooms, storage
bin holes, and they keep the SHU full with new arrivals.
This past week I heard of a new arrival that was in here for
conspiracy to sell deer meat. My-my! These folks just can't find
enough dangerous drug dealers to keep the numbers rolling. Friends,
this is a business, and politicians are making big money in it.
I applaud your efforts and encourage every one of you to continue.
Our cause is a worthy on which speaks out against a true injustice.
I also pray that God go before you, open the doors, and give
each one of you wisdom and favor. I'm including names of family
and friends for you to send a copy of the Razor Wire. These people
are all capable of helping spread the word of truth to others,
maybe some will.
You are having your Dollar Campaign 2001; so I hope the $10.00
helps. The Razor Wire really has had some excellent legal articles
in it recently! Keep it up, please.
November Coalition chase the path, correctly, of recommending
commutations for all prisoners with non-violent drug crimes who
have served more than 5 years of their sentence.
Personally, I have had some good news: the magistrate judge in
my § 2255 is recommending in her report that my sentence
be vacated and I be resentenced.
Since I have a 20-year sentence for marijuana conspiracy, this
is good news. One of my main arguments was, due to ineffective
assistance of counsel, the court never established the "scope
of the criminal activity" or "scope of the criminal
agreement" as required under the sentencing guidelines.
You had a very good article on this subject in the recent Razor
Wire. It was by Michael S. Gelacak, former Vice-Chairman of the
United States Sentencing Commission, and appeared on page 6.
I have since spoken to Mr. Gelacak and have written him a letter.
He is absolutely right: the number of cases in which the court
did not first determine scope is probably staggering.
Know you are busy so I will let you go. Thanks again though.
Most sincerely, Charles Creshore
Thanks to all the staff at the November Coalition for giving
a mother a ray of hope. Your hard work and dedication are greatly
Sincerely, Lorraine Arcuri
Being active with November Coalition makes a difference. Here
is the response I received from my state senator:
Thank you for your email about the Drug Enforcement Administration
and the possibility of new regulations on the importation of
hemp based products. At your request, I have written a letter
to Frank Sapeinza, Chief of the Drug and Chemical Evaluation
Section at the DEA to voice my opposition to such restrictions.
Thank you for contacting me and please keep in touch.
Senator Pat Thibaudeau
43rd Legislative District
email from: Alice Chandlerid
I am writing this pursuant to the November Coalition. I receive
each month from you. First off, thank you for the hard work you
all are doing. Your fight to stop the war on drugs, is helping
many of us. I share the Coalition paper with twenty sometimes
more inmates and they all get something good out of it.
I think most of us are just now realizing there are people like
the November Coalition that are on our side.
Thank you, Dan West