My wife and children tell me in so many letters that they
feel as if they too have been sentenced to time in prison. Our
family endures so much that no one knows, but your paper expresses
the grief that most cannot imagine. I am one of the many prisoners
whose family cannot afford to come and visit. I have not been
able to see my children in over four years and have no hope of
seeing them for a long time to come. And now our phone time is
restricted with the new BOP policy, which is making the separation
from our loved ones all the worse.
I hope that this note will reach you. I just finished reading
"America's Drug War." You have put into words the outcry
I have had inside my head for 20 years. The turmoil that the
"drug war" has caused in my life is terrible, but I
see that there are champions. That is you! I only became familiar
with your organization last week when I found you on the Internet.
I did send my donation--too small. Please, don't let yourselves
be silenced. This country needs you more than it knows. Seventy
percent of federal prisoners are in for drug crimes. People have
their heads in the sand.
Here's a thought. It would be a good idea to encourage all
inmates and their families when corresponding with one another,
or anyone, to write on the outside of their envelopes, "There
Is No Justice In The War On Drugs." What if all inmates'
families and friends wrote this on their utility bills, emails,
I am a POW of this war and I am presently awaiting sentencing.
No one seems to know or understand what this war is all about
for those without support or appropriate representation. By using
the media, the enemy has the masses believing that they are working
in their favor by making the streets and communities safer. But
in reality, all they are doing is leaving the communities without
fathers, sons and brothers, unprotected with only women and children.
My neighbor's been sharing The Razor Wire with me for the
past 6 to 8 months, but has recently moved. Therefore I'm left
in the dark, not knowing or aware of the latest on any drug law
changes. Would you please bring me out of this darkness into
the light by adding me on your mailing list to receive copies
of your newspaper. That way I'm guaranteed to staying informed.
Hello again, how's everybody doing? Hope all is well there
on the front line. I wrote you last to tell you about the way
things are going here in Texas. Remember the Tulia story? Well,
I wrote you about the "Texomo Connection." We filed
a complaint with the ACLU and NAACP also. The last we heard through
our hometown newspaper was that there was a chance of six more
counties being added to the Tulia lawsuit. We don't know if we
are among those six, but wish us luck.
There are times since I've been in the Federal system when
I've wondered how different my life could have been if I hadn't
gotten myself in a predicament such as this. I wish I had finished
high school. At the age of 15 I became pregnant with my first
child. That was only half of it. I dropped out of school in the
tenth grade with no job or education. To make matters worse,
I decided to move out of my mother's house.
I was busted in August of 1999 for growing 100 plants. Everything
I worked for, for 30 years, is gone--house, business and all
my savings. A so-called friend informed on me. He was busted,
then cooperated with the government and set me up. I was with
my little grandson when I was arrested. Fifteen SWAT officers
in black ninja costumes, faces covered, fully automatic weapons
with silencers attached, verbally threatened to kill us both.
I go to trial in a couple months and will be getting five years.
I leave behind my wife, youngest daughter and grandson of whom
I'm sole supporter.
I did very well in school last semester (I earned a 4.0 GPA)
and used my back issues of The Razor Wire for several speeches
and as background research for an argumentative paper for my
English 101 class. Thank you so much for sending the posters.
The look on the Unit Manager's face when she told me that I couldn't
have them really made my day. I have enclosed another book of
stamps to help out with the cause.
As I look around and see how the majority of this inmate population
is made up mostly of minorities like African-Americans, Latinos
and other non-whites, I wonder if slavery was really abolished,
or if it was just modernized into a new legal form called "prison."
New Mexico Corrections Department is closing prison law libraries.
We no longer have access to case law, pens, writing paper, paper
to draft pleadings on, envelopes, etc. I'm using my last resources
as I write. The plan is to allow us to run out of what we have
and not sell or give us any more.
My name is Tommy Colbert. I'm a first- time offender serving
11 years for drug conspiracy. The only evidence was the testimony
of snitches. The Southern district of Alabama refused to produce
the DEA statements from the snitches at trial. Several have repeated
to other persons that they told the DEA that I was not involved
in the drug dealings, and that I was just a user. But because
I stood up to them during a search of my brother's property,
I was arrested for interfering with a government investigation.
All three of my brothers and I were going to trial. One week
before the trial they threatened to give my brother James life
and to bring my mother into the so-called conspiracy. They had
Western Union receipts where my mother sent my brother money.
My mother has sent me money on several occasions, too. They said
they could get a warrant for her arrest. My mother is a devoted
Christian. My brother pled out. So, going to trial with one brother
already pleading out made us look guilty right off the bat. My
brothers even told the DEA that I was not involved with them.
They told my other brother, "if you take the stand to tell
a jury that Tommy was not involved, we will give you ten years
extra if you are found guilty." Our trial was a joke, as
is most trials in the Southern district of Alabama.
Mass imprisonment is NOT the answer, and this is exactly what
we have in America. It is time for America to wake up. Thousands
of non-violent drug offenders are receiving stiff jail penalties
and the 'war' is soaking the taxpayer. I would like to witness
a little more wisdom at the helm in the ocean of money being
allotted to the drug war; the war that is not working. Mandatory
prison sentencing for non-violent offenders needs to stop. Mandatory
long-term rehabilitation needs to begin. It makes more sense
all the way around.
My family is having a family reunion on July 6. They're coming
together to discuss a plan to get my co-defendant (my cousin)
and meout of here.
I've been receiving your newspaper for the past few months
now. I just wanted to drop your organization a few lines to say
thank you for your efforts in regards to working to change unfair
sentencing practices through your vigils and lobbying on prisoners'
behalf. But more than that, I want to thank you for your stories
about families and their struggle to maintain relationships while
they're separated. These stories give me hope that as time goes
by my relationship with my family has a chance to get stronger.
I have no wish to be forgotten. I am married with two children,
a daughter, 14, and a son, 17. Those two are the real victims
of this drug war. My wife doesn't write anymore and my son is
always busy trying to take up the slack. But I hear from my little
girl all the time so I know how hard my being here is on them.
My daughter wants to understand what it's like for me in here
and I see her as one day becoming an activist for our cause.
I am doing a five-year sentence for distribution of 1.08 grams
of crack cocaine. The warden's favorite line here is, "A
fat jail is a happy jail!," I have been asking questions.
Who gets the commissary's cash? Who profits from all the vending
machine cash in the visitor's room? Washer and dryers take our
money, we buy pictures when our families visit, where does that
money go? No one gives me the answer. Man, I really thought the
warden was talking about the chow hall.
Wanted to write and thank you for allowing me to be a member
of the November Coalition. I really look forward to receiving
a copy of every issue and would like for that to continue. For
every member, from the youngest to the oldest, I would like to
thank you for taking the time to spread the word of these unjust
sentences that this so-called Drug War is causing. I myself have
an 8-year-old son who I love very, very much and want to help
my wife of 12 years to raise him. I was sentenced to 20 years
and have only done three, so it's unlikely that I will be able
to help raise him unless there is more and more support to do
away with this so-called drug war and to release the low-level
drug dealers as well as the users. The prisons will always be
overcrowded otherwise, no matter how many they build. People
will always do drugs for one or another reason.
My father, James H. Abbott, born 11-20-1919 died July 5 2001.
My father proudly flew the November Coalition flag at his house
(until it wore out) and stretched the vigil banner in his yard
until it too was destroyed.