After reading the last Razor Wire, many of
you took up the challenge and wrote your hometown and other newspapers.
We are sharing with you just some of the recent letters published.
The offer still stands.
Are you a prisoner of the war on drugs? If your editorial about
the drug war gets published, we will send you a copy of Drug
War Facts. Like these letters here, you might find your own writing
published a second time in The Razor Wire. We'll be sharing these
published letters to inspire more of our readers to take up the
pen in the cause of justice.
Ready, set; write those letters!
Send original clippings of your recent published letters to the
I got published TNC!
795 South Cedar
Colville, WA 99114
Not in prison and need Drug War Facts? Visit
More on marijuana
Don't be surprised that the Supreme Court opposed medical marijuana.
Courts have always opposed any change to marijuana laws that
make the United States the world's largest imprisoner of its
own people. Citizens' ballot initiatives have won in 10 states.
Courts, prosecutors and police all work together to keep our
This is another clear case of a heavy-handed Big Brother drunk
with power. During the presidential campaign, George W. Bush
said he favored states' rights on the medical marijuana issue,
but as soon as he was (barely) elected he made a radical dive
to the right.
Prison growth shameful
I take issue with the July 23 Herald Leader's front-page article
that gleefully stated two new prisons will "invigorate"
Kentucky's economy. The human encagement industry is big business
in the land of the free. This country is the world's largest
per capita prison for its own people, and although the United
States represents a fraction of the world's population, we house
one-fourth of the world's prisoners.
More than 60 percent of federal prisoners are non-violent drug
offenders, and most have black or brown skin. The article quoted
a judge as saying, "The community doesn't have to put anything
in, but we're getting all this benefit." He seems to overlook
the obvious fact that his community will be putting in the prisoners.
For every new job that someone in the community gets, there will
be two from the community housed as inmates.
The expense for the prison was listed as $32 million to house
a measly 1,000 prisoners, most of whom will be in for petty drug
offenses. It is truly sickening to see human enslavement become
part of the Fortune 500. Private prison firms are selling prison
labor to organizations for profit, while paying the prisoner
a token fee for "voluntary" work.
Freedom from imprisonment should not be taken lightly. As these
new prison labor camps open for business, they will have to round
up customers. When you build a prison, you have to drag someone
from his or her home and shackle him or her to get their business.
Saturday, April 28, 2001 - Philadelphia
Persecution here, too.
American media and politicians are criticizing China for persecuting
Christians and members of the growing Falun Gong religious movement.
But doesn't America's so-called Christian government also engage
in religious persecution?
In 1970, Congress passed the controlled substance act making
marijuana illegal. Religions that use marijuana for spiritual
and medical purposes were thus transformed into illegal religions.
Coptic Christians and Rastafarians are being arrested, their
numbers hidden by the "war on drugs."
Even though the First Amendment says, "Congress shall make
no law respecting an establishment of Religion, or prohibiting
the free exercise thereof," the act made no exceptions for
use of marijuana in religious ceremonies.
During alcohol prohibition, there were religious exemptions for
wine used by Christians for religious use. Before telling China
about its religious abuses, the United States should correct
its own. I'm imprisoned for my beliefs now.
Riverfront State Prison
Wilson Daily Times 8-24-2001 &
The Independent Tribune Concord, NC Aug. 31, 2001
Voice opposition to war on drugs
After more than 30 years of fighting America's Drug War, one
has to wonder when the mentality will shift away from trying
to arrest America's way out of this problem. One thing is for
sure; as long as our citizens keep electing public servants that
have the "Lock-Em up and throw away the Key" attitude,
nothing will change. That we can be sure of! We must never forget
that the electorate should control the politicians.
It seems that almost everyone but the politicians know that education
and treatment are a better approach than incarceration. If incarceration
alone were the magic bullet, then we would not have had a million
heroin addicts when President Nixon declared the War on Drugs,
and (30 years later) still have about the same number of heroin
addicts. Now, 74% of Americans believe that the Drug War is not
working. As in many things, the citizens (unafraid of the political
consequences) are far ahead of their politicians.
It seems even though most Americans think that the Drug War is
not working, very few really know what to do about it or how
to obtain honest information. There are many organizations that
are working very hard to inform Americans, and to help us fight
the battle for change. Two of the better equipped are Families
against Mandatory Minimums and the November Coalition. Groups
like these non-profit organizations provide facts and accurate
information that can be used to make decisions about how most
of us now feel. This is crucial public policy.
Something that amazes me is that, with over 400,000 Americans
in prison for drug related offenses, these groups only have a
combined membership of 44,000. One would think that memberships
would be considerably higher. Since 74% of Americans believe
that the drug war is not working, one must assume they do not
know about these fine organizations. Everyone will want to remember
that these groups are important and informed, and their voices
are strengthened by increased membership. I urge you to contact
these groups at www.fam.org or FAMM 1612 'K' St. Washington,
D.C. 20006 (202) 822-6700, www.november.org or TNC, 795 South
Cedar, Colville, Washington 99114 (509) 684-1550. Let your voice
Dale Hill - Goldsboro
(The writer is incarcerated in the federal prison at Seymour
Johnson Air Force Base.)
Dear November Coalition
Enclosed please find a copy of the letter I got published in
the Round Valley Paper, Arizona. As you can see by the editors
comment at the end of my letter, his heart is in the right place,
but he is as misinformed as most of the people in regard to all
of the benefits of marijuana when used properly.
Glenn Jacobs, the editor, is also unaware of the assistance of
the November Coalition and the Razor Wire. Could you please send
him a complimentary issue of the Razor Wire?
I look forward to receiving a copy of "drug war facts".
Thank you for providing a forum for freedom loving individuals.
Your dedication to the truth is very much in the tradition of
Benjamin Franklin's paper, which was instrumental in casting
off the British Government yoke.
It is in the interest of truth that I respond to the letter appearing
in the RVP's 9/12/01 issue. The writer warns parents that people
who are working to decriminalize marijuana are "after"
their children. The writer bases her erroneous observation on
the same pack of lies sold to the public in order to gain support
for criminalizing, and eliminating, the use of the most beneficial
plant (hemp), known throughout the history of mankind. There
is no excuse for such malicious ignorance.
I strongly recommend that the writer, and anyone else who may
have read her letter and thought it contained one iota of truth,
read Jack Herer's best selling "underground" book,
"The emperor wears no clothes." The reader will find
documented proof to rebuff every claim the writer of the letter
"Dopes for Marijuana," puts forth, such as marijuana
causing cancer. Marijuana does not cause cancer; on the contrary,
marijuana seeds can be used to prevent and cure cancer, and marijuana
itself saves many cancer victims lives by relieving nausea so
they can eat and gain strength while going through chemotherapy
treatment. I can personally vouch for that through personal experience
with my mother.
In regard to marijuana causing mental illness, marijuana has
never been associated with mental illness except as a cure. For
example, mental depression causes many avoidable suicides each
year, particularly among our young people. These deaths were
avoidable because many were in a temporary mental state that
could have been altered with the mild euphoric effects of the
natural herb marijuana. The bottom line is that marijuana is
a folk medicine people have been using to treat their bodies
since time immemorial, and there has never been a single death
attributed to it. How dare anyone deny us such a useful resource
for any reason. After all, who owns your body? And who is ultimately
responsible for its upkeep and maintenance?
The only harmful effect that can be associated with marijuana
is the ignorance in not using it properly and the horrible suffering
caused by those who prohibit its use. I speak from experience
here too, because I would be free right now if people like the
writer of that terrible letter of misinformation weren't so ignorant.
Prisoner of the war on drugs
(Round Valley Editor: I rate the use
of marijuana right up there on the stupid scale with playing
blindfolded in heavy traffic. True, it does not kill the user,
it just makes him or her so very satisfied that he or she does
not get a job and pay bills. Those who smoke marijuana tend to
become mere freeloading leeches on the rest of us. However, people
have no inherent authority to punish their neighbors for being
lazy, satisfied freeloaders, and we therefore could not have
delegated that authority to government. Therefore, the government
has no authority to punish us for being lazy, satisfied freeloaders.
Therefore, the entire Holy War on drugs is unauthorized and unlawful.)
Monday, May 28, 2001/Arizona Daily
Land of the free isn't so for prisoners
By Charles Crehore
Memorial Day is traditionally the day on which we honor those
men and women who have so unselfishly given their lives to keep
America free. The giving of one's life is certainly the greatest
sacrifice anyone can ever make, and those who have done so to
preserve America's freedom truly deserve our honor and respect.
It is only fitting that we have set aside a special day to pay
tribute to them.
As one of the more than 2 million people who are presently incarcerated
in this country, on this Memorial Day I would like to ask that
people take just a moment to stop and think about something.
America now has the largest prison population per capita our
population of any country in the world. With new prisons being
built, opened and filled all of the time, the surging rate of
incarceration shows no signs of slowing down.
Already having more than seven to 10 times the prison population
of other industrialized nations, America is headed for having
10 to 20 times their prison populations in the foreseeable future.
I have heard all the arguments, all of which boil down in frustration
to, "If people did not commit crimes, they would not get
locked up, and what's wrong with that?" There are other
countries in which citizens are routinely put to death by their
governments (also countries we would not want to compare ourselves
There are also many other countries in which prisoners are incarcerated
under much worse conditions than those typically found in American
There is no denying that America is, presently, the most powerful
country in the world. There is also no denying that America is
presently the richest country in the world. A strong argument
can be made, however, that America is no longer the freest country
in the world.
When the brave men and women of this country fought and died
for it, I think every one of them did so with the intention of
protecting America's most sacred cornerstone: freedom.
Sure, being the most powerful country in the world has its advantages
(and, I would argue, its disadvantages); and I know people enjoy
living in the richest country in the world (most of them, anyway).
However, I do not think the men and women who fought and died
for this country did so to make America the most powerful country
on Earth. I do not think they died to make America the richest
country on Earth. I think these brave men and women gave their
lives to ensure that America was the freest country on Earth.
So, on this Memorial Day, I would hope that people would take
a moment to stop and think about whether we are truly honoring
the brave men and women who gave their lives for this country
by becoming the largest incarcerators of human beings in the
Charles Crehore is serving 20 years in federal prison in Tucson
for marijuana conspiracy.
This is my favorite letter, written to my hometown paper
in response to a big article, complete with pictures of citizens
being hauled off to jail half clothed, during a pre-dawn raid
conducted by their sheriff. They did not run it, it would give
me a certain amount of satisfaction to be able to send the editor
a copy printed by the Razor Wire. (Ed Note: You got it!)
According to Iberia Parish Sheriff Sid Hebert, the pre-dawn breaking
into Iberian's houses to issue 99 warrants was a chance to give
back to the community for tax money collected from them. (Article:
The Daily Iberian, April 6, 2001, "Deputies Make Clean Sweep,
Warrants Issued for 99 in Iberia Drug Busts Today'). What's he
giving back to the community for their tax money?
Is it the fear Iberians now have that their house can be broken
into by a terror squad at 4:00 a.m. in order to serve a warrant
based on the word of a "snitch"? Is he talking about
the bill to imprison those hauled away dazed, half-naked to his
jail, later to prison?
The cost to keep each one of those 99 ex-taxpaying Iberians locked
up for a year is around $28,000. If they get an average of 5-years
prison time each, that's a total of 495 years. It will cost taxpayers
almost 14 million dollars, and that's not including the cost
the court system is going to charge the taxpayers to convict
them, or the loss to the community for the goods and services
those 99 tax paying friends, relatives, and neighbors contributed
to this community.
Maybe he's talking about the children; the ones that saw their
parents hauled away in handcuffs. Giving back traumatized orphans
to the community for their tax dollars doesn't seem like such
a good deal when you stop to think about it, does it?
Surely he's not talking about giving back service for the job
he was elected to do: protect Iberia Parish residents 'God given,
Constitutionally guaranteed freedoms. It's questionable that
Sheriff Sid is giving back anything but grief to the community
for their tax dollars.
One thing is for certain though, if Iberians do nothing about
this outrageous attack on their fellow Iberians' freedom, then
they deserve what they are going to get - a witch hunt that'll
make the Puritanical witch hunts look like the good old days.
Reader Weekly - July 19, 2001
Prisoner of the drug war
I am writing to you in response to a call to me to help inform
the people of my hometown of the Justice Department's practice
of playing fast and loose with civil liberties that has created
prisoner of war camps right here in America for our own citizens.
I am a prisoner of the war on drugs, serving a 152-month sentence
at Alderson Federal Prison Camp in West Virginia. The sarcastic
description of these camps as Club Feds has enabled the government
to hide their agendas behind a phrase of "it's okay for
Middle America to be housed in these institutions as so called
first-time non-violent offenders."
The so-called prison camps are in fact prisoner of war concentration
camps. Being held against one's will by the brainwashing of being
ostracized from society constitutes torture in any language,
shape, or form. The people housed here are not Al Capones or
drug kingpins; they could be anyone, even you, as a result of
false accusations, innuendo, or hidden agendas.
These are functional citizens, and America is losing out twice.
First, the revenue that these people were generating through
their jobs and trades and, second, now these people have become
dependents of the taxpayers. What could justify housing sixty
and seventy-year-old people, mothers, fathers, and entire families,
when no crime by the true definition, has been committed?
When I first arrived at Alderson Camp, Psychology Department
staff told me that this is the place the BOP sends people who
are not supposed to be in prison. I said to myself, "Then
why am I being held here and what is this place?" By definition
I think this must be a concentration camp.
Lawyers, federal judges, Congress, the White House, everyone
knows that this is wrong, but few are willing to stand up for
what is right. Legislators are afraid to appear "soft on
crime", others because they have been brainwashed by media
reports that have been ill advised, and are uneducated on this
Pictures that have been presented to the public show prisons
housing dangerous criminals, and that everyone in prison should
be here. The rude awakening happened the day I arrived at Camp
Alderson and found myself surrounded by anyone's neighbors!
Thomas Paine warned, "An Avidity to punish is always dangerous
to liberty. It leads men to stretch, to misinterpret, and to
misapply even the best of laws. He that would make his own liberty
secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates
this duty he a establishes a precedent that will reach to himself."
There is an alarm that needs to be sounded, a message that needs
to be carried to every town and city in United States about a
malignant disease that is eating away at the core of entire society.
That disease is our prison system, which has become the fastest
growing industry in our nation. The US prison system has become
a slave labor camp, a prison industrial complex that imprisons
more people than any other country in the world, that builds
giant new prisons with funds stolen from educational budgets
to improve our children's schools. Even ex "drug czar"
General Barry McCaffrey called the US prison system "an
What a disgrace! We destroy our schools, and we force more children
into lives that end in prison-thereby creating a justification
to build even more prisons across the United States.
Once upon a time South Africa led the world in the staggering
number of citizens imprisoned, using cruel and unjust laws to
imprison its citizens under the horrendous conditions of apartheid.
Now the U.S. has taken the lead in a race to put more of its
citizens in jails than any other country in the world.
In the decade since 1985, the federal government and the states
have opened one new prison per week-and the construction boom
continues unabated. Prisons are now one of this country's fastest
growing businesses. You can even buy stock in companies that
are hired by state governments to build and operate prisons for
profit. Of course, saving money by cutting prisoners' food and
eliminating education and rehabilitation programs all contribute
to higher profits for owners and stockholders.
In the past quarter century the US population has increased 28%,
but the number of people in jail has gone up more than 500%;
the great majority of those imprisoned are non-violent offenders
who probably would not have been imprisoned a decade ago.
Last year New York Governor George Pataki gave the State Department
of Correctional Services a $760 million increase, cutting funding
to the state and city universities by $615 million. In California
and other states too, the same transfer of funds from schools
to prisons has been taking place.
The United States imprisons its citizens at seven times the rate
of Great Britain, at six times the rate of Canada, at 20 times
the rate of Japan-and yet their societies are no more violent
or law breaking than ours as a consequence. In fact, it has been
reported that our "justice system out of control" has
statistics not unlike those of China.
Prisons are usually hidden away in isolated areas. Just as most
Germans didn't know exactly what went on in the concentration
camps, it is so easy for us not to see the worst excesses.
Each of us is affected by the mushrooming growth of our prison
system, by the mandatory sentencing laws that require the building
of more and more prisons, that hijack more and more state and
federal funds away from education, drug rehabilitation, job retraining
and other urgent social needs. What does it mean to each of us
in the United States when almost two million of our fellow citizens
are incarcerated? We in the United States take pride in many
of our nation's accomplishments, but I don't think we aspire
to be #1 in the world in the number of citizens incarcerated.
Nor do we want to boast that one of our fastest growth industries
is the building and maintaining of prisons.
I believe that Americans, given the truth, would agree that drugs
are a public health issue rather than a criminal issue. We must
stop this war, address the problems with compassion, find some
real solutions and give peace a chance. "Moral indignation
permits envy or hate to be acted out under the guise of virtue"
The government has used fear tactics to perpetrate their agenda
against the American citizens. They know how loyal citizens will
rally around a war, and so they call this a "War on Crime"
or a "War on Drugs". The truth for us is a travesty
of justice, a deterioration of freedom and a destruction of our
Benjamin Franklin said "They that give up essential liberty
to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor
safety". America has given up both, and no one is free or
safe as long as this problem remains hidden.
Please consider what I have told you. Please consider the three-year-old
grandchild of a woman here who, after visiting, pulled on the
pants leg of an officer and said, "Please, Mr. Policeman,
can my Grandmother go home with me?"
Susan C. Spry