Susan is in transit

I checked the BOP site an hour ago and it announced that Susan is in transit. She will most likely be going to Oklahoma, the central transfer point, before going to her newly assigned location — wherever that is. Stay tuned 🙂

Update from Leonard (Saturday, 11:00am):  Susan was able to make a one minute call just a few minutes ago.  It was quite literally the worst phone connection I’ve ever experienced.  I was at least able to learn that she is in Nevada at the Federal Detention Center in Pahrump (actually a private prison operated by Corrections Corporation of America; isn’t that special?).  Pahrump is about 30 to 40 miles west of Las Vegas.  She is there temporarily, awaiting the next leg of her journey.  We hope she will end up at a prison in Northern California where she will be near her sons.  Stay tuned! 

Advertisements

More on the Department of Punishment: The Atlanta Penitentiary is a Hole!

April 29, 2011 (from Joe Power-Drutis)

Unfortunately Bix remains in Atlanta

Kathy Boylan, Catholic Worker at Dorothy Day CW in DC, doting
grandmother, self avowed sleuth and coincidentally, dangerous sister
felon, knows something about the these federal hotels Bix has been
visiting. By the way when I say dangerous, she is so only to those who
abuse their positions of power and prestige; for more than once this
mild mannered woman has boldly exposed them for who and what they
are.

Kathy states “the Federal Transfer Center in Oklahoma city, built
recently, is not so bad. The environment is a little more relaxed; at
least there you can recognize the food that is served you. The Atlanta
Federal Penitentiary is a hole, the food served you there is
unrecognizable.”

I googled this USP and was reminded once again of the Cuban riots of
1987. It has history!!

Anne Montgomary

Anne and Susan remain together at SeaTac. Her first of a two month
sentence complete, she does not believe her address will be changed
and she will finish out her time there. Several times she sent short
letters for me to pass onto others. She did this because the stamps
allotted to them are restricted, for no good or otherwise reason; just
because the Department of Punishment can. Anyway, recently she was
told she cannot forward mail through a third party anymore. You know
Anne is quite a dangerous person. I guess if I were in the Fed’s
shoes, I would want to limit access to her too.

Steve Kelly

Amazingly so, a man who could write a book on noncooperation, remains
at SeaTac, Unit FA-4, in the general population and not in solitary
where he has normally spent so much time in so many prisons along the
way. Steve speaks very little about himself or his experiences but
does come back to Bix: “Bix humanized the environment…Yes, I’m glad to
have accompanied him, very consoled. He took care of me by our focus,
and we met good people, guards & priz-nerz along the way”.

Tacoma News story about Irma Gary House, talks of Bix and Lynne
Greenwald – Like namesake, Tacoma’s Irma Gary House stays the course  – The News Tribune April 27, 2011 – CW house struggles to continue work as volunteer director Lynne Greenwald – Disarm Now Plowshares activist sent to jail

Which fast do we choose? A reflection from Lynne

A Reflection by Lynne Greenwald
22 April 2011, Good Friday
FDC SeaTac

My second bunkmate at FDC SeaTac was Jan (not her real name).  She arrived one week after I began this short 6-month sentence.  She walked into our room cheerful and talkative, excited because the van that brought her from the airfield had a TV.

Jan explained she was here for “testing.”  Over 3 weeks time she gradually shared pieces of her life story.  I’m grateful to have gotten to know her for the short time we were on the same unit.  She’s left my life richer for putting a face and painful emotions onto a system of generational abuses and injustices.

Jan could not remember where she was or what the “rules” were.  Gradually, with a helpful community of women supporting her, she fell into the prison routine.  She has a great sense of humor, a transparency and vulnerability similar to a young child, loyalty to her family, pride in her Native American heritage, and a good, generous heart.

Jan is also a fighter.  I hear her voice so clearly when she would say, “I had to fight all my life, since I was a kid.”  She would take up a pose with her fists up, so it was possible to see this short, compact woman-child taking a stand against a threatening, often violent world.

Coming from a South Dakota reservation, Jan talked about having a job before having “brain surgery.”  It seems she had a ruptured cerebral aneurysm, leaving her weak on her right side and unable to speak.  Her recovery gives testimony to her survival spirit, and her challenges continue to frustrate her, taking her into patterns of conflict and self-destruction.

Jan was brought to SeaTac for a psychological evaluation to determine if she is capable of going to trial.  What led to this situation is unclear.  She drank, heavily at times, and spent time in holding cells.  The Reservation police knew her and seemed to have developed a way to keep everyone safe.  That is until one night when the responding officer didn’t know Jan.  She was home drinking heavily, there was a knife, “a long knife,” and Jan was shot in the abdomen.  She really doesn’t remember what happened.  She kept asking, “Why am I here when I was the one shot?”

Seeing the psychiatrist was especially traumatic.  “He thinks I’m stupid.   How would he like to have someone’s hands on his brain?”  Jan would explain, “Brain surgery changes you.”  She struggled to find names for objects, to recall names and recent events.  As her anxiety increased, her behavior deteriorated.  She would either “lash out” or “shut down.” 

Jan was put in the “SHU” today – Special Housing Unit, “the hole.”  Earlier this morning she came back from the psychiatrist’s office extremely upset, verbally lashing out at everyone.  “He thinks I’m stupid  Are you in on it too  You are, aren’t you?”  She went to her room and soon came out crying.  Tears ran down her face as she sat next to me, trying to explain what was going on.  Other women tried to comfort her.

As we were eating lunch, Jan went up to the unit counselor, stood too close and said something.  She was sent to the SHU.  My last image of Jan is seeing her standing defiantly in front of prison authority.  I was transferred from the unit shortly afterwards.

I think of Jan’s mother and family back home waiting for a phone call.  These frequent calls and her memories were all that kept Jan connected with home.  Tomorrow is her son’s birthday.  He’s locked up in Rapid City.  Jan once told me, in relation to her son’s imprisonment, “There’s meth on the reservation.  Can you believe it?  It was in all the news.”  He’s the same age as my son, Noah.

I’m not sure anything could have really prepared me for prison.  Everything operates so differently from my personal and professional life.  Things like empathy, compassion, helping, strength-building are at odds with this system meant to punish people and deter crime.

Although there are many good, kind people working here, workers are here to support the prison.

So I’m left with many questions and a reflection.  Why are so many poor and non-whites locked up for nonviolent crimes, leaving families torn apart?  Why are so many professionals caught up in a system of supporting prisons, not people?  Why does it seem too simple to shift resources into mental health care, drug and alcohol treatment, education and jobs?  Why are some individuals getting rich off of the prison system?

“This, rather, is the fasting that I wish: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke, letting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke.” (Isaiah 58:6)

Many nonviolent resisters choose to witness within prison walls as part of an action intended to expose violence and injustice, and to begin the transformation process.  Let us pray for the strength to do this work.

Musings on Dental Floss… and More

April 27, 2011
From Joe (Power-Drutis)

BIX

As of now Bix remains at the Atlanta UPC, no word from him yet since
he arrived there. In a letter dated April 21, he talked about his stay
in Pahrump Nevada. There he lived in a large dormitory area, no cells.
It is a facility much like SeaTac – but there is an outdoor recreation
area and windows at the end of the dormitory. Each unit holds about 96
men. “most of the fellow inmates are Hispanic and are especially
solicitous of me because of my age – they bring me things they think I
need and help in so many ways….” “I feel ok – weak & dizzy at times;
but that’s par for the course”. “I’m where I ought to be – at peace
and at ease. The energy to write or do much except some turns around
the common area has been very low. Not from lowness of Spirit – just
lack of energy to do much then stay on the bunk.” “Send my love and
greetings to one and all” “We’ll see what happens”

SUSAN

Susan was told yesterday to begin organizing her belongings and that
she can expect to be transferred to another facility in the next few
days. As is prison custom, no other information was afforded her. I
know her hope is that she will be sent to a Federal facility outside
of San Francisco; there she will be closer to her 2 sons.

In the last few days books were beginning to arrive, this they were
very thankful for. A very nice person from Olympia sent her a number
of CD’s through a book store; however, these and so many other things
are not permitted. The CD’s were returned to Orca Books.. Like books,
the prisoner has no way of knowing who sent what unless the sender
sends a separate letter saying what they are mailing. In general I
would suggest you first write and discuss what you want to send.
Federal prisons are very restrictive. Most books and magazines will
get through.

“If I ‘talk over’ you on the phone, it’s just a reminder that phone
calls are hard and there are so many things that cannot be spoken
of”.

For some unstated reason, dental floss is not permitted – picks yes,
floss no – go figure. Anyway this is causing Susan some discomfort as,
like most of us, only floss will remove food particles deep down
between the teeth. I thought this interesting. Each time I go to the
dentist, I am reminded repeatedly to floss each time after eating – I
wonder what prison dental personnel say to the inmates “Pick
Away”!!!!!

In general I feel Susan sounds and is doing as well as can be
expected. Susan has spoken so often of being forever thankful for all
the support she and Anne Montgomery, her cell mate, have received
since they arrived at SeaTac.

Susan’s getting ready for the movers

Friends,

Susan Crane just got word of her pending move to her new digs where she will serve out the remainder of her sentence 15 month sentence; in her own words:

I was just told to pack my stuff up, and I took it down and they put it in a box to be delivered to the prison where I’ll end up. I don’t know when I’ll leave, though. in the next few days, I imagine.

So ask folks to hold up writing or sending books. you can see on the inmate locator where i am, and when i arrive at some prison…..

Susan is sad to be leaving the Pacific Northwest – the friends and support – but said that “it will be great to go outside.”  I guess what passes for an exercise “yard” at SeaTac isn’t in the outdoors.

We’ll let you know as soon as we know where Susan ends up, and will update the Contact page.

Peace,

Leonard

Editor’s Note: If anyone wants to hazard a guess as to where they will be sending Susan, send us an email with the prison name and location.  If more than one person guesses correctly, we’ll have a drawing to determine the winner.  The winner will receive a cheesy prize carefully picked by the Disarm Now Plowshares newsroom staff. 

The Fine Print: Contest entries must be received before Susan’s new location is announced at the BOP Prison Locator.  Employees of the United States Bureau of Prisons are ineligible to participate in this contest (for obvious reasons).

Bix in Atlanta: Such a Jet Setter!

This just in from Joe Power-Drutis:

Bix has been moved once more. He most likely was transferred sometime on Monday April 25th and according to the locater for federal prisoners he is currently at the United States Penitentiary (USP) in Atlanta, Georgia, which houses medium security male inmates and has a detention center for pre-trial and holdover inmates and a satellite camp for minimum security male inmates.

The USP is located in southeast Atlanta at the junction of Boulevard and McDonough Boulevard.

At this point he has no way to call and inform us of his status unless he is afforded a free call. His probable destination will be a facility in Knoxville TN where a court date of May 9th is still the order of the day.

We await further word.

Joe

Easter message from Bix: “Please give my love to everyone.”

A message from Joe Power-Drutis

Easter Sunday April 24, 2011: 11:15 AM

Bix just called. He is at the Oklahoma City Federal Transfer Center.
He thinks he will be there for a few days but has no idea exactly how
long.

The clarity of this call was much better than the one he made from
Nevada; also, we were able to talk for several minutes.

Bix sounded well! His voice was clear and I did not pick up any
stress. He stated, “I feel OK – Please give my love to everyone.”

He also said, “In my cell there is a man by the name of Peter; he is
an LPN, like you, and he is taking such very good care of me. I am
receiving all of my eye drops, I was able to carry all of my
medications with me from SeaTac and once I arrived here I received
another full complement of meds.”

On this Resurrection Day blessings abound. Many of us have been
preoccupied with thoughts of Bix’s well being, especially on this long
road to another trial. Yet, looking back, as he entered the doors of
SeaTac we were also concerned that he might suffer from lack of care.
Instead, the master care giver himself, our brother Steve Kelly, has
been able to help Bix from the beginning. Bix has also spoken of
others who have shown him kindness along the way. Bix’s spirit seems
to attract many. And now, in Oklahoma there is a man named Peter; may
he be blessed abundantly for being such a caring person. Mark – in
4:24 – sums it up, “In the measure you give you shall receive”.

Although Bix does not know how long he will be in Oklahoma, you may
want to write him. So, here is his current address:

Fr. Bill Bichsel
# 86275-020
FTC OKLAHOMA CITY
FEDERAL TRANSFER CENTER
P.O. BOX 898801
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK 73189

%d bloggers like this: