Editor’s Note: Joe Power-Drutis has been working overtime fielding information requests from many, many people and staying on top of what’s going on with our friends on the inside. Here is an informational letter with loads of information he has accumulated.
Dear Friends, April, 14, 2011
I have compiled this letter about the 5 Plowshares Resisters currently in the SEATAC Federal Detention Ctr. Please pass this information onto whomever you think might want to have it.
On March 28th, at the Federal Courthouse in Tacoma, the following sentences were handed down to the Disarm Now Plowshares Five for their Civil Resistance action at Sub Base Bangor on the Feast of All Souls, November 2, 2009.
Steve Kelly, S.J. and Susan Crane – 15 months in prison and 1 year supervised release.
Bill Bichsel, S.J. – 3 month in prison, 6 months electronic home monitoring and 1 year supervised release.
Lynne Greenwald – 6 months in prison, 1 year supervised release and 60 hrs of community service.
Sr. Anne Montgomery – 2 months in prison, 4 months electronic home monitoring and 1 year supervised release.
The group as a whole were assessed more than $5,000 in fines. They all entered SEATAC Federal Detention Center following sentencing.
Steve and Bix are cell mates which I think is very nice for both of them. Steve said Bix is overall more active, following his bout with a cold, and is making good use of his time with the other prisoners. Bix had been placed on ‘Restrictive Status’ from the time he entered SEATAC; however, as of April 13th he has been taken off that status. He believes the reason for his being on restriction is that he had refused to pay prison fines in the past. It was believed earlier that Steve was also on restriction but I have been assured he is not. And that also is very good.
Susan is in the same cell with Anne, Lynne is close by. She states they all are being treated very well by other prisoners and the guards. Many considerations she would not have expected have been shown to them. Bix reported similar experiences.
All 5 have expressed strong feelings about the united community support they received in the days leading up to their imprisonment. They felt strengthened by all of our prayers and strong support at St. Leo’s Sunday liturgy, the Festival of Hope on Sunday evening and finally at the gathering for prayer in front of the Court House on Monday morning and before the judge prior to being sentenced. They were particularly moved by the words of Fr. Pat Lee, S. J., Provincial of the Oregon Province and Fr.Steve Lantry, S.J., pastor of St. Leo’s at the 10:30 March 28th liturgy on Sunday morning. Also that day all were formally commissioned by the leadership of their communities, both religious and lay, to continue to witness to the truth and to enter prison at this time to further their mission.
Letters to all five is more important than you can believe. Anyone who has been in prison or in the military will remember a letter from home was like gold.
Here is the address to which you can address mail to any of the Disarm Now Plowshares five for now. Be sure to use the address format below and include both name and register number
NAME & REGISTER NUMBER
(enter unit here ) ** Susan, Lynne and Anne are in UNIT GA
P.O. BOX 13900
SEATTLE, WA 98198 ** Steve and Bix are in UNIT FA-4
Name &Register Numbers:
Fr. Bill Bichsel 86275-020
Susan Crane 87783-011
Fr. Stephen Kelly 00816-111
Sr. Anne Montgomery 03827-018
Lynne Greenwald 40672-086
Besides general mail, you can go on line and print copies of articles you feel would be of interest to them. Error on the side of your hunches, there is so very little written stimulation for them, it is like a literary desert. Just sent it; 5 or 6 pages will get through. I would steer clear of cut outs from the newspaper, with the exception of cross word puzzles, they may get through, but it is an unknown. I sense what is getting through is the printed material on 81/2 by 11 paper.
An important writing point concerning Bix: He is not yet receiving all of the eye drops his eye doctor has prescribed him. Prior to going into prison, on the best of days, when he was taking all of his drops as scheduled, he still was having problems reading. Without 2 of his 3 scheduled eye medications, reading printed material is difficult for him. Type your letters if you can and print it out in Ariel 14 as that size will greatly assist his reading..
I know crossword puzzles are a pastime joy for all of them. This is immediately something we can do. I will try to keep updating you on things like this.
Some other useful information: All of them are going through every channel they can to set up support services for themselves. The commissary is the only place they can purchase the things they need, and everything there is pretty pricy. They can access the commissary once a week.
Postage from commissary is very limited. Each prisoner is permitted to buy only 20 stamps a month and they must purchase them from the commissary. One of Bix’s attorneys attempted to leave a book of stamps for him but was not permitted to do so. Also, if someone sends stamps via mail, they will be confiscated. Susan told me there is no known reason why they are only permitted 20 stamps, those are the prison rules. This problem system wide; I have heard of this from other activists who have been in other prisons. Everyone very much enjoys hearing from people, even if they are limited in getting mail out.
Phones are available but they too are pricy, just the cost of doing business. Also I think there is sometimes a problem using the phone when you want to. I believe they will try and have the calls paid for from their personal accounts because calling collect is very expensive. Remember also that all of their calls are recorded. Some types of conversation would not be advisable for them to share. So in the event anyone is able to get a call out to you, you may possibly sense there may be something missing in their voice and communication, definitely big brother listening in is a problem.
They cannot receive any packages. I am unsure about photos; don’t have a ruling on that yet.
Their mail is opened and inspected; “subversive” or otherwise disallowed materials are blocked.
Newspapers, magazines, and books can be sent to them only through a book store or distributer and cannot be sent directly from us. If you know of a particular book, or magazine any of them would want, have it sent to them. Remember there is so little for them to read. I don’t think too many books or magazines will ever be a problem; worst that can happen is they will spread the books around and brighten the lives of their present community.
What folks may not know is that Bix may be removed from where he is sometime soon and taken to Oakridge Tennessee. He is scheduled for court following his being arrested at the Y-12 nuclear weapon manufacturing plant on July 5th. The process of getting there from SEATAC can take quite a bit of time; you become part of a state to state, prison to prison movement. This is of concern to us because it has been reported by a number of people that have gone through such a transport, that once in transit, medications seldom follow and you are powerless to secure them. There is active work happening to see what can be done to assure he does receive his medications in the event he is transferred.
For now Bix is still at SEATAC. Steve will give me a call as soon as he can after Bix is moved. I will let you know when I hear anything regarding his move. I spoke with his court appointed attorney in Tenn. He said he was alerted that Bix can be moved at any time. At the same time, even while I write, the attorneys in Tennessee are seeing what they can do to get a postponement of the trial. Hopefully they will be successful and I will be able to send you some hopeful updates very soon. Kathy Boylan from the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker in D.C. is also dogging this and she’s been great. No greater advocate could one hope for.
For now this is pretty much all that I know. Forgive me if I have left anything out. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 253-779-8362 if you would like something clarified. Also, you can go online and Google- “Disarm Now Plowshares” and on that website there is quite a bit of very good information dating back to November 2009, the time of the action. Two very committed friends, Chrissy Nesbitt and Leonard Eiger are maintaining the site for up to date information.
In solidarity with Bix, Anne, Lynne, Steve and Susan
My very warm regards,
1418 So. G Street
Tacoma, WA 98405