Jackie is receiving care

Update on Jackie May 31, 2011 (by Joe Power-Drutis)

I have been in awe by the incredible outpouring of love and concern for Jackie in this terrible time. The fact that this community of spirit mobilized as quickly and powerfully as it did made all the difference.

Due to your efforts Jackie was taken to the Emergency Room early this morning. During her stay at the Irwin County Hospital, even though her symptoms suggested heart failure this serious condition was ruled out; therefore she can sleep tonight knowing that her heart is not the problem.

Jackie continues to experience pain across the upper part of her chest. For this reason her Primary Care Doctor and surgeon will continue to encourage and pursue further diagnostic procedures in order to diagnose the underlying cause of the pain.

Tomorrow Jackie will be seen by the doctor at the jail. During that consultation it will be decided whether or not she can leave the medical room (just another name for isolation) and return to her cell and reunite with Carol, Ardeth, Bonnie and Jean.

For the time being Jackie has decided to stay the course and pursue further treatment where she is at. Her desire to remain with her sisters and to continue supporting each other is very understandable and it is important to honor her wishes.

The real victory in the work of the last few days is something that most of us take for granted. A 76 year old woman with severe chest pain was able to receive basic emergency room care that any of us would have wanted and we will all sleep much better tonight.

We have all been blessed by every hand that wrote, every voice that called, every heart that was thrown into helping our dear friend. We did well. We’re covered.

Jackie – 65 Hours and Counting

Evening update 10:00pm, 5/31:  I’m sorry that we don’t have any news yet from Jackie’s attorney.  I am waiting for Joe P-D’s update, and I expect to have that by early morning tomorrow at the latest.   

Editor’s Update 9:45am PST, 5/31: The prison had Jackie transported to the county hospital this morning where she was evaluated; it was determined that she was not [currently] in cardiac distress, and we have no other details yet.  Jackie’s attorney is going to speak with her later .  Our efforts have likely had a positive effect. 

Jackie’s attorney has asked that we all hold off on any more calls to the prison until we get his update; we don’t scuttle his efforts to speak with herThanks!!!

Update on Jackie May 31, 2011

(from Joe Power-Drutis)

This day promises to be a pivotal one in Jackie’s life and ours.
Whatever struck Jackie in the afternoon of May 28th, we can only
assume it heart because of its symptoms, she has remained in pain,
frequently crying out for assistance, and at least many of her cries
have gone forth unanswered by her human captors.

Nearly 65 hours have elapsed since Sr. Carol Gilbert first called
pleading for someone to come and provide Jackie much need care. Yes,
65 hours have elapsed when medical authorities tell us minutes make a
difference. It is 65 hours that Ardeth, Carol, Jean and Bonnie had to
sit helpless, literally feet away from where Jackie would lay. During
these 65 hours the legal system would ostensibly shut down and
everyone would go to the beach over Memorial Day Weekend.

Well now we are at the end of that 65 hour period and I feel confident
in my heart that Jackie will be liberated from, as Dorothy Day would
say, “this dirty filthy rotten system” that keeps her in chains and
without the care she so desperately needs.

Over the past 48 hours you have been a part of a very large response
from people North to South and East to West, that have wrote, called,
planned and made contacts on behalf of our sister Jackie. This morning
Medical, Legal and Political representatives will weigh in on Jackie’s
behalf and I believe they will accomplish their objective . Our main
hope is that the courts will intervene and order Jackie either
released from Jail so that we might ensure her care or order the
Irwin County Detention Facility in Ocilla to send her to the Irwin
County Hospital immediately for proper evaluation and treatment.

Nothing short of this will be acceptable. I am making plans for going
to Ocilla soon and will send out word through this service when I
catch wind of any development.

I pray this day that the men and women, who will do all they can on
Jackie’s behalf, will be successful in ensuring she receives the care
she desperately needs.

More Questions than Answers about Jackie’s condition


This has been, and continues to be, a difficult time for all of us who know and love Sr. Jackie Hudson. First – Please know that there is an extraordinary convergence of people, including lawyers and physicians who are working virtually 24/7 on Jackie’s behalf. As of this moment none of us has had direct contact with Jackie, and so we cannot confirm her present health status. That having been said, here is what we know.

Since Sr. Carol Gilbert, who is also at Irwin County Detention Center, informed us (on May 29th) of Jackie’s severe chest pain and that nothing was being done for her medical condition, Joe Power-Drutis immediately set a process in motion to secure her transportation to a hospital to reserve proper medical care. He contacted everyone possible, and engaged 2 physicians and 3 attorneys to engage directly with the prison staff. The prison has been completely uncooperative, only saying that Jackie “was being taken care of.” She is evidently in the prison medical facility (God only knows what that is like!!!).

At one point there was an indication that Jackie may have been transported to the local hospital and then returned to the jail. However, a followup conversation with staff at the local hospital confirmed that Jackie has not been admitted there, and he staff indicated that theirs is the only hospital in the area. There is absolutely no evidence that Jackie has been sent anywhere for proper medical evaluation.

The prison medical facility, as far as I know, is ill equipped to evaluate or treat Jackie’s possible medical condition and experts (MDs) agree that based on her presentation to prison medical staff, she should have been immediately transported to a hospital emergency facility for a thorough cardiac work-up.

Based on all the information we have received it appears that her treatment since her chest pain began, even beyond her basic medical needs, has been substandard and inhumane.

The legal team working on Jackie’s behalf includes Bill Quigley, Legal Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights; Anabel Dwyer, lawyer and international human rights expert; and Blake Kramer, Tacoma-based attorney who has been deeply involved in defending the Disarm Now Plowshares. I understand that the legal team is currently working every possible angle, and one involves getting the Judge for the Y-12 trial, which was the reason for Jackie’s current imprisonment, to order her release/transport to the hospital.

Another major concern and an egregious disregard for the rule of law is prison’s refusal to allow Jackie’s right to legal counsel. Jackie’s court-appointed attorney, Brad Henry, found out at the jail that the Warden told all the staff at the jail that no information was to be given out about Jackie, including her appointed council. The prison is stonewalling every step of the way.

Beyond the obvious moral and ethical implications of the prison’s treatment of Jackie Hudson, it is evident that she is being deprived of her Constitutional rights as well as essential human rights. This on top of Jackie’s very real status as a Prisoner of Conscience, quite literally a political prisoner in a nation that flouts both national law and international humanitarian law and then imprisons those who follow their conscience and the law to speak and act out to call on our nation to uphold these laws.

This maltreatment must not stand. The people operating Irwin County Detention Center, a private, for profit prison, must be held accountable for their actions. If this is how they treat Jackie, someone with a broad base of support, I can only imagine the mistreatment of a vast number of prisoners who have no one to advocate on their behalf. What of the forgotten???

Besides the work being done by this dedicated group to whom I’ve referred, many of you out there are working on Jackie’s behalf, and for this I thank you all! We evidently flooded the prison phone line with calls, and I have no doubt that this has had an impact. They know we are watching! I have contacted the ACLU of Georgia, asking them to act on Jackie’s behalf. We are working on alerting media locally(Georgia), regionally and nationally to Jackie’s plight, and will also be contacting members of Congress to act on her behalf.

What can you do to help Jackie? For one thing, we can continue to call, fax and/or email the prison to let them know we are watching and demand that they send Jackie to the hospital. The phone number is 229-468-4121. You may get a recorded message during some hours. There is also an email listed: info@irwincdc.com.  Fax is 229-468-4186 Additional phone numbers: Warden Barbara Walrath – warden of Irwin County Detention Center, 229-468-4120, Dr. Howard C. McMahan – Medical Director of Irwin County Detention Center, 229-468-5177. If you get into a message system, LEAVE A MESSAGE!

Here are some suggested talking points:

Sr. Jackie Hudson, who is in your care and for whom you are responsible, has had intense heart pain, which began Saturday afternoon. She is being obstinately denied proper medical care. Her symptoms suggest that she may have one or more occluded coronary arteries. If this is the case, her heart, as a muscle, will progressively worsen in the hours and days to come.

Jackie must be taken to an emergency room immediately. The Emergency Department at the Irwin County Hospital verifies that Sr. Jackie has not been taken to their hospital, and that there is no other local hospital to which she might have been taken. They Emergency Department has been in contact with the ICDC to no avail.

Such treatment constitutes cruel and unusual punishment, and if Sister Jackie is not moved to an emergency room immediately and suffers any negative medical consequences as a result I will hold Michael Croft Enterprises, operator of ICDC and in particular Warden Barbara Walrath and Medical Director Howard C. McMahon personally responsible.

Those supporting Jackie Hudson must have direct access to her and her physicians so they know her whereabouts, her condition and her treatment. These people include: Sue Ablao, Sr. Jackie’s housemate at Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action, Poulsbo, WA; Frank Hudson, Sr. Jackie’s brother; Sister Nathalie Meyer O.P., provincial of the Dominican Sisters of Grand Rapids, Sr. Jackie’s religious order; and Brad Henry, Jackie’s attorney.

Send an email to (or call) any news media contacts you have, or even if you don’t have any you email the newsroom (look them up in the contacts section of that newspaper’s Website).

I understand that the Koinonia Partners community in Americus, Georgia, is planning a vigil at the prison tomorrow.

As I stay focused on dear Jackie’s immediate needs I find myself also focusing on a much broader issue. Here is a person with so much support from so many wonderful people. And yet, there is a huge percentage of the U.S. prison population (with the largest incarceration rate in the world) for whom there is no support. What becomes of these forgotten prisoners when they become ill??? We will take up that issue once we get Jackie taken care of!!!

One last thing before I close; an excerpt from something by Liz McAllister and Chrissy Nesbitt of the Jonah House community that I find quite pertinent today:

It is Memorial Day as we write. Meaning no disrespect, but on this “war heroes’ weekend”, isn’t it time to also honor those who have “fallen” in a different battle – against the slaughtering wars?

It often takes a different kind of moral and, yes, even physical courage to resist a war and/or a weapons system that you believe is a crime, when all your family, friends, teachers and the vast American majority support them.

But what about the Sr. Jackie Hudsons who don’t want to kill people, who don’t believe it is right to build more and more weapons of mass destruction? They’re an odd breed who count among their number such as Muhammad Ali, Mahatma Gandhi, Sergeant York, David Hockney, three US weapon-refusing combat medics who won the medal of honor. What kind of guts does it take for war objectors, whether they’re Quakers, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mennonites or Roman Catholic, who simply don’t want to kill? On this Memorial Day, it might be a time to think about the outcasts who refuse to take life. Should Sr. Jackie Hudson be required to give her life in a jail that displays absolutely no respect for life? Is this what the U.S. is about?

That’s all for now. In between these emails I am regularly updating the Disarm Now Plowshares Blog as I hear of anything that you should know. Please check in at the top of the home page occasionally for updates. And – Please forward this email far and wide.

Thanks to all who have offered to help in so many ways. As bad as this all is, Jackie is surrounded by such a wonderful, loving community, and I can imagine that this knowledge is deeply embedded in Jackie’s heart and mind, and that it is a great comfort to her.



Note:  Check the top of this Blog daily as I will post any small updates there as I receive them.

Jackie Hudson in Crisis!!!

Latest update, Monday, May 30, 9:40am: As you read the following update from Joe P-D about Jackie Hudson’s medical crisis, please know that many people, including a team of lawyers (including Bill Quigley, Center for Constitutional Rights and Anabel Dwyer) and physicians, are working nearly 24/7 to get Jackie proper medical care.  Prison officials have refused to transfer Jackie to a hospital to be properly and fully evaluated for her heart problem (the prison medical facility is not equipped or staffed for such a problem).  She is NOT receiving the care she needs.   Prison officials are also depriving Jackie of her right to counsel; Brad Henry, Jackie’s attorney, was told that he could not speak with his client.  Many people people have gotten through on the prison phone number I posted (at end of this post) and were told that Jackie “is doing OK.”  Just for the record – That is an outright lie!!!  I understand that there may be a vigil outside the prison where Jackie is held tomorrow (Tuesday).  More info as soon as I know it, Leonard        

Jackie Hudson in Crisis

from Joe Power-Drutis
May 29, 2011

Yesterday at 5PM I received a call from Sr. Carol Gilbert at the Irwin
County Detention Center. She was alerting me that Jackie was
experiencing severe chest pain and that nothing was being done for her

Within an hour I received another call from a woman living here in
Knoxville. She has a friend in the same unit as Jackie and she too was
alerting me that Jackie was in “real trouble” and that no medical
assistance was forthcoming.

By 7 PM this same woman from Knoxville called again to say that Jackie
was removed from open population and taken to a medical room; however,
by the time they responded, Jackie was experiencing severe left sided
chest pain, shortness of breath and complained of a pressure over her
entire chest area “like someone was sitting on her chest”.

Between 5 and 11 PM Sue Ablao and I contacted 5 attorneys, 4 medical
doctors ,the U.S. Marshall’s service in East Tennessee and numerous
calls into the Irwin County Detention Facility, where Jackie is at,
and the Irwin County Sheriff’s office.

By evenings end, 2 physicians and 3 attorneys made strong attempts at
speaking with the nurse and guards inside of the detention center –
they all encountered a near wall of non information and an unreceptive
response by both nurse and guards to their insistence that Jackie be
sent to the Emergency Department at their local hospital, the Irwin
County Hospital in Ocilla.

The sheriff of Irwin County could not be reached. We were told by a
sheriff’s deputy that the Detention Center is a private facility and
that the sheriff’s office had no jurisdiction over that facility.

Jackie’s attorney here in Knoxville was told by the jail nurse “they
had their protocols and that she would send Jackie to the hospital if
she thought it was necessary.” The attorney asked if the jail had all
the equipment necessary to assess and evaluate Jackie’s condition –
the nurse’s response was, “they did not, but they did have an EKG”

One physician of internal medicine called and spoke with the nurse.
Apparently the nurse asked Jackie if she knew him and when she could
not identify him by name the nurse told him that she could not speak
with him. He, like everyone else, was adamant that Jackie should be
evaluated immediately at their local hospital emergency room.

Another physician that called is a clinical professor of Internal
Medicine at the University of California at San Francisco. He spoke
with the nurse and told her “even in the absence of a cardiac history
given the fact that she had recent surgery for a severe hiatal hernia
that it was important, given her symptoms, that she be evaluated in
the Emergency Department at the hospital.” The nurse gave a non-answer
and said “the inmate was being taken care of.”

Well indeed she was being “taken care of”, but surly not by any
medical standards I am aware of.

Not a single school of nursing ANYWHERE could possibly have educated
this jail nurse to respond as she did. Only a system of punishment,
desirous of the most minimal of care for its inmates could dictate
such protocols of ‘non care’ and take control of such a charge nurse.

So, a hypothetical scenario:  You are a student nurse, sitting for
your state boards after years of rigorous education and clinical work;
not a nurse with years of experience in charge of a private detention
center. Here’s one of your test questions.

You come upon a 76 y/o cauc woman c/o severe left sided chest pain,
experiencing SOB (shortness of breath for you lay folks), and has
further c/o “feeling a heavy pressure, like someone is sitting on her
chest”. Her history shows that the woman had a severe hiatal hernia
and underwent surgery to repair the hernia 3 months ago.

What do you do?

A –  Call 911 and notify the fire department of an emergency?
B –  Do an EKG, and read it yourself because as a jail nurse your
scope of practice allows this?
C –  Schedule a chest X-Ray for 2 days from the onset of symptoms?
D –  Give the person Ibuprofen for her pain, take her blood pressure
and pulse every 4 hours and keep and eye on her?

OK all you nurses out there – I know this is not an easy question so
I’ll give you a hint.

In Jackie’s case 3 of the four answers are what was done and only one
of the answers was not followed. What is your answer?

This morning I spoke with a nurse at the Emergency Department at the
Irwin County Hospital from the Night shift and another nurse from the
day shift. Both nurses were willing to call the jail and intervene on
Jackie’s behalf. Both nurses were also greeted with a wall of non
information. One of the nurses related to the jail staff that their
liability in this matter was very high and they should refer Jackie to
them. No response. No jail nurse was available for consult.

As far as any of us knows, no doctor was ever called and no doctor
ever came to the jail to evaluate Jackie’s condition.

I have the name of the doctor who is the medical director of the jail.
That information will be shared with the attorneys and doctors who
have already attempted to talk with the jail staff.

By days end I will post another update on any information I have about
Jackie’s condition.

In the meantime we must stay close to Jackie through our meditations
and our spirit connection to hers.

Deep Peace

Editor’s Note: If you wish to contact the Prison directly to speak on Jackie’s behalf, the phone number is 229-468-4121. I have been getting a recorded message, but will continuing calling. There is also an email listed: info@irwincdc.com.   Fax is 229-468-4186. 

Will Bix be moved???

Update on Bix (from Joe Power-Drutis)                                          

May 27, 2011

Since March 28th ‘change’ is the word that best describes Bix’s present
journey. First there was the SeaTac Federal Detention Center, then
after only a few weeks, without notice, he was picked up and off to a
near fatal 2 week joy ride with the Bureau of Prisons transport
service. First a flight to Las Vegas, then a bus to Pahrump Nevada;
then another flight to Oklahoma City for a few days. Then off again to
the infamous Atlanta Federal Penitentiary for more than a week and
where neglect and other abuses are a way of life. Next stop the
Knoxville County Jail for a night; then finally to the Knox County
Sheriffs detention Facility where he has remained since May 5th. Bix
now writes “In this changing world I’ve been changed again – only this
time it is within this same jail. I have been moved from a 2 man cell
in Unit 2B to a single cell in Unit 2A. This cell gives me more room
to move around; however, I’m not sure how long I’ll be here. The moves
are sudden and then it’s a couple of hours of hurry up and wait.”

What Bix is talking about is that on his Birthday, May 26th, he took
part in the first step of what is called his pre-sentencing
investigation report (PSI).  On that day he met with a  probation
officer and his attorney Mike Whalen. Once that first step is
completed the US Marshal service can elect to leave him where he is or
send him to the Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla Georgia to
await his sentencing, the date to be announced. During this in between
time the probation officer sends the finished PSI to the court with a
recommendation for sentencing.

At the end of the Y-12 trial, Mike convinced the court that it was in
both Bix’s and the courts interest to keep him here in Knoxville,
bypassing the back and forth trips by federal transport since his
release date from the Plowshares action was June 24th. So, the court
set a June 27th date for Bix to return to court but it is unclear at
this time if that date will be a sentencing date for his Y-12
conviction or simply a time the court will ask him if he will agree to
accept the terms of his parole while awaiting a sentencing date to be

Just for a point of reference, most of the folks that are now in
Irwin, following the Y-12 conviction, have been given sentencing dates
way out in September and October.

Now to complicate the matter just a little bit more – when he was
sentenced to 3 months in prison on March 28th, he was also sentenced
to 6 months of house arrest following that 3 month period. Who even
knows how that will figure into all of this? There really is no way of
telling until he once again appears in court for sentencing.

Finally the probation office will make its recommendation for
sentencing to the court, and Mike representing Bix will try to work
out the best deal he can get for him. In the end the judge will do
whatever he sees fit.

When writing to Bix, change the unit designation from 2B  to  2A – His
address will read:

William Bichsel
IDN  1155703
Unit 2A
Knox County Sheriff’s Detention Facility
5001 Maloneyville  Rd
Knoxville,  TN   37918

Late Night Update: Bix and Susan

Here is one last brief update for today from Joe Power-Drutis (this guy must never sleep!!!).  It’s part of a longer update on the Y-12 prisoners of conscience, which you can read by clicking here (May 26th Update #2).

Visiting with Bix on his Birthday:

It never happened! Erik and I did show up this evening but found out there wasn’t any visitations on Thursday evening. Bummer! But he did call me this morning – yes I finally got my line set up, it only took me two weeks!  I did wish him a happy birthday from all of us – wonder if the jail gives you a 24 hour pass so you can go out and party on your birthday – probably not. Erik and I are retuning tomorrow morning – it will be close but belated.

Susan called this evening:

Susan continues to bask in the California sun – how awful. She states she is doing very well especially as compared to the grief all of the
Y-12 resisters are going through. Susan is learning to play a couple of musical instruments and said that she is learning the “Star Spangled Banner” – now that’s going to take some thinking! Way to go Susan.  She also has a job teach English as a second language to other inmate – now that is very cool.

A Day of Two Joys!!!

Today is a day to give thanks!

Sr. Anne Montgomery walked out of the SeaTac Federal Detention Center a little after 10:00 am.  A group of friends was waiting up on the “public” sidewalk overlooking the prison (lots of rules once you step onto the Federal property), and as Anne walked out the front door everyone swooped down the steps to welcome her back to the outside. 

This was Anne’s first taste of sunshine (it poked through the clouds briefly) as the SeaTac prison has no outside recreation area (if it has one at all).  We also noticed that all the cell windows were recently made opaque.  Now the prisoners still get some light, but no view of the outside world from their cells through the slit-like windows.

Anne’s face certainly shone brightly as she received the gifts of rhododendrons from Irma Gary House and a blue fleece jacket with welcoming messages sent by friends and supporters pinned inside.

We kept the welcome brief out of respect for Anne, and after a quick wave toward those she was leaving behind she headed off for some well-deserved rest.

Today is also the day we celebrate Fr. Bix Bichsel’s Birthday!!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY BIX!!!!!!!  Here is a brief update from Tennessee (from Joe Power-Drutis) with a tale of two birthdays:

Yes our daring felons Jean and Bix moved one more year into the
octogenarian decade this week. On Tuesday, Jeans 84th Birthday, while
Erik, Ralph and I were visiting Ardeth, Jean came walking through the
visitors room on her way to her presentencing interview with the
probation officer and her attorney. We wanted to once again sing her
one more healthy round of ‘happy birthday’, but I think she preferred
we save our voices for Bix. So very considerate of her, well that’s
just the type of woman Jean is.

Erik and I are ready for tonight. With our voices rested and ready to
go we will see Bix this evening and will treat him accordingly. He has
been bothered by fluid in his ears since coming to Knoxville, could be
this will provide him the only significant buffer from Erik’s and my
gift. Please know we will be taking with us all of you who love and
care for him on this his 83rd birthday.

As I write a Tennessee downpour with lightning and thunder is putting
on a show. How I wish Bix could be here, he would really love the
power, sound, smell and feel of natures gift; each rain drop is huge,
reminds me of tears, the valley of tears. We cry nor just for him and
Jean,Carol, Ardeth, Jackie, Bonnie, Michael, Steve Baggarly and Steve
Kelly, Susan Crane, Lynne Greenwald, Anne Montgomery and all the
peacemakers in our world who suffer prison and hardship in order to do
their part to prevent nuclear devastation; but especially for those
who war and plan for war. Heavenly tears flow for those of us refusing
to see with our eyes and hear with our ears and apply the brakes to
the runaway train we are all riding.

Read Joe’s complete May 26th update at the Nuclear Abolitionist Y-12 Witness page.

Sharing a poem from prison

Susan received this poem from her friend Eda Uca-Dorn, who writes:

“I wanted you to have this poem by the turkish poet Nazim Hikmet, who wrote the Hiroshima Child song we sing and who is my maternal grandmother’s favorite poet and who served time in prison for writing dangerous poetry.”

Some Advice to those Who Will Serve Time in Prison

If instead of being hanged by the neck

you’re thrown inside

for not giving up hope

in the world, your country, and people,

if you do ten or fifteen years

apart from the time you have left,

you won’t say,

“Better I had swung from the end of a rope

like a flag”–

you’ll put your foot down and live.

It may not be a pleasure exactly,

but it’s your solemn duty

to live one more day

to spite the enemy.

Part of you may live alone inside,

like a stone at the bottom of a well.

But the other part

must be so caught up

in the flurry of the world

that you shiver there inside

when outside, at forty days’ distance, a leaf moves.

To wait for letters inside,

to sing sad songs,

or to lie awake all night staring at the ceiling

is sweet but dangerous.

Look at your face from shave to shave,

forget your age,

watch out for lice

and for spring nights,

and always remember

to eat every last piece of bread–

also, don’t forget to laugh heartily.

And who knows,

the woman you love may stop loving you.

Don’t say it’s no big thing:

it’s like the snapping of a green branch

to the man inside.

To think of roses and gardens inside is bad,

to think of seas and mountains is good.

Read and write without rest,

and I also advise weaving

and making mirrors.

I mean, it’s not that you can’t pass

ten or fifteen years inside

and more–

you can,

as long as the jewel

on the left side of your chest doesn’t lose its luster

Witness to a Reprehensible and Uncaring Prison System

May 22, 2011 (from Joe Power-Drutis)


Twenty four hours ago I visited Sr. Jackie Hudson at the Blount County Correctional Facility in Maryville Tennessee, and the information she conveyed was deeply disturbing. By bravely speaking the truth about a reprehensible and uncaring system, Jackie chose to take a personal risk and I want to honor this by passing her message on to you.

This is an account of the struggles of four inmates and their attempts to receive basic medical care.

First is the indomitable and quick-witted (soon to be 84), Jean Gump. Like Bix, Jean’s age and physical presence conceal an interior spirit deeply rooted in the power of love that will always be underestimated by the dark forces so prevalent in our world.

She, like the others, would rather be home with family and friends but is not afraid to pay the price of following the dictates of her conscience. She like the others, consented to going to jail; but, expects these places of confinement to follow the law regarding human rights and rules of imprisonment. But, in the Blount County Correctional Facility, expectations and reality part ways.

Jean is a relatively healthy woman who has obviously taken care of herself; however, she is also under the care of a Nurse Practitioner in Portage Michigan. Jean has been diagnosed with hypertension and carotid artery disease; in other words, the high pressure in her arteries is further complicated by the narrowing of the large carotid artery that feeds her brain. Jean must take one anticoagulant and 2 blood pressure medications to thin her blood and lower her pressure. Failure to do so puts her at high risk for a stroke.

For these chronic conditions she has faithfully taken her medications each day – each day that is until she was remanded to the Blount County Correctional Facility. Though she has made numerous requests for help, she has received no medical assistance, not once has her blood pressure been taken, and she received no medication for nearly 2 weeks. She filled out paperwork for the jail to notify her husband, health care provider and pharmacy; they have received no calls from the jail.

Just for the record, Ralph Hutchison, Erik Johnson and I sang one verse of a less than spectacular barber shop quartet Happy Birthday to You. Moved beyond herself by emotion Jean said, “Don’t give up your day job boys.”

The reality is much the same for 63-year-old Sr. Carol Gilbert. Carol has taken an antihypertensive medication for many years. She too has gone without her medication and no one at the jail has taken her blood pressure.

Three months ago, 76-year-old Sr. Jackie Hudson underwent surgery that left her with residual periodic left-sided chest pain. Several days ago she began to experience severe musculoskeletal pain and made repeated requests for medical assistance. Eventually a nurse arrived and said “Your just one of 500 people here and I am way behind in my work.” Jackie received nothing. That night, many hours after the onset of pain, the night nurse provided her with 2 tabs of Tylenol. Well after this acute onset of pain she was able to receive a “one time” packet of 20 tablets of Tylenol and Ibuprofen due to her indigent status; but was informed she would receive no more. Jackie also suffers from asthma. She was able to take one of her inhalers in with her but is without the needed second one. Jackie also filled out paperwork for the jail to notify Sue Ablao, her health care provider and pharmacy; they also have not received any calls from the jail.

75-year-old Sr. Ardeth Platte is also under the care of a doctor. I do not know the extent of her medical needs but, like Jackie and Jean, Ardeth is receiving no medications or health care.

Though serious, the above matters are straight-forward and easily resolved.

The following is not so.

A woman in the jail experienced a Grand Mal Seizure. Apparently in the early stages of the seizure she was able to tell other inmates a seizure was about to occur, and as the seizure commenced and she was falling they were able to catch her and guide her to the concrete floor.

They called for medical help and the nurse and another woman arrived and stood next to the woman. Several minutes later – while the seizure was still in progress – a half-dozen large men entered the cell block. While a younger guard began yelling at all of the inmates “return to your cells” another of the men kicked the woman repeatedly. Later, inmates reported that kicking a person undergoing a seizure was commonplace, “They think someone is faking it.”

The following day the woman began to experience similar symptoms that occur prior to a seizure and she related to the inmates that another seizure may occur. The inmates called for assistance and a voice over the intercom instructed the inmates to put her on the concrete floor. No staff person, medical or otherwise ever responded. Fortunately the woman’s premonitions did not result in a seizure.

Complicating the health picture even more, the inmates know that, if a medical problem or emergency occurs during the weekend, they are out of luck. No nursing staff are available during the weekend. During weekends, either non medical, non licensed jailers perform nursing duties or inmates get no response at all.

As a LPN I have worked in a number of medical venues over the past 35 years and I have seen nothing to compare with this. How did this high risk, cruel “medical response” become commonplace? These standard operational procedures are not only inhumane; they are illegal.

I wish to share this with you, as I seek guidance and support from leaders in the local community here in East Tennessee about where to go from here.

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Epilogue: As I was being given this information yesterday, prison eyes (cameras) and ears (phone surveillance) were upon us; as we spoke between a wall of glass, I wrote down each detail.

It is important to remember that the playground bully is one filled with fear, and the need to control; but, knowing he/she must be careful to protect themselves from the truth.

I just received phone calls from Joe Gump and Sue Ablao; someone from the Blount County Correctional Facility phoned them today inquiring as to what medications Jean and Jackie were on. They were told that Jean and Jackie’s prescriptions will be filled by day’s end and they will be receiving all of their prescribed medications no later than tomorrow, May 23rd.

Anne Montgomery to be released May 26th!!!

Dear Friends,

Sr. Anne Montgomery will be released from the SeaTac Federal Detention Center (FDC) on Thursday, May 26th sometime midmorning (around 10:00 am)!!!

Anne welcomes supporters who wish to greet her in the SeaTac FDC parking lot as she takes her first steps back on the outside.

We will gather in an appropriate public space as near as possible to the building entrance beginning at 9:00.  Bring your nonviolent spirit along with any words of love, support and encouragement for Anne, her fellow Disarm Now Plowshares prisoners of conscience, and all those who are unjustly imprisoned.

If you cannot physically join us on May 26th and would like to share some words with Anne, send them to me in an email and I will read them that morning.  Send your email to subversivepeacemaking@gmail.com

SeaTac FDC is located at 2425 South 200th Street, Seattle.  It is located just south of the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, one mile west of Interstate 5, 200th Street exit (exit 151).  Click here for a map showing the FDC location.

ALL ARE INVITED TO A CONTINUED FESTIVAL OF HOPE AT ST. LEO’S CHURCH TACOMA. MUSIC, SPEAKERS, PRAYERS, UPDATES on Sunday, June 5th, at 6:30PM. Click here for more details and a flyer you can download. Please note that Anne may not be able to attend due to the conditions of her release, but at very least will send a special message to those gathered at the Festival of Hope.

As a final thought I would like to send out special good wishes to all our comrades in nonviolent resistance to nuclear weapons both here in the U.S. and overseas, especially those currently in prison or about to go to trial for their acts of conscience.



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