On Solitary Confinement and Finding Humanity

Susan Crane, Prison Letters, May 10 & 12, 2011

by thelizabeth on flickrWhile at the Federal Detention Center (FDC) SeaTac, Sr. Anne and I were in cell 11 in one of the women’s units.  Cells 2 – 10 are filled with women wearing orange, held in solitary (Special Handling Unit as it is officially named).  These sisters eat all their meals alone in their cells.  They get out of their cell for a 15-minute shower three times a week (M, W & F).  They are offered no exercise or outside time.  They not allowed to communicate with other prisoners, and we were not allowed to motion or talk to them.  There is no yelling between cells.  They can’t participate in group prayer, or any group activity.  No one offers them Eucharist. Continue reading

The Original Blues Brother Is On The Loose

(from Joe Power-Drutis)

At 7:15 PM, 1915 for all of you exact types (and we know who we are),
Bix walked out of the Knox County Sheriff’s Detention Facility an
almost free man. Continue reading

Sr. Mary Dennis is in; Bix is almost out…

Update June 22, 2011 (from Joe Power-Drutis)

I just returned from a very memorable drive to Ocilla Georgia with 74
year old Sr. Mary Dennis Lentsch, of the Sisters of the Presentation.
This is the name she chose when she entered the convent in honor of
her brother who had drowned. Her court records list her birth name,
Elizabeth Ann; therefore for the sake of correctness while she is
locked up, letters to her should be addressed to: Continue reading

Sr. Mary Dennis Lentsch self commits

June 20, 2011 (from Joe Power-Drutis)

Four days ago I said goodbye to Jackie and Sue and they began the
difficult journey back to Washington. Jackie had healed sufficiently
to allow her to return home safely. The time the three of us had
together was abundantly rich in grace. Continue reading

Greetings from Susan #87783-011, FCI Dublin

Thank you for your letters, your prayers, the books you have sent.  Thanks for maintaining contact with me.

I arrived at the federal prison here in California, flown in with 29 other women from Parumph, Nevada.  We had been woken up at midnight to get ready to leave, and had been in shackles and waistchain restraints and cuffs since about 3am.  Although I had been trying to be indifferent about where I’d be living for the next year, I was thankful to end up at FCI Dublin. Continue reading

Updates on Jackie & Bix

Joe Power-Drutis Update, June 14, 2011

Jackie Hudson 

Jackie is out of the hospital but the healing process continues. Sue Ablao has been at her bedside day and night since noon time on Friday June 10th. Yesterday, June 13th her doctor at the University of Tennessee Medical Center cleared Jackie to leave the hospital and return to the Northwest and continue medical treatment in Seattle. Jackie and Sue are currently staying in the same support community of lovely people I have been living with since I arrived here in early May. When Jackie feels strong enough to travel, she and Sue will leave for Seattle. Continue reading

Jackie Hudson is out of the hospital!!!

Thanks to Ralph Hutchison, of the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance (OREPA), for this late evening update.


jackie was released from the hospital around 5:00pm today. sue and joe moved her to shelley’s house. i went by this evening after my meeting. she is tuckered out from the trip, has some back pain, is frustrated by limitations on her mobility, has some appetite, is anxious to get back home to see her own doctor, and, well, sounds like a patient who is tired of being patient.

she had an upper GI today which was clear enough for them to release her; they told her to see her doctor immediately when she gets home. her kidney function is not “normal,” but is stable and in the safe range. she was told to drink lots and lots and lots.

i think the plan is to stay here a couple days to regain strength and get used to moving around again, and to leave for seattle as soon as she feels up to it.


News release on Jackie Hudson’s release from prison

Knoxville, Tennessee, June 10, 2011:   A 76-year-old nun and peace activist was hospitalized after being denied medical care at a federally contracted private detention facility.
Sister Jackie Hudson, OP, who has been in prison since her conviction on Federal trespassing charges resulting from her peaceful protest at the Y-12 nuclear weapons facility last July was hospitalized for serious medical complications resulting from being denied care while at the Irwin County Detention Center, a federally contracted private detention facility in Ocilla, Georgia.
Hudson is one of eight people in federal custody awaiting sentencing for an anti-nuclear demonstration at the Y-12 nuclear weapon site at Oak Ridge Tennessee.
She and seven others, including two other nuns from her congregation, the Dominican Sisters of Grand Rapids, were first held at the Blount County Detention Center in Tennessee, then transported to Irwin County Detention Center (ICDC), a private facility in Ocilla County, Georgia which is operated by Michael Croft Enterprises under a U.S. Bureau of Prisons contract.  On Saturday afternoon May 28th Sr. Hudson began experiencing intense chest pain and shortness of breath.
Sr. Hudson’s symptoms suggested heart failure, and this was not ruled out until after 60 hours of intense pain, when on the morning of May 31st she was finally taken to the local hospital emergency department. From Saturday afternoon May 28th through Tuesday morning May 31st, in spite of numerous attempts, Sr. Hudson was denied access to a physician, her attorney or family members.
During the 60 hours between Saturday afternoon May 28th, 2011 and Tuesday morning May 31st, Warden Barbara Walrath was “unavailable” and directed her staff to let no one, including her attorney, speak to Sr. Hudson. The ICDC Nurse who was on duty was not required to consult Dr. Howard C. McMahan the medical Director of the Irwin County Detention Center who under the ICDC procedures was not on call and thus was not notified of Sr. Hudson’s condition and did not examine her until June 1st.
The source of Sr. Hudson’s continuing upper chest pain had not yet been determined, and she remained in isolation in the “medical room” of the ICDC until she was transported back to Knoxville where she had been ordered to appear before H. Bruce Guyton, U.S. Magistrate Judge this morning at 9:00 am in order to be released from prison for medical reasons. 
When Hudson arrived at the Knox County Sheriff’s Detention Facility in Knoxville on June 8th, the Physician’s Assistant in charge recognized the seriousness of her condition and had her sent to the University of Tennessee Medical Center.  Hospital staff are giving Hudson medication to keep her pain-free, while treating her Pneumonia and stabilizing her kidney function.
This morning at 9:00 am, Hudson’s attorney, Brad Henry, appeared before Judge Guyton, and in Hudson’s absence petitioned the court for her release pending sentencing.  The judge granted the request pending Hudson’s acceptance of the conditions of her release.  Henry, accompanied by a U.S. Marshall and Federal probation officer, went to the hospital where he obtained Hudson’s signature. 
Hudson will remain at the University of Tennessee Medical Center until strong enough to be released to recuperate in Knoxville. She will then travel home to Seattle where she will return to the care of her doctors at the University of Washington Medical Center.

Jackie’s out of prison and in the Hospital

 from Joe Power-Drutis, June 10, 2011

Sue Ablao and I entered Jackie’s private room on the 3rd floor of the
University of Tennessee Medical Center at exactly noon time today.
Jackie attempted to greet us but was only able to partially lift her
head and whisper in short, broken phrases.

She didn’t realize that just a couple of hours before in a federal
court room in Knoxville, H. Bruce Guyton, U.S. Magistrate Judge
accepted, from Jackie’s attorney, a petition to release Jackie from
the legal chains that bound her. He approved her release pending a
sentencing date to be announced; for her prayerful Resistance at the
Y-12 nuclear weapon enhancement facility in Oak Ridge Tennessee on
July 5, 2010.

The probation officer and U.S. Marshall, also present at court,
assured the judge that Jackie could well be released by the end of the
morning; and so, unlike most of what I have experienced in these local
Detention Facilities, her release actually did occur that smoothly.

Minutes before we arrived 2 guards were posted at her door; they were
gone now. But given Jackie’s experiences over the past 2 weeks, I
don’t think she fully comprehended all that had just taken place, nor
does she understand her medical condition and limitations. But we do.

Simply put, the abominable medical care Jackie received at the Irwin
County Detention Facility resulted in her contracting Pneumonia and
subsequently whether secondary to that or another undefined medical
problem, ended up with her being in Kidney Failure. No one at that
facility caused these conditions to happen; but, not providing
reasonable emergency medical care when her symptoms warranted such
care is willful neglect by any medical standard.

Thankfully 2 days ago when Jackie arrived at the Knox County Sheriff’s
Detention Facility here in Knoxville, the Physician’s Assistant in
charge recognized the seriousness of Jackie’s condition and had her
sent to one of the finest medical centers in Tennessee. www.utmedicalcenter.org

At present Jackie is resting comfortably and is being given medication
to keep her pain free, while treating the Pneumonia and stabilizing
her kidney function. My understanding is her prognosis is good and
that when she is strong enough, hopefully in the next few days, she
will be released to recuperate here in Knoxville until she can travel
back to Seattle where she will return to the care of her doctors at
the University of Washington Medical Center.

It seems amazing to me that our system of justice would put a 76 year
old religious sister through such a near death experience. For What?
Oh yes, for being convicted of misdemeanor tress pass for walking 10
feet across a thin blue line and kneeling down to pray. I wonder what
her punishment would have been if she would have made it to 50 feet, a
hundred, or possibly going further and doing something that shut down
the production line?

Prayers of Thanksgiving Abound.

To access archived versions of Plowshares News, follow this link:

More on Jackie’s pending release

Editor’s Note:  This is a report just received from Ralph Hutchison of the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance on his morning’s developments in Knoxville.  We will know more before the day’s end.   

There was a court hearing this morning in knoxville regarding jackie hudson’s release. jackie was unable to attend, but her lawyer, brad henry, requested her release and the judge granted it providing she accepts the conditions. at this point, her lawyer, the US marshal, and the probation officer are on their way to the hospital. after jackie signs the papers and they return to the judge, she will be officially “released” and her lawyer will be allowed to call joe and sue and tell them which hospital she is in. it’s not clear if she is in any condition to leave the hospital, but at least we’ll be able to sit with her.

Here is a link to an article in today’s Knoxville News Sentinel about Jean Gump’s release from prison: http://m.knoxnews.com/news/2011/jun/10/y-12-protester-released/.

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