In a dark and shadowy world

Editor’s (VERY HAPPY) Note:  Jackie Hudson may be released until her sentencing!!! Joe’s last paragraph below gives the details.

by Joe Power-Drutis, June 7, 2011

I consider myself a nearly average human being; yet some may question
the mental accuracy of that statement. By this I mean I would agree
with St. Paul when he wrote that he didn’t do enough of what he should
be doing, and more often than not was doing what he shouldn’t. Such is
the human condition; however, I believe what goes hand in hand with my
undesired behavior is the active work of covering up my faults, or at
least presenting myself in a little better light.

I have followed my friends into a prison world that frowns on workers
who act compassionately and encourages those who discover newer and
more creative ways that make the inmates world more unbearable than it
already is. Also, to make the prisoner’s suffering more complete,
whatever inconvenience or outright lie that can be afforded a friend
or family member, in an effort to thwart any support and care the
inmate might receive by them, is rewarded. This cycle is viscous and
well worn over more years than I can imagine; a culture unto itself.

I wanted to discover their unkind ways so as to tell you what our
friends face on the inside and to warn you of the pitfalls you will
face in providing support. Now I have come to understand their ways of
abuse are endless.

A few things I have already spoken of: Bix’s near death experience in
the BOP transport system – basic health care and medications withheld
– kicking a women in the midst of a Grand Mal Seizure and then in
Jackie’s case blocking emergency care in the face of a possible life
threatening condition. Keep in mind this dark system has a memory; it
was Jackie that exposed herself by telling me about what happened to
the woman who was having a seizure – see Plowshares News May 22. Steve
Baggarly once told me of a Vietnam vet with an amputated leg that one
late night was brought into the ‘medical’ unit he was in. This man was
made to sleep on the concrete floor without a blanket. Steve protested
and received no response. He then refused all food until the man was
properly cared for – this act resulted in Steve being removed from the
medical unit. A young attorney recently told me, “I could tell you
life and death stories of my clients that would make you cry”. When I
asked him to join a group of us who were trying to address these
abuses he responded, “If I did, it would mark the end of my career
here in Knoxville”. “But I feel ashamed that all I do is to refer them
to the D.C. ACLU office”.

Less exotic abuses go on so often I have lost track of them all. Most
of them occur around mail, jail visitation and the ungodly telephone
systems; of course, the only 3 things you and I can afford a prisoner.
I could call Africa for less than what a prisoner is charged to phone
a loved one; ensuring that most people, with limited means, are
blocked from this support. During the 2 weeks our friends were at
Blount they received but a few pieces of mail. One evening a guard
showed them the stacks of mail that were delivered but would not
permit them to have them. Today I received mail stamped as
‘undeliverable’ that I mailed in on May 14th.

Some prisons may attempt to hide their abusive ways by calling their
facilities places of ‘rehabilitation’ but not so here in Knoxville.
One jail warden posted a notice that states “Incarceration is and of
itself punishment” and the primary goal of that facility is to
“maximize inmate control”. Top down philosophies such as this provides
every guard down the chain of command a blank check in their
creativity for “maximizing that control.”

Sr. Carol Gilbert, OP has written an illuminating account of her stay
at the Blount Jail, just outside of Knoxville. You can read it on the
Disarm Now Plowshares Blog

Now my editor and chief of nearly 28 years would give me a D minus on
this report if I did not speak about something hopeful after all of
this dark chit chat. So yes, here it is. It very much looks like Sr.
Jackie Hudson, OP will be released from the Irwin Detention Center in
Ocilla, in order for her to receive the medical care she is so very
much in need of. She is to come to Knoxville in the next day or so
and on Friday morning at 9 AM she will return to court. Her attorney
said that he was told the government would have no objections to her
being released until her sentencing date; which as yet has not been


One Response

  1. That is wonderful news of Jackie. Joe, I am so grateful of your presence there. Received a letter from Bix today, please tell him how happy it made us and that Peter is coming to spend the weekend with us and I will share his letter. We love him dearly. Love to you Joe.


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