Monday, July 09, 2007

July 1, 2007

Dear Sis~
Our new warden, Loretta Kelly, has upped the ante in her ongoing campaign to strip us prisoners here of our few privileges & rights. Ever since her arrival she's been hell-bent on stripping us down to the basics and she hasn't slowed down. In just the last few days she's totally eliminated our once-every-60-days contact visits (i.e., no more contact visits, period). she's reinstated bag lunches (all lunch meals will again consist of 2 sandwiches in a paper bag.), and now she's unilaterally and arbitrarily declared that on weekends and all holidays we will only receive 2 meals a day (see enclosed memorandum). This is on top of the many other things she's instituted, like making us kneel down on the floor upon leaving or entering our cells while we get shackled, reducing our visiting time, prohibiting anyone on the recreation fields from taking their shirts off, no matter how hot it is, bringing in permanent teams of snarling attack dogs (not drug dogs) which are used to force the prisoners to move quickly everywhere on the compound (the guards goad the dogs to nip at everyones heels). And, of course, she immediately forced the old canteen company out (cancelled their contract) and brought in the infamously corrupt Keefe Commissary (hated by convicts around the nation) which immediately jacked up prices across the board, in some cases by 200% to 400%. Keefe is notorious for winning prison & jail contracts by bribing prison officials. James Crosby, the Secretary of the Florida Dept of Corrections was recently sentenced to 8 years in Federal prison (along with some of his minions) for taking bribes from Keefe and another company; he was paid off with a "shoebox of money" every week, in classic Keefe style. In return, Keefe gets carte blanche to charge exorbitant prices to their captive audience. It's all part of the blatant corruption that infests all jail and prison systems. I'm guessing Loretta Kelly is now getting her own weekly shoebox. I know one thing; she's determined to make life miserable for all the prisoners here, and I can only guess at her motives. This is a pretty laid back joint here but she seems to want to provoke the prisoners into rioting or something. We've been on total lockdown for a week now, for example, because a few guys got in a fistfight. She locks down an entire 1,000-man prison over some fistfights! Hell, at Florida State Prison they don't ever lock down the joint, even when there's a double murder; an hour later, the prison is back to normal. But here, lockdown is Loretta's favorite tool. Every time we turn around she's got us locked down for 2, 3, 4 days, for nothing. (We're already on a skeleton staff because she fired so many guards when she got here, and so many have since quit over her "managerial style", which is based on fear & intimidation toward her own staff). This woman is on a power trip and she makes no secret of it. I've met and spoken to her twice and she's got an aura of hatefulness about her that she makes no attempt to conceal. Anyway, wardens come and go, and in due time, she'll be gone, too...
After considerable investigation I've learned the unique (almost bizarre) circumstances under which Emmett obtained his last-minute stay of execution. I'll write about it in my next letter. Meanwhile, enjoy the fourth of July weekend!
Love & Peace,

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