Gulag Americana

I can’t imagine anything worse than being held against my will. I suppose short term incarceration works as a deterrent for some crimes, that it may be a powerful incentive to walk the straight and narrow once one is released. There are people who are too dangerous to be out here with the rest of us. I hoped to correspond with an inmate serving a life sentence but after looking through quite a few I couldn’t find one who didn’t seem to be guilty. It wasn’t so much the guilt exactly, it was the horrible crimes they’d committed. Most people serving life sentences seem to be there for murder and none of the murders are the gentle good nights that I sometimes envision, a yummy drink with lots of medicine in it and, before the victim knows what hit him/her-  boomboom, out go the lights. I thought about corresponding with someone subject to the three strikes law but after sifting through the murderers, I didn’t have the energy to search through all the drug dealers. I’m on the fence about them too. I’d be okay exchanging thoughts and opinions with a marijuana farmer, while a heroin retailer or a narcotics distributor might incite some vitriol. You can see how the prison situation troubles me.

Here in the Hinterland, we have our share of anti-govenment extremists. I like to think of them indulgently as Nuts. Good people who are right out of their gourds, people who will sometime in the near future move to underground bunkers and position trip wires around the perimeter, people who stockpile weapons and ammunition. I listen to their opinions and they have quite a few. Most of them begin with Gawd and end with Sarah Palin. They’re pretty harmless. I like to mess with them and tell them I don’t believe in Gawd, which presents an ethical dilemma  because they like me and I’m a sinner because I’m not saved. One guy insists I will be going to heaven anyway because I’m a good person. I’m not going and he can’t make me. So these affable, Gawd loving, extremists have been telling me forever about the prisons in the lower 48 where people are being transferred and held without due process; Nuts, right? Wrong, well maybe still Nuts but attentive Nuts. Government is circumventing due process utilizing Communications Management Units.

From Center for Constitutional Rights facebook page-
“Since 2006, the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) has operated two experimental prison units called Communications Management Units (CMUs), where prisoners are given extremely limited access to calls and visits and are deprived of any physical contact with visiting loved ones, without due process. Two-thirds of these prisoners are Muslim, and others have been sent to the CMUs in retaliation for their political and religious speech. CCR is challenging these unconstitutional policies and practices in court but we also need the BOP to hear from you. This week, the BOP opened up a 15-day period for concerned individuals to submit comments on their proposed policy that would govern the CMUs Learn more about these units, and our clients, by reading this article, and submit your comments to the BOP using this link: SHARE this action with others!”

I know what you’re thinking; Elroy isn’t too bright, there’s a whole sea of nonviolent pen pals (pen pal, hmmmm, never thought of it that way before) in the CMUs. They’re there, where mail is restricted, and I’m here because I don’t want to be there. I consider periodically, not often but regularly, how easy it would be for a well meaning, radical, peri-menopausal woman, remarkably like me but not me, to end up in jail for a crime of inadvertence. Is it a stretch to think there’s an obscure law somewhere that could be interpreted to impose restrictions on what DVDs can be mailed to a senator, that people who send critical sticky notes on documentary DVDs are enemy combatants?

If you have a minute, you may want to use one of CCRs links to oppose the CMUs. Help a sister out and deflect some of the unwanted attention.


About elroyjones

Married, no children, responsibly self-directed, living happily.
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7 Responses to Gulag Americana

  1. I’m still working my way through this. Gawd. I just saw a weird movie about a woman in love with a prison inmate. He got out and killed her. Don’t write to lifers and give up sticky notes.

    • elroyjones says:

      I grew up with a kid (well, more than one kid) whose parents divorced. His mom married an old friend doing life for bludgeoning his first wife to death. My friend’s mother was killed in an auto accident right after she retired. Her second marriage lasted until the day she died. I’m wondering if prison is the answer to a happy marriage?
      I was hoping to correspond with a Rubin “Hurricane” Carter sort of inmate. It seems Hurricanes are few and far between.
      Yes, I suppose I’ll have to give up the sticky notes. It’s vexing.

  2. I will write to you when you get locked up… how about that…

  3. Doug Story says:

    In the eighties I learned, the BOP is just not for me. So I avoid their company, even by correspondence, robustly. Will share this; dining at The United States Penitentiary at Lewisburg, Pa. was a meal made to remember. Be careful Elroy.

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