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Re: [phoenix-quest] Native American Prisoners need immediate protection

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  • Virginia S.
    I called the prison warden, Jim Macdonald, this afternoon at length. The first time I called he wasn t in, so I spoke to the lady answering the phone and she
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 7 8:07 PM
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      I called the prison warden, Jim Macdonald, this afternoon at length. 
       
      The first time I called he wasn't in, so I spoke to the lady answering the phone and she began to see their was a bit involved in what I was saying.  She asked me to send her a copy of the email, which when the warden called back had not arrived.
       
      He was all innocence at first until I pointed out the detail about the 2 captains being fired.  He says one captain was fired -- but that was for what the man did and I should not worry about retaliation.  I pointed out it COMMON for a man's coworkers to get riled up about a thing like that and he responded weakly that retaliation "could" take place.
       
      We had at least a five minute conversation on incarceration of native peoples.  My brother is a seminole and has been imprisoned several times -- mostly for PAROLE violations caused by sampling of his blood for alcohol.  I told the warden I had some experience of these things, but that my brother always did "pretty well" as he was a trustie.  He said that the prison is very good to the native population by allowing smudging, sweats and the like.  I pointed out that incarceration is anathema to native peoples and very contrary to their cultural justice system.  This he admitted.  I pointed out how the absence of Native men takes a very hard toll on families.
       
      I used that to point out that when one is facing parole, it gets to be a very anxious time for everyone and that I just wanted to make sure some slack was cut.  He admitted that imprisonment is hard on everyone concerned (NO JOKE! It sure is!)  He said that the reservation, some 70 miles away, produces convicts who have a 60 to 70% rate of recidivism.  Rather than argue the point about institutionalization and the insane drugs laws, I just told him I have BEEN THERE to Shelby and the reservation and the poverty is awful.  I pointed out that I am from Minnesota, come from a mixed race family and that I work with the Toronto population of the addicted in what is North America's largest urban reservation.  [I never mentioned my University courses in Criminal "justice" studies.]
       
      I used that to push the point that we have every reason as citizens to call and express concern (and I must say I was somewhat aghast he was still speaking to me at this point) as natives are still recovering from post traumatic stress disorder after the decimation of the native family and it is good that they are getting their self esteem back.  The last residential school in Canada did not close until 1988 -- and I see and know and am acquainted with those who attended them and their offspring.  Therefore, an action like this is a good sign of self esteem -- rather than a situation of blame.  We care about those coming up for parole.
       
      I pointed out that YESTERDAY marked the 30th anniversary of the illegal imprisonment of Leonard Peltier and that it was saluted in many cities and towns.  It is natural, then, for those who care about that issue to be worried about native inmates at this time.  I told him he could expect more calls, faxes, emails ... I didn't feel like he was "getting" it ... so I told him that he should look at it this way ...
       
      If it were Martin Luther King Day and you knew there were problems in a prison in Mississippi, would you be surprised to hear that blacks were callling the wardens in support of man about to be paroled the next day?  He admitted this WAS likely.  It was the only rise I got out of him.
       
      As the email I sent them did not arrive, I suggested that they can phone me back and I will resend it.  We are hiding nothing and just want to make certain that these men get parole.  We will be contacting Montana legislators and prison authorities.
       
      I would say we conversed for a total of 20 minutes.
       
      Virginia
      Thank you, Linda, for your support!  Perhaps you could send on this note as well.
       

      "L.Cirincione" wrote:
      I've sent this on to a Montana egroup I am on.
       
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Tuesday, February 07, 2006 11:23 AM
      Subject: [phoenix-quest] Native American Prisoners need immediate protection

      If you know anyone or any group that might help, could you please cross post this? 
        
        If you could just contact one or two on the list --- what a help that would be. 
        
        Yesterday, was the day that marked the 30th, the 30th, anniversary of Leonard Peltier's incarceration and the occasion was marked in many places in several different ways.  This is a way to honor the voice he has used to speak for the imprisoned.
        
        I called the prison warden's office and they were quite surprised.  I think this is one of those "for profit" prisons due to the email address I was given.  Please be polite so that no repercussions occur as a result of your communications.  My heart is with these men during their tribulations.
        
        Mitake Oyasin,
        Megweetch
        Virginia

      Thomas Greywolf wrote:
        Date: Tue, 7 Feb 2006 09:30:16 -0800 (PST)
      Subject: Re: Native American Prisoners need immediate protection
      To: "Virginia S." <eeching2004@...>

        I've known Dodie for about 3 years now, she's well known.
        She's the real deal and dedicated to the people.
        
        greywolf

      I am more than happy to help out -- I've been through Shelby MT, in fact -- and Montana has much to answer for in its treatment of native peoples.
          Do you know Dodie or Brigitte personally?
        Virginia

          Please help, and forward to any group who might be interested in this issue. This is very important!
      Thank you,

      Dodie Finstead & Brigitte Thimiakis
      ------------------------------------------
      From Justice Network February 6, 2006

      Shelby, Montana: Native American Prisoners need immediate protection from retaliation, at CCC (Crossroads Correctional Center).

      Because of the work they have done on Native religious rights issues, Native American prisoners are being watched really closely by prison staff, although they have been keeping a low profile and have not caused any trouble. One of them has a parole hearing very soon. Another has an exemplary conduct record. But staff members are trying to write them up on any little thing they could come up with, looking for a way to see if they get them into trouble, such as watching dotted lines to see if the prisoners cross over, trying to see if their shirts are out (not entirely tucked in), etc.

      In addition, it is believed that the mail of at least one of these prisoners is being held up by the prison staff.

      Montana prisons have a long history of frequent and discriminative tactics meant to intimidate and retaliate against Native American prisoners, especially when they fight for their religious, medical and human rights.

      The Wicca were finally allowed to practice their religion for the first time in years and one can only assume that it is due to the pressure put on religious rights issues.

      Again at Shelby, recently two captains were fired, due to sexual harassment of staff members and inmates. At this time, captains and guards are involved in current harassment.

      Several years ago, women inmates at Shelby had also been sexually harassed, resulting in one of them  giving birth to a baby. The case is pending in courts now.

      It should also be noted that inmates are still being handcuffed and beaten up.

      This information should be kept high priority, and not be forgotten. Please contact the following legislators requesting that they investigate and help put an end to the ongoing abuse at Crossroads Correctional Center (CCC), Shelby.
      If the links or email addresses do not appear, please contact us.

      Thank you,

      Justicenetwork justicenetwork@... 
      ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
      Contact info :

      James MacDonald, Warden; (406) 434-7055-- 75 Heath Road; Shelby, MT 59474

      Bill Slaughter  Director, Department of Corrections  tward@...  

      Coordinator of Indian Affairs, Legislators, Senator : Please email them a copy of your letter or call them. For those who do not have an email address you can use the link provided at the bottom to "Send an Online Message". mcampbellhd31@... , RCharette@... ,  JAYNE57@... , CSJUNEAU@... , BARVX@... , CLAIRENA@... , WINDYBOY_J@... , SAMT@... , ARLENE_BECKER@... , REPDEE@... , REPBUZZAS@... , SUEDICKENSON@..., max@... 

      Detailed individual contact info:
      Senator Baucus: max@... 
      Coordinator of Indian Affairs  RCharette@...

      NORMA BIXBY (D) HD 41 , PO BOX 1165, LAME DEER, MT 59043-1165, Home: (406)477-6602, Bus: (406)477-6602

      JOEY JAYNE (D)  HD 15 , 299 LUMPRY RD, ARLEE, MT 59821-9747, Home: (406)726-4207, Bus: (406)726-4207 JAYNE57@...

      CAROL C JUNEAU (D) HD 16, PO BOX 55, BROWNING, MT 59417-0055, Home: (406)338-5689, Bus: (406)338-5689 CSJUNEAU@...

      VERONICA SMALL-EASTMAN (D) HD 42 , PO BOX 262, LODGE GRASS, MT 59050-0262, Home: (406)639-2536, Bus: (406)639-2536  BARVX@...

      JONATHAN WINDY BOY (D) HD 32,PO BOX 269, BOX ELDER, MT 59521-0269, Home: (406)395-4407, Bus: (406)395-4407 WINDYBOY_J@...

      Dr. Margarett Campbell P.O. Box 228 Poplar, MT 59255 mcampbellhd31@... (406) 768-3500 (home) or (406) 480-3107    

      Arlene Becker    Bus: (406)245-7256 ARLENE_BECKER@...
                              
      DEE L BROWN (R) HD 3  Bus: (406)387-9393 REPDEE@...

      ROSALIE BUZZAS (D) HD 93 Bus: (406)728-0289 REPBUZZAS@...

      SUE DICKENSON (D)HD25 SUEDICKENSON@...

      Link to the webpage listing all legislators and their contact info http://leg.state.mt.us/css/sessions/59th/roster.aspHouseID=0&SessionID=88   

       
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