Judy and Gary, 1996
(image by Judy White collection)
Background: Gary White was a county commissioner in Jefferson County, Alabama. Good friends with Les Siegelman, he introduced Les's brother, [former] Alabama Governor Don Siegelman to Richard Scrushy, a local Republican businessman. Because of this, White became inextricably intertwined with Siegelman, who was one of the biggest targets of the Rove-directed, heavily politicized Department of Justice [DOJ].
Scrushy and Siegelman were later indicted and convicted on charges stemming from that relationship. According to affidavits provided by Gary [and Judy, who was also in the room] White was asked to perjure himself before a Grand Jury in order to make the case against Siegelman and Scrushy. White refused and the very next day, the DOJ started delivering subpoenas to build a case against him. White is serving ten years and has been moved most recently to Federal Prison in Arkansas. [BOP is Bureau of Prisons.]
This is installment #31. [Links to entire series at end of article*.]
My guest today is frequent OpEdNews contributor, Judy White. Welcome back to OpEdNews. What's on your mind today?
Judy White: Last weekend I visited Gary on Saturday, June 7th. As always, it was a heartbreaking experience, but only for those of us who actually have a heart, which apparently does not include prison employees.
JB: What are you referring to, Judy?
JW: Many of us try to honor and respect our mothers as a way of life, not just on Mother's Day, which was just a month earlier. Prison employees never respect anyone, least of all the sick, frail and elderly, with women being their primary target for abuse. I am confident that each and every mother of Forrest City prison employees would feel ashamed of her son/daughter if she were aware of how they MIStreat mothers and the elderly in general. I was and I am ashamed of every one of them, and I am even more ashamed of my government.
Last Saturday morning, an elderly woman, the mother of a prisoner, drove six hours from Missouri with other family, planning to visit her son, likely for the final time. This mother has a terminal illness. She is three months past her life expectancy according to her healthcare providers. When she went through the metal detector, it went off. She told the prison employees she had a rod in her back and they told her she could not see her son.
That is just purely evil.
The elderly mother did not have a "medical card" with her to explain the metal rod supporting her spinal column. But, really, so what? According to my conversation last summer with the associate warden, if the metal detector goes off when a visitor - any visitor - goes through, the prison employees are supposed to use the hand-held scanner to determine the problem area then perform a limited pat search to determine no weapon/contraband is being smuggled in. That's all, and how hard would that be? How hard would it be to stop unduly and unlawfully harassing visitors who happen to LOVE someone who got sent to prison (including all the innocent and wrongfully prosecuted and imprisoned)? How hard would it be to stop prison employees from hurting people? The metal detector was set at an extreme level that day to stop even tiny bra hooks and to cause women in particular to have to go through over and over or even remove their bras. Of course, that further benefited the sadistic prison employees in their mission to stop, slow down, limit and eliminate visitors as much as possible.
No senior level prison employee was summoned - no duty officer or lieutenant or anyone at all - as required before refusing a visitor. The heartless, brainless prison employees manning the "processing" desk summarily denied this sick elderly woman her last chance to see her son. Her son was also denied his last chance to see his mother.
The cruelty of this poor mother being turned away was clear to all of us, as she openly cried, heartbroken, while trying to hold on to the wall to keep her balance as she tried to put her shoes back on to return to her car and leave without getting to see her son.
The BOP should be so proud.
JB: Hardly. What else is on the agenda today?
JW: Together with doing everything possible to prevent prisoners from being exposed to human beings - family and friends coming to visit them - prison employees withhold, delay, interfere with and even steal or discard mail being sent to and from prisoners.