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Life Arts    H1'ed 2/23/19

Federal Bureau of Prisons' 50 Shades of ... Brown?

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The Continuing Saga of Gary and Judy White

For first-time readers, 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.

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 now serving ten years. During that time, he has been shunted from one federal facility to another. The recent passage and signing of the First Step Act was supposed to result in the release of Gary and 4,000 other inmates.Siegelman has been out of prison since February, 2017. Gary remains incarcerated, despite the recently promised governmental reprieve. This is installment #37 of our ongoing series*.

Gary White at home with his family, Christmas, circa 2005
Gary White at home with his family, Christmas, circa 2005
(Image by Judy White)
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My guest today is Judy White, frequent OpEdNews contributor. Welcome back to OpEdNews, Judy.

Joan Brunwasser: Over the last eight years or so, we've covered a broad number of topics touching on the incarcerated and their families What would you like to talk about today?

JW: Thank you, Joan. Let's talk about Gary's continuing unlawful imprisonment, prison employees' continuing abuses of me and of federal law, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons' culture of death and defiance, including their open, hostile and arrogant disregard of federal laws and policies.

Despite all we have experienced over the past 8Â years, there are times even I am shocked by the constant law-breaking and corruption of prison employees, including at the highest levels. But then I remind myself of the truths that never change: they do not care; they believe the public does not care; they trust that they are beyond accountability as they are experienced in keeping their corruption hidden. When their crimes and violations are exposed, the entire system closes ranks to cover everything up so the public never knows and they are able to continue to fool policy-makers into believing they are "helping" prisoners and "protecting" the public, when nothing could be further from the truth. Every prisoner is in prison because he was determined to have violated federal law, "crimes" which are prosecuted by the Office of the U.S. Attorney. Yet when prison employees are credibly accused of wrongdoing, that is exactly who defends them. We have a system where tax dollars are used to put regular people in prison for even minor violations, while tax dollars are also used to protect government employees from consequences of major violations, effectively a system that exempts certain government employees from the laws the rest of us have to comply with.

JB: I'm guessing that you have a recent, personal experience to recount, correct?

JW: Unfortunately, we do have so many experiences, most recently Presidents' Day, which was Day 60 of Gary's unlawful imprisonment.

Just when we thought they had maxed out on abusing visitors, FPC Montgomery prison employees Dawson-Perkins, Keller (the younger - there are two Keller brothers who work there), and Harris surprised us.

On Day 60 of his unlawful imprisonment, I got up a little after 3:00 a.m. and drove to Montgomery to be with my husband. Gary and I had chosen Monday, Presidents' Day for me to visit that weekend because, not being a weekend day, it would be less crowded, exposing me to fewer sick people as I have been battling sickness since early January, and, as a bonus, it was his mother's birthday. As expected, there was not a long line waiting for the bus so I waited most of the time in the car. Having been reminded of the life and death risk by the shocking death due to asthma of someone we know, I had placed my rescue inhaler in a separate plastic bag in the clear bag I use to carry vending machine money. The prison employee escorting the bus unlawfully threatened visitors that if they had gum in their mouth to get rid of it before getting on the bus or their visit would be terminated. Such a warm welcome, especially considering that prison employees work holidays for double time and a half.

Upon arriving at the visiting area, I walked past two "sandwich board" signs displaying "new" rules, completed the form and waited in line. Processing was going very slowly, and there was new, added humiliation for visitors with a prison employee "wanding" visitors with a metal detector, the first time I had seen this, although I had been told it was done several weeks ago due to a cell phone ringing. I didn't see him wanding small children, though; it seemed only women were suspected of smuggling whatever the metal detector was intended to detect. As we waited in line, anxiety and discussions were centered on whether visitors would be rejected due to underwire bras, which have never been prohibited. It was tragically sad for our happy anticipation of seeing our imprisoned husbands or other family members to be used to inflict fear and anxiety.

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Joan Brunwasser is a co-founder of Citizens for Election Reform (CER) which since 2005 existed for the sole purpose of raising the public awareness of the critical need for election reform. Our goal: to restore fair, accurate, transparent, secure elections where votes are cast in private and counted in public. Because the problems with electronic (computerized) voting systems include a lack of (more...)

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