Drug War Prisoners

Sister Caryl writes from FCI Danbury:

War on Drugs good for the economy

(Sister Caryl Hartjes CSA is a member of SOA Watch, the organization which keeps tabs on the School of the Americas (renamed Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation) at Fort Benning, Georgia. WHISC trains paramilitaries in methods of torture and put down of dissent in Latin America. Sister Caryl was among the 49 SOA protesters sentenced to prison after a non-violent action outside the “school” in February. She was released from FCI Danbury in July this year.)

Hi there! Vicki Rosepiler [18 years for a drug offense] showed me your comparison of the Drug War and the war in Iraq. It states concretely and rationally what I’ve known intuitively.

My take on the War on Drugs? It’s good for the economy. Prisons benefit localities, even save them from collapse with jobs and contracted services. A sideline one could only know having been here on the inside: Discounting the professional staff, prison employees are not rocket scientists! Given the worldwide shift to technology, what would localities do with their unskilled workers? Voila! Build prisons and hire them as officers. Hundreds of them!

I read a statistic that by 2050 one half of US citizens will be in or profoundly affected by prisons. Includes children whose parents are incarcerated (major disaster) as well as former prisoners with felony charges that prevent them from voting for life, not to mention the impossibility of getting jobs or education.

When a judge sentences a woman charged with a non-violent crime involving drugs to life plus 20 years, what sentiment prompts that? Clearly it’s irrational. Can someone help me to understand this?

In Mafia families, wives know their husbands are involved with “the Family,” even though they stay aloof. I have never heard of a Mafia wife being arrested, much less doing time, for refusing to divulge names, for conspiracy in not turning in her husband. Yet these are the kingpins of drug trafficking. How come the wives of today’s petty drug dealers get 20, 30 years or life for not turning their husbands in? Can somebody explain that?

When we protest the School of the Americas, we link that to the war on Iraq. Both are related to the Drug War. All three are parts of the same vicious whole.

I enclose a copy of SOA Watch Update.

Excerpt from the Update: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor” – Bishop Desmond Tutu.

Eighty-six non-violent activists arrested during the November vigil went to trial from January 21 to February 12, 2003. In the Columbus Federal Court the defendants put the SOA itself on trial. Ruling out defense strategies of necessity and international law, Magistrate Judge Faircloth found all of the defendants guilty… Charity Ryerson and Jeremy John face up to a year in prison for cutting a small padlock off a pedestrian gate to the base. Becky Johnson faces six months in prison for her action of u-locking her neck to the main gate of the base.

The spirit of liberation is rising in the people all around the globe. It cannot be silenced by threats and violence any more than it can be contained by prison walls. Our friends will continue to speak out during their sentences of prison and probation. We will continue together in this struggle until this school of assassins is closed and the policies it represents are changed forever.

Sister Caryl is now back in the fold of her religious community in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.

The address of SOA Watch is

P.O. Box 4566
Washington, DC 20017





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