The few drops of Native American blood that course through me only brought me humiliation once. When I lived in Sioux City, a date excused himself to use a diner restroom after learning of those few drops … and exited through the back door. Coworkers that happened to be at the diner explained the local prejudices that led to my abandonment; without them, I would have had a heck of a time getting home.
Leonard Peltier’s Native American blood will bring him humiliation every day until we have a president unafraid to grant executive clemency. He has no coworkers in the Florida federal penitentiary where he’s housed to explain what’s happening and take him home. If you click the link labeled “Leonard Peltier: The Writer” below, you’ll learn about Mr. Peltier’s disastrous date – more than 35 years ago – with overzealous prosecutors that selected him, one of three, to trample.
From: Susan Chandler
Date: October 31, 2011 3:40:24 AM EDT
To: Gretl Plessinger <plessinger.gretl>, email@example.com</plessinger.gretl>
Cc: ASKDOJ <askdoj>, firstname.lastname@example.org</askdoj>
Subject: Leonard Peltier … isolated and mistreated
Gretl Plessinger, Public Affairs Director
Florida Department of Corrections
501 South Calhoun Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399
Dear Ms. Plessinger,
As you were helpful with ensuring that inmate Gary Stanley Bennett receives his epilepsy medication consistently, I am writing to ask if you can in any way assist in resolving Leonard Peltier’s incarceration issues that came to my attention via another innocence advocate.
Mr. Peltier is incarcerated at a Florida federal facility – Coleman I.
Despite his age (67) and an untreated leg injury, Mr. Peltier was reportedly assigned a top bunk. I realize that the BOP is not pleased that Mr. Peltier has so many supporters working to free him (including the European Parliament), but – to my knowledge – the BOP has no legal authority to childishly retaliate against prisoners … not Bradley Manning, not Leonard Peltier, not anyone.
Like Mr. Manning, Mr. Peltier is reportedly experiencing difficulty in arranging visits. The BOP’s vague Visiting Regulations for Coleman invite abuse, “Any inmate who requires special precautions may have his visiting restricted when necessary to ensure the security and good order of the institution.” This may well be what is being cited to Mr. Peltier, while something similar is likely being cited to Mr. Manning, despite the age and infirmity of the former and diminutive size of the latter.
Coleman’s Visiting Regulations also states that “Friends and associates must have had an established relationship prior to confinement.” This is legally problematic for a number of reasons, including the fact that prisoners serving life sentences have gradually constricted numbers of people who knew them prior to confinement. Federal prisoners can be and are placed at great distances from their homes, although it imposes hardships on family and friends … many if not most of whom are taxpayers – they virtually pay our government to misappropriate their time and money, as if they too had been convicted of crimes.
States can and should shine light on federal overreaches of power. Just as the state of Florida should not allow the federal government to assassinate a citizen here, the state of Florida should not allow the federal government to abuse prisoners here. Until the federal government is challenged on its abuses of power by individual states, the overreaches will escalate … the federal raids on legalized medical marijuana facilities offer egregiously ongoing proof.
U.S. A.G. Holder forgets that he and his staff are on retainer to represent us citizens, even those of us who are incarcerated. Their negligence in answering correspondence makes it is more practical to simply copy them on correspondence to others – as I’m doing now – and move on in attempts to have them hear more powerful voices than mine … that’s why I am hoping that your staff can think of a way for the Florida DOC to remind the DOJ of its obligation to make sure the BOP isn’t mistreating federal prisoners incarcerated in Florida.
Thank you for your time, Ms. Plessinger. If you can think of any Florida agency that may be better equipped to assist Mr. Peltier, I would be very grateful for contact information.
Leonard Peltier: The Writer
visiting regulations for Coleman