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Jail Rally: Treatment of Biscuit Defenders

Jail Rally
Date: Tuesday March 15, 2005
Time:12:00 pm
Josephine County Adult Jail
1901 NE F St. (behind Wal-Mart)
Grants Pass
Date: Tuesday March 15, 2005
Time:12:00 pm
Josephine County Adult Jail
1901 NE F St. (behind Wal-Mart)
Grants Pass

The women from the March 14th Women's Bridge Blockade and other supporters will rally at the Josephine County Jail to protest unlawful cruel and unusual treatment of activists and the waste of taxpayer money housing non-violent defenders.

While serious and violent offenders are released on a daily basis from the new Josephine County Jail, non-violent protestors are held, and even put into "lockdown" or segregation based upon their First Amendment-protected beliefs.

This form of lockdown or solitary confinement is an extreme form of punishment, particularly for non-violent protestors who were engaging in civil disobedience. "It is unconstitutional to punish a citizen prior to a Court hearing and jury determination of guilt. This gulag-style treatment is a travesty to a fair and just society," said Attorney Lauren Regan of the Civil Liberties Defense Center.

The deputies at the jail have been intimidating and attempting to coerce people by placing them into solitary confinement because of their opinions or beliefs. This treatment of these peaceful protestors is cruel and unusual punishment and unconstitutional.

The Sheriff's office and jail personnel live and work in our communities and must be held accountable for the abuse of any citizen in our community"regardless of whether they nonviolently sit down in a road to stop logging, or are exercising their rights to religion, assembly or speech. An erosion of one person's rights is an erosion of all of our rights.

On Monday, March 7, when the major media outlets were on the scene, the sheriff's deputies and jailers appeared to conduct themselves professionally and both police and protestors appeared to have mutual respect for each other. In the days that have passed since, and as the media spotlight waned, the conduct of the deputies in the jail degraded quickly, to the point that one guard told the nonviolent protestors to drink their own urine if they were thirsty.

Leah Carnine, arrested at the Wednesday March 9 Green Bridge blockade, has been in "lockdown," segregated from the rest of the jail population, since booking on Wednesday, March 9.

Incident reports at the jail stated the reason for segregating Carnine include "disruptive behavior" such as "dancing around" in the holding cell. "There is no basis in law or fact that this young woman's actions should have rendered her in a maximum security jail cell with only 15 minutes out of her cell twice a week. This level of punishment is reserved for the most dangerous and physically violent offenders, not for people speaking out against the government. The jail is treating the protestors with disparate treatment based upon their beliefs - which is horrendously unconstitutional in a country that prides itself on its freedom and civil liberties," Regan added.

The on-the-ground campaign to defend Fiddler Mountain, a designated Old-Growth Reserve, has entered its second week. So far, the Fiddler Sale blockades have resulted in 42 arrests.

"The broad-based coalition of activists from local woodsmen, local business owners, teachers, retirees, to Earth First! vow to continue protesting and blocking logging roads. We are united in a historic confrontation. The outcome of this struggle will have implications for national forest policy for decades to come," said Laurel Sutherlin of the Oxygen Collective.
So what the hell is going on? 15.Mar.2005 12:17

Hi

I went to the jail website where these people are being held:

 http://www.co.josephine.or.us/sheriff/inmates/Icurrent.htm

To me, it looks like they're just being held there and thier trials
purposefully delayed or something. It looks like these fine folks
represent about 1/3 of the jail population. Josephine County officials
should be ashamed of themselves.

Where can an out of stater (WA) like myself call to complain about thier
treatment?

email the sheriff 15.Mar.2005 12:40

bull of the woods

email sheriff dave daniel about the treatment of the protestors, i did.

 jocosheriff@co.josephine.or.us

here's the email i sent 15.Mar.2005 13:36

friend of the biscuit

Sheriff Dave Daniel:

Word is getting around about the treatment in Josephine County Jail of the people recently arrested for non-violent civil disobedience near the Fiddler timber sale. Lockdown or solitary confinement for people who have not yet had their day in court, and who have not been acting violently, could well prove to be "cruel and unusual punishment", which could have legal repercussions for Josephine County and/or the jail staff. If the motivation behind such confinement is related to anyone's political beliefs, the jail's actions are further unconstitutional.

I am especially concerned about the health and safety of Leah Carnine, who was arrested on March 9, and has reportedly been segregated from the rest of the jail population since then.

It's true that Southern Oregon is its own place, away from big cities and offering a refuge to people who like to be left alone. That's part of what makes it special, and I for one don't want to change that. But the law of the land does extend there (and so does the media), and the fact that Josephine County Jail staff are reportedly flaunting the spirit and letter of that law is of concern to me and others who live elsewhere. We ask you to cease and desist such behavior immediately. It's in everyone's best interests that you do.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Emails, letters, Christmas Cards 15.Mar.2005 14:20

Wanda P (Milwaukie)

Yes, email the Sheriff. I'm certain he'll read each and every
one, then toss and turn all night in bed worrying about the
prisoner's welfare. Get a clue: emails and letters are a waste
of time. A federal civil rights lawsuit? Now that's something
they'd more likely pay attention to.

waste of time? 15.Mar.2005 15:38

my time to waste

well Wanda P...i am at work, so i says to myself, "self, why not see what the sheriff has to say?" if he has to take a moment and read an email or two, he might ask himself if they are doing everything by the book. if they are not, he might change what is going on once the pressure is on. not saying it does much, but it is NOT DOING NOTHING. feel free to initiate that civil rights lawsuit by the way, i encourage you. here is sheriff daniel's response:

All criminals are treated the same in our jail. I've sent your
question to our jail commander to respond to the reasons for her lock
down if that is what really occurred.

fyi: follow up 15.Mar.2005 16:00

my time to waste

here is the follow up response from josephine sheriff dept:

It's too bad that people make accusations without knowing all the facts. The person you are referring to was very disruptive during the booking process and failed on numerous occassions to follow the directions of the corrections officers. She was treated no different than any other inhmate.

Amnesty is right--letters count 15.Mar.2005 16:28

writer

I don't know about your experience, but my experience with public officials is that emails, letters, faxes, and phone calls really work, especially in a small town.

I used to feel like I was writing or phoning into a black hole. But having waged a battle myself and seen the results, I now know it isn't true. Sure, they don't read the emails, but they count them. And they know when their boxes are flooded and when they have to put a staff member on full time just answering phone calls. It's easy to overwhelm a small agency, and when comments come in the hundreds, they change their behavior (sometimes) because they are embarrassed for the world to know what they are really doing.

It's pathetic to have to embarrass our officials to get them to follow the law, but it does have an effect. One official even told me, "We don't want a repeat of THAT again." I took him at his word.

It counts 16.Mar.2005 00:37

hope

I e-mailed Sheriff Daniel. Here's his response:

<mail from sheriff>
It's unfortunate that you are making these allegations based on bad
information. All inmates are treated fairly and professionally by our
staff. The case you refer to is an inmate who was very disruptive
during the booking process and failed on numerous occassions to follow
officers orders.
<end quote>

His tone is quite defiant, but it's also possible that he might be feeling defensive. It would still do good to write, and no matter what they say (after all, what are they gonna say? "Oh, sorry, we mistreated some of you people"?) keep letting them know that much more of us are out here, watching, listening. If you haven't written yet, take a minute and do so....each and every word from us counts. It is true.