Dispatch From Jeff Luers: LOSS OF FACE-TO-FACE VISITS FOR ONE YEAR!
Jeff has LOST HIS CONTACT VISITS FOR ONE YEAR!!! Even though there is NO EVIDENCE that he was smoking pot. The smoking gun? A CLEAN UA!! Please send Jeff your letters of support. He has not yet asked for anyone to contact the superintendant over this issue. Let's be prepared if he does!
August 22nd, 2006
Dispatch from Jeff "Free" Luers
Talk about a shitty couple of days. I get out of the hole on Sunday, August 20. To start I have to fight to get out on my date because I'm not in the computer. I get let out without having had a hearing, which means I have no sanctions.
I'm excited, though. I know that no matter what I get to call her today. I get out right at yard line. I go and find my new cell conveniently locked on the bar box. The first cell on the tier, the one right in front of the guard.
Ok, no big deal. Been here before. I throw my bedding in and hit the yard. The number that I've dialed nearly everyday for many months is gone from my memory. I try many combinations. I have to know it!
I don't. I call the old number. I feel like an ass. I get the new number. Finally, her voice. I don't know what to say. So much is happening around me: softball, birds, sunlight, people coming up to shake my hand. I haven't been outdoors in six weeks. Nowhere near my longest hole stretch, but it's messing with me.
I try she keeps saying talk to me. Yet, the only words that come are "I love you", "I'm scared they will not let me see you."
It's been less than twenty minutes. I notice cops pointing at me. Something is coming. I know it. I know the look. Sure enough here they come.
"Luers, you're not supposed to be out here, you're going back to the hole."
"But I'm not on LOP (loss of privileges)."
"You just got out of the hole, of course you are."
"I never got a hearing."
Looks of suspicion, hands going for the cuffs. Then something unexpected. She believes me.
"What was that about," I hear over the phone.
"Nothing, just more of the same."
Next day. Monday.
I go down to pick up my property. All my envelopes that I was told weren't there when I was in the hole. They are right on top. Guess they didn't want me writing letters the first few weeks. No biggie it ain't the first time.
Lots of my property is missing. Nothing major. Just the food and coffee I bought the week before the hole trip. That kind of thing happens. It will work itself out.
Again drop the stuff off hit the yard. Everyone is shaking my hand offering me food, coffee, shoes. I mean everyone: my friends, black guys, skinheads, strangers. It feels good to be respected. It feels good to know that my politics, my character goes beyond prison divisions. People respect why I'm in prison. This place is a micro community and like any community it has its "popular" members. Somehow I'm one of them.
Back to the cell. All my stuff doesn't fit. Fuck, shit, fuck! Ok, 30 books gone. Damn not enough. Ok, got to mail some letters home. Still not enough room. More stuff has to go. I've gone from a 6x9 cell with 7 shelves and a drawer to a 5x8 with one shelf and drawer. I've accumulated a lot of stuff in 6 years. Not more than the two duffel bag limit. But the limit still won't fit in a small cell.
I feel slightly ill about this loss.
Day number three. Tuesday. Today.
They called me in for my hearing today. Nevermind speedy investigations. This one took 5 weeks. 5 weeks to get a tape of a phone call and ask a cop one question.
At the hearing I'm informed that they listened to 6 phone calls. 3 hours worth of conversation. They never heard me talk about smoking pot. Never heard me talk about pot.
I'm told that there's no longer any basis for suspicion. Reality and what is written in the report are two different things.
Vindication. My heart leaps. Maybe, for once I'll get ahead. Well, at least not any farther back.
Then a set back. The UA officer lies to the investigator. Says he didn't give me any water before the test. Says maybe 6oz.
But he gave me two 8oz glasses. 16oz in 15 minutes.
Their very rule says one 8oz glass every half hour after the first half hour. He violated the rule but he can't admit it. That alone would get me off. It would also show he was incompetent.
Still, I'm not worried. Even though it's his word against mine I've still got the ace. The hearings officer says there's no reason to believe I was smoking weed.
He gives me the decision. He says with no suspicion I do not find you guilty of disobeying an order (Yes! I've won!). However, you still submitted a diluted UA. So I find you guilty of contraband one.
I'm sanctioned to 14 days LOP, 42 days hole time (time served, a $50 fine, and I lose my contact visits for one year. Even though no one thinks I smoked pot.
I felt sick. It took a lot not to hit a cop today. Any cop, it didn't matter. Even the "cool" ones who think I got fucked over simply say that's the way it goes.
I wanted to say "yea, well I'm an anarchist and this is the way that goes" Pow! But I keep control of my seething anger. I make my way back to my cell. My stupid fucking cell on the bar box where I can't get away from anyone.
Here is when it hits me next time I see her face, next time I see my parents, there will be glass between us again. Just like county jail. No hugs, no kisses, no holding hands for a year.
I've done it before. It doesn't seem like a lot. But when the only thing that has kept me going are those visits, it's everything.
I'm not sure I can be "good" anymore. I'm not sure that I want to be. I'm not sure what that means for my future.
Then again, maybe I'm just bitter, tired of being fucked over by the prison system. Maybe this feeling will pass. Or maybe next time I'm pushed, I'll push back. Maybe I won't have to. Maybe people out there will start pushing back when they are pushed and all this stupid authoritarian bullshit will end.
Jeff "Free" Luers
Write to: Jeff Luers
Oregon State Prison
2605 State Street
Salem, Oregon 97310
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