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green scare | prisons & prisoners

Chilling new prison Dispatch from Jeff Free Luers

"...Would someone please tell me how this is supposed to make me a better person? Can someone please tell me how locking away more than two million people into places like this is going to stop crime? Is there anyone out there that can convince me we are this planet's most evolved creatures?"
September 15, 2006 prison dispatch from Jeff "Free" Luers

The last several weeks have been very intense. Many of you are familiar with my personal struggles at this time having lost my contact visits for the next year. But, that is a small story compared to what the last two weeks have been like at OSP.

The Oregon State Penitentiary is Oregon's only maximum-security prison. It is a home to violence, drugs, and sexual assaults. Typically, OSP is deceptively calm, but underneath is a perpetual storm always capable of becoming a full-blown disaster.

Last Sunday the storm broke loose and so far shows no sign of letting up. It started with the brutal beating of a guard during the evening yard.

What needs to be understood is that many - though not all - the guards here are disrespectful and dehumanizing. They believe they are untouchable and therefore immune to repercussions. This doesn't mean they treat everyone like shit; a handful do, but usually they split somewhere down the middle. You know, while someone might be nice to you they aren't always nice to everyone kind of thing.

This is the underlying tension that constantly exists. It is the nature of any environment where one group has all the power and another none.

Sometimes that scale tips, often violently, and not always without warning. And so last Sunday a guard was beaten into submission, and when the guards ordered everyone on the yard to lie prone no one did. And when the guns were turned on us a chorus of fuck-you was sounded. And when the gun towers ordered everyone to be still no one was. And when the prisoners were suddenly empowered the guards lost all of theirs. Then the gates were locked and all of the guards left the yard. When the ambulance arrived to take their fallen a cheer went up across all of OSP.

That night a modified lockdown was imposed. All blocks would only have one yard. In essence everyone would be on 22 hour a day lockdown.

But that would not be enough to stem the flow of blood. The next night an inmate was stabbed. Rumors circulated that he was a snitch.

The day after that a fight erupted in the chow hall. One a week has been the average for a while now.

Then on Wednesday night I watched a man die. He took his last gurgled breath less than 10 feet from me and then his heart stopped beating. I watched for twenty minutes as medics performed CPR and shocked him.

I felt nothing as I watched this man die from my cell, nothing as they pronounced him dead. Nothing when they put the crime scene tape around his body.

They left him lying in front of my cell for five hours, his body partially covered with his feet and the top of his head sticking out.

I was awoken and questioned by the police at 4am. I went to sleep with his stiff body just outside my bars. Turns out the man was strangled, homicide or suicide is still unknown.

Today I read in the paper the man was a child molester. He admitted to raping and using a foreign object on a girl younger than twelve. He was sentenced to eight years.

The night he died I felt nothing. Today I feel glad that he is dead.

This is prison. I shower next to serial killers and sexual predators. I have alliances with people I'd fight on the streets. My best friend is a murderer and I love him like a brother (my parents love him too for that matter).

I walk with eyes in the back of my head. I seldom have anything to worry about but I never let my guard down. Every time I get a new cellmate I size him up and decide how I'd take him if I had to.

My friends watch my back and I watch theirs. No one deals with trouble alone. We joke about death. We laugh at the violence and suffering in here. It is a part of our daily existence. It has become part of who we are.

I can watch a man get stabbed in the neck and keep eating. I can pretend to not see a man lying helpless in his own blood (along with everyone else on the yard). And I can watch a man die and be completely unmoved.

Would someone please tell me how this is supposed to make me a better person? Can someone please tell me how locking away more than two million people into places like this is going to stop crime? Is there anyone out there that can convince me we are this planet's most evolved creatures?

- Jeff "Free" Luers


Write to: Jeff Luers
#13797671
Oregon State Prison
2605 State Street
Salem, Oregon 97310
USA

For more information: www.freefreenow.org

homepage: homepage: http://www.freefreenow.org
address: address: Free's Defense Fund; PO Box 3; Eugene, OR 97440

I don't know the answers... 21.Sep.2006 15:52

Jamie

I don't know the answers to your questions Jeff. But I support you and care about what happens to you. You should be let free. But i am only one. I don't know how to get you free or to help your. I live just about a mile from the prison and I think about you all the time. I send you love and protection. I think what you did to get there was an act of resistance. Something all people of conscious may have to do to bring this country back from the choas that is surrounding us.

I consider you a political prisoner.

Even though you feel alone at times, there others who care about you. Take care. Don't give up. Stay connected to your soul. It's the only way out.

in solidarity

Hello Jeff 21.Sep.2006 20:57

sara

I have followed your case for quite some time now and i am saddened that you can "feel good" that an obviously wounded soul such as the man who's strange sexual ways are terribly out of step with society was murdered in cold blood. All things are terribly exaggerated in this terrible society and we are not aware of the full extent of his crime and certainly weather or not HIS PUNISHMENT FIT HIS CRIME. And if there is anyone in the world who should be sensitive to that it should be you.

Some really crummy people might thing you should be killed for your actions, I for one believe that your actions and beliefs are true and correct and i hate the system for what it is doing to you.

But please jeff, do not turn into one of them. Have compassion for all, even those who on the surface seem so repulsive to you they are humans and have their weaknesses and failings. People like the murdered man need a better society to live in so that they never develop into monsters or abusers, but being happy that he was brutally murdered is a sad turn of events for you.

Take care
My thoughts are with you.
sara.

a 22.Sep.2006 00:18

a

well, first off, i bet Jeff felt like the murder of child rapists was oksy before he went into prison, as do many other people.

and as for Jeff's writing:
i think prison is just an intensified reflection of our society. i think that the extent to which we survive in this world is the extent to which we are willing to relinquish our compassion and empathy. the extent to which we hold on to that compassion is the extent to which we resist it. perhaps this is an inevitable result of living in a mass society, where we have to avert our eyes and turn a blind eye for our own survival? whatever the reason, it really sucks.

in non-mass societies, homeless people did not exist. people did not have to kill a part of their humanity to survive.

fuck this world.........

Deaths in Prison 22.Sep.2006 19:02

shouldbe

"I have followed your case for quite some time now and i am saddened that you can "feel good" that an obviously wounded soul such as the man who's strange sexual ways are terribly out of step with society was murdered in cold blood."

Investigated at the least. I am tired of reading about people who are considered 'strange' or 'deviant' by society, being tortured and put to death by the elite death culture we are all subjected to by bushco!

got the message? 23.Sep.2006 10:14

Gumby

"I can watch a man get stabbed in the neck and keep eating. I can pretend to not see a man lying helpless in his own blood (along with everyone else on the yard). And I can watch a man die and be completely unmoved.

Would someone please tell me how this is supposed to make me a better person? Can someone please tell me how locking away more than two million people into places like this is going to stop crime? Is there anyone out there that can convince me we are this planet's most evolved creatures? "

To those of you who are judging Jeff for his reaction to death inside the walls... you are missing the point. Does he seem pleased with his reaction? I don't think so...

judge not. be rational. 18.Oct.2006 04:51

relative

judge not...iff yr not ready for judgement.
love is greater than fear...love heals all.
inspiring words of empowerment from within...
moment of hope for the possibility
of outgrowing these outdated shackles
for judgement if it must rain
to rain with gentle warmth
of non-judgement
=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=
what of the deviancy
of the guardswhoinflict
degrading inane
strip searches
upon we the humans who love you
all one medicine bundle
this culture whitch cries
tears of acid rain.
release and protection
us them they we
i
and
i
alone
occupy
this
space
to say
thank you
for the sacrifice
you have made
to illuminate
the horrible hypocrisy
of a society gone mad
on pharmaceuticals
slipped through
maximum security
mail slots
one love
shine on
eternity
smiles
with
the
i
who bravely dares to illuminate the reality
becoming the non-enemy
dream screens
seek truth
seek peace
om
...