January 7, 2007 Prison Dispatch
For the last several years I have been writing about the causes and signs of global warming. I scour newspapers and science journals for the latest studies. It's no real surprise that the guy in prison for trying to call attention to global warming is writing about it.
When I first came to prison global warming was a myth. I had to argue the facts in numerous interviews. Some journalists were convinced by my passion and knowledge and others dismissed me as crazy.
Now more and more attention is being given to climate change and its inherent dangers. Major media outlets are reporting on climate change on a regular basis. Just the other day the Register Guard reported that a 41 square mile chunk of Canada's arctic ice shelf had broken off due
to climate change. Reporting that the remaining ice shelves are 90% smaller than when they were discovered in 1906 ('Ice shelf break blamed on climate change' 12-30-06). Even the US government has now acknowledged the plight of polar bears that are threatened by climate change.
However, I was shocked when the Oregon Department of Corrections recently put an article in the prison bulletin about the dangers of global warming! The article went so far as to break down the types of green house gases. It concluded by asking the inmate population to do its part in fighting global warming by recycling paper to avoid creating methane gas (by letting it rot in a land fill).
I am glad that these issues are finally being acknowledged. It is great that steps are finally being taken to halt climate change. My own captors now agree climate change is a threat. The Bush administration is beginning to acknowledge it. Several states, including Oregon, are fighting legal battles in an effort to reduce green house gas emissions. It is great news. Even though it is going to take much more effort it is at least a start.
However, it leaves me asking the question: If I'm right and climate change is this huge threat, why am I still in prison?
I have served more than six years for a property crime that hurt nobody. My codefendant was released more than a year ago. Whatever debt I owe to society is paid in full.
We all know - you and me and the state - that I was punished for my politics. I was made to be an example. Well, my politics turn out to be right. No one is arguing with me about that anymore.
It is time for my punishment to reflect my crime not my politics. It is time for me to go home. Depending on the outcome of my appeal, I will be asking the governor to commute my sentence. I can't legally request that until my appeal process has ended. But when that time comes I will be asking for your help with letters, petitions, demonstrations, and media outreach. I believe that you have the power and influence to bring me home. I hope that you will answer, if I call.
- Jeffrey Free Luers
Jeff Luers #13797671
Oregon State Penitentiary
2605 State Street
Salem, Oregon 97310