I just talked to Marc and he said these blog posts containing his letters have created quite a change among the staff at D. Ray James.
He said everyone is calling him by name, being nice to him, working to fix the problems he has complained about etc. He said that someone from the BOP is there today and they are pissed like bears about the phone problem. Turns out the problem is with the computer system at the prison and not with the phone company PCS. The BOP inspectors are very upset that it has gone on for 6 days and is still going on.
He said today he got 51 books and loads of magazines from his supporters. Many thanks to all of you who participated in the Christmas book drive. Not only have you made Marc happy you have provided something for the other inmates to take their minds off their terrible situation of being in prison for simply being in the US without the proper paperwork. I still can’t believe that Americans are willing to pay hundreds of millions of dollars for such bullshit! As he said in one of the letters I posted it would be better to let them work and pay taxes and support themselves instead of us being forced by the government to support them. Hell, they are obviously willing to work. That is why they came to the US in the first place. Non-violent people do not belong in prison. And it shouldn’t be a crime to want a better life for your family.
He said to tell Dana Larsen that he got the book on Jailhouse Lawyer and Prison Legal News. He said to tell Catharine Leach that he got her books on Keith Richards. He said the policy about books has changed. I’m not sure what it was before (probably in a letter somewhere) but as of today he is allowed 5 books and three magazines a day. He said when he was called for his mail that it was one huge stack of boxes and envelopes.
He said for me to keep posting the letters he sends me because they are reading and it is having the desired effect.
I want to say a few words about my experience with the staff at D. Ray James thus far. The staff there is actually very nice. One counselor named Mr. Maynard has been an absolute gem to me and to Marc. He has helped with every question, returned all my phone calls and spoke with Marc over the weekend when he was having a very difficult time. He told me he understood the frustration about the phones and said he would be frustrated too…because it could easily be his son or daughter in there and he would want to be able to talk to them and know how they were doing.
On my visit a couple weeks ago my back began to hurt very badly after sitting in a chair that had no arm support for many hours. One of the guards noticed my discomfort (because I repeatedly got up and stretched and massaged my lower back) and he brought me over a better chair to sit in. I am not used to being treated like a human being in a prison setting and was very grateful for his kindness.
From what I have observed of the guards and employees there they all seem like good, salt of the earth type Southern country people (like me) who probably only took that job in order to be able to feed their families (who the hell wants to actually work in a prison right?). The area where the prison is located is severely economically depressed. There is no visible industry anywhere there. I don’t think their not doing the things that Marc has complained of is deliberate (or at least most of it isn’t). I think it probably has a great deal more to do with lack of proper training from GEO.
So, to the staff at D. Ray James, thank you for reading and responding with an effort to make things better for those incarcerated at your facility. A special thanks to Mr. Maynard and to the nameless guard who was kind enough to get me a better chair when he saw that I was in pain.