CANNABIS CULTURE – Canadian marijuana crusader Marc Emery, currently serving a five year sentence in US prison for his political activism, has been released from solitary confinement after being cleared of false charges by prison officials.
Marc, who has been regularly practicing and performing music with a small group of fellow inmates, received permission in early March from prison authorities, including the prison’s Special Investigative Services (SIS), to take photos of his band.
The photos were taken, developed, and sent to Marc’s wife Jodie by mail, and then published on Cannabis Culture in a blog post.
A week ago, Marc and several of his bandmates were locked in solitary confinement and told they were under investigation by the SIS for possibly using an illegal cellphone to take the photos.
Marc was released yesterday shortly after the SIS spoke with the prison staff member who took the photos.
“They interviewed the staff person,” Marc’s wife Jodie told Cannabis Culture, “and he said, ‘I have the forms, I have at least four different signatures from prison authorities, and I’ve got the negatives of the photographs.”
Marc was then released from solitary and allowed to return to his regular cell.
“I’m so relieved to know Marc has been released from solitary confinement after being forced to stay locked in a small cell for a full week,” Jodie said. “I was worried sick every hour of every day, not knowing anything about his safety or how long he would be there for. The reason he was put in solitary confinement was grossly unfair and unjustified. We know that solitary confinement is considered a form of torture with serious negative health effects, so of course I’m grateful Marc is no longer enduring that, but tens of thousands of other people are being put through the same kind of abuse and torture for months, years, even decades at a time.”
Marc was denied regular visiting hours and banned from using the telephone while in solitary – cutting him completely off from his wife for an extended period – something Jodie said was difficult for her to cope with.
“Putting a prisoner through solitary confinement is extra punishment heaped on top of already-harsh conditions,” she said, “but it doesn’t just affect the inmate. Wives, parents, siblings, and children all suffer greatly from the stress and worry that comes with having their loved ones forced to endure such barbaric conditions.”
Marc has 391 days until he is eligible for early release, and has submitted a transfer application to serve the rest of his sentence in Canada.
“We need to get Marc home and our campaign to have his transfer application continues,” Jodie said. “I encourage people to contact the United States Department of Justice and the Canadian Public Safety Minister to ask them to approve Marc’s request to serve the remainder of his sentence in his home country of Canada.”