Prison, punishment, and getting Marc home

I visited Marc again yesterday, and I get to see him tomorrow morning too. As always, it’s wonderful to be together! It’s just sad that we’re locked into a concrete and steel room, unable to walk around together or kiss beyond the “hello” and “goodbye”. But I’m always grateful for what we do have, which is more than many others.

I was saddened to learn that the prison, which does not allow any inmates access to fresh air or sunlight outdoors, has started to block out the windows of the facility. The cells have windows, but they are very, very narrow, so only a sliver of sunlight makes its way in — and only to some cells. For example, Marc’s cell window faces a brick wall, so he never sees sunlight. Now, for whatever reason (the desire to just punish inmates even more?), the warden has determined that all windows must be coated with a fog, or speckled, layer so the inmates cannot see the trees or skyline or anything outside.

And the crackdowns have gotten worse, perhaps with the change in staff. Prison employees are made to change their location/job in the prison system every few months, partly so they don’t go crazy being in such a hellish place, but also to prevent any kind of relationships or connections developing between staff and prisoners. I suppose they do that to stop prisoners from getting preferential treatment from the guards who are friendlier or not as rude and aggressive. But it’s sad that the new staff in the mail room are now confiscating mail that was previously getting through, such as newspaper clippings (which are supposed to be allowed, one clipping per envelope) and printouts from the Internet, like Facebook and news websites.

One of the inmates in Marc’s unit recently lost three of his children in a house fire that his wife and one other child managed to escape. It was a seriously tragic loss and he has had a hard time coming to terms with it. He’s in prison for a drug offense. Just the other day, he lost his commissary access because he had two pieces of bread and one cookie in his cell! So, because of that “offense”, he cannot purchase food items or hygiene items from the commissary. For bread and a cookie! How cruel can prison be? Oh, much worse, I know. But it’s depressing to think how gleefully the prison staff inflict suffering upon prisoners. Marc himself cannot use commissary for two months simply because I sent money to his cellmate’s commissary account, which is not against the rules. His cellmate is not allowed to use commissary for one month either! Why is the prison so cruel?

In fact, prisons are not supposed to inflict extra punishment on prisoners unless 1) they are causing harm to themselves or others, or 2) they are trying to escape or cause destruction to the facility. When someone commits a crime and is caught, they are sent to prison AS the punishment, not FOR extra punishment. Being locked away from society, friends, loved ones, freedom, and choices IS the punishment — the prison is not supposed to arbitrarily issue extra punishment for made-up violations. But they do, all the time…

I’ve been doing a lot of reading of Bureau of Prisons documents and court cases and other materials, trying to make sure that Marc and others are not being illegally deprived or abused in any way. It’s a complicated thing, learning the rules of a foreign system in a foreign country. Marc should not be in the US federal prison system! That’s why our main goal is to have him transfered home to Canada. If you haven’t yet written a letter to the Public Safety Minister of Canada, or the United States Department of Justice, please do:


The Canadian Minister of Public Safety is Vic Toews (pronounced “Taves”). Please contact Mr. Toews and tell him that you want him to support Marc’s prison transfer back to serve his sentence in Canada. Be polite and respectful – but very firm – when contacting Vic Toews office. The best way is to write and send a letter to Vic Toews, postage free for Canadians. Write your own, or use the Repatriate Marc Emery letter we’ve prepared – however, personal messages are best.

The Hon. Vic Toews
Parliament Hill
Suite 306, House of Commons Justice Building
Ottawa, ON
K1A 0A6

You can also call Vic Toews office at: 204-326-9889 and 613-992-3128
Vic Toews can be reached by email at: [email protected] and [email protected]


Ask that Marc Emery’s transfer request be approved so he can serve his time in his home country of Canada, and save the United States the cost of incarcerating him. Mail may be sent to:

U.S. Department of Justice
Criminal Division, Office of Enforcement Operations
International Prisoner Transfer Program
JCK Building, 12th Floor
Washington, DC

These two ways to help are among many listed at – please spread the website address far and wide so supporters take part in helping to bring Marc home!

Jodie Emery
Jodie Emery

Jodie Emery is a Canadian cannabis activist, politician and business owner. She is the wife of activist Marc Emery, and owner of Cannabis Culture Magazine, Pot TV, Cannabis Culture Lounge and Cannabis Culture Headquarters.