This is my last blog from the terminals of the US Bureau of Prisons. My sentence was for five years (1,825 days), and I earned all 235 days of my eligible good conduct credit, so my sentence officially ends at 1,590 days, which is Wednesday, July 9th.
On Thursday, July 10th, US Immigration picks me up and takes me to the private, for-profit GEO Group LaSalle Detention Facility in Jena, Louisiana, where I will be processed for deportation back to Canada.
JULY 11 update by Jodie Emery: Marc is NOT at LaSalle Detention Facility – he has been sent to TENSAS PARISH DETENTION CENTER in Louisiana. His Alien # is 079-067-710 and we don’t know how long he will be held there.
You can look up his Alien # at the Immigrations & Customs Enforcement website “detainee locator” page for information about where he is now: https://locator.ice.gov/odls/homePage.do
To send Marc letters, or books (ordered online; cannot be sent from an individual), please ship to:
Marc Emery #079067710
Tensas Parish Detention Centre
8606 Hwy 65
My understanding is that I’ll be dropped off ultimately at the border in Windsor, Ontario; I’m thinking sometime between August 10 and August 25, but we have no way of knowing for sure. You’d think that would be a straightforward process, taking a few days at most, but LaSalle is a for-profit GEO Group detention center, and thus, they are making money for every day I am there.
And because the Canadian federal government is involved, these bureaucrats have a tendency to be slower than they ought to be. So I may need your help in providing motivation for them to repatriate me back to Canada on a more reasonable and timely schedule.
When former Canadian Conrad Black got out of Coleman federal Prison in Florida last year, he was driven straight to Miami, and able to go immediately to Toronto on a flight with his wife Barbra Amiel. That was extraordinarily, not the least of which is because Conrad Black is not even a Canadian citizen anymore, and it has never happened to any other Canadian in a US prison. No doubt his friendship with former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and others got him an instant express immigration approval back to Canada, but it shows a clear unfairness that a man who renounced his Canadian citizenship so he could be a Lord in the British House of Commons gets treatment far beyond what any actual Canadian citizen (like myself) currently receives from the Canadian government.
I get the no-connections-in-high-places, long, drawn-out, delayed route to an unceremonious drop-off – in Windsor, Ontario, at that, not even to my home in Vancouver. No cushy flight for me back to the airport of my choice alongside my wife, like Conrad! My point being, if they could get non-Canadian Conrad’s paperwork ready in advance to get to Toronto immediately upon his US federal prison release, they could have mine ready too. Last I checked, I am still a Canadian citizen.
[July 11 update: The following information is not completely accurate because Marc is not at LaSalle; he is at Tensas Parish Detention Facility. Stay tuned for updates as they come in.]
At any rate, once I arrive at LaSalle I will be given an “alien number”, and Jodie will update this blog to indicate what my “A” number is. When you see my “A” number in this blog, I’ve been told that you can actually send me messages over the phone by calling this number: 318-992-7800. The receptionist, Marc Wright, will deliver written messages to me three times a day. I have unlimited phone usage there, but no email like I’ve had with the federal Bureau of Prisons’ Corrlinks program. I buy phone cards and can call out without limits on phone time. It’s not quite a prison, and I will be done my official US prison sentence, but I can’t leave until they take me, so it’s purgatory of a sorts.
When I get my “A” number, I am also assigned my deportation officer. I will fill out my temporary passport information, have my photo taken. I’ll fill out my forms, and my deportation officer fills in his part, and forwards it to the Canadian Consul in Dallas, Texas, a fellow by the name of David Martinez. Once I am at LaSalle, Jodie will post that phone number here.
All of the communication between LaSalle and the Canadian Consul in Dallas (who liaisons to his boss in Ottawa) is done electronically, so ought to be done quickly – that is, within days. But I am certain that perfidious actors in Ottawa could choose to be deliberately slow, lazy or obstructive, simply because it’s me, and the Harper government is hardly eager to have me back in Canada. That is where my many supporters can influence events, should this procedure get unduly tardy; I may need all of you to call one of those three locations, or all three locations, for several hours a day, urging an end to any questionable delays if they should happen. But we will see. Just be ready to help if you are so inclined!
Once the government paperwork is completed, and my temporary passport is done, the INS people at LaSalle merely need to book my flight, then take me to Alexandria, Louisiana and fly to me to Detroit, Michigan and escort me over the border point into Windsor, Ontario. However, many US-imprisoned Canadians have waited weeks for their flights to be booked, because the prisons make more money the longer we are there. But then again, let us be optimistic and hope that a big campaign to urge my speedy return will prove to be unnecessary.
At this facility, we don’t get outside much, but I can buy items from the commissary daily. I can’t take anything with me from Yazoo to LaSalle, but I will get a brief subscription to the NY Times while I am there, which I hope is four to six weeks at the most. My mailing address for letters will be posted in this space once I am there after July 10th. I’ll need money immediately, and that can only be done with US credit cards (based on my previous experience in a private prison).
If you want to send me anything to help me get comfortable upon arrival and during my hopefully-short stay, you can use your credit card to send me $20 or $30 to help pay for my phone calls – I’ll call you to thank you! – and buy food and clothes. Refer to my name and “A” number (when it gets posted once Jodie knows), and call 1-866-345-1884. I believe only US credit cards will work, but I hope Canadian credit cards will be okay too, because that’s all Jodie has!
When I am finally to be placed on a plane in Alexandria, Louisiana, and flown to Detroit, I will be met by two US Marshalls, and then driven through the tunnel to the Windsor, Ontario Canadian Customs & Immigration office. I hope I will have enough advance notice to call Jodie and have her fly stand-by to Toronto from Vancouver, then get to Windsor to be there waiting for me. And if you live in the Windsor area, I hope to see you there also! (Follow Jodie on Twitter.com/JodieEmery for regular updates; that’s where she posts most often online.)
We will have an impromptu gathering somewhere Windsor after my arrival, and within twelve hours I will take the train or some transport to Toronto, where we will have another party at Vapor Central, and then I will give a talk the following evening there, too. Other venues for meeting people will surely be planned and announced, but everything will be done short-notice, so stay tuned for news alerts!
I will be seeing my siblings in London, Ontario and Newmarket, Ontario, buying some clothes and a pair of glasses, and doing interviews with media. After spending five days out there, I will return with Jodie to Vancouver, have a few public events and private parties, get settled in at work in our Cannabis Culture store, and marvel at all the changes in Vancouver – including hundreds of new buildings, 35 dispensaries, years of developments at Marc & Jodie Emery’s Cannabis Culture store, and more.
I also haven’t had a cell phone since a judge barred me from having one as part of my bizarre bail conditions in August 2005, so for the past nine years I have not owned a phone, and never had a smartphone. I have never texted in my life! It’s all going to require some adjustment; I don’t even have a currently valid email address anymore, and this Corrlinks account I use now will expire when my sentence ends on July 9th. Exciting changes ahead!
I want to close this final prison blog with a sincere Thank You to our supporters, who helped in so many ways during these long years of my incarceration. Jodie and I appreciate everything you’ve done for both us and the movement at large in my absence. I can’t wait to get home to thank you all in person in the weeks and months ahead, and resume the unfinished battle to finish off marijuana prohibition with renewed vigor. I hope you’ll be there with me!