Thomas Silverstein – Official Website

Solitary Survivor

March 21 News from Tom


To My Friends, Family and Supporters,

As some of u know, I had a forced hiatus when my dear pal and webmaster fell ill! Thankfully he’s alive and kickin’, but sadly he hasn’t recovered. L On the contrary, one ailment brings on another! So I lost interest in our site without him since we started it together and just wanted us to focus on his health.

Thankfully our good friend filled in for us and helped with needed adjustments, but it just existed without our active participation.

However, with my pal’s blessing, I decided to pick up where we left off, with the much-needed help and support of a good friend willing and able to take the helm. He has great ideas and is ready to keep it going and make it as user-friendly as possible.

Many of u may be happy to know, after years of u-all asking me to write a book, that I finally started telling my own story, in my own words. Aside from u-all encouraging me to do it, I’m sick of others telling it feloniously and profiting at my expense.

Which is why we refer to our site as the “Official Website.” I’m sick of others using my name and misery on all the bogus sites out there.

The only two I honor is Renee’s and Pete Earley’s websites.

Unfortunately, people who search my name come across a couple of unauthorized sites first and what info they provide was pilfered from Pete’s renowned book The Hot House. None of it is original and some of the so-called “facts” are inaccurate. I’d like folks seeking info to get it from me, not from parasites who don’t know me and only post what they got third- and fourth-hand.

If there’s any computer whiz out there who knows how to put my site first, I’d truly appreciate letting us know at your earliest convenience.

If it can’t be done, please help us let folks know about the only authentic sites that we acknowledge.

Meanwhile, please take special care and thank u for your love and support.

Your pal, Tommy

15 thoughts on “March 21 News from Tom

  1. Havent Donald Trump yet personally intervened and changed your conditions ?

    Im surprised.

    If he is half as christian as he publically claims to be..
    “The locusts from the abyss”.

    Have you got a pc or do you get some internet news into your cell ?
    Can you read non MSM ?

    Apollyon 😉

    • Hi, Runeking Thor/Apollyon,
      Thanks 4 contacting Donald Trump, but he hasn’t personally intervened & changed my condition yet.
      No, I don’t have a PC nor receive internet news. Yes, I can read non MSM, if that means “mainstream media?” I’m not hip 2 the PC lingo. 😉
      Thanks 4 writing & caring. It’s mucho appreciated.
      [From the Webmaster: the delay in replying was due to a postal strike in Canada. Don’t blame Tom.]

  2. It’s the 4th of September and I just read your reply.

    Point 1) Living a lie.

    I haven’t kept my prior experiences from my children. I sent each of them copies of my memoir just in case I was to die in an accident or whatever. They didn’t want to think of me in that way so have really not commented on it. Maybe when I die they will open it up.

    On the cover there is a photo of me in Preston with the haunting image of Preston Castle in the background. Next to it is this quote.

    To my children:

    “When old and gray and full of sleep,

    And nodding by the fire, take down this book.”

    William Butler Yeats

    Point 2) My writings on SW were reflective of my experiences in the hole.
    Like you I could handle the isolation but not the noise.

    Of course I only did two week stents not months or years so I don’t know how I would have done if things were different.

    Point 3) My sins were not as sever as yours.

    Although I never killed anyone or even took advantage of them I know that at some point I would have either had to or I would have been killed.

    I was reading “Rise and Kill First” by Ronen Bergman. It’s about Israel’s hit squads that are based on the principle that when your threatened with death you need to handle it first. If we believe that a nation can handle things where do you draw the line? Clearly you were faced with theis choice. I see in you myself as I wrote years ago “Look for me in the mirror for I am what you could of been and you are what I could of been.

    Got to go back to work now I will write more later.

    • I would be willing to send my memoir to Renee, BJ, the webmaster or Pete Early if they could get it to you. I wrote on SW using my old CYA number so the man knows who I am. I have sealed my record and have since held security clearances as high as special compartmental Top Secret years ago. I have since worked my own business for 31 years another reason I am reluctant to release my full name.

      Another concern is that you have a lot of people still ready to strike at you and your supporters.
      As you wrote race relations are seen differently inside those walls and I had to deal with the politics during a very tense time and so many might take exception to how I dealt with it. I didn’t stay passive under the intense hatred directed towards me and my race.

      I walked alone as few would stand with me. I never have joined a gang inside or out but I necessarily had to hang with some of the heavy hitters in the Valley because they ran the streets.

      My choice, I was asked to join them but I hated being limited to any one area on the streets.

      I am at heart a passive person but I held my head high when I walked the halls and it brought me a lot of unwanted attention.

      I’ve fought as a heavy weight later on but I was at only 185 lbs a bit light in the ass but I still held my own. I did it primarily for weight control and self protection. I can still punch like a heavy weight but at 67 years old next month I’m not sure I can take those punches anymore since i take blood thinners so my brain would likely bleed me out.

      Years ago BJ sent you that photo of me in Preston but it was rejected as gang related although as I said above I have never joined any gang, hell there weren’t enough righteous dudes to form one in the CYA which was by designs. They kept the 1% willing to fight spread out to keep the peace. Never mind the resulting lopsided power structure that has since resulted in so much abuse of the weakest of our race and the murder or maiming of those that stood their ground.

      I hope your memoir deals with the truth.

      I wrote about my experience in Sylmar Juvenile Hall 50 years ago.

      Sylmar Juvenile Hall 1968

      “My life, my real life, was in danger, and not from anything other people might do but from the hatred I carried in my own heart.”

      Page 98: Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin

      This trip to Sylmar was much more stressful than my first. It was now mid-1968, Martin Luther King had just been assassinated on April 4th and Blacks were increasingly turning to violence as a means to gain their civil rights. I arrived around the same time that James Earl Ray was arrested in a London airport for MLK’s murder (June 8, 1968). The inflammatory rhetoric of the Black Muslims, and the Black Panther Party, which had only recently been founded in Oakland, CA on October 15, 1966, amongst others was toxic for race relations. Whites recoiled as these radical groups focused their verbal attacks on the whole social structure of white society. Young, impoverished, black teenagers were especially susceptible to this incitement and eager to join in the resistance. Central Juvenile Hall had rapidly filled its beds with these militant young men and to ease the strain at Central many of them were now being shipped to Sylmar. The militant’s wrath was increasingly being directed at their white peers locked up with them at Sylmar. I did my best to ignore the daily taunting, and provocations by these hostiles in order to avoid being profiled as a violent youth by the system. However one day as we filed outside the school a black inmate about my size was showing off an inflammatory drawing to a group of his homeboys. As we walked outside he said, “Hey check this out.” I just happened to be following the group so I could see the caricature that he had drawn very clearly. He had drawn himself with a huge Afro with his right fist above his head in a black power salute while standing over two white boys. One white boy was drawn with his face down naked and bleeding from his rectum. The other white boy was knelt down before him with his hair being pulled up on in order to force the boy to perform fellatio on his exaggeratedly large penis. He had a caption on the caricature that read, “That’s right, suck it bitch your next.” The group all chuckled loudly holding on to their privates with one hand, and giving each other high fives with the other.
      By this time in my life I had witnessed the emotional toll male rape had taken on its victims, a condition identified as “rape trauma syndrome”, which is defined as a state of extreme psychological stress. In this sense the image was accurate, in that it depicted the most prevalent form of prison rape, namely black on white rape. At the time that I began writing this memoir, I was unaware that the racial aspect of this ugly phenomenon was already well known. One of the latest reports on this subject at this time was the 2001 Human Rights Watch’s Report titled “No Escape” Male Rape in U.S. Prisons and the section entitled, “Race and Ethnicity” opens with this passage “Past studies have documented the prevalence of black on white sexual aggression in prison. These findings are further confirmed by Human Rights Watch’s own research.”
      Well prison rape is often depicted in a humorous manner in our culture let me assure you there is nothing funny about it. Nor can it ever be justified as revenge for the existence of social injustice in our society as some perpetrators have suggested in these reports.
      My response to the caricature was on the same level as an African American viewing the depiction of the lynching of blacks (a comparison that has been used by several researchers on prison rape), I was incensed. The group’s blusterous, and audacious reaction to the caricature only incited me further to find a way to effectively protest it. I got my chance when the artist tossed his vile drawing to the ground. When I passed the drawing I dug my heel into it, and twisted my foot ripping a huge hole in the caricature’s black face. The artist had not seen what I had done, but his friends had, and one of them yelled,” Hey this fucking pig stomped on your artwork homes!” The artist stopped, turned, and pushed me saying, “Say what? Is that right honky? I am going fuck your punk ass up.” I didn’t just want to get down (fight) with this prick, no I wanted to humiliate him in front of all his homeboys. I wanted each one of his friends to feel the same outrage that I had felt looking at the drawing, so without forethought, I removed my belt, and regrettably said, “I am going to beat your black ass as if I owned you boy!” Seeing my belt he quickly backed away, forcing me to chase him through the crowd, as I whipped him across his back. With each blow he howled like a little bitch. And by the time the counselors grabbed me, I felt I had accomplished my goal of humiliation. Of course this didn’t help ease racial tensions, and I am sure some weaker white inmate paid the price for my actions at some point down the road, for this is how the cycle always went down. Blacks sought retribution for the past and present injustices suffered by their race, by committing injustices of their own on whites. This in turn created even more hatred of blacks, where there had not necessarily been any before. No group won more than a temporary victory over the other, and all suffered under longer, more restrictive sentences, in an atmosphere of wanton violence.
      As punishment for my actions I was taken to solitary for a week or two. When I returned to the unit I could feel the racial tension in the air. Outnumbered, with not even one other white inmate with enough backbone to back me up, I armed myself with a butter knife stolen from the chow hall. Back in my cell I set out to sharpen a cutting edge on the knife by scrapping it across the concrete floor of my cell. During this long process I found it necessary to conceal my weapon in the mortar between two cinderblocks of my cell wall.

      • As to your question

        “That’s cool u’ve written several times on my site. Was it B4 or after Richard took over?

        I’ve written on both sites maybe far too much.

        I guess it began because I thought of my two brother’s experiences in the hole. They did a lot more time in the hole then I ever did. Then I thought I understood how you fell into the situation and attempted to answer your question about your victims backgrounds.

        It helped that Cadillac’s friend blogged about his buddy in which he painted a portrait of someone that instilled fear in men.

        I don’t know how you could have not attempt to erase his threat. As for the CO I’ve saw the result of one CO harassment of a inmate until he finally reacted to it and was never seen by me anyway again.

        The message was clear I could be dealt with and no one would care. (In fact I was glad he was gone for he was a threat to me and a jail house rapist of another teenager in the cell next to mine. I didn’t shed a tear to have him gone.)

        I would have had to deal with hm had he stayed there. That’s how one can end up in your position.

      • You pointed out some legal issues you faced that I hadn’t considered.

        I also wrote an article on JULY 10, 2010 on SW titled “The Prisoners Catch 22”.

        Here are some background on other legal barriers facing prisoners seeking to mount an effective defense that I covered in the article and added to in comments under it.

        In 1970 the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act set the legal foundation for the government’s “War on Drugs”, first declared by President Richard Nixon, but which had actually begun under President LBJ with the passing of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Street Act of 1968.

        The Edward Byrne memorial Justice Assistant Grant program which grew out of the Omnibus Act has since become the cornerstone of a massive federal assistance program to wage this war. The resulting flood of cash from these grants has inadvertently created huge incentives for those receiving the funds to increase arrests, prosecutions, and incarceration.

        Politicians were eager to build their tough on crime image and the media sought higher ratings as they both focused their attention on inner city crime where an abundance of crimes of opportunity were highly visible. The result was greater resources were allocated to fight inner city crime in the form of policemen, squad cars, communication equipment, and crime labs than rural areas. These resources resulted is a greater number of arrests and convictions of minorities.

        Once arrested efforts were made to hold onto suspects. So in 1984 Congress replaced the Bail Reform Act of 1966, which had based release on bail solely upon the risk of flight, with new bail law which allowed for pre-trial detention of individuals based upon their danger to the community; persons charged with a crime of violence, an offense for which the maximum sentence is life imprisonment or death, certain drug offenses for which the maximum offense is greater than 10 years, repeat felony offenders, or those suspected of witness tampering could be held without bail after a special hearing to determine if the defendant fell into one or more of these categories. Those that did were at an obvious disadvantage in mounting an effective defense.

        That same year congress passed The Sentencing Reform Act, which under President Reagan established the United States Sentencing Commission which in turn established guidelines enacted in 1987 to alleviate sentencing disparities. These guidelines provided for determinate sentencing at the time that the sentence was imposed, as opposed to indeterminate sentencing, which would later be determined by a parole commission after the prisoner had already started serving his or her sentence. As part of the guidelines, Federal parole was abolished.

        The Sentencing Reform Act was followed by the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, which set mandatory minimum sentences for drugs, including marijuana. Under this act the same mandated minimum sentence of 5 years without parole was established for the possession of 5 grams of crack cocaine as for 500 grams of powder cocaine. Crack cocaine was primarily consumed by Blacks and powder cocaine by Whites.
        (This 100:1 disparity was later reduced to 18:1 by the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010.)
        The first President George Bush maintained President Reagan’s hard line, when he created the First National Drug Control Strategy to establish policies, priorities, and objectives to eradicate illicit drugs issued by the Office of National Drug Control in 1989.

        With a National War on Drugs Strategy firmly in place an evolution of changes resulted in weakening the prisoner’s chance of mounting an affective defense.
        An inadequate defense leaves a defendant at the mercy of what the U.S. Supreme Court has called the “machinery” of law enforcement. In acknowledgment of this vulnerability the 1963 Supreme Court’s ruling on Gideon v. Wainwright established the constitutional right of criminal defendants to an attorney, even if they had no money to pay for one. When Gideon v. Wainwright was decided, fewer than half of all defendants were poor currently over 80 percent are. In the 1969, there were less than 200,000 people in prisons. Today, we have 2.3 million people in jails and prisons so our need for lawyers is much greater. But this increased need is not being met so we find that over 90% of all cases in this country are being resolved by a plea deal.

        Twenty years after Gideon, Strickland v. Washington created minimal standards for a lawyer’s conduct; we’ve discovered over time that they had been set too low. Even the U.S. Department of Justice has found that the right-to-counsel services in America “exist in a state of crisis and are unworthy of a legal system that stands as an example to the world.”

        We all know the result; the gates of the abyss opened wider and the prison population grew ever faster with many suffering the duel consequences of longer sentencing and harsher prison conditions.

        Unable to pay for proper legal representation the jail house lawyers were their only hope of salvation. Appeals written by such inmates increased along with the incarcerated population with many an inmate filing frivolous shot in the dark appeals.
        So in 1996 the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act was passed. This act required that prisoners who wish to appeal their convictions under state courts must petition the federal courts within one year. In addition, inmates must make all their claims for relief at one time. Impoverished, and under-educated, rank-and-file prisoners operating from behind bars, were henceforth required to file their appeals quickly and correctly.

        All of these conditions have deepened the distrust of the American justice system, and this attitude is made worst by the racial imbalance in prisons and with each humiliation and abuse that prisoners endure.

  3. In the audio interview conducted by Pete Earley, you explained your motive for murdering officer Clutts:

    At 16:40 into the interview you told Earley:

    “I think he was just selling me wolf tickets. But he didn’t know I was taking him serious.

    When somebody has gone that far especially when you’re telling him you don’t want no trouble why don’t you get off my case.


    And again on Line 58 of your declaration you wrote “After I killed Smith, I lived in constant fear of reprisals. It was in this frame of mind, and believing I was in a life-threatening situation, that on October 22, 1983, I killed Officer Clutts.”

    In his new book “Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel’s Targeted Assassinations” Ronen Bergman, leads with a fact:

    “Since World War II, Israel has assassinated more people than any other country in the Western world.” (For the record Bergman is Israeli Jew.)

    Not all these acts were kill or be killed as Bergman illustrates when he claims that four months after statehood and a day after the UN mediator Folke Bernadotte submitted his plan obliging the Jewish state to take back Arab refugees Bernadotte was assassinated.

    The title of Bergman’s book is derived from the Talmud, a collection of Jewish law and tradition, wherein a line reads,

    “If someone comes to kill you, rise up and kill him first.”

    The New York Times quoted Bergman’s book as stating “with Israel’s security apparatus getting more technologically savvy and ruthlessly efficient instead of taking months or years to plan a single killing, the Mossad and its domestic counterpart, Shin Bet, are now capable of planning four or five “interceptions” a day. “You get used to killing. Human life becomes something plain, easy to dispose of. You spend a quarter of an hour, 20 minutes, on who to kill.” This quote is from Ami Ayalon, who as the head of Shin Bet in the late ’90s helped shepherd the organization into the digital age.”

    It’s good thing that the morality of such state sponsored assassinations are being questioned in Bergman’s book.

    It’s also food for thought as to how your motivations compare to those that have, and will commit future assassinations such as those described in Bergman’s book.

    • To your question “do u think I’m any less of a father 4 not sugar coating my life story? ”

      I would never judge you in that manner. It’s up to you as to how much you dare share.

      I wrote everything down even what sent me up and the things I didn’t get caught at. I could have made it look like I was a victim but I wasn’t. I owed up to my life errors one and all. But then again I never did anything that would carry forward to today like killing someone.

      I never really had a problem with staff except during my first trip to the CYA in 1964.

      They were real assholes abusing us 12 year olds. Marching us up and down a hill at two or three in the morning under the lights of their truck. Or attempting to shove a pair of shit stained underwear into my mouth as One put me in a headlock and the other shoving them into my face. I was naked at the time. They enjoyed making us stand naked until some fainted.

      I did have a guard in Baton Rouge attempt to make me react to his aggression after I beat down another inmate in a four man cell.

      He had just provoked another inmate into attacking him and that guy disappeared. That happened in the south in those days.

      I was released before he could further mess with me.

      • Here are two excerpts from my memoir that I refer to incidents above.

        The first took place during my first stent in the CYA and the last took place in Baton Rouge Parrish jail in the last few days of incarceration.

        I hope these find a way to you.

        1964-65 Fricot Ranch School

        “Incarceration is a cruel gauntlet with one side lined with rogue guards and the other with predatory inmates.

        These natural adversaries, both consciously and unconsciously, collude in order to mete out societies punishment.

        Those that have run this cruel gauntlet understand and appreciate what it took to survive it.”

        The process of my commitment, evaluation, and placement, had taken around seven months from the time of my arrest, until the day I arrived at Fricot Ranch School’s Eagle Lodge eight days before my 13th birthday.

        Fricot was located not far from San Andreas, and Angels Camp in Northern California’s Calaveras County, also known as the “Mother Load Territory” during the historic gold rush era of the 1800’s. It is also the home of the celebrated Mark Twain inspired “Jumping Frog Race” which is held yearly.

        “Eagle Lodge” was given its name for two reasons; first its location on the crest of a hill was the highest point on the institution’s grounds, and we all know that eagles make their nests at great heights in order to spot their prey below. Secondly, as a counselor later told me, Eagle Lodge housed the oldest wards at Fricot which related to the fact that eagles are the largest birds of prey. A little play on words there, possibly revealing his perceptions of those he had under his care, but incredibly it was true, we were the oldest wards there. I don’t remember physically ever crossing paths with any of the younger wards being held in the lodges below us during my stay, but we could view them from afar. Their small size made me wonder what these children could have possibly done to justify the court’s decision to send them to the CYA system, a system which was designed for only the most unruly kids held in the states custody.

        When you entered the wire reinforced glass double doors in front of Eagle Lodge, you were entering into the dayroom. The dayroom had a series of end tables, and vinyl upholstered sofas, lining both of the side walls. In addition to the sofas, there were about twenty matching vinyl chairs that were placed in front of the TV in four uneven rows. There were also several folding tables to play cards, and a couple of ping pong tables in the middle of the room for recreation. At the end of the room there were two swinging doors that led to the bathroom.

        In the center of the bathroom were several, six foot round, water fountain type sinks. You needed to step on the circular foot levers of the sinks to activate the stream of water required to wash your hands and face, or to rinse your mouth out after brushing your teeth.

        Two eight foot long trough type urinals, about two feet deep, and two feet wide, were mounted on the wall to the right. Just past the urinals, on the same wall, were ten toilets which had no doors only a low divider, so that whenever someone used the toilet everyone else could observe them. On the opposite side of the room there was a large communal shower stall that had ten or so shower heads which also had no separations between them. Just outside the showers were approximately five wooded benches that we all sat on to await our turn in the shower, or to dress, and undress. Lining the wall adjacent to the benches were our lockers which were used to store our uniform until the morning. We wore ankle high work boots, blue jeans, and tee shirts. A light zippered blue linen jacket was used on cooler days. In the rear of the bathroom was the fresh laundry closet, where, behind it’s half opened split level door, the counselors would stand to hand out fresh linens. We received clean towels, tee shirts, underwear, and socks on a daily basis, while our pants and bedding was swapped on a weekly basis.

        The counselor’s office sat in the center of the lodge, three or four feet above the dorm, which was on the second floor. From this elevated position the counselors could view the three main areas of the lodge, which consisted of the bathroom, our sleeping quarters, and the dayroom, with little, or no obstructions.

        The second floor dorm consisted of two rows of beds lining the walls of the room leaving a pathway down the middle of the rows of beds to enter, and leave the individual beds. Each bed was separated by a table that was level with the bed, and contained three draws for personal items. On the far side of the building from the office, elevated to the same level as the office, were 12 single rooms without doors, each room had a bed, desk, and a chair. There was a metal tube railing that lined the walkway leading to the individual rooms, and below this railing laid the dorm for an additional 38 beds.

        These single rooms were given to people for good behavior, which included their school performance. I would occupy the room that sat directly across from the front of the office for all but one week of my stay. Outside of these twelve occupants of single rooms, the rest of the population slept in the dorm below, where, in the darkness of night, the sodomizing of the weak continued undetected for the most part.

        To shower, use the toilet, or brush our teeth we had to go down one flight of stairs located at the rear of the dorm. On the front end of the dorm there were additional stairs that lead down into the dayroom.
        Fricot’s program:

        6:05 AM wake up and get ready for breakfast.
        6:35 AM March downhill to the dining room.
        7:05 AM March back uphill to clean up the common areas.
        8:25 AM March over to attend classes in school.
        11:30 AM March to dining room for lunch.
        12:30 AM March to Eagle Lodge to brush teeth and a break.
        1:05 PM March over to attend classes in school.
        4:15 PM March back to Eagle Lodge.
        5:05 PM March over to the dining hall for dinner.
        5:35 PM March back to Eagle Lodge.
        6:15 PM Go on a supervised hike, play games, or do crafts.
        8:00 PM Arrive back at Eagle Lodge to shower and get ready for bed.
        9:00 PM Free dayroom time.
        9:30 PM Lights are turned off.
        10:30 PM After this time no one was allowed out of bed unless going to the bathroom.
        Three overnight security passes by the counselor on duty were to be conducted.

        During the time I was to spend at Fricot, another African American male therapist (whose name I have long forgotten) would take over where Mr. Butler had left off as my mentor. I was one of only three wards that this therapist was attempting to do a case study on. There was “Poindexter” the blond bespectacled movie critic that reminded me of the cartoon character by the same name on the “Felix the Cat” show. Then there was “Red”, a slim freckled faced red head. We all had well above average IQ’s. The other two were classified as geniuses (145-159) with Red’s IQ’s coming in slightly lower than Poindexter’s. I had the lowest IQ scoring at 138, but still well above the norm for the population committed to the CYA.

        The therapist preformed his monthly sessions in a sparsely furnished, dimly lit office just to the right of the entrance to Eagle Lodge. I think his office must have been a closet at one time because of its small size along with the fact it had no windows. The therapist would often tell us all to relax and focus our eyes on a single point, and then he would say things like “You’re a toddler and your mother is talking to you. What is she saying, and how do you feel about it?” these sessions always required us to envision different things. Once he asked us to allow our spirit to leave our bodies and be transported to our idea of paradise and report on what we saw. The other two came up with all kinds of wild ideas, which just made me laugh, for I could never envision anything. I would have loved to have been able to escape into my imagination, even for a moment but my wings were clipped, and my spirit remained incarcerated throughout these sessions.

        As I had in Juvenile Hall, I did very well here academically, learning algebra on my own, and scoring at the 2nd year of college on the SAT’s before leaving.

        Scary stories told by the counselors, along with the isolated location of Fricot prevented young children such as us from ever attempting to escape. Thus no locks were ever used on the doors to our lodge yet no one ever attempted to escape at least that I’m aware of.

        As a whole my experience at Fricot was not intolerable which may bother some of you that believe in harsh punishment.

        Oh we were required to work odd jobs at times especially during the summer school break. I was made a trashman where I was required to run behind the garbage truck and dump the large cans of trash located outside the homes of the counselors. These cans were almost as tall as I was and some seemed to weigh as much as well. It was a real struggle for me to lift these cans up high enough to dump them into the back of the truck then run to the next stop.

        Another job was cutting the grass. I had to cut the hilly park size area of grass surrounding the school using only a push mower. It was also a very difficult task in the summer heat.

        The place also had its moments of abuse of power such as the night we were all told that we hadn’t stripped down fast enough for our shower and were then told we needed to retrieve our cloths from the laundry pile in which they had just been thrown. This was really gross because we needed to put on sweaty underwear soiled by someone else. A guy close to me ended up with a pair of drawers that contained a very large fecal stain in them. He complained loudly to all those around him waving them in the air so that we all could all see his unlucky draw. I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at his predicament. Two crew cut blond counselors glared down at us from the observation room where they were timing our movements with a stopwatch. When they heard me laughing they became incensed. The one with the stopwatch in his hand counting down the seconds to go, stopped his countdown in order to yell at me,
        “So you think this is funny huh? Do you Alan?”
        “No it’s just that his underwear has shit on them.”
        “Well they are yours now, so put them on.”
        Now that you’ve disobeyed my order you’ll just have to put them on over your head instead!”
        “No way man!”
        Both counselors had come down the stairs by now and stood behind the split door of the linen closet. From just inside the doorway they demanded that I join them and bring the underwear along with me. I held the pungent smelling underwear away from me with two fingers and went cautiously into the room naked as the day I was born. One of them slammed the door behind me and with one on either side of me they continued barking their orders “Dame it put them on now!”
        “Do it now!” they demanded
        “There is no fucking way I’m going to do that.”
        “Then now you are going to have to put them in your mouth!”
        “No fucking way man!”
        At this point they rushed me and wrestled me to the floor trying to insert the underwear in my mouth while holding me in a tight head lock. I struggled to free myself while choking from the pressure being applied to my wind pipe then suddenly somehow I was able to break free. Once on my feet I burst out of the room still naked and into the adjoining dayroom. I headed for the front doors to exit the building in tears and quite frightened as to what to do thereafter. As I reached for the door handle it opened in front of me. It was my therapist and mentor, “Hold on Alan, what’s wrong now?” I tried to compose myself and to catch my breath as I explained what had taken place. He quietly listened to my side of the story then said “Don’t worry I’ll take it from here you did the right thing.” From a distance I could hear him listening to the counselor’s side of the story. Then when they finished debating their actions my mentor returned giving me some clean cloths and his assurance that all would be fine now. He told me that the two counselors had given their assurances that the matter would go no further. However I could tell the two were still very pissed off and so I thought to myself that it wouldn’t be long until they would pick up where they had left off.

        As if to prove my point a few days later the same two counselors woke us all up around 1:00 AM then ordered us to all get dressed as rapidly as possible. Once we were all dressed we were ordered outside and made to line up in formation in the pitch blackness of a country night. There was no moon that evening which left only the stars to illuminate the road behind the lodge so one of the two counselors had to use a handheld flashlight to observe us lining up and to also lead us down the road. As we marched into the night he called out a rapid paced cadence in military fashion. Then once we were at the base of a nearby hill about a mile away we were ordered to halt. We stood there at attention in silence, while maintaining our formation and wondering just what kind of bullshit these two pricks were going to have us do next. We didn’t have to wait long until the other counselor appeared in his four wheel drive pickup truck then set about maneuvering it in such a way as to illuminate the entire hill using his high beams. Once he was satisfied with the angle we were given the order to march up the hill. Then back down the hill, over and over again without pause. The hill was about two football fields in length with a steady steep incline which necessitated that we lean forward in order to maintain our balance. Up and down the hill we marched to their rapid cadence until the “counselors” grew tired of the drill which was well over an hour later. Sweaty and tired to the bone we all marched back to our lodge moaning from the pain in our leg muscles. Once outside the lodge we were given the order to enter the shower area, strip down to our underwear, store our cloths and return to our bunks. As I laid down I could see from my room’s elevated position that many of the others in the dorm room below had decided to sleep on top of their blanket having become too fatigued to bother opening it up, some of these even had their feet still dangling off the bed as I fell to sleep exhausted.

        On another occasion these same two counselors made us stand nude with our arms out at our sides until most if not all of us could no longer hold up our arms. Still we were not released at this point but made to remain standing at attention for several more hours until the weaker guys started to wobble and faint. Only after several had fallen were we finally allowed to go to our bunks for what remained of the night.
        On yet another occasion we were made to participate in a cross country run in the mid-day summer sun. The run ended only when someone passed out from heat exhaustion.

        Shortly after the underwear incident the two counselors sanctioned a boxing match between me and arguably the strongest black kid in the lodge. The black kids called him Buckwheat because of his hairstyle. This kid could literally smash a single walnut into dust by squeezing it in the palm of his hand. To perform the same task I needed to use two walnuts together in order to just crack one. The area was full of nut trees so I personally witnessed this kid’s ability to crack them on several occasions.

        I didn’t like the idea of being used for entertainment purposes by these two counselors that I now despised so much. So I only reluctantly and casually entered the makeshift ring set up in the center of the dayroom wearing the supplied boxing gloves. When the bout began I protected myself in a rope a dope manner under a heavy barrage of strong blows falling solely on my gloves which knocked me from side to side but did no real damage. During the entire first 30 seconds or so of the bout I did nothing but cover up allowing my much stronger opponent to tire. Then as I felt his strength diminish and his punches slowing down I threw just two effective blows which landed flush on his face. Seeing that I had only been biding my time the counselors yelled out for us to stop the match. I now realized that the match was not expected to be competitive. No I now believed that the two counselors had fully expected that I would be knocked out or at least badly beaten.

        For the most part I was left alone primarily because I had my own room which meant I avoided the attempts of sexual exploitation that were occurring in the dorm below.

        These two Nazi storm troopers (as I called them) were the main source of our discomfort while we were confined there.

        About a week before my release I was given a smooth oval shaped boulder the size of a loaf of bread then told that I should paint my name, lodge, dates of my stay, along with a short message in order that it could be placed on display nearby. Once I had finished decorating my boulder I was taken unceremoniously to the rock garden next to the counselor’s housing area. The rock display was located on a naturally sloped area of land that measured approximately 15 feet by 30 feet. The area was bordered by a plain stone edge that had been painted white and then this enclosed surface area was covered with small white pebbles. Silently I placed my decorated stone near the center among many others that had preceded me. I then stepped back to appraise its location and efficacy. As I gazed at this memorial to my incarceration I knew that I was both literally and figuratively leaving a piece of my soul behind.

        1969 Baton Rouge Parish Jail

        “The horrors experienced by many young inmates, particularly those who are convicted of nonviolent offenses, border on the unimaginable. Prison rape not only threatens the lives of those who fall prey to their aggressors, but it is potentially devastating to the human spirit. Shame, depression, and a shattering loss of self-esteem accompany the perpetual terror the victim thereafter must endure.”
        U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun, Farmer v. Brennan

        After a week or two of interrogation the police had still failed to break us so we were taken to a more secure location to await our trial. The ride from the police station to the East Baton Rouge Parish Jail was an entertaining half hour. The guards stoically put shackles on us and took us out to a Paddy Wagon which reminded me of a dog catcher’s vehicle only larger. The cabin up front had a sliding door to view the prisoners through its narrow slot. The rear of the vehicle was a windowless five foot high box with a sheet metal bench on each side. Due to the vehicles low roof line we had to enter crouched over to avoid hitting our heads on its low ceiling. We each sat down on one of the two benches and the guards had us pass a heavy chain through the loops in our shackles in a daisy chain. Then they locked the two ends of the chain to rings attached to the floorboard and secured the exit door.
        Our eyes adjusted slowly to the low light level inside the cab revealing half a dozen other white men on board. The other inmates immediately asked us where we were from and when they learned that we were from California they tried to scare us by telling us outrageous stories of their life experiences in southern prisons.
        They told us how much the guards hated young “Yankee Hippies” coming down south corrupting its colored people with thoughts of equality. They told us of their individual experiences on chain gangs, and how abusive the guards were. They claimed the guards loved to dish out punishment especially to northerners to teach them a lesson.
        A heavy set man around thirty years old with a jolly air about him stuck out from all the rest that day. Obviously enjoying the limelight the fat man wove his outlandish tales in a heavy Cajun accent and although his stories may have held some truths he was enjoying them far too much for them to be entirely true. Our horrified expressions seemed to delight the Cajun and as a finale he broke into a spontaneous rendition of the song “The House of the Rising Sun.” I have to admit that the fat man sung a couple of the songs refrains with so much emotion that they sent shivers down my spine.
        When we finally arrived at the Parish Jail the chain anchored to the floorboard was removed and we were made to step down off the back of the Patty Wagon. There was total silence as we each stepped down into the blinding mid-day’s sunlight. Resigned to our fate each of us wore expressions of defeat tinted only with a touch of apprehension. After the fantastic stories of the other passengers Mike and I did not know what was in store for us in this new environment. As we gathered near the vehicle we were all closely watched over by two shotgun toting guards wearing mirrored sunglasses seemingly right out of the movie “Cool Hand Luke”.
        Once inside we were each stripped searched and given our bedding and a towel but no toothbrush or any other personal items. These essential personal items would have to be purchased or sent from home. I noted that this jail was also racially segregated as Mike and I were placed in different cells of the same unit. For the first time Mike and I would be doing our time together because as adults there was no need to separate us by age.
        The cell block was comprised of ten four man cells measured approximately eight feet wide by nine feet deep with a stainless steel toilet/sink combo in one corner and nothing else. There was a walkway in front of the cells that lead to the multipurpose dayroom. Over the next four months we would pace many a mile up and down this walkway like zoo animals. On the other side of the bars lining the walkway was another walkway for the guards that lead to other cell blocks. Mike’s four man cell was the first one near the entrance which he shared with a seasoned con, in the second cell there was a quite brutal hardcore criminal of Cajun decent residing with, amongst others, a young blond teenager around my age, next came my cell which I shared with three other young inmates.
        The dayroom was used for card playing, dining on our gourmet meals but there was also a single head communal shower in one corner. Of course the meals served there were not like the Cajun cooking that the area is famous for but rather consisted of such delicacies as peanut butter with molasses or mustard and salami sandwiches for lunch. There were similar fine cuisine served for breakfast and dinner. The tables were all stainless steel metal so to enhance the taste of the salami we would often burn paper on the crossbeams underneath to fry it up on the metal surface. Additionally we also enjoyed melting an occasional “Three Musketeer” candy bar into our milk to make a cup of hot chocolate. These small pleasures helped make time pass a little faster as we waited for our court date.
        On our first day in the unit we noticed the Cajun playing cards with his blond teenage roommate so in an effort to break the ice I asked them what they were playing. To my surprise they ignored my question and I knew at that moment the Cajun was going to be trouble. I later learned that the Cajun’s name was Antoine and I also took note of the fact that he had the mannerisms of a hardened criminal. Antoine’s rude silence made it obvious that he wanted his teenage roommate to himself so we took his hint and moved on making small talk between ourselves.
        As the days went by we watched as Antoine made his moves on Chris, by loudly bragging about how he had beat or robbed different people. He was clearly trying to make an impression on Chris that he was a person not to be messed with and a person that could protect his friends. You could see the fear in Chris’s eyes whenever Antoine told his stories and soon there came the perfect opportunity for Antoine to prove his bravado.
        One morning as we ate breakfast Antoine got up without saying a word then walked behind one of his other roommates and began punching the man in the back of his head. The poor guy hadn’t seen the attack coming and was quickly knocked out by Antoine’s fierce blows and when the attack was finished the man’s body was left twitching spasmodically with his face buried in his bowl of oatmeal. No one spoke a word but this brutal act was all the proof that Antoine needed to show Chris and everyone else who witnessed it that he was a ruthless thug to be feared.
        The walls between our cells were sheet metal with our bunk beds welded to each side of the wall. Consequentially any movement on a bunk on one side of the wall could be felt on the other side. One evening as I lay in my bed I heard muffled voices in the next cell and felt movement on the bed. Then I clearly heard Chris say “No but I’ll suck it!” Antoine said “You’ll do as I say punk. What’s your problem bitch, anyway?” Chris replies “I don’t want to because it hurts. Here let me suck it instead.” Slurping sounds begin and Antoine says “Yeah suck it bitch. Awe! ” This went on for a couple of minutes then the bed moved abruptly as Antoine forced himself on top of Chris. Chris whimpered as he was entered and then grunted and moaned as Antoine’s thrusts grew ever stronger. Finally a few minutes later it was all over. Disturbed by the man’s rape I thought to myself “how many nights will I have to listen to this shit?” Then I rolled over onto my side and Antoine yells out “who the fuck is moving?” I said “I am so what?” He says “Who is that?” I said “Alan why?” About this time my roommate on the other side of the room says to me “I’ll take your bunk I don’t move much.” I think maybe my roommate, a slightly built dark haired nineteen year old had become intrigued with what he had heard going on next door and wanted to be closer to the action. I was happy to avoid a confrontation with Antoine and agreed to the swap. My roommate got on my top bunk and I took his bottom bunk on the other side of the room. Another of my roommates was a homely young blond that had just returned from Vietnam. The young man never talked much and whenever he was in the dayroom he would just kneel down in the corner and rock back and forth against the wall for hours most likely reliving the horrors of the war in his mind. My other roommate was an upper middle class preppy type who seemed fascinated by my history. After studying both my brother and I he concluded that while I would go on to better things, he believed Mike was a lost soul. This was puzzling to me at the time but I appreciated his positive forecast. Up until this point in my life I hadn’t heard many positive predictions for my future.
        As for Mike he had another seasoned convict in his mid 40’s in his cell. Rather than dangerous he was more of a slick con man. He seemed to have a history with Antoine so I made a mental note that he was not to be ignored if I had a run in with Antoine. The other roommates of Mike and the rest of the cell block population are nothing but a blur in my memory.
        One of the hardest things to get used to was that our personal laundry (socks and underwear) had to be hand washed in the toilet bowl, however using the communal sink, from which we all drank water, to wash such items would have been even more disagreeable. One day the third roommate of mine was released and a new cellmate arrived with a bad case of diarrhea. Immediately the already tight quarters became unbearably small. After a full day of listening to this guy’s bowel movements and the corresponding foul odor that they produced I snapped. I complained loudly about the mess he was leaving in the toilet and he responded by telling me to “Fuck off.” It was a big mistake on his part. I jumped up and assaulted him by punching him several times on top of his head so he rolled himself up into a protective ball and covered his face with his arms. The punches that I had landed sprouted several pulsating streams of blood from my victims scalp so with each beat of his panicked heart blood shot up.
        Seeing the blood I immediately regretted my action and sought to stop his bleeding with a towel. I had the towel in my hand when a guard appeared behind me, saw all the blood, so he immediately opened our cell’s door and ordered the injured man to walk out, and then shut the cell door behind him. The main cell block door was then opened and the injured inmate was taken away to the medics. It had been uncharacteristic of me to have assaulted this man and I can only attribute my actions to the overcrowded conditions that we were forced to live in.
        I never saw the inmate again but the guard became my constant antagonist by daily trying to provoke me into doing something stupid. I however knew that he wanted an excuse to beat me down and then take disciplinary action against me so I never lost my cool.
        About a week later I awoke in the middle of the night as a huge orange fire ball fell from my old bunk towards me just as the guy occupying it cried out “What the fuck? Shit!”
        Antoine had rigged his sliding door to his cell so it didn’t lock that night and placed a large amount of unrolled toilet paper on top of my roommate’s bunk and ignited it. I didn’t like the idea of Antoine being able to reach me in the middle of the night. And I was even more concerned to learn of a rumor that Antoine was fashioning a weapon to attack me with. However Mike’s presence represented a logistical problem for Antoine. If he attacked me in the same manner as he had his old roommate he knew that Mike would surly counterattack. He needed to quickly finish us both off and to do so he needed a weapon. Whether this was his reasoning I will never know because a few days later Antoine got into a confrontation with the same antagonistic guard that was harassing me. After a visit from Antoine’s lawyer the guard mocked his chances for beating his case which resulted in Antoine attacking him. Other guards rushed in and Antoine was beaten down and never returned to our cellblock.
        It made me wonder if there was foul play involved because it was not uncommon for inmates to just vanish during this era in the south. The movie Brubaker is based on actual events in the Tucker and Cummins Prison in Arkansas where scores of prisoners became victims of foul play by guards. No one in the cell block would have ever grieved for him however if that was the case.

        My Final Release from Custody

        Southern man better keep your head
        Don’t forget what your good book said
        Southern change gonna come at last
        Now your crosses are burning fast
        Southern man I saw cotton and I saw black
        Tall white mansions and little shacks…
        Neil Young’s, lyrics to “Southern Man” March, 1970

        After breakfast one morning near the end of March of 1970 some five months after my arrest an officer came to the cell block bars and called out my name. “Alan *&^%$” I was used to this mispronunciation of my name but combined with his heavy southern drawl I chuckled under my breath then I answered “Yes sir, that’s me.” Then the officer dryly said, “Go to the gate your charges have been dropped and your to be released today.” This notification came as a big surprise to me. Upon my release in mid-afternoon I set out towards the Interstate with only loose change in my pocket. Although I was dressed lightly in a short sleeve shirt and polyester slacks sweat soon began rolling down my back from the mid-day’s humidity as I walked down the infrequently traveled strip of highway. The desolate, two lane, highway held few distractions along the way and the sun beat down relentlessly on me forcing me to squint it its light. As I walked along the road the slick leather of my Italian dress shoes soles continually slipped slightly backwards on the asphalt with each step making my trek that much more arduous. When I finally reached Highway 10 over an hour later I noticed a sign that read, “West to Lafayette”, so I crossed the highway and stuck out my thumb to the traffic traveling in that direction.

        Another hour or so passed before a car finally stopped for me and luckily he was traveling to Texas. Shortly after arriving in Texas my ride let me out when he turned south off Highway 10 towards Corpus Christi. I was let out in a sleepy little village bordering Highway 10 not far from Houston. So on my first night in the free world I was now presented with the daunting challenge of getting a ride out of this small country town which had closed up all of its establishments by 9PM.

        Within minutes of being dropped off, and before a single vehicle had passed me by, the local sheriff spotted me in the darkness alongside the road and pulled his cruiser over about twenty feet in front of me. Suddenly the vehicle’s interior light came on which eerily illuminated the sheriff’s face like a jack-o’ lantern. The sheriff’s stern expression under his white ten gallon hat made my heart race with apprehension as the vehicle slowly inched its way over to my position on the side of the road. In the otherwise still of the night the only audible sounds were the idle of the vehicle’s engine, it’s approaching tires crunching pebbles on the road, and the intermittent squawking of the dispatcher’s voice over the radio. When the vehicle finally pulled along side of me the officer rolled down the passenger side window and asked in an authoritative heavy southern drawl “What you doing out here so late boy?” To which I answered “I’m on my way out to California and I’m waiting for a ride.”
        “You don’t say, California huh? You got some ID boy?”
        “No I don’t have a driver’s license yet.”
        “What’s your name then boy? Where you say you’re coming from boy?” I gave the officer my name and my father’s address in Baton Rouge in the belief a southern address would be more acceptable to him. Although my hair was short and my cloths dressy the sheriff replied, “I’ll tell you what boy I’ll be back in awhile if your still here I’m going to take you downtown and you can be our guest for awhile. We know how to treat you California hippie types. Understand me boy?” Although I’m thinking what am I going to do now? I smile politely and say, “Thank you officer I’ll be on my way then.” As the cruiser pulls away I continue thinking “If I don’t get out of here soon I’ll end up cutting cane. Please, Please let me get a ride!”
        I knew that the Texas work farms, along the lower reaches of the Brazos River were infamous for sending men there for even the smallest of infractions such as vagrancy. Legend has it that the mules on the farms were treated better than the convicts, because the state had paid money for their mules. The farms mill and headquarters were both located in a small town called Sugar Land southwest of Houston. And Creedence Clearwater Revival’s newly released song, “Midnight Special”, lamented the plight of these poor souls on the radio of the day.
        A lone car’s lights suddenly appeared in the distance down the dark country road. As the car approached me I put on the most desperate face that I could possibly muster pleading telepathically with the occupant of the car to please stop. But the car passed me by with a whoosh. Disappointed I turned and watched as the car continued down the road then suddenly it stopped some hundred yards down the road. As car began to back up I ran up to meet it and when I opened the passenger door the driver, a soldier in uniform, asked me “Where are you headed?” To which I replied “Anywhere but here but eventually I’m going to California.”
        “Well I’m going to Austin.”
        “Great, sounds good to me.” I didn’t know whether Austin was out of my way or not when I hopped in the car but I was just glad to leave the town. Down the road a bit I noticed the sheriff’s car heading back towards where he had earlier questioned me. “Whew!” I thought without speaking a word “You’ll have to find someone else to cut the cane tonight.”
        Along the way as the driver and I made small talk about his impending assignment to Vietnam. His assignment made me think about the other two soldiers that I known and that had developed obvious mental problems during their own tours in Nam. I felt both sorrow for this young man and a tinge of guilt over my own lack of military service but I never once mentioned these men or my recent encounter with the sheriff fearing that it would only sound unpatriotic and suspicious to the soldier.
        We arrived in downtown Austin as the sun was coming up and I was dropped off in an older section of town. As I got out I noticed the capital building clearly visible in the morning light about a mile away.
        Later I found myself fighting sleep at a truck stop with my stomach aching with hunger as I smelt the food being prepared inside the adjoining restaurant. As I stood there I quietly recited the lyrics to Bobby Bare’s song “500 Miles Away From Home” “Can’t remember when I ate it’s just thumb, walk and wait. And I’m still five hundred miles away from home”
        At this point I had eaten only a can of sardines and a French baguette over the entire 55 hour period since my release……I believed that the best solution was to get back home as soon as possible so I asked each trucker as they came out of the restaurant if I could catch a ride with them in the direction of California. Finally a black man answered “Hop on in I’m headed to downtown L.A.” Of all the truckers that I had asked, and I had asked a dozen or so, it had been the lone black trucker that had come through. As we drove towards California the two of us made small talk along the way. During the lulls in our conversation I reflected on the irony of my experiences over the years. Blacks had always been my main source of antagonism while incarcerated in California, but at the same time it had been two black counselors that had shown the most concern for my welfare. These counselor’s compassionate actions had acted as an effective counterweight to the hostility of the black inmates around me. Then during my stay in Louisiana I was able to see firsthand the source of black anger. Without these two experiences I may well have become a diehard racist. As I pondered my experience behind bars further, I could only attribute my good fortune to divine intervention, for how else could I account for surviving it all “physically” unscathed.

  4. In the audio interview conducted by Pete Earley, you explained your motive for murdering officer Clutts:

    At 16:40 into the interview you told Earley:

    “I think he was just selling me wolf tickets. But he didn’t know I was taking him serious.

    When somebody has gone that far especially when you’re telling him you don’t want no trouble why don’t you get off my case.


    And again on Line 58 of your declaration you wrote “After I killed Smith, I lived in constant fear of reprisals. It was in this frame of mind, and believing I was in a life-threatening situation, that on October 22, 1983, I killed Officer Clutts.”

    Click to access silverstein-declaration.pdf

    In his new book “Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel’s Targeted Assassinations” Ronen Bergman, leads with a fact:

    “Since World War II, Israel has assassinated more people than any other country in the Western world.” (For the record Bergman is Israeli Jew.)

    Not all these acts were kill or be killed as Bergman illustrates when he claims that four months after statehood and a day after the UN mediator Folke Bernadotte submitted his plan obliging the Jewish state to take back Arab refugees Bernadotte was assassinated.

    The title of Bergman’s book is derived from the Talmud, a collection of Jewish law and tradition, wherein a line reads,

    “If someone comes to kill you, rise up and kill him first.”

    The New York Times quoted Bergman’s book as stating “with Israel’s security apparatus getting more technologically savvy and ruthlessly efficient instead of taking months or years to plan a single killing, the Mossad and its domestic counterpart, Shin Bet, are now capable of planning four or five “interceptions” a day. “You get used to killing. Human life becomes something plain, easy to dispose of. You spend a quarter of an hour, 20 minutes, on who to kill.” This quote is from Ami Ayalon, who as the head of Shin Bet in the late ’90s helped shepherd the organization into the digital age.”

    It’s good thing that the morality of such state sponsored assassinations are being questioned in Bergman’s book.

    It’s also food for thought as to how your motivations compare to those that have, and will commit future assassinations such as those described in Bergman’s book.

  5. Let me first state that I am no supporter of any gang or of the murders they commit.

    That said I found questionable DOJ tactics in their response to Tom’s appeal in 5-2014.

    Click to access 12-1450.pdf

    There are references in this summary of judgment to Silverstein’s “IMPROVED CONDITIONS AT ADX”, a place former warden Robert Hood described as “A CLEAN VERSION OF HELL”, as being hollow to say the least.

    Hood went on 60 minutes and said, “I don’t know what hell is, but I do know the assumption would be, for a free person, it’s pretty close to it,”

    But I am also glad to see that the ASSOCIATION OF BLACK PSYCHOLOGISTS and THE MENTAL HEALTH PROJECT OF THE URBAN JUSTICE CENTER have both realized that everyone has a stake in this case. If the system can hold Silverstein in such conditions for decades they can hold others as well. One can only hope that the interracial solidarity of the Pelican Bay hunger strikers inmates takes hold elsewhere.

    Page 13: “Members of the D.C. Blacks (now known as the “D.C. Crew”) and the Aryan Brotherhood must be separated in all federal prisons, and no influential member of either gang is allowed to interact in the open prison population.”

    So according to this brief a policy of separation already exists which means the BOP could have chosen to isolate Silverstein from both gangs.

    They say as much here:

    Page 14: “According to this expert, the only means for the BOP to protect him is to undergo a formal debriefing and enter protective custody; however, he has not indicated his interest in such a process.”

    And here:

    Page 45: “In order for the BOP to protect him he must enter protective custody.”

    What they reveal then is that they have the means to protect him but what they want in exchange is to have a death warrant placed on the man along with any close family members by forcing him to debrief.

    In their denial of relief, they expose the long delays after transferring Silverstein to ADX, and then their ever so slight easing his conditions to be no more than legal maneuvers to win their case. (I’m referring to the Six Year Statute of Limitations the BOP claimed beginning in November 1983 on his appeal for relief.)

    The brief states as much here: “the district court determined Mr. Silverstein’s Eighth Amendment request for injunctive relief was limited to the conditions imposed after his July 2005 transfer to ADX Florence, and not his prior confinement at Leavenworth because he had not shown he is likely to be subject to those conditions again.”

    Are ADX’s conditions really that much better Tom?

    • Alan,
      Long time no hear! So it’s great 2 c your post & know u’re still alive & kickin’ 😉 I’m pleased that u’re interested n reading my memoir. Don’t mean 2 toot my own horn; however, I don’t believe from the prison books that I’ve read that any tells it like I do, so can’t wait 2 c if u agree 🙂

      That’s good u believe no harm can b done from it & having the public learn what influenced my life course could actually do some good. That’s what I’m hoping 4.

      I’m glad 2 c u’re still writing about your own experience. The last I recall, weren’t u writing a book? Whatever happened with it?

      Barri & I were just talking about u, and wondering what’s up w/ u. He’ll b pleased 2 c u’re hanging n there. His health is poor 😦 But bless his heart, he’s doing the best he can. I hope 2 call him tomorrow, so I’ll let him know I heard from u.

      U asked how I sleep on a concrete slab. That’s e-z–it’s all the poor guys going stir-crazy, who bang & yell all day & night, that’s hard.

      Well, buddy, that’s all 4 now. Keep us posted. Your pal,

      • I’m glad you got my message Barry, who I’ve remained in contact with, had said he was going to send it to you but maybe Richard might have sent it. I don’t know how it got to you.

        I’ve wrote several times on your site since you’ve had it back up but only one referred to the concrete bed.

        I know exactly what you mean by the noise I’ve spent time in the hole too but only for a couple of weeks each time. It is not easy to sleep with that noise hell I can’t sleep when the smoke detectors start to beep when the battery is low. How you’ve managed I have no idea. I even question if you weren’t actually better off when you were totally isolated than now hearing that racket day and night.

        I wrote a few articles for Solitary Watch after my ½ brother died in the hole.

        I’ve tried to expose others to the conditions that you and others have endured and the danger you and others face while incarcerated. I always wondered why your lawyers didn’t at least try to explain why you felt you had to act to stop the treat. Two documented attempts on your life and nothing changed? The stress must have been extreme. I had to act when my own life was threatened in the CYA the difference was I didn’t use deadly force. As I say the feeling is like that of a tethered animal in a slaughterhouse must feel.

        I think you are a victim of your association’s reputation and the anti racist climate of the country. It’s easier to condemn you, given our country’s history, than it is to condemn those that sought to do you harm.

        I’ve pointed out to others that by making you a justifiable example of the use of solitary that it hurts everyone’s chances to get relief. You and a few others of similar backgrounds have formed a legal precedence to hold someone indefinitely in solitary. I can’t mention their names because you would never receive this. The system was smart using you and the others since civil rights groups weren’t invested in your relief.

        I finished my own memoir of my younger years which I’d be happy to share with you but I doubt that it’d get passed on to you since it deals with the reality of the system during the late sixties.

        It was written just to see if I could actually write one. I think its well done given I’m a product of the system’s educational system which I entered at nine years old. I don’t see my story being mass marketed. How many people can identify with it? I also worry how it would affect my children and grandchildren’s lives. It’s a tainted by the sins of our fathers type deal. My four children are all well adjusted, clean cut, professional people and don’t deserve to be affected by such things.

        Like my time spent in solitary my sins are lightweight compared to yours. I know however that like you given the stresses of the environment that you were placed in my story could have had a far different outcome.

        Stay strong


      • Hi, Alan,
        As always, it’s great hearing from u. That’s cool u’ve written several times on my site. Was it B4 or after Richard took over? I’m sorry u can relate 2 what I wrote re: noise. I never realized what a gift sleep is until I was deprived of it. It truly affects one’s state of mind big time.
        It’s insightful of u 2 question if I weren’t better off when I was totally isolated than now hearing the ceaseless racket. N many ways I rather B alone. They’ve held me isolated 4 so long that people bother me ;-(
        That’s awesome u wrote a few articles 4 Solitary Watch. Those folks do a great job at exposing & educating the public re: the horrors of s.c. But sad 2 hear that your 1/2 bro died in the hole! 😦
        That’s good, u’ve tried 2 expose others 2 the conditions that I & others have endured & the danger we face while incarcerated.
        As far as wondering y my lawyers didn’t try 2 explain y I felt I had 2 act 2 stop the threat. That’s e-z. According 2 law, we weren’t allowed 2 bring up what all occurred prior. Plus, Marion is n the boonies, populated by prison guards, so any local yokel defending me would catch flak. Also, contrary 2 the misconception that even poor defendants R given legal representation n America, u get what u pay 4, or n my case, what I couldn’t afford. I think I saw counsel twice B4 R 2-3 day trial.
        That’s how most court cases go 4 the indigent. Who can afford 2 pay $500 an hr. 4 months on end?
        I agree 100%. Your axiom is perfect. It’s a feeling, when threatened N here, like that of a tethered animal N a slaughterhouse must feel.
        I also agree w/y u believe that I’m a victim. But it is what it is. As u well know, the racial aspect is viewed differently from N side & outside.
        Congratulations finishing your memoir. I’d love 2 read it. I should B able 2 get it if it’s about your CYA days.
        U made me smile noting u think it’s well done given u’re a product of the system’s educational system. Ain’t that the bloody truth. I didn’t learn how 2 read/write until I came 2 prison & had 2 read/write my mail. Judging from what all I’ve read from u, u’ve come a long way, &, like u, I think my book, so far, is well done, if I do say so myself. 🙂
        As far as u don’t c your story being mass marketed & how many people can identify w/ it, that’s the point (I should think) y we write. People have asked me 2 write a book & most prisoners can’t really identify w/ what I endure. Your story needs 2 B told b/c so few of us R willing & able 2 expose what really goes on N these state and federal hell holes. U don’t wanna just preach 2 the choir who can identify w/ the block busters like “Star Wars” & so I wouldn’t sell your story short.
        I get worrying about how it’ll affect your kids & grandchildren. I’ve got kids also. However, aren’t u living a lie by concealing your truth? It’s e-z to love folks who always appease us. True love it still loving a person w/ faults & flaws. That’s how u love them, isn’t it? Unconditionally.
        W/ all due respect, as far as “my 4 children R well adjusted, clean cut, professional people & don’t deserve 2 B affected by such things.” Come on, Alan, spare me & your kids. U just scratched the scab off a pet peeve I have. It bothers me whenever other adults decide what’s best 4 me & predetermine what I can & can’t handle. I suspect your kids agree.
        So do u think I’m any less of a father 4 not sugar coating my life story? Which I assume is far worse than anything u’ve done. I suspect your memoir is PG rated compared 2 my XXX story. Anyway, hopefully u’ll reconsider.
        Like u noted yourself, your sins R “lightweight” compared 2 mine, so what R u really saving anyone from & the Bible has far more evil n it than anything we’ve done.
        Well, buddy, that’s it 4 now.
        Take care, Tommy

        [Webmaster’s note: the long delay in getting this reply posted is entirely my fault. Tom’s letter sat too long on my desk. I deeply apologise and hope you will not hold my error against Tom. RFG]

  6. Every businesses web site (I realize yours is not a business but it works the same.) would like that theirs is the first to appear. Google is also a business and they give preference to those that pay for it. The more you pay for ads the higher up the list you’ll likely to be.

    This is what I’ve been told anyway. It’s frustrating for me too. Keywords also help businesses. So if someone is searching for you words like solitary confinement, ADX, or even Aryan Brotherhood might be used to draw them to your site.

    I’ve tweaked such wording to get better results but its elusive. Unfortunately money gets the best results.

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