Two Essays About One Week in January

Two essays about things that happened one week in January 2021 following Denver’s global noise demo on New Year’s Eve at FCI Englewood. Eric’s ADX referral was extensively about a protest outside the facility that neither he nor his support team had anything to do with organizing.

These are essays that Eric is writing in his programming. He is not able to participate in any other pre-release programming but he is able to write essays for snacks and rewards.

These are two of them.

Overreaction and no communication 

Before being moved to this unit, I was told it was to get me better prepared for freedom by increasing my contact with family and friends and contact with other prisoners. Yet while I watch my TWO groupmates email and make phone calls, I am stuck with no phone or email privileges.. despite everyone bullshiting me on how important communication is. 

In January 2021, 3 years of zero phone calls, emails or visits W/ZERO SHOTS people came out and protested conditions at Englewood while I was pretrial. I wrote my lawyer a sealed legal letter asking who they were and celebrating the protest. In July of 2022 I was given two shots for that legal letter. A 106 “Inciting a Riot” and 196 “using mail to commit a crime” these two shots behooved me, blew my mind (this letter was recently used by the US attorney to justify use of an electrocution belt during a medical visit).. I’d in the time between and since had zero shots.. the DHO at USP Lee was not impressed, said he’d lose his job if he didn’t crack me. 

These were my only shots in 2 years, for which I was rewarded w/one phone call in the past 8 months.. when I spoke to S.I.S. they said “yeah sure, not a big deal at all” yet I still sit here with no email or phone. This is stressful for multiple reasons 1) I have a wife with chronic health issues and I can’t be there for her.. we get visits twice a month but these bring stresses of their own, such as gas money and the pain in her body and the wildly uncomfortable position/chair during visit… but further 2) I have release coming up and planning things are difficult as fuck over mail, where letters take 3 weeks to leave and two to three to return.  

I don’t like putting out the “woe is me” shit, but one call zero emails and zero contact visits in 4 years and 8 months is crazy…. That I still HAVE a wife is a testament to the bond we’ve fought to keep and strengthen through the vulnerable and difficult letters. People on SAMS have family contact, people at the CMU have family contact, why am I so bad that talking to my wife must be prohibited? Communication is a threat but they’re jumping to release me in 2 months? 

I’ve spoken to the warden, to ________,  to __________, to SIS lt _______________no one cares- so they say, but nothing is being done to change anything? I miss my family and it eats at me.. we are told to be good and things can be improved, but I’ve never seen that, at 10 different institutions… Extreme bucking ALWAYS gets short-term pain and long-term resolution.. being “good” ALWAYS makes you feel stupid, like waiting for your partner to call you back- Cause they promised-even though social media shows them out partying. 

I feel like I’m waiting on a text 

Staff note in response to essay: “do I have permission to look into this?” 

Mail as a weapon 

One of the most vicious tools of repression the BOP uses is withholding and manipulation of mail. This is especially true when mail is the ONLY form of communication you are able to use. At FCI Englewood while pretrial, I got to experience this in its most brutal form 

For a period of about 2 months (March 2020-May 2020) every letter my wife wrote me was rejected and each one had the same reason “sexually explicit material” this was the most stressful. Of our lives. We we’re facing decades of additional time and Englewood was preventing all contact, all while my wife was dealing with chronic illness and raising two girls. We were scared, desperate and felt like our lives were being decimated. After the 12th rejection I began cutting my arm and writing messages in blood and asking for mail help, then hanging those messages on my wall. Psych and other admins would walk through and say things like “that looks like blood”… but never check on me.. I’d ask for help, be ignored, lash out and then get shots for lashing out which were used to justify for their harsh restrictions… eventually after 6 more rejections I couldn’t take it anymore and sliced my face and arms 10 times and asked for suicide watch. 

My wife’s letters didn’t contain sexual material, they contained her most devastated feelings.. depression over her illness, my  restrictions, the fear that we’d never have our family united. Vulnerable letters fueled by heart and heartbreak.. we literally had zero other contact so all her feelings were funneled through letters to me that I’d never see. While SIS and mailroom Gilley were telling me they were sexual to see, but in reality they were sending them to child protective services claiming that her mental state and politics proved my wife wasn’t fit to be a mother. We found this all out recently after several court filings… FCI ENG created a horrible desperate situation, then used my family’s desperation to try to take our children away. 

This is the cruelest thing I’ve ever experienced but makes me wonder what is happening now? Still can’t call or email, still have mail that is 3 to 5 weeks delayed, still have legal mail that goes totally missing. Is there no end to the cruelty? 

Staff note in response to essay: “It does take a while here, even without restrictions. 🙁” 

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