Showing posts with label Prison. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Prison. Show all posts

March 9, 2017

Oklahoma Prisoner Blackmail Scams Gay Men at the Tune of $125K



 Sean Siwek, scammer, blackmailer
 

An Oklahoma prisoner posed as an Elyria man in an elaborate scheme to blackmail gay men across the country by threatening to expose their sexuality and falsely claiming that the men had offered to have sex with minors.

The prisoner, Sean Siwek, was sentenced Tuesday to two years and three months in federal prison and ordered to repay $124,990 to various victims, according to Bob Troester, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorneys Office in the Western District of Oklahoma.

According to court documents filed in the case, Siwek was being housed at Lawton Correctional Facility, a private medium-security prison in Lawton, Okla., when he and other co-conspirators, who weren’t identified in the indictment, hatched their scheme.

Using a voice-based dating service, Siwek and others created messages that were the equivalent of personal advertisements that they used to find men across the country, including in Colorado, Maryland, Ohio and Oklahoma, prosecutors said.

Siwek and those working with him would get messages from legitimate users of the dating service and then contact them separately using illicit cell phones that had been smuggled into the prison.

Siwek would falsely tell those he got into contact with that he was a male prostitute interested in having sexual relations with men who were married or had girlfriends.

“After establishing a rapport with a legitimate user and arranging to meet for sex, Siwek or another coconspirator called that legitimate user, claiming to be a law enforcement officer, and fraudulently represented that the legitimate user had agreed to have sex with a minor, which was a crime,” the indictment in the case said. “Siwek and his coconspirators then falsely represented that they would publicize the legitimate user’s sexual orientation and bring criminal charges against him, or cause such charges to be brought, unless the legitimate user paid them.”

Prosecutors detailed how Siwek and his allies were able to convince an Ohio man to give them approximately $86,840 between October 2011 and February 2012 through the scheme.

Siwek created a profile claiming to be a 24-year-old from Elyria and ended up communicating with the Ohio man, and the two eventually arranged to meet “for a good time sexually,” prosecutors wrote.

The next day, Siwek called from the prison and claimed to be the 24-year-old man’s father but said the person who the Ohio man had been communicating with was actually 15.

Siwek demanded $500 and the Ohio man bought two debit cards and provided the information over the phone to Siwek. In a later call, Siwek told the Ohio man to expect a call from an FBI agent.

When the “agent” called, he told the victim that he had committed a crime by arranging to have sex with a minor and threatened to charge the Ohio man unless he was paid.

Over the next few months, Siwek and his co-conspirators demanded additional money, including for bribes to a fake judge and to get others to keep “quiet.”

Court records show Siwek pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud and false impersonation of a federal officer two years ago. Troester said Siwek will receive credit for all the time he’s served behind bars while awaiting sentencing.


Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.

February 26, 2017

Trump/Sessions Turn Back The Clock for Abusive-Costly Private Prisons




The Justice Department's plan to phase out its use of private prisons — the result of declining inmate populations and concerns about safety and security — ended this week without ever really taking effect. 
The reason is a new administration that has called for a crackdown on what it sees as a rise in crime. 
That crackdown could lead to more arrests, which in turn could result in more people in prison. Which, presumably, is why Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded a six-month-old Obama administration directive that sought to curtail the government's use of private prisons

Image: Jeff Sessions at the Department of Justice in Washington

Attorney General Jeff Sessions holds a meeting with the heads of federal law enforcement components at the Department of Justice in Washington on Feb. 9, 2017. Susan Walsh / AP

Sessions said in a Feb. 21 memo that the Obama move had "impaired" the U.S. Bureau of Prison's "ability to meet the future needs of the federal correctional system." 
Those "needs" are not yet clear. Asked for an explanation, a Justice Department spokesman said only that Sessions' move "returns discretion to the professionals at BOP who are in the best position to evaluate their needs." 
The memo itself suggests that the attorney general is concerned about running out of available space in the 122 prisons the BOP runs itself — although current trends run opposite. 
The number of people in federal prison has been declining since 2013, and the 189,078 currently there is the lowest in a decade. That includes 21,366 people in private prisons, just 12 percent of the total population. 
Compared to the more than 2 million people estimated to be behind bars across the American justice system, the private prisons under BOP contract play a bit role in a system that contributes to one of the world’s highest incarceration rates.

So, why does Session's memo matter? 
Here are some additional points to put the issue in context: 

The relationship goes back decades 

The Bureau of Prisons first turned to privately operated prisons in 1997 to help alleviate overcrowding. The partnership grew steadily, focusing primarily on low-security inmates designated as "criminal aliens" — non-citizens who've committed a crime — with less than eight years left on their sentences. In fiscal year 2014, the contracts were worth about $639 million, up from $562 million in fiscal year 2011. 

Private prisons mostly benefit two publicly traded companies 

Those companies are CoreCivic (which until recently was known as Corrections Corporation of America), and The Geo Group. The two companies, both generous contributors to President Trump, run the majority of the BOP's contracted prisons, as well as dozens of other facilities used to detain immigrants who are in the country illegally. 
The companies' fortunes climb and fall with federal criminal justice policies. Their stocks plunged after Obama's deputy attorney general issued the phase-out memo on Aug. 18, and shot up after Donald Trump, who'd called for more private prisons, won election on Nov. 8. Since then, companies' share prices have been steadily rising — and they enjoyed a bump from Sessions' memo. 

The federal government has predicted that private prison populations will drop 

Even before the August Obama administration memo, the Justice Department saw a weakening reliance on private prisons. The memo's author, then-Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, noted that the BOP was already cutting contracts with for-profit companies, so much so that it planned to stop sending inmates to three private prisons, shrinking the private-prison population to less than 14,200 by May 1 — less than half of what it was in 2013. 

There are a lot of documented problems with private prisons housing federal inmates 

Yates' memo followed a report by the Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General that said privately run prisons had more safety and security incidents — including more assaults by inmates on each other and by inmates on prison staff — than those operated by the Bureau of Prisons. The companies, GEO and CoreCivic, responded in letters that the discrepancies were attributable to the fact that they primarily housed a wide array of foreign nationals, including gang members. 

Image: Officers stand on the roof of and outside the gates at the Adams County Correctional Center in Natchez, Miss., during an inmate disturbance at the prison, May 20, 2012.

Officers stand on the roof of and outside the gates at the Adams County Correctional Center in Natchez, Miss., during an inmate disturbance at the prison, May 20, 2012. Lauren Wood / AP

In December, just before the Obama administration left power, the inspector general released another report, which focused on CoreCivic's prison in Natchez, Mississippi, where a May 2012 prison riot, triggered by complaints of poor conditions, ended with a correctional officer's death. The December report found the prison "was plagued by the same significant deficiencies." CoreCivic responded that it had corrected many of its problems, and took issue with some of the methods used by government auditors. 
Investigative journalists have uncovered other alleged abuses. A series in the Nation documented dozens of deaths that the magazine attributed to substandard care. And a reporter for Mother Jones went undercover as an officer at a private prison in Louisiana, vividly detailing many of the problems documented by the government audits.

by 

October 26, 2015

Inmates Touching At NY Rikers Isl. Prison is Now Forbidden, Experts Criticize it



                                                                         
                                                                         


Xena Grandichelli, a trans woman, spent four months at Rikers Island in the men's jails. There, she was physically attacked and sexually assaulted. Staff then placed her in protective custody, which amounted to being locked in a solitary cell 23 and a half hours a day. But what broke her, she recalled, was being denied a visit with her sister.

"The only thing we have from the outside world is our family," Grandichelli said. "When they take that away, it dehumanizes and breaks you."
Grandichelli filed an appeal, challenging the denial. She won, but it was one month before she was allowed to see her sister again. Meanwhile, she became depressed. "I went in with no history of mental health [issues]," she remembered. "But I came out with major depression. I had to be on medication." She was released in January 2015 after all charges against her were dropped. Today, she still needs medication to control her depression.

Grandichelli is now an intern at the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, an organization that works with trans and gender non-conforming people in New York City. On Friday, she was one of 40 people who showed up to an auditorium across the street from Bellevue Hospital to testify against the proposed rule change [PDF] being considered by the Board of Correction, which sets minimum standards and guidelines for the city’s jail system, including Rikers Island.

The proposed rule would allow the Department of Correction to deny visitors based on family relationship and/or past criminal convictions as well as drastically limit physical contact during visits. The denial can be appealed, but a decision may take up to fourteen business days.

The rule change would affect the 10,000 people held at Rikers Island each day. Approximately 85 percent are awaiting trial, as in Grandichelli's case. Although absent from Friday's hearing, Joseph Ponte, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Correction, has stated at previous meetings [PDF] that the rule change is necessary to help reduce violence at Rikers.
Grandichelli wasn't the only speaker who had spent time at Rikers. Barry Campbell is now the assistant to the CEO of the Fortune Society, which works with people returning to New York City from jails and prisons.


                                                                        



"Ninety percent of people who come out of Rikers are angry," he said. Recalling his own time on the island, he told Gothamist, "It's like a pressure valve. I had a lot of pent-up anger. You're always on alert, always in protective mode. But on a visit, I can be human. I can touch, feel, show emotions."
He also remembered that men who were not allowed physical contact during visits left the visiting room even angrier. That anger—and the behaviors from prison—accompany the person upon their return to their community. "If the new rule goes through, people will be coming home even angrier."
In December, when the Board of Correction held a public hearing about a proposed rule that would both create the Enhanced Supervision Housing Unit and limit time spent in segregation, the Department of Correction filled half the auditorium with nearly 60 uniformed correctional officers, DOC commissioner Joseph Ponte and Correction Officers' Benevolent Association president Norman Seabrook. All were absent from Friday’s hearing.

At Friday’s meeting, board member Bobby Cohen noted that he was disappointed by Commissioner Ponte’s absence and was quickly rebuked by the board’s chair, Stan Brezenoff, who called his comment "gratuitous."
The DOC directed Gothamist to the City Hall press office for comment; the Mayor's Office has not yet responded. COBA has yet to provide us with a comment.

Candie Hailey-Means tried to kill herself numerous times during her four years at Rikers. Each time, officers wrote her a disciplinary ticket; for each ticket, she spent 30 days in segregation. "I got over 100 tickets because I cut myself over 100 times," she recalled. Hailey-Means spent over three years in isolation.

Her sister's weekly visits were her only contact with the outside world. "I got to hug somebody. I knew somebody cared," she said. Otherwise, she recalled, "You're in a box by yourself. You have no contact with the outside world." Had it not been for those visits, she said, "I would have tried to kill myself even more." Hailey-Means was acquitted of all criminal charges and released from Rikers on May 1, 2015.

But, she added during her testimony, limiting contact during visits would not stem the flow of contraband onto the island. She recalled an officer drinking on the job—and offering her a drink as well. “That officer is still employed at Rikers."

Johnny Perez, who spent a year and a half at Rikers Island, also challenged the Department's argument that limiting contact and restricting visitors would decrease the flow of contraband at Rikers. “I can't tell you how many times I bought drugs from COs who threatened to beat me up if I didn't pay them on time," he said.

In contrast, visits with his mother reminded him that, despite his incarceration, he was still a son to his mother and a father to his daughter. "The only thing that kept me sane was the connection with my family. Being able to hold your daughter or kiss your mother makes a difference.”

Jennifer J. Parish, the director of criminal justice advocacy at the Urban Justice Center and a member of the Jails Action Coalition, noted that the Department has instituted searches of jail staff, resulting in arrests and even prison sentences of staff for smuggling contraband. Instead of acting on the proposed rule change, Parish urged the Board of Correction to allow these searches of staff members to continue and see if the rates of drugs, weapons and other contraband decrease during the next six months.

Mayor de Blasio speaking at Rikers next to DOC Commissioner Joseph Ponte (Mayor's Office)
The new rule also changes the limitations on punitive segregation, also known as solitary confinement, passed by the Board in January. Under these limitations, if a person has spent 30 days in punitive segregation, he or she must be released from segregation for 7 days before being returned to segregation. Unless he is deemed “persistently violent," no person can be held in punitive segregation longer than 60 days in a six-month period.

The proposed rule change allows the Department of Correction to waive the seven-day break and, if staff determine that the person may endanger others, keep that person in segregation past the 60 day limit.

India Rodriguez remembers her time in solitary confinement. Because she is a trans woman, Rodriguez recalled that she was pressured into the protective custody unit. Like Grandichelli, she soon learned that protective custody meant nearly 24-hour confinement. It also made her vulnerable to sexual violence from staff.

"Today I am free, but I struggle daily with insurmountable emotional traumas," she testified through tears before the Board. "I stand before you today to ask you to abolish solitary confinement. This is a civilized society and it must end."
Few family members made it to the hearing. Some sent statements, which were read by advocates. But Chanel, whose sister has been at Rikers since Labor Day, rushed into the auditorium after work to talk about the importance of visiting—and being able to touch.

Chanel, who asked that her last name not be used or her sister be identified for fear of staff retaliation, visits once a month. Their mother visits once a week, waiting up to three hours for a one-hour visit. "Being able to touch gets me through the week," their mother said. "It's important for everyone involved to be able to touch. Everyone should be able to touch their family member.”

The Board of Correction will vote on the proposed rule change on Tuesday, November 10th.

UPDATE: Monica Klein, a spokesperson for the Mayor's Office, emailed us this statement:
Each of DOC's rule changes is aimed at reducing violence associated with contraband coming into the jails and providing the necessary flexibility to manage a small population of very violent offenders. The goals of the visitation policy is to provide a common-sense approach that reduces drugs, weapons and other contraband from entering the jails while respecting our inmates’ legitimate needs to maintain ties with family members and the community. The department remains at the forefront of national jail reform efforts, thanks to Commissioner Ponte’s plan to remove all inmates age 21 and under from punitive segregation.

April 23, 2015

Crisis of Violence in Georgia Prisons






A shocking photo of inmates taken at a Georgia correctional facility could intensify a halting effort in the United States to alleviate poor prison conditions that can lead to unchecked barbarism likened to an American Abu Ghraib.
The picture from Burruss Correctional Training Center in Forsyth, Georgia, shows three young and shirtless African American male prisoners. One of them is pointing at the camera as though holding a gun, another is holding a makeshift leash, and the third, an 18-year-old, is on his knees, his left eye swollen shut from a beating and the leash lashed around his neck.
The image is shocking on several levels, including its similarity to the Abu Ghraib torture pictures, that a contraband cell phone was used to capture the degradation, and that prison officials didn’t witness the mass beating and subsequent humiliation of a young man serving an eight-year sentence for aggravated assault after first being arrested for armed robbery as a 14-year-old.


Prison-system critics say the image offers poignant insight into a broader problem of prisoner-on-prisoner violence in many U.S. correctional facilities, not just in Georgia, and the extent to which those experiences influence “young men who will be back among us one day,” as Sarah Geraghty, an Atlanta human rights lawyer, put it.
Wide-ranging reaction to the degrading photo also illustrates America’s evolving views about the confluence of punishment and humanity, and the extent to which society tolerates prison violence as a form of deterrence.
“I think this picture can go a long way toward galvanizing a discussion about what prisons are for—particularly, does anybody believe that these men are deterred by prison?” said Jonathan Simon, a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley.
“You have to ask yourself: If the basic story that we tell ourselves is that it’s all about laws and sending people to prison because they violated laws and harmed other people, how can we possibly justify sending them to a place where that is happening to them?” Simon said. “If that’s our idea of punishment, then we have conceded the point that there’s a difference between crime and law.” 

In Georgia, reaction among prison officials to the picture was immediate and strong. The beaten inmate was moved into protective custody, and the state Department of Corrections moved to find and punish the torturers. More broadly, new policies and detection technology have led to mass confiscation of cell phones, which have been tied to violent extortion schemes involving inmates and their family on the outside.
“First and foremost, the Department does not tolerate contraband and takes very seriously its mission of protecting the public and running safe and secure facilities,” spokeswoman Gwendolyn Hogan told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “The problem plaguing the corrections system nationwide is one that the [Georgia DOC] is aware of and continuously works to utilize extensive resources to combat this issue.”
Yet critics say the Abu Ghraib–like photo is emblematic of the kind of violence that regularly occurs in Georgia’s prisons. In a 2014 report called The Crisis of Violence in Georgia’s Prisons, the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta documented dozens of similar ordeals and argued that Georgia has seen an increase in the “number of really brutal incidents.”
Those include a prisoner who was airlifted to a burn center after fellow inmates poured bleach in his eyes and boiling water on his privates. In another case, a prisoner had three fingers severed by an inmate wielding a 19-inch prison-made machete. In another, a prisoner was tied to his bed and beaten, remaining a hostage until guards found him—two days later.
Root causes of such violence include failure of basic security, inadequate supervision, and accessibility to lethal weapons and cell phones, the report concluded.  
But while Georgia’s problems with violent prisons are significant, it’s far from the only state where life inside sometimes devolves into outright blood-sport degradation.
Indeed, it was California that became the poster child for “horrendous” prison conditions, in the words of Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.
In a 2011 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that California prisons overcrowded by long-term incarceration policies violated the Eighth Amendment’s guarantee against cruel and unusual punishment. In 2006, there was one preventable inmate death a week inside California’s sprawling prison complex. The opinion referenced several photos of prison conditions, including a picture of a suicidal prisoner who was “held in...a cage for nearly 24 hours, standing in a pool of his own urine, unresponsive and nearly catatonic.”
Aside from mandates to slim down California’s prison population, the ruling’s most lasting contribution came from Justice Anthony Kennedy. “Prisoners retain the essence of human dignity inherent in all persons,” he wrote.
Kennedy’s stance represented a rejection of what University of Pennsylvania law student Sara Mayeux, in an article for Reason.com, called “a deeper cultural pathology: the tendency to imagine prisoners as an undifferentiated mass of uncontrollable criminality, not as human beings with organs that fail and extremities that break.”
Still, problems remain deep and endemic in states like Georgia. It’s a system, the human rights report argues, “in which prison officials have lost control.”
Aware of such problems, political leaders in Georgia and other Southern states have begun to recognize that overreliance on incarceration and mass imprisonment has itself become a problem that affects society.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said in 2011 that his get-tough-on-crime views had been tempered over time. “There is an urgent need to address the astronomical growth in the prison population, with its huge costs in dollars and lost human potential,” Gingrich pointed out. “The criminal-justice system is broken, and conservatives must lead the way in fixing it.”
Fighting off tears, Georgia’s Republican Gov. Nathan Deal in 2012 signed a law to help keep nonviolent offenders out of prison.
Patrik Jonsson is The Christian Science Monitor's Atlanta correspondent, covering the South. He has written for newspapers in New Hampshire, and The Boston Globe
This story was produced by The Christian Science Monitor.

March 19, 2015

No Rape Instead Consensual Sex on England and Wales Prisons






‘Sexual activity is widespread in prisons and must be seen as an urgent health issue,’ said Frances Crook of the Howard League. 
 ‘Sexual activity is widespread in prisons and must be seen as an urgent health issue,’ said Frances Crook of the Howard League. Photograph: Alamy

Rape is extremely rare in prisons in England and Wales, whereas consensual gay sex, pornography and masturbation is widespread and accepted, according to the findings of the first systematic review of sex between inmates.
The two-year commission on sex in prison, set up by the Howard League for Penal Reform, warns of an “urgent health issue” and calls for “coherent and consistently applied policies which recognise and respond to the reality of consensual and coercive sex in prison”.
The commission was blocked by the Ministry of Justice from interviewing current inmates, so instead based its research on in-depth interviews by a criminologist, Dr Alisa Stevens, with 26 former prisoners who spoke for the first time about their experiences.
Gay and bisexual ex-prisoners reported that while they were able to be open about their sexuality on the wing, they were discreet about their sexual activities and relationships.
They usually had sex in the cell of one of the participants or in the showers during periods of association. Some men who shared cells had sex at night despite official prison policy that men who are discovered to be in a sexual relationship should be separated and not allowed to share a cell.


One heterosexual man said that he had sex with gay or bisexual prisoners “out of necessity” and had resumed exclusive heterosexual relationships since leaving prison: “I’m completely straight. What happened then was just about having my sexual needs met, in a particular time and place where I couldn’t get [heterosexual] sex.”
The researchers found that the availability of condoms and dental dams to minimise the risk of exposure to sexually transmitted infections varied widely from prison to prison. Some of those interviewed had been refused condoms while others could get them from healthcare but in circumstances that didn’t allow for any privacy.
The two women ex-prisoners who were interviewed said they had not had personal experience of sex in prison but were aware that “close friendships” were commonplace: “I couldn’t believe how much kissing and cuddling was going on,” said one. “It was a big, big shock, a big culture shock. Someone like me, never been in prison before. I didn’t know where to look half the time!”



The former prisoners insisted that coerced sex was rare behind bars. Three male interviewees disclosed that they had been raped by other prisoners, and three others had been threatened with rape while they were in prison.
One had been raped by five assailants in a cell but was dissuaded from making a formal complaint by a prison officer. He was advised that “grassing” on other prisoners at such an early stage in his long sentence would “mark his cards” for the rest of his time inside.
The researchers also found a tacit acceptance by prison staff of both pornography and masturbation. One interviewee recalled how, feeling “overwhelmed and nervous” on his first night, he asked for a bible. He was told apologetically by an officer that they had no bibles but he could offer him some pornographic magazines to “help you get to sleep”.
Stevens said: “This research has illustrated the urgent need for coherent and consistently applied policies which recognise and respond to the reality of consensual and coercive sex in prison.”
Frances Crook, the director of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “This final report of the commission shows that sexual activity is widespread in prisons and must be seen as an urgent health issue. The commission has conducted the first systematic review of sex in prison and it is clear important lessons must be learned, and fast.”
A HM Prison Service spokesperson said: “We do not condone sex in prisons or believe that prisoners in a relationship should share a cell. 
“We take the report of any sexual assault incredibly seriously and ensure that victims are supported and protected. Every incident is fully investigated and careful analysis is currently taking place to help understand the reasons behind sexual assaults in prisons.”
The spokesperson said the rise in referring cases to the police showed commitment of HMPS to tackling the issue: “We have introduced a new protocol with the police and crown prosecution service to introduce a new approach to further aid the investigation of crime in prison.”

October 14, 2014

A ‘prick’, that is all it takes but they wont see it

This story was published in 2011 (the reason you not reading it now) but the picture and the facts, problems and non solutions are still current today on 2014. I figure I throw the bottle in the water again…adamfoxie

John Greysons Poster Virus for AIDS Action Now 

John Greyson’s Egyptian Imprisonment

                                                                  
John Greyson didn’t waste any time turning his detention into a piece of art. Created using a series of drawings made after he was arrested in Egypt, his short film Prison Arabic in 50 Days was shot less than 24 hours after he landed in Canada. Both a thank-you to everyone who’d fought for his release and an attempt to communicate something about the experience, the piece was created in his garden with fellow prisoner Tarek Loubani and Greyson’s sister Cecilia.

Using the backs of cigarette packages (mostly Marlboros, occasionally Cleopatras), the cards feature words in Arabic and English relevant to their imprisonment. Guard, door, window, breakfast, shower; each term is accompanied by an image that hints at, but doesn’t tell, the whole story.xtraonline

March 3, 2014

50 Years Latter The Birdman of Alcatraz Speaks

                                                                        



More than 50 years after his death, the first part of a book written by Robert Stroud, better known as the Birdman of Alcatraz, about the U.S. prison system has finally been published.
Stroud, gained infamy for his painstaking study of birds while in federal prison, but he also wrote a manuscript of more than 2,000 pages about the brutality, sex, bribery and what he saw as the monumental failure of prisons to rehabilitate inmates.
He died in 1963 while engaged in a lawsuit with the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, which didn’t want the book about the then 150-year history of the U.S. prison system published. 
Robert Stroud, gained infamy for his painstaking study of birds while in federal prison, but he also wrote a four-part book about prison which has finally been released The book written by Robert Stroud, known as the Birdman Of Alcatraz, laid unpublished after his death in 1963, until now 
More than 50 years after his death, the first part of a book written by Robert Stroud, better known as the Birdman of Alcatraz, about the U.S. prison system has finally been published
The manuscripts went into storage at the house of Stroud's lawyer, Dudley Martin, in the mid-1980s after a 20-year legal battle 
The manuscripts went into storage at the house of Stroud's lawyer, Dudley Martin, in the mid-1980s after a 20-year legal battle
It took until the mid-1980s for his lawyer to gain legal possession of Stroud’s manuscript but then publishers concerned about libel balked at a book that named brutal guards and supposedly on-the-take wardens.
‘To sadistic-minded persons, helplessness is always an invitation to cruelty,’ Stroud wrote in the brown, faded and stained manuscript that languished in a basement long after his death in 1963. 

The manuscript – more than 2,000 pages - was stored at the Springfield, Missouri home of Stroud's former lawyer Dudley Martin.
Now that the people named in the book have died and the statute of limitations on libel has expired, his manuscript has been converted into a four-part book Looking Outward: A History Of The U.S. Prison System From Colonial Times To The Formation Of The Bureau Prisons.
Lawyer Dudley Martin looks at handwritten manuscripts written by Robert Stroud at his home in Springfield, Missouri 
Lawyer Dudley Martin looks at handwritten manuscripts written by Robert Stroud at his home in Springfield, Missouri
Burt Lancaster starred as Robert Stroud in the 1962 movie Birdman of Alcatraz 
Burt Lancaster starred as Robert Stroud in the 1962 movie Birdman of Alcatraz
‘If there is anybody who could write about federal prisons, it was him,’ said J.E. Cornwell of Springfield, the book's publisher.
Part I, Looking Outward, A Voice From The Grave, has recently been published in E-book form. 
In it, Stroud reveals that he was gay, though he had married a woman while in prison who was his partner in a bird-related business on the outside.
Stroud entered federal prison in 1909 at age 19 after being convicted of manslaughter for killing with his bare hands a man in Alaska who allegedly beat up a prostitute. He spent the next 54 years in four different federal facilities.
In 1916, Stroud knifed a guard to death at the federal penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kansas, over a dispute about visiting privileges for Stroud's mother. He served the next 43 years in solitary confinement.
Stroud began studying birds at Leavenworth and wrote two heralded scientific books on bird diseases, which led to the 1962 movie about his life called Birdman Of Alcatraz starring Burt Lancaster.
Stroud in the 1920s Stroud in the 1930s 
Stroud entered federal prison in 1909 at age 19 and died in 1963, aged 73. The photo on the left was taken in the 1920s and then one on the right during the 1930s
‘Here is a guy with a third-grade education who somehow educated himself to write books on birds that were followed around the world,’ said his lawyer, Dudley Martin, 80. ‘My father raised gamecocks and he used Stroud's book when they got sick.’
After his transfer to Alcatraz in 1942, Stroud turned his attention to researching the history of federal prisons and interviewing inmates and guards.
‘Nobody else had written this stuff and the federal prison system did not want it out,’ Martin said.
Stroud spent years trying to get his book published, finally suing the U.S. Bureau of Prisons in 1962 to allow publication.
But Stroud died in 1963 before the lawsuit was resolved. And it took 21 years for Martin, the administrator of Stroud's will, to get legal possession of the manuscripts from probate.
In 1942, Stroud was transferred to Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, and became inmate #594     

 
Martin's secretary put Stroud's hand-written notebook manuscripts into type, more than 2,000 pages single-spaced. Martin sent the book to three New York publishers, all of whom turned it down, concerned about libel suits.
The manuscripts went into storage at Martin's house in the mid-1980s. Some 30 years later, the people named in the book have died and the statute of limitations on libel has expired, Martin said.

More of his writings are to come, with the volumes tracing the rise and degeneration of the prison reform movement and how sex in prison contributed to character destruction.
Stroud spent the last four years of his life at the federal medical center prison in Springfield. Martin took over as his lawyer after Stroud’s transfer from Alcatraz and met him only once, in court.

‘He was a great big, tall man,’ Martin said. ‘I had to look up at him.’
Martin said Stroud would be pleased to know the public is finally able to read his account of the prison system.
‘He'd be honored,’ Martin said. ‘He would feel appreciated for what he had done.’

story and pictures By DAILY MAIL REPORTER and REUTERS REPORTER 

Featured Posts

White Americans Are Dying Faster: What’s Killing Them?

In rich countries, death rates are supposed to decline. But in the past decade and a half, middle-aged white Americans have...