Prisoners are persons whom most of us would rather not think about. Banished from everyday sight, they exist in a shadow world that only dimly enters our awareness. They are members of a "total institution" that controls their daily existence in a way that few of us can imagine. "[P]rison is a complex of physical arrangements and of measures, all wholly governmental, all wholly performed by agents of government, which determine the total existence of certain human beings (except perhaps in the realm of the spirit, and inevitably there as well) from sundown to sundown, sleeping, walking, speaking, silent, working, playing, viewing, eating, voiding, reading, alone, with others. . . ." It is thus easy to think of prisoners as members of a separate netherworld, driven by its own demands, ordered by its own customs, ruled by those whose claim to power rests on raw necessity. -- Justice William Brennan, dissenting in O’Lone v. Estate of Shabazz, 482 U.S. 342, 354-55 (1987).

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Craig Giles Letters from Prison

I know it's been a while... I hate that.

There was a recent article on that included letters from a Craig Giles who is spending 9 months at the camp in Jesup, GA. (When I left Pensacola almost a year ago, the warden was splitting time between Jesup and Pensacola. At least that is what I was told the reason was he wasn't around very often.)

You can read excerts at

For those who have read my blog, you will notice a pattern of familiar themes about prison life and the inequities in the federal justice system, especially as they pertain to the unbelievably harsh sentences of first-time, non-violent drug offenders.

His last letter to his wife:

"It'll be interesting to see if I've changed at all when I leave here. Besides the inability to walk. In a weird way, I think I may come out of here more confident. I will certainly be less concerned about what people think of me. . . .I know I'll still suck at golf. "

I made a similar comment at one time about confidence and I think it is true. I certainly don't care as much what people think of me.

However, my golf game actually was better when I got out. I'm down to a 7 handicap... woo, hoo!


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