------ Original Message ----- 
To: PATRICK CrusadeSent: Wednesday, January 22, 2003 10:57 PMSubject: [patrickcrusade] Letter to new Prison Commissioner - Alabama
 Here is my letter to the new Prison Commissioner in Alabama.  Please feel free to send copies of this to your prisoners.  They need to start writing (make sure they send you a copy).  You need to keep on writing, telling, saying, phoning, faxing, praying.... The public needs to know about this stuff. Blessings,Sherry Swiney
"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking 
we used when we created them." - Albert Einstein

January 22, 2003

Mr. Donal Campbell
Alabama Prison Commissioner
c/o The Governor's office
600 Dexter Avenue
Montgomery, AL 36104

Dear Mr. Campbell:

The Patrick Crusade is a human rights organization that represents the families of prisoners.I would like to personally welcome you to Alabama and to congratulate you on the position of Prisoner Commissioner.The People are greatly relieved that Mike Haley is no longer at this post.

We all know that if you do the crime, you must do the time.We also know that there are some skewed laws on the books that keep non-violent offenders behind bars for much longer than warranted by the offense in question.With longer sentences, hardly any paroles, stiffer drug laws, 3-strikes laws, etc., Alabama's prisons have bulged to their seams.There are some short-term and immediate answers, as well as long-term answers that you will no doubt be considering (while weighing the pros and cons for each idea), as you strive to relieve Alabama of its serious and "unconstitutional" prison-overcrowding situation.

Allow me to quote from a newspaper article, announcing your appointment today: "Campbell wouldn't say if he would consider releasing nonviolent offenders to make more room.Riley jumped in, saying Campbell told him, " 'I don't want to be responsible for letting someone out early who goes out and commits another crime.' "

We completely agree that people should not be released until they can behave themselves in society.Consider the horrible treatment the inmates in Alabama are enduring.No doubt you've been made aware of the Tutwiler lawsuit, and if you dig through the files, you will find lawsuit after lawsuit, all ignored.When a man is treated like an animal, that is what he will become.When a man is treated like a human being, he will reciprocate.That! is human nature.Cruelty is not human nature.The attached letter from an inmate to Warden Hooks at St. Clair Prison is one example.We hope you look into this with sincerity.You can never expect inmates to be rehabilitated under these conditions.

I would like to advise you that there are halfway houses that are having to rehabilitate the inmates who are released - which I think is absolutely something that needs to be done BEFORE they are released, not afterwards.But, in the interim, perhaps you would consider speaking to the governor about seeking existing halfway houses to help the overcrowding tension.This could be implemented as soon as the Pardons & Paroles Board begins doing its job by releasing people on parole who have been turned down systematically and set back 3-5 more years, for no decent reason!

The People in Alabama are very happy to see that their new governor has listened to them and has not stayed with the Status Quo in Corrections.We look forward to an opportunity to work with you.Our experience thus far is a DOC that utterly ignores and is often rude to the families of the prisoners when they call with a concern.We would all love to see Ms. Janet Findley go!Taking a very serious look at Mr. Andrew Redd, Legal Department, would not be a frivolous action on your part either.In other words, DOC needs all fresh new staff - staff that has not been poisoned by the tenure of corruption within the DOC.Within the ranks, it's called "looking the other way", lest you lose your job, or be given such an impossible time of it, that you quit or go on early retirement.

We are most grateful that our new governor has made every new cabinet member sign an oath of integrity.The current staff at DOC has compromised its integrity a thousand times over, and we look forward to that coming to an end.You do not have an easy task ahead of you, but I am sure you are up to the challenge.

To that end, we would like to invite you to our Convention in Montgomery at the Ramada Inn, on April 25-26, 2003.We have also invited Governor Riley.Enclosed is our flyer.We hope to see you there, where the families of prisoners will be meeting all in one place.This is an opportunity for you to review the situation from inside and from outside - from all sides - so that you are able to make informed decisions.

We do not have Correctional Officers in our prisons in Alabama.We have "guards" who are not properly trained or educated to be Officers.Alabama's Correctional Institutions are not doing any correcting at all.We believe the overcrowding situation, which is largely due to the high rate of recidivism, is directly connected to the rate of abuse the inmates receive at the hand of the prison system.Studies indicate that healthy food (that doesn't mean fancy, just healthy) greatly improves human behavior.How can a man be willing to learn something when he is ill from lack of nutrition?How can a man be interested in receiving an education which will keep him out of prison when he is released, when he is surrounded 24/7 by 82 decibels which, according to OSHA, is harmful to the ear drums?Add boredom to this for lack of something healthy to do, add this to stacking three bunks in a one-man cell, add this to the beatings by guards, the wicked treatment of the inmates' families, the high cost of the telephones, the utter lack of medical treatment for the old and very ill, and then wonder why these men suffer the "revolving door" syndrome after they are released?

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see what a good deal of the problem is.How can this happen?Simple: DOC has been denying or ignoring reality, lying to the public, to the families, and even lying to the health department about 49 positive cases of Tuberculosis at Donaldson and 2 confirmed cases at Tutwiler.At Donaldson, all the inmates are being quarantined.That sounds very good!Except that, all the negatives and positives are being quarantined together.Does this make any sense to you?Tell me how this is going to prevent those who tested negative from soon becoming positive.Tell me that it makes sense for the men who tested positive to be the ones to cook in the prison kitchen and serve the food to everyone.I think that if the health department knew about this, the proper actions would be taken and the men who have TB would begin treatment before there's a TB epidemic in Alabama.49 cases is nothing to sneeze at.

Mr. Campbell, we have a lot of work to do.We would be honored to be able to work with you to correct the Corrections Department.We could be the first state to actively endorse and implement prison reform - not in the way the pundits would say (as in turn prisons into country clubs) - but in a way that actually corrects the behavior of errants so that after they do their time, they are done with crime.This would make our streets safer and in the end, there would be far, far fewer victims of crime.

You can make this dream possible.


Sherry Swiney
Executive Director

Encl:Letter to Warden Hooks
Convention flyer
Mr. Ralph Hooks, Warden
St. Clair Correctional Facility
1000 St. Clair Road
Springville, AL 35146

Dear Warden Hooks:

During my brief assignment at your facility, I was able to speak with hundreds of inmates there.I was totally astounded at the fact that every inmate there had high praise of you, using terms to describe you as: honest, professional, fair and truly concerned about the well-being of all in your institution.I so doubt that even you could begin to comprehend just how rare such high praise this is.I personally have never seen or heard of anyone being praised so highly in the Alabama Department of Corrections.The exception: a dear friend of mine (Barney Harden) who was a warden back in the 70's.

Because of the above, I wanted so badly to meet you personally.Unfortunately, for whatever reason, that was not to be.I think my denial of access was strictly a matter of timing.

However, I have nothing at all kind to say about the supervision below you, from your Deputy Warden on down, are the most abusive people I have ever encountered in the past 15 years that I've been in this Alabama prison system.Your Captain, your redneck Lt. and at least two of your Sgts. are the most brutal people I have ever seen, and being a former police officer, I have certainly seen my share of brutal criminals.And, yes, most of your inherited staff is exactly that - criminals!

Most all the inmates there are in agreement that the staff under you is conspiring against you - to do you in.I am in agreement, and find this most disturbing for two basic reasons.

First and foremost, the Alabama Prison system needs more people like you.Personally, I'm totally astonished that an honest-truthful-professional could actually be promoted to the position of warden in such an abusive and corrupt prison system.Normally, it's right the opposite in Alabama: the abusive rednecks move up the ladder rapidly - such as Jerry Farrell.

Secondly, we as a nation need to rid ourselves of those who are quick to abuse their power.The supervisors below you are the ultimate in such abuse of power.Actually, no doubt, some have severe mental problems - and are a "direct" threat to human life and certainly a threat to the security of your institution.Mr. Hooks, they need help - and need to be sent home to receive it.They are very sick people.

It's most obvious to everyone that I was transferred from your facility in retaliation for exposing truth.I would so like to think that this was also done behind your back and without your knowledge.In many ways I'm much better off.In my leaving your facility, I couldn't have been treated any worse - except for their famous severe beatings.They stole many items from me, destroyed legal documents and more so, my address book.Thieves - Criminals!

For the most part, the criminal mind is simple, even within high ranks.They think that if they can kill the messenger - the message will go away.We both know this is simple, shallow, thinking.It's actually right the opposite.Eventually, they shall have to answer for their evil deeds.No man is above the law.No group of jack-booted thugs is above the law, even should the State of Alabama promote and protect this covenant of evil.The laws of nature and the laws of the universe supercede the State of Alabama and the criminal elements that you inherited.Mark my words, evil shall beget evil - balance is the Law of the Universe - Law of God!

Mr. Hooks, in no way do I envy your position.You are surrounded by pure evil.Titles - bars on collars - evil to the core.I so wish that I could have met and talked with you - too many knives sticking in your back.They shall surely take you down.Deception is the tool of evil - the only tool needed in Montgomery.Montgomery is the very ones that allow such evil to flourish.

I commend you on your abilities to see, and to not prostitute your integrity - extremely rare these days.It's so easy to stand with the crowd (evil).I personally define the ultimate in courage as the courage to stand for what is right even if it means: standing alone.From all indicators, that's Mr. Ralph Hooks - what the hell are you doing with the Alabama Department of Corrections?Although we desperately need men exactly like you - the way this system really is, your talents - your integrity - your professionalism is wasted.But, we need you.

You shall surely remain in our thoughts and prayers.I shall pray for God to bless and guide and provide needed strength.May the coming year smile on us all - all who love peace.

Most sincerely,
Patrick Swiney

Copies: Governor Riley, Attorney General Pryor, ADOC Haley

----- Original Message -----  To: patrickcrusade@yahoogroups.comSent: Thursday, January 23, 2003 2:04 AMSubject: Re: [patrickcrusade] Letter to new Prison Commissioner - Alabama
Donal Campbell left TN as commissioner of corrections and believe me when I say WE are glad he is gone!  Watch things closely. I don't know about Mike Haley but I know you didn't get any better with Campbell in my opinion.

Ann in Nashville

The People are greatly relieved that Mike Haley is no longer at this post.

----- Original Message -----  To: ; Anntnwv@aol.comSent: Thursday, January 23, 2003 6:20 AMSubject: Re: [patrickcrusade] Letter to new Prison Commissioner - Alabama
 Ann, We don't know Donal at all, so thank you for the insight.  We don't know very much about Riley either, so we have to take the stand at first, to give them the opportunity to do right.  If they don't, then Riley is out of office and hopefully Donal too.  The families rallied together in this election, and Riley knows we are the ones who put him over the top.  We reminded him of this, saying we didn't want Haley to stay.  Haley is gone, and I hope that is an indication on the positive side.  Time will tell...and we will be watching closely, Blessings,Sherry Swiney
"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking 
we used when we created them." - Albert Einstein