picture from google
Keep Going Hard to Bring Maroon HOME!
January 28, 2014
Very dearest friends and supporters of Russell Maroon Shoatz,
YOU DID IT!
Your calls, letters and faxes have forced the administration at the State Correctional Institution (SCI) Graterford to move Maroon out of a feces-infested underground dungeon into a new cell, give him back all his personal property, and issue him a warm blanket. Maroon wishes he could personally thank each and every one of you who went hard these past few weeks, but until that day comes he hopes this letter conveys his deep gratitude for your unwavering support.
This latest transfer to a new cell, effective since last Monday, January 20th, proves that the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (PA DOC) is able and willing to carry out necessary changes to an inmate's situation as they see fit. Now is the time to exert even more pressure to bring an end to the torture of 24-hour isolation, and push the administration to do what has already been promised – immediately move Maroon into general population!
Furthermore, the lawsuit against PA DOC Secretary John Wetzel gained momentum this week when United States District Magistrate for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Cynthia Reed Eddy, issued a decision denying the DOC’s motion to dismiss in the case of Shoatz v. Wetzel. The January 27th ruling allows Maroon’s legal team to move forward with the challenge to his more than 22 consecutive years in solitary confinement, which they say is a violation of his Eight Amendment constitutional rights as it constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.
With Maroon's successful completion of a 60-day "step-down" program at the State Correctional Institution (SCI) Frackville, glowing reports from his Program Review Committee, and 5 Nobel Peace Laureates calling for his release, it is now up to Wetzel to sign off on the last piece of paperwork holding Maroon back from contact visits with his family.
In struggle and solidarity,
The Campaign to Free Russell Maroon Shoatz
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
1. CALL, FAX & SEND SEPARATE LETTERS TO SCI GRATERFORD SUPERINTENDENT MICHAEL WENEROWICZ AND SCI GRATERFORD RHU J BLOCK MANAGER MR. TERRA AT (610) 489-4151,
SEND SEPARATE LETTERS TO SCI GRATERFORD SUPERINTENDENT MICHAEL WENEROWICZ AND RHU J BLOCK MANAGER MR. TERRA AT P.O. BOX 246, GRATERFORD, PA 19426-0246 FAX: (484) 961-7907
LET THEM KNOW THAT:
• We are concerned members of the community who are monitoring the situations involving inmate Russell Shoatz and the conditions he is being held under,
• We are expecting that SCI Graterford will be accepting the information regarding Shoatz’ successful completion of the step-down program at SCI Frackville, and their recommendation that he be released from Restricted Housing into General Population,
• We hold PA DOC Secretary John Wetzel and PA DOC administrators responsible for failing to fulfill their promises to release Russell Shoatz into General Population,
• We request that you immediately remove Russell Shoatz out of the J Block cell for the criminally insane because he doesn’t belong nor deserve to be there, the conditions are torturous, and he is not under Disciplinary Custody, AND
• We also request that SCI Graterford transfer Russell Shoatz into General Population as promised by Secretary Wetzel and PA DOC authorities.
2. CALL PA DOC SUPERINTENDENT JOHN WETZEL AT (717) 728-4109 & SEND LETTERS OF CONCERN WITH RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED TO 1920 TECHNOLOGY PARKWAY, MECHANICSBURG, PA 17050, TO LET HIM KNOW THAT:
• We are frustrated and angry at the continued delays, and unfulfilled promises, regarding inmate Russell Maroon Shoatz.
• His consistent good faith efforts to abide by all State Correctional procedures for transfer to general population have successfully earned him the support of prison official and administrators.
• In light of recent US Department of Justice findings that Pennsylvania State Prisons have used solitary confinement in direct violation of inmates’ constitutional rights, and United Nations guidelines regarding the illegality of using restrictive housing for punitive, long-term purposes, we write with concern that Shoatz’ continued placement in restricted housing constitutes an act of torture: cruel and unusual punishment.
• As voters and community members, we demand Shoatz’ immediate release into general population, and will continue to closely monitor this situation until Shoatz’ conditions are safe and legal.
3. SEND LETTERS, POSTCARDS, & SHORT, SIMPLE MESSAGES OF SUPPORT & LOVE TO: RUSSELL MAROON SHOATS, # AF-3855, P.O. BOX 244, GRATERFORD, PA 19426-0246.
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound - Isaiah 61:1
Russell Maroon Shoatz, a senior citizen (age 70) and grandfather who has been held for thirty-plus years in solitary confinement in Pennsylvania’s prisons, has been promised three times in three separate Correctional Facilities over the past six months that his release into general population is imminent. Yet day after day, Maroon endures 23-hour lock-down in a small cell, under conditions clearly considered torture by United Nations Special Rapporteur Juan E. Mendez.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Laureate 1984
President Jose Ramos-Horta, Nobel Peace Laureate 1996
Sr. Adolfo Perez Esquivel, Nobel Peace Laureate 1980
Ms. Mairead Corrigan Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate 1976
Ms. Jody Williams, Nobel Peace Laureate 1997
This Call is being distributed by Rev. Lucus Johnson of the National Fellowship of Reconciliation, and Rev. Christopher Ney, originally of Allentown, PA.
Imam Al-Hajj Talib 'Abdur-Rashid, The Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood, President of the Majlis Ash-Shura (Islamic Leadership Council) of Metropolitan New York, Vice President, Muslim Alliance in North America; Safiya Bandele, former Director, Center for Women's Development, Medgar Evers College, CUNY; Rev. David Billings, Trainer, People's Institute for Survival and Beyond, LA; Sarita Covington, Co-Founder, Company Cypher; Bonnie Cushing, Trainer, People's Institute for Survival and Beyond; Rev. Dr. Herbert Daughtry of House of the Lord Church (New York), founder of the African People’s Christian Organization and founding chair of the National Black United Front; Margery Freeman, Trainer, People's Institute for Survival and Beyond; Sister Sheba Haven (CA); Rev. Nozomi Ikuta, co-chair, Inter-faith Prisoners of Conscience Project; United Church of Christ, Cleveland OH; former director of Liberation Ministries, United Church of Christ; , ; Rev. Dr. Clyde Kuemmerle, Ecclesia Ministries of New York; Matt Meyer, War Resisters International; International Peace Research Association; Stacia Murphy, former President, National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence; Gamal Palmer, Co-Founder, Company Cypher; Dustin Washington, Director, Community Justice Program, American Friends Service Committee and Core Trainer, People's Institute for Survival and Beyond; Linda Arinna Weisman, Buddhist minister and author (CA)
[List in formation; organizations listed for identification purposes only]
If not directly in contact with Rev. Johnson or Rev. Ney, additional signatures may be sent to (or more information may be received from) Matt Meyer, War Resisters International, 339 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10012; MMMSRNB@IGC.ORG
SIGN THE JERICHO COINTELPRO PETITION!
Free All Political Prisoners!