Eric McDavid Update: Lockdowns, Move and New Address

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Last month marked the 3rd year that Eric has spent behind bars. His arrest and imprisonment were a direct result of government infiltration and entrapment – Eric has spent the last three years of his life in a cage for what amounts to thought crime. Those years have been full of challenges and struggle, but Eric has met all of them with the utmost courage and integrity.

Most recently, Eric has been enduring lockdowns at the prison, the loss of phone and internet access, and a move. On December 23, a “riot” broke out at Victorville, sending 6 inmates to the hospital and forcing 17 to be treated at the prison for injuries ranging from stab wounds to blunt trauma. We waited for two weeks to hear from Eric – not knowing whether or not he was ok. On January 5 he was finally able to call and let us know he was ok. Victorville remains on lockdown, but they were easing up on restrictions and he was able to receive visitors two weeks ago (although that has changed yet again…).

During the lockdown it became difficult for Eric to get vegan food. Normally this is not a problem for him – chowhall has plenty of vegan options, and he can supplement this with items from the commissary to round out his diet. But during the lockdown, prisoners only had access to the food brought to them in their cells. This greatly limited Eric’s diet. Fortunately, after trying various avenues for redress, the food situation improved and Eric is now (last we heard) receiving enough food.

However, as part of the attempt to get vegan food, an “illegal” (according to the prison) phone call was made. As punishment for trying to get himself food, Eric’s phone and email access was turned off for 60 days. Other than letters and face to face visits, which are difficult and costly for friends and family (and as a result, they don’t happen very often), phones and email are Eric’s main lifeline outside the prison.

Unfortunately, this is not the only thing… Over the weekend, an incident at one of the facilities at Victorville (it is unclear which facility) caused both the Medium I and the Medium II facilities to go on lockdown, which means visitation has been canceled until further notice. After discovering this, we checked to make sure that Eric was still at the Medium II facility and found that he has, in fact, been moved to the Medium I at Victorville. This is difficult news for a variety of reasons.

We are left wondering why Eric was moved in the first place, but also it means that Eric’s life has been uprooted and scrambled once again. It is doubtful that he got to take much – if anything – from his previous cell with him. It’s possible he lost letters, addresses, pictures, etc. Eric now has to start all over in a new environment, which can be extremely complicated and stressful when that environment is a federal prison.

We will keep you updated on this situation as we find out more.

The appeals process has been delayed multiple times. Eric’s opening brief is now due March 5. He has multiple strong arguments on appeal, and we look forward to getting the process moving. If all goes well, everything could be filed for review by the appeals court sometime this summer.

Thank you all for your continued support. Eric has been receiving your letters and they have definitely helped him through these winter months – especially during these lockdowns when he has not been able to have contact with his loved ones.

Please remember that Eric has been moved – which means he has a new address:

Eric McDavid 16209-097
FCI Victorville Medium I
Federal Correctional Institution
PO Box 5300
Adelanto, CA 92301

We’ll keep you updated as things moved forward with the appeals.

Yours,
SPS

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ELF Press Office Calls Activist’s 22 Year Sentence Cruel and Unusual Punishment

February 5, 2009

EARTH LIBERATION FRONT PRESS OFFICE CALLS ENVIRONMENTALIST’S 22 YEAR PRISON SENTENCE “CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT”

Lansing, MI – The North American Earth Liberation Front Press Office (NAELFPO) responded today to the nearly 22-year sentence handed to environmental activist Marie Mason, calling it “cruel and unusual punishment.”

Marie Mason, an environmentalist and labor rights organizer, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Paul Maloney, to a term of 21 years and 10 months in prison for her role in environmental defense actions that included targeting genetic engineering research at Michigan State University and urban sprawl in Indiana.

“The sentenced imposed on Marie Mason today by Judge Maloney was for nonviolent crimes against property,” stated NAELFPO spokesman Jason Crawford. “Currently, the average federal sentence for murder is 19 years, nearly three years less than given to Marie Mason today for nonviolent property crimes. Two things are clear from this decision. First, the U.S. government cares more about the property of corporations and institutions involved in environmental destruction than they value human life. Second, since the 22 year sentence given to Marie Mason is three years above the average federal sentence for murder, it constitutes cruel and unusual punishment under the 8th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”

The Earth Liberation Front, or ELF, is an international, underground movement consisting of
autonomous groups of people who engage in direct actions to protect the planet. Formed in 1992 in Brighton, England as an offshoot of the Earth First! organization, the ELF has been active in the United States since 1996. Since that time the group has conducted dozens of actions across the country and North America resulting in over $150 million in damages. Notorious ELF actions have included the $26 million arson attack at Colorado’s Vail Ski Resort in 1998 and the $50 million arson attack on a five-story condominium project in San Diego, CA in 2003.

“The federal government wrongly believes it can stop the national effort to protect the environment by imprisoning those who take nonviolent action against corporate and governmental polluters,” Crawford continued. “Instead of targeting environmental defenders, why isn’t the U.S. government prosecuting and imprisoning the real ecoterrorists, the CEO’s of Exxon, Ford Motor Co., Monsanto, Dow Chemical, Dupont, Chevron, Occidental Petroleum, Boeing, Proctor & Gamble, General Motors and other corporations that are polluting the planet and increasing global warming daily?”

The North American Earth Liberation Front Press Office (NAELFPO) is the public face of the Earth Liberation Front direct action movement. First established in 2000, the NAELFPO receives anonymous communiqu├ęs from the ELF and similar environmental protection groups and forwards the information to news media internationally.

NAELFPO can be found on the web at http://www.elfpressoffice.org and http://www.earthliberation.net.

Contact: North American Earth Liberation Front Press Office (NAELFPO)
Tel: (202) 521-1482 Email: info@elfpressoffice.org

Posted in ELF

‘Heavily Damaged,’ Private Prison Feels the Heat in West Texas

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PECOS, Texas: Law enforcement officers and equipment on Tuesday moved in and out of a federal prison heavily damaged by inmate rioting over the weekend. The company that runs the Reeves County Detention Center says Saturday’s riot, the second in two months, left the facility unable to resume normal operations.
blogs.browardpalmbeach.com

Perhaps the only thing harder to contain than a prison riot is the embarrassment that comes after a prison riot. But still. Boca Raton-based Geo Group has done a ham-handed job spinning the riot that broke out Saturday at a prison it owns in the West Texas town of Pecos. On Sunday it released a statement that the riot ended with a “positive outcome.”

Huh? What post-riot outcome could possibly be “positive”? Did everyone learn a valuable lesson?

And considering this is the second prison riot at a Geo Group-owned facility in Texas in less than two months, does the company know why these keep happening and have a plan for making them stop?

I got in touch with the Geo Group yesterday, and they refused to grant an interview. But they did send me a statement about the riot “group disturbance.”

At no time was there any threat to public safety by the inmate participants, as there were no attempts to breach the secure perimeter.

I should say not! There’s nothing in West Texas but flat land for miles and miles. Escape from Alcatraz is a picnic by comparison.

The statement claims that there were no “serious injuries” among the prison staff or inmates and that this riot in buildings I and II was unrelated to the riot that happened in December in building III but that property damage was significant enough to shut down those first two buildings, which are low-securiity facilities licensed to hold 2,200 criminal aliens. The statement described the inmates as “cooperative and compliant.” The unruly are now… ruly.

A guess: The inmates hoped to improve conditions by staging a riot, which just might embarrass the prison operators into providing better service. Maybe that’s what they mean by a “positive outcome.” Inmates: Why can’t you tell your jailers how you feel?

www.dallasnews.com.State.Edition1.4c5478c.html

Riot heavily damages West Texas prison

12:00 AM CST on Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Associated Press

PECOS, Texas ? Law enforcement officers and equipment on Tuesday moved in and out of a federal prison heavily damaged by inmate rioting over the weekend.

The company that runs the Reeves County Detention Center says Saturday’s riot, the second in two months, left the facility unable to resume normal operations.

A group of eight to 10 officers wearing what appeared to be SWAT gear entered the compound about 1:30 p.m. They emerged about 25 minutes later, then re-entered.

GEO Group Inc. said in a statement that inmates in two of the center’s three units remain under staff view. The company said inmates remain “cooperative and compliant” and no serious injuries were reported.

Sidia Molina of Houston, whose husband, Alberto Molina-Barrios, 47, is in the prison for being in the U.S. illegally, said the riot started because the inmates don’t think they are receiving adequate medical care.

Pablo Paez, a spokesman for GEO Group, said in an e-mail that medical services at the prison are provided by a physicians association “under a direct contract with the county.”

Attempts to reach county officials by telephone were unsuccessful Tuesday.

The two buildings affected house up to 2,200 criminal immigrants.

The Associated Press

Posted in USA