Saturday, August 18, 2012

Will I have to stop visiting Bryan?

Aug 18, 2012 Letter to Bryan:

Dear Bryan,

Greetings, my dear, dear friend! I hope this finds you well. I am in exceptionally good spirits today as I have again had the pleasure of dealing with CDCR visiting staff and by extension IGI, who served up a big plate of “run around” with a side order intimidation. To which I responded know me.... “kill them with kindness”.... so I guess you can say I provided the dessert. :-)

Anyway, there is a lot to fill you in on, but upfront I want you to know that you should TAKE NO ACTION to remove me from your visit list UNTIL you receive a postcard from me specifically directing you to do so. I have an agreement here in WA and I want to be sure they fulfill their side of our bargain BEFORE you remove my name from your visit list. Be assured that I will be able to continue to correspond with you....that is one of my requests and our Intelligence & Investigations (like your IGI) has no problem with that.... I just want to get it in writing!

So, where to begin? Well, back when we first began corresponding and then visiting, you indicated your willingness to step back if anything ever got in the way of my life in WA. A simple explanation is that I caught a DOC worker violating policy (who knows I visit you in CA – yeah, the blog!) and when I reported it he got mad and raised a red flag that I “may” be passing information in code between you and an inmate in WA. He then began to take it upon himself to call IGI down there and investigate me by reading my facebook page, etc....despite his admission to me that he had no authorization to do so.

That raised enough of a red flag so that our I & I and your IGI were all in a tizzy. The first thing they did was suspend my visits with Todd (my fiance), which occurred on June 27, 2012. Seven weeks now.

After three weeks of trying to figure out what this was all about and another three weeks of working my way up the chain of command trying to resolve my suspension, at last I began to speak with Tim Thrasher, our DOC Chief of Investigative Operations at Headquarters (who knows me from other matters... I go to conferences where DOC leaders are also in attendance) . In order to simplify I&I's investigation and to fast track the return of my visits, I offered to take my name off your visit list....Tim agreed with this.... he said letters are easy to monitor, and appreciated my offer to not visit. Bryan, you should know that it is not a violation of DOC policy to visit inmates in other states, and there is nothing wrong with my visiting you, I just offered it to simplify things here. Again, don't take me off your list until I send you a postcard... I want to put our “agreement” in writing so there are no “after the fact” changes. :-)

Just know that we are at the very end of this suspension and there are several very good outcomes:

1. Supt. Neiland (DOC's version of a warden) now has a clear understanding of the totality of my situation, (unlike any other person at our facility level) and it has been suggested that she “take me under her protective wing”. If I let her know whenever I have any problems, then she can intercede on my behalf BEFORE things get out of hand, as in this instance. That's the idea anyway, I'll know more after our meeting this week.

2. Todd and I are to be married soon! Our marriage packet is all approved, the license, ring, minister all in order... in fact, this suspension interfered with our original date of July 26. Supt. Neiland should get us back on track! Again, I'll know more after our meeting this upcoming week.

3. You and I can continue to correspond, and of course our next annual visit isn't scheduled til May 2013 anyway, so who knows? To be on the safe side, let's just say I'll be hugging you upon your release from prison. WHOA...isn't that a cool thought !?!


PS I tried to call your mom today and left a message; I try to call her every so often. It makes me happy to talk to her, I feel close to you and I know she enjoys our conversations....mostly we gossip about you.... LOL

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Bryan's picture and color pastel artwork

Greetings Everyone!~

It has been one year since the Pelican Bay/CDCR Hunger Strike ended (the first one) and I would like to begin blogging again.

Bryan and I have been writing a lot and both tending to the task of getting through each day.  Some friends have encouraged me to post to this blog again so we can share the happenings of Bryan's life.  And my life.

 Although the major requests for changes at CDCR are slowly going through the process, this blog is about Bryan and his quality of life.  Here is how Bryan's life is better one year later.

1.  Bryan's former youth pastor, Laura, found Bryan through this blog last year and began writing to him.  As she is from his home area in Texas, she has been sending pictures of home, etc.  This past weekend she visited with Bryan !!!! Thank you Laura, perhaps you can send me an email with a post for this blog?  A guest submission so everyone can hear about Bryan and your visit?

2.  Bryan qualified to have a picture of himself taken after 16 years (allowing SHU prisoners photos was a concession won during the hunger strike) and it was sent to his family and friends.  I will post it at the end of this entry.

3.  Bryan qualified for color pens and pastels, another concession CDCR offered to end the first hunger strike.   He was limited for the last 20 years to only doing pictures with pen and ink.  He did the Butterfly for me and the Blue Jay for his mother.  They are posted at the end of this entry.  Feel free to copy and use them.... they make nice cards.

4.  In May 2012, I had some very bad family news and since there was nothing I could do here, I drove to Pelican Bay to spend some time with Bryan.  Our visits aren't always about me cheering him up, in this situation he was the kind of friend who just listened and comforted me.  It was also great to spend the weekend with several of the wives who were in Crescent City to visit with their husbands in the SHU.  Their love and understanding was the salve I needed to move forward.

Here is the Butterfly he drew for me with colored pens and pastels.

Here is the Blue Bird he drew for his mother with colored pens and pastels . 

Bryan - he is 39 years old and has been in solitary confinement in the Pelican Bay SHU, Short Corridor for 16 years.  He is one of the original group that began a small hunger strike there in July 2011. The July 2011 strike grew to 6,600 prisoners  and the second hunger strike in September grew to  over 12,000 world wide.

This is the first picture in 16 years he has been able to provide to his family and friends.