Monday, October 12, 2020

Please Write A Letter for Tony Harrison

 Tony Harrison has been in prison since 1997, for a crime we believe he did not commit. Opus 30 Justice has been advocating on Tony's behalf since January of 2020.


Recently Tony has been harassed by several of the CO's (Correctional Officers) on his block. He has been moved four times, ultimately to a very undesirable cell right next to the showers. The bright lights from the showers as well as the constant activity and noise going on in the showers has been very stressful for Tony, making it impossible for him to sleep or concentrate. He has requested to be moved, to no avail. The CO's are trying to provoke a response from Tony, so that they can send him to solitary confinement or "write him up". 


Tony Harrison

In addition to this, Tony has been denied a job, despite his being fully qualified to work in the Law Library (Tony earned a certificate in paralegal work) or the kitchen (he also earned a certificate in Food Preparation). He wants to work and be productive, but is being denied.


A letter to Superintendent Michael Capra on Tony's behalf would be very useful, and appreciated. I have written to Capra several times and will continue to do so until Tony's situation is resolved.

WHAT SHOULD I WRITE?

If you are willing to write a letter to Superintendent Capra, just keep it simple and direct. 

Be sure to reference Tony's ID # (97A1299)


For example:

Dear Superintendent Capra,

I am writing in support of Mr. Tony Harrison (DIN 97A1299). Mr. Harrison has been repeatedly harassed by several CO's, and is also living in a cell directly near the showers, which is a source of tremendous stress for him. In addition, Mr. Harrison's attempts to be placed in a job in the Law Library or with Food Services have all been denied, without clear justification.


Your attention to this matter is greatly appreciated.


Signed,


Here is the mailing address:


Mr. Michael Capra, Superintendent

Sing Sing Correctional Facility

354 Hunter Street

Ossining, NY 10562



On Tony's behalf, I thank you.


Will Duchon


Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Inhumane Conditions at Sing Sing

This letter is from an inmate at Sing Sing, the maximum security prison in Ossining, NY. It was written to a friend of Opus 30 Justice, and describes how the conditions of the prison especially during a heat wave can literally cause thoughts of suicide. 
The writer, an inmate since 2013, will remain undisclosed, for fear of possible retaliations from the prison guards and staff. He was sent to "the hole"  (solitary confinement) as a result of a "misbehavior report". In actuality, he was beaten by a CO (Corrections Officer). 

This is what prison is like in the United States, in the year 2020. 



To register a complaint about this, email the
NY State Commission of Correction
 by clicking HERE



Hello there!  Got your card today.  Put a smile on my face.  Thank you.  You’re loved too.  You truly are.  I’m okay.  Just down here in this S.H.U. mess.  Don’t know if I told you, but they gave me 60 days.  I get out on 9/13.  The same day the Attica riot took place on. I have something to tell you.  First off it’s like we’re on big oven down here.  Its always 10 times hotter down here than it is outside for some reason.  It makes it hard to breathe. You know how it feels on a hot summer day that’s in the high 80s?  You know how it feels when you’re outside in the heat and how it feels when you breathe hot air?  It’s like that all day and night here.  The windows are all open, but it only let’s more heat inside.   Yesterday it did some raining and it was raining and it was windy, so it was cooler thank God and today it seems to be cool too.  But what I have to tell you is what I went through Sunday night.  It was so hot in here I began to go crazy in my head.  Thinking about how hot it was.  Thinking about how it was only August 2nd and I had until September 13th.  Thinking about how I’m in here when I was the one who had been assaulted.  Thinking about how that C.O. lied saying I hit him multiple times when I didn’t hit him once.  It all was driving me crazy to a point I wanted to end it.  Like hurt myself.  Then I laid here on my bed and felt like all of the fight in me had been taken out of me.  I looked at my Bible, I mean I just looked at it and my arm slid off the bed and my hand hit the steel.  Bed frame and it was cold.  So I sat up and touched it again to see if it really was cold & it was. I took the mattress off & laid on just the bed frame that night and my body cooled down instantly. Then a breeze came through the windows.  God came right on time.  I’ve never ever wanted to hurt myself before in my whole life because I love my life regardless of what I’m up against or going through.  But that night almost broke me.  I’m okay though so don’t worry.  I hope the light is shined on the darkness of this facility.  Prisoners have been doming down here since I’ve been here with assault on staff tickets.  These C.Os are beating people up and writing misbehavior reports lying saying they’ve been assaulted.  Then they’ll have another CO hit them and it seem like the inmate did it.  Then they’ll be willing to come to the ticket hearing and lie on record.  Now it’s your word against theirs and you know who the loser is going to be.  



They [the C.Os] get workers comp.  They’ll be off work for months and still get paid  That’s the scheme they have going.  Get hurt at work and get months off with pay!

I pleaded guilty at the hearing because the sergeant said she was the officer’s witness.  I wanted to fight it but they would have given me more time.  I just gave in.  I’m kinda mad at myself because of that but I know they don’t like it when you fight.  I’m okay though.  My left shoulder hurts from time to time.  I think it’s getting better though.  That’s really the only think that still hurts.  I really do appreciate you Michele. You’re a special person in my life.  I see your smiley face heart on the card.  It’s kinda fly (lol).  Touched me though.  Thank you for caring and helping.  They need to send undercover C.Os in here to really see this mess.  Every staff member in power in this facility is corrupt. They cover for each other.  Some C.Os are good though.  Not all of them are bad but it’s more bad than good trust me.  And the Spanish ones are in control.  It’s so many Spanish Sergeants and Lieutenants here it’s crazy.  I’ve never seen so many sergeants in a prison before.  It’s something up with that too.  I wish you be a fly on the wall to see it all.  This place is like a drama movie.  Since I’ve been here at least 10 inmates have passed away from non-violent deaths.  Medical here is crazy too.  I can really be a move.  Call it life in Sing Sing (lol).  Thanx again for the card & the prayers & help.  Take care & I’ll be in touch.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Expanding our Work

Today, Opus 30 Justice officially began the process of becoming a 501(3)c nonprofit organization. Our goal is to go further in our advocacy of wrongfully convicted individuals by doing investigative and legal work on their behalf. Contributions towards this are always welcome and appreciated, but equally important is awareness of the stories of Charles, Tony, Bryant and Bruce, here on this blog and at our WEBSITE
Thank you for your interest.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Happy Birthday, Tony

Tony Harrison celebrates his 51st birthday on Sunday, June 14.
This will be the twenty-third birthday Tony has spent behind bars.

We continue to advocate on Tony's behalf.

Click HERE to read Tony's story.


Tony Harrison with his mother

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Thoughts About the Coronavirus From Behind Prison Walls

"As of April 13, three incarcerated people in New York State prisons had died from COVID-19, and 139 had tested positive for the virus, according to the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision. Among staff, 581 people had tested positive, and one had died."
-John J. Lennon, April 13, 2020 THE ATLANTIC




These lines are from recent emails from Bruce Bryant, Charles L. Wynn, Sr., and Byron Brown, inmates at Sing Sing Correctional Facility in Ossining, NY. 

Peace Will:
I received your e-mail today and I am doing just fine as I could under these circumstances, my mother is doing well as well. yeah a lot of prisoners have been exposed to the covid-19 and 9 prisoners died from it. It is a damn shame how they disregard
 our lives in here, so I have to take my health very seriously because I will not make it out alive, Feel Me!!!!    -Tony Harrison


Dear Will,
I'm writing this message, because the coronavirus has now allegedly caused the death of a prisoner at Sing Sing Correctional Facility pending an autopsy. This prisoner also had other medical complications as well. So the Prison Administration doesn't really know what he died from until his autopsy results come back from the state medical examiner. However, the administration has completely sealed off two tiers for prisoner's which are infected with the coronavirus.. Will, most of the officers and prisoners are wearing protection over their face and practicing social distances. I'm doing all of the necessary precautions to prevent spread of the coronavirus.
Well other than that I'm still doing the same things as usual. I'm making sure that I stay healthy. So, that's my primary concern, and everything else will come together. I want to be a person who will survive and adapt to my conditions. The majority of people are survivors, it's encoded into our DNA to be just that survivors period!  -Byron Brown

this slogan was sent to me by Byron Brown, 
as an email attachment


Dear Will,
I'm writing this message to check on you. I just want to make sure that things are fine with you and your family
I'm doing fine just making sure that I stay healthy physically, mentally, and spiritually. I can only imagine just how stressful it's to be quarantined in your home especially when people are so condition to be out socializing with friends, colleagues, and family members.  

I will offer you a tip on how I deal with the isolation. I think about the things that I need to do personally to get my life in order. I have to constantly remind myself of the good things I have in my life, because sometimes we tend to be forgetful of those blessings or advantages. Lately, I've been really thinking about all of the people who died from coronavirus and how their deaths will affect not only their families but society as well. Therefore, when I reflect upon my current situation, I'm immediately reminded to be very humble, because I have a life. It may not be the one I planned on having but I certainly can change the outcome of my life. We should be more mindful and appreciative of what we have and don't possess in life so, we'll work extra hard to obtain those things in which will make our lives more pleasant.

Stay positive and focus on yourself!   -Byron Brown



Wow,
it's really bad out there, huh. This too shall pass. Imagine what those in undeveloped countries go through. The Black community is really getting hammered. I believe it was Malcolm X who said, that when America has a cold, the Black community catches a flu. 

While millions of Americans find it difficult to cope with self-isolation during this COVID-19 Pandemic, I often wonder how those isolated in solitary confinement in prisons across the country are coping with the pandemic.  
-Bruce Bryant




My precious mother did inform me that you did in fact get yourself tested for the covid-19. Know that I'm praying and trusting that you are clear of the coronavirus, and AT THE LEAST your body has overcome those symptoms that you were feeling {shortness of breath and that cough}. I too have been experiencing some symptoms over the past week as well. Two days ago I made and ate two albacore tuna fish sandwiches on whole wheat bread, and I couldn't taste it at all. It literally felt as if I was eating air. Yesterday my taste buds returned, but I still haven't had my usual appetite. Some nights my body aches, and I get the chills. However, once I bundle up in my thermals and hat, and eat a couple of cough drops, when I wake up the following morning I feel better. I'm just so grateful to our MOST MERCIFUL and ALMIGHTY GOD that although I'm literally surrounded by the deadly coronavirus my body CONTINUES to fight off the ailments in its entirety. We both know that God is THE BEST healer, and he will surely protect us both!
-Charles L. Wynn, Sr. 






Wednesday, April 8, 2020

The Dandelion and The Orchid

I asked Bruce Bryant to share some thoughts. This email arrived today.


Bruce Bryant and his parents


While millions of Americans find it difficult to cope with self-isolation during this COVID-19 Pandemic, I often wonder how those isolated in solitary confinement in prisons across the country are coping with the pandemic. 

Wrongfully convicted and incarcerated for the past twenty-six years, I had the misfortune of finding myself in solitary confinement for a minor incident, while at Shawangunk Correctional Facility (Wallkill, NY). The incident occurred on December 22, 2007, at around 8 AM. I woke up, brushed my teeth and used the bathroom as I normally do every morning. Shortly after doing this an officer came to the cell I was occupying and told me I caused a flood in the cell on the tier beneath me, when I flushed the toilet. Astonished, I asked the officer, how did I do that? He then claimed he had announced early in the morning that no one should use the toilet because they were working on the cells on the tier below. I apologized and told the officer I didn't hear him announce that, and besides, why didn't they just turn off the water. He then stated I would be given a misbehavior report. On January 2nd, 2008, I attended a hearing for the misbehavior report, I was found guilty and sentenced to 90 days in the solitary housing unit, also known as the box. 
My first day locked in 24 hours a day, I realized I would have to get use to eating less food since they would be feeding me small trays of food in the cell. So I decided I would fast and pray for the first few days, so my stomach would get use to a small amount of food. 

The next thing I did was get a couple of books out of my property. I chose 
"Man's Search For Meaning" by Viktor E. Frankl.  I began reading this book and really thinking about its concepts. I was introduced to logotherapy, which is the idea that despite our circumstances we can still be driven to find meaning in our lives. Also the idea that when we are no longer able to change a situation, we are often called to change ourselves. Even in suffering we can find a meaningful existence. 

During these times of isolation I would encourage people to read, read, and get to know yourself. One of the things I realized in isolation was isolation introduces us to ourselves. How we respond to crisis is more important than the crisis itself. 
I also think about the analogy of the Dandelion and the Orchid. The Dandelion thrives in any environment, while the Orchid requires a particular type of environment to thrive. However, we all have a little Dandelion in us, we can thrive even in the midst of this pandemic, but we must choose to do so.

Bruce
April 8, 2020

Sunday, March 22, 2020

A letter from Byron Brown about Education in Prison

Byron Brown is currently an inmate at Sing Sing Correctional Facility in Ossining, NY. He asked to share an aspect of prison life which many people on the outside might be unaware of. This email from Byron arrived on March 22: 





Dear Readers, 

I'm writing this post to share my personal experiences with educational programs within prisons in New York State Department Of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS). The majority of Americans don't realize that the educational programs in prisons aren't adequately sufficient for prisoners to make a successful transition back into society.

Byron Brown

I'm speaking about the vocational programs in which, prisoners are offered in NYS DOCCS. The majority of these vocational programs nolonger have a NYS Department of Labor Certification. Therefore, this administrative decision to nolonger offer NYS Department of Labor Certified Vocational Programs has placed prisoners in a huge disadvantage socially upon exiting prison. The reason why prisoners are in a disadvantage socially once they leave prison, when they are interviewed by a potential employer. The employer will not hire them without a NYS Department of Labor Certification. An employer will hire someone who has a NYS Department of Labor Certification as opposed to a regular vocational certificate. (Think about the general differences between those vocational certification programs). Why would an employer hire someone who doesn't have the best qualification? In my opinion the person with a vocational certification from the New York State Department of Labor has the best qualification. Although, I don't have this mindset when it comes to the higher educational programs in prisons.



Presently, in NYS DOCCS there are several college programs offered to prisoners in which, they could earn degrees, i.e. ( a Master's in Theological Studies, Bachelor's in Behavioral Science, & Associate's in Arts and Humanities). Prisoners wouldn't have been afforded this opportunity without the assistance of philanthropists, volunteers, and college administrators in which, they understand the importance of education. Education will only empower individuals, it enriches their lives. I'm fortunate in this regards to have taken advantage of educational opportunities offered in NYS DOCCS prisons.


I understand that the economical costs of educating prisoners is really expensive for tax payers. I'm only suggesting that legislators introduce proposals, in which prisoners could pay back the money for their educational programs upon reentry into society. For example, they could do volunteer work within their respective communities. Community leaders could make the decisions on where to place prisoners as volunteers. I don't want to be to specific on any of the placement aspects, because someone who's an expert should make that determination. I would just prefer that legislators give prisoners more added incentives towards educating themselves. Overall, this idea has tremedous benefits from a socioeconomic perspective. I think legislators have been very reluctant to introduced these type of prison educational reforms mainly due to political opposition. However, there will come a time in which legislators have to give credence to these type of ideals for societal purposes.



Byron Brown

Please Write A Letter for Tony Harrison

 Tony Harrison has been in prison since 1997, for a crime we believe he did not commit. Opus 30 Justice has been advocating on Tony's be...