I am an old Kentucky ridge runner. I was born in a pick-up truck on the side of the highway. My father, Robert Lee Harris, was a moonshiner. My family line goes back to the Cherokee and English who built this great country. I grew up in a dysfunctional family and was sent to foster homes and Chaddock Boys School. It is the trip to Chaddock that landed me in Quincy, Illinois. It is the Quincy courts that sent me to the big house.
The first time I went to prison, I was guilty as hell. Continue reading “Larry’s Story”
I have finally got my case into court. We have moved past the Merit Hearing. Southern Illinois District Judge Michael J. Reagan issued his Memorandum and Order on the Harris-vs-Director Baldwin, et al., 18-cv-0711-MJ-RJD on December 19, 2018. He then handed the case down to Magistrate Judge Reona J. Daly. Latest Court Action.
Continue reading “Latest Court Action”
So I immediately filed a Motion to Serve Defendants at Government Expense…
In the late nineties a politician from Pike County, Illinois need to find a job for his son. Power breeds corruption. It always has and always will. This was how Donald Snyder from Pittsfield, Illinois became the new director of the Illinois Department of Correction. He came with the get-tough-on-crime rhetoric. He removed a lot of good policies in place to rehabilitate the prisoner. His famous line of B. S. was, “The Illinois prisoner is being treated like a pampered baby. They were sent to prison to be punished, and I will punish them.” He came, and hell came with him. Continue reading “Compliance Check”
When a man is sent to prison he loses the respect that most men enjoy. He becomes a number in the penal system. No longer do his words carry weight. He is ignored and placed in the “I do not give a shit” pile.
Low Battery Punishment
The Health Care system in place in the Illinois prison system is an inside joke. The services are contracted out to a medical contractor that gets one hundred and ten million dollars a year to supply the healthcare needs of the entire Illinois Department of Correction prisoner body. The contractor is allowed to keep all the money — as a bonus — that is not spent on prisoner care. So you have a system with a built-in incentive to give the prisoners only the barest minimum of health care—this is the policy that is crammed down each employee’s throat. Continue reading “Medical Care in the Illinois Prison System”
Mandatory Supervised Release
In the year 1977, then Governor Thompson signed into effect the “Truth In Sentencing Bill,” a public act law that changed the sentencing structure in the Illinois criminal court system. No longer would the Illinois Parole Board be a part of the sentencing structure. From the date of January 1st, 1977, the men and women sent to Department of Corrections would serve a definitive sentence.
No longer was the convicted murderer Continue reading “Illegal Holding of Prisoners Beyond Release Date”
Why the Accused Takes the Plea Bargain
My friend, Geoffrey, sent me an article published in the Washington Post, Sunday, January 14, 2018, “Why an innocent person would expect a plea deal.” He was most upset and confused about how an innocent man or woman would plead guilty to some charge they were not guilty of. So I told him I would share my twenty-five years of knowledge with him. For I am the “jail house lawyer,” the “writ writer,” who has helped many a man seek justice in the State and Federal Court of Appeals. Continue reading “The Plea Bargain”
In Illinois the Public Safety Act guarantees that the Department of Corrections and the Illinois State Police get their budgets, no matter what, in order to protect the public. For we cannot have our prisoners escaping out into the public. So the excuse that “the state Is broke” does not float here. It simply will not hold water.
But the Shawnee Prison is in serious disrepair. Money was appropriated to replace the windows for the cellhouses here. But only the windows in Three and Four House was replaced—the rest of the money disappeared, with no investigation into the millions missing. Continue reading “Something Wrong Here?”
My celly Justin, “Captain Crunchy,” as we called him, was released from the Illinois Department of Corrections on December 8 at 1 a.m. He caught an Amtrak train to Chicago. From there he jumped on the bus for his final leg of his journey. As I draft this blog, I hope my old celly has arrived to see his little girl. For she is the reason I helped him get home on time. Continue reading “A Day in the Life of a Jailhouse Lawyer”
In the prison system you have the cellhouse, a building where four wings intersect at a hub in the center. This hub is a circular control booth with windows facing toward the four wings. The front of each wing, whether it is A, B, C, or D, is full glass from the floor to the ceiling, so that the staff has a complete view of each wing. Continue reading “The Right To Be Free From Illegal Punishment”
People are sent to prison for breaking the law. But prisons have laws also, and the prison staff is obligated to follow those laws. For example, the law has clearly established that prisoners are to get a minimum of five hours of out-of-cell exercise per week, in order to keep their bodies healthy. Exercise is one of the rights given under the Eighth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution. This is to prevent cruel and unusual punishment where the conditions of confinement cause the body to deteriorate. Continue reading “The Law Does Not Apply to Prison Staff”
In my last blog, I described the change in diet at the Illinois prisons, from mostly meat to mostly soy. According to the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC):
- There is no proof that soy diet makes men sick.
- I am a “Chronic Complainer” and have no real case against the diet.
Let me set the record straight on both of these assertions. Continue reading “The High Cost of the Soy Diet”