Wednesday, October 28, 2015

MOBILIZE NOW! Call Marquette Branch Prison Warden to Demand an End to Mistreatment

UPDATE, 10/25

Rev. Pinkney's phone privileges have been revoked!

They are escalating their mistreatment of political prisoner Rev. Edward Pinkney. We must step up our response!

On Friday, we learned that Rev. Pinkney's phone privileges have been revoked for reasons unknown. We continue to suspect that the recent and escalating mistreatment is politically motivated. First he was transferred 500 miles from home despite being a model prisoner (see below), then he was housed in a moldy cell causing health problems, and now his phone privileges have been revoked without explanation. Without phone communication with his wife and supporters, we cannot monitor Rev. Pinkney's health and safety and cannot even ensure that he is receiving our letters.

Please call the warden at Marquette Branch Prison to protest this mistreatment. Be polite, but firm. Here's a script you can use or adapt:

"My name is _______ and I'm calling from __________. I'm calling about Rev. Edward Pinkney, ID #294671. When he first arrived at Marquette, he was housed in a moldy cell causing health problems. Now his phone privileges have been revoked and his wife cannot monitor his health and safety. I am also concerned about the Reverend's health and welfare. He is a model prisoner. His phone privileges need to be reinstated immediately. He needs to be brought back down state while his appeal continues. I'm also calling MDOC headquarters and my representatives with my concerns."

Phone number906-226-6531 ext. 4 (Warden Robert Napel)

Try to call during business hours (8-4:30), each day this week (10/26-10/30). Also please continue making phone calls to MDOC Director Washington's office (details below). If you're in Michigan, please call your state and federal legislators also!

Our experience so far with MDOC officials has been that they have changed their story and have not given us credible explanations for the transfer. Be polite, but firm, and keep the calls coming. Spread the word!

UPDATE, 10/18

Thank you to all who have called Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) Director Washington's office to urge Rev. Pinkney's safe return down state, including Green Party Presidential candidate Jill Stein.

Your calls are already beginning to help! Rev. Pinkney was recently moved from a location that was so moldy he was dizzy, sick to his stomach, and unable to eat, to quarters that are less moldy (but still in Marquette, 500 miles from his family and attorney).

It is crucial that MDOC know that we care about Rev. Pinkney. Please continue to make calls every day this week (details below). If we keep the pressure up, there is still hope that Rev. Pinkney will be returned down state! Marquette Branch Prison is known to be dangerous, particularly for Black prisoners.

Sending letters to Rev. Pinkney through the mail is also very important--both for his morale and to show MDOC how many people care about his well-being and are carefully watching his case (address below).

Read on for the stunning truth

We know why MDOC has been spinning us, unable to give a consistent or credible explanation for Rev. Pinkney's transfer: because despite MDOC's denials, someone other than MDOC was behind the move. The transfer was politically motivated.

Prisons are communities too, and someone sympathetic to Rev. Pinkney's plight overheard a conversation at Lakeland four days before the transfer. The phrases overheard included:
"He doesn't give us any trouble, but they must really, really hate him." 
"Us" in this case means Lakeland staff and while we don't know exactly who "they" refers to, it's safe to assume it's someone connected to Berrien County. The transfer paperwork was stamped "EXPEDITE." Does that sound like a routine transfer to you? We have decided to go public with this information because of MDOC continuing to give us the run around.

MDOC officials have tried to give a string of excuses for moving Rev. Pinkney to Marquette, excuses that keep changing and don't hold up. First they said he was transferred for his own safety because it is a Level I prison. But Rev. Pinkney had already waived his right to a Level I prison--twice, in writing--because he was safer at Lakeland prison (Level II) near his home, than he is at Marquette. Officials claimed that prisoners don't waive this right, but in truth Level I prisoners are required to sign a waiver any time they set foot in a Level II facility, even for a class, because otherwise MDOC would be liable if they met any harm.

Next MDOC claimed that Marquette was his "proper placement," yet there are at least 5 other Level I prisons in the Lower Peninsula. Then they claimed that he was only at Lakeland C.F. because of court proceedings and that he's "done with his writ," but this is not true either. His appeal hearings begin in Grand Rapids in November and an appeal on his bond decision has been filed with the state supreme court.

Don't let MDOC give us the run around. Keep calling MDOC as long as they fail to justify this move that we know is politically motivated. Continue expressing your concern for his health, safety, and well-being.

Call MDOC Director Heidi Washington to express your concern about Rev. Pinkney's safety and to urge his return down state. Be polite, but firm. Here's a script you can use or adapt:

"My name is _______ and I'm calling from __________. I'm calling about Rev. Edward Pinkney, ID #294671. He was transferred from the Lakeland facility to Marquette, 500 miles from his family. I am concerned about the Reverend's health and welfare. He is a model prisoner. He needs to be brought back down state where his wife and attorney will be able to visit him while his appeal continues."

Phone number: 517-241-7238 (Sandy Simon, Director Washington's assistant)

Try to call during business hours, every day this week (10/26-10/30). If you're not allowed to speak directly to Director Washington, leave a message with her assistant.

Please send letters to:
Marquette Branch Prison
Rev. Edward Pinkney N-E-93 #294671
1960 US Hwy 41 South
Marquette, MI 49855

Please donate at (Donate button) or send checks to BANCO:
c/o Dorothy Pinkney
1940 Union St.
Benton Harbor, MI 49022