22 Oct 04
Due to the response to the BBC online news story, I am asking everyone who has corresponded to wait a bit for a reply because I'm only allowed so much stationary each week. People who have provided physical addresses will receive letters in due time. I am overjoyed to be setting the incoming-mail record at Florence prison. Please keep the emails, letters and comments coming, as reading them is the highlight of my day. Your kind words will all be read and appreciated.
Dear Chris Summers,
Thank you for the well-written news story that you put together for the BBC. The public takes notice of the plight of prisoners when a respectable news organisation highlights what is really occurring. Our combined efforts have helped disclose the illegal and immoral treatment of the presentence detainees at the Madison Street jail. My hope is that the jail administration will mend their ways, stop flouting the law and start observing human rights.
Your article contained Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s standard response, "Don’t violate the law and you won’t come back." I find this odd, because the jails predominantly house inmates awaiting trial, who have not yet been convicted of the crimes they have been charged with. Supposedly, there is a presumption of innocence until guilt is proven.
Kudos to the BBC for providing a first-class service in an industry permeated by commercial disinformation. Prisoners listen to the BBC even here. My neighbour, Diego, is an avid listener to the BBC World Service. My cellmate, Penguin, swears up and down that a recent BBC. documentary about ants, shown on the nature channel, was the best programme he has ever seen.
Keep up the good work, Chris!
Appreciatively yours, Jon
To Messrs. Alan West (Daily Post) and Simon Drury,
Thank you for the "Barbaric Conditions" articles. You have helped bring attention to the blog and you have increased the public’s awareness of the plight of the presentence detainees at the Madison Street jail. My hope is that sufficient pressure will come about to halt the practices occurring in that place.
I appreciate your contributions to a worthy cause.
Respectfully yours, Jon
Dear Pauline Crowe, Prisoners Abroad, http://www.prisonersabroad.org.uk/
Thank you for bringing to my attention the fact that the staff at the British Consulate in Washington DC are now aware of the abuses occurring at the Madison Street jail. If it is your intention - in light of the Guardian article - that no citizens of the UK will ever be housed at Maricopa County jailhouses again, then I feel as if our collective efforts have scored a victory. Your email contained great news.
Appreciatively yours, Jon