After a week of anxious waiting and worrying, we now know where Jeremy’s final destination will be – FCI Memphis.
FCI Memphis is medium security prison in Memphis, Tennessee. I received an email from Jeremy this morning and he reports that his commissary privileges have been restored.
His new address is as follows:
Jeremy Hammond, #18729-424
P.O. Box 34550
Memphis, TN 38184
Please remember that his birthday is coming up on January 8. Send him a letter to let him know that he is is not forgotten! Also please note that with this transfer comes important changes with the rules about books and mail. While at FCI Milan, books were allowed to be sent to Jeremy from private individuals. This is no longer the case. All books sent to Jeremy must now come directly from a publisher or distributor (such as Amazon, AK Press, PM Press, etc.). Used books from Amazon are fine. In regards to mail, new rules are being rolled out across all federal prisons that outline what is and is not acceptable when writing to federal prisoners. Please see this post for a list of the new rules, and please follow them carefully, or your letter will be rejected and returned to you.
While we are relieved that he has gotten to his final destination and that it happened quickly and that Jeremy arrived safely, this is not the outcome that either we or Jeremy wanted. We had hoped that FCI Milan would have allowed him to stay so that he could have completed his education, as he was only one semester away from graduation, and he was very much enjoying his studies. It is absolutely ludicrous that Jeremy was forced to suffer over one month in SHU, loss of privileges, and removal from an environment where he was not only learning and actively attempting to better himself, but where he had no other major disciplinary infractions, all over the ridiculous charge of accidentally bumping a guard with a door he could not see through as he was exiting his unit.
Prisons can, at even the best of times, seem Kafkaesque, but this situation went above and beyond the normal levels of absurdity and cruelty. According to the disciplinary hearing officer’s (DHO) report, it was the guard who made this situation something it didn’t need to be. When he was accidentally hit with the door, it was the guard who escalated the situation by confronting Jeremy, asking, “Do you really want to be pushing on me like that?” instead of just accepting that maybe it was an accident caused by the fact that a windowless door was opened and he was standing too close. No injuries were sustained, no harm was caused, but because there was was “unwanted touching”, Jeremy was charged with assault. All because of a door.
This situation is an example of something no bill, no law can ever reform. From the incident itself to the aftermath of being denied a chance to see the video that could have cleared his name and placed in SHU where his mail was delayed and books were denied on the whim of one man, the system worked as it has always worked, as it was designed to work. Prisoners are afforded no rights. In the DHO report, the reasoning the prison gave as to why they were upholding the finding of assault was, “The DHO has no reason to believe that the reporting officer is not being truthful in their written report, as the staff member was merely acting in routine performance of their duties and has nothing to gain from fabrication of the charge. [Inmate Hammond], on the other hand [does], in order to avoid the consequences of your actions.” In other words, prisons and their representatives never lie, but prisoners do. Prison guards are given the presumption of innocence, prisoners are given the presumption of guilt. We see this over and over not just within the prison system, but in the wider system of policing and law enforcement – the presumption of innocence is given to those in power. How many times have we heard that cops “feared for their lives”? And over and over, this presumption results in people suffering and dying and no one ever being held accountable.
Several years ago, while Jeremy was still at FCI Manchester, there was another incident where Jeremy was placed in SHU. There was another threat of a transfer. While he was waiting to find out his fate, the warden came to visit and spoke with him. The warden told him, “You’re no longer our problem.” While that situation didn’t end in a transfer, I tell this story because it epitomizes not only the way Jeremy is viewed by the BOP, but how all prisoners are viewed. They are not viewed as human beings worthy of dignity, respect, and basic human rights. They are “problems”. They are subhuman. They are objects to be dehumanized, abused, mistreated, and controlled. It is for this reason, and many others, that we fight not for milquetoast reform, but for complete and total prison abolition. Nothing less will restore the rights and dignity of the millions locked in cages in the US prison system.
Love and Rage,