Archive for the ‘Prisons’ Category

How “Risk Assessment” Tools Are Condemning People to Indefinite Imprisonment

Friday, October 14th, 2016

“Yet, the fact remains: Most of the people in civil commitment facilities, like Lieberman, sexually assaulted children or women. If released, some of these folks might harm again. Others will not. But regardless of that uncertainty, once they have completed their sentences, is it acceptable for our society to use a checklist, a psychological evaluation, or a software program to legitimate continued confinement?”

Read the article by Erica Meiners in Truthout.

Expanding Incarceration Is Not the Best Way to Fight Rape Culture

Monday, September 5th, 2016

“The United States imprisons a higher proportion of its population than any other developed country. The American incarceration rate is roughly 3.5 times as high as the median rate in Europe, according to a 2013 report from the European Council of Annual Penal Statistics. This is not because Americans commit more crimes — victimization rates in the United States are comparable to those in Western Europe. Nor is our outsize prison population solely the product of our drug war. As the Marshall Project notes, 54 percent of the 1.3 million Americans in state prisons are there for violent crimes. Even if we freed every nonviolent offender in an American prison, we would still jail a far higher percentage of our residents than do our European peers.”

Read the article by Eric Levitz in New York magazine.

From A Prisoner Seeking Pen Pals

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

I received the following message from a prisoner:

My name is Jennifer. I am 36 years old and I have experienced Parental Alienation Syndrome in soul crushing depth. As a result, I am now and have been a childless mother, sentenced to prison going on five years now. For years I have fought to be heard, and now that my children have come forth with the truth, I find it devastating that nothing has changed. My life’s passion is to use this situation to hopefully prevent other children from being brainwashed, used and cast aside like my children were.

I offer my full and honest disclosure as well as access to my case file containing brutal accusations followed by my children’s recantation (which I am trying to get transcripted) and my recent polygraph (which I passed and am trying to get a copy from the prison).

I am asking for help getting my voice heard and for finding a way to help my family as well as the families of others.


Jennifer wants people to correspond with. If you would like to write to her, email me at and I will give you her full name and address.


Felito Mendoza Desperately Needs Pen Pals

Monday, December 7th, 2015

I have been in touch with Felito Mendoza for over 15 years. But I haven’t been a good pen pal. I mean well, but my schedule just seems to get too busy.

Since being sent to prison, Felito had two faithful supporters. One was his mother. The other was a man named Nicholas Peters. Unfortunately, both are now dead. Felito is devastated by their loss.

I haven’t investigated Felito’s case. Mr. Peters did, and you can see his report by clicking on Felito’s name in the below address.

If you feel you can’t commit to being a regular pen pal, perhaps you could send him a Christmas card to brighten his lonely holiday season. Here is the address:

Felito Mendoza
Box 246, C-A1-059
Graterford PA 19426-0246

-Bob Chatelle

Please Send a Card to a Prisoner

Friday, December 4th, 2015

Anyone who knows a prisoner knows how important to them to receive mail, especially at this time of year. Many prisoners receive no outside support at all.

I don’t care if you send a Christmas card, a holiday card, or whatever. Neither will they.

Here is a list of prisoners who’d be delighted to get a card:

Unfortunately, New Hampshire prisoners are not allowed to receive greeting cards of any sort, picture postcards, or any typewritten or printed material. Only handwritten letters on stock paper are permitted. Here is a li nk to their cruel and draconian policy:

One wonders why the ACLU is not protesting this blatant violation of the First Amendment.

-Bob Chatelle



Sex Offenders Locked Up on a Hunch

Sunday, August 16th, 2015

“The essence of the American criminal justice system is reactive, not predictive: You are punished for the crime you committed. You can’t be punished simply because you might commit one someday. You certainly can’t be held indefinitely to prevent that possibility.”

Read the full editorial in the New York Times.

Minnesota sex offender program is ruled unconstitutional

Saturday, June 20th, 2015

“A federal judge ruled Wednesday that the Minnesota Sex Offender Program (MSOP) violates the U.S. Constitution by confining offenders indefinitely without giving them access to the courts and other protections of the criminal justice system.”

Read the full article by Chris Serres in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Questionable Committments

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015

“No one wants to allow a child to be hurt, and laws that create mechanisms to “keep bad men away” are seductive because they make us feel safer – but that safety is an illusion that comes at a great price. As a society we are not capable of predicting who will or will not reoffend, and we must not punish someone for imaginary future crimes. When we begin to define individuals as criminals for who they are or what they think, instead of holding them accountable for specific acts, we rob them of their constitutional right to due process and dangerously erode the barriers that are meant to keep the awesome power of the state, to take away our lives and our liberty, at bay.”

Read the article by Galen Baughman in Cato Unbound.

It’s Not Just the Drug War

Saturday, March 7th, 2015

“The growing unpopularity of the War on Drugs and the number of bipartisan moves to, supposedly, roll back mass incarceration have led some leftists to believe that, finally, the prison-state is about to be cut down to size.

“Yet a new book by University of Pennsylvania political scientist Marie Gottschalk, Caught: The Prison State and the Lockdown of American Politics, makes it clear that the problem is far worse than commonly suspected, and that the reforms on the table are unlikely to even make a dent in the forces that keep millions behind bars.”

Read the interview with Marie Gottshalk in Jacobin.

A Moral Imperative: Release Aging and Long-Term Prisoners

Sunday, February 15th, 2015

“It was only for a moment, but on January 20, 2015, this country’s criminal punishment system got a general call for reform in President Obama’s state of the union address. With 5 percent of the world’s population and 25 percent of the world’s incarcerated people, it’s about time we heard this from our president. But what we didn’t hear was an analysis of exactly what we can do to shrink this massive system.”

Jean Trounstine in Truthout. Read more…