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  #1  
Old 10-19-2015, 11:57 AM
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Default Solitary Confinement or SHU

I was wondering if there was a group on here dedicated SPECIFICALLY for the use of protesting Solitary Confinement...I would like to get involved in something just not sure how!
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Old 10-19-2015, 01:56 PM
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Here's what the ACLU says about banning solitary confinement.
https://www.aclu.org/blog/speak-free...confinement-us

You can find more by doing a google search for "ban solitary confinement"
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Old 11-13-2015, 10:31 PM
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Default Great idea, sweetfla!

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I was wondering if there was a group on here dedicated SPECIFICALLY for the use of protesting Solitary Confinement...I would like to get involved in something just not sure how!
Awesome! I too am interested in getting involved in some way to advocate for those in solitary confinement. Are you interested in teaming up and creating something?
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Old 11-18-2015, 10:20 AM
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It is disgraceful that the government keeps prisoners in solitary confinement for long periods of time. Tommy Silverstein, a federal inmate, has been in solitary confinement for more than 30 years. That is torture.
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Old 11-18-2015, 08:39 PM
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It is disgraceful that the government keeps prisoners in solitary confinement for long periods of time. Tommy Silverstein, a federal inmate, has been in solitary confinement for more than 30 years. That is torture.
What would you propose be done with violent offenders who commit multiple homicidal acts while in the population?
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Old 11-18-2015, 09:44 PM
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That's my question too. I personally know somebody that did kill another inmate, tried to kill a few more and he stabbed a staff member. He boasts about it and freely talks about who else he would have killed if he'd had a chance. His attacks were all hate crimes.

You want him walking around with your loved one?
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Old 11-22-2015, 07:51 PM
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Think about this from the other side as well. At the facility my husband is in, he is in solitary (and has been since the end of October), because he had Sage that tested positive for Amphetamines and Morphine in it. Despite the urinalysis testing coming back negative, they still stuck him in the SHU for an extra 15 days, gave him 60 days without phone or email, and took away 41 days of good time from him. This is SAGE. That he got from their own Chapel.

Does he sound like the kind that should be locked in solitary?
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Old 11-22-2015, 10:12 PM
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You're talking weeks in solitary - I'm talking decades. Big, big difference and having been in prison myself I don't find his punishment out of the norm. It may seem excessive to you, but it's about what I would have guessed.

In fact I would have guessed a transfer to higher security too.

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Old 11-26-2015, 08:35 PM
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Awesome! I too am interested in getting involved in some way to advocate for those in solitary confinement. Are you interested in teaming up and creating something?
Yes, I would actually. My bf is not homicidal and has been in SHU for about 2 years now. That kind of stuff DOES something to you...I've been researching and looking up statistics. It's horrible! The whole system is horrible imo.
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Old 11-26-2015, 08:39 PM
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What would you propose be done with violent offenders who commit multiple homicidal acts while in the population?
Here's an idea, how about REAL therapy and rehabilitation??? How about actual classes and trades that can help prepare them for the outside world?? How about instead of breaking up families and personal relationships, that they foster and encourage them?
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Old 11-26-2015, 09:12 PM
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Here's an idea, how about REAL therapy and rehabilitation??? How about actual classes and trades that can help prepare them for the outside world?? How about instead of breaking up families and personal relationships, that they foster and encourage them?
The question remains...what exactly do you propose to do with those that are simply anti-social and don't give a damn. No amount of 'therapy and rehabilitation' is going to help them. They are a legitimate threat to the loved ones of others, no matter whether that loved one is a felon or an employee.

Further, classes and trades are not a be-all, end-all in ANY sense of the expectation...they don't reduce in-prison violence and it does not overcome the hurdles of FINDING employment post-release.

If you want an idea of what happens when you throw open the doors in the hopes that ALL of the population will get in circles and sing kumbayah, then just look at Texas in the early 80's when the federal courts mandated an end to building tenders. If you don't have the ability to house violent offenders away from the general population, you are just inviting problems for everyone...

If you do not have an alternate proposal, then you are no different than the wingnuts clamoring on campuses for a free education for everyone but offer no plans on how to pay for it.
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Old 11-26-2015, 09:36 PM
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"How about instead of breaking up families and personal relationships, that they foster and encourage them?"


Just who do you think is breaking up families and personal relationships? I think it's the inmates doing this; committing crimes and going to prisons breaks entire lives up. Stop committing crimes. Stop getting arrested. Stop going to prison. Stop blaming others.
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Old 11-30-2015, 10:56 AM
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Try Solitary Watch, they were very active during the California hunger strikes.
My loved one has spent 6 years in shu so far.
Please remember there are many sides to this issue. Some people are confined in shu for extended periods for reasons I would consider wrong (such as refusing to name the person that stabbed them) but others are a very serious danger to others, both in prison and on the street (where they can influence events even while confined).
I would like to see those in shu all be allowed access to sun as lack of vitamin D can have serious and even fatal consequences. I would also like to see shu inmates fed a better diet with more food as many work out very hard each day, trying to keep their anxiety at bay. I would also like them to have interaction with others of their affiliation that they get along with and who are also in shu. We are a social species and prolonged lack of stimulation has been shown to cause actual brain alterations that have life long effects, even after release from isolation.
There is no one side to this issue and there is no one "right" answer either.
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Old 11-30-2015, 01:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CenTexLyn View Post
What would you propose be done with violent offenders who commit multiple homicidal acts while in the population?
Okay, let us be clear about this. The VAST majority of men being held indefinitely in the SHU are not there because they did something to another inmate, they are there because they will not rat someone else out in order to get out. THey are there because someone who wanted to go over to protective custody gave information, whether true or not, about that person to the IGIs
It is my understanding that the rules have been changed to make it much more specific in terms of why someone goes to the SHU and what he has to do in order to get out. Back when my LO got out, ALL that had to happen is someone had to go to the IGI and say something about him, true or not, rumor or not, and he would have been put back in indefinitely AGAIN.

THAT is what people are protesting.
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Old 11-30-2015, 09:28 PM
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Okay, let us be clear about this. The VAST majority of men being held indefinitely in the SHU are not there because they did something to another inmate, they are there because they will not rat someone else out in order to get out. THey are there because someone who wanted to go over to protective custody gave information, whether true or not, about that person to the IGIs
It is my understanding that the rules have been changed to make it much more specific in terms of why someone goes to the SHU and what he has to do in order to get out. Back when my LO got out, ALL that had to happen is someone had to go to the IGI and say something about him, true or not, rumor or not, and he would have been put back in indefinitely AGAIN.

THAT is what people are protesting.
Nobody has defined what agencies they are upset with and protesting. As such, it is going to be perceived by anyone with ANY experience in the criminal justice field as a group whining about ANY single-cell environment. And few agencies are using single-cell environments solely to house those who won't snitch.

The ONLY ones I really have any measure of sympathy for, by example, here in Texas are those who were released 30+ years ago and someone came back in on a new offense or by revocation and who still had a gang tag from all those years back. No matter what they might have avoided in the community, they go back to Security Detention from the jump and remain there until they decide to renounce. But even there, it was THEIR CONDUCT that got them placed into the single cell environment...they weren't chosen at random.

Some people simply cannot safely be housed in general population, and to do so jeopardizes the safety of EVERYONE on the unit, to include the alleged loved ones of many PTO members.
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Old 12-10-2015, 10:15 PM
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The only example of an actual person spending decades in isolation is Tommy Silverstein. Fine artist, sure, but he's a murderer who's done at least 4 other murders while in prison. He obviously cannot live with other people, nor will he ever be getting out of prison.

Prison overcrowding, the use of SHU techniques to attempt to decrease drug dealing and gang activity - those are completely different issues.

Supermax was created for a reason. Is it being used for that reason? are there reasonable methods that SHU members can take to gain greater responsibilities, and then make their way out? Dunno. Is it true that there are some people who cannot even live with a cellie, let alone in a normal, maximum security general population? Hell yes. What do you do with them? If you want to open the doors of SHU and put these people in general population without any work on their part to show that they want to program and become members of the general pop, you're doing a disservice to a ton of people, not the least of whom are the ones who actually want to be in SHU or supermax or the like.

Short term SHU sessions are disciplinary. So are long term. Then again, when a guy's already got 5 bodies to his credit, using some very ingenious devices to kill them, what do you want to do with him? COs have a right to a safe working environment as does prison staff. Giving art supplies to somebody with enough knowledge to turn those art supplies into a deadly weapon?

It's a complex situation.
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Old 12-12-2015, 09:37 PM
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The only example of an actual person spending decades in isolation is Tommy Silverstein.
That's not true. Google the phrase "The Angola Three."

Albert Woodfox spent 43 years in solitary confinement in Louisiana's infamous prison in Angola, LA. A federal judge ordered Mr. Woodfox released from prison earlier this year. Robert King spent 29 years in solitary confinement in that same prison before his conviction was overturned and he was released. Herman Wallace spent 41 years in solitary confinement before he was released. He died of liver cancer 3 days after he was released.

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Old 12-13-2015, 02:38 PM
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That's not true. Google the phrase "The Angola Three."

Albert Woodfox spent 43 years in solitary confinement in Louisiana's infamous prison in Angola, LA. A federal judge ordered Mr. Woodfox released from prison earlier this year. Robert King spent 29 years in solitary confinement in that same prison before his conviction was overturned and he was released. Herman Wallace spent 41 years in solitary confinement before he was released. He died of liver cancer 3 days after he was released.
There are quite a few people in isolation in California (for decades) and they can be placed there for alleged affiliation and not for rules violations.
There have been changes taking place and they are a positive step in the right direction.
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Old 12-14-2015, 09:00 PM
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What would you propose be done with violent offenders who commit multiple homicidal acts while in the population?
I would propose doing something that does not involve torturing people.

Tommy Silverstein has not had a disciplinary write-up in over three decades. Is it asking too much to suggest that Tommy Silverstein should have the opportunity to leave his dungeon and occasionally go outside and breathe some fresh air? Am I a bleeding heart because I believe that every human being, even dangerous prisoners, should be able to feel the sun shine on their face from time to time? Is it wrong to suggest that Tommy Silverstein and other prisoners in solitary confinement should occasionally have the opportunity to speak with another prisoner, even if security concerns dictate that those conversations takes place through bars or a fence?

Running a secure & safe prison and running a prison that treats prisoners humanely are NOT mutually exclusive propositions. It is possible to protect staff and prisoners alike from dangerous prisoners without resorting to torture.

Last edited by Puppy Jack; 12-14-2015 at 09:37 PM..
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Old 12-15-2015, 06:11 AM
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I would propose doing something that does not involve torturing people.

Tommy Silverstein has not had a disciplinary write-up in over three decades. Is it asking too much to suggest that Tommy Silverstein should have the opportunity to leave his dungeon and occasionally go outside and breathe some fresh air? Am I a bleeding heart because I believe that every human being, even dangerous prisoners, should be able to feel the sun shine on their face from time to time? Is it wrong to suggest that Tommy Silverstein and other prisoners in solitary confinement should occasionally have the opportunity to speak with another prisoner, even if security concerns dictate that those conversations takes place through bars or a fence?

Running a secure & safe prison and running a prison that treats prisoners humanely are NOT mutually exclusive propositions. It is possible to protect staff and prisoners alike from dangerous prisoners without resorting to torture.
An inmate's claim that something is torture does not make it torture. It was HIS actions of KILLING people IN PRISON that resulted in his removal from the general population. It does not appear he has ever shown one iota of remorse for those actions nor does it appear he has ever renounced the beliefs he held while overseeing the Aryan Brotherhood. When he does THOSE things, THEN and ONLY THEN (IMO) is the time ripe to contemplate changing his custody or housing...in the interim, it isn't as though he is returning to a free society since he will NOT outlive his sentences.
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Old 12-15-2015, 02:11 PM
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An inmate's claim that something is torture does not make it torture.
By any objective standard, placing someone in solitary confinement for more than 30 years IS torture. I'd have to question the moral compass of anyone that claims otherwise. The treatment that Tommy Silverstein has received from the US government has been nothing short of sadistic.

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It was HIS actions of KILLING people IN PRISON that resulted in his removal from the general population.
Thomas Silverstein was more than just "removed from general population." The BOP built a special torture cell for him in the basement of Leavenworth Prison that the BOP called the "Silverstein Suite." Tommy was in that dungeon for many years. The BOP has made no secret of the fact that Tommy Silverstein is treated more harshly than any other inmate held in solitary confinement. Tommy Silverstein has been on "no human contact" status for decades. Even now he is housed in a separate wing of the most secure prison in the world. Human beings are social animals. If you deprive a person of the opportunity to communicate with other human beings; if you force a person to remain indoors for decades at a time; you will drive that person insane. Burying someone alive in a concrete coffin for decades at a time is cruel and unusual treatment, precisely the sort of treatment that our Bill of Rights prohibits.

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It does not appear he has ever shown one iota of remorse for those actions nor does it appear he has ever renounced the beliefs he held while overseeing the Aryan Brotherhood.
And how, pray tell, have you determined that Tommy Silverstein is or is not remorseful? How was it that you concluded that he "headed the Aryan Brotherhood?" How was it that YOU came to know precisely which beliefs Thomas Silverstein does or does not hold? A Google search perhaps?

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When he does THOSE things, THEN and ONLY THEN (IMO) is the time ripe to contemplate changing his custody or housing...in the interim, it isn't as though he is returning to a free society since he will NOT outlive his sentences.
No. Hell no. A prisoner, even a dangerous and unrepentant prisoner serving a LIFE sentence, is entitled to be treated humanely. A prisoner should not have to "DO" anything before he is treated humanely. No one should have to earn the right not to be tortured.

Last edited by Puppy Jack; 12-15-2015 at 02:24 PM..
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Old 12-15-2015, 09:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Puppy Jack View Post
By any objective standard, placing someone in solitary confinement for more than 30 years IS torture. I'd have to question the moral compass of anyone that claims otherwise. The treatment that Tommy Silverstein has received from the US government has been nothing short of sadistic.

Thomas Silverstein was more than just "removed from general population." The BOP built a special torture cell for him in the basement of Leavenworth Prison that the BOP called the "Silverstein Suite." Tommy was in that dungeon for many years. The BOP has made no secret of the fact that Tommy Silverstein is treated more harshly than any other inmate held in solitary confinement. Tommy Silverstein has been on "no human contact" status for decades. Even now he is housed in a separate wing of the most secure prison in the world. Human beings are social animals. If you deprive a person of the opportunity to communicate with other human beings; if you force a person to remain indoors for decades at a time; you will drive that person insane. Burying someone alive in a concrete coffin for decades at a time is cruel and unusual treatment, precisely the sort of treatment that our Bill of Rights prohibits.

And how, pray tell, have you determined that Tommy Silverstein is or is not remorseful? How was it that you concluded that he "headed the Aryan Brotherhood?" How was it that YOU came to know precisely which beliefs Thomas Silverstein does or does not hold? A Google search perhaps?

No. Hell no. A prisoner, even a dangerous and unrepentant prisoner serving a LIFE sentence, is entitled to be treated humanely. A prisoner should not have to "DO" anything before he is treated humanely. No one should have to earn the right not to be tortured.
He's not dead. His victim is. We all make choices. They have consequences. What about the opportunity to kill in prison again. Do you want to be housed or work with him. Just remember there are always 2 sides.
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Old 12-15-2015, 10:56 PM
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There's no reason for anybody to subject themselves to death or significant injury when a person has time and again shown himself to be a danger to others. There are a few people who are too dangerous to be in social situations.

Yes, there are others in SHU and the like, but most are allowed contact with others. Even CA SHU members are allowed visits with family and legal. This is not the same as T. Silverstein, who as you note, was on "No Human Contact" for a very long time (save that he has had access to legal counsel, so he really hasn't been deprived of all interaction with people other than guards and institutional medical care, right).

Sure, Aristotle posited that "man is somebody who lives in a polis" usually interpreted as "man is a social animal" yet outside of prison, there are plenty of people who recuse themselves from social interaction. Historically, we know of the bulk of these people from their religious histories or practices. People have lived for decades without interaction with others by choice, and when a prisoner repeatedly murders others, then his contact with others has to be limited. It's what's humane and fair to the other prisoners who haven't murdered while in prison. Would you like to be housed with somebody who's threatened to kill his cellmate no matter who that cellmate happens to be? It's happened numerous times, and cellmates and the general population have a right to as much safety as can be provided, especially from known threats.

Prison conditions in the US are hardly ideal, and the last 20 years or so's drug war and "tough on crime" policies have pretty much wiped out the liberties granted by a much more progressive penal system of the 70's and early 80's. We have not vested much in concepts like restorative justice, nor bothered to apply restorative justice techniques that have a track record of success in other countries. These concepts should not be confused with the need to keep some offenders from access to other people for the safety of those other people. Does this mean that dangerous offenders should be locked away forever with no access to anything? No. But art supplies and the like have to be earned with good behavior. Cellmates and access to the general population of a prison have to be earned with a lot more than good conduct with art supplies. CA and many other SHU systems have at least an annual review of offenders. Offenders get a chance to argue their classification and work their way out of SHU systems. Without that work, without a showing that they are not a danger to the general population, they have no right to put the GP in danger and the GP has a right to be safe from these known dangers.
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Old 12-16-2015, 01:29 PM
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Yes, there are others in SHU and the like, but most are allowed contact with others. Even CA SHU members are allowed visits with family and legal. This is not the same as T. Silverstein, who as you note, was on "No Human Contact" for a very long time (save that he has had access to legal counsel, so he really hasn't been deprived of all interaction with people other than guards and institutional medical care, right).
Less than a week ago -- and on this very thread, no less -- you made the following absurd and false claim:

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The only example of an actual person spending decades in isolation is Tommy Silverstein.
As was pointed out above -- a point that you have not, after being disabused, disputed -- MANY inmates in the United States -- and elsewhere, I presume -- have, often unjustly, spent decades in solitary confinement, your ridiculous and false claim to the contrary notwithstanding.

With all due respect, forgive me if I am particularly disinclined to give very much weight to your (sudden?) expertise on those prisoners who find themselves spending decades in solitary confinement. You, "counselor", know not of what you write.

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Originally Posted by yourself View Post
Would you like to be housed with somebody who's threatened to kill his cellmate no matter who that cellmate happens to be?
Of course not. That said, and while Tommy Silverstein, a 63 year-old man, would LOVE to have a cellmate, he has not, in his lawsuits against the BOP and the US government, requested as much. Tommy would, after 30 + years of disciplinary-free conduct, and on a somewhat regular basis, merely like to be escorted outdoors -- while handcuffed and in leg irons, of course -- where he can, once unrestrained, then exercise alone in an outdoor exercise cage. After 30+ years of suffering, Tommy Silverstein would like to regularly feel the sun shine on his face and the wind blow against his body. Ideally, he would also like to have the opportunity to communicate, face to face, with another human being on a somewhat regular basis, even if that entails communicating with another high-risk prisoner through bars or a fence. Call me a crazy American but I don't think it is too much to ask of the BOP that they, consistent with the Eighth Amendment of our Bill of Rights, regularly place Tommy Silverstein in an outdoor cage where he cannot touch but can nonetheless see and communicate with another human being. If the BOP fears what could possibly be said between Tommy Silverstein and another prisoner, let them record those conversations on videotape. Given the hellish alternative that he currently endures, I am sure that Tommy Silverstein would not mind.

Once again, and as I wrote above:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Puppy Jack View Post
Running a secure & safe prison and running a prison that treats prisoners humanely are NOT mutually exclusive propositions. It is possible to protect staff and prisoners alike from dangerous prisoners without resorting to torture.

Last edited by Puppy Jack; 12-16-2015 at 02:06 PM..
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Old 12-16-2015, 08:20 PM
CenTexLyn CenTexLyn is offline
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If Silverstein would LOVE those things so much, then perhaps he shouldn't have made the CHOICE to deprive multiple persons of the RIGHT to live and breathe. Actions have consequence. I have no sympathy for him.

Clearly the Courts also agree with this premise given that nobody seems to have filed anything on Silverstein's behalf that has led to a change in housing being ordered...

Easy way to avoid being housed like Silverstein...don't kill staff and inmates while in prison.
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