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A Victim of Justice

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A Victim of Justice and the Franchising of Evil

On April 9, 2004, Laurie’s modest routine was bluntly interrupted without explanation as she was abruptly seized, handcuffed and transferred from her cell block of seven years to disciplinary segregation -a measure of reprisal normally reserved for inmates who have committed extremely serious offenses while incarcerated. On the streets you would say she was thrown in “The Hole,” -solitary confinement. Almost a Yankee spin on the Hanoi Hilton, she is locked down 21 hours a day - seven days a week, gets a whopping 10 minutes to shower and three blessed hours of recreation time in a cage of thick mesh fit only for wild animals (split among morning, afternoon and evening). All these elegant amenities while enduring life in a seven foot by five foot literal box constructed of thick, oppressive, damp and musty cement walls, steel slab for a bed, a thin, stained, musty old mattress, an old dirty freezing cold porcelain toilet with no seat, and a small dirty porcelain sink with a steel button directly above it that when pushed, barely trickles out cold water. It is something that might slam-dunk a ratings bonanza on an “Amnesty International Info-mercial” or play as a feature on the “Animal Rights Channel,” with a poor, hapless creature pacing mournfully from wall to wall, eyes vacant and spirit broken, consigned to a stall barely fit for demons.

Laurie is cuffed and shackled whenever she leaves her cell for any reason; whether to shower, delight in her whole hour of recreation, go to have her medication dispensed, or enjoy the one nourishing, weekly visit she cherishes so dearly. This woman who has been a model prisoner for over 13 years (the only thing different, is that Laurie won a civil suit reluctantly brought against the prison as last resort for denying her critical medical treatment in lieu of a significant injury), has the gun-tower notified when she travels from point A to point B. There is a sharpshooter in the tower who is advised of Laurie's destinations at all times (this has been an ongoing procedure since long before she was taken to solitary). The officer in the tower is armed with an arsenal that would make Saddam Hussain envious, including a .38 caliber revolver, a high powered rifle, 12 gage shotgun and chemical agents (tear gas). Laurie has been the victim of false allegations, (initially dismissed due to lack of evidence but still formally “under investigation” allowing the prison to keep her legally buried in “The Hole” for up to three (3) years). She is subjected to a demeaning battery of sexual harassment, verbal abuse, confiscation of her necessities, delay on crucial medications, denial of commissary access, phone privileges and packages. She is now allowed only one regular visit per week and the treasured overnight visits with her mother and two sons, (which all maximum security inmates at Bedford Hills are entitled to every six to ten weeks), have been prohibited as well.

Numerous supporters have repeatedly contacted relevant organizations, legislators and prison officials to no avail. People are incarcerated as punishment, not for punishment but in prison, they can become little more than souless statistics. And while there are many honorable corrections professionals, there are a great many more who don't know or care to know the meaning of the word. Unfortunately, inmates can be, and are more often than not, dominated and abused by the darker impulses of thugs with badges. Thus they tragically become victims of a system created to restrain evil, but is instead sometimes manipulated by cowards who hide behind a badge while flexing their muscle to franchise it for selfish gain.

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SOLITARY CONFINEMENT:
A FRINGE BENEFIT FOR A
13 YEAR ROLE MODEL INMATE!

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Former correction officer, Andy De Mers, who is spearheading the imposing effort to get Laurie freed, first became acquainted with her several years ago when he was assigned to her cell block. With no illusions about the caliber of the company he kept, the now 53 year old retired correction officer spent some 7 years getting to know the woman as he observed her in the most desperate circumstances imaginable. "I am thoroughly convinced of Laurie's innocence. She is and always has been a role model inmate with unimpeachable morals and an extraordinary level of sheer integrity uncommon in society much less prison."