Monday, September 24, 2012

Visiting With Susan Walker In Elmira Jail

Protesters chained themselves to the fence September 6th.

Susan Walker, a resident of Dundee, N.Y. and one of the Seneca Three, was arrested September 6th near Watkins Glen at a protest against Inergy.  She now sits in the Chemung County Jail.  Read more here.

A friend visited her and files this report:

Hi Folks:

I just returned from Elmira's Chemung Co. jail and visited Susan Walker of the Seneca Three from 5:30-6:30PM.
To convey a sense of the visit you wait outside with several people until you are allowed in by a guard. The guard asks you to pay a quarter and store everything on your person (except your clothes) in a storage locker. You remove the key and give it to him along with your ID (driver's license). I removed my belt and put it on a table.You go through a metal detector, my shoes triggered it, removed and then OK. The guard fully inspected my shoes. You re-belt yourself.

You are issued a piece of paper with the information to hand to a guard inside the visiting area that will identify who you are visiting. You then move into a small room, it's locked and then you wait until the door to the visiting area is opened. Then you are directed to a circular metal seat by a guard where you wait for about 20-25 minutes. Finally, before the buttocks expire, Susan arrives. Please, I'm not in any way comparing my pain to what she is enduring.

She's in good spirits and seems committed to spending her time in jail with the option that a pre-paid arranged amount of phone time would give her a way of contacting us if she changes her position. I 'm arranging that through some phone numbers for phone access that were provided by a CO at the jail. Another option is a pre-paid phone card.

I also contacted her son to update him.

She is in an individual holding cell that measures 7'x7' and the bed has a thin mattress and blanket. She gets her exercise by running in place. The visiting hours are on Monday Weds and Fri from 2:15-8:30PM. There can only be 2 one hour visits with a maximum of two people/visit/week. I'll be returning on Monday with some information she's requested and she's open to receiving other visitors. If someone else would like to accompany me on Monday please let me know by phone 607-243-7262 or 315-521-4458

Over $120 was donated by folks at the vigil this afternoon, $50 of which was spent for her in jail account to buy toiletries and other items (only fictional paperbacks are available for purchase.She is hoping to get some reading materials on health related topics from a nurse she's seen.

It looks as if she will be released early; perhaps on Thurs., which squares with what Joe Heath has stated. She's concerned that her time be beneficial to the struggle. We discussed her keeping a journal, seeing that she had gotten a pencil to keep some notes. The question is whether she will be able to leave with them. I was not allowed to keep any notes of my visit.

I was struck by the really high percentages of people of color in the visiting area; I'd guess 80% plus. The visiting area accommodated around two dozen inmates and up to twice that many visitors if everyone had two visitors. Generally there were two guards with strict rules for asking permission to stand up or reach across the middle of the face to face visiting table, which had a raised section in the middle. One by one folks were informed that their time was up and additional guards came to retrieve the inmates. Visitors left through a small locked room from which an outside guard released the visitors by actuating a release mechanism on the lock.

I haven't been in a jail in quite a few years so this was a re-education and a prompt reminder of how sweet our freedom of movement can be.

One of the folks visiting at the same time I was said her boyfriend had been fined $33 and didn't attend his hearing which prompted his bench warrent arrest and a sentence of 120 days (90 with good behavior) and a bail set at $750. I don't think this case could be defined as justice either.

The last thing I'd like to purpose is that we attempt to get folks there every day that Susan is in jail to have a hour or so vigil. She mentioned that she was aware through employees in the jail that the vigils was happening. A candlelight one around 7 each night might be nice. What are your thoughts? I'm intending to get a meeting wizard out to the lists to see what kind of response evolves.

Fracking is criminal. See draft Public Law 1 to criminalize fracking:

It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled. -- Mark Twain

"If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will."

-Frederick Douglass


smurfette said...

Bravo to her for following in Thoreau's footsteps and going to jail rather than compromising her principles!

Peacegirl said...

I agree wholeheartedly!