Sunday, June 1, 2014


May 31, 2014
For over two years, since I first arrived at this prison, I’ve been subjected to countless incidents of harassment, retaliation, and reprisal from the prison mail supervisor, Linda Moser. It first began when I tried to mail the latest edits of a short story, “Neighbors,” to Libby for typing and corrections. My friend and literary mentor, Stephanie Riggio, in New York, had been editing and critiquing that story for two years at the time.

Libby and I place log numbers and dates on all our letters, to keep track of the mailings. Good thing. When she hadn’t received the letter and corrections in two weeks (normal — 3 to 4 days), I filed a complaint against the mail room. The battle began. The next day I got the un-mailed letter back, with a “Post-it” note attached — “Inmates Can Not write Short Stories!”

Did she mean we weren’t capable of writing them? No. But we weren’t going to mail any short stories on her watch. Since I had been teaching classes on short story writing for years with prison approval, and the First Amendment — freedom of speech and expression — hasn’t been repealed — yet — of course I had to fight it.

She stole postage stamps from my mail. A couple dozen letters disappeared, never delivered nor returned to sender. In her anger, she fabricated three false disciplinary reports, one of which caused me to spend thirty days in solitary. Still I fought. I wasn’t the only one. Many others complained of postage stamps missing and undelivered letters, cards, and magazines, but none documented every incident like I did. What choice did I have, even though one false d.r. could cost me three more years in prison?

Finally someone listened. She was investigated. The U.S. Postal Service was involved, I heard. While I was in solitary, I heard, officials notified her that she was fired, and was escorted off state property. In her office, they found eight bins of undelivered mail. All my allegations were confirmed. She is gone.

You would think that would result in the dismissal of the false charges from 2012, when I spent January, 2013, in solitary, for her lies, so I discussed these issues in a phone call to my attorney. Those d.r.s written by Linda Moser could add more years to my sentence, and they needed to be addressed. After that phone call, a high-ranking official informed me that I could tell my attorney that those 2012 d.r.s had been removed from my record, since my allegations of retaliation and wrong-doing by Moser had been confirmed. The official said, “it was the right thing to do.”

Further, this latest false accusation that sent me to lock-up from April 13 to May 11 was overturned, and I was released early. I believe that was due to the letters and e-mail of support sent to the warden from my friends and family, and  all the prayers for my benefit. I am humbled by your efforts, and I send heartfelt thanks to each of you. God is awesome.

The only blemish on my record that remains on the table is the 2010 retaliation d.r. written because of the publication of “To Protect The Guilty,” the memoir excerpt about my run-in with KKK prison guards many years ago. That false d.r. was the cause of the increase of my release date from 2014 to 2017. If Attorney William Sheppard works his magic in federal court, my release date could be sooner. Thank you for all your support, encouragement, and prayers, and please keep at it. Sometimes the good guys win one.

A NOTE: Everyone Laughed

I lost thirteen pounds in 29 days in solitary, and the elastic waistband style pants they issue us hung loosely. Tonight they had the weekly “chicken leg” supper meal, the only time we can identify the species of meat served.

Because a lot of men attempt to take their chicken leg back to the dormitory to sell, usually for something sweet, the guards pat down and search everyone, confiscating any food found.
I was in a long line, it was hot, and a female correctional officer was subjecting everyone in my line to a very thorough search. We stand with our hands in the air while she searches. After she made sure I had no chicken stashed under my arms or under my waistband, she ran her hands down my legs and yanked my loose pants way down. “Oops, sorry.” My hands were in the air, so she pulled them back up. She didn’t find anything. Everyone thought it was funny. We can’t talk, but we can laugh.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

damn charlie act like you got out of solitary and had some mean nasty mail grinch hauled away by the USPS who don't play around no they don't.

YOU WILL DELIVER THE US MAIL. This encourages me to file a formal complaint about the one here who tries to ruin my life and the one in florida who did the same.

Anyway, big deal. Like you can't do this every day. Wow.

I know you're the camp hero for getting their mail to them. What a WITCH. I hope they give her some federal time to thank it over rover.