Op 22 december gaf voorlichter John Dipko van de superbeveiligde isoleercellengevangenis Boscobel, Wisconsin VS, een verklaring af over de dood van de gevangene Steven Rundel. Deze had zich opgehangen aan aan elkaar geknoopte lakens. Dit was aan de aandacht van de bewakers ontsnapt. In de verklaring wordt volstrekt nodeloos uitgeweid over de reden waarom Rundel in de gevangenis zat voor dertig jaar. Dit lijkt nogal op een rookgordijn om de aandacht van een verdachte "zelfmoord" af te leiden. Rundel had aan zijn familie geschreven dat de bewakers hem hadden toegebeten dat hij de Kerst niet zou halen. Dit kwam uit.
Hij was voor 240 dagen in deze gevangenis geplaatst vanuit de gevangenis van New Lisbon. Dat hij in 1999, dus toen hij 35 was, iets met een dertienjarig jongetje heeft gedaan dat hij zijn beste vriend noemde bij de rechtszitting, zou aanleiding hebben moeten zijn naar zijn psychische of intellectuele gesteldheid te kijken. Of dit "iets' een opsluiting van dertig jaar wettigt - een straf die in Nederland nog niet voor moord wordt gegeven - is een retorische vraag.
Een brief hierover vanuit de hel van de isoleercel, van een medegevangene die weet waarover het gaat, en die ook weet van Lornell Evans, die twee maanden eerder dood bleef in dit complex. Over beiden berichtte ik eerder.
"We are wondering how many people must die here in the Supermax before they find the source of this problem, these so-called 'invesigations' the department claims to have launched is like a dud firecracker. There will never be a 'bang' to solve this problem, not when you are investigating yourself. We are wondering what happened with no investigation when the brother Lornell Evans died up here Oct. 2, 2005? We don't even remember seeing an initial report in the newspaper from State Corrections Department John Dipko - is it because Mr. Evans is black and mr. Rundel is white? No, we are not playing the race card here, just laying out the evidence. We are all prisoners in my book, and every prisoner is my fellow brother of this ongoing struggle for peace & justice at the hand of the opprerssors. It could be because of liability, the way Mr. Lornell Evans died, and the way mr. Steven T. Rundel died. After a major operation Mr. Evans was brought back here to the Supermax, when he should have stayed at the hospital where he could be watched by trained doctors & nurses, but here they just left him in a cell and after he (Mr. Evans) informed them that his stomach hurts and he could not eat, they never sent him back out to the hospital or no institution nurse at this facility came down to check him - the next day he was dead (R.I.P. Soljah). Now since Mr. Steven T. Rundel died at his own hands, and was a convicted child molester, it is easier for the oppressors to drag his name through the mud, knowing the public will turn a blind eye to a child molester's death.
We can't play into the oppressors' hands, I'm on the inside and know better, we asked why have two people died here this year? Why wasn't Mr. Evans sent back to the hospital? Why happened with the Jones-El and Johnson- v. Berge, et al. Class Action Agreement that all prisoners must be screened by a psychologist for any kind of mental illness before they are sent here to the Supermax - someone failed in this screening process. Mr. Steven T. Rundel clearly had some kind of mental illness to take his life, he was not there a good month-and-a-half. John Dipko the Department spokesman said "the Department has launched an invetigation into how Rundel was able to construct a noose from his bedsheets and hanging himself without attracting notice of prison personnel." Even a monkey will figure this out. Prison personnel don't give a damn about prisoners' well-being, and I'm in a room constructed the same way as Mr.Rundel's and there's no place in this room to hang yourself but on the bars on the door, and the crazy thing about it is that the bars play no purpose in supporting the door, they can cut the two bars off the door. This was an incident just waiting to happen - the doors on Alpha unit don't have these bars on it, so why do these doors need them? This is monkey science. Take the bars off the doors, they don't need them - their investigation will go nowhere. We on the inside are callling for help. How many more must die, hear our voices, hear our cry comrades.
The bars on the door are about five feet off the floor so Mr. Rundel had to kneel down with his feet still on the floor.
Rounds: all staff are supposed to make their rounds on the range: white shirts, unit manager, nurses, social workers, and crisis workers. The white shirts, unit manager, nurses, social workers, and crisis workers might come on the unit and sign in at the sergeant cage, but no rounds on the ranges where the prisoners are at, unless it's some kind of emergencyor a prisoner is getting suited up on. This will be the time you can catch them on the range - 'some' sergeants make rounds - not all - all frontlline officer will make rounds - and one psychologist, Dr. Hughes has for the last 30 days been making rounds once a week cell to cell asking prisoners if they are okay. No-one else is concerned. So this is how Mr. Rundel hung himself without attracting notice of prison personnel."
[January 1st, 2006)
A letter from Frank Van Den Bosch of Prisoner Action Coalition to the local paper in Boscobel (Boscobel Dial), in which uncritically the wspf-press-release was taken over about this serious incident:
"I�m writing to express my deep disappointment in your recent coverage of the
death of Mr. Rundel at WSPF. Your headline claimed that �Details emerge
concerning death...�, but there were very few revelations in Mr. Preusser�s
piece. Instead we get a restating of the sordid details of his original
crime and conviction.
This is the worst kind of lazy journalism; get a few words from the warden
and other officials, accept them as gospel, and run sensational copy from
other newspapers. What happened on December 20th, this year in Boscobel is
news, what happened in Milwaukee in 1999 is not. What does Mr. Rundel�s
crime have to do with his death? It seems that these are regurgitated to
diminish sympathy, divert responsibility and even forestall inquiry about
the circumstances of his death.
Maybe Charlie could have spent a little time asking some serious questions
Who instigated the fight at New Lisbon that ended up with 240 days of
isolation? Maybe he was defending himself? Did he have a history of
violence or any other institutional problems? Was isolation the best way to
�solve� this problem? Why was Mr. Rundel, with an established history of
mental illness, put in isolation? Why, with a history of mental illness was
he not in treatment or at least special observation? How about treatment
for his pedophilia? Is 30 years of punishment solving a problem? Window,
what window? There are no windows in WSPF to which a bed sheet could be
attached. How about the cameras? Why wasn�t he observed making his noose
or tying it on? Maybe he tied it to the camera? And the BIG question...
has the DOC finally learned that 24 hours of isolation makes people crazy?
Is the DOC now willing to admit that the barbaric conditions at WSPF have
been tolerated for too long?
Changes are underway at WSPF, but for Mr. Rundel they�ve come too late.
Unless the press is willing to challenge the status quo, ask serious
questions, the public will be deprived of useful information and horrible
conditions and practices will continue in our name."
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