Update: Alex To Be Transferred To A New Federal Facility

I received a letter from Alex a few days ago. Prison officials at Big Spring CI told him that he is going to be transferred to another facility. It seems that since he has to remain in protective custody in order to avoid being harassed or beaten up, prison officials have decided to transfer him to a new facility.

They haven't yet told him where he will be going but that rather than be transferred to another minimum security facility, he will be sent to a medium-level security prison. Since most "aliens" area sent to the private and for-profit, low security facilities, this might actually be a good thing for Alex. The next facility should be a facility that is actually ran by the federal government and thus, he will have more civil liberties and the facilities in general should be safer for him and offer educational and recreational opportunities.

According to his letter, he said that he is scheduled to be transferred within the next 45 days. Anyone who wishes to send him a letter though, he can still receive mail at Big Spring and when he is transferred, any mail will be forwarded to him. Please send a card or letter to Alex today. He will greatly appreciate it.

Mailing Address:
Irving A. Flores-Fuentes, #54735-179
Big Spring Correctional Institution
2001 Rickabaugh Drive
Big Spring, TX 79720

Outside Recreation for Individuals in Solitary Confinement

OUTDOOR CAGES

OUTDOOR CAGES
1 hour per day

For many inmates throughout the country, solitary confinement is an ordeal that stretches the boundaries of sanity. Prisoners are either denied phone priviledges altogether or perhaps only allowed about 30 minutes a month. Can you imagine being locked in a tiny room both night and day with only a 15 minute phone call every two weeks? The only other person you may ever speak to throughout the day is a guard. It is no wonder that men develop long-term psychiatric disorders after long-term stays in solitary confinement. Humans are made to be social beings. Deprived of that social interaction can easily cause social and mental health issues. It is no wonder that civil rights groups both here in the United States and abroad have condemned the use of solitary confinement as torture. I also understand better why those inmates in solitary confinement will often act out. It is both a way to release pent up stress as well as to be able to finally have some social interaction with another human being, even if it is only a guard threatening to pepper spray you. The photo above shows cages where prisoners in isolation are taken for 1-2 hours per day. This is the only time they are ever allowed out of their small cells and even then, they are not allowed to walk around in a larger area where they can see trees, grass, or anything but the sky and the walls and metal wires that surround them on all sides. I realize that when people are serving time in a correctional facility, perhaps they shouldn't be given the same luxuries as a night at the Four Seasons. However, when we force prisoners to endure such harsh and mind-breaking conditions, it is no wonder then that they often come back out into the public with mental health issues and an increased tendency to commit future crimes with less regard for others. As the Bible says, 'you reap what you sow.' If we treat criminals so harshly and like depraved animals, we will receive the same in return.

Update: Alex Forced Into Protective Custody

Solitary Confinement

SOLITARY CONFINEMENT
Extreme Isolation

I received a letter from Alex today. It seems that his time in the general population at the new facility has been cut short. A gang there in the new facility approached him and gave him an ultimatum: Either join the gang or receive regular beatings. So, he had to request to be placed into protective custody and once again, he's been confined to a tiny 8x10 foot cell for 23 hours each day, 7 days a week.

It is shocking that even in a low security facility, immigrants are not safe from the threat of violence. Instead of locking away the gang members, immigrant detainees are forced to seek safety by being isolated and locked away for months or even years. Psychological studies have shown that extended periods of isolation like this can cause severe mental health issues, even long after a prisoner has been released. The international community, civil rights groups, and even the United Nations have all condemned solitary confinement as a form of torture.

For non-US citizens, they are often placed in facilities that are ran by for-profit companies, placed way out in rural areas where it is hard for families, attorneys, and journalists to visit the inmates. For me, it's hard to think this is not intentional on the part of the government? As the saying goes, "Out of sight, out of mind."

Be a Part of the Change - Contact Your Congressman/woman

If you want to be a part of the movement to change the way our government treats immigrants, especially those who came here without permission, use this online tool to contact your own congressman. Let them know your feelings on this matter.

We ask that you also take a few minutes to write both the warden of the Big Spring Correctional Institution where Alex is housed as well as the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

The Big Spring warden can be reached at Big Spring CI Warden

The Bureau of Prisons can be reached via their Contact Us page here: Bureau of Prisons Contact Page

Please let them know Alex deserves to be treated humanely and afforded a safe environment. Let them know also that forcing inmates to endure extended periods in solitary confinement is inhumane and is considered a form of torture by many civil rights groups and even the international community. Ask for the Bureau of Prisons to intervene on Alex's behalf and relocate him to another facility where he can be allowed in the general population without fear of gang violence.

Immigrants in Federal Prisons ‘Subjected to Shocking Abuse and Mistreatment

I've included links below to two excellent articles on how immigrants are abused and mistreated at the hands of our government. They are frequently placed in facilities that are contracted out by for-profit companies whose sole goal is to house immigrant inmates for as little money as possible in order to maximize profits. This has frequently led to inmates being denied proper medical care while being sent to solitary confinemnet for minor infractions. (They get paid more for prisoners housed in solitary.)

As a minister and as a patriotic American, I am appalled that we allow our government to treat any human this way. As a follower of Christ, I can't find any scriptures where the Lord gives us permission to treat others this way. He commanded us to pray for and to bless even our enemies.

Immigrants in Federal Prisons ‘Subjected to Shocking Abuse and Mistreatment

ACLU: "Shocking Abuse" of Immigrants at Private Prisons

The boundaries and artifical borders that man has made to separate us from one another cannot be justified in the scriptures. We are to love one another. Is an American of any more worth than a non-citizen? Does God somehow love Americans more than the people of any other country?