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Nov-15-2010 11:32TweetFollow @OregonNews
Federal Mail Tampering at Oregon State Prison?Tim King Salem-News.com
The style is new but the face the same, as it was so long ago...
(SALEM, Ore.) - In 1989 Oregon's top prison official, Michael Francke, was Murdered. His remains were found outside the door to his office at the headquarters for the Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC).
It is a fact that Oregon's prisons were suffering from high levels of corruption at that point that were of great concern to state elected officials. Francke had a history of resolving prison corruption; he was specifically hired and brought to Oregon to investigate and resolve prison corruption that involved officials operating at mid and high levels in the prisons and the Department of Justice.
Three days before Francke was going to testify before the state legislature, revealing the various officials and crimes he had discovered, he was murdered. Officials in control of the Francke case included Dale Penn, former Marion County DA who today serves as a local judge, and top Oregon DOJ prosecutor Scott McCallister who was busted for child porn shortly after leaving his job in Oregon.
The night Francke was killed, his files were cleaned out. Everything about the official story fails to make any sense. The state of Oregon became determined to convict a local drug user named Frank Gable. They used the testimony of a teenage drug addict named Jodie Swearingen, and more than 20 years later, Gable is still locked in prison that in all likelihood, he did not commit.
Same Corruption, Different Decade
In 2005 William Coleman became a corrections officer for the Oregon DOC. He went to work at the state's oldest prison, Oregon State Prison (OSP) in Salem. It is a place where prison cell doors are still raised and lowered by hand on huge tracts with mechanisms designed and implemented over a century ago. For decades Oregon taxpayers have paid for early retirements from the DOC based on shoulder injuries. This is the kind of place where things don't change, and one of those 'things' is the corruption taking place every day inside those walls, costing Oregon taxpayers' money and decency out of sight and out of mind.
Coleman experienced serious racism as a corrections officer and quickly learned that things are not what they seem. Soon he was documenting one racial incident after another; extreme Civil Rights violations including one almost deadly stabbing assault and he says his reports were all unheeded, basically ignored. At times he says his superiors taunted him, saying, when there were no others present but Coleman, that... "He could never prove" his allegations, he explains.
I believe, based on everything that I know, from interviews and correspondence with a large number of people, and hundreds of hours of research, that William Coleman may well be the most honest person who ever worked at the Oregon State Prison. He and the system both struck a brick wall the day he was hired by the DOC. It was impossible for him to accept what he had to accept; Coleman believed he was supposed to operate according to his training and procedures, this he says is not what happened at all.
A great deal of evidence supporting all of Coleman's allegations exists; you can almost imagine his moral compass spinning in mad circles when he walked inside the place.
The Oregon DOC's answer to Coleman's whistleblowing over racism, was to charge him with 15 counts of tobacco smuggling. William Coleman was suddenly facing 40 years in prison for acts he did not commit. Frustrating the situation he says, was the fact that he spent two years watching other prison officials smuggle cigarettes to inmates, but his reports were unheeded.
Rather than take one of several plea bargains offered, William Coleman took the serious charges against him to court, for a jury trial. His witnesses were three black inmates; Terrence Kimble, Clayton Howard, and John Smith.
The three agreed to testify that Coleman was clean of all charges, and also to expose the racist treatment that they, along with Coleman, were frequently subjected to.
Only one of the men was actually allowed to testify for Colaman, though all three were prepared and expected to take the stand. Interestingly, all three were subpoenaed and transported to court the day of Coleman's trial. his own public defender did not allow them to testify.
And the outcome? The jury heard the evidence against Coleman that the Marion County District Attorney's Office prepared for months, along with numerous agencies working together to convict Coleman. William Coleman was found "Not Guilty" on all counts by a unanimous jury of his peers. Not one juror found him guilty of a single charge, and there were a lot of charges.
But when the state's witnesses are members of a neo-Nazi skinhead gang, the odds for the prosecution take a dip.
As you will see in this report, Coleman's attempts to follow established legal channels in communicating with these men, is being thwarted by officials at the Oregon State Prison.
It appears that they are tampering with federal mail and it is nothing new, Coleman says. Salem-News.com has documented this problem of Coleman's in the past.
One of the inmates, Clayton Howard, almost died in a stabbing that Coleman says prison officials were clearly behind. This is the stabbing he reported, after being tipped off by the assailant of ha plan to stab Howard. William 'Dollar Bill' Thomas, made good on his threat and stabbed Clayton Howard, according to reports, with an icepick.
This was the fifth black inmate that Thomas had stabbed at OSP. No other prisons in America allow inmates to remain in the main population after they stab repeatedly. Coleman says 'Dollar Bill' Thomas is a bonecrusher because he typically stabs downward, into the top of the victim's head.
Coleman says it defies all logic that Thomas was in the main population at all after stabbing four inmates, but they were all black, and Coleman says the prison was supportive of his actions.
It is hard to believe but it is well documented.
Now Clayton Howard is suing the state of Oregon for big bucks over the stabbing, and in the meanwhile, he says he is regularly suffering unnecessary physical abuse from guards at the Snake River Correctional Institute in Ontario, Oregon.
By the way, Clayton Howard is an extremely educated 'jailhouse lawyer' who has successfully assisted other inmates numerous times in cases against the state of Oregon.
Terrence Kimble is a man convicted of a crime he could not possibly have committed. Oregon tried to convict him of raping a young girl, yet the ER doctor says the girl had never had sex and carried zero signs of a sexual assault.
He got almost two decades for Sexual Assault in spite of the overwhelming evidence clearing him of the crime, including DNA samples.
In examining the law regarding inmate mail, there does not appear to be any justifiable reason for what Coleman sees as mail tampering. If it is true, the prison once again is denying an inmate their legal federal Civil Rights.
There is a great deal of background to this case; the links are located below the video screen.
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