[Ppnews] Carlos Alberto Torres: urgent new campaign

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Tue Feb 3 15:16:39 EST 2009

Carlos Alberto Torres’ odyssey continues

February 2, 2009

In 1994, after having served 14 years in prison, 
Puerto Rican political prisoner Carlos Alberto 
Torres appeared before a hearing examiner of the 
United States Parole Commission, asking to be 
released on parole to serve the remainder of his 
70 year sentence for seditious conspiracy. The 
commission told him to come back after serving an 
additional 15 years, and they would consider his 
case once again... with no obligation to grant parole.

In September of 1999, when most of his comrades 
left prison following a presidential commutation 
of sentence, Carlos Alberto, facing indefinite 
imprisonment, soon enrolled in an apprentice 
program in ceramics at FCI Oxford, Wisconsin, 
delighting in the freedom and creativity he found 
there. Producing vases, urns, plates, sculptures, 
plaques, and untold numbers of pieces, he 
experimented in styles, forms, glazes, and clays, ever learning and growing.

This creative space abruptly came to an end when 
the Bureau of Prisons, in a system-wide 
reorganization, transferred him to FCI Pekin, 
Illinois, where not only was there no ceramics 
program, but where an inept administration 
demonstrated its inability to control the prison 
population. Carlos Alberto and other prisoners 
were thus placed in danger, when the prison 
erupted into internecine warfare among gangs. 
After a record-breaking month-long lockdown 
collective punishment meted out to the entire 
prison population, the BOP moved Carlos Alberto 
and others from their two man cells into a 
different unit, placing him in a ten man cell. 
The week before he was scheduled to appear before 
the Parole Commission, guards searched the ten 
man cell, and claimed to have found home-made 
knives hidden in the light fixture. Officials 
accused every one of the cell’s occupants, 
including Carlos Alberto, of possessing the 
knives. His plea of innocence fell on deaf ears. 
If the segregation unit had not already been 
filled with participants in the gang war, he 
would have been placed in segregation.

After a few days, the guilty party confessed, and 
the others, Carlos Alberto included, sighed with 
relief. Their relief was to be short-lived. In a 
departure from the norm, the disciplinary hearing 
officer found all ten guilty, in spite of the 
confession. The harsh result, seen in the light 
of recent violent events at the prison, seem to 
be part of efforts to make it appear that the 
administration is taking control of the prison.

Inexplicably, Carlos Alberto’s punishment was 
more severe than that imposed on some of the 
other ten, and includes two months of 
segregation, including no visits and no 
telephone, as well as loss of good time­ which 
has the effect of extending the length of his 
imprisonment. This arbitrary and punitive event 
adversely affects his bid for parole. He will 
pursue the available administrative appeals, in 
order to clear his record of this false 
accusation and salvage the possibility of release on parole.

Supporters are encouraged to write to the prison 
in protest, and to continue to collect letters 
endorsing his parole, and mail them to his 
attorney, Jan Susler, People’s Law Office, 1180 N. Milwaukee, Chicago, IL 60642

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Sample letter of support:

Harley G. Lappin, Director
Federal Bureau of Prisons
320 First St., NW
Washington, DC 20534
Phone 202/307-3198
E-mail <mailto:info at bop.gov>info at bop.gov

re: Carlos Alberto Torres, 88976-024
FCI Pekin

Dear Director Lappin:

We write to protest the arbitrary discipline recently imposed on Mr. Torres.

We understand that the week of January 12, staff 
at FCI Pekin found home-made knives hidden in the 
light fixture of the ten-man cell to which prison 
staff assigned him. We further understand that 
the guilty party accepted full responsibility for 
possessing and secreting the weapons. We are at a 
loss to understand why Mr. Torres (and the other 
occupants of the cell), who knew nothing about 
the weapon, was found guilty and sentenced to 
segregation and loss of visiting, telephone and good time.

We are particularly concerned, given that this 
arbitrary punishment came on the eve of Mr. 
Torres’ parole hearing, and that it would 
undoubtedly have a severe, adverse effect on his 
parole possibilities no small consideration, 
given that he has served 299 years on a 70 year 
sentence, with a virtually spotless disciplinary record.

We therefore urge you to expunge all accusations 
from his record and restore all good time revoked 
as a result of this matter. May we please hear from you.

Very truly yours,

cc:  Warden
FCI Pekin
P.O. Box 7000
Pekin, IL  61555
Phone:  309-346-8588
Fax:  309-477-4685

Michael K. Nalley, Regional Director
North Central Regional Office
Federal Bureau of Prisons
400 State Avenue, Suite 800
Kansas City, KS 66101
Phone: 913/621-3939

Jan Susler
People's Law Office
1180 N. Milwaukee
Chicago, IL 60642
773/235-0070 x 118
jsusler at aol.com

Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

415 863-9977

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