[Ppnews] BOP increases the heat on Puerto Rican political prisoner Carlos Alberto Torres

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Oct 26 10:23:43 EDT 2009


BOP increases the heat on Puerto Rican political prisoner Carlos Alberto Torres

             The Federal Bureau of Prisons has 
upped the ante in its efforts to derail the 
Parole Commission from adopting the hearing 
examiner’s recommendation that Puerto Rican 
political prisoner Carlos Alberto Torres be released in April of 2010.

             This month, BOP officials notified 
Carlos Alberto that he has been assigned a 
“Security Threat Group” [STG] status of “Domestic 
Terrorist Associate”­ not insignificant timing, 
given his 29 years of conduct as a model 
prisoner. But the timing is not at all odd, for 
the BOP’s purposes of derailing his parole.

             For the BOP’s efforts, timing has 
been everything. First, on the eve of his January 
parole hearing, the BOP leveled false 
disciplinary charges. The hearing was postponed; 
the charges were expunged. At the rescheduled May 
parole hearing came the recommendation of release 
in April of 2010. Within days, the BOP renewed 
the same false disciplinary charges. The Parole 
Commission then issued an order postponing for 90 
days its decision whether to adopt the 
recommendation for release in April of 2010. 
Before the 90 day period expired, and while 
awaiting the adjudication of the false 
disciplinary charges, the BOP surfaced the STG status.

             In addition to trying to impact the 
parole decision, the BOP’s efforts are also 
calculated to destabilize Carlos Alberto. As a 
result of the false disciplinary charges, the BOP 
held him completely incommunicado for 60 days, 
cutting off all telephone calls and visits. 
Though he was supposed to be able to communicate 
by way of mail, officials significantly delayed 
his outgoing and incoming Spanish language mail, 
due to a new translation policy, applicable 
solely to him. Their vigorous application of the 
new policy penetrated even his confidential legal 
mail, as officials confiscated privileged legal 
materials in the Spanish language. Thus, added to 
the uncertainty as to his future is the 
insecurity as to his ability to communicate, even with his attorney.

             Protest letters to the warden and 
the director of the BOP are available at:
http://boricuahumanrights.org/2009/08/01/puerto-rican-political-prisoner-carlos-alberto-torres-parole-bid-foiled-by-bureau-of-prisons/. 



Jan Susler
October 23, 2009
****************************************
Chronology of Federal Bureau of Prisons Intervention in
Puerto Rican Political Prisoner
Carlos Alberto Torres’ Bid for Parole

Carlos Alberto Torres has served 29 years in 
prison for his commitment to the independence of 
his country, Puerto Rico, serving a 70 year 
sentence. His release date is currently set for 
December of 2024. His conduct in prison has been 
above reproach. In 1994, he appeared before the 
U.S. Parole Commission, seeking release on 
parole. The commission denied parole and set him 
for another hearing in 15 years. That hearing was 
scheduled for January 22, 2009. The following 
events demonstrate the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ 
attempts to intervene in and derail his efforts to win parole:


November 2008
There is a disturbance in the prison population 
at FCI Pekin. Prison officials mismanage the 
incident. Officials then lock down the entire population for a month.

December 2, 2008
As a result of the disturbance, FCI Pekin 
officials transfer all the prisoners from the 
housing unit where Carlos had been assigned to a 
two man cell, and place him in Illinois 1 unit, 
cell A09, a ten man cell where the other 
occupants had been living for many months.

December 2008
Carlos makes more than one request for a cell 
change to a two man cell, but his requests are rebuffed.

January 14, 2009
Prison staff serve Carlos with an Incident 
Report: “On January 14, 2009 at 3:00 p.m., while 
conducting a shake down of A09 in Illinois 1 
unit, I found three shanks concealed in a light 
fixture in the bathroom area of the cell. This 
area is considered common area, and inmate Carlos 
Torres #88976-024 is assigned to this cell.”

January 16, 2009
At his Unit Disciplinary Committee [UDC] hearing, 
Counselor Gebur tells Carlos that another inmate 
had assumed responsibility for the weapons.

Maurice Wilkins, one of the occupants of the 
cell, told the UDC that the weapons were his, and 
that neither Carlos nor the other cell occupants 
had any responsibility for them.

Lieutenant Haynes, who investigated the Incident 
Report, tells Carlos that he had no information 
pointing to his guilt, and no information 
indicating that Carlos had any knowledge of or 
involvement with the weapons; and further, that 
he had information implicating Maurice Wilkins as the guilty party.
January 22, 2009
The disciplinary hearing officer finds Carlos 
guilty, stating, “Although inmate Torres 
indicated he had no knowledge of the weapons, 
they were found in a common area of the cell. His 
contention the owner of the weapons was to come 
forward and claim them, does not diminish his 
responsibility for them, as no one inmate in the 
cell was given sole responsibility for possession 
of the weapons. Therefore, since the weapons were 
found in a common area of the cell, they are 
considered to be in his possession.”

Stating that, “Although not directly related to 
the infraction, privileges were taken to deter 
the inmate from this behavior in the future,” 
disciplinary hearing officer imposes punishment: 
60 days forfeited commissary; 60 days forfeited 
visiting; 60 days forfeited use of telephone; 30 
days disciplinary segregation, suspended if there 
is clear conduct for 180 days; and 41 days forfeited statutory good time.

The finding of guilt is a departure from the 
norm. Routinely, when one cell occupant accepts 
responsibility, the other cell occupants are found not guilty.

January 31, 2009
Maurice Wilkins, one of the occupants of the 
cell, makes a sworn statement accepting sole 
responsibility for the concealed weapons, stating, inter alia:
* “no one living in cell A09 other than me had 
any knowledge of the shanks found. The shanks 
were mine, and mine alone. I am the one who made 
the shanks and hid them in the light fixture 
undeknown [sic] to any other person who lived in the cell.”
* “the shanks were mine and mine alone, and no 
one other than me had knowledge of them.”

February 2009
The National Boricua Human Rights Network, the 
Comité Pro Derechos Humanos de Puerto Rico, and 
other groups and individuals commence an ongoing 
letter writing campaign to support Carlos’ bid 
for parole and denounce the Bureau of Prisons’ 
efforts, sending hundreds of letters to the warden and the director of the BOP.

April 30, 2009
BOP regional director, in response to Carlos’ 
administrative appeal of the guilty finding, 
admits a “procedural error,” and returns the 
incident report to the prison “for reconsideration.”

May, 2009
FCI Pekin staff inform Carlos the Incident Report has been expunged.

May 26, 2009
Parole hearing at FCI Pekin via videoconference 
with hearing examiner for U.S. Parole Commission; 
hearing examiner recommends release on April 3, 2010.

June 10, 2009
FCI Pekin Warden Smith approved the unit team’s 
request to process the re-written Incident Report.

June 2009
At the second UDC hearing, Carlos restates his 
innocence and provides the committee with Maurice 
Wilkins’ sworn statement accepting sole responsibility and absolving Carlos.

July 2009
At the second DHO hearing, Carlos restates his 
innocence and provides the committee with Maurice 
Wilkins’ sworn statement accepting sole 
responsibility and absolving Carlos. 
Additionally, Maurice Wilkins testifies in person 
and tells the DHO that he was solely responsible 
and that Carlos had nothing to do with, and did 
not know about, the weapons. Regardless, the DHO 
finds Carlos guilty once again.

During the hearing, Carlos asks the DHO what 
information he needs to affirm Wilkins’ statement 
and prove his innocence. The DHO tells him “a UDC investigation.”

Carlos’ efforts to obtain such an investigation 
have been for naught, with officials telling him there is no such thing.

July 27, 2009
U.S. Parole Commission issues Notice of Action, 
stating: “Defer decision for up to 90 days to 
determine the outcome of the pending disciplinary 
report for Possession of a Weapon. Upon 
disposition by the DHO, a copy of the misconduct 
report and DHO findings should be submitted to the Commission for review.”

September 2, 2009
The bilingual prison intelligence officer---  who 
has been translating Carlos’ Spanish language 
mail for more than a year, and who continues to 
translate other prisoners’ Spanish language mail­ 
informs Carlos that he will be subject to a new 
procedure for screening his Spanish language 
mail­ that henceforth his mail must be sent to a 
translator outside the prison, which will delay 
for a month the delivery of his incoming and 
outgoing mail. The officer also tells Carlos that 
the order comes from higher up, and that “they” 
are watching Carlos’ every move. The officer 
provides Carlos with nothing in writing.

The initial response to Carlos’ grievance 
indicates only that “the change in mail handling 
procedures is to ensure the safety and security of the institution.”

October 9, 2009
The warden’s response to Carlos’ further 
grievance about his mail informs Carlos, for the 
first time, that “you are on enhanced mail 
monitoring status due to your STG assignment of 
Domestic Terrorist Associate. This STG assignment 
requires translations to be completed by a 
certified linguist. Currently, there are no staff 
members at FCI Pekin that are a certified linguist for Spanish.”1

No one provided Carlos with any documentation of 
such status, or with the criteria for placement on or removal from such status.

October 10, 2009
Prison staff violate Carlos’ confidential 
attorney-client mail, confiscating legal 
materials written in the Spanish language, 
telling him they must copy and translate the privileged materials.

October 25, 2009
The Parole Commission’s 90 day deferral expires.

October 23, 2009
Jan Susler
Attorney for Carlos Alberto Torres
People’s Law Office
1180 N. Milwaukee
Chicago, IL 60642
773/235-0070 x 118
<mailto:jsusler at aol.com>jsusler at aol.com


1It is believed that STG stands for Security 
Threat Group, but the BOP has not provided Carlos with any definition.





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