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Climate Activist DeChristopher Facing Cruel Punishment in Prison?

Jeff Biggers

In the same March week that an unprecedented heat wave made even President Obama feel “a little nervous,” imprisoned climate change activist Tim DeChristopher languished mysteriously in isolation at the FCI Herlong’s Special Housing Unit in California.

According to a press release from DeChristopher’s Peaceful Uprising organization, an unidentified member of the US Congress possibly engineered the troubling transfer of the courageous “Bidder 70″–who brought national attention to reckless public land auctions in Utah and climate issues–due to personal correspondence between DeChristopher and a friend over a legal fund contributor.

According to Peaceful Uprising, the confinement to isolation limits DeChristopher’s outside telephone communication to 15 minutes per month, among other restrictions, and raises issues of cruel and unusual punishment, especially considering the long waiting list for similar measures:

Tim will continue to be held in isolated confinement pending an investigation. There is no definite timeline for inmates being held in the SHU — often times they await months for the conclusion of an investigation.

Unanswered questions abound over DeChristopher’s extreme treatment and the role of Congressional members. He still faces nearly a year and a half of incarceration–potentially all of it to be served in isolation now.

As President Obama noted to Chicago host Oprah Winfrey about rising global temperatures: “It gets you thinking.”

Such an outrageous act should also get the public, and President Obama, the US Congress and Bureau of Prisons officials to bring an end to DeChristopher’s wrongful isolation–and unfair 2-year prison sentence.

Peaceful Uprising supporters are calling on prison officials–and members of the United States House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security–to intervene and return DeChristopher to Minimum Security Camp at FCI Herlong.

“In the past two weeks, he has been allowed out of his 8 X 10 cell (which he shares with one other inmate) four times, each time for less than an hour. The SHU could have been designed by Franz Kafka,” the press release noted.

DeChristopher’s legal team will hold a press conference on Thursday March 29th, at 1:30pm in front of the Salt Lake City Frank E. Moss Federal Courthouse. In the meantime, Peaceful Uprising is urging supporters to contact prison officials and members of the US Congress with the message: “Tim DeChristopher inmate #16156-081 be immediately removed from the Special Housing Unit (SHU) and placed back in the Minimum Security Camp at FCI Herlong.”

FCI Herlong

530-827-8000

Richard B. Ives, WARDEN

Eloisa DeBruler, Public Information Officer

Bureau of Prisons (BOP) Central Office

202-307-3198

Charles E. Samuels, Jr.

Director

United States House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security

PRIORITY CONGRESSIONAL MEMBERS TO CALL:

Jim Sensenbrenner, WI, Chairman of Subcommittee

(202) 225-5101

Louie Gohmert, TX, Vice Chairman of Subcommittee

(202) 225-3035

Jason Chaffetz, UT

DC: (202) 225-7751

UT: (801) 851-2500


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