Thursday, March 26, 2009

Call to Action: Letters re transfer to AG Holder

So you've written to the BOP's designation center in Texas on Leonard Peltier's behalf, as well as Director Lappin of the Bureau of Prisons. If you received responses at all, they've been less than satisfactory, right? The next step is to contact the Attorney General of the United States.

You can send an e-mail to IMPORTANT: Be certain to address your comments to the attention of Eric Holder, Attorney General.

Better yet, take just a few minutes to place a phone call. The phone number of the Office of the Attorney General is 202-353-1555.

The following is sample text that you may use for your communication with the Attorney General. The text also may be adapted as talking points during a phone call.

The Honorable Eric Holder
Office of the Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001

Re: Leonard Peltier #89637-132

Dear Mr. Holder,

First, thank you for overturning the strict guidelines as regards Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. If, as you ordered, "a presumption of disclosure" is applied by the Department of Justice (specifically, the Federal Bureau of Investigation) when handling Leonard Peltier's FOIA requests, his attorneys can expect to finally have access to thousands of government documents withheld at trial 33 YEARS AGO!

I strongly agree that the American people have the right to information about their government’s activities, as well as to hold any government agency accountable for its failure to support and defend the U.S. Constitution.

I am writing, today, because I am alarmed by the treatment of Mr. Peltier by the Bureau of Prisons (BOP). As you likely know, due to a change in mission at USP-Lewisburg, Leonard Peltier was transferred to USP-Canaan on January 13. I was outraged to learn that he was immediately attacked and injured by young gang members there.

I recently wrote to the BOP's Designation and Sentence Computation Center (DSCC) to ask that Peltier's recent application for transfer be honored. The DSCC's response implied that Mr. Peltier did not apply for a transfer and/or follow procedures for doing so. However, last August, Mr. Peltier properly submitted a formal application for transfer to an institution close to his home in North Dakota—either the prison at Sandstone, Minnesota, or the facility in Oxford, Wisconsin.

I was disgusted to discover that Mr. Peltier has never been placed within a 500-mile radius of his home during the past over 33 years. It's apparent that Mr. Peltier hasn't been afforded fair consideration and equal treatment by the BOP. The assignment requested by Mr. Peltier would comply with Program Statement 5100.08 which states that the BOP is to make every effort to keep prisoners within a 500-mile radius of their homes so that prisoners can maintain ties to their families and communities.

When I apprised DSSC of these facts, I was told that Mr. Peltier has the right to appeal a designation made by the DSCC. However, to date, Mr. Peltier's request for a transfer has not been formally approved or rejected. There has, in fact, been no response whatsoever. What is there to appeal?

In addition, Mr. Peltier's attorney wrote to Director Lappin about Peltier's request for a transfer. To date, there has been no reply.

I also have written to Director Lappin and have received no reply.

You also should know that, in late 2008, the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians sent a resolution to Director Lappin (and later to the White House) offering a third option, i.e., that their tribesman Peltier be transferred to that Nation’s custody to serve the remainder of his sentence.

These are the facts: Mr. Peltier has been a model prisoner for the past 30 years. In recognition of this, the BOP has greatly reduced his security rating. Peltier shouldn’t be imprisoned in a maximum security facility anymore.

Peltier's reduced security rating, his application for a transfer, and his Tribal Council’s request should have been but clearly weren't taken into account in the BOP’s recent decision to transfer Peltier to yet another maximum security prison where the BOP's inability to protect Mr. Peltier became clearly evident.

First and foremost, I look to you to protect and defend the Constitution and ensure equal rights for all. I would hope that you expect the same from all of your subordinates in the Department of Justice.

Mr. Holder, I ask that you truly embrace government transparency—and accountability—within the DOJ. The only remedy to the current situation is for you to immediately transfer Mr. Peltier to one of the above, more appropriate facilities. I strongly urge you to do so.

Thank you for your consideration and rapid response.


(Your Name)
(Your Address)
(Your City, State and Zip Code)

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