Advocates living behind the walls at gulag:Moose Lake have been speaking out about the acute danger to shadow prisoners in Minnesota from the novel coronavirus. Here we have assembled 3 letters to Gov. Tim Walz (D-Minnesota), 1 letter from advocates on the inside to facility staff in gulag:Moose Lake and St. Peter, and 1 memo from the facility administration pretending they’re doing something about the problem.
No one deserves to die from Covid-19 behind bars. Sadly, that is already happening because callous administrators and public officials have failed to act to protect this vulnerable population. Jails and prisons have been described as “land locked cruse ships” and are certain to become epicenters of this pandemic. When Covid-19 hits these “Not-A-Prison” prisons, it will spread like wildfire. 2 people have already died from the novel coronavirus at gulag:Arcadia in Florida. 7 have died at gulag:Avenel and another 15 prisoners had been taken to the hospital on stretchers as of April 29, 2020.
- First Letter to Gov. Tim Walz (3/21/2020)
- Second Letter to Gov Tim Walz (3/31/2020)
- Minnesota DHS MSOP Memo to Shadow Prisoners (3/31/2020)
- Lonergan & Hatton Letter to MSOP Staff (4/3/2020)
- Third Letter to Gov. Tim Walz (4/4/2020)
- The March 21, 2020 letter from Russell Hatton and Daniel Wilson (both shadow prisoners in Minnesota DHS custody at gulag:Moose Lake and co-founders of the OCEAN newsletter) focuses on the emergency caused by the Covid-19 pandemic but their missive is also a cogent rebuke against systems of pre-crime preventative detention. They highlight the absurd warehousing of geriatric shadow prisoners, people indefinitely detained as adults based on behavior from when they were still juveniles themselves, and the 1 out of 8 people at the gulag who have never been convicted of anything at all. (Advocates often get carried away when using abbreviations: “CPS” in these letters stand for “Community Preparation Services”, which is a reentry unit in St. Peter that currently holds about 88 people.)
- The March 31, 2020 letter from Russell Hatton and Daniel Wilson focuses more on the extreme cost indefinitely detaining people after they have completed their prison sentence in a fake psychiatric facility. Advocates should take multiple tacts to address an issue, and the authors do that here by bringing attention to the fiscal boondoggle these legislative schemes create at a time when state budgets are hemorrhaging badly due to the stay at home policies instituted to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. They also make this second letter timely by directly addressing a televised PSA from the governor discouraging “fear and panic” — which must be deeply ironic to shadow prisoners in a system built on (and perpetuated by) hysteria, and all the dark forces embolden by it.
- April 3, 2020 letter from Peter Lonergan and Russell Hatton to “All MSOP staff — Program-Wide” highlights the fact that the only way the novel coronavirus will get into the facility is if the staff bring it in from the outside world. Ironically, the isolation tactics imposed by staff actually increases the staff contact with shadow prisoners, thus increasing the risk of infection.
- The April 4, 2020 letter from Russell Hatton and Daniel Wilson is nearly identical to the March 31 letter with the notable addition of a reference to the Sex Offence Litigation and Policy Resource Center (SOLPRC) position statement recommending the release of persons from pre-crime preventative detention facilities.
If you haven’t done so already, please take a moment to send a letter to your governor to demand action to protect shadow prisoners from the novel coronavirus.