Graphic of Bear

Marion Prisoner Recounts 1983 Attack by Guards - By Ronald Del Raine, Prison Inmate Writer and Activist

In the following article, the author, incarcerated at the U.S. prison in Marion, Illinois, tells of the brutal conditions that are still in effect at Marion, well over a year since prison officials unleashed the repression described here.

A lawsuit on behalf of the prisonees seeking to restrain guards from continuing their abuse has been filed by Attomeys Nancy Horgan, Donna Kolb, and James Roberts. For information, or to contribute to the cost of the litigation, write to: Marion Prisoners Special Litigation Fund, P.O. Box 678, Carbondale, Illinois, 62903.


MARION, Ill. - About the time Ronald Reagan invaded Grenada, another less publicized invasion occurred here in the Federal maximum Security prison Marion.

It seems that the Bureau of Prisons allowed a prisoner in their long-term control unit - after serving many mind-numbing; monotonous years - to slip out of his handcuffs. In a struggle with a guard; the guard was killed. Later that day; the same thing happened with another prisoner. Three more guards were stabbed, and one of them was also killed.

The warden then hit the panic button and called in riot squads from other federal prisons. When the warden's executive assistant laid violent hands on a prisoner; who reciprocated, the riot squads were unleashed on the prisoners
In segregation, we thought the 82nd airborne had mistaken Marion for Grenada It was Nov 7, 1983 About two dozen riot squad cops raided our tier. They were clad in jumpsuits and boots, crash helmets stenciled with "A Team;" visors, three inch leather belts with various gear suspended from hooks, padded gloves, and at least one wore a bullet-proof vest. All of them clutched three-foot-long, metal-tipped clubs.

Everyone was striped-search in his cell, cuffed behind his back, pulled out backwards arms locked on both sides, and dragged to the hallway.

Some had their heads thumped en route, some got it sitting on the floor propped up alongside the wall. One Cuban was beaten up for "writing propaganda on the wall" - even though he can't write English. Most cells have something on the walls.

One prisoner voiced an objection about another who was being beaten; so they broke several of his bones. One prisoner a few cells from mine was beaten on the testicles for several long minutes as they interrogated him about a hack-row blade. As the guards filed out of his cell, one kindly disposed correctional counselor remarked, "May God have mercy on your soul, I counted about 32 out of 65 prisoners who were beaten.

When we returned we found our cells stripped of everything: mattresses, blankets toilet paper, medicines, address books, stamps, etc. Most of these items were thrown away. This was labeled, "searching for contraband."

One of the prisoners reached through the bars for his sack lunch and a guard hit his hand with a club. They beat him all the way to segregation, as they did to many.

In one cell block, the faucets and toilets were shut off, the windows were opened, and the prisoners were hosed down twice and held incommununicado for a week and a half. Other cell blocks just had their toilets~ turned off, with no toilet paper issued for a few days.

After the mad dogs left, we stood around in our shorts and shivered as the November breeze came through the open windows. A short time later, they returned and chose three of us for rectal probes, followed by several X-rays while adjusting the handcuffs behind our backs to different positions. However, we had nothing on us nor in us.

I'm now in population, which is similar to segregation in most prisons. We get one hour a day on the tier for shower and exercise We get no cell lockers, chairs, tables, shelves, medicine cabinets, mirrors, towel hooks or coat hangers.
or coat hangers.

After a few months, they gave us a three-inch plastic spoon to use in our cell.

Since bed boards are verboten and they won't repair the sagging bed springs, most lads sleep on the floor with the mice and dirt.

All weight-lifting equipment, televisions, and water fountains are gone. Law books were banned for a month or two.

Bulldozers have uprooted all benches, sun shades, a miniature golf course, a fish pond, and shrubs. Two small cages are being built in the yard, where we will enjoy our "yard-out" six at a time. Visits have been cut to four hours a month, while separated by a plastic shield and talk over a monitored phone

You are escorted on all movements by a club-carrying squad while cuffed behind your back.

Every few days, we are taken out of our cells backwards, while cuffed behind our backs, and our cells are ransacked. And just for good measure, if this weren't enough, the warden decreed that no Chnstmas packages could be received.

There is one minor benefit from all this. One captive, who heretofore vociferously defended his government, is now ready to resist his masters.

March 1, 1985 The Milltant

See the full story of the violence perpetuated against the Marion prisoner in Nov. 1983 on the Del Raine Site