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Veronza Bowers, Jr.
Veronza Bowers, Jr. is an inmate at the U.S. Federal Penitentiary in Coleman Florida. He has been incarcerated U.S. Federal prison system since 1973.
Veronza was a member of the Black Panther Party in the San Francisco Bay Area during the late Sixties. The experience of the Black Panther Party, targeted by the FBI and Federal Government in its infamous Cointel Operation during this era of intense opposition to racial injustice and the War in Vietnam, is a chapter in American history that bears careful review. Many members of the BPP have languished in prison for decades convicted of crimes they did not commit. The high-profile case of Gerinomo Pratt, recently released from custody, is only one of many that the courts have overturned. Veronza was convicted of murder on the word of two informants, both of whom received reduced sentences for other crimes by the Federal prosecutor's office. There were no eye-witnesses to the shooting and no evidence independent of these informants to link him to the crime. At his trial Veronza offered alibi testimony which was not credited by the jury. Nor was testimony of two relatives of the informants who insisted that they were lying. Veronza has consistently proclaimed his innocence of the crime of murder for which he was convicted - even at the expense of having his appeals for parole denied for which an admission of guilt might have worked in his favor.
In the 30-years of his confinement since the age of 26, Veronza has become a "model "prisoner. He is a musician, has been studying a variety of Asian healing arts - including shiatsu, acupressure, tsubo and massage therapy - and has a strong interest in Buddhist meditation as well as "hands-on" healing techniques which he practiced at the various facilities in which he was incarcerated. Veronza is also an honorary elder of the Lompoc Tribe of Five Feathers, a Native American spiritual and cultural group. He is a mentor and founder of the All-Faith Meditation Group, a non-denominational spiritual organization devoted to healing meditation using the Japanese shakuhachi flute. He is member of the International Shakuhachi Society.
To learn more about Veronza, his life and compassionate work inside prison walls, please follow the links on this web site. Of special interest are letters to the U.S. Parole Commission written on his behalf by friends, lawyers, prison workers, an inmate as well as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.
A summary of Veronza's legal history tells about his successful challenge to the National Parole Commission which has jurisdiction over his incarceration. His contention that the Commission was in gross violation of due process as well as its own rules and regulations has been strongly backed by the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals which mandated a reconsideration of his case. It is rare that an inmate in the federal prison system wins on the Appellate Court level. In spite of this ruling, however, the Parole Commission continues without any explanation to deny Veronza his right of due process guaranteed by the Constitution.
If you would like to know about or join Veronza's friends in their efforts to help him win parole, click here for more information. For the very latest update, click here.
Thanks for taking the time to look over this site. If you have any questions, please get in touch.
You can hear the entire program now at the following link:
Who Needs Prisons, And Who Do The Prisons Need? Part 2 (with Veronza Bowers Jr)
September 2, 2003
aka 33 years and 54 days ADJ