From the September 2008 Idaho Observer:


Slaviní for the man (reprise)

Greetings from Louisiana State Prison! Sorry I canít type my letter but we are not allowed to get typewriters here, among other things. About the only things we can receive through the package room are approved soft cover books and music CDs without video or explicit lyrics.

Can you believe we canít even go in the yard without a shirt on? The women that work here complained about it even though this is an all male institution. During the day the doors are locked, so if you are not at work you are locked out in the yard. Even though it has been close to 100 degrees every day with a heat index of 110, you must have a shirt on.

In the July 21 issue of The IO there was a letter from Maurice entitled "Slaviní for the Man." At the end of the letter you commented on prison labor wage scales. Everyone at this prison works. Top pay is 20 cents an hour. Doesnít matter what kind of education or skill you have. Some only make four cents an hour. Before coming here I was a skilled Sheet Metal Mechanic, supporting a wife, who didnít work, and five children. I was 40 years old when I came here and a first offender. I received a life sentence with no chance of parole. In Louisiana a life sentence means you will die here.

My job here is working for the maintenance department doing sheet metal work. I am the only one here who knows anything about this kind of work, including the security that runs the shop. When something needs to be done, I have to decide what is needed, order the material, build it, and then install it. I receive top pay of 20 cents an hour. Talk about "slaviní for the man!"

Considering that we have to buy most of the things we need at the canteen, like shampoo, deodorant, shaving cream, razors, toothbrush, etc., that doesnít go far.

Keep up the good work of getting the truth out there. The IO is about the only source of truth around.

Karl Clomburg

Angola, Lousiana