Tony Serra Letter from Prison Camp

Tony Serra, a prominent defense attorney whose name comes up frequently in drug law reform, writes a revealing critique of the criminal justice system, based on his experiences in federal prison camp in Lompoc, California for tax resistance -- in the '70s and again for a few more months this year. The text of his letter, which was originally published in California Lawyer, was published online at the BreaktheChains.info web site. Serra writes that while the camp environment, which is low security, on its surface is far more humane than an all-out prison -- "In 1976 inmates, as a generality, felt graced and privileged by their placement in the Camp" -- things have changed for the worse:
Not one prisoner whom I have talked to-and I have talked to hundreds-believes he has been treated fairly by the judicial system. Many young men, who in a past generation would have received probation, have had their youth taken from them-10, 15, 20 years of incarceration, with no parole, no conjugals, no furloughs, no real job training or education. They are harsh and bitter. Their attitude is contagious in prison subculture. Prisoners nowadays uniformly hate the U.S. government. And we sit around and ask why recidivism is on the rise!
Read the full letter here.
Location: 
Lompoc, CA
United States
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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mike g

It ain't only prisoners who hate the US government.They've been acting like such goddamn thugs, even before the 2000 coup d'etat bought an outright fascist to the White House.

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