By Monica Alonzo
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By Dulce Paloma Baltazar Pedraza
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By Monica Alonzo
By New Times
In addition, Moore says, he took a pile of rescued magazines and distributed them to their rightful owners, asking them to type up affidavits about how they had obtained them.
Two inmates, Brent McCollum and Cornell Powell (incarcerated for armed robbery and burglary, respectively), signed affidavits claiming that they were missing mail and that it had been returned to them by another inmate on February 14.
McCollum's affidavit says he's had a subscription to Sports Illustrated for about two years. He's been at three other Arizona state prison facilities and has never had problems with mail. But when he arrived at Fort Grant in July 1994, issues were delivered late, then not at all. Then, on February 14, another inmate delivered the February 13 issue to him and told him that it had been found in a box of mail to be burned.
McCollum says, "This is not the first time that I have had mail disappear or not be delivered to me at all. This has not only happened with my magazine subscription, but also with personal mail."
Powell was also called aside by an inmate who gave him a clothing catalogue that had been addressed to him from a company named Eastbay. The magazine had been rescued from the fire, Powell says.
John Frank, a Phoenix attorney with the firm Lewis and Roca, wrote on March 16 to Gordon Bueler of the Arizona Attorney General's Office inquiring about the allegations in the affidavits. Bueler declined to comment. Donna Hamm of the prisoner-rights organization Middle Ground says if the allegations are true, it's clearly a violation of the Hook Decree, a 1973 settlement agreement between the Department of Corrections and state prison inmates that details the prisoners' right to receive mail. Hamm says, "The Department [of Corrections] does have a long and rather sordid history of violating the Hook Decree. And this would be another example if in fact it pans out. A blatant example, I would say."
The inmates who signed the affidavits, she adds, "are at severe risk for retaliation."
On March 16, Allen and Bryan Gilliam were placed in detention, Arra says, because the two got into a fight on March 15. Arra says it is believed the fight took place because Gilliam wanted to pursue the mail-burning allegations and Allen didn't.
Arra says, "That will also be a part of what we will look into." Steve Gilliam says his son has told him in phone conversations that he is being harassed. "They're shaking them down, trying to break them," Steve says, adding that it won't work.
"There's more affidavits coming.