America’s Most Isolated Federal Prisoner Describes 10,220 Days in Extreme Solitary Confinement

Control Unit, by Thomas Silverstein
Control Unit, by Thomas Silverstein

Thomas Silverstein, who has been described as America’s “most isolated man,” has been held in an extreme form of solitary confinement under a “no human contact” order for 28 years. Originally imprisoned for armed robbery at the age of 19, Silverstein is serving life without parole for killing two fellow prisoners (whom he says were threatening his life) and a prison guard, and has been buried in the depths of the federal prison system since 1983.

In his current lawsuit against the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Silverstein contends that his decades of utter isolation in a small concrete cell violate the Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment, as well as its guarantee of due process. (The lawsuit, brought by the University of Denver’s Civil Rights Clinic, is described in detail in our article “Fortresses of Solitude.”)

In support of that lawsuit, Silverstein, now 59, has written a long “declaration,” the purpose of which “is primarily to describe my experience during this lengthy period of solitary confinement: the nature and impact of the harsh conditions I have endured in spite of a spotless conduct record for over 22 years, and my lack of knowledge about what, if anything, I can do to lessen my isolation.” After apologizing “for the actions that brought me here in the first place,” particularly the murder of corrections officer Merle Clutts, Silverstein contends that he has “worked hard to become a different man.” He continues, “I understand that I deserve to be punished for my actions, and I do not expect ever to be released from prison…I just want to serve out the remainder of my time peacefully with other mature guys doing their time.”

The bulk of the declaration is a detailed account of Silverstein’s experiences and surrounding in a series of what constitute the most secure and isolated housing in the federal prison system: in the notorious Control Unit at Marion, the supermax prototype; at USP Atlanta in a windowless underground “side pocket” cell that measured 6 x 7 feet (“almost exactly the size of a standard king mattress,”); at Leavenworth in an isolated basement cell dubbed the “Silverstein Suite”; on “Range 13” at ADX Florence, where the only other prisoner was Ramzi Yusef; and finally in ADX’s D-Unit, where he can hear the sounds of other prisoners living in neighboring cells, though he still never sees them.

The following is from Tommy Silverstein’s description of his life at USP Atlanta:

The cell was so small that I could stand in one place and touch both walls simultaneously. The ceiling was so low that I could reach up and touch the hot light fixture.

My bed took up the length of the cell, and there was no other furniture at all…The walls were solid steel and painted all white.

I was permitted to wear underwear, but I was given no other clothing.

Shortly after I arrived, the prison staff began construction on the side pocket cell, adding more bars and other security measures to the cell while I was within it. In order not to be burned by sparks and embers while they welded more iron bars across the cell, I had to lie on my bed and cover myself with a sheet.

It is hard to describe the horror I experienced during this construction process. As they built new walls around me it felt like I was being buried alive. It was terrifying.

During my first year in the side pocket cell I was completely isolated from the outside world and had no way to occupy my time. I was not allowed to have any social visits, telephone privileges, or reading materials except a bible. I was not allowed to have a television, radio, or tape player. I could speak to no one and their was virtually nothing on which to focus my attention.

I was not only isolated, but also disoriented in the side pocket. This was exacerbated by the fact that I wasn’t allowed to have a wristwatch or clock. In addition, the bright, artificial lights remained on in the cell constantly, increasing my disorientation and making it difficult to sleep. Not only were they constantly illuminated, but those lights buzzed incessantly. The buzzing noise was maddening, as there often were no other sounds at all. This may sound like a small thing, but it was my entire world.

Due to the unchanging bright artificial lights and not having a wristwatch or clock, I couldn’t tell if it was day or night. Frequently, I would fall asleep and when I woke up I would not know if I had slept for five minutes or five hours, and would have no idea of what day or time of day it was.

I tried to measure the passing of days by counting food trays. Without being able to keep track of time, though, sometimes I thought the officers had left me and were never coming back. I thought they were gone for days, and I was going to starve. It’s likely they were only gone for a few hours, but I had no way to know.

I was so disoriented in Atlanta that I felt like I was in an episode of the twilight zone. I now know that I was housed there for about four years, but I would have believed it was a decade if that is what I was told. It seemed eternal and endless and immeasurable…

There was no air conditioning or heating in the side pocket cells. During the summer, the heat was unbearable. I would pour water on the ground and lay naked on the floor in an attempt to cool myself…

The only time I was let out of my cell was for outdoor recreation. I was allowed one hour a week of outdoor recreation. I could not see any other inmates or any of the surrounding landscape during outdoor recreation. There was no exercise equipment and nothing to do…

My vision deteriorated in the side pocket, I think due to the constant bright lights, or possibly also because of other aspects of this harsh environment. Everything began to appear blurry and I became sensitive to light, which burned my eyes and gave me headaches.

Nearly all of the time, the officers refused to speak to me. Despite this, I heard people who I believed to be officers whispering into my vents, telling me they hated me and calling me names. To this day, I am not sure if the officers were doing this to me, or if I was starting to lose it and these were hallucinations.

In the side pocket cell, I lost some ability to distinguished what was real. I dreamt I was in prison. When I woke up, I was not sure which was reality and which was a dream.

In a summing up, Silverstein reflects on the physical and psychological effects of 28 years in solitary and on his own development as a self-taught artists and practitioner of yoga and Buddhist meditation. He reiterates his plea to be allowed into the BOP’s “Step-Down program” toward less isolated confinement. The complete declaration, which runs to 64 pages, can be read here.

Update: A declaration submitted as an exhibit in the case, by Dr. Craig Haney, one of the nation’s leading experts on the effects of prolonged solitary confinement, can be read here.

Jean Casella and James Ridgeway

James Ridgeway (1936-2021) was the founder and co-director of Solitary Watch. An investigative journalist for over 60 years, he served as Washington Correspondent for the Village Voice and Mother Jones, reporting domestically on subjects ranging from electoral politics to corporate malfeasance to the rise of the racist far-right, and abroad from Central America, Northern Ireland, Eastern Europe, Haiti, and the former Yugoslavia. Earlier, he wrote for The New Republic and Ramparts, and his work appeared in dozens of other publications. He was the co-director of two films and author of 20 books, including a forthcoming posthumous edition of his groundbreaking 1991 work on the far right, Blood in the Face. Jean Casella is the director of Solitary Watch. She has also published work in The Guardian, The Nation, and Mother Jones, and is co-editor of the book Hell Is a Very Small Place: Voices from Solitary Confinement. She has received a Soros Justice Media Fellowship and an Alicia Patterson Fellowship. She tweets @solitarywatch.

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  • CharlesS

    Yeah, I got the name wrong above. The system does not allow editing after posting.

    Thomas SILVERSTEIN died on May 11,2019, from complications after heart surgery.

  • CharlesS

    I feel compelled to post again, because reading these posts has raised strong emotions in me.

    I have read notes expressing sympathy. I have read other notes stating that it is the poster’s opinion that punishment of criminal activity is antiquated and flawed, and even cruel.

    I can only assume that these same individuals have not had any criminal acts directly perpetrated against them. I believe that I can fairly assume that they are pen-pals with, fan-boys of, or are related to, someone that is incarcerated. These are people who have consciously chosen to believe the lies that criminals tell. They are blinded by their own righteous indignation concerning situations that do not involve them directly.

    Thomas Silverman died in 2019, good riddance.

    The impact that criminal activity has on our society is enormous. In the truest sense, locking people away is more protective than punitive. By putting disruptive individuals into a separate place, we protect the general population. If these locked away people are unable to get along with other locked away people, they go to solitary, to protect the other criminals. That is the way it is, get over yourself.

    There are VERY few innocent people in prison. The ones that are actually innocent of their charge, but were still convicted, were not just found guilty for no reason. They may have been “wrongly accused”, but that does not equate to innocence. They were quite often involved in doing something else wrong, that placed them in a position to be accused. A lot of these “innocent” people have many other offences to hide, but they were just not caught for those.

    The lingering impact of crimes, on the victims, is not understandable to anyone that has not been directly touched by crime. First, is the loss of trust. Everyone that you meet, in your immediate vicinity, becomes a possible assailant. This mistrust then leads to fear, because you never know. Those psychological effects are long-lived, and powerful. The lives of the victims become an open prison, where day to day activities become difficult. If bad things happened once, what is to prevent a repeat, so, paranoia also develops. After these effects comes self-doubt. Questions arise about whether you somehow caused the situation, and why didn’t you see it beforehand. Psychological problems are followed by financial problems, as money is spent to address physical security, and mental health. Development of obsessive- compulsive behavior is not uncommon, such as constantly peeking outside, or looking up “your criminal” in the BOP system, multiple times every day. In short, the criminal acts that occurred will be affecting the victims for a very long time, and in some cases their impact will never be resolved.

    I read sympathetic messages and am repulsed. How can people have kind feeling toward people that are so dangerously flawed, yet think nothing about the many truly innocent people that have been seriously wronged by their criminal acts? A criminal act might revolve around a single victim, but you can be sure that there are numerous others affected, think about the husband and siblings of a raped woman.

    The saddest fact of all is that by believing the lies of criminals, sympathizers too become one of their victims, and they don’t even recognize it.

  • CharlesS

    My 2 YO granddaughter was raped by a pervert that is currently locked up in USP Atlanta XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX. I can only hope that his experience is far worse than what has been described. That individual is not a human being, and deserves no human comforts or compassion. I can only hope that the remainder of their life is short and pitiful. In his case, being locked down is probably keeping him alive somewhat longer, he should enjoy solitary, while he can. It has got to be better than dead.

    This post may anger some, and they may say whatever you want, to attack me, I do not care. The pieces of SHIT that are locked in solitary confinement are there for a reason. I have absolutely no compassion for any of them. If they were actually descent human beings, they would not be where they are.

    It just does not matter that they used to be somebody’s son, daughter, husband, wife, brother or sister, that designation is gone, they are now ONLY prisoners. They have been declared unfit to live among real people, and I am glad to hear that they don’t like how they are treated. It make me happy inside.

  • Joey

    Although I cannot express under the circumstances that led this individual to where he is today, I can state my experience and tell you about my future. I was arrest for marijuana possession at my home. The State of Georgia believes I deserve 5-8 years in State Prison. I’m very fearful of the circumstances I am going to be in. Isolation, deprivation, and amongst aggravated crimes, murders, aggravated assault, child predators, etc. it’s disgusting to think American law feels I should be housed with people of this nature for possessing marijuana for personal use. I experienced a little of the deprivation in jail and am currently waiting for sentencing December 10, 2020. Not only is my family affected, I own a small business employing 11 people. Most have lost there jobs. The state punishment is too harsh and from my experience at jail very close to hell. I personally feel my infraction does not necessitate what the State is about to do to me. It’s horrible to even think of. I already can’t sleep most nights, my thoughts are consumed by the isolation I’m going to encounter and the threat of being murdered or beaten up in prison makes me worry even more. I’ve never hurt a living soul and have not ever done damage to anyone. Yet the State of Georgia feels I should be shit out from society and house with very serious criminals. It’s a crying shame our judicial system is this way. Even worst, My life and dream will not even be a thought to anyone living their daily life expect to my closest family. I was that person that took no thought, but now that I am that person that will not be thought of, I am an advocate for prison reform and to decriminalize marijuana. The collective can make the change, but we must first unite.

  • Beth A Bonnesen

    Our Justice system needs to be cleaned up! Clean Out the Swamp!! Someone needs to watch over the Watchovers” They have people from Iowa being placed in the Prison in Alabama! They say regular visits from family is crucial in the rehabilitation of an inmate. ROFLMAO!! right! This man wasn’t a killer, he was a robber. They simply conditioned him to kill. I’m sure if he hadn’t killed, he’d have been killed.

  • Jesus Mussolini

    bruv you need to cool your beans this is a public forum why would you cap at someone for voicing their opinion. get some internet tips you pleb. I’m still doing this 4 years later, ya know. I just got a different account

  • Scott Mohr
  • RayathF

    Good lord… So many vile, simplistic, cruel idiots in the comments. No wonder your country is such a steaming heap of shit.

  • KIm

    I know that this story was written
    a while ago but as far as Thomas Silverstein goes the only thing inhumane is that his has not been given a choice of living in his supposed agony or choose to be put to death. This man is a killer and I have no sympathy at all..not once have I heard Silverstein say he has remorse. he just has a bunch of excuses as for why he killed these people and complaining about his conditions. If his circumstances are so unbearable, he should just beg the prison 2 give him lethal injection. I mean psychologically he’s already dead so…

  • Predestined

    This treatment is very cruel.

  • micheal2009able

    The feds read this? you know what the feds can do?

  • Sarah Nafage

    this is so sick and Disgusting, how could they let him rot like this, Its so inhumane and cruel. I dont know what to say other than the system needs a huge fix.

  • Joe Ted

    i don’t understand how they can keep someone locked up so long in my state rhode island a guy was locked up for killing guard for like 7 years he fought in federal court and they made guidelines the most you can get in solitary is 30days for any offense and they have a b and c status also. i dont understand why a federal court ruling for rhode island wouldn’t have an effect on federal prisons

    the federal case that layed out rules for rhode island prison is

    morris vs travisano

    • Me Andu

      It is confusing. It was a state case that got it’s appeal. I think if you looked into (I don’t have time) Rhode Island is stll co fining people too long in isolation. Great Topic I hope Solitary Watch takes up the case as abn article thank you for posting

  • llewellynh

    January 2016: Can anyone update the conditions Mr. Silverstein is in today?

  • Unity is strength

    A country is judged by how it treats it’s prisoners. Shame on you America. You should be leading the way. You are not only a disgrace you are 3rd world when it comes to human rights.
    Good luck brother
    You are in my prayers.

  • Unity is strength

    A country is judged by how it treats its prisoners. Thank the good lord I’m not American. The rest of the world is watching. Good luck brother. I’m praying for you.

  • anon

    I think this man is getting such harsh treatment because he killed a prison guard. It doesn’t matter how filthy and cruel the jailers are, they still get the backing of everyone else.
    Imagine putting two viscous dogs in a cage just after they each mauled and killed a kid. If I take the one, and just shoot it quickly, then that is understandable and the right thing to do. The other animal, I keep in the same cage for years and simply slip food to it thru a slot in its door. If I did that to dog number two, I would be arrested and charged with cruelty, and rightly . Yet we do this with other humans without even batting an eye, and even have the open and outright support of this barbaric and vile practice of putting people in cages for years on end.

    • anon

      I think we need to step back and take a long and hard look at WHY he did these things. Could be that he has no reason at all to feel remorse. If his version is correct, then he did society a favor.

  • Mike Garland

    I managed to purchase one of Thomas Silverstein originals entitled ADX. Where can I find more of his art for purchase?

  • Mary Strobridge

    More like a torture chamber if u ask me.

  • Sumner_Vengeance

    Funny, your description of him contrasts a bit with this:

  • Magpie

    My opinion is that a Correctional Officer went to work one day being a responsible person in society and was murdered by an inmate. He took his life that day, this guard will never get to wear his underwear and lay in a cool puddle of water on the floor to keep cool, never get a tray of food or hear smell and see construction going on..He is dead. This man complaining of being in prison is at least alive to complain, his victims are not. My opinion is it is a little outrageous that he is in solitary so long but he was already in prison for a crime when he committed another crime so we all have to bear the burdens of our actions. There are homeless people that feel like at least he gets fed and housed for free.

  • The cruel comments on this page condoning the violence against Silverstein is sickening though sadly not surprising..

    As far as I can tell you mindless sanctimonious beasts deserve what you get – you thick thugs revel in the misery and despair of others…until the same happens to you.

    You utter morons, within another 2 decades, half of the US population will be under lock and key, and it is precisely because of mindless knuckleheads such as those rejoicing in the misery of prisoners that the USA is fast-tracked to being a full-blown tyranny in our lifetimes.

    I actually look forward to when the US goes complete fascist, cause its people like those below who will scream the loudest in indignation and wailing poor me, what about my human rights!


  • Conley Reiter

    Um, you killed an innocent guard, so you deserve what you get. That guards family will never see him again. He will never see his family. Rot in prison you piece of trash!

    • Prison guards are the scum of humanity, the filth of society. They conspire to brutalise, torture, degrade and murder other human beings, (chained and defenceless) always claiming they are just “doing their job”.

      Turn-keys are no better than those vampires of mediaeval times, who on the command of the nobles would burn, behead, quarter and massacre shackled men, women and children who had upset the ‘rulers’.

      Any man who slaughters a screw is a hero in my books, and makes the world a better, safer and in deed more humane place in which to live in.

      Silverstein should be rewarded!

  • psage

    while personally believe he deserves to be in jail for his crimes his conditions are inhumane, he who hunts monsters runs the risk of becoming one


      90 percent of all law officials in the US are monsters! They lock you up because you don’t have money to pay a fine. You lose your job, Family And home and do they help you get it back?
      NO NO NO….They are the reason America is the way it is and after you do Millions of your people that way you want them all to continue to fund your police Department and Corruption?…Hell no we as TGrue Americans Fight when we are forced to do so!

  • Scott Mohr

    Who gives a flying F about this POS other than a bunch of DemonNAZI party voter’s? This POS should have been dead decades ago.

    • I hope one day you end up of the wrong side of the law….

      • Me Andu

        Frankie every comment you wrote is 100% dead on.
        already 8, 000 000 incarcerated or on probation, parole etc.
        Sadly, the whole country will just be taken. And when they are on the wrong side the wrong gang the color or a piece of meat we’ll see how many will just take-it-up-the-a$$.


        He is probably the corrupt law officials or on of those prison guards that thinks he is superman!

  • Me Andu

    Ashley I will pass this to Tom. His resilience as a human being under this torture is too amazing. Thank you for writing this positive note, we do a blog if you’d like to read what’s going on currently with Tom. We are on BlogSpot tommysilverstein We thank SW for all their reporting. I pass it on to Tom when I can he can not have most articles because it is censored, he can not receive anything referring to a prison or prisoner by name… go figure

  • Tyler L

    hahaha … they tortured him real good .. forget beating him they went for the mental state of this animal …..he deserves it …

  • You don’t, you know I’m right, he is where he belongs!

  • David

    What do you think the punishment should be for him? He showed that he could not live by societies rules, and was sent to prison. Then while in prison he murdered two other inmates, and an officer. What do you think his punishment should be? A life sentence for each of the inmates he murdered, and a life sentence for the officer? Then put him back in general population? How many people would he have to kill to lock him in isolation forever? Would he have to kill 6,10,15? He earned his spot in isolation, this is not torture, this is were he belongs. HE EARNED THIS, ANIMALS ARE KEPT IN A CAGE FOR A REASON!

  • I think Silverstein is a Guinea Pig, his punishment may or may not be proportional to his crimes in the eyes of the BOP, however he is purposefully being made into a myth, the ultimate punished soul, it’s a powerful deterrent that he has been chosen to symbolize.

  • Doc mcstuffins

    Can’t wait til this dude dies. He’s a scum bag murdering people. A lot of prison scum deserve to be shot like dogs they are but this country is too soft. Pull that stuff in Saudi Arabia and your hand gets chopped off or your head. It’s not hard to stay out of trouble. Hard working Americans like myself are law abiding and don’t need to rot in jail like these pigs

    • gary boyle

      If you like how they do it in a third world country and barbaric thinking maybe that is were you belong working hard citizen with your holier than art thou self !

  • Trio

    awww poor baby. I hope all you bleeding heart low life liberals lose a loved one by someone like this monster, then maybe you’ll understand.

    • gary boyle

      In response to the person who thinks every one on this sight is a bleeding heart fool! Being a decent person at heart does not mean you are a bleeding heart liberal or a fool. I served over 20 years straight at marion, Leavenworth and Walpole, etc… I was in marion 1981 to 1983 when all that stuff was happening. That being said when I got released in 2001 I chose to turn my life around and went on to to work as a drug counselor and manage sober houses. In the course of my work I helped to support ex-cons addicts correction officers and police with addiction issues. Not because Iam a bleeding heart but because that is what people do as decent people. We do not cage and treat fellow humans worse then an animal such as they do to tom silverstien.

  • jay

    This story is as equally repulsive, stomach churning, abhorrent and a a disaster for human’kind’ and ALL faiths that respect Godds/ess .can’t help considering human corruption and evil ENJOYMENT involved. Blessed be to all those experiencing torture, the land of the free?my ***

    • gary boyle

      Sleep deprivation and isolation is a tool the government uses to torture there enemies. They learned these psychological effects from inmates that they use this practice on in isolation cells on a daily basis in our federal prison system.

      • 8forever

        yep torture our enemies which ACLU and amnesty international decry, but there’s no voice for our citizens

        • masteradrian

          And what torture practices are our citizens subjected to then?

          Besides, you obviously promote torture and other illegal practices over a justice system that is just and legal……… claiming meanwhile that enemies lack rights…..
          Were you deny our enemies the rights you seem to be claiming for our citizens, do turn the tables…. we are their enemies, so who’s sicker? They or we?

          • 8forever

            it would seem that a country, ours, for instance would give it’s citizens the rights we are entitled to under the constitution, and about our enemies ..go find another place to post our enemies are irrelevant here, I’m for not torturing our own people~ bye Adrian. I don’t think you are from this country, I happen to be Arab American, So as an American I want the rights I am entitled to. My grand father is Shaykh Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi. But this is my country!! My dad is 1st generation American fought for this country, who the hell are you?

        • anon

          Good point. And to add insult to injury, those who manage to get out are convicted felons and not allowed to vote. Yet, they are still taxed as much as anyone else. Taxation without representation if I ever saw it.

        • Me Andu

          As an American even if we go to prison we are still citizens. We still have a right to not be tortured! Punished yes tortured no!

    • Calamity_Jean

      He agrees with you, he says in his declaration that he doesn’t expect to be released. He just wants to finish out his life in a unit with other older prisoners and not be alone.

  • I just read this guys story. I have no compassion for him at all. He has deliberately chosen to kill, and not just for self-defense. Has the system abused him, yes, but I don’t feel sorry for him. This man is a psychopath.

    • 8forever

      He’s not looking for pity, or to get out of prison, or to be forgiven; my opinion is that we as Americans are citizens even if we go to prison and it is our right to not be tortured. Compassion is what a human being should have for another, what makes you any different than him to judge and condemn? Are you different than you were 30 yrs ago? I think he’s done enough time in isolation. “This guy’s story” What do you mean; defending yourself shouldn’t be a crime to be punished with forever in isolation. there are people in prison trying to rape and/or kill you and CO’s that get their jollies by torturing condemned people. Isolation IS TORTURE. And this should end. Because it is just to make money, keeping him in isolation does not make our communities any safer.

  • Alan CYA # 65085

    @ Gary and Martin

    Pete Earley wrote in The Hot House:

    Page 393: Referring to Clutts and Silverstein, Ralph Seever, a legendary lieutenant… explained, “you never want, the relationship to get personal.” He warned.

    Whenever an inmate believes for some reason that the natural conflict between convicts and officers is personal, his ego is at stake, and in a penitentiary, image is a thousand times more important than reality.”

    This does not justify his death, but Officer Clutts knew there were possible consequences of his harassment of Silverstein for he had learned this lesson the hard way early into his career in an event that foretold his own demise.

    On January 26, 1969, Officer Merle E. Clutts found the body of his superior, Senior Officer Vern M. Jarvis, in a utility closet. Jatvis had been stabbed 26 times.

    The murder of Jarvis was committed by James K. Marshall also a convicted bank robber with a 25 year sentence. The motive, Officer Jarvis had confiscated Marshall’s candy, fruit and magazines when he placed him in segregation.

    Like Marshall before him, Silverstein received a life sentence.

    This is where the similarities between the two cases end.

    On March 29, 1972 Marshall was transferred to Oregon Department of Corrections and was later paroled from his federal sentence in 1982.

    However Silverstein’s life sentence came with a “no human contact” order attached to it and with no achievable release date therefore he will die in prison.

    Silverstein wrote an apology to the world on Line 59 of his declaration:

    “Even writing this declaration, I feel my words of regret are inadequate to explain the remorse I feel….There is no justification for my actions.” (Last part from Line 11)

    You two know better than me, what motivated the violence Tom committed in Marion.

    Although I can see the motivation behind Silverstein’s actions it can only truly be understood by ex-con’s like you that were trapped like tethered animals in that slaughterhouse!

    I hope the wounds of all those affected by this violent system can someday be healed.

    • Mike Creed

      When I arrived at Lompoc in 1976 there was no gang wars, oh no it was us against the staff. No females working mainline, only male staff and yes the war was on no doubt, and yes we ran the prison, if the convicts wanted to shut the prison down all we had to do was start a work stoppage and nothing came in thru R&R, nothing moved and the officers for once had to work. I used to be at the door to anyplace in the prison and yell, “Key up boss” and here would be the officer with his deuce key opening the door for me.

      • Nil_Darps

        According to Wikipedia Lompoc is a low security prison where the average offender is serving between one and fifteen years for federal drug and or other “non-violent” offenses.,_Lompoc#Notable_incidents

        But in the setting of a typical overcrowded prison dorm in California the non-violent and unaligned inmate is reduced to a state of existence not unlike that of a tethered animal in a slaughterhouse.

        From my own past experience and from extensive reading about prison I have developed the view that prison is a cruel gauntlet, with “rouge guards” on one side and “predatory inmates” on the other.

        These two adversarial groups have consciously or unconsciously colluded together to met out society’s punishment to those trapped in the middle.

        But this is not just a California phenomena one extreme example of past collusion between inmates and guards in southern states were the Building Tenders.

        “Building Tenders” were inmates selected by guards to assist correctional staff to maintain order among the inmate population (often through the use of force), as well as serving as intelligence gatherers.

        As your personal experience shows as well as the cases in Baltimore and Clinton NY the collusion goes both ways.

        The warring between CO’s and prisoners began with “The Soledad Incident” of January 13, 1970 thus you came in just as things heated up.

        The result is the supermax.

        Not judging just reflecting.

  • gary boyle

    I use to know a lot of these guys in the 20 years I spent in the federal super max and max prisons. I spent a couple years in solitary confinement also and the sensory deprivation cells. It has an awful effect on a persons psychic it is the equivalent of being buried alive. A professional person thought and imposed these draconian conditions on a fellow human being and justify it under the color of doing there job or labeling another human being. There is a special place in hell for these suits on judgement day in my opinion. Mans inhumanity to man is a live and well in the prison system! I have written many articles that where published and try to help my fellow man inspite of all the horrible stuff I experienced. I think tommy silverstein should of been let out of solitary confinement years ago it serves no purpose. And Iam grateful to be free of hate and bitterness unlike those who rule the prison system.

  • Alan CYA # 65085

    @Gary. And may I say the courts often error unless the public steps up.

    As Lincoln noted “Public Sentiment Is Everything”.

    “In 1857 the Supreme Court had held that no territory could outlaw slavery; a forthcoming decision would hold that no state could do so either. That might seem preposterous, but so had the original Dred Scott decision until it was promulgated. Until Douglas introduced the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854, no major politician from either party denied the authority of Congress over slavery in the territories. It had been freely exercised in the Northwest Ordinance and in the Missouri Compromise. The only thing that made the original Dred Scott decision possible was that “public sentiment” was willing to accept it.

    And what had brought about the change in public sentiment was Douglas’s repeated advocacy that the morality of slavery was not an a priori national concern, but a decision to be made for each territory by the inhabitants who lived there.

    In Lincoln’s version of the tale, Douglas played an especially important role because of his national prominence and credibility. He was not only the chair of the Senate Committee on Territories but also the most powerful Democrat in the country, with the possible exception of President James Buchanan. Immediately after pronouncing that “public sentiment is everything,” Lincoln went on to state, “Judge Douglas is a man of vast influence, so great that it is enough for many men to profess to believe anything, when they once find out that Judge Douglas professes to believe it.”

    We should resist this latest judge’s ruling of Silverstein as well.

    If you cannot find it to support him be prepared when someone you hope to free is ruled against as they sight Silverstein’s case.

    I was hoping for a broader support when I wrote this:

  • Robert

    This guy MURDERED 3 people, including a Correctional Officer. Where’s the sympathy for the victims and their loved ones he murdered?! He shouldn’t be alive. He earned his way into isolation. He should be thankful he wasn’t locked up 100 years ago where he would be physically abused, given barely enough food to live, placed in an actual hole and have a metal door closed on him where he would be in total darkness. I know several people who had to work with this scumbag monster in Atlanta and Leavenworth. He never showed remorse and never apologized. He admitted he would kill again if put in general population. He is a danger to all staff and inmates. He earned his way into this for being a killer. It sickens me people feel sorry for murders, rapists and pedophiles who’ve committed heinous crimes.



      • jakeViz

        I wouldn’t identify myself to your cap typing (screaming) ass any day of the week pal.

        This is the internet. Maybe you didn’t get the memo in the joint during your 37 years (longer than my life by the way) about how you can by anonymous?

    • gary boyle

      It is not sympathy but humanity! The last comment was a person who wants revenge. Coming down to some one elses level is not the solution to a complexed situation. You kick a dog enough times it will either whimper and hide or attack you!

      • MARTIN J. MCNALLY, BOP # 20400-175


        • gary boyle

          Every one reacts to there experience differently. For myself I try not to judge or react negatively to every adverse opinion or negative reaction. It is O.K. to have a different mind set or opinion then your own. I use to justify my violent behavior to every persieved injustice to me real or imagined. But over the years I have learned to take control of my own behavior and my life. Some things we have no control over but most things we do.To justify certain behavior works for some people but tolerance and options for better choices is where I operate from today by choice! And as for my past incarcerations 30 years of my life I use to learn from and not repeat. I also ran a half way house for over 11 years to try and help those getting out of prison,etc… Just as some one had done to help me. A sight like this is good to generate support for a cause. But try encouraging your supporters not turning them off with negative remarks if they see things a little different then your own opinion.


          Me also I was falsely accused of lying about some stuff to the feds and pretty much forced to say i am guilty or stay in jail much longer then I was sent to a USP and i have never did any violate act my whole life! I seen guards attack inmates for no reason and then laugh about it! So as for anyone of the law enforcement or courts to get my respect will never see it and i know they are all going to hell and someday the devil will beat and attack them the same way they did others! Americans Are Sick Of The Crap! Stand Up Americans and be heard!

        • Jesus Mussolini

          No one cares about your point when you cap at someone you need to chill out

    • jakeViz

      I Agree. America does Capital Punishment half as sed.

      He should have been executed years ago.

      Instead we give him 10, 20, 30 years + of solitary, which is nothing more than cruel and unusual punishment.

  • gary boyle

    The issue with tommy silverstein is retribution by the B.O.P. and to send a message to others on how you will be delt with if they ever think of hurting one of there staff. They could care less if he ever reoffends or not. The feds released a couple serial killers back into society for cooperation in the whitey bulger trial. One of them admitted to killing 22 people. The government does some pretty horrendous things under the color of doing there job.Stuff most people never even hear about. So to think they will do the right thing concerning silverstein is not going to happen unless a judge steps in and orders it!

  • Dana

    I’ve been reading these comments and some of you are as vile as the crimes this man committed in prison.

    However, it does not justify treating someone inhumane. I do not think he should ever be out of prison, but if he has truly tried to become a better person, he should be able to have contact with others.

    I fully believe that some, if not most prisoners should rot in prison, but thats no excuse to treat them this way. God is his judge and God alone. I hope and pray that this man has changed. For those of you who say that people can’t change, are you the same person you were 15, 20 or even 5 years ago?

    A Bank robber gave his life to Jesus and turned his life around, he became my pastor. He has since gone on to another church, but seeing where this man came from, and what he’s become, there is NO doubt that people can change.

    • @Dana you echo my sentiments exactly. Thank you for comment I’d like to think there are still Christian values. Remember Matthew 25 and Hebrews 13… prisoners are people.

  • Dana

    I’ve been reading these comments and some of you are as vile as the crimes this man committed in prison. I fully believe that if you do the crime, you pay the the time.

    However, it does not justify treating someone inhumane. I do not think he should ever be out of prison, but if he has truly tried to become a better person, he should be able to have contact with others.

    I fully believe that some, if not most prisoners should rot in prison, but thats no excuse to treat them this way. God is his judge and God alone. I hope and pray that this man has changed. For those of you who say that people can’t change, are you the same person you were 15, 20 or even 5 years ago?

    A Bank robber gave his life to Jesus and turned his life around, he became my pastor. He has since gone on to another church, but seeing where this man came from, and what he’s become, there is NO doubt that people can change.

  • gary boyle

    I was in marion from 1981 to 1983 serving a 35 year sentence were I served 20 years straight. I played chess with Cadillac and knew a lot of these people. I got released in 2000 and managed a couple sober houses and worked with ex-cons.
    as I turned my life around. supermax prisons are designed to punish and solitary box cells are torture. It has an adverse effect on you. I turned my life around in spite of all the crap the justice dept. threw my way. But I seen a lot of people give up and go crazy. We must change then try changing the system! The choices one makes gets the consequences good or bad in life. We can start by changing our selves first. Two wrongs don’t make a right!

  • jason

    Clutts asked for it by making it personal. Do your job and go home. That man will never see daylight. Let him do his time

  • I haven’t read through all the comments but… I must chime in.
    Many people commenting seem to be very much on one side or the other of this. There are those practically saying to free him completely and there are those saying he should rot there.

    I don’t know the whole story about his murders but from what I have read, some of them (perhaps all) were of others in prison, one being a guard.

    Because of these murders he has been labeled very dangerous and kept in solitary for all these years.

    Personally, I believe that this whole situation occurred because he killed a guard. It seems to me that he is not getting decades of solitary because he is a murderer,but rather out of spite. Should he have had a brief stint in solitary? Sure. But no more then a month. Maybe a more secure cell, or alone in a cell, but not decades.

    More dangerous people have not been in solitary that long (one of the girls who aided Charles Manson comes to mind).

    To those of you saying he should rot there… You should keep in mind the difference between solitary and regular prison. Solitary is being alone with your thoughts and nothing more. Your brain has no stimulus to keep from deteriorating. With nothing to listen to, nothing to see, you would literally start hallucinating. Physically, heat stroke and freezing and bright lighting aside, it isnt really a physical torture but it is a mental one.

    Imagine when you were a kid and you misbehaved and you were told to stand in a corner. It’s that, endlessly, in a quiet room. Solitary does act as a form of psycholigical torture, at which point the question becomes – is it right to TORTURE someone forever over a few crimes they have since expressed remorse for? Imprison, sure, but torture for years on end?

    Again, i believe this was done purely out of spite and revenge by the prison. Even if he is dangerous, he doesn’t sound any more dangerous (if not much less dangerous) than many other people in there. And it seems as though perhaps he was provoked and/or acting in self defense. If the self defense is true, then he should be released altogether.

    Lastly, some of you REALLY need to learn to spell. This isnt me going all “grammar nazi” on commenters, it’s quite genuine. Some people have left very intelligent, heartfelt remarks but with grotesque spelling errors that render their words almost incomprehensible. Spelling and grammar are merely a form of communication, and in order to communicate effectively you must know how to use them.

    If you say “What difference does it make? Obviously it was still understandable.” – you are correct. However, take for example Google Translate. Or even “Engrish”. Sometimes when you translate something with Google, or when a non-English speaker does so to try to provide an English translation of something, it comes out very skewed. In that sense, the words are there but communication is highly INeffective. Poor spelling or grammar can have the same effect of being confusing and making one appear less intelligent than they really are.

    • 8forever

      Everything you said is worthy of a letter to the director of the B.O.P keeping Tom in isolation is spite. And the torture and games by C.O.’s continue. Eventually when the most recent act of treachery becomes known I hope people will see that torture, mind games, set ups are still real in now the 21st century. I stay angry about this and others in isolation this is my country and I am ashamed of it. Heather don’t trust all the comments I believe the misspelling of people “supporting” T are to imply those that support Tom are ignorant. I am copying your comment and sending it to him. ~Thank you~
      P.S. the grammar opinion was brilliant!

    • 8forever

      Also, do not forget the Feds read this stuff too!!

  • One of the many problems Prisoners experience, esp in ADX Florence, is Mail tampering, holding back mail going in both directions, in and out. Mail to these men is a life blood, a contact with their loved ones on the outside, it also helps as a stablising factor, I know I myself have experienced the agony of waiting to hear from family & friends, today the 31st December 2013, I recieved a Christmas card from Tommy, it was sent out on the 10th December, no excuse for this delay & extra torment, other than Torment itself.
    Not sure who said it, but to quote “if you want to see what a Nation is like, inspeak the Prisons at the changing of the Guard”

    To: All R friends & supporters (you know who you are) (-: Along with R Naysayers etc.
    We thank U 4 your heart-felt concern & undieing support & wishing U & yours a wonderously Happy New Years !

    Your Pals B.J. & Tommy.

    P.S. B.J. (for those who dont know) is the one who makes this site possible & the best friend anyone could ever ask 4 !

    • Mike Creed

      Barri,John, Say I remember that quote too, it was by Winston Churchill while he was the Priminister of g-Great Britten, I believe? “If you want to see the scum of the earth, visit a prison parking lot during changing of the guards”. I believe that’s the way it was said.

      • Me Andu

        The mail is still screwed with in the 21st century retribution for complaining about mail I get mutilated mail. Ahh Federal professionals.

  • Rob I take it you havent ever broken the law, havent even spent 24 hours in an Isolation cell, lets hope it stays that way, coz you certainly wouldnt like it, and i suspect you couldnt handle it either, its a real mans world in there, not the place for whimps.

  • rob

    Funniest thing ive read in a long time. Lol. I hope he dies in these conditions. Screw him and anybody who sympathizes with this scumbag.

  • Eric

    I’m sorry to sound so harsh, but there is a reason that he is living the life in which he is trapped. He is a danger not only to society, but also guards and inmates. Sans the issue killing inmates, he murdered a guard. Yes, this man knew of the inherent danger of being a prison guard, but her was a man with a gift. He had a life, which this piece of human filth stole from him. He also had a family that would never cast a gaze upon him alive again.

    So, when this human P.O.S. is whining about his blurry eyes and his having to lay on the ground in a puddle of water to cool himself, I remain unmoved. He made choices that led him from the constitutional freedoms that we enjoy (as law abiding citizens) to the hole in which he currently resides. It was a step process that carried consequences on each step. In other words, he is fortunate that the government didn’t decide to execute him for the death of the guard. He should be thankful that he is allowed to read his one book and breathe in and out (all day long) when those that he killed are no longer enjoying that option.

    To any of you that see this as a particularly harsh assessment of this case, I would invite you to speak to victims of his crimes. I’m sure that they will have more compelling arguments that I can ever manage in such a compact forum.

  • alan


  • Alan CYA # 65085

    While I agree with you about Tom, after following the comments on this site I doubt he will ever get out of prison. Hell if they keep kicking the can down the road with his case he won’t make it out of ADX.

    While both you and Griffin were in Marion I was not, so I can only post what he wrote.

    How you’ve managed to land on your feet must be quite a tale as well.

    I too understand the difference of taking care of necessary business to stay alive and a psycho killer.

    I do not believe he would be a threat to anyone that was not out to kill him.

    But then he never was according to my research. Not everything is cut and dry but I haven’t read anything that convinced me otherwise.

    Good luck and I thank you for your moral support of Tom.

    Happy Holidays!

  • Alan CYA # 65085

    Eddie Griffin wrote in his blog about the four “Boogie Men of the Federal Prison system” of which Silverstein is the latest.

    In Eddie Griffin’s words:

    Before Silverstein there was

    “Gary Trapnell the guy who hijacking an airliner, demanded $300,000 ransom, and the release of Angela Davis, the Black Panther Amazon Queen of the Revolution. But the exit of his life was more adventurous than all the former crimes combined in his autobiography.

    I was there to see his last chapters in real life… actually on the prison yard when a hijacked helicopter came into the prison to snatch Trapnell away. I witnessed one of the most daring escape attempts in history, a crime that would condemn Trapnell to “no human contact”, never to see the light of day again.

    As we sat on the prison yard, a comrade nudged me and pointed out a helicopter coming into compound, flying erratic like something amiss. It was an attempted escaped by hijacked helicopter.

    Gary Trapnell and his buddy were making a desperate bid for freedom. (McNally)

    I found the unfolding scene amusing and entertaining. But my partner thought not, so he suggested that we get off the prison yard before the shooting started. This was one drama that was a must see for me, even if bullets flew everywhere. I enjoyed deadly excitement. They don’t make movies like this in the free world.

    This is the most excitement I have had all day. Why not watch?

    I watched the hijacked helicopter come toward the back tower like a dive-bomber, with the cockpit rocking from side to side. The tower guard never saw it headed his way. In the meantime, there was a drama unfolding inside the cockpit, between the female hijacker and the pilot.

    Here was a woman flattered with words of love from a legend adventurer. She literally worshipped Trapnell. He instructed her to charter a helicopter and then hijack the pilot, fly the chopper into the prison compound, and pluck him and his buddy up off the yard.

    As the helicopter reeled and rocked in the air, the two escapees made a mad dash across the compound, their yellow windbreakers flapping in the wind. Inside the cockpit, the pilot seized the woman’s gun after a long tussle. As he steered with one hand and held the gun on the woman in the rear seat with the other.

    The female hijack makes this retarded statement: “Oh, that’s okay. I got another one in my purse.” When she reached for the second handgun, the pilot blew her brains out of the back window and safely landed the chopper.

    From that day on, Gary Trapnell would never see the light of day again. But his desperate attempts at escape did not end there. A year after the hijacked helicopter escape attempt, the daughter of the woman turns around and hijacks an airliner herself and demanded Gary Trapnell’s release. She had the hijack airliner fly to the city near the prison. This buried Trapnell.

    The Most Dangerous Man in America

    The current Boogey Man is Thomas Silverstein, hence the legacy lives on.”

    Wikipedia has this on the Trapnell escape attempt.

    In addition to Trapnell, another inmate involved in the escape was Martin J. McNally, who had hijacked a St. Louis-Tulsa American Airlines Flight on June 23, 1972 and demanded $502,500 before jumping out of a Boeing 727 over Peru, Indiana. McNally was paroled on January 27, 2010.

    The source was The Saint Louis Dispatch article:

    A Look Back • Airline hijacking at Lambert in 1972 turns bizarre

    June 25, 2011 12:30 pm

    “McNally drew two life sentences and was sent to the federal prison at Marion, Ill., where he met fellow air pirate Garrett B. Trapnell. On May 24, 1978, Trapnell’s girlfriend, Barbara Oswald of Richmond Heights, commandeered a helicopter and ordered its pilot, Allen Barklage, to fly to Marion, where Trapnell, McNally and a third inmate were hiding in a yard.

    Barklage grabbed Oswald’s pistol and killed her in flight. The inmates were nabbed.
    Trapnell died in prison in 1993.

    McNally was paroled from a California prison Jan. 27, 2010, at age 67.”

    Quite a story!



    • Me Andu

      Until recently T was not aware that Griffin wrote about him, he was actualy given the boogey man article when he asked who wrote it I simply replied “same guy as Breaking Men’s minds” he was surprised.

      • Nil_Darps

        Interesting but who gave him a copy of the blog-post he’s in?

        Surprised it was allowed in.

        Most likely it is being used to torture him further with the knowledge of others who died in isolation.

        My best guess anywaay.

        • Me Andu

          If I meticulously blot out every name and prison name SOMETIMES IT MAKES IT IN sometimes not, Eddie’s name was blotted from both articles



    • Have you written to T Martin? I enjoy your passionate responses. Most people don’t get it. Prison is not the same as the free world. Most of us live where our neighbor is not trying to kill us. Martin I am reading a really odd book supposedly written by an ex-con it’s John Lee Brown’s Blood in Blood out I do not want this guy to make another penny off the sensational lies he’s written. But I want another opinion. I do not talk to T until the 15th. When I will ask him about this book one he can not even get there in prison. I can be contacted through my web-shop



  • Alan CYA # 65085

    Silverstein should be sent to an institution for seniors where such confrontations are unlikely to take place.

    As for the claim that Silverstein should have been put to death long before now, I say, timing is everything. He could have been executed or he could have been paroled.

    Did you know that on January 26, 1969, Officer Merle E. Clutts found the body of his superior, Senior Officer Vern M. Jarvis, in a utility closet? Jatvis had been stabbed 26 times.

    The murder of Jarvis was committed by James K. Marshall also a convicted bank robber with a 25 year sentence. The motive, Officer Jarvis had confiscated Marshall’s candy, fruit and magazines when he placed him in segregation.

    Like Silverstein, Marshall had received a life sentence.

    This is where the similarities between the two cases end.

    On March 29, 1972 Marshall was transferred to Oregon Department of Corrections and was later paroled from his federal sentence in 1982.

    However Silverstein’s life sentence came with a “no human contact” order attached to it and with no achievable release date therefore he will die in prison.

    I say let Silverstein, who has suffered dearly for his past actions, live out his remaining days in a institution for seniors hopefully near his remaining family. Enough is enough.

  • Justathought

    This man would have probably have had an attempt made on his life for the murders he committed if he were to be let out into general population. In fact this would have been the case if he were just allowed to have any contact with inmates. So what we are left with is him being murdered or him murdering yet another person. Do any of you support that? I believe the system we call justice does not work, just look at the return rate. Now if a thief were to have his pinky cut off for stealing…you think he would steal again if it was going to cost a hand next time?? maybe not but its pretty hard to steal when you have no hands. Im just saying that this man really should have been put to death in the gas chamber a long time ago for his crime. At least he could have died in a more humane way than the way he was forced to live. God should punish him and it was the system that was supposed to send him to the Lord for judgement .

    • 8forever

      We are Americans our system and Constitution was set in place to show we were above other countries, more civilized, and torturing people was not part of the deal, mutilation of human beings or the death penalty are different issues. I strongly disagree with our government torturing people. This is 3 decades! Prison is the punishment what is 30 years in isolation?

  • Since Silverstein first filed his lawsuit in 2007, with assistance from student lawyers at the University of Denver, he’s been moved from his tomb in Range 13 to D Unit, which is considered “general population” at ADX. Inmates are still in solitary confinement and have meals in their cell, but they also have access to indoor and outdoor recreation and can shout to each other. That lessening in the general degree of Silverstein’s isolation seems to have been one factor in Brimmer’s decision to dismiss the former bank robber’s claims of enduring extreme deprivation and lack of any social contact.

  • BAReFOOt

    Punishment is ALWAYS wrong. NO execption. Not even a single one.
    If you do it, what’s the difference between you and your victim? Every argument you could rightfully bring your victim could also rightfully bring. And both have *exactly* the same amount of validity: None at all!
    All you’re being, is an egocentric asshole, who thinks he’s more equal than others. JUST like him/her.

    But this simple fact is waaaaaaay about just about anyone’s head. I mean look at them: Tell them that somebody they like has been killed or raped, and suddenly they have ZERO qualms with openly endorsing murder, torture, rape, and every horrible thing you could imagine.
    That’s the average person for you: If fuck had a dog, and that dog had a pet… as dumb as that they’d be.a

  • Bob Dole

    They should just execute this monster. He was the head of the Aryan Brotherhood prison gang and murdered a correctional officer, Merle Clutts. He obviously wasn’t being a decent prisoner when given the chance. Bunch of hippies claiming Christian values, stfu. Your bible advocates slavery, rape, murder, genocide, and more. Stop cherry picking your religious texts to make it sound moral. Stop trying to make this guy sound human. He isn’t. “In 2007, Silverstein filed a lawsuit alleging his decades of solitary confinement constituted cruel and unusual punishment. In 2011, the lawsuit was thrown out by a Denver judge, who found that Silverstein’s conditions were not “atypically extreme”.”

  • 8forever

    @masteradrian Agree! We as American citizens have a right to NOT be tortured
    Prison is the punishment. Now 30 years and counting since this article ran, is torture pure and simple.

  • Mittromney

    Right well at least he is alive to complain

    • masteradrian

      Sorry, but that is a sick comment!

      Solitary confinement for 28 years is not justice, that is sentencing someone to death while alive, adding to that the provision of “no human contact” is inhumane and torture, and then saying he’s alive to complain is, in my probably not so humble opinion, sick!

      Locking a person up for 28 years without human contact is wrong, period!

  • head up T the 24th will be here soon
    Good luck.

  • @8forever, is this your blog? I am looking for whomever is ‘in charge’ of this movement. There is so much hatred, confusion, misinformation, closed hearts, and lack of overall knowledge from many of the commentators here that it makes me just wish to give up hope of ever getting out.
    However, I refuse to give up.
    As an innocent man, incarcerated on false charges with no evidence, racially profiled, not even allowed a forensic expert to testify on my behalf, a jury that was harassed into 13 unanimous charges of guilty or told they couldn’t go home, threatening to throw my wife in jail if she testified because she had all of the records of years of therapy for my kids from a previous marriage and had kept records over a decade of all the things my ex-wife subjected my kids to,
    I want to know WHO do we ask for help? I see anger and name calling, etc. but how do make a difference? I mean, for everybody?
    We look and look, and these horrible stories fall on deaf ears for change!
    Someone says write to BOP, so what can we say that will bring reform?
    Someone says call the Judge Brimmer’s office.and do what?

    I am soon to be locked up in ICON now because me and some guys were burning up in a unit where the a-c went out. I didn’t murder anyone. We dared to complain that we could barely breathe after several days with no moving air.

    The bottom line here is that this is America. All of us in these prisons are American. We should be allowed constitutional rights, among which is to be heard by an objective peer group. There is no oversight committee in the prisons. No one is allowed inside to see anyone’s conditions. That is why there is no reform; the government does not want reform.

    If there were some way to get together with all of the people on this extensive site who wanted true justice, the word could get out, people would outcry, and change could be made, for the good of all people involved. How many white men out there ever have a jury that is ALL none white? Hhmmm, yet how many hispanics even get one hispanic on their jury? I didn’t even know I had the right to ask for some Hispanics to be on the panel!!! And I was born and raised in America.

    Can someone tell me , please, who does my wife contact, write to, complain to on behalf of me and the other men in NC? Is it someone on a federal level? And, how do create a grass roots movement for liberty and justice for all?

    • Have your wife contact me through my website. Its simple any message through there will get to me I think you can click on my name. And there is no real justice in this country. We are #1 only in highest incarcerated citizens per capita Have you appealed your sentence?

  • Jennifer

    To all of you haters, he went in for armed robbery and murdered in prison. You don’t think prison conditions can’t turn these men into murders, I do ?! Overcrowding, demoralization, hot, bunking with dangerous people. How about trying to defend yourself or die. Kill or die what would you people do?! In addition, I am sure most security guards are not the kindest! What you people do not understand is that your thought process of thinking it is okay to treat prisoners like this makes you a criminal!!!!!. I find this to be absolutely disgusting!!

  • Jennifer

    to mike h. your comment is disgusting!

  • Alan CYA # 65085

    In 1971 a nineteen year old Silverstein entered San Quentin in the middle of what Edward Bunker called a “War Behind Walls” in his 1972 Harpers Magazine article.

    Here are two excerpts from his memoir “Education of a Felon” Chapter 14, “Race War”:

    Page 266 “…they stabbed every white on the tier, all of whom wore white jumpsuits, for they had just gotten off bus and had no idea they would be attacked for being white. One died, and one vaulted the railing to avoid the stabbing blades broke both his ankles on the concrete below….

    Page 287 “Men without friends, those trying to quietly serve a term and get out, were in the worst predicament. They had no allies.”

    On page 144 Earley writes about this period of time in Silverstein’s life:

    Released four years later he is rearrested shortly thereafter for armed robbery along with his two crime partners, his cousin and his own father.

    “I was 23 when I was sentenced to 15 years for that robbery,” Silverstein wrote in his declaration. “My share of the proceeds was a few hundred dollars. My life on the outside was over forever.”

    In his 2011 declaration to the Federal Court of appeals, Silverstein denies committing two of the four murders attributed to him. (Line 43 and 49)

    In reference to the first of the four murders, the one in Leavenworth, it has previously been reported that:

    “On appeal a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit said it was appalled by the quagmire of conflicting testimony and recanted statements…

    The judges ordered federal prosecutors to either dismiss the murder charge against Silverstein or conduct a new trail.” Reference: U.S. v Silverstein, 737 F. 2d 864 (10th Cir. 1984).

    There was no retrial.

    The environment at the Federal prison at Marion Illinois, when Silverstein arrived there is described below:

    “Between January 1980 and October 1983, there were more serious disturbances at Marion than at any other prison, including fourteen escape attempts, ten group uprisings, fifty-eight serious inmate-on-inmate assaults, thirty-three attacks on staff, and nine murders.”

    Line 46 of his declaration: “There was significant conflict between staff and prisoners at Marion.”

    Line 48: I feared attacks on my life at all times from both prisoners and staff.

    Then on lines 49-59 Silverstein gives his own account for the three murders he has been convicted of. (Recall he admits to just two of the three.)

    The following information was extracted from the court record:

    On November 22, 1981, at 7:15 p.m. guards discovered the body of Robert Marvin Chappelle a member of the D.C. Blacks prison gang. “

    Silverstein was brought to trial for the murder and pleaded not guilty.

    During the trial, inmate Norman Matthews’s testimony seemed to confirm Silverstein’s innocence.

    When called to the stand to testify Norman Matthews… was asked whether he could remember November 22, 1981, he replied, “It was the day I killed Chappelle.”

    Without this confession Silverstein was found guilty.

    The third murder is not denied by Silverstein but was only committed after Raymond “Cadillac” Smith the national leader of the D.C. Blacks prison gang had failed in two documented attempts to kill Silverstein.

    Smith had been convicted for armed kidnapping, armed robbery, extortion, and assault with a dangerous weapon. Smith was found guilty on all counts, and sentenced to an effective term of 6-18 years.

    Fellow prisoner, ex-Black Panther Eddie G. Griffin was in Marion for bank robbery, kidnapping, and commandeering a police squad car- at age 26 at the time.

    Griffin said of Cadillac “we both trained for combat in the same prison cage.”

    My counter-part was Raymond Smith-el, a Moorish Science of America gladiator, known as the Sword of Justice, street named “Cadillac”.

    Cadillac laughed. He always laughed in the face of his enemies. And, there were times when his psychotic laughter caused even me to quiver. To hear him laugh was not good, not good at all for somebody.

    And, on a good day, his signature battle cry would rattle the walls and shake all the prison cages. No wonder, men in prison feared him, both inmate and guard.

    It was said of the Moors in prison that they could kill a man, stash the weapons where no one on earth could find them, wash their clothes and dry them, before prison officials could ever discover the body.”

    Excerpts from Pete Early’s, book “Hot House”.

    “I tried to tell Cadillac that I didn’t kill Chappelle, but he didn’t believe me and bragged that he was going to kill me,”

    Silverstein recalled. “Everyone knew what was going on and no one did anything to keep us apart. The guards wanted one of us to kill the other.”

    Enter Officer Merle Clutts the fourth victim.

    On Line 58 of his declaration Silverstein wrote “After I killed Smith, I lived in constant fear of reprisals. It was in this frame of mind, and believing I was in a life-threatening situation, that on October 22, 1983, I killed Officer Clutts.”

    Pete Earley wrote in The Hot House:

    Page 393: Referring to Clutts and Silverstein, Ralph Seever, a legendary lieutenant… explained, “you never want, the relationship to get personal.” He warned.

    Whenever an inmate believes for some reason that the natural conflict between convicts and officers is personal, his ego is at stake, and in a penitentiary, image is a thousand times more important than reality.”

    Page 233 The Hot House:

    “To this day, Silverstein claims that Clutts set out to break him by harassing him in a dozen petty ways that most guards learn early in their careers.”

    Officer Clutts also knew there were possible consequences of this harassment for he had learned this lesson the hard way early into his career in an event that foretold his own demise.

    On January 26, 1969, Officer Merle E. Clutts found the body of his superior, Senior Officer Vern M. Jarvis, in a utility closet. Jatvis had been stabbed 26 times.

    The murder of Jarvis was committed by James K. Marshall also a convicted bank robber with a 25 year sentence. The motive, Officer Jarvis had confiscated Marshall’s candy, fruit and magazines when he placed him in segregation.

    In an audio recording of an interview conducted by Earley, Silverstein explains his own motives:

    16:25 Silverstein: I think he was just selling me wolf tickets. But he didn’t know I was taking him serious.


    When somebody has gone that far especially when you’re telling him you don’t want no trouble why don’t you get off my case.


    Silverstein later testified that he had killed Clutts because the guard was planning to let other inmates out of their cells to kill him.

    (Unbelievable you say? Then why was Smith, a known close associate of Chappelle’s, moved from another institution and placed near Silverstein’s cell, then allowed to remain there even after making two documented attempts on Silverstein’s life? )

    Indeed the lapse in security that allowed all these murders to take place, in what was the most secure facility in the bureau conjures up conspiracy theories.

    Prison can be described as a cruel gauntlet lined with rouge guards on one side and predatory inmates on the other with inmates forced to do their time in the restricted space in the middle.

    These two opposing forces, sometimes knowingly and at other times unknowingly, collude together to mete out societies punishment. This is the stark reality of prison life

    Like Marshall before him, Silverstein received a life sentence.
    This is where the similarities between the two cases end.

    On March 29, 1972 Marshall was transferred to Oregon Department of Corrections and was later paroled from his federal sentence in 1982.

    However Silverstein’s life sentence came with a “no human contact” order attached to it and with no achievable release date therefore he will die in prison.

    In his recent apology to the world Silverstein wrote:

    Line 59 of his declaration Silverstein proclaims:

    “Even writing this declaration, I feel my words of regret are inadequate to explain the remorse I feel….There is no justification for my actions.” (Last part from Line 11)

    But there is logic in Silverstein’s actions, even if only understandable by others that have been trapped like tethered animals in a slaughterhouse!

  • Sef

    4 accounts of armed robbery and three murders Barri, one of which was a ‘Get him first’, another was killing a prison guard just there doing his job, keeping scumbags like Silverstein contained so the normal folk in society don’t have to be scared of him on the streets. Let’s not forget he is in solitary as he fits the bill ‘prisoners prone to assaultive and disruptive behavior’.

  • KrisrinS

    My initial thought was that this man deserves what he gets, his “remorse” probably has more to do with him feeling sorry for himself, and his current situation than any genuine regret. However, if what he says is true and not exaggerated, then something should be done. Prison is there to punish, and he shouldn’t be comfortable, but it should not be inhumane either…

    • 8forever

      Thank you KrisrinS You are exactly right, and that’s the point I hope Solitary Watch is making Isolation is inhumane and violates Human Rights, Tommy’s case is used in World Court so people cant be extradited here because our prisons are inhumane.

  • Sef go back and read the case properly, Tommy killed in SELF DEFENCE only, sometimes its the only way to survive in Prison, especially when there are Bent Guards that set you up for a hit from a known enimy, suppose you would have just stood there and let them kill you…these Numpties never fail to amuse me, they read the first line of something then put their own slant on it. Officer Clutts deliberately put a friend of a murdered man in the next cell as Tommy, this known gang leader didnt believe it wasnt Tommy that killed his pal, in fact nobody cept this Gangsta thought he did, but that was after constant prompting off Clutts etc. Sef DONT ever get yourself into the position that your actions might lead to you going to Prison, with that attitude you wouldnt last 24 hours, different laws and codes of conduct once your behind the wall.

  • Sef

    Umm, this guy is a murderer. What mercy did he show that he should receive any? You bleeding hearts are screwed in the head.

  • Jimmy Carter

    i want to feel sorry for this guy – but I can’t.



    • 8forever

      @Martin I am sending this to T, @Greg how can you support innocence Project? if they are convicted they must be guilty, if a prisoner cries foul on a guard and nothings done what does anyone do? As Martin points out Tom was not a killer going in what if someone falsely accused killed in prison?

      • masteradrian

        “if they are convicted they must be guilty”….. Is this serious?
        It is assumed that hundreds, perhaps thousands of people who are convicted by judges and or juries are in fact innocent of the crime they are convicted of, and in jail due to that conviction. Sometimes even on death row for a conviction that was wrongly reached.

        Apart from the capital punishment being a murder in my opinion (irreversible, against human dignity, and revenge (an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth) what is not justice), all convictions are subject to errors, deliberate or coincidental, and done by human beings who by definition are prejudicial and subject to errors!

        “if they are convicted they must be guilty”is when taken seriously is trusting a system that is shown to be rotten to the core!

        • 8forever

          My thoughts obviously were not taken as they were meant; Greg says he supports innocence project, so I took my comment to the absurd for him of course that is not the way I think Greg can not possibly support Innocence Project if he can judge Tom so harshly….

          • masteradrian

            Ok…. I took the comment/reply to the letter…… And as often I lost on the …………… Apologies!

    • Martin,
      I look after a website for Tommy, I accept that its been pretty inactive of late, this is partly for legal reasons, but with your approval i intend to try and get your comments on here to Tommy. If you’d like to contact me directly you can get my email address off Tommy’s website.

      Regards Barri J

  • greg

    It’s impossible for me to feel sorry for Silverstien. He’s a cold blooded killer. Do you think he regrets killing Clutts? It isn’t in the excerpt. I will concede he should be given a choice between death and the hell he endures. I am in favor of incarcerating the worst of the worst this way. Perhaps we would finally have a deterrent. (My definition of worst of the worst would be something like cop or corrections officer killers, serial killers, serial molesters, killers for hire with multiple kills in or out of prison…)

    I also believe that there is no worse crime than incarcerating an innocent man and support the innocence project. I would not be in favor of putting first time convicted killers in this environment. There have been and continue to be too many innocents convicted.

  • 8forever

    @cdilley thank you for your post. No one should be in isolation 3 decades. ADX supposedly releases their prisoners to GP “gradually” after 3 years not so w/ Tommy he still recreates alone. Still hoping for the best w/ his lawsuit that the Denver law school is still working on his lawsuit to reduce his isolation… Godspeed it’s all such crap and has started to affect me the ADX wont send out his mail in a timely manner up to a month for either of us to get a message, I could write a book but I’ll close thx again

  • cdilley

    Guessing some of you don’t have a clue what real prisons like. That CO taunted him….war between races is real life in prison.Tommy did what he had to do. That CO got what he deserved. What, you think he was a saint? Tommy had the balls and guts that many don’t. He shouldn’t be held in solitary forever. These prison officials are the real criminals.

  • carrl platts

    How could you go to work everyday and treat a man like this? how is this allowed to happen in 2013? speaking from experience of solitary confinement tommy must be a very strong character to survive such treatment i find myself here due to an AB documentary every1 knows of the plight of the gitmo detainees yet tommys case is never in the media here in the uk i pray enough people shout loud enough coz this is tragic

  • winston t burton

    Tommy took lives in self defence, Are you for-real I was there in Marion. Them people came out with handcuffs on. Thats how that prison runs. And he is glad to be there because the police let him out and he took the police life to get out of there. I can only talk about what I seen.

  • Matthew Brown

    I, Matthew brown #25538-037, was incarcerated with this nutcase. Not as a cellmate, but in the same institution. This man is evil. He is worse than Manson. Silverstein did his own killings. And for those that don’t know the truth, these killings were done over a bet which he had with a Aryan Brotherhood member. The officer killed did nothing more than be a correction officer. When at Altanta USP no one wanted this guy out of his box. CO’s and inmates alike. His being released by other inmates during the Atlanta Prison riot in the 80’s is really the reason most inmates ceased to riot. The individual everyone is trying to martyr is an out of control killer. He is well spoken and written but he is a dangerous nutcase. The last 3 times out of his box he has killed. He was let out of his box because he promised to be go then killed. Oh the poor silverstein.. Although it is his turn. He is down by 1 death in his bet. 4 to 3. If the let the nut out will it be a CO or another inmate. There is no might about it this guy will kill when given the chance. They really should just put him down like a rabid animal. These bleeding heart whoa is silverstein supporters are know nothing blowhards. .

  • Civilized Society

    Sadly all too typical of the USA’s laughably named ‘justice’ system – a country that professes to faithfully believe in and follow the word of Jesus. The pure undiluted hatred expressed for another human in many of the comments here and the indisputably deliberately cruel conditions these prisoners are kept in would have Jesus in tears of grief were he to witness it. No matter what the crime, a prison needs only to be secure enough to protect the public from the criminal. It does not need to be reinvented with ever-increasingly cruel cell designs and treatments that serve no other purpose than to entertain truly sick minds consumed with hate and an insatiable burning desire for everlasting vengeance. It makes me truly wonder who is the more evil here.

    • @Civilized Society well said. I agree this situation and that of many so many
      these are the forgotten. And The People think spending all this money will keep them safe. Safe from what? thanx for the post I’ll send it to T.

  • Alan CYA # 65085

    @Adam I don’t think religion is the issue here the issue is human rights.

    I agree with much of what you wrote except that being arrested in an Islamic country would be better. Ideally we should all live a moral life but this has never been the case so people will be prosecuted the question is how do we treat them while in our custody.

    The Islamic Republic of Iran held the American hikers -Sarah Shourd, Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer – in solitary for over a year in a “prison”.

    Search using “Iran” on this site and read several articles about this.

    And as someone that has done time as a juvenile the conditions were not as grave in the US as they appear to be in this detention center in Yemen.

    Only four counties are left on this Earth that still allows capital punishment for minors- Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Sudan.

    The United States would have been included in that group until as recently as 2005, when the Supreme Court finally outlawed the death penalty for minors.

    Officially sanctioned beheadings still stubbornly exist in just one country on Earth:

    Saudi Arabia, where it is considered the “proper Islamic method of execution under the Koran,”according to the Times.

    But do you know how hard it is to find a good swordsman these days? Really hard, apparently! So now the government is saying, you know what, just shoot ’em.

    The NY Times reports here:
    Saudis Consider Firing Squads for Executions
    Published: March 10, 2013

    The Saudi monarchy maintains that the Koran is the kingdom’s only constitution. Saudi Arabia has no formal criminal code.

    The country’s courts apply a literal interpretation of medieval punishments described in the Koran, including occasionally cutting off the hands of thieves and more rarely stoning adulterers.

    Iran, Afghanistan, Somalia have recent stoning cases in the news as reported in the Daily Beast here:

    Killed for Adultery
    Aug 17, 2010 7:10 PM EDT

    Amid a global outcry over a couple stoned to death for adultery in Afghanistan.

    So if I were forced to choose I’d take my chances in the US where at least I could keep my body parts in tack while I sought relief from the torture.

    I hope that the Arab Spring will result in a better life for our brothers and sisters in these predominately Islamic countries.

    Peace be with you.

  • adam

    And they have the nerve to hate on us muslim countries!! there is no such thing as prison in islam, thats for animals! yet the media feel the need to vilify us like they did with the vietnamese,russians,blacks, yet they treat their own citizens as caged animals for 3 ‘instinctive’ murders, he was threatened and acted out as pre-emptive measure, now they treat him like a wild life animal, so sad!! prison should be scrapped altogether, the culture is wrong! rap glamorising jewels should be censored! sex tv scenes should be censored, internet should be filtered, the good old husband/wife and kids lifestyle hard working man 9-5pm community man needs to return, money is the cause of all these issues, money and pleasure is temporary but 28 years in a cage isnt, he went in initially for burgulary-money, western civilisation is backwards!!! check the REAL facts not ur cnn or foxnews, muslim countries lowest crime rates,alcohol rates etc… and jail shouldnt exist in islamic law, maybe some foolish nations do opposite, if u dont believe me read the quran urself, back to thomas, i hope they give him his human rights back!

  • Bill, Tommy took those live in self defence, it was them or him, are you condemming him for defending himself, when free during those riots, he helped some gaurds by protecting them from rioters, all this was a long long time ago, he has been a peace loving man and a confirmed practising Buddhist for many years now.

  • bill

    I know you do not want to here this but i know Thomas Silverstein and given access to other people endangers them. There is a reason the Cubans drugged him and turned him over to the BOP. They were afraid of him. I personally heard him threatening them as they tried to dig through the bowels of U S P Atlanta during the disturbance. Bad things happen everyday in prison as a matter of time and location. Mr. Silversteins confinement is not in that category. If he is allowed access to other humans he will kill again.

    • 8Forever

      @Bill you are a Swami or a wizard? you are God to be able to see a man’s heart and mind? thats why we have a Constitution because you areNOT any of those Tommy’s crimes were a very long time ago. Are you still punished for mistakes yu made 30 yrs ago? or held in contempt for what you might do? Gimme a break

  • Alan CYA # 65085

    @Sam Terrell

    When prisoners take revenge for every drop of blood spilt, warranted or not, they play into the man’s hands and create a vicious circular cycle that benefits only those with the keys.

    Your comment “I was willing to take your last breath…for killing that Brother in the control unit.” helps prove the man’s case that they need to keep everyone locked down to maintain order.

    You made this point when you wrote:

    “I was in solitary confinement for 11-years for a murder conviction.

    (By the way I feel your pain.)

    But listen to your own words of wisdom:

    “I started using my head instead of a fucking weapon.

    They killed us and we killed them. That was the nature of the Beast.

    In the end, he deserves to be out of solitary confinement.

    Make real change in yourself that’s the most important. Not whether or not you get to kick it with the homies. Fuck the homies they are the one who recruited you in that bull shit.”

    Here is one of my favorite quotes:

    ‘Remembering our time of total commitment to a set of dogmas that we now find pathetic, we tend to wear wry smiles. Perhaps it is not too much to say that in these violent times the kindest, wisest wish we have for the young must be: “We hope that your period of immersion in group lunacy, group self-righteousness, will not coincide with some period of your country’s history when you can put your murderous and stupid ideas into practice. “If you are lucky, you will emerge much enlarged by your experience of what you are capable of in the way of bigotry and intolerance. You will understand absolutely how sane people, in periods of public insanity, can murder, destroy, lie, swear black is white.”’

    “Prisons We Choose to Live Inside” by Doris Lessing.

    I wish you luck on the streets, it is a very difficult period to be released so you’ll need it

  • Sam Terrell

    Okay! Here is the truth. I just got out of prison from doing 32-years!!! My name is Sammy Terrell, AKA OG ICE. I was in all the USP’s, Lompoc, Atlanta, Terri Haute, Leavenwoth, all these dungeons I have live and struggled through and even Marion. I was there when Silverstein killed Raymond Smith EL, and Officer Clutts. The Aryan Brother, the Order, all of these gangs were Hilter’s Helpers. They were no joke, they killed us and we killed them. That was the nature of the Beast, the by-product of America’s nightmare for people trapped in the hoods and ghettoes. Thomas Silverstein, no doubt is a human being like all of us. I am Black, I walked the line pushing my afrocentric agenda and he did the same with hios racist agenda. In the end, he deserves to be out of solitary confinement. What more can he do? He can’t killed again because as soon as hit population he’s shanked. Hit! Wacked! Killed!!! But knowing the Feds, he is trapped like I was. I was in solitary confinement for 11-years for a murder conviction I picked up in Lompoc Penitentiary. Oh Yeah I came in the Federal Prison System with a 6-years youth act and ended up with LIFE IMPRISONMENT. Thank God I was smarter than my oppressors. I started using my head instead of a fucking weapon. Thoughts are more deadly and so I adviced my Borther Thomas to keep using your head. Make real change in yourself thats the most important. Not whether or not you get to kick it with the homies. Fuck the homies they arev the one who recruited you in that bull shit. Do you want me to name names??? Norman Matthus, AKA, Lil Matt, Jhon Henry Harper, AKA, Turtle, Tommy Thomason, just to name a few. Been there done that my brother. By thge way, I was hoping the feds would release him because there was a bounty on youir head and I was willing to take your last breath. Not for the bounty per sa, but for killing that Brother in the control unit. I give him props, he’s a good killer without reflections or consciousness. The feds should release him to population. Best wishes.

    • 8forever

      @ Sam Terrell if you wanted to kill Tommy doesnt sound to me like you changed all that much. Whatever. you must be a rat is that how you got out? No honor man

  • Many words, but there is no way to justify torture.

  • Alan CYA # 65085

    @jerry bouchet

    You write “You reap what you sow.”

    Exactly we the public will also reap what we are sowing.

    Please read:

    The lessons of Marion : the failure of a maximum security prison : a history and analysis, with voices of prisoners.

    by Marc Mauer; American Friends Service Committee.

    You can find Silverstein’s comments on Page 24 and 25 under

    Lesson #1 —-Repression Doesn’t Work!!!!!

    Page 24:

    “I never thought of killing anything before I came to prison or H-Unit (Control unit at Marion).”

    Silverstein’s closing line on Page 25:

    “More bars and guards are hardly the answer, because I am a living example what the cage and that way of thinking causes.”

  • Jerry Bouchet are you saying that someone that kills another in self defence, when that other was hell bent on killing you, should face the same punishment as if it was a premeditated attack on an innocent man? Open your eyes and read the case facts before you make random comments like that, you obviously cannot see the wood for the trees.

  • jerry bouchet

    You reap what you sow

    • 8forever

      @Jerry the Bible also says “treat prisoners (those in bond) as you yourself would want to be treated” look it up Hebrews 13:3

  • Alan CYA # 65085

    @Chuck Bush

    A ranked power lifter, on your college judo team, and also a fortune teller.

    Only one problem with your vision Tom was let out of his cell in Atlanta but he didn’t harm anybody. And as far as preventing a race war oops from what I read it happened after Cadillac was killed. And this Cadillac Smith guy sounded pretty intimidating to me as does his training partner Casper who is said to have been a serial murder in Atlanta Prison. But apparently neither of these two guys gave you goose bumps?

    (Scroll up and read my previous posts they cover all these guys and the race war.)

    I am not sure if you were a victim of the boogeyman hype that the BOP has used to justify the decades long vindictive “no human contact order or not. I guess looking at someone that hadn’t shaved or cut his hair for so long that it made him appear horrifying. Not to say that he wasn’t a real threat his actions speak to that. Still if we held everyone for what they might do in the future where would we be? The man is no longer the young man you saw in that cage he is now over 60 years old and wiser.

    From what I have read the AB, although their membership is white, is no more racist then any of the other race based gangs are.

    As you know all prisoners talk shit when mad.

  • Bull-shit Chuck, and all the other C O’s keeping up this sensless vendetta on a man that hasnt even had a report on his charactor for 27 years, youre ALL intent on making this reformed mans life a total misery.

  • I worked with Silverstein in Atlanta as a guard during the 80s. I have worked in more than a dozen prisons both state and federal and with a number of truly bad guys. I was a nationally ranked power lifter for years and on the college judo team. Of all the inmates I have worked with only one terrified me and that was Thomas Silverstein. There was no doubt in my mind that this guy could whip me and about five more just like me. He was huge and the most coldblooded inmate I have ever known, He constantly threatened the staff as to what he would do to them if he ever got out. He is a member of a white racist gang and he and another member were having a contest to see who cold kill the most people, staff and inmates!He simply could not be placed in population because he would kill. What do you do with someone like that. The Feds did not have the death penalty at the time so he piled up life sentences, big deal! His cell was not as small as he says and he did have clothes to wear and I should know I was assigned to the unit he was held in. He got the full amount of rec time required by law and because he liked to paint he had art supplies. Every thing done to Silverstein was approved from above, no federal prison makes its on rules, Bureau policy is court tested!For those of you who think his treatment was cruel, what if you had loved one working at or incarcerated at Atlanta and we let this guy out and he murdered your loved one. The other reason he was locked down is because there was a contract out on him and we were looking at a gang war if he was killed or if he killed again. I realize it is hard for those of you who never worked with these kind of people to understand the situation we were placed in.Cruel, perhaps but Thomas was a cruel man!

    • 8forever

      @Chuck Wait a minute, the Cubans let him out he could have killed any one of you he didnt sounds like you are just someone that has an in for him what egos! Amazing you worked in a situation like this… dont be so sure wthe feds and prison admins do what they want to do Dont be so naive Ridiculous post…If my fAMILY WERE IN PRISON i’D WANT THEM TO BE PROTECTED FROM THE STAFF AND THE PRISONERS

  • Alan CYA #65085


    I would like to share a youtube video of a Oliver Stone movie “Killer: A journal Of A Murderer” on a man named Caryl Panzram then go to the 40min mark and watch him when he is released from solitary.

    Excellent movie on how we bred killers in prison.

    The harassing abusive guard that placed him there is brutally murdered. As was the mentor of Clutts before him. Clutts found his body in a utility closet.

    The lesson here is guards should never get into personal beefs with dangerous men.

    Panzaram began in a place called Red Wing at 11 years old.

    I recently learned that Red Wing is the twin of Preston School Of Industry where I did time. They shared both their designed and their methods. They both opened their cells in the early 1890′s.

    I quote:

    “Panzram was deemed reformed and granted his release from Red Wing in 1905. “I was reformed all right,” Panzram later said. “I had been taught by Christians how to be a hypocrite and I had learned more about stealing, lying, hating, burning and killing. I had learned that a boy’s penis could be used for something besides to urinate with and that a rectum could be used for other purposes….”

    Before leaving Red Wing, however, Panzram took his revenge upon the authorities of the place by starting a fire that destroyed the school’s industrial building, laundry, tailor shop, and other facilities. The source of the fire went undiscovered until Panzram confessed to it late in his life, by which time, according to his own reckoning, he had murdered 21 people, committed thousands of burglaries, and sodomized “more than 1,000 male human beings.”

    Panzram was eventually hanged for his crimes at the Leavenworth Federal Prison in 1930.

    John Handy is the program director at Red Wing these days. At the front desk where Handy meets me there is a sign that reads:

    “Never Grow a Wishbone Where Your Backbone Ought to Be.”

    My interpretation: “You best grow a pair because you’re on your own.”

  • deserveswhathegets

    Im going to tell you guys something you guys are nuts if you think this guy should be freed im related to the correctional officer he stabbed 40 times he deserves what hes getting. Maybe if you guys new the while story about happened and everything what hes done you guys will come to you senses

  • I feel sorry for Mr. Silverstein–he made a mistake as a teenager, then ran into bad luck in prison as any of us might have. He is a very talented artist, and I WANT him to see the light of day and be able to transfer to General Population and have more art supplies. i’d also like him to be able to get out, but I don’t think that’s going to happen unless Christ comes in the clouds. Dear Tommy, those of us into Reiki healing (level 2) and the Bruno Groning Circle of Friends all need to send healing to you and your current prison and warden and guards! And to the souls of your victims and their families. i wish you well.

    • @ Rosemary yes please send healing to Tommy,for many reasons. And I would like to challenge each person that has read this and are appalled at this treatment to write
      Charles Samuels Jr. Director B.O.P.

      320 First St., NW,
      Washington, DC 20534


      For general information, call 202-307-3198

  • Yarah

    Jesus Loves You Tommy. If You Trust In HIM, One Day You’ll Be Free. I Pray You Put Your Trust In Him.

  • OMG, this is HORRIBLE !!! I can’t BELIEVE this Cruel and Unusual kinds of punishment go on in America !!! This is Unbelieveable !! This poor man should be set FREE !! Maybe on probation for awhile ..I did 6 years for repeat offender DUI’s, I KNOW how prison reformed ME …I don’t even Drive anympore. This poor soul, he DONE his Time !!!!

  • Alan CYA # 65085


    I would suggest that you reread my post as well. I did not mention you at all. I think you should focus your anger on this oppressive system rather than on people like myself that support relief for your friend. But I guess this will just illicit more another irrational outburst from you.

  • Alan these are wise words spoken by Tommy back then, thanks for posting, sadly there will always be those that are on the side of the oppressor, following blindly, these people should read up on the facts of the case, if Tommy hadnt been sent to Marion on that trumped up charge of murdering another prisoner, (which he was later aquited of), then we may never being having this convo, the fault for where Tommy found himself, back then and right now lie’s firmly at the BOP’s door, they created the situation then, and are perpetuating it still, its called a passed down Vendetta, some of the Gaurds carrying on this Vendetta were no more than children when Tommy’s so called offences occured, yet they have eyes, and can read! WAKE UP AMERICA, this could easily happen to a loved one of yours, nobody should be Tortured as this man and many others have been, and are still being.

    • #8 Forever

      @Alan CYA # 65085 FYI U NOSY …. I am not asking if T can have the manual look at the post it says re garding other prisons how could they receive it if it mentions other prisoners name and referred to T cuz he can not have anything about prisoners alive dead or other wise read my post rumor monger it says after 3 decades he DOESNT need it but how can others get it if it mentions other prisoners by name keep my name and your nose outtay biz.

  • Alan CYA # 65085

    From “The Lessons of Marion” Page 24:

    Letter to Friends Service Committee from Thomas Silverstein sometime between 1983 and 1985.

    “True I killed a guard, but no one has ever bothered to ask why. They only slammed me in my own prison, go out of their way to make it as tough as possible in the name of security and justice and now what? I never thought of killing anything before I came to prison or H-Unit (Control Unit at Marion). Although I was sent to H-Unit behind a murder in Leavenworth, it has been reversed because the “rat” who said it was me later confessed he lied to get a transfer to a sweeter joint so he could escape, which he succeeded in doing. So I entered H-Unit with a life sentence I didn’t deserve and I am mad about it. It has been a nightmare ever since.

    I’d like to see a better way for all, because murder isn’t pretty in any language or moral sense. I am also an example of how prisons avoid dealing with their own backyards. Not only hasn’t anyone ever bothered to rap with me, they don’t want to deal with it so they have locked me up indefinitely. They have turned Marion into a concentration camp, hurting innocent men and their families with their so-called “get tough” policies. Which is what got me where I am today. Not all dogs put their tail between their legs when their masters beat them constantly. Some eventually bite back. Men, especially innocent men going through hell for no reason than being subjected to others overpowering vindictiveness and paranoia will also bite back. So how many more bodies will fall and how many more individual “special housing units” like mine, before they face up to the jobs they get paid well for? More bars and guards are hardly the answer, because I am a living example what the cage and that way of thinking causes.”

  • Jack

    @Sheliah Wow, what a ridiculously stupid post.

    What’s the point of living if you can’t do anything, experience anything, meet people, or try to better yourself. Being trapped in a small cell for 3 decades is the equivalent of being a human vegetable. Nobody deserves that.

    Should he never be able to leave jail? Yes, and Thomas agrees.

    • Tommy Silverstein has served 28 years of Solitary Confinement, the only way the State, the Country, the BOP can attone from that is to release him, nothing else will compensate the utter torture to this mans mind than that only freedom can start putting right.

      • #8 Forever

        That’s right B T said he still goes weeks without speaking to a soul and the C.O.s that take him 75 ft to recreation do not speak to him but remain in “attack stance” as if T will hurt them. In my country this should NOT be happening, T is a human being so for those who are happy humans suffer this way I offer up prayers for you.
        Please read Hebrews13:3 or Matthew 25: if you’d like to know what God thinks of Prisoners.
        Barri is right in what he said if not for lying rats which the Federal gov’t feed and make fat there’d be no prisoners at all.Thats a whole other story— and problem

  • playa

    This guy already proved he can’t be in the inmate population buy killing two other inmates(he should already be dead for that). And while you’re busy defending him, just remember that he also killed a correctional officer(should be dead for that). I’m willing to bet that most, if not all of you have never even stepped foot in a prison or worked around violent criminals. You sit here and defend this idiot but what if it was your husband or son who he killed? What if it was your daughter who he raped? Then what? Then you’ll be singing a different tune, probably something to the likes of “throw the key away and let him rot!” Its morons like you all and our law makers who have no idea what its like to work in a prison or even step inside one, but yet you sit here and speak like you do. Quit defending this dude, and stop crying over someone you dont even know. Do something constructive with your life!

    • #8 Forever

      Rape? This issue is about violating human and Constitutional rights, We As Americans have a right to not be tortured. What if it was you or a loved one inside defending their life and wound up isolated? Think of that I stand up for Tom because I refuse to allow our government to violate rights of its people. This right had to be put in the constitution because of inhumane idiots like you. Besides re you the same person you were 30 yrs ago? Maybe you were an idiot then and you are still an idiot most of us change mature over 3 decades Tom is not as dangerous as an A-hole like you. I suppose if you were in prison you’d just bend over and take it some people fight and then punished for defending themselves. Allow Tom’s rights to be violated you allow your rights to be violated too. Now the government’s gotten away with this for 3 decades and now we see 25,000 people suffering isolation. Stand up for your rights our rights Tom’s rights this is NOT about what he did This is only about our rights as Americans to not be tortured if we find ourselves in prison. I’m sure there’s sites you can join to advocate the death penalty go do that. I stand against inhuman Human rights violations and Solitary Watch does just that they are watching. I only hope one day you can be raped in prison or put in an isolation cell indefinitely.

    • #8 Forever

      You could not step twice into the same river; for other waters are ever flowing on to you. Fragment 41; Quoted by Plato in Cratylus
      Variant translations:
      You cannot step twice into the same river; for other waters are continually flowing in.
      You cannot step twice into the same stream. For as you are stepping in, other waters are ever flowing on to you.
      You cannot step twice into the same river.
      You cannot step into the same river twice.
      It is impossible to step into the same river twice.
      No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man

  • Tearlach

    Just add a little commentary to those of you that keep judging this man for the murder he committed, in jail by the way not on the street! Until you yourself actually spend time in jail reserve your wrath and judgement. Our own government has proven, Iraq is an example, themselves to be the biggest mass murderers of all time next to Hitler, Pol Pot, and Josef Stalin! At least 120,000 dead civilians in Iraq alone and that is not counting the injured and those poisoned from Uranium Depleted Ammunition, as well as mass birth defects as a result of using that Ammo which is in violation of treaties we made after the first Gulf War. So murder is a matter of perspective isn’t it? Is it murder if a death results from defending one’s self???

  • Tearlach

    One other thing many of you may not realize is that the authority to handle “Security Issues,” in any prison in America, is solely with the Department or Bureau of Prisons in the State or Federal Prison Systems, not the court! The lengthy process to prove that your rights have been violated is that YOU have to prove, a feat while incarcerated especially in solitary confinement, that your “Civil Rights” under the Constitution, State or Federal, have been violated. The burden of poof is with the person who is incarcerated! It is a Civil Court matter and is totally separate of your Criminal Case.

  • Tearlach

    One other thing. In the Federal Court System they have a thing called a “Good Faith Exception” which is applied to governmental officials and agencies when they violate the law in your case. This means that the courts look at the commission of crime by the government to be a mistake and that their behavior was proper because they were acting in good faith. When this occurred in my case I made a verbal motion for a Rule 29 which is a Judgement of Acquittal. When asked by the judge why he should grant such a motion I stated “Well your Honor it’s like this. When I allegedly committed this offense I was acting in Good Faith:” This got a verbal response filled with curses and epitaphs from the judge and he ordered the marshals to “… Immediately get him the F*** out of my court room” Upon which they hogtied me with handcuffs and shackles and physically dragged me out of the courtroom hitting everything along the way back to the holding cell. This was in the Southern District of Florida in Miami. After that there was no way I could prove my innocence.

  • Tearlach

    My experience in the Fed System was not very unlike Mr. Silverstein’s. From a 27 month sentence I spent 23 months in isolation, even though I was classed a Low-Security risk and was not charged with a violent crime. His description of his isolation is pretty much what I experienced. Sleep deprivation from the lighting, harassment by Corrections Officers, physically beaten in the middle of the night every once in a while buy 4 or more CO’s, physically rough treatment while handcuffed, black-boxed and shackled when I had to be transported to court and then to prison. All pretty much at the orders of the United States Justice Department who fills out a U.S. Form 500 to the Bureau of Prisons on how they should treat you! I also saw this going on around me when being transported on Con-Air by the Marshals who don’t transport anymore I understand. Every Con-Air trip I took six in all, it’s called the “Merry-Go-Round” or “Diesel Therapy.” As one poster above stated the Federal Court System is corrupt and only follows the law on a whim!

  • Reading this, I think it is undeniable that a case can be made for the belief that a violation of Constitutional rights has occurred here, as this is clearly cruel and unusual punishment. Unfortunately, a case can also be made for keeping Mr. Silverstein isolated, as he has already killed a prison guard and three or four other prisoners. I would think, however, that even in such an extreme case as his the need for such total sensory deprivation in such a small cage is not necessary and that some means of communication with other human beings could be contrived that still prevented the possibility of violence. One cannot help but feel some empathy for another human being who has been thrust into such circumstances. One past warden at ADX-Florence described his prison as “A cleaner version of Hell.” That seems an appropriate and accurate summation of what these places are.

  • George

    They should have shot the bastard long ago and saved us all a lot of money and annoyance.

  • This is so sick and twisted. Over 20 years in solitary! No, he shouldn’t be let out of prison. But after over 20 years in the hole, surely he deserves a shot at general population? And if this isn’t cruel and unusual, what on earth is? I spent 9 days in solitary in a cell bigger than his. After 3 days, I was starting to lose it. For anyone wishing to mimic the experience, go into the bathroom and close the door. Then don’t come out for 20 years.

  • fiance is in fed prison- thank god he gets out next year

    no one gives a rats ass about anyone anymore. its all about greed being mean to other people and selfish self centered self righteous morons. and its all about to come to an end pretty soon.

  • Louis

    Anyone who has been in solitary confinement for any length of time knows that it’s cruel and unusual punishment. Prolonged solitary confinement is torture. Prison is a punishment, but solitary is a living death. I’ve been there myself, and I wouldn’t wish years of solitary on my worst enemy.

    • laurie

      Thank you Louis for that insightful comment I hope you are ok. I heard from Tom today above all things hes tough but that just prolongs the torture they recently took his rec w/ other prisoners away..well Sept. he’s in his dog cage and the others would be in theirs but it was a God send for the few times he’d enjoyed it. I can’t fathom how the people that work there can go to extremes to make another human beings life so miserable my prayer, hope, wish, is that they all be tried like Nazi War criminals…

  • Josefina Espinosa

    It just made me sick, I couldn’t even finish reading the comments because some of them were making me mad, so those who think that any human should be treated that way no matter what he did, is sick and think that they are so perfect that they have the right to judge another human being, May God have mercy on those who judge.

    • laurie

      Amen I posted Shelia’s sickening comment on my blog I think I’ll add yours
      We the people per our constitution have inalienable rights 1 is to not be tortured.
      Thank you Josefina not see another human being posting
      if u want to read my blog click my name

    • laurie

      eeks typos sorry. *nice to see another human being” Josefina

  • Sheliah

    I read this and many of your comments, and I can’t help but wonder if your attitudes would change if this man or someone else had murdered one of your immediate family members: YOUR child, YOUR parent(s), YOUR spouse, YOUR sibling….would you feel the same compassion about him being in solitary confinement? I can forgive most things in the world, even if they were done to me. But this man has committed numerous murders, and they are the reasons for him being there for so long. So what if he suffers in a 6 x 7 ft cell for the rest of his life. Isn’t that almost the same size of a grave???? At least he’s still living, death is permanent. Those individuals he killed can’t come back from the dead to say how much they miss their loved ones. Suck it up buddy, YOU did the crimes.

    • laurie

      We are Americans we have a right under Our Constitution to not be tortured Shelia; that is the point he has not killed anyone out here, Isolation is for torture. Prison is the punishment
      I really feel the need to call you an idiot. Because it is cruel people like you that our Constitution was written to protect The people from. If he was your brother father our son wouldnt you want him to defend himself if he found himself in prison? If he was your family would you want him to be tortured?

  • Jim Justice

    This is America. No forgiveness, ever. Everyone deserves to pay for their crimes, for the rest of their life. Criminals should never, ever forget what they did–that means no sympathy, no forgiveness. Even when a prisoner is grey and old, he should still be beaten and placed in solitary confinement. Medicine should be used to keep him alive should he get sick, so that the prisoner never for a moment ever forgets that the system on the other side of those bars is evil.

  • Joyce

    This man is in super max because he can’t be controlled. He has murdered three people since he went to prison.Save your tears for someone who deserves it.I don’t have one speck of sympathy for this animal. If we had the death penalty he’d be out of the prisons hair. Keep him locked away from humans he is evil in a human shell.

  • Dave

    I am sickened by this story but not surprised by it, nor do I think this is an isolated situation. Our way of punishing people to me is unbelievable and counter productive to help either the convicted prisoner or society as a large. You have a system in which you are placing people that even the most well adjusted person will over time be driven mad, now we place people who are already sufferning mental problems and placing them in that situation, knowing that most will be released into society at some point. And we wonder why we have the results that we do after we release them? Makes a mutha’ fucker crazy thinking bout it.

  • This is extreme and inhuman punishment. It accomplishes nothing, it has no deterrent effect on others, and it sets a horrible precedent. Other criminals who have committed even worse crimes have no such punishment. Time to ease up on this guy. He may have to be segretated from others but not in absolute isolation like this.

  • stevie hernandez

    Its hard to say this is cruel punishment after reading he killed 2 inmates and a officer. My brother was killed by 2 inmates while in prison, yet I ask myself everyday what is a just punishment and does one really need punishment, or to be kept away from others? On my side I dont forgive the guys that killed my brother, but I dont wish death or torture upon them either. I spent 8 years myself in prison, 1and a half of that in solitary! I’ll say the mind has a way of killing you, when left alone with your heart! One thing I am certain of is we live in a nation that will always run towards God to justify its actions, whether it be against gays, or pro-life isssues, and I dont think God would treat people this way. I wish there was an answer, I wish we wouldn’t have waited 5 days to help those abandoned by Katrina, I wish this world had better values… So for now I will just try to do a good thing for a fellow man and hope others will as well!!!!

  • xyz

    i’m wondering if the statements attributed to the prisoner are actually statements coming from his lawyer. i would think a person who spends 20+ years in solitary confinement, without any social stimulation or contact, would barely be able to communicate and would be very mentally disoriented. but this prisoner’s declaration is very well written and intelligent. either 1. solitary confinement is not mental torture, 2. he wasnt in solitary confinement for 20+ years or 3. these are not his statements.
    i think solitary confinement is torture. i also think that lawyers sd not issue statements claiming them to be made by their client. its obviously not truthful, so why sd anybody believe what’s in the statement?. lawyers sd state that they are speaking on behalf of their client. if solitary confinement is wrong, it is precisely because it is mental torture and deprives the person of their mind and their humanness.
    i think if u r going to use LTSC, u sd give the prisoner a choice between solitary and a bullet in the head. i’d opt for quick death-imo, it seems better than torture and slow death.

    • Tommy is lucid articulate and I suppose thats a strike against him that Nazi Judge Phillip Brimmer dismissed Tom’s case.
      “Not Extreme” Can’t treat detainees like this but Americans in American prisons can be tortured
      Judge Philip A. Brimmer
      Alfred A. Arraj United States Courthouse A741 / Courtroom A701
      (303) 335-2794

      I am ASKING EVERYONE everywhere to call this judge and tell them We the People think it’s extreme and weare FEDup with the torture. 10,000+days not e4xtreme is he kidding.
      Denver law school and Laura need help, with this case. Tommy needs reliuef for Christ’s sake.

  • Hank

    It blows my mind how all you liberal cowards feel about this subject. Not one of seem to remember Officer Clutts, a man who was doing his job, not threatening terrible tommies life but just doing his job. If he had just killed the two inmates he would not deserve this treatment, but he crossed the line when he took an inocent man’s life. By the way he was not in general population when he killed Officer Clutts, no he was locked down already and slipped his handcuffs and then stabbed the man to death. I wish you liberal pussies had the balls to step behind the walls with these maniacs, and put your life on the line everyday. Then come tell me if you want this man back in general population. you are all probably the same people who spit on soldiers but then hide behind the freedoms they provide for you. You all make me sick, go cry for someone who matters.

  • Tomisina

    A2010 I posted your comment on our blog And “scares” is an absolutely good way to put it.
    21st century and still the medevil mentality and that is why we have a Costitution to stop the senseless torture of human beings but America has ignore the 8th amendment..
    Again always hope where there is another person speaking out against injustice.

  • 2010asm

    Its scares me how most react . . they see only one thing and have no idea what this is about.
    They should educate themselves and stop following the standard, step out of their safetyzone and look around for a change . . . they will see something that would and should scare them . . very much so.
    What happened and is still happening to Thomas can happen to every one of them . . . and its because of them this is still happening, the narrowmindness, the judgemental, the know it alls know better but have NO idea . . . have absolutely NO idea

  • Tomisina

    @Joe guess hes not torturing inmates anymore @ 2010asm Thank you for your comments
    Forums/threads like this do Tommy no good but every once in a while there is a kind person that speaks the truth. That he’s been punished enough. And there is nothing to gain by continuing to violate his rights this prison system needs to be pulled into check. They seem to think they are above the constitution.

  • 2010asm

    I am wondering how people always talk about forgiving . . and yet can not seem to do just that for a person who has been punished long enough . . the only thing he wants is human contact, to talk again, to feel again . . to live again. . . he is not asking to be set free . . . he is asking to be allowed to be human again.
    Its unbelieveble for me to know this happens in America . . but come to learn this happens all over the country . . . the harsh punishments . . . solitary confinment, a horror punishment . .
    It gave me shivers to read this story . . we ( in the free world) have NO idea what it means, what it does to a person to be alone for so long . . . to be ignored, to have no voice . . . its barbarian . . . its midevil . . and here we are living in 2011 . . where the world has changed so much. . where we want to be heard . . . where we want to be forgiven . . . but why can’t we do that for a man who has been trying to hold on, who believes one day they will forgive him . . . I know the big force has already forgiven him . . . . its our turn now . . . God bless you Thomas Silverstein

  • How are Merle Clutt’s days going for him these days? Just curious.

  • anonymous 2

    Are FUCKING RETARTED, yeah he killed 1 black and an officer (he was blamed for the first murder of a black, in which the other black retaliated and he defended himself) , I’d have done the same if they were threatening my fucking life, now tell me, would any of you do the same?
    Or would you let them end your life?

  • Abby and Stephania it is your voices that could change things. So many die from being brutalized and if your uncle did the killing in self defense would he end up like Tom? Tom didnt kill on the street just for kicks or gain he survived by defending himself. The system like to put certain races in a category, research who is in “the SHU” and the reason Isolation is an over used torture Gangs fight each other in prison and elsewhere why should Tom endure so much.
    Many stories surface about the abuse inmates take from the staff, the staff cry “its dangerous in there pay us more” and then instigate things. they are not caretakers or protectors of their human charges if they see murder happening they watch til its over, my cousin watched as COs murder an inmate and just drag his body out of the unit. Whos gonna tell? The system is so corrupt because its about money we have no more industry in this country so it is using us its own people to make money. Look at WI parole ready seniors are denied but then to save money they take their meds away.
    Again thank you for your thoughtful comments My wish is for our country to see the light and stop the torture of human beings and the profiting of people in chains isn’t that called slavery?
    We have a black president you’d think he’d help… But incarceration only went up during Clinton and Solitary watch posted Obama is for more Supermaxes,

  • Stephine

    I understand he was a murderer, and he did bad things, but there are plenty other people out there whom I am sure did worse things. Where I live, two boys 16 and 17 killed a girl age 17. They both shot her in the head. Another 15 year old girl (not where I live) Killed her neighbor, who was only age 9. She stabbed him. Her reasoning? She “wanted to know how it felt to kill someone.” Last month, my uncle died in jail from a brutal beating from 2 other inmates. The police officers witnessed the whole thing, and dragged him back to his cell. An hour later he lay in his cell dead.
    There are people out there who do things worse than this man.

  • I wish prisons in this country were about rehabilitation, rather than torture and revenge. Every human deserves respect, even those who do terrible things. This is just drawn out and unnecessary torture. I’m so glad my school thought to have us visit some of the prisons in the area and gave us a chance to talk to the prisoners there – we were able to see that they were no different than us. They’re humans and they should be treated like it!

  • Who does the cruelty serve? No matter what a persons done our country has not got the right under the constitution to tortue ANYONE. We are not a good country lost all our industry now we make money on our own people’s lives. That fact hes not cracked implies to the BOP (Tom is in Federal Prison) that its ok to torture people We should be ashamed of our Country I know I am.

  • Our nation is off fighting wars to liberate people who’ve been oppressed, tortured, held in prison for years without a trial, and the list goes on. We consider ourselves to be the avenger of human rights. It all sounds so charitable of the USA, until stories like this come out. Putting a person in total isolation for years is worse than a death sentence, and because of situations like this, we have no business trying to liberate other countries. This is beyond belief, and any of the prison employees getting their kicks out of mentally torturing this man ought to get some of the same treatment. The DOJ ought to be ashamed that they’ve undone a century of trying to straighten out the prisons and make them as human as possible. Now their goal, with this man in particular, is to be as inhumane as possible. They’d be in prison themselves if they were caught doing this to animals, but it seems to be okay that it’s a human they’re driving out of his mind. It’s sick and disgusting. I love America; am proud be to a natural-born citizen. But when situations like this come to light, I have to wonder what really separates us from third world nations with their inhumane treatment of their citizens.

  • skeptical

    Either his actions were freely chosen, or not, or both.

    If freely chosen, then what he did was evil.
    But then because he has free choice his future actions may, in theory at least, all be good. To say that he can freely choose in one instance to do good or bad but to deny the possibility later is inconsistent. If the argument is that he is likely or expected to do more evil, then we’ve entered the realm of probability and psychology. To make sense of this at all, you must be sure that on the whole of his life he won’t have brought more good than bad into the world. I’m doubtful of such prognosticative powers in mortals. Furthermore, even if we conclude on evidentiary grounds that he must and will do more evil acts, on what basis (once we’ve properly precluded the possibility of his doing more evil acts to others) ought we to do more in the way of setting right the balance of justice? How much should he suffer? How do we quantify this? To go about it haphazardly and based on no measure at all does lead me to believe that the proponents of such a view are out, not for justice at all, but for the thrill, joy, pleasure of vindictiveness. If so, and if we can say the pleasure is pure, let us by all means partake in it please. Why should we vicariously enjoy the pleasure of his suffering through prison guards and news reports? Let’s all be in on it. Let every lawbreaker get their comeuppance just so we can revel in that powerful ecstasy that comes with seeing wrongdoers brought to “justice,” namely a justice that isn’t just, namely one that depends entirely on private whim. No thrill, no justice–only irrationality.

    If not freely chosen, then he was sick (that is, he had some psycho-socio-biological defect that can account for his abnormal behavior).
    But if sick only, then solitary confinement (which is a tremendous euphemism–I prefer ‘isolated incompacitation’ or just ‘isolation’) is not just. It would be better to bring the individual, not to justice, but to health, if possible. Though rehabiliative justice has been proved wrong if I remember my criminal justice class correctly! Back to square one I guess. If you can’t get it right, give up! Enter pessimistic fatalism stage left.

    If both, both sick and evil, well now we’re in a real quandary.
    To do good for bad people is wrong, right? So we can’t help the guy get better. But nor can we discriminate the evil strands from the sick strands in that tangle. The causal chain is knotted up between an increased susceptibility to doing evil as a result of illness, and an increased illness as a result of being corrupted by evil. Thus we can’t heal him and we can’t judge him.

    But to drop the philosophical facade of formalism for a moment, I would recommend he be studied humanely by scientists for purposes of understanding what solitary confinement does to a person.

    • gary boyle

      My response to what was just said is rubbish ! I was a repeat offender and serial bank robber served 30 years of my life in prison. Sent to marion right from court because of my record and notoriety at the time. Got released 15 years ago and went on to be a productive citizen and make a contribution helping others as a drug counselor. Any shrink who looked at my record would of concluded failure and return to prison. No one has a crystal ball to predict future out comes. I was at one time in that category worst of the worst also. What made the difference was I chose to change my thinking and behavior to be a more productive person. Silverstein is not a mouse to be studied by psychologist that play god.

  • Alan CYA#65085

    Just to let you know none of the books I mentioned are “just about Silverstein” although Earley has dedicated much of his book on Leavenworth to him. And I for one can’t stand to read gore nor do I celebrate acts of violence. The other books deal with either Bunker’s life and politics on San Quentin’s prison yard.

    Anyone that wants to truly understand how prisons have reached this sad point should read them.

    But I re-read Hanley’s declaration and here are a few points he makes.

    Part 2

    Dr. Haney rightly points out that “Silverstein is caught up in several custodial Catch 22’s.”

    Page 41:

    “Assessment of his level of threat is based on his past conduct and the absence of any meaningful change in his cognitive orientation….”

    (In other words Silverstein’s resilience to the torture was evidence, in this BOP employee’s mind, that Silverstein had not been broken and remained a danger.)

    Page 56:

    When Silverstein arrived to ADX he was placed directly into the most restrictive location in the institution, Range 13. Dr. Haney writes:

    “Mr. Nalley indicated that the perceived need for this extraordinary treatment of Silverstein was based primarily if not exclusively on something Mr. Silverstein could not of possibly of changed over the past 22 years: ‘his criminal history, his past.’”

    So the BOP still uses Silverstein’s past against him and they explain away the man’s good conduct by falsely claiming it is only the result of his continued isolation.

    Countering this argument Dr. Hanley rightly points out that Silverstein has had ample time and means to cause the BOP problems and a very good reason to do so in the frustrating task of dealing with all these custodial Catch 22’s.

    So why do I care? First of all I care on a human level. Knowing the joys of fatherhood myself I can totally relate to his desire to hug his daughter and shake his son’s hand and to be near them so that he can guide and support his children.

    I also know of the impossible positions a prisoner is subjected to. I know the feeling of being forsaken and demonized by a society that knows little or nothing of the threats prisoners are under each and every day.

    Yes this man also shares much in common with me. We are a year apart in age, share the same socioeconomic background and we both grew up in southern California. We both come from broken homes where violence was all too common. We shared the negative influences of some family members that steered us in the wrong direction thus we both spent too much time in California juvenile institutions.

    If I had not escaped the prison conveyor belt at the very last moment I realize that his fate could have been my fate. Finally I care about this man because few others do.

  • dothebedn

    He is a criminal and a murderer, he got what he deserved.

  • TomIS a human being and if we are to change isolation all men of every color every background needs to be viewed as a person not trash or garbage. Tom is a tree in the forest or corruption and abuse.The BOP/DOC gov’t has no right to do this to people. The ISSUE of isolation needs to be heard and the violation of human rights.
    Who Tom is NOW as a person, is a man that has withstood the torture dealt to him and is not frothing at the mouth causing trouble he is an aging man that hasn’t hugged his children or seen a tree or blade of grass. Prison is the punishment isolation is torture.

    Of course the author’s made money there are still books coming out about Tom and it is the morbid that like to read their disturbing details of murders “the true crime” genre lots of fans. They didnt help him but hurt him. No ones written the story of the lives including his own that he saved or the sadistic corruption of some Corrections officers …it doesn’t sell.

    exaggerated accounts of blood thirsty killers does. and the sooner the american people see the 200,00o in isolation as living breathing people the sooner it will change.

  • Alan CYA#65085

    Most of what you say is true. I do think however there are some, however few they may be, that wish to understand the whole dynamic of the case. Just to put a human face on it since the whole thing is quite surreal. As you know I don’t communicate with Tom but I do hear from him through a mutual friend.

    These facts may make a difference in public opinion and build public support for him which puts pressure on the BOP. Where are the free Silverstein protesters? The BOP prison has made the “worst of the worst” label stick on Tom to the point that this site repeated their line awhile back and this is a site that is supposed to be about ending long term solitary for everybody. No other present or former prisoner had them four words attached to them. Of course it is very difficult for the public to understand the impossible positions men find themselves in these prisons.

    My hope is to expose more readers to the realities of prison life. If no one reads it then it is because they do not want to believe it. But Earley, Bunker and Cummins sold many books covering this stuff. All three share information that explains what lead up to this case. Which is what I have passed on here. They are not my words, I quote from thier books.

    When it comes down to it I bet that the BOP will not overlook the prejudicial facts against Tom but in fact dwell on his prior violent acts as the reason that he should stay where he is.

    How will the defense reply? Haney spent much of his energy on countering the BOP doctor using the “Catch 22” phrase repeatedly.

    I know I am almost alone in this view. You can take credit for putting me in my place and lets leave it like that. Your the winner. :) I have nothing more to add anyway.

  • And when was the last time you talk to him?
    I speak to him 2x amonth and Laura as well this case is not a criminal case anymore Alan, it is a civil case in which the BOP are defendents so your rhetoric is just that pointless and besides the point the only one reading it is you, the people that click are interested in Tom in that this is a serious thing that the gov’t has gotten away with, People’s opinions will always be for or against Tommy. Again this case will help all in isolation and hopefully change the Feds practice of unrestrained torture, If the case was about anything other Solitary watch probably wouldn’t post it. It is about isolation and the torture of one man Tommy Silverstein. If you had read his account it was purely about the torture he’s sustained at the hands of our gov’t. No mention of self defense or crimes, torture only and our gov’t needs to stop it.
    If Tommy wins all in isolation win.

  • Alan CYA#65085

    Time will tell what issues are brought up in court. Until then some people just reading this for the first time might find the history interesting. Why else would there have been 50K+ hits on this article?

    Just a coincidence this article below was sent to my email.

    When Does a Crime Victim’s Criminal History Matter?

    “Reporters often turn to murder victims’ criminal records when no other details about motive are available….

    In a nuanced profile of a criminal case, when we have time and column inches to trace the victim’s and suspect’s life paths, of course a criminal history is fair game.”

    As you already know I also wrote a short bio on Silverstein based on open sources.

    Not everyone is as one dimensional in their thinking.

    You also know that Tom approves of what I have done.

    He himself in the link to his declaration said he had never heard of the DC Blacks until he read Earley’s book The Hot House.” Neither had I or most readers on here.

    Sorry you find it pointless but only Tom’s opinion matters in this since it is his case.

  • And as always alan I still maintain and say Human rights is the point and the judge in Jan. will decide if the BOP has infringed on his human rights nothing else is in question so please Stop making an issue that is not and will not be in court.

  • Alan CYA#65085

    Tomasina/Renee I wrote early on: “At the time of his death in 1982 Raymond “Cadillac” Smith, was the national leader of the D.C. Blacks prison gang and a violent criminal that had twice tried to kill his murderer Thomas Edward Silverstein at USP, Marion, Illinois.”

    As you pointed out I am not a professional writer but as I see it the loudest critics on here dwell on Tom’s “acts” in order to portray him as a wild animal. Several have written that he needs to be put down with a bullet in the head. I like to think that they just need more information. Having never met any of the characters in this drama, I, like the rest of the readers need information to judge if the man acted rationally or not. Neither he nor I seek a reversal of his convictions. I do however believe that the judge and jury need to know the threats found in this hostile environment that he was trapped in. Like I have written before “like a tethered animal in a slaughterhouse.”

    The prosecution will not dwell on the “cruel and unusual conditions that he is held in ” but rather on the murders that he committed in hopes to paint him as a threat to the safety of those around him.

    By showing he believed that he was acting in self defense makes him human to me and thus the torture of isolation need not be continued. Until the supreme court rules it is torture it will continue. Yesterday’s SC decision on a CA case gives hope to the mentally ill but I don’t think Tom is crazy. Even that took case took 20 years with more time for CA to act on the decision. Tom does not have 20-30 years left. I am disappointed that he has to wait until Jan to hear something.

    Of course I am also not a lawyer, judge or mental heath expert. He has all of those I have however been incarcerated and know the unreasoned hatred and violence found there.

    But we have had this discussion before.

    We all share the same goal, namely his release into the GP.

  • Alan the account started well but the story fell apart as it progressed, if you are trying to show that the DC Blacks were vicious murderers then the first couple paragraphs started to say so but accounts of Cadillac attacking Tommy would be a good place to go after about the4th paragraph…”twice tried to kill Tommy” maybe it’d be readable but the issue is not about the murders anymore it is about American prisons getting away with torturing people, prison is the punishment but to deliberately torture a human being the way the gov’t has Tommy is appalling, Isolation needs to be stopped and Tommy needs relief immediately

  • Alan CYA#65085

    In considering the “two” horrendous murders that Silverstein commited I wondered what his motivation had been. He sounded sane on his blog. When he brought up the fact that no one takes the time to ask who his victims were.

    I set out to try and find information on the D.C. Blacks Prison Gang to which the two inmates belonged. I wanted to understand the threat that they posed to Silverstein.

    I found some info on the D.C. Blacks prison gang in the book “The Hot House” on Page 105:

    “The black inmates were from Washington D.C., and were known simply as “D.C. Blacks.” They were one of the most difficult groups at Leavenworth for guards to control. Because it has limited jail space of its own, the nation’s capital sends a disproportionate number of inmates into the federal system, and most are black, a reflection of the city’s predominantly black population. At the Hot House, D.C. Blacks were the largest single ethnic group from any single city, and nearly all were well-schooled in violence. D.C. Blacks were especially notorious as “locker-knockers”–petty thieves who ransacked the personal lockers of other inmates–and for pressuring new inmates for sex.”

    At the time of his death in 1982 Raymond “Cadillac” Smith, was the national leader of the D.C. Blacks prison gang and a violent criminal that had twice tried to kill his murderer Thomas Edward Silverstein at USP, Marion, Illinois.

    Raymond “Cadillac” Smith, had been convicted for armed kidnapping, armed robbery, extortion, and assault with a dangerous weapon. Smith was found guilty on all counts, sentenced to an effective term of 6-18 years.

    Fellow prisoner, ex-Black Panther Eddie G. Griffin was in Marion for bank robbery, kidnapping, and commandeering a police squad car- at age 26 at the time.

    Griffin said of Cadillac “we both trained for combat in the same prison cage.”

    Griffin also wrote this tribute to his friend and former leader of the D.C. Blacks:

    This is a true story about the eruption of a race war in prison, and about the gladiators that fought them, how they lived and how they died. But of all the prison stories, there is none like the life and death of Raymond “Cadillac” Smith.

    Sampson, that was my image of Cadillac, because he was equally as strong, battle hardened, and roared like a lion whenever he went into combat. And, on a good day, his signature battle cry would rattle the walls and shake all the prison cages.

    No wonder, men in prison feared him, both inmate and guard. He was invincible in hand-to-hand combat.

    There was this old story about how an assailant once stabbed him in the chest, aiming for his heart. The knife folded like tin foil against an ox hide buff, muscles built by iron on the weightlifting pile. The attacker struck from behind, and when the knife wilted, he fled and sought protective custody in the arms of the nearest prison guard.

    Cadillac laughed. He always laughed in the face of his enemies. And, there were times when his psychotic laughter caused even me to quiver. To hear him laugh was not good, not good at all for somebody.

    They call prison the “belly of the beast”, not merely metaphoric, but because it churned like a cauldron sitting on top of the pit fires of hell….

    It was said of the Moors in prison that they could kill a man, stash the weapons where no one on earth could find them, wash their clothes and dry them, before prison officials could ever discover the body. As far as I know, the FBI had never been able to pin a murder on a Moors….

    Few people know that most Washington, D.C. Blacks originated from Morocco during the slave trade era. They had a different African culture and traditions than the rest of the U.S. black population. To this day, they know their history and where they came from, and they never broke completely with their ancient traditions. They knew the art and science of killing, Moroccan-style. And, Cadillac was heir to the “Sword of Justice”, a gleaming curve steel blade about two-feet long.

    The violent race war that followed Smith’s death was at the center of the government’s 2002 indictment against the Aryan Brotherhood.

    The FBI memo mentioned above in Griffin’s tribute to Cadillac Smith, in part reads:

    From December 1982 to the present, information has been received and compiled indicating the presence of a large group of inmates….organized into a retaliatory and murder organization. This group is comprised of Black inmates from the Washington, D.C. area and is known as the “D.C. Blacks”.

    A large segment of this group also has membership and/or ties with the Moorish Science Temple. (Search above for a comment & info on this “religious” organization.)

    Information has been received indicating that this group of inmates have banded together and have plotted the murders and attempted murders of white inmates….their cause being the retaliation of the killing of Raymond “Cadillac” Smith….

    To support the above information, on December 11, 1982, a U.S. Bureau of Prisons transcript of a telephone conversation… indicated an imminent “war” between the AB and the D.C. Blacks….. The “war” was in retaliation over the murder of Raymond “Cadillac” Smith.

    At the trial of the remaining AB leadership several black inmates testified for the defense.

    An imprisoned member of the Black Guerrilla Family gang testified that the Aryan Brotherhood was severely outnumbered in the federal prison system by the DC Blacks.

    Witness James “Doc” Holiday said there were at most 10 Aryan Brotherhood members at his prison, while the DC Blacks were “the majority.”

    Holiday said DC Blacks had a type of violent mentality that didn’t exist among other prison gangs. He said the racial strife was largely instigated by the black gang, with the Aryan Brotherhood defending itself.

    “Only the young and the foolish and the uninitiated would start something like that in prison,” said Holiday, who is serving two life terms for drug violations.

    But who is the man and the BGF prison gang that he belonged to when making these accusations?

    On page 236 of Eric Cummins book

    “The Rise and Fall of California’s Radical Prison Movement” Cummins writes:

    “In the face of the conservative backlash, inmate radicalism took on uncontrollable forms.

    After George Jackson’s death, one of the most extreme of the prison’s guerrilla groups, the Black Guerrilla Family, quickly became a major gang…..

    The BGF’s 1973 constitution defined the goals of the organization…It contained this line:

    ‘We are the pig’s implacable enemy, and if we continue to live with them it is only in order to destroy them more quicker and effectively.’

    Beginning in 1972, the BGF would “hit” many inmates and some staff, black, white, and brown, and carry out operations outside San Quentin as well….. A former San Quentin BGF member remarks that:

    “The BGF was essentially a political gangster operation. At least that is what it had become by 1973-’74…From the time I got to prison until I got out of prison, I lived in constant fear that somebody in the BGF would try to kill me because I spoke out against some of the sick stuff they were doing….I certainly feared for my life. And my biggest fear was not from the prison administration or the Aryan Brotherhood or any other of the Aryan groups. It was from the BGF.”

    Page 224: The unreasoned extremism of the Symbionese Liberation Army came straight from the pages of George Jackson’s Blood in My Eye….

    Page 241: “Throughout the summer and fall of 1973 the SLA members discussed their ideology and strategy for the future. Several of the group made frequent visits to members of the BGF at San Quentin. William and Emily Harris visited San Quentin nine times in 1972-73 to meet with James ‘Doc’ Holiday, head of the BGF. “

    (Yes the same defense witness in the 2002 trial above.)

    Page 242: Late that year the SLA swept into action. George Jackson had warned his readers against “right-wing traditionalist” blacks. “I’m thoroughly sick of the old Jess B. Simples…That will be your main source of opposition–the black running dog.”

    On November 6, 1973, the foco gunned down with cyanide-capped bullets Oakland’s superintendent of schools, Marcus Foster, a black man, and his assistant, Robert Blackburn. Foster had recently suggested using city police to patrol the halls of Oakland’s crime filled schools. Only Blackburn survived…..

    On February 4, 1974, the SLA broke into Patty Hearst’s Berkeley apartment and took her as a “prisoner of war”….

    On April 15, 1974, Patty Hearst was filmed taking part in an armed robbery of the San Francisco’s Hibernia Bank….By May the group had fled south to Los Angeles, where Patty Hearst and several others were involved in a shootout at a small store. William and Emily Harris and Patty Hearst apparently then left the area….

    On May 17, 1974, police surrounded a small house….where the remainder of the SLA had taken refuge. Then, for the Right, the bitter years of waiting for revenge on California’s revolutionary Left ended in a fiery blast…Police terror proved more than a match for the terror of the SLA.

    Nate Harrington a former inmate of San Quentin & DVI is quoted in a 1989 interview on
    Page 243: “….the SLA foco was a practical outgrowth of revolutionary ideology.”

    Inside San Quentin, radical prisoners were devastated at the news…. Nate Harrington recalls: “I was in San Quentin when the SLA house was burned up in L.A. And I was next to Lumumba, who was…one of the SLA alleged in-prison leaders, him and Doc Holliday”…

    Page 246: Soon the Harrises and Patty Hearst would be in police custody in San Francisco, where Hearst signed herself into jail as “an urban guerrilla.”

    So when this leader of San Quentin’s BGF says “DC Blacks had a type of violent mentality that didn’t exist among other prison gangs.” I am impressed!!!

  • Alan CYA#65085

    When Silverstein’s was tried for the murder of Chappelle who was an alleged member of the D.C. Blacks prison gang. A Mr. Matthews testified that he had killed Chapell. Here is what I found:

    When called to the stand to testify Norman Matthews, another prisoner housed on C Range at the time of the murder, was asked whether he could remember November 22, 1981, he replied, “It was the day I killed Chappelle.”

    Although Matthews had previously given a statement to the FBI confessing to the murder–his confession in open court caused a commotion.

    Defense counsel said, “All right, now, Mr. Matthews, you have right under the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States not to incriminate yourself. Do you understand that?” Matthews replied, “Yes.”

    When the judge finished explaining Matthews’ Fifth Amendment right to him, Matthews replied, “Maybe I should take the Fifth…. You convinced me I should protect my rights, sir.” The judge then instructed the jury to disregard Matthew’s testimony.

    The lapse in security that allowed Chappelle to be murdered in his cell cannot be passed over in silence.

    Excerpts from Pete Earley’s book “The Hot Hot House” .

    Page 105:

    “The black inmates were from Washington D.C., and were known simply as “D.C. Blacks.” They were one of the most difficult groups at Leavenworth for guards to control. Because it has limited jail space of its own, the nation’s capital sends a disproportionate number of inmates into the federal system, and most are black, a reflection of the city’s predominantly black population. At the Hot House, D.C. Blacks were the largest single ethnic group from any single city, and nearly all were well-schooled in violence. D.C. Blacks were especially notorious as “locker-knockers”–petty thieves who ransacked the personal lockers of other inmates–and for pressuring new inmates for sex.”

    Page 230: “Chapplle’s death worried some bureau officials, who feared that it might start a war between the AB and the D.C. Blacks gang. But apparently it did not worry them enough to separate gang members at Marion. In fact, while Silverstein and Fountain were on trail for Chappelle’s murder, the bureau transferred Raymond “Cadillac” Smith, the national leader of the D.C. Blacks prison gang, from another prison into the control unit in Marion and put in a cell near Silverstein’s. The bureau would later insist it had nowhere else within the entire system secure enough to place Smith, even though guards knew that Chappelle had been a close friend of Smith’s and that Smith had vowed to avenge his death.

    From the moment that Smith arrived in the control unit, prison logs show that he began trying to kill Silverstein. On September 6, 1982, guards opened Smith’s cell electronically so that he could walk down the narrow tier to the shower stall. En route, he stopped in front of Silverstein’s cell, pulled a knife from under his towel, and swung at him through the bars….

    Continued on Page 231: A few days later, guards caught Smith trying to shoot Silverstein with a zip gun, made from a piece of pipe crammed with sulfur match-heads that worked like gunpowder when lit. Smith was taken to an isolation cell as punishment, but he was returned to his old cell a week later.

    “I tried to tell Cadillac that I didn’t kill Chappelle, but he didn’t believe me and bragged that he was going to kill me,” Silverstein recalled. “Everyone knew what was going on and no one did anything to keep us apart. The guards wanted one of us to kill the other.”

    (In my opinion it is difficult to imagine how prison authorities in Marion’s control unit equipped with wall to wall cameras, and knowing the bad blood between the two failed to prevent this from taking place. Unless Silverstein’s analysis is correct!)

    As for the guard Clutts. Also from The Hot House.

    Page 393: Referring to Clutts and Silverstein, Ralph Seever, a legendary lieutenant who had spent his career at Leavenworth and was revered by guards as the best there ever was explained, “Inmates expect guards always to tell them no and punish them when they violate the rules. It’s all part of the game, “But you never want, the relationship to get personal.” He warned. Whenever an inmate believes for some reason that the natural conflict between convicts and officers is personal, his ego is at stake, and in a penitentiary, image is a thousand times more important than reality.”

    Transcript from Earley’s taped interview with Silverstein.

    11:40 into video: Clutts listen I got forever in prison, I got life in prison I’m not a punk, a little guy, that you can smack around all the time. You better get off my case or you got something coming if you keep messing with me. It just added fuel to the fire. He just wouldn’t listen.

    12:40 Silverstein: He liked to make a point to show off to the other guards.

    Earley: Here is the guy that killed Chappelle and Smith and I can be tough with him.

    Silverstein: Yeah!

    16:25 Silverstein: I think he was just selling me wolf tickets (making threats). But he didn’t know I was taking him serious.

    As many killings that I have seen when someone says he is going to kill you, you can’t just sit back and say awe it ain’t nothing and do nothing.

    When somebody has gone that far especially when you’re telling him you don’t want no trouble why don’t you get off my case. You know, I pleaded with that guy, maybe that’s why he thought, you know, that he could do what he wants with me. Maybe I am not what he thought I was you know. Maybe he expected me to growl you know like a mad dog or something I don’t know what.”

    Silverstein had reason to believe the threat by Clutts to set him up to be killed was real given the prior events that took place. However Silverstein has acknowledged that his actions were wrong and has expressed his remorse as a much older and wiser man. This appears to me to be a sincere statement. Statistically older prisoners ” represent a vastly reduced threat than younger inmates.” I also believe Dr. Craig Haney is correct in his analysis that if Silverstein is placed in a senior s prison (and yes they exist) he as an older inmate would not be a threat to either prisoners or prison workers.

    I have said this long before reading the good doctors report above which SW has posted.

    Also you may want to read the description of Cadillac Smith made by his friend Eddie Griffin I posted above. You may then appreciate the seriousness of the threat on Silverstein’s life that he had posed.

    Sad and unbelievable violence takes place in these institutions and like Silverstein has said when someone tells you they are out to get you you have to believe them or risk death.

  • mt45

    Is it the solitary confinement people have an issue with our his conditions there? He clearly made his own bed on the solitary confinement issue. Treating him as a regular prisoner would endanger the lives of all other prisoners and security personnel.

    Who knows how accurate his depiction of the solitary confinement conditions is. It should be looked into of course, and the conditions he describe are a bit over the top. But once you start killing people IN prison, you really don’t leave the system a whole lot of options.

  • Sandy

    I read the full declaration. I would expect to read this about treatment in the Sudan or in the gulags of the Soviet Union not the United States. Unbelievable that this man was subjected to this for 28 years.

    Dr. Atul Gwande wrote an essay in The New Yorker in March 2009 titled HellHole. It’s about extreme isolation. Dr. Gwande says: The United States holds tens of thousands of inmates in long-term solitary confinement. Is this torture?

    After reading what was done to Mr. Silverstein for 28 years I have to say, “Yes, this is torture.” Even some of the petty things the officers would do like leaving him in the outdoor recreation area for hours in the winter or putting a telephone outside his cell and letting it ring for hours are torture.

    Yes, this man is a murderer and should be in prison like other murderers but this treatment for 28 years is cruel and unusual punishment and demeans us a human beings.

    Read Dr. Gawande’s essay on this.

    Read more

  • bob

    lol, did you people skip the part that he killed 2 people while in prison? For my standards he shouldn’t even being living to complain. 2 family’s lives were racked because of him.

  • JS

    When I read this, it makes me never want to commit the sort of crimes this man did. Every teenager should have to read this. I’d rather energy be spent trying to use this as a way of preventing others from repeating this man’s mistakes than spent trying to make life easier for other cold-blooded murderers.

  • anoNY

    I am reading Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago, and it is striking that the methods described here are similar to those used on the inmates in the Gulag. Incredibly, the incessant brightness of the cell and the isolation from other prisoners was used primarily in “punishment” cells in the Gulag experience as described by Solzhenitsyn, and ordinary prisoners had the lights turned off at night and shared cells with other inmates.

    Scary stuff…

  • chuck

    Reading this, I believe this man is sincere in his remorse for his crime and his desire to become a better man. I fail to see how it is possible for anyone to work to become a better person when deprived of anything or anyone to be better to, than, or about.

  • Egypt Steve

    James, you’re an obvious sociopath.

  • Jane Hoobler

    James. I get the impression that you feel that correctional officers’ lives are more valuable than the lives of other human beings? How do you justify that?

  • James

    Let him rot. Why should I feel any sympathy for an animal who took 3 lives, including the life of a correction’s officer? Truthfully, the American tax payers should not have to carry the burden of this animal; the average prisoner costs taxpayers $50K a year. A bullet to the base of the skull is much cheaper.

  • Alan CYA#65085

    I just noticed the update of Dr. Craig Haney’s report at the bottom of the article.

    It should be titled Catch 22 because the phrase was used throughout the report.

    It was an eye opening piece on how the system twists even good behavior into a negative for the people in their charge.

    How one uses words does indeed have a profound impact of the reader. Still hopefully even the skillful efforts of deceit made by paid agents of the BOP will finally be exposed for just that.

    Human bias is also a major factor in writing albeit at times a subconscious one.

    Tomasina: At least the “worst of the worst” phrase was absent this time around. I still believe decades of editorial bias is hard to correct for. People are conditioned to resist empathy for even historical amounts of sensory deprecation if the victim is associated with a group like the AB. While other radical group members traditionally aligned with the far Left get a pass.

    Just compare the first paragraphs of such articles which of course set the tone for the reader. I think it is not a conscious bias act but reflective conditioning.

  • Alan it is my belief that this is just another set of people exploiting Tom hes tortured by the Federal Gov’t with the blessing of other sadist and then rather than an article shedding light on what can be done to stop the gov’t from doing this to it’s own people it regurgitates the same old hash “he killed…” rather than showing what the system down to the medical people and staff are doing to thousands( there are stories and lawsuits about COs that put feces in inmate food, deliver cold food to isolated inmates , placing extremely mentally ill in isolation to scream endlessly) no one reads it unless it says “Tommy Silverstein” SW will keep this going just for the hits I’m ashamed I read this tripe and allow the comments to hurt me so deeply. He breathes I breathe. Everyone is worthy of redemption. What ever religion one espouses to no man or his family should endure this it’s time solitary watch did more than parrot bad news and further the cause with help for those in isolation. Everyone can write letters to their own elected officials opposing this kind of treatment for all people.

  • Alan CYA#65085

    Over 50,000 hits means the public is concerned? (Read the side bar from 14 hours ago.)

    Lets hope they reflect a disbelief of the American public that we treat inmates in this manner. But then again the Correctional Officer’s Union might be behind this judging from the sadistic comments.

    To the “High” guy: Let me get this straight you think it is ok for the BOP to do whatever it wants if you land in jail. You do realize there are over 43 Million people with a police record on file somewhere. You mentioned your kids maybe they might pull a college prank or buy some herb at the wrong place at the right time. A large % of the inmates are serving time for drug related charges and many college students experiment with drugs.

    Lets hope not yours. Also not everyone comes from a supportive family. Did you read the facts on Silverstein’s after all his crime partner was his dad. What chance did he have for a normal life.

    Judge not lest you be judged.

  • Tomasina

    @high are you kidding me? This country has gone the way of the dark ages.”get what you get” thats ridiculous. Lets see caning or chopping off limbs seems barbaric, And this doesnt?

  • highjboi

    Does he deserve it? well maybe. This guy is a murderer. If it was one of my children killed by him, I definitely would feel that he is deserving of it. Heavier capital punishment ftw.

    Just don’t end up in a prison. Then you never have to worry about it in a first place. This guy ended up there for a reason, then well, gotta take what they give you.

  • Amen Sarah <true Agreement Human Rights Civil rights, if this happens to Tom it can happen to anyone Right now there are thousands in isolation for one reason or another
    Pelican Bay SHU will go on hunger strike to the death July 1st to bring attention to the cruelty, I know many there and in Tehachapi isolation that are NOT murderers but as one responder said how can they act human when they are treated w/out humanity. Tom is not the only just longest most severe because our country lets its prisons get away with it.

  • Sarah

    Tim, I don’t care if he’s goddamn Hitler, our society has limits on what kind of punishment you can serve on a person. Just because our society allows criminals to be treated this way doesn’t mean it’s perfectly right to do so. Society can’t dictate cruel and unusual punishments simply because you’re a criminal. You still have civil rights regardless of how evil you are.

  • Sarah

    Is this really so much better than a medieval dungeon? In many ways I think it’s worse. We have truly regressed as “civilized” society. What’s worse, a forced labor concentration camp, or a supermax isolation prison where people are treated worse than animals? At least in a concentration camp you most likely won’t live long.

  • Loreli please read some of what the “psche” evaluaters do… nothing is what. ADx is full a screaming madmen that are mentally ill. Breaking mens minds by eddie griffin this whole system is to break their mind and evsaluater are there just for a job which we pay for remember this is NOT about justice but money
    @bikerdoood who said it was planned? the BOP? of course thats want “they” say. If anything was planned it was to kill his tormenter Clutts, he ran past 3 other guards to get to him. Speaking to them as he passed. They had not harmed threatened or abused him so he didnt harm them.
    In the true story “midnight Express” the torture ended when he killed his tormentor and we all cheered. That was Turkey this is America we have a constitution, thats the boundary of of how people are to be treaed
    I do not care what a man does his punishment is prison not 23 years of torture.

  • Alan CYA#65085

    Tim Silverstein was convicted of three but admits to only two. Someone else claimed he killed the first one at Silverstein’s trial. Silverstein has always claimed he did not kill Chappelle. The second one was after Cadillac Smith failed twice to kill Silverstein in revenge. Now I kind of understand why Silverstein didn’t want to wait for a third and forth attempt just like Obama took OBL out to prevent another attack on Americans.

    But I do not understand why the BOP moved Chappelle’s best friend two doors down from the man they claim killed his friend, nor why they did not move him after the first or the second attempt on Silverstein’s life. I guess there is something to what Silverstein said something like: “Everyone knew he was going to attempt to kill me but no one did anything to keep us apart. They wanted us to kill each other.”

    Now these type of setups are common in prison according to prisoners of all races. Blacks still believe Cadillac was set up by the guards.

    After that the guard Clutts comes along and threatens to set Silverstein up again and does everything that he can to provoke Silverstein who took Clutt’s threat as seriously. The rest is history.

    Read about Cadillac through the eyes of his friend in my earlier comment above.

    The person I believe you are referring to in the spelling comment is a product of the system and reflects the type of education that is available in these institutions. Doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a valid point. However being unable to see how wrong this all is reflects on your own upbringing.

    I won’t quote the bible but I would just ask you how you would like to be treated?

    Most people are capable of killing in self defense although I find it hard to grasp the fear this man must have felt laying there waiting for the next attempt on his life to take place.

    No one that has never slept in a level 6 prison could possibly know that.

  • FiD

    By the way Tim it’s don’t not dont (or even do not), looks like someone needs to go back to grammer school themselves!

    Personally I believe that if you commit a crime then you should be punished yet this kind of treatment is barbaric. Americans go on about removing despotic leaders to give justice and democracy to the people while at the same time allowing this kind of thing to happen on your own soil. I’m not condoning what the guy did but no person deserves to be treated like that.

  • rogah

    Humans create their own heaven and hell here on earth as if they were immortal God themselves and Judge each other as if they were Immortal God themselves

    You don’t have to wait til judgement day it happens every day

    And you don’t have to wait for heaven and hell, hell is right here on earth and so is heaven

    They are so vested in this Religious pipe dream reality tunnel that they have built their whole world around it.

  • tim

    Some of you ‘bloggers’ need to seriously go back to grammar school and learn how to spell. This guy murdered 3 people and you feel sorry for him? Poor guy made the decision to kill 3 people. Dont do the crime, dont do the time.

  • Alan CYA#65085

    @Lorelei- Obviously you have never been in or had anyone you love in solitary. If you had you would realize there are many ways to misbehave in solitary. There is enough written on this site about it to educate yourself if your interested. It is good that you mentioned psych evaluations yes they do receive them and Silverstein has been found to be a low risk to other inmates and staff.

    As far as being evil you are right there are extremely evil men in prison some are even inmates. Although Silverstein’s acts were extremely violent they were only as extreme as his environment. Again I think you need to do your homework. Read my comments above to understand the man’s actions.

    I also find it curious as to how only Silverstein draws out the haters. No other case has drawn as many hateful comments as his. Many making these comments are most likely concerned correctional officers but many others seem to believe that attacking Tom is risk free. After all he was in the AB according to the BOP and nobody approves of them right? Neither do I but I know the conditions that created them first hand.

    Other ex-convicts mentioned on this site carried out domestic terrorism or belonged to organizations that believed in such actions. No one made any negative comments about them. Why not? And several of these ex-cons are free now.

  • Lorelei

    Just noticing a little math in here. He was in Solitary confinement for 23 years and has been a model prisoner for 22. Although he did manage to cause trouble his first year, it is a little difficult to be unruly when in solitary, you also can not base good behavior on a person’s actions while confined to solitary. Most prisons do psych evals regularly on prisoners in solitary. There is a lot being left out here, and, despite what some people think, there is evil and there are people that have no hope of redemption.

  • Mike-h

    let them rot in hell, they already get better accomodations than our homeless–waste of my tax dollars, a bullet to the head would have been better, and only cost a quarter

  • Alan CYA#65085

    John Lee I say lets give it a try in a seniors prison. Not much gang banging going on when inmates are on respirators, use walkers, wheelchairs, or are bedridden. This man reacted to threats on his life he did not kill children, prostitutes, or other innocents he killed those that either attempted or threatened to kill him. He admits he was wrong but cannot take it back. As for Clutts the guard there is no way to know if he was a sadist or was serious about setting Silverstein up to be killed. There are enough cases that prove both are very real possibilities.

    Question is what would you do if doing nothing meant certain death in your mind?
    The Seals just eliminated a threat on us all. Few in the west would call them murders and throw them into solitary for the rest of their life.

    His trial and he is getting one will give him the chance to convince the jury he has changed I only hope they don’t select the jury from the community that lives off the misery of the prisoners.

    Read about just what went down as I have, try to imagine being held in place under a constant threat of death like a tethered animal in a slaughter house awaiting the moment of your death. I think at the very least you (if your not a guard) will have to question if he acted as you would.
    Read any prison blog and you will see comments about the collusion between guards and inmates to eliminate those the guards do not like or fear.

    In fact most black sites believe Silverstein had the blessing and aid of the guards. How else could he have done what he did without being spotted. The place has cameras at every corner.

    There is even one guard on youtube who says the administration allowed the conditions to exist that allowed the murder of Clutts to take place in order to have an excuse to lock the place down. Which they did afterward. He was angry that Clutts had to die for it to happen. Also in the book Hot House by Pete Early a veteran hero guard said Clutts made the mistake of allowing it to get personal between him and Silverstein. He also should have known this since early in his career his trainer was killed in mauch the same way for simialr reasons. It is on the BOP web site. His murderer was later paroled.

    It is known that one effect of solitary is a growing fantasy to kill the guards. Making threats to set him up sealed Clutts fate. All of this together is what drove the man to kill. Solitary and it’s know affects, unprofessional harassment of a prisoner making it personal in an environment where image is everything, and making credible threats on a prisoners life.

    He is sorry for what happened but the system is ultimately bares some responsibility in the events that took place. Early and others that have investigated this have all made statements to this.

    Don’t just assume guards are good guys (even guards admit there are rouge guards that collude with inmates) and everyone in prison are blood thirsty maniacs that would kill innocent children and drink their blood. Although this system might just create some.

    It is called a step down program because Silverstein and all the others gradually reenter the General population GP. The mislabeling of GP in his current situation is not GP as one would expect.

    Good luck Tom come Jan. 23!!!!

  • The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons. – Fyodor Dostoevsky

  • John Lee

    The least the scum prison staff could do would be to loose the bible and give him a set of Buddhist dharma to study as he might meditate well after all of these years. There is also a bit more reading involved. What could one do for him, after so long being inhumanly confined how would he react to another human being? What can you say??????

  • Bikerdoood

    Keep in mind that Silverstein’s crimes include the murder of correctional officer Merle Clutts in 1983. Silverstein planned the murder ahead of time, and was particularly brutal, stabbing him dozens of times.

    He is in prison as punishment for his crimes; he is in solitary in order to protect those who have to be close to him.

  • Tomasina

    It is very hard no hurt over the ugliness, these attitudes contribute to a society of cruelty.
    whether a person believes there is a God or not still does not give them a right to torture people and those worried about tax dollars should take a look and the system which is no more than the new slavery making money by keeping people in chains. Stop Super maxes all together Obama wants to open another. The public is “duped” into believing murderers and rapists fill the prisons. They dont I do not know 1 rapist in prison. I continue to stand by the truth that Tom was turned into a murderer by the system as are so many others.
    Theres no need for long sentences, the prisons are full of old men that cause no trouble make the staffs job easier some states the max someone can get is 22 yrs, “they” let the violent people out year after year, but old guys quiet money in the bank. Uk has less crime than we do they have civilized prison system as does the Netherlands And as for verifying his circumstance we have the freedom of information act oh God a week out of 28 years by all means deduct them what an idiot. The public has been inundated with the one-sided story
    there is a video on youtube where a CO from that prison verifies Tom’s story, you think the Federal gov’t will allow or acknowledge anything? the child of the CO made the tape all stories of CO whistle blowers end the same they disappear. The sadists live and rule. and again any documentation is buried.Even most of the violence in prison is instigated by the staff thereby justifying pay raises the biggest lobbies in Washington are for prison. Whole cities would not even exist without the prison built I could fill a page with real stories from inmates and the money. “they” do not feed, them let them visit, recreate them; budget cuts go there, but higher pay, more buildings, better equipment, trasportation etc all get the money Industry remember that. Tom should not be tortured he should not even be in prison anymore “they” have exacted their revenge.

  • Jane Hoobler

    Joshlynne, you are absolutely right…tune out these Haters who think they have the right to torture someone when that is NOT what his sentence was from the judge involved. Prison is one thing, this cruelty is another. Don’t let them upset you. You and I and others know your heart is good and in the right place!

  • Joshlyn

    to the comenter of keep him in thare i would like you to look up your loceal supermax and go spend a year if you feel that solitary confinment is so right for him then why not spend some time in solitary yourself get back to me in a year will see if your still sane anyone who would wish life in solitary on a nuther is sick in the head is a follower of the tribunal and is what is rong with this nashion if you like solitary so much go live in it let the rest of us sane humans live free what has ben done to this poor man is not justice it is cruil and i hope reames unusal it is tribunal thupers like you who i fear moest for it is you who if gets in are courts will kill justice it is those who would do such a thing to a nuther that i fear more them rapest or merderers why cos at the least they get it over with to spend ones life in solitary is a slow painfal and horrific way to die death is fast and mercy when faced with the other tell me what if you where in his places or your sun i would not wish such a fate even on those who did 911 kill them one it shows us as a merfal nashion and we never have to wory bout them agan and it is cheeper for tax payers i not saying i am pro death i not por death but but moest of all i am not por solitary confindment and as for you who want life in solitary as a standered for all stay out of are couts do not become judges and stop rapeing are justice and law stop wipeing your ass with are flag and are constushional rights what would you founding fathers say even they moved away from solitary after seeing it failed do on to others as you would have them do to you i for one would never wish a fate of life in solitary on anyone for i would never wish to faces it myself the day i fear moest in my dreams is the day i stand befor a judges and be handed such a sentince for that is when i know this nashions gone to hell

  • Read your new testament, damn

    to those who offer no sympathy, who say “this is what he deserves”

    If you are a chrisitan who’s done his reading (and if you are not, feel free to stop reading), then you’d understand that it is not the right of men to codemn or judge one another. It is not your right to say that someone is irredeemable, or that someone has no right to live. and that right belongs to God alone. To those who want theological proof, I direct you to my subject line.

    It is, however, your duty, as a christian, to offer brotherly love to others, regardless of who they are, and to hate the sin, not the sinner.

    Yes, societies ought to jail criminals from necessity – to protect the public at large. Whether they should do it to rehabilitate is matter of opinion. Put to punish for the sake of vengence is to claim right to something that isn’t yours to claim right to. Let God punish as he sees fit, and let men forgive.

    Shit, this world is wicked and evil enough as it is. Making yourself monsterous by condemning others only serves evil’s purposes. I hope you can find the time and wisdom to realize this.

  • Alan CYA#65085

    It sounds like the Correctional Officers Union have returned from their Marquis de Sade convention.

  • Keep him there for life

    This piece of crap deserves what he’s getting.

  • The Unpromised One

    I can’t even imagine 28 DAYS in solitary confinement, let alone 28 years… I would have killed myself if I had to go through 28 years with absolutely nobody to talk to and nothing to do. I mean, what that guy did was fucked up and all, and he should NEVER be allowed to see the light of day, but 28 years with no human contact is a pretty horrible way to live.

  • Justice is Justice

    Well the bastard should not have killed fellow inmates, but he took the life of a corrections officer, so there is no unusual punishment for him! Let him rot. The conditions he has are better than the pain he has caused the families he has hurt.



  • anonymous

    this person murdered 3 people, he should have been killed and thats it , but keepin him locked down for all these years and spending our tax money on him is pure stupidity

  • Robert

    This document isn’t very interesting in its present state: No external collaboration of the many claims it makes. Even the claim of 10,000+ consecutive days of solitary confinement — verifiable?

    Note that the doc has internal inconsistencies, i.e., inaccuracies. One easy one to spot was the claim of consecutive days spent in solitary. However, he spent a week out of solitary e.g. during the Cuban prisoner riots.

  • Chris

    He didn’t even become a murder until he was put into prison. Also, for all we know all of his killings could have been self-defense, but we only have his word and other officers’ counter-words. Even Officer Cutler could have been a monstrous freak, no matter his family status, but officers always vehemently defend each other and extra-punish people who harm their officer buddies. Yet the justice system doesn’t seem to care about this kind of nepotism.

  • Alan CYA#65085

    As you just read retaliation for a murder is a real threat.

    Who are D.C. Blacks and what is the Moorish Science Temple’s philosophy?

    Drew Ali, founded the Moorish Science Temple in Newark, N.J. in 1931. It was a forerunner of the Nation of Islam.

    Today three fourths of the Temple’s congregations are inside prisons.

    Ali claimed that “all blacks are Asiatics” who were “the original inhabitants of the earth and the progenitors of all nonwhite nations.”

    Ali told his followers to take the name Bey, to operate small businesses to be self-sufficient, to display the star and crescent and that they were the world’s superior race and that God would cleanse the earth of other, impure races in a fiery apocalypse.

    Whites, he claimed, were the product of an evil scientist named Yukab who conducted genetic experiments and created a race of inferior devils.

    As is noted above Raymond “Cadillac” Smith, at the time of his death was the most powerful D.C. Black in prison and the heir to its “Sword of Justice”, a gleaming curved steel blade about two-feet long.

    The infamous El Rukn group is also a breakaway faction from the Moorish Science Temple.

    You may recall that in the mid 80’s the El Rukn gang even dabbled in international terrorism, allegedly traveling to Libya and meeting with agents of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to offer their services as domestic terrorists in return for money and weapons.

    Today the tradition continues in other break away groups. One such group has its headquarters in Oakland at “Your Black Muslim Bakery”.

    The leader is under indictment for several murders:

    A grand jury indicted Bey IV, on three counts of murder for allegedly ordering the murder of Bailey before he could publish a story in the Oakland Post about financial problems at the bakery; for ordering the murder of Odell Roberson for retribution because Roberson’s nephew killed Bey IV’s brother; and ordering the murder of Michael Wills, a white man, because he was “a devil.”

    Broussard briefly told jurors how Mackey bragged about killing Wills on July 12, 2007. Mackey and Bey IV, Broussard said, mocked that slaying, laughing together about how Wills’ leg flew into the air when he was shot, as if kicking a football.

    Broussard said they jumped around imitating a football referee, raising their arms in the air and saying, “It’s good, it’s good,” as if referring to a field goal or extra point.

    He also said they laughed about killing Wills because he was white and said Bey IV and Mackey bragged they had been talking about the so-called Zebra murders in the Bay Area in early 1970s, where Black Muslims randomly shot white people on the streets.

    Bey IV admired the Zebra Killers because “they was giving white people a taste of their own medicine.

    Yes given these facts I do believe Cadillac was a threat to Silverstein.

    What were his choices then that would not make him a murderer?

    All this violence is sad and unjustified but very very real!

  • Alan CYA#65085

    Josh if you read the document Silverstein wrote it begins with a statement of remorse for the two murders that he has admitted committing. The first was that of Cadillac Smith who had twice attempted to kill Silverstein before he was killed.

    I never knew either men so I researched and found this description of Cadillac Smith written by a friend of his.

    Monday, April 13, 2009
    Christian Soldier and Gladiator
    By Eddie Griffin

    April 26, 1983

    This is a true story about the eruption of a race war in prison, and about the gladiators that fought them, how they lived and how they died. But of all the prison stories, there is none like the life and death of Raymond “Cadillac” Smith.

    Sampson, that was my image of Cadillac, because he was equally as strong, battle hardened, and roared like a lion whenever he went into combat. And, on a good day, his signature battle cry would rattle the walls and shake all the prison cages.

    No wonder, men in prison feared him, both inmate and guard. He was invincible in hand-to-hand combat.

    There was this old story about how an assailant once stabbed him in the chest, aiming for his heart. The knife folded like tin foil against an ox hide buff, muscles built by iron on the weightlifting pile. The attacker struck from behind, and when the knife wilted, he fled and sought protective custody in the arms of the nearest prison guard.

    Cadillac laughed. He always laughed in the face of his enemies. And, there were times when his psychotic laughter caused even me to quiver. To hear him laugh was not good, not good at all for somebody.

    They call prison the “belly of the beast”, not merely metaphoric, but because it churned like a caldron sitting on top of the pit fires of hell.

    I was there, at USP Leavenworth, sitting on a two-year parole date like a man holding hot gold in the palm of my hands, when the report of Cadillac’s assassination came to me by the Moors, whom the FBI identified in the memo below as the “Moorish Science of America”.

    The federals also characterized the brothers as “DC Blacks”, with no respect for their ancient “science”. And yet, the FBI searched high and low for evidence in the stabbing death of Baumgarten, but found nothing- no weapon, no bloody clothes, and no scratches. And, whatever witnesses were left behind never saw anything actually go down.

    It was said of the Moors in prison that they could kill a man, stash the weapons where no one on earth could find them, wash their clothes and dry them, before prison officials could ever discover the body. As far as I know, the FBI had never been able to pin a murder on a Moors.

    I was made an honorary Moor, given a kufi as headgear to wear while attending secret meetings, and being briefed on everything, except the “science”.

    Few people know that most Washington, D.C. Blacks originated from Morocco during the slave trade era. They had a different African culture and traditions than the rest of the U.S. black population. To this day, they know their history and where they came from, and they never broke completely with their ancient traditions. They knew the art and science of killing, Moroccan-style. And, Cadillac was heir to the “Sword of Justice”, a gleaming curve steel blade about two-feet long.

    The FBI memo, paraphrased here, read:

    At approximately 9:30 a.m. on December 9, 1982, in C-Block of the U.S. Penitentiary, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania a witness had found inmate Neil Baumgarten, bleeding profusely from the upper portion of his body… With the assistance of two inmates, the witness placed Baumgarten on a stretcher and he was thereafter transported to the Institution hospital.

    At approximately 9:40 a.m., Baumgarten was provided emergency treatment for the estimated 15 puncture wounds to his upper chest, back and abdomen area. Due to the severity of Baumgarten’s condition, he was immediately transferred to a nearby civilian hospital where he was pronounced dead at approximately 10:00 a.m. …

    The crime scene was searched but failed to produce any physical evidence.

    The lone witness felt that the murder was in retaliation for the murder of Cadillac Smith which occurred at the USP, Marion, Illinois, earlier in 1982…

    During the period from December 1982 to the present, information has been received and compiled indicating the presence of a large group of inmates with the USP, Lewisburg, which has organized into a retaliatory and murder organization. This group is comprised of Black inmates from the Washington, D.C. area and is known as the “D.C. Blacks”. A large segment of this group also has membership and/or ties with the Moorish Science Temple.

    Information has been received indicating that this group of inmates have banded together and have plotted the murders and attempted murders of white inmates at the USP their cause being the retaliation of the killing of Raymond “Cadillac” Smith who was purportedly murdered at the USP, Marion, Illinois, by incarcerated members of the Aryan Brotherhood (AB)…

    To support the above information, on December 11, 1982, a U.S. Bureau of Prisons transcript of a telephone conversation… indicated an imminent “war” between the AB and the D.C. Blacks at the USP, Leavenworth, and USP, Lewisburg. The “war” was in retaliation over the murder of Raymond “Cadillac” Smith.

    Now all of this could have been avoided if the BOP had not first moved Cadillac from another prison to a cell near Silverstein. Cadillac was known by the BOP to be the best friend of Chappelle whom they claimed Silverstein had murdered but whom Silverstein still denies having committed.

    OK bad move but possibly an oversight right? But then Cadillac first loudly vows to kill Silverstein and true to his word makes two separate attempts to do just that. This gave the BOP two chances to separate and thus avoid any further violence.

    Inmates cannot move themselves so it was not unreasonable for Silverstein to eliminate the threat just as our government has done this month with OBL.

    Now the guard Clutts is said to have vowed to set Silverstein up once again to be killed by rivals and Silverstein has said that he believed him.

    This is not a wild accusation but a reoccurring theme that inmates of all races claim is done regularly by prison staff to those they dislike. Silverstein still believes the guards wanted either of the two men to kill each other and the survivor to be punished for it. They got their wish.

  • maridan

    “We all have different beliefs, but nothing justifies torture of an animal, human or otherwise….”

    What about torture of a monster? This man is obviously a dangerous menace. What the prison did is rather extreme, yes–but I find it difficult to offer any sympathy to a murderer.

  • kyle

    how dose cruel unusual punishment even stand up….. and What If……. There is no God and youve all been stooped…….then who will punish someone for murder……..i say if you kill someone wile your in prison……a bullet only cost pennys and who wants there tax dollars to pay for people like this to live another day…….com’on economic crises you waste money on people like this….stupid people

    just sayen

  • Jane Hoobler

    Right on, Tomasina! Josh, yes, he murdered and it was brutal. But OUR CONSTITUTION prohibits cruel and unusual punishment!!!!! And this is ignored by the Keepers of the Cages. It’s not right, I don’t care if he is Hitler. Leave it to GOD to punish or forgive(???) (and the God I believe in, which is a Holy Power for Love and Forgiveness, does not approve of what is going on in our prisons….). We all have different beliefs, but nothing justifies torture of an animal, human or otherwise….

  • Tomasina

    @ Josh , yes and when you become aware of the conditions in prison it’s easy to see why Tommy was not a murderer be he went to prison All of that is really besides the point People should NOT betortured, no matter what. Why does America have dungeons and torture people this is the 21st century not the dark ages, America used to mean pride to me but not after learning how the prison system is just to make money and is above the constitution. My prayers are for relief for Tommy no one on this Earth or in this country should suffer in such a way. Josh thank you but I do hope you look into the facts of a 19 yr old kid trying to survive prison, do u think hes the only person that ever was pushed to homicide once in, read Clarrissa’s post, these things “they” do to people do not rehabilitate they drive them insane. Just thank God you havent slipped up as Joshlyn said it could happen to any of us with a system that has no rules for the Humane treatment of people.

  • Bonnie

    Yes, he is, and he should (and will) spend the rest of his life in prison.

    That still doesn’t justify such horrible treatment.

  • Josh

    he was a murderer guys. just saying.

  • Alan CYA#65085

    Good news, Judge Brimmer set a Jan 23, 2012 trial date.

  • Tomasina

    Jane and Joshlyn you guys are totally right I post everywhere 4 blogs twitter face book send my family articles this one finally hit my niece with such disbelief she knows now why I fight for reform. @Alan the Denver post did say May but I have also heard a different date from My Tom’s atty but most of the case is very secretive as so much could sabotage him after all this is the Federal gov’t just please pray for releif for Tom thanks so much to you all
    as I have posted before the Torture of Tom is always freash they continue to this day in so many ways the hurt and upset him he is a strong man and I thank God he is still here but death would have been more merciful. These prisons answer to no one, what kind of monsters work in these places? Sadists and bullies.
    Again thank you all. from Tom and me.

  • Jane Hoobler

    @ Joshlynn. I feel the same way. This kind of treatment is worse than execution. And, yes, it goes on all over this country and the worst part is most people don’t seem to care. Sometimes I post things about the evils that exist in our criminal “justice” system such as the Solitary Watch info such as above and hardly anyone ever makes a comment. Wait til it happens to someone they love, God forbid.

  • Joshlyn

    sad and sick it is to know that we do this to are owen i hope he is freeded soon thare was ones a warden in texes who siad he feaed a prison run my inmates well me i fear the day that the treetment he suffers dayly is the standared for treetment of all bop inmates i feear the day the usa treets all thare inmates like they have him i fear the day that the usa becomes POJ how can we be proud of this nashion i fear the day that i being human minded mess up but moest of all i fear the day thow i pray it never comes i fear the day i am thowen to the tribunal and by thare orders thowen with in the gates of the vast plane of justice no one should be treeted like he was no one we say death is the worest you can give by court order i beg to difer on that life in solitary like he has suffered and still dose that is the cruelest sentince that can be given that is the fate i fear moest of all in life may thare be light in the darknes of justice

  • Charissa

    The stories on Solitary Watch always breaks my heart and makes me feel so helpless. Just this morning I heard an NPR Radio Lab story on “Zoos”. The main point of the story is we are, as a nation, moving away from caging our animals because it causes them to go mad. One study done showed how the brains of animals placed in cages would atrophy. How do we expect human beings to take solitary confinement, or even confinement at all, without reverting to the most base and to lose all hope?

    Radical change and attention to this matter is needed. Thank you Solitary Watch for shining a light in one of the darkest places on earth – the American Penal System.

  • Alan CYA#65085

    I can’t wait to learn what Judge Brimmer decides tomorrow after reviewing this horrific account of the BOP’s cruelty that is sadly carried out in our name.

    Brimmer has set a May 6 court date to discuss a potential trial date.

    Read more: Supermax inmate suing to lessen solitary confinement – The Denver Post

    Who will be the next “bogeyman” of the BOP to receive this unbelievable abuse?

  • Tomasina

    @Jane Well said this happened to a human being that I love very much and the anger that is in me has no outlet the more I know about the prison system the angrier I get these prisons and their staff seem to be above the law and Constitution. It’s a world of it’s own, doing to people what it wants to. Where are the checks and balances how did “they” get away with it? And now will “they” escape even so much as a REPRIMAND OR PENALTY? Tommy should be set completely free for justice and fairness to be carried out. and from the things that were done to him how is it that it’s hard to believe he was torture to the point of homicide by the CO in charge? And these things go on all over our country, COs taunting caged isolated men. Justice restitution and change for Tom Silverstein NOW!

  • Jane Hoobler

    Reading this brought tears to my eyes and, as I shake my head in disbelief, I can only think that I have never heard of a more horrible example of hell on earth. Religons teach that God sends the souls of humans to heaven or to hell. But it appears that Man takes it upon himself to hurl a human being into Hell, right here in the United States, with complete disregard for our Constitution’s prohibition against “cruel and unusual punishment”.

    Nothing justifies what has been done to Mr. Silverstein. I am disgusted and sick the more I learn about some of the inhuman and truly evil practices under the banner of “Justice” in my own country. I’m appalled that part of this person’s Hell was lived out in my home state of Illinois.

    Solitary Watch, what an invaluable mission you carry out. Thank you.

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