Wednesday, January 22, 2014

From Cyndi Steele

[This is a bit dated, and I deeply apologize for letting it slip through the cracks here until now, but it will update you on Ed's situation. I heard from Edgar Steele once, a brief note just before Christmas, in which he promised to write regularly and contribute a written column to this blog and Northwest Observer, and nothing since. - HAC]

December 23 2013

Prison life is tough. Holidays are even tougher. And tougher yet is when the one family member Ed wants to see most, his wife Cyndi, is denied visitation. 

Ed has been in the Victorville, California prison facility run by the US Government for almost two years. Before that, and for eighteen months, he was in several different detention facilities, but Cyndi was severely restricted and was only allowed to see her husband a few times.
This has been extremely difficult for Ed. It’s been difficult for Cyndi, who fears that they will never be able to see each other again in this lifetime. A possibility that could sadly become a reality sooner than later with Ed’s latest health issues and especially considering that in the last few months he almost died twice. 

The first time was when he was hospitalized with double pneumonia, because the BOP wouldn’t properly treat him when he first came down with the disease and they let it go for over a month. Then on December 4th, Ed went into respiratory failure during what was supposed to be a simple procedure to implant a device in his chest to monitor his heart. A device that only became necessary because the double pneumonia caused an irregular heartbeat that is now irreversible. 

If his pneumonia had been timely and properly treated, Ed wouldn’t have needed this device and would not be a problem today. Now, in the last week he was again hospitalized for pneumonia and contracted MRSA while there. They quickly treated him and sent him back to the prison, even though he is not fully recovered from this latest ailment.

Without question, the ultimate holiday present for Cyndi and the rest of the Steele family would be getting Ed’s conviction overturned and bring him home, but at this time that seems impossible. I know that with God, all things are possible, so I keep praying for that to happen, but in the meantime, the second best present at this time would be to get Cyndi approved to go visit Ed in prison.

However, to date, even this has been an impossible task, since the final decision lies with one person, the warden. A warden who has decided that it would be a "security and safety issue" for the prison’s staff and security guards if Cyndi was allowed to visit Ed. 

It is a position that the warden refuses to change, even though the prison’s policy is to make “an effort to maintain family ties and foster good public relations” through visitations. That means, not allowing me to see Ed is a violation of the US Bureau of Prison Policy; but, then, who really enforces that policy? Is this simply a case of selective enforcement of the rules to suit the political agenda of this government?

The other wish we can give to Ed is to advocate that his request to be transferred to one of the Bureau of Prison’s full medical facilities is granted. A facility that would give him better treatment for his serious health conditions that has nearly taken his life two times. Especially since both instances of him being close to dying could have been avoided if he had received proper medical care at the Victorville prison. To date he is being denied because the BOP claims there are no beds. Just more lame excuses, because they are determined to punish him further and don’t care if he dies.

About the only hope to changing the way that these policies are applied in Ed’s case is to get enough pressure put on the prison, such that they will see the errors of their ways and determine that it would be better to allow Cyndi to visit Ed and to get Ed transferred to one of the BOP’s medical facilities than face bad publicity.

This is where you can help:

1. Write, fax, or call the Idaho Governor, Senators and Representatives. Ask them to step up and advocate for Cyndi to be allowed to visit Ed. Ask them to step up and advocate for Ed to be transferred to a BOP medical facility and that he gets better medical treatment. For that matter, to step up and advocate that any spouse is allowed to visit their imprisoned spouse and that the imprisoned spouse deserves to receive proper medical care. 

2. Write to the warden and put pressure on her to approve Cyndi to visit Ed and to get Ed transferred to a medical facility.

3. Speak to others about this injustice and ask for their help by writing letters, because it is in numbers that we can change this type of mistreatment and blatant rule violations. 

For your convenience we’ve provided (below) the names and addresses for the people to contact. If available, we have also included their fax and phone number. Also available (below) are the letters written by Cyndi;  one to the Victorville warden, another to select congressmen.

Then hopefully with enough help, we can hopefully give Ed at least one Christmas wish, if not two: 1) A visit from his wife, Cyndi and/or 2) Being transferred to a BOP medical facility where he can get proper medical treatment.

Sincerely,
Edgar Steele Defense Fund &
Cyndi Steele


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