A Just Cause

Florence Federal Prison Discriminates Against Church Group

Warden Says Greeting Is A Threat to Security And Will Punish Inmates With Solitary Confinement For Greeting Loved Ones, Says Advocacy Group A Just Cause


Denver, CO -- (ReleaseWire) -- 07/15/2016 --Advocacy group, A Just Cause, alleges that Warden M.A. Stancil at Federal Prison Camp in Florence, Colorado is discriminating against a Colorado Springs Fellowship Church (CSFC) group, some of whom are family, because they simply want to greet inmates they have known for 20 years or more who attended their church. On July 13, 2016, Associate Warden Johns allegedly threatened to throw any inmate who was caught greeting their friends and family into the "bucket", which is a common term for solitary confinement in the prison." My Son David and Clinton Stewart share the nephew named Cole who is currently on Clinton's visiting list. Under Stancil's rule, Cole cannot be on David's visiting even though he is a family member and if David says hello to him, he will be sent to solitary confinement," says Rose Banks, Pastor of CSFC.

For the past 4 years, the CSFC church group has been visiting six wrongly-convicted men at the prison camp known on the Internet as the IRP6 under two different wardens, Mr. Berkebile and Mr. Oliver --- both of whom oversaw the well-known ADX and the prison camp. Neither of those Wardens oppressed or discriminated against the church group. In fact, Warden Berkebile, showing great understanding and human decency, implemented a formal procedure whereby the church group, which is considered a 'community group" under BOP policy, could visit with all six inmates. "Warden Berkebile was kind enough to meet with us at the prison camp visiting room and provided a solution for our group to visit," says Pastor Banks. "Warden Oliver who took over when Berkebile left continued allowing the group to visit," adds Pastor Banks. "It shows a clear distinction between a good Warden and bad Warden like Stancil in the same way you have good police officers and bad police officers," says Pastor Banks.

"After Stancil took over the Camp in March 2015, his staff immediately started harassing the members of the church group but strangely he did not implement this new "cross-visiting" rule as part of an institutional supplement until June 10, 2016," says Cliff Stewart of A Just Cause. "An inmate told A Just Cause that he overheard two correctional officers discussing plans to make it difficult for the church group to enter and visit, especially, David Banks, who is the son of Pastor Banks," says Stewart.

The prison camp institutional supplement, says "There will be no cross-visiting". "What is cross-visiting?" asks Lisa Stewart, an Executive at A Just Cause. "Visiting certainly doesn't mean greeting," adds Stewart. On the weekend of July 8, 2016, church members told A Just Cause that when they greeted and hugged the men, staff told them that "cross-hugging" is not permitted, even though no such term exists in the institutional supplement. "They are just making up rules and definitions on the fly to discriminate against the church group," says Stewart.

According to the dictionary, Visit is defined as "to go to see and spend time with (someone) socially" and Greet is "give a polite word or sign of welcome in recognition to [someone] on meeting or (by sight or sound) become apparent to or be noticed by (someone) on arrival or departing somewhere." "It is a natural human reaction to greet, say hello or hug a close friend or family member and Warden Stancil's assertion that greeting someone is a threat to security is dishonest and dehumanizing," says Stewart of A Just Cause. "Also the Christian faith requires each Christian to 'Salute every Saint in Christ Jesus' (Philippians 4:21)'" adds Stewart.

The dictionary defines Salute as: "A gesture of respect, homage or polite recognition or acknowledgement, especially made to or by a person arriving or departing. The church group are the primary ones greeting these inmates when they arrive and Warden Stancil intentionally implemented this policy to discriminate against the church group which is not only an affront to their religious rights but also in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA)," says Stewart. "According to the APA and well-settled case law Warden Stancil is not permitted to abuse his discretion by arbitrarily and capriciously use security to justify his actions or decisions as he is doing by saying greeting is a threat to security," adds Stewart.

"AJC has sent letters to BOP Director Kane concerning numerous discrimination issues in the visiting room perpetrated by Warden Stancil, but he has done nothing." says Lamont Banks, Executive Director of A Just Cause. "We will aggressively pursue as many members of Congress, The Department of Justice, the Inspector General's office and the Office of the President of the United States to take action against this abuse of power," adds Banks. According to the Washington Post, President Obama also banned using solitary confinement for low-level infractions at federal prisons and ordered the Bureau of Prisons to mandate wardens at federal prisons to increase the amount of time prisoners in solitary spend outside of their cells. We intend to pursue a discrimination lawsuit against BOP and the Florence Prison as well as a lawsuit for the religious rights and practices being violated in spite of Constitutional Law protecting those rights." Concludes Banks.

About A Just Cause
A Just Cause is a not for profit advocacy group tat seeks to find a balance in the judicial system of this country. We ask the unpopular questions and look for ways that we, as a nation, can help to better ourselves. Our President believes that we are better than what we appear to be, and we agree. America needs to come together to understand each other, the laws that govern us ad our responsibilities to help improve this country.

Contact Information:
Lamont Banks
A Just Cause, 855-529-4252 extension 710