After a year of waiting since being convicted after trial in October 2019, two of the seven KBP activists begin their sentences on Monday, December 14. Carmen Trotta and Martha Hennessy will be reporting to two different Federal Correctional Institutions on December 14 by 2 pm. There is a great risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus in prisons which have four times the rate of the general community.
Carmen, 58, who has provided three decades of hospitality and food at St. Joseph House Catholic Worker in NYC and been a key organizer to shut down Guantanamo and led protests to end the bombing and blockade of Yemen will report to FCI Otisville, NY. Community members will drive him an hour and a half north of NYC to begin his 14 month sentence. He has completed 7 1/2 weeks in pretrial confinement. Combined with good time, he may be released by November or December 2021.
Martha, 65, the granddaughter of Dorothy Day, co-founder of the Catholic Worker Movement, splits her time in Vermont living with her family and grandkids with serving at Maryhouse Catholic Worker in NYC. She’ll be reporting to FCI Danbury, CT to begin a 10 month sentence. She has also served 7 1/2 weeks pretrial and may be released after 7 or 8 months. Danbury Federal prison gained notoriety from the TV mini-series, “Orange is the New Black.” Recently deceased Plowshares activist Sr. Ardeth Platte was the model for one of the characters from her time there with the author.
Carmen Trotta #22561-021
Federal Correctional Institution
PO Box 1000
Otisville, NY 10963
Martha Hennessy #22560-021
Danbury, CT 06811
You can send letters to them on white paper with blue or black ink but no drawings. We are checking what else they may receive. See the website for updates.
Clare Grady and Patrick O’Neill will report in the New Year.
Clare’s been assigned FCI Alderson, West Virginia, to begin a 12 month and 1-day sentence, starting February 10th. She’s already served 3 1/2 months pretrial and with good time, she may be released after 6 or 7 months. She’ll be traveling from Ithaca, NY with her family to report. Clare had served 1 1/2 years at Alderson in 1984-85 for her part in the Griffiss Plowshares Action in Rome, NY with codefendant Liz McAlister.
Patrick will be traveling north from Garner, North Carolina to FCI Elkton, Ohio, just west of Pittsburgh, PA to begin his 14-month sentence, reporting on Jan.14 at 10 am. He also completed 7 1/2 weeks pretrial. He may be released after 11-12 months with good time.
Mark Colville is the only defendant not sentenced yet. He has already served 15 months pretrial in Camden and Glynn county jails. Mark received word from Judge Lisa Godbey Wood on Dec. 8th that she has granted him another stay of sentencing until Friday, Feb. 19 at 10 am. Mark will not waive his right to be sentenced in person before Judge Wood. Due to the pandemic, if Mark leaves Connecticut he must quarantine for 14 days upon returning. Mark can’t afford that time now as he’s been the medically designated driver for his nephew Alexander, taking him 3 times a week for dialysis from New Haven to Hartford.
Fr. Steve Kelly still sits waiting in Glynn County jail in Brunswick, GA for the Bureau of Prisons to transport him to court in Tacoma, WA to appear for a probation violation. Steve had been convicted of trespass in an earlier action at the Kitsap-Bangor Trident nuclear submarine base where eight nuclear armed subs are stationed. Kings Bay Naval Station has six ballistic missile subs, plus four more British subs that are supplied with D-5 Trident nuclear missiles leased from the US. Taking into account his good time credit, Steve has served beyond the 33 month sentence given by Judge Wood. It is expected that his extra time will be credited to any sentence from the Tacoma court. So far Steve has stayed COVID-free and healthy. He gave away most of his belongings just after his October 15th sentencing expecting to be moved soon but it hasn’t happened so far. He sent this message from jail on Dec. 9, “Let’s go back to the bedrock basics. We have the Isaiah 2:4 imperative of conversion. Let’s continue to be open for inspiration and help each other to be God’s instruments, in going from war to peace.” He also said that he feels things are moving along slowly but satisfactorily.
Liz McAlister was sentenced in June to the 17 months she had served pretrial with Mark and Fr. Steve in the two Georgia county jails. She just celebrated her 81st birthday in November. She participated in the Griffiss Plowshares action at the AFB in Rome N.Y. on Thanksgiving Day 1983 and was sentenced to 3 years in FCI Alderson, W. Virginia. Liz is doing well despite living under 3 years of probation restrictions in New London, Connecticut with her family.
To access the defendants’ powerful sentencing statements go to https://kingsbayplowshares7.org/sentencing-statements/ which is under the “Legal” tab in the menu. Biographical information can be found under the “About” tab.
Information on COVID-19 in U. S. prisons.
In the federal prison system, all visitations, including legal visits, were suspended by the Federal Bureau of Prisons on March 13, though attorneys could be approved for an in-person visit on a case-by-case basis. On Oct. 3, some federal prisons began to reopen for non-contact personal visits, with restrictions.
There have been only small releases of prisoners in some places to alleviate risk. This is by no means an active or consistent trend and general projections are that December and January COVID rates will be through the roof across the US.
The COVID Prison Project currently reports 249,175 infections and 1613 deaths of incarcerated individuals in the United States. The Sentencing Project estimates that there are 2.2 million people incarcerated overall in the US at present, with approximately 1.4 million in state and federal prisons.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) reports more than 30,000 infected prisoners this year which is 21% of federal inmates. There have been 153 COVID deaths among federal prisoners so far in 2020 or just over 1 per 1000 prisoners. The annual infection rate for BOP staff personnel is 10.69% or roughly half the rate of prisoners. Only 2 staff deaths have been reported to date.
All figures above for BOP infection and deaths are from the BOP’s website.
The Marshall Project has valuable stories by prisoners and information.
The overall infection rate in prison has been one in five or six prisoners, which is a horrific rate.
Future Actions To Take – January 22
According to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, the doomsday clock is set at 100 seconds to midnight due to President Trump’s withdrawal from critical nuclear treaties leaving the world closer to the brink of nuclear destruction. President-elect Biden’s win does not provide a substantial change in this trajectory unless a massive people’s movement emerges as happened in 1982. This resulted in the reduction of the world’s nuclear stockpiles from approximately 90,000 down to 15,000. As Fr. Steve Kelly says, “Nuclear weapons will not go away by themselves!”
The witness of 100 plowshares actions culminating in the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 coincides with the work to abolish nuclear weapons with people around the world. ICAN (International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons), Back from the Brink, Don’t Bank on the Bomb are only three of a multitude of important local, national, and global organizations working towards nuclear disarmament. A great victory takes place in 42 days, the culmination of many years of work. On January 22nd the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons will enter into force, making nuclear weapons illegal, 75 years after their first use. To find out what action is happening at a local military base or Pentagon contractor in your area and to call for the US to join this treaty and become one of the nations to disarm, see the NuclearResister.org website.
And check out: https://kingsbayplowshares7.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/25-Things-We-Can-Do-in-Solidarity-with-the-KBP7-sdearfinal2-101420.pdf