All Incident Reports Overturned and Expunged
By Middle Street Publishing
It is with great pride and joy that we at Middle Street Publishing share the terrific news that embattled prison writer Christopher Zoukis has been vindicated once again! He's now back available via email and can again make telephone calls from Federal Correctional Institution Petersburg following his victorious fight with the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
The History: The 2012 Incident Reports
In 2012, Chris was issued three incident reports for allegedly conducting a business. The alleged business was the free "Education Behind Bars Newsletter" (EBBN). Prison staff, led by Special Investigation Supervisor (SIS) Department agents, decided that the free EBBN was a business because the publisher accepted donations and advertisements to help defray her costs. Rather unsurprisingly, those involved with the publication disagreed.
As a result of the incident reports, Chris was confined to the FCI Petersburg Special Housing Unit (SHU) for five months and had his email and telephone restricted for over a year. While in the hole he managed to dodge a retaliatory transfer to USP Lee, a maximum-security federal prison. As a result of the ongoing harassment and retaliatory actions by FCI Petersburg staff, Chris and his family retained the services of renowned criminal defense attorneys Alan Ellis and Todd Bussert. Together they fought the BOP back into their corner. While it took some time, all three of the incident reports were eventually overturned on appeal and Chris' record was expunged.
Recent Events: The 2014 Incident Reports
In late 2014 Chris was again subjected to a series of retaliatory incident reports for his writing endeavors. This time SIS agents issued him four incident reports for allegedly conducting a business. The business this time included writing articles for The Huffington Post, inquiring about the number of Facebook likes and Twitter tweets that his articles receive, asking a friend to start printing and mailing him his "Prison Legal News" writing assignments, offering to help a fellow prisoners' rights activist update his prison survival guide, and obtaining his own personal credit reports. For this he was sanctioned to nine months loss of email, six months loss of telephone, and three months loss of commissary and visitation.
As in 2012, Chris again retained the services of attorneys Alan Ellis and Todd Bussert. This time he also retained noted First Amendment attorneys Steve Rosenfield and Jeff Fogel. After seven months of fighting the Federal Bureau of Prisons, all of the adverse findings were overturned on appeal and Chris' record once again cleared.
The Path From Here
With Chris back in daily communications with us we proceed forward with our prison education and prisoners' rights advocacy. While we had to slow down somewhat due to communications being delayed, we can now push forward and make 2015 the year that it is meant to be. For PrisonEducation.com this means a new series of research papers and possibly a more robust section on in-prison and correspondence education programs for prisoners. For PrisonLawBlog.com this means a new, online directory of federal prisons which will provide information on every federal prison, along with a new design by the team at MKT Communications. And for ChristopherZoukis.com this means regular postings profiling Chris' reform and publication efforts.
As for Chris, while he's still under many levels of monitoring (after all, all of his emails, postal mail, and telephone calls are now monitored by SIS staff), he's looking forward to June when his next book, Correspondence Courses for Prisoners, will be released by Prison Legal News Publishing. He's also looking forward to getting back into the swing of things and preparing for a series of interviews with CBS, NBC, and several websites and podcasts. In his words, "It's time to do what we do best: push forward and raise our voices for our brothers and sisters behind bars who don't have a voice loud enough to raise above the din of prison censorship."
We couldn't agree more.