Prison Author Finds Himself Under Fire

Federal Bureau of Prisons retaliates against Christopher Zoukis
 
 
Christopher Zoukis
Christopher Zoukis
 
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Prisoners' Rights
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Christopher Zoukis
Federal Corrections
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Location:
St. Petersburg - Florida - US

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Nov. 18, 2014 - PRLog -- Over the past month Federal Bureau of Prison officials at the Federal Correctional Institution Petersburg have issued incarcerated author Christopher Zoukis a series of incident reports in a seeming attempt to censor his critique of the prison system.  All of these disciplinary actions came on the heels of the release of his latest book – College for Convicts: The Case for Higher Education in American Prisons (McFarland, 2014) (http://www.amazon.com/College-Convicts-Education-American-Prisons/dp/0786495332/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1416091760&sr=1-1&keywords=college+for+convicts) – in what some are calling systematic retaliation.

The allegations have all come in the vein of him allegedly conducting a business.  The incident reports were all issued by members of the Federal Correctional Institution Petersburg’s Special Investigative Advisor Department, the investigatory component of the Federal Bureau of Prisons.  Specifically, they were issued by department head SIA J. Negron and co-worker SIS technician A. Holderfield.

         The allegations at hand are that Mr. Zoukis is allegedly operating three distinct businesses:

·       publishing uncompensated articles at on a popular news media blog and inquiring about their number of Facebook likes

·       sending a single letter in which he attempted to obtain the rights to an out of print prison preparation manual, in an effort to update it and publicize it online for free, so that it could continue to help soon to be free prisoners and their families

·       having a personal bank account outside of prison and asking a friend to use funds from it to obtain his credit report in an effort to prepare for his release

Many of Mr. Zoukis’ supporters are viewing the current disciplinary actions as a continuation of those that occurred two years ago.  In 2012, the same SIS department led a campaign of retaliation against Mr. Zoukis following the release of his first book Education Behind Bars: A Win-Win Strategy for Maximum Security (Sunbury Press, 2012) (http://www.amazon.com/Education-Behind-Bars-Strategy-Secu...). Then, three separate incident reports – all of which concerned alleged business activity – were issued and Mr. Zoukis was remanded to solitary confinement for five months.  SIS technician P. Vaughan led the effort at the time. After months of appeals, which were coordinated by attorneys, Alan Ellis and Todd Bussert, all of the incident reports were overturned and Mr. Zoukis’ record was expunged.

      As it currently stands, Federal Correctional Institution Petersburg actors – namely Unit Manager Angela Tomlinson – have held two disciplinary proceedings in which Mr. Zoukis was not permitted to call any witnesses, present any evidence, or even make a statement on his own behalf. He was summarily sanctioned to the loss of visitation, email, and commissary. This week it is anticipated that Mr. Zoukis will be seen by his Unit Disciplinary Committee and the case will be referred to Disciplinary Hearing Officer W. Bennet. Zoukis is hopeful the outcome will not include confinement to the Federal Correctional Institution Petersburg Special Housing Unit.

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Bio of Christopher Zoukis

Christopher Zoukis is the author of Education Behind Bars (Sunbury Press, 2012), the Directory of Federal Prisons(Middle Street Publishing, 2014), College for Convicts (McFarland and Company, 2015).

Mr. Zoukis is regularly called upon to write articles and be the subject of interviews for national and specialized criminal law outlets.  He's a regular contributing writer at Prison Legal News, Blog Critics, and AND Magazine, and has been published by The Kansas City Star, Sacramento Bee, Midwest Book Review, among other national, regional, and specialty publications.  He's the recipient of two PEN American Center Prison Writing Awards.

Mr. Zoukis is often quoted on matters concerning prison law, criminal law, prisoners' rights, and prison education.  Recently, he was the focus of an article at Salon.com concerning America's broken criminal justice system and potential solutions to the current crisis of over incarceration and recidivism.

When not in the thick of the battle for prison reform, prison education, or prisoners' rights advocacy, Mr. Zoukis can be found blogging on popular news blogs including http://prisoneducation.com and http://prisonlawblog.com.

You can also visit his website at http://www.christopherzoukis.com/

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Tags:Prisoners' Rights, Censorship, Christopher Zoukis, Federal Corrections, Author
Industry:Government, Legal
Location:St. Petersburg - Florida - United States
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