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September 23, 1970 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1970-09-23

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Eighty years of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan

'Where maggots flee'-a letter from jail

420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Mich.

News Phone: 764-0552

Editorials printed in The Michigan Daily express the individual opinions of staff writers
or the editors. This must be noted in all reprints.




lent City controversy

rHE DOCUMENT was smuggled
out of the Brooklyn. Men's
House of Detention. It was a
three-page, neatly handwritten
essay headed "Where Maggots
Flee," by R. J. Curley. In an ac-
companying note Curley gave no
details of his own case beyond
saying that he had been trans-
ferred from Green Haven State
Prison to the Brooklyn House for
an appeal. proceeding in Kings
County Supreme Court. But he
was not writing about his legal
history. He was submitting a view
of the Brooklyn prison.
There has been enough publish-
ed about this (and other) local
jails to dispel any serious doubt
about the authenticity of the por-
trait. It may be said that he adds
little to our knowledge. Yet the
story cannot be told too often. A
few weeks ago there was an up-
heaval in Manhattan's Tombs and
for a moment one hoped that the
spotlight had finally focused on
the wretchedness of our crime-
breeding prisons. Now there, is
silence again; it is an issue that
the law-and-order brigades do not
choose to stress because prison

reform-unlike righteous rhetoric
about the "coddling" of criminals
-is costly and arduous.
from Curley's communication:
"Myself and another state pris-
oner arrived at the jail at 1:35
p.m. We were stripped naked and
skin searched (meaning bending
over and spreading the cheeks)
in spite of the fact that we went
through the same type search be-
fore we left prison and were hand-
cuffed, brought in a special car to
the jail. We were then made to
remain naked and walk on filthy
dirty floors and marched into
some doctor's office where we
were given a verbal physical. We
were jammed into a small holding
cell already overcrowded, among
which were a number of 'junkies'
already sick from needing a fix.
"The stench in that holding cell
was nauseating. We didn't know it
at the time, but we were to temain
in that garbage bin until after
7 p.m. because the guards didn't
want to go through changing their
count upstairs.
"They brought food to us around
6 and we had to balance our food
tiays every which way in order to

eat, some standing up, sitting
down, and a couple who were al-
most impossibly laying on the floor
who were sick. The sight of food
really hit the 'junkies' bad; one
threw up all over the place and
others were breaking out in cold
sweats trying to keep from throw-
ing up. The holding cell had a
mixture of vomit smells, dirty feet
smells, body odor smells and all
held intact by the heavy cigaret
smoke . . . After almost six hours
we were herded in an elevator to
complete maximum.
"WHEN YOU REACH the floor
they assigned you a cell on, you
step off the elevator and it not
only smells like a zoo but sounds
like a zoo. There's garbage all over
the place, usually stacked up in
"The cells are smaller than the
one man cells in state prison yet
two are assigned to these city jails
cells in which you are locked up
together 18 hours out of 24. You
have to beg for toilet paper, and
the cell light in my cell ,is a
pathetic joke because it's iseless,
starting around 3:30 p.n. when it's
needed until next daylight.

"The guards are responsible for
90 per cent of the dissension be-
cause they react sarcastically and
run the goon squad in to enfcrce
any opposition to -.heir sarcasm
with actual brutal beatings.
". . . Only a few inmates have
the ability to express the real
problems, so bad food and rntrict-
ed commissary become the sub-
stitute issues. How does the in-
mate with no money gripe about
no toothpaste, toothbrush, smok-
ing material, at least two stamps
a week to write someone. The guy
is too poor to make a bond be-
cause he's a 'junkie' yet the punk
getting rich selling the dope can
make bail.
"One week in these jails and
you'll lose all respect for law and
justice, so you can imagine the
animal attitudes of those that
have already lost the respect be-
cause of being way down on the
dirty end of the stick, and the
first that says there aren't any
present remedies to better these
conditions would be the first slob
to holler for his 'mommy' if he
were in here.
"If people aren't concerned
about these garbage pits where in-

mates move their bowels in the
showers because of embarrassment
of doing so in a crowded two man
cell, then they have no bitch
coming when the animal is a more
dangerous animal after surviving
these city garbage cans where even
the maggots flee."
A REPORT issued by the Amer-
ican Correction Assn. contained "a
statement of 22 principles" em-
phasizing, among pther Fthings,
that the "aim of the prison should
be to make industrious free men
rather than orderly and obedient
prisoners." It emphasized the need
for conserving the inmate's "self-
respect." This report, as News-
week currently notes, was released
in the year 1870-just a hundred
years ago. How many comparable
studies have been drafted in the
ensuing century?
Any politician who promises a
"war on crime" but evades the
issue of prison reform is a fraud.
Whatever his real or alleged sins,
we are all indebted to prisoner
Curley for sending out the mes-
sage anew.
0 New York Post

THE ESCALATING controversy over the
status, of "Tent City" presents the
University community with two quite dis-
tinct sets of problems and issues. Only by
dealing with these issues separately and
in good faith can the protagonists hope
to resolve the controversy bloodlessly and
The presence of the generally affluent
University population in the city of Ann
Arbor continues to have a dramatic effect
on the local housing market. Given an
extremely low vacancy rate, prices have
largely been determined by what the
community is able to pay, and thus, hous-
ing prices have remained high.
Perhaps hardest -hit are many of the,
University's low-paid hospital and food
s e r v i c e employes. Since housing con-
struction in the campus area has pre-
dominantly involved high-rent student
apartments, many of these employes have
been forced to take up r e s i d e n c e in
Students, of course, are also hard-hit
by the high prices and cramped condi-
tions that characterize apartments in the
campus area. More important, though, is
the fact that some of those who are qual-
ified to attend the University are forced
to seek their education elsewhere because
of the high costs, including the extrava-
gant cost of housing.
Even many faculty m e m b e r s suffer
from the generally high cost of housing.
Moderate cost homes aie simply not
available within a reasonable distance
from c a m p u s, because land developers
have found it more profitable to build
high-rent a p a r t m e n t s than low-cost
CLEARLY, THE University must take
responsibility for creating these con-
ditions, and take active steps to alter the
general structure 'of the local housing
market. To an extent, the University has
already indicated recognition of the need
to act, but some kind of firm commitment
is needed as a sign of good faith.
The fate of Tent City is an issue quite
apart from the housing situation, and on
this particular question, the University
administration seems determined" to pro-
voke a needless confrontation.
On the surface, at least, the key ques-
tion has been whether Tent City is a
health hazard. By now, a number of
medical personnel have examined condi-
tions on the Diag campsite and concluded
that the lack of toilet and shower facili-
ties and the heavy pedestrian traffic in
the area combine to make Tent Ciy a
potential menace.

How e a s i l y that situation could be
remedied remains an open question, but
a number of points seem clear.
First, doctors seem to be in general
agreement that the case of infectious
hepatitis reported at Tent City last week
was contracted weeks ago, p e r h a p s
months, in a manner totally unconnected
to the Diag campsite.
In addition, it is apparent that Tent
City can be and has been as effectively
disinfected as Stockwell Hall where the
infected person also spent considerable
time. To close down Tent City simply be-
cause of the case of hepatitis without
closing down Stockwell would surely in-
dicate that the action involved considera-
tions other than those ofyhealth.
Most doctors consulted also seem to
agree that any health hazard at Tent
City would be substantially reduced if
toilet and shower facilities were made
available in Waterman Gymnasium and
if they were used in preference to nearby
THE PROPOSAL to make Waterman
available has a 1 r e a d y been put to
President Robben Fleming and he has
quickly rejected it, mostly because of
what he and other administration offi-
cials claim will be high security and jan-
itorial costs.
Vice President for Student Services
Robert Knauss has admitted that he con-
siders estimates of $1,200 a month rather
high. Common sense dictates that the
estimate is absurd. The present nightly
security force could be reapportioned to
guard the gymnasium without higher cost
and the 'addition of perhaps 30 people to
the hundreds who already use shower and
toilet facilities there hardly calls for dra-
matic increases in janitorial work.
While Tent City may be a potential
health hazard, medical advice indicates
that the problem could be Ferased or at
least minimized with a little co-operation
by the University.
FROM THE beginning, Tent City has
been primarily a political demonstra-
tion. The freedom of peaceful political
action should extend to students and
non-students alike, regardless of the va-
lidity of their cause.
To the extent that it is really interested
in encouraging dissent and peaceful pro-
test, the University should be anxious to
cooperate with Tent City.

Trying to explore a
i i uniei imotion
"We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the'first time"
TrHE MASSES shifted restlessly as the end of the hour approached.
They sat in their chairs, they listened, they daydreamed, they
looked at the clock.
A low murmur began as the professor gave his closing remarks.
Then, before he finished, seats banged up, people snapped to their
feet, burst out of the auditorium doors moving with determination,
flooding onto the sidewalks outside, a mass in motion pouring out into
a universe of motion, the Universe of Michigan.
People, tens of thousands of people here. Persons. Individuals.\
Lives. Each one both a part of the world and a world in himself.
Each one thinking and feeling. Imagine your way into someone else
tasteing and smelling and being alive. Wonder
where all these people are going. Or watch
where all these lives are going, beyond the UGLI, Mason Hall, the
apartment, and a friend's place to do some dope.
Each one of them is going somewhere. And not even he knows
YES, THE PRIME FEELING within this world is one of move-
ment. And I have something in common with these people. We're all not
there yet. We're in transit, still on the way. Because no matter
where you are, there's always someplace else to go. On acid. Or on a
t bus.
It's just one big
kaleidoscoping, floating or flying, whirling or walking or wishing away.
People moving, within and without. Man, the microcosm; what a
piece of. . . work.
People come here as they explore and explode The -Universe of
Michigan and theyUniversity of Mind. Everybody en route to We Don't
Know Where, held together by the common circle they travel.
All of us exploring, to know for the first time the place, where
we started.

-Daily-Jim Judkis

Another view


Defending the auto workers

dents that did not have housing, the
appearance of tents on the Diag. shortly
after the start of registration this semes-
ter was clearly recognized as being pri-
marily a form of political protest. Our
office has from the start agreed to pro-
vide an adequate camping facility if in
fact there are students who would like to
When the tents first appeared, meet-
ings were held with representatives from
the Tenants Union and the University.
While never giving permission for t h e
tents to remain, University officials indi-
cated they would not take active steps to
remove the tents unless: First, the camp-
ing facility developed into a health haz-
ard, and second, the facility became dom-
inated by non-students. Various Univer-
sity officials also indicated t h a t there
would be no change of status or attempt
to remove the tents by the University be-
f o r e notice to the Tenants Union and
those in the tents had been given.
By the end of last week it became clear
that unless the University took positive
steps to provide sanitary facilities t h e
county health officer was designating the
area as a health hazard and that by con-
servative estimates at least 90 per cent of
those living in the tents were non-stu-
The evidence that a person with infec-
tious hepatitis spent two days. living in
one of the tents (as well as some time in
one of the -dormitories) compounded the
health problem. While every effort has
been made to g i v e notice and provide
shots, new infections are possible.

sity of the camp site, and large pedes-
trian traffic in the area. This "health ar-
gument" could end the matter, and the
University is on safe grounds in remov-
ing the tents on this basis.
yond and face the broader'question of
the extent that the University should use
its resources to provide a camping facility
on the Diag. There is no disagreement
that there is currently a health hazard,
unless sanitary facilities are provided..
Those arguing that the University's stand
is political assume that the proper posi-,
tion for the University is to open Water-
man Gym for use of those camping. To
what extent should the University ex-
pend funds to provide a camping facility
in a location that is inadequate even with
the expenditure of those funds. Should
any expenditure be made if the camp site
is used predominantly by non-students?
It is estimated that it would cost approx-
imately $1,200 a month to provide a se-
curity man and extra janitorial services
to open Waterman Gym for campers. Ev-
en with this cost, the Physical Education
Department has concern about the nor-
mal use of the gym.
Those who argue that to deny the use
of Waterman Gym is to deny the right to
protest have confused their concepts of
rights and privileges and, I fear, demon-
strate a paranoia about challenges to dis-
sent. Does the University really suppress
dissent when it refuses to use its assets
to permit a group to continue to dissent?
Is there student or faculty support for a
hndanet nriority In this diretion?

To the Editor:.
THE SEPTEMBER 18 editorial
by Lindsay Chaney on the UAW
Strike is particularly irritating-
and insensitive. What it says, in
effect, is that the strike is abomi-
nably capitalistic, narrow in
scope, and blind to the needs of
society. The supporters are stereo-
typed as cause-hungry, misguided
radicals who are oblivious to the
proper c o u r s e of progressive
change in society. Not so. Mr.

Chaney seems to forget that the
society is not alien to the people,
but is, in fact, the people.
His first gripe is that the union,
as the ogre of capitalism, is sac-
rificing the cause of pitiful work-
ing conditions for monetary com-
pensations. This is neither true
nor justified. The national plat-
form may not stress working con-
ditions which vary from plant to
plant, but the local unions are
highly conscious of the oppressive

environment in which the workers
are supposed to perform.~
The appeal for higher wages is
not a substitute for better work-
ing conditions, it is a part of the
same fight for survival. If more
wages are demanded it is not for
the esoteric purpose of maintain-
ing the UAW status among the
elite of labor unions, ithisbecause
even proportionately high wages
are not high enough., The UAW
demands a variable cost of living

factor, a more humane retirement
plan, and a pay increase. Wages
should reflect the skill, the phys-
ical danger, and the mental and
psychological hazards involved, as
well as the cost of living. Taking
these factors into consideration.
a pay hike is a valid part of the
solution. It is n o t a matter of
bribery or reconciliation, but a
matter of receiving what is right-
fully earned.
that the union is not doing near-
ly enough for the cause of ecol-
ogy. Mr. Chaney feels that since
the automobilefactories are cre-
ating the problem of air pollution
and highway fatalities, t h e y
should be more concerned with it.
After all, it is the least they could
do. Once again he is ignoring the
very humaneness of the situation.
Ecology is everyone's problem, ev-
eryone's very serious one. But it
must be viewed in its logical per-
spective. Human nature dictates
that man be concerned first with
himself and those he loves, and
then with his fellowman. A per-
son unable to clothe, feed, and
shelter his family can hardly be
expected to minimize his imme-
diate problem of universal exist-
Economic depravity is the last
of his arguments. His two points
are that a strike settlement will
be inflationary (it will be reflect-
ed in rising c o s t s of consumer
goods), and that theaentire scope
of union politics is a question of
the best of the worst, either win-
ner representing a victory for the
leviathan capitalistic forces in
the country. A strike settlement
is not intended to be inflationary,
after all, the workers are the con-
RiiVmD'Crp hi~rc emgto he at the

tions from becoming overbearing
and to eliminate severe stratifi-
cation in our society. The nobility
of the workers w h o jeopardize
their financial security is not to
be scorned.
A campus: radical who suffers
no consequences for protesting is
not the courageous reformer he
appears to be. Idealism has its
place, but when one is faced with
grave economic and political real-
ities the battle must be practical.
The workers' cause and they work-
ers' battle is just such a practical
one. Abstract romanticism must
be supplanted by concrete, pro-
gressive actions, which are politi-
cally far more beautiful.
-Andrea Simon, '72
UAW leadership
To the Editor:
LINDSAY CHANEY's editorial
concerning the UAW strike (Sept.
18) and the positive directions the
Union should take seems to be as
rMiisinformed as some of the state-
ments from the leaders of the stu-
dents-UAW workers coalition.
The UAW leadershipth a s, in
fact, demanded that the a u t o
makers build a pollution-free car.
They have, in fact, called for in-
creased safety and durability. And
the UAW, this year as well as
many bargaining years in_ the
past, has condemned General Mo-
tors and the others for their prac-
tice of increasing prices in the
name of rising costs, simply to
maintain a steady profit.
Before condemning t h e UAW
leadership for not taking positive
directions, perhaps it w o u ld do
well to consult more sources, for

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