John Kiriakou

Former CIA officer John Kiriakou, who is serving a thirty-month jail sentence in the federal correctional institution in Loretto, Pennsylvania, has written another letter. In this one, he writes, “The term ‘Federal Correctional Institution’ implies that the government is in some way ‘correcting’ the behavior of prisoners here. In truth, that’s just a bad joke. Nothing is ‘corrected’ at Loretto.”

Since August of last year, Firedoglake has been publishing “Letters from Loretto,” by Kiriakou, an imprisoned whistleblower who was the first member of the CIA to publicly acknowledge that torture was official US policy under the George W. Bush administration. He was convicted in October 2012 after he pled guilty to violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act (IIPA) when he provided the name of an officer involved in the CIA’s Rendition, Detention and Interrogation (RDI) program to a reporter. He was sentenced in January 2013 of this year and reported to prison on February 28, 2013.

Firedoglake has been publishing Kiriakou’s “Letters from Loretto” since the summer of last year. In fact, the Bureau of Prisons considers copies of Kiriakou’s letters to be a danger to the Loretto prison: a threat to the “security, good order or discipline of the institution” or “to the protection of the public” or a document that “might facilitate criminal activity.”

In this latest letter, Kiriakou describes the abysmal state of education and therapy services in the prison and what prisoners really learn while they are in prison for “correction.”

“There is no therapy to help anybody with problems,” unless one is a “drug addict” near the end of a prison sentence. “Pedophiles get no psychological therapy whatsoever.” And, “The only classes offered by staff are GED prep courses and English as a Second Language (ESL) classes” for the hundreds of immigrants in the facility.

Kiriakou spends most of the letter focusing on the depraved indifference the administrators of the prison show toward the effect of pedophiles on the facility. By not helping them get therapy, scenes like this occur:

Loretto’s “Education” Department scheduled a prisoner-led class last fall called “Quantum Physics.” Nobody bothered to check whether the prisoner-teacher was qualified to teach a course on quantum physics, nor did anyone request a lesson plan. As it turned out, the gay prisoner-teacher’s only degree was from the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Clown College. The course had nothing to do with quantum physics. It was a self-help pity party for pedophiles, and it sought to help them expand their rationale of denial, with the theme from “Rocky” playing in the background all the while. The teacher began the course by chanting, “We’re homos and we’re chomos! We’re homos and we’re chomos!” (“Chomo” is short for “child molester.”) One African-American prisoner, who expected to learn something about quantum physics, got up, shouted, “This is fucked up!” and walked out. Otherwise, it was a very popular class among a certain demographic. I’m not kidding.

Kiriakou is particularly repulsed by the fact that pedophiles are able to find a “welcoming community of like-minded offenders” with whom they can “trade pictures of children.” The pictures are typically cut out of Toys R Us catalogs or Parenting Magazine. There are also photos of “young-looking 18-year-olds in G-strings that they buy from mail-order houses that cater to sex offenders in prison.” They also steal “pictures of other inmates’ children,” according to him.

Kiriakou finds the Bureau of Prisons to be entirely responsible for all of this, especially since they do nothing to “dissuade” this behavior. For example, he highlights a memo that was sent to by the prison to celebrate “United Nations’ Universal Children’s Day.” A memo prisoners received said, “Happy Children’s Day!” He believes this to be “right out of the Twilight Zone” because the prison has such a problem with pedophiles.

The drug therapy program is essentially ten hours of watching the A&E television program, “Intervention,” when it is supposed to be a 40-hour program. (“Intervention” is a show that ran for 13 seasons on non-celebrity addicts and employed voyeurism to show viewers addicts when they are most vulnerable in their lives.)

What Kiriakou does say is that he has gained some education but not the kind of education the Bureau of Prisons would take pride in providing to prisoners. He has learned “how to cook methamphetamine.” He has learned how best to steal food from a cafeteria to cook food “using only a live electrical wire and a garbage can full of water.” He has learned how to smoke “spitarettes,” which cost $10 each and are cigarettes made with chewing tobacco spit out by prison guards and dried and rolled up with toilet paper.

He concludes, “The country already is home to an increasingly large population of uneducated, untrained, unreformed, pissed-off ex-felons who are not going to just sit around hoping to win the lottery. Lacking prospects for employment, they’ll do what they do best—commit crimes.”

“For the pedophiles, they will leave prison emboldened by the fact that they spent their entire sentence among like-minded sickos without once being challenged about their perversions,” he adds.

Kiriakou has tried to convince the Bureau of Prisons to give nine months in a halfway house during the last part of his sentence. He has been unable to convince them to grant him such an arrangement.

John Kiriakou – Letter from Loretto (February 2, 2014) (Text)
*

Read the full “Letter from Loretto” from John Kiriakou: 

Hi again from the Federal Correctional Institution at Loretto, PA. The term “Federal Correctional Institution” implies that the government is in some way “correcting” the behavior of prisoners here. In truth, that’s just a bad joke. Nothing is “corrected” at Loretto. There is no therapy to help anybody with problems (except if you’re a drug addict nearing the end of your sentence. More on that in a minute.) Pedophiles get no psychological therapy whatsoever. And the only classes offered by staff are GED prep courses and English as a Second Language (ESL) classes for the 400 or so illegal aliens serving drug sentences. (After completion of their sentences, then deportaiton, knowing English will make it easier for them to reenter the US to restart their criminal enterprises.) If you already have a high school diploma, tough luck.

Here’s how things work. We all get good conduct time, a maximum of 47 days off our sentences for every year of incarceration. (Congress mandated 52 days a year, but the Bureau of Prisons told Congress to go screw itself.) The only incentive to behave properly is a negative one: so you don’t lose your good time. You get no tangible benefit from taking any classes taught by prisoners: Creative Writing, Introduction to SPanish, and Movie Westerns, to name a few. The only way to actually collect your good time is to either get your GED, or be working on it, and to not get into trouble.

Everybody with a drug case wants to get into the drug program. If you’re accepted, and you had no violence or firearms in your case, you’re sent to the nearest prison that hosts the program, and you must complete 500 hours of classroom work. IF you complete the coursework, you can get up to one year off your sentence. The pre-course drug class is supposed to be 40 hours. It’s actually about 10 hours and is comprised only of watching episodes of the A&E show “Intervention.” If you’re a drug addict and you come to prison, you have to get off drugs cold turkey, then wait until you near the end of your sentence to finally get into the drug program. That means you could wait 5, 10, even as long as 30 years before you get any drug counseling at all.

Loretto’s “Education” Department scheduled a prisoner-led class last fall called “Quantum Physics.” Nobody bothered to check whether the prisoner-teacher was qualified to teach a course on quantum physics, nor did anyone request a lesson plan. As it turned out, the gay prisoner-teacher’s only degree was from the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Clown College. The course had nothing to do with quantum physics. It was a self-help pity party for pedophiles, and it sought to help them expand their rationale of denial, with the theme from “Rocky” playing in the background all the while. The teacher began the course by chanting, “We’re homos and we’re chomos! We’re homos and we’re chomos!” (“Chomo” is short for “child molester.”) One African-American prisoner, who expected to learn something about quantum physics, got up, shouted, “This is fucked up!” and walked out. Otherwise, it was a very popular class among a certain demographic. I’m not kidding.

Even more worrisome is the situation with pedophiles in general. Despite a recent Congressional Research Service report to the contrary, there is no treatment whatsoever for pedophiles and child molesters. Nothing. Indeed, these perverts find a welcoming community of like-minded offenders in prison, like we saw in the quantum physics class. They also trade pictures of children that they cut out of the Toys R Us catalogue or Parenting Magazine, photos of young-looking 18-year-olds in G-strings that they buy from mail-order houses that cater to sex offenders in prison and even pictures of other inmates’ children, stolen, of course.

Pedophiles move in packs in prison. They sit together in the cafeteria, they take prisoner-led classes together, they watch movies together, and they congregate in large groups in the library and the chapel, all protesting their innocence and complaining that they’re misunderstood.

My friend, cellmate and former colleague, “Dave,” and I took a prisoner-led Introductory Spanish course a few months ago. We quit after three sessions because the class was nothing more than a coffee klatch for pedophiles. After one asked, “How do you say in Spanish, ‘Do you want some candy?’” We walked out and never went back.

The Bureau of Prisons doesn’t do anything to dissuade pedophiles. Indeed, in an event right out of the Twilight Zone, the warden sent a memo to all inmates, “Please join FCI Loretto and the Bureau of Prisons as we celebrate the United Nations’ Universal Children’s Day.” The memo, announcing, “Happy Children’s Day!” said, “Our Children’s Day celebration will be held on the weekend of November 20-December 1, 2013. Materials will be available for each family with visiting children ages three to ten. I attach a copy of the Children’s Day flyer in case you can’t believe something like this could actually happen.

So we have a facility where pedophiles and pederasts are warehoused, where they get no therapy or medication for their perversion, where they spend all their time together exchanging tricks of the trade, and where the warden gives them advance warning of a children’s event so they can schedule their own visits and be in the presence of young children from 8:30 am to 2:15 pm over two days. You may recall from my third Letter from Loretto that a prison guard had to move my entire family during a visit because a pederast attorney from Philadelphia was leering at my 9-year-old son. I’ll say it again: If pedophiles must stay more than 1000 feet from a school on the outside, why are they allowed within three feet of my children in the visitors room?

Even though I haven’t been able to take (or at least complete) any classes since I got to prison, I have learned a lot. Among the things one can learn are how to cook methamphetamine; how to smuggle drugs across international borders without getting caught; how to steal food from the cafeteria and then cook an entire meal using only a live electrical wire and a garbage can full of water; how to make contraband cigarettes using chewing tobacco spat out by prison guards, dried and rolled with toilet paper (they’re called “spitarettes” and they’re $10 each); how to self-medicate using home remedies and over-the-counter concoctions in lieu of real medical care; how to set up a Ponzi scheme; and how to defraud mortgage companies and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (another prisoner-led class).

So at the end of the day, I guess I have been educated in prison. Maybe I have been corrected. I’m confident now that I’m ready to re-enter civilized society.

Seriously, though, this lack of counseling, rehabilitation and educational and training opportunities for prisoners is a long-term problem for society. The country already is home to an increasingly large population of uneducated, untrained, unreformed, pissed-off ex-felons who are not going to just sit around hoping to win the lottery. Lacking prospects for employment, they’ll do what they do best—commit crimes. For the pedophiles, they will leave prison emboldened by the fact that they spent their entire sentence among like-minded sickos without once being challenged about their perversions. The BOP needs to get on the ball.

To learn more about my case, please go to www.defendjohnk.com. Until next time.

Yours,
John

Creative Commons-licensed Photo from Truthout.org