Walter Bond set fire to the Sheepskin Factory in Colorado in the name of the Animal Liberation Front, and was sentenced to five years in prison. He is awaiting trial for two other arsons, in Utah, and is being held in solitary confinement: locked down for 23 hours a day during the week, and 24 hours a day on Saturday and Sunday.
In a letter to his prison support group, he said that he has been in transit and “They wouldn’t put me in general population because they say I’m part of a government security threat group.”
In addition, Bond reports that when he has been transported between prisons and holding facilities, guards have used what are called “black boxes”: devices intended for the most dangerous prisoners that go over their handcuffs, to prevent attacks.To be clear, these conditions are not unique. I have spoken with other animal rights and environmental activists who have reported similar treatment, including black boxes, solitary confinement, and prison officials telling them that they are “security threats.”
This isn’t because these prisoners pose a risk to guards, or other prisoners. In fact, while Bonds crimes were certainly serious, no crime by the Animal Liberation Front has ever harmed a single human being. And no one has alleged that he poses a violent threat to those around him.
The reason for this treatment is the government’s classification of the ALF and ELF as “domestic terrorist organizations.” For example, when Bond was sentenced the FBI issued a press release that said: “Preventing and pursuing domestic terrorism—those acts of violence committed in furtherance of a political or social agenda—remains one of the top priorities of the FBI.”
And it’s important to note, too, that these conditions are not unique to animal rights activists. For more information about the human rights concerns of solitary confinement for all prisoners, please visit Jim Ridgeway’s website, Solitary Watch.
Bond’s birthday is April 16th. If you’d like to write him a letter, visit www.supportwalter.org.
UPDATE: His temporary address is:
Nevada Southern Detention Center
2190 E Mesquite Ave
Pahrump NV 89060