Marion Brothers

Marion Brothers

Monday, July 1, 2019

Kenneth Foster Dragged to Texas Death Chamber

Kenneth Foster Lives
On August 30, 2007, Texas Governor Rick Perry commuted the death sentence of Kenneth Foster, Jr. following a sustained grassroots campaign led by Kenneth's family and anti-death penalty activists from Texas and across the country. 




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Stiles Unit
3060 FM 3514
Beaumont, TX 77705

Friday, May 17, 2019


Thomas Silverstein (February 4, 1952 – May 11, 2019)


Buried Alive


Thomas Silverstein entered the federal prison system in 1975 after he was convicted of three bank robberies that he pulled with his father and his uncle. He was 19 years old.


By age 23, Silverstein came to the dim realization that his life was over.


“I was 23 when I was sentenced to 15 years for that robbery,” Silverstein wrote in his declaration. “My share of the proceeds was a few hundred dollars. My life on the outside was over forever.”


Silverstein was sent to the U.S. Penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kan., where he said life was divided along racial lines, and “newcomers had to be careful not to show any weakness.” (source: “Hot House” by Pete Earley)


Racial lines? Silverstein imaged his white skin made him particularly vulnerable in a prison overwhelmingly black and brown. Did this white youngster think that he could come through the doors without being tested? Nobody was given a cakewalk through prison, white, black, or brown. Every man was required to stand on his own two feet, and no man can defend another man’s honor. To a fearful man that meant kill or be killed, Silverstein took the offensive side of his paranoia.


He killed Robert Chappelle, Nov. 22, 1981, and Raymond 'Cadillac' Smith, Sep. 27, 1982.


Excerpts from Pete Earley’s, book “Hot House”:


“I tried to tell Cadillac that I didn’t kill Chappelle, but he didn’t believe me and bragged that he was going to kill me,” Silverstein recalled. “Everyone knew what was going on and no one did anything to keep us apart. The guards wanted one of us to kill the other.”


NOTE: If everyone knew what was going on, why would anyone get between them? Every beef was personal, one on one. And sometimes the guards didn’t care who won or who lost. One warden declared if he had his way, he would arm us all, and let us kill each other off. And more times than not, white prison guards would side with white inmates.


Silverstein claimed that “the guards wanted one of us to kill the other.” This was the rules of the game. There is no concept of fairness. It’s only about who comes out alive. Maybe this was the guards’ way of killing two birds with one stone.


Why did Silverstein lie to Cadillac? It would have been more honorable to confess killing Chappelle for raping a weak white inmate. But there was an unwritten rule: Whites do not kill Blacks in prison, otherwise it would set off a race riot.


It is still a mystery how Silverstein and Clay Fountain broke out of the locked recreation cage on H-Block, with shanks, at exactly the same time, Cadillac was being escorted to the showers in handcuffs. When the attack unfolded, the guards fled. Silverstein and Fountain stabbed him 67 times and proceeded to drag his body from cell to cell, stopping in front of every black inmate’s cell, according to Ned Bailey who witnessed the assassination.


(From “Hot House”) Silverstein wrote “After I killed Smith, I lived in constant fear of reprisals. It was in this frame of mind, and believing I was in a life-threatening situation, that on October 22, 1983, I killed Officer Clutts.”


Silverstein’s fate was sealed. He dug for himself a hole that he could not get out of and would spend the next 37 years of his life in the hole, with no human contact, until he died on Saturday, May 11, 2019.


COMMENTARY: I teach young men to avoid the hellholes of prison at all cost. There is a hole so deep that they call it “the end of the line”. Silverstein started with only a 15-year sentence and buried himself with multiple life sentences


Did he have any final regrets? After all the BBC dubbed him “the most dangerous man in America”. One would imagine he would play the role of a tough guy to the end. Not so.


In an article he wrote a few years ago, Silverstein called solitary confinement "a slow constant peeling of the skin, stripping of the flesh, the nerve-wracking sound of water dripping from a leaky faucet in the still of the night while you're trying to sleep. Drip, drip, drip, the minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, constantly drip away with no end or relief in sight."


When a man rots in an isolate dungeon, his skin begins to peel off the bone, like Hiller “Red” Hayes, whom I describe in “Breaking Men’s Minds”.


Silverstein wrote an apology, published in Earley’s “Hot House”: Even writing this declaration, I feel my words of regret are inadequate to explain the remorse I feel… There is no justification for my actions.”


COMMENTARY: I believe every man can change. Silverstein confesses, before his death, that there was “no justification” for his action. But regrets remorse sometimes come too late. Nothing could change his fate.


Although the U.S. Supreme Court, the United Nations, and the Red Cross all declared that endless years of solitary confinement was “cruel and unusual punishment”, there nothing anyone could do to get Silverstein out. And no amount of remorse could redeem him. His inevitable demise would be a slow and torturously long agonizing death, like a man buried alive.

Friday, October 13, 2017


This is Utuado, Puerto Rico after the storm
Este es Utuado, Puerto Rico después de la tormenta
Utuado at
Highway 10 & PR-111

Thursday, May 25, 2017

My Fight is Over with Roger Ailes by Eddie Griffin

You may know I was very upset with Roger Ailes, if I might put it so kindly, before he died last week. Not only had he created this huge right-wing propaganda machine at FOX News, against which we had to tangle, and the fact that he used his influence and power to lord over the political arena, more egregiously he enticed pretty women into his employment to secretly exploit sexually behind closed doors and to gag and enslave them by a non-disclosure, confidentiality agreement--- meaning they were legally bound to keep silent about what happened to them in private at FOX.


I remember my FB postings about Roger Ailes and the cult of rich dirty old men, which included his friend Donald Trump. But some people chalked it off as locker room “boy” talk. Well now, the crown prince of rich dirty old men is dead, and I cannot just blasé over it without a word. But my upbringing taught me that “if you can’t say anything good about the dead, then don’t say anything at all.” I am not God and I cannot pass final judgment.


But there is something to be said, for sure, about this man who boasted to a potential prey “if you want to play with the big boys, you have to lay with the big boys.” Big Boy is now sleeping in his grave and nobody is laying with him. But the cult of dirty rich old men lives on, unabated by his death.


How did he die? That’s what I wanted to know. Did Old Roger do all these dirty things, get $45 million from FOX for going away quietly, and then make a sudden exit from this life scot free, without retribution or punishment? Then I noticed the Cause of Death was “Subdural Hematoma”. (A subdural hematoma is most often the result of a severe head injury, in fact “among the deadliest of all head injuries”. It reminds me of how close I came to death when I feel and broke my neck in May 2016)


At first report of Roger’s death, it sounded like Fake News. They say he fell on May 10, 2017. It did not make the news, until after he was pronounced dead a week ago, on May 18. What was happening during those eight days that the news did not report? And why couldn’t they save his life during that time?


Then I read the rest of my research on Subdural Hematoma--- Bleeding fills the brain area very rapidly, compressing brain tissue.


So I see, Roger fell and bashed his head and started bleeding on the brain. For eight days, his brain bled and his head swelled. Then I thought about his epitaph, written by his own hand in his 2013 book “Roger Ailes: Off Camera”. He wrote: “I’ve been prepared to face death all of my life. When it comes, I'll be fine, calm. I'll miss life, though. Especially my family.”


We miss Roger, too. My fight with Roger is over and I am calm, and even relieved that he is not lurking in the background waiting to launch another propaganda machine.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

RE: Demoted officer: Fort Worth chief’s allegations ‘grossly inaccurate’

From the Perception of a Marion Brother:

There is a reason the Marion Brothers marched to the beat of a different drummer in the 1970s. We realized that inferior leadership make tactical errors, such as the one that led to the demotion of two African-American officer who were members of the command staff.


First: Who would have foreseen when FWPD Chief Joel Fitzgerald sent Deputy Chief Abdul Pridgen and Deputy Chief Vance Keyes to dig into the situation of Ms. Craig and her daughters’ arrest that these two trusted officers would wound up being put into the hot seat? Personally, I would have trusted no one else more than these two high-ranking African-American members of the FWPD Command Staff, due to the racist allegations against Officer William Martin.


But who could have foreseen their demotion? And who would have even asked them to jeopardize their jobs?


One thing I learned, as a Marion Brother, was to study a situation before reacting to it--- hence the difference between reactionaries and revolutionaries. There are always more interacting opposing forces in a contradiction. And if we do not correctly assess those forces, we will make mistakes in practice on how best to deal with those forces. (For example, while we were studying theoretical physics, we come to understand a postulate in the Theory of Chaos, that there is Order in Disorder. In understanding that, we could find order in the midst of natural chaotic forces inside a riot to make it where we could gain control over the situation. That was the key: Gaining Control and Mastery over Competing Forces).


On the other hand, lack of foresight is the hallmark of "Inferior Leadership". Most people have no idea about gaining control of a any situation, let alone a volatile situation. At best and at most, they do the same thing, the same way, as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. did half a century ago--- march and pray--- and expect a different result. Moreover, those who scream the loudest and protest the hardest have never been to jail. Ms. Craig and her daughters have. The rest of you need to show me your scars.


This is the reason Eddie Griffin told the protest organizers that “We got this”, and why I asked them to “Stand Down”. I felt that nobody understood Fort Worth better than I, and how to resolve problems with the police department. Inferior Leadership can only shake their fist at city hall and chant, “Burn it down.” And then they criticize me for not being militant enough.


I have heard it before, from Sandra Bland’s sorority sister: “Burn it down”. My advice to the youth in Ferguson, MO after the death of Mike Brown: “You are not militant enough.” And those who were too militant got entrapped in a police-crafted terrorist sing operation, and some arrested for their angry inflammatory rhetoric. This is why I don’t listen to Inferior Leadership. They are too inexperienced not to inflict wounds upon themselves and their followers. (Look at the Willie Lynch effect in the African-American community over this controversy, as destructive as playing Russian Roulette)


When people sent their problems to us, the Marion Brothers, we took ownership. We took control of the problem. The buck stopped with us. In taking control of the problem, we took responsibility for its solution. When you take control of the problem and responsibility for its solution, there is no scapegoating. Like the time when activists on the streets wrote to The Brothers in prison about the problem of elderly people buying and eating dog food during the 1970s, because it was cheaper. We did not complain to the government. We drafted a Community Survival Plan, with the concept of Block Gardens, to feed the elderly.


We never cried about one problem. While others cried about Police Brutality, the Marion Brothers declared it nothing more than a fair fight. And getting killed in the process was part of the risk that comes with the price of admission. Otherwise, we refused to be labeled a victim, and always found a way to win the fight. We understood the Law of Forces and the Theory of Chaos and found Order within Disorder, to shift the Balance of Power to our favor. (And some of them don't even know what I'm talking about)


To my friends who protest the loudest, but have never been to jail, there is no such thing as Unfair and Police Brutality. You either survive it or you don’t. If you survive it, then it was a Fair Fight. I can only empathize with the more delicate and fragile species, and those who have been publicly humiliated like Ms. Craig and her daughters. But don’t try to tell Eddie Griffin about pain. Whatever it is, it doesn’t hurt me anymore.
I was the man they tried to freeze to death, and nothing hurt like cold. I can tell you when I heard the crunch of frost forming on my eyeballs, one blink from freezing to death with my eyes wide open in a strip cell. They pushed my threshold for pain to the point where nothing hurt me again, not even a wounded pride. I can take a punch and turn the other cheek, because I became immune to pain. NO, I will not sob for myself, nor confess my pain to anyone but God in heaven.


So, give me a break. Disagree with your peers. Don’t disagree with a season warrior who earned the stripes of a 5-star general.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

What to do about the Release of 6,000 Prisoners


WASHINGTON — The Justice Department is preparing to release roughly 6,000 inmates from federal prisons starting at the end of this month as part of an effort to ease overcrowding and roll back the harsh penalties given to nonviolent drug dealers in the 1980s and ’90s, according to federal law enforcement officials… The release will be one of the largest discharges of inmates from federal prisons in American history. It coincides with an intensifying bipartisan effort to ease the mass incarcerations that followed decades of tough sentencing for drug offenses — like dealing crack cocaine — which have taken a particularly harsh toll on minority communities.


COMMENTARY BY Eddie Griffin:


Although this is the largest discharges of inmates from federal prisons in American history, it has been a long time in coming. Since 2005, we have decried mass incarceration, because it robs our community of men and women who cannot rear a family or raise their children, leaving the burden upon grandparents, state and welfare agencies, and charities. Politicians now realize the cause of mass incarceration date back to the implementation of draconian sentencing guidelines, zero tolerance policies, and unfair criminal justice practices.


Therefore, this release will be an answer to our prayers to bring our children home, up out of captivity. While there is still remnant of the tough-on-crime regime, we realize that this move by the Obama administration will go a long ways in helping us rebuild our broken families. We want to make our family unit viable again in the decimated minority community. But, in order to do so, we must be prepared to receive them back into our community and assist them in reintegrating into society.


It is unfortunate that so many cities and states are unprepared to help these previously incarcerated persons (PIPs) make the transition back into society. We, in Texas, should be better prepared.


We began with a simple theory, which ran counter to popular notions. We believed that if PIPs were successfully reintegrated into society that we would reduce the rate of recidivism and began rebuilding our community, especially the black communities where one-in-three young black males are incarcerated, at some point in their lives. We only asked that society give our children a fair chance. Therefore, we began advocating for new legislation and fair sentencing guidelines. This resulted in the passage of the Second Chance Act and Fair Sentencing Act.


In 2006, Tarrant County created the Ex-Offender Re-entry Initiative, whose mission was:

To facilitate the collaboration of Tarrant County community groups, public health officials, treatment providers, educational institutions, legislators, human services groups, housing officials, workforce development groups, faith-based organizations, families, former inmates, victims’ advocates, law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, courts and correctional agencies to develop a planning strategy for the effective reintegration of ex-offenders, thereby reducing recidivism, supporting victims and promoting public safety in Tarrant County.


The program proved so successful that other cities, like Dallas, began to emulate it. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice Reentry and Integration Division program is based upon our prototype. Now, after much hesitation, the Federal Bureau of Prisons has created its own Reentry Program, utilizing the same model but disconnected from the state’s reentry network.


There was a major shift in the purpose of incarceration, based upon the fact that most prisoners would eventually be release. And, if a support network is not provided for them, then they would be faced with the arduous task of finding a place back into society by themselves. The only beneficiary would be the prison system. Thus, it would be the only governmental agency paid to fail. This was the paradox that caused us to look upon a successful reentry model as a viable means of reducing crime, as well as the growing prison population, and for giving us an alternative to increased levels of incarceration.


We set up priorities, based upon the basic needs of PIPs reentering society. First and foremost, an ex-offender would need a copy of their birth certificate in order to get a social security card, without which they are unemployable. These documents are also necessary in order to get a driver’s license or a state-issued identification card in Texas. This priority does not change, regardless of city or state in which a man or a woman would be released.


Other individual needs include assistance in housing, employment, food, clothing, and a variety of mental health issues. Because Texas was in the forefront of recruiting a network of support services in these areas, we were able to simplify our means of accessing these services. Most services can be accessed by simply dialing 211 in Texas. The 211 system serves as a clearinghouse for all support services in the state of Texas, including those coming through the Criminal Justice.


The only problem with the 211 infrastructure is the fact that not all service organizations are listed. This is due to a lack of collaboration and coordination, because many social service organizations still work in silos, with each trying to reinvent the wheel. Nevertheless, a newly released inmate need only dial 211 in Texas to find assistance for accessing these services, although some ex-drug offenders will be hindered in getting food stamps and housing assistance because of existing laws, not to mention the problem of restoring their voting rights.


We also had to address the lack of education issue as an obstacle to successful reentry. Therefore, we helped create GED programs and vocational training programs inside the prison and provided entrepreneurial guidance upon release. We had to remove licensure restrictions in order that some could become licensed plumbers, electricians, and barbers.


To date, this is as simple as we could make it, except for the fact that many support agencies and non-profits are not incorporated in the network. For example, in Fort Worth, Texas, the Federal Bureau of Prisons utilizes Volunteers of America, as a Residential Reentry Center, which does not appear in the state’s master 211 system under the category of Criminal Justice along with other state-registered organizations. That is because the federal government does its own thing, and the state its own thing. But the solution to this lack of connectivity is to continue building the network and trying connect all resources.


Nevertheless, there is still one major area in Mental Health that experts have not been able to adequately address, and that is former inmate suffering from the “Arrested Development Syndrome”--- which is like the Rip Van Winkle effort or Alvin Toffler’s Future Shock syndrome. It is akin to taking a quantum leap from the past into the future, which usually results in a crash with the realities of the new world. As one writer noted, some prisoners due to be released by November 1, 2015 have never used a cell phone. Some will be using computers for the first time to seek employment. And even if they used these devices in the past, they will still be confronted with many new things that they will find challenging. (Here I speak of “challenge” as a degree of cognitive retardation and a lack of social skills). This is why we look upon computer literacy as one of the basic skill in navigating through the new world. Therefore, the reentry model must also take into account re-orientation and re-socialization, as legitimate mental health issues.


Mass incarceration is also proving to be untenable. In 2007, when we demonstrated that the majority of juvenile offenders should not even be incarcerated, the state began releasing massive number of juveniles and depopulating these detention facilities, which led to an eventual reduction in adult prison facilities.

Prevention strategies in the school-to-prison pipeline reduced the juvenile prison population by more than 2,000 in 2007, and resulted in the closure of 7 or 8 facilities because the cost of incarceration per capita had risen to nearly $90,000 per year. Likewise, Restorative Justice and Restoration strategies reduced the adult prison population in Texas. Now the Federal Bureau of Prisons is reporting a reduction of 8,426 inmates for the fiscal year of 2015.

It is an economic fact that for each redeemed prisoner, the per capita cost of incarceration goes up for the others. This trend has caused states to cut back on their prison budget.


In a memorandum issued by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Prison, issued May 12, 2015, in anticipation of the immediate release of the 6,600 prisoners, to be followed by more (altogether about 30,000 inmates), the Justice Department called upon all Residential Reentry Directors to instruct their managers to work closely with community-based RRC contractors to accommodate these releases and “facilitates these offenders successful return to the community”.


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Reducing Mass Incarceration- From Theory to Practice

Mass Incarceration was a term we created as a descriptive of a process. Too many young black men were going to jail and prison, leaving behind a void in the family structure. The biggest problem was father leaving their children behind. The burden of child support falls on others, namely mothers without their men, grandparents, charities, and state agencies.


As a child’s rights advocate, it is my job to look after the survival of these children, and all other children who are neglected and abused. From a sociological point of view this means the well-being of a child, from conception to viability, until the child is able to survive in society on their own. They call these “at-risk” kids because of environmental risks and challenges that these children must overcome before they can take their place in society.


Old School Revolutionaries, who have studied the risk factors in current society, build the necessary support systems as bridges over which these children can overcome their obstacles. The ultimate objective is to provide a strong foundation for the family, which entails the survivability of the mother, her child or children, and the reclamation of the absentee father. A strong family is the building block of our society and a participant in the governing and control of that society.


With this perspective, we focus upon the Child, Mother, and Father, as the basic unit of our society. As an Old School activist, I am member of the Strong Family and Community Services team of the Morningside Children's Partnership. We are into the second year of implementation of our Cradle-to-Career Initiative.


In homes where the fathers are MIA, the family unit is Mother and Child. Their basic needs include food, clothing, shelter, healthcare, and financial assistance (in lieu of the missing potential income of the absentee father). For this purpose, we began building a support network of social services to assist and guide mothers and children in accessing these resources. This system has since grown into a statewide network, now centralized and coordinated by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission through the 211 System. The Texas 211 hotline is free and available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and provides contact information to the following catalog of services:









Legal Aid/Victims

Mental Health


Criminal Justice

Child Care/Education


In order to address the specific problems facing young black men, from youth through fatherhood, we addressed the School-to-Prison Pipeline, the Criminal Justice System, Incarceration, and Post-Incarceration.


The starting point and the ending point are one and the same: How to help young men become good fathers. For this purpose, we created a local chapter of the Fatherhood Initiative, with a wealth of information and contacts in the “Dad’s Pocket Resource Guide”. A lot of the listed resources may also be accessed through the Texas 211 System.


The head of the School-to-Prison Pipeline begins inside the public school system. By tracking students going through the AEDP (disciplinary process), we can estimate the rate of Juvenile Delinquency in the FWISD. The Texas Education Agency provides an annual report on the number of disciplinary actions taken within the school system, but daily reports can be generated whenever necessary. This helps us to identify which schools or which students need an intervention strategy.


We have also worked with the Fort Worth Police Department and the Juvenile Courts to save as many young people as possible from incarceration. As of late, we have worked diligently to prevent our young black men from being killed by the police during confrontations.


We have worked collaborative with faith-based organizations and the Texas Parole Division to successfully reintegrate ex-offenders back into society. We developed a reentry strategy that has proven so successful that the state modeled its program after it. (See Texas Department of Criminal Justice Reentry and Integration Division).