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Northampton County
Correctional Facility

ATTN: Ed Cummings, M3
666 Walnut Street
Easton, PA 18042

Computer Hacker Severely Beaten
after Criticizing Prison Conditions
Target of Campaign by U.S. Secret Service

At around 10AM Wednesday September 4th, we received a rather upbeat call from Ed. He's still feeling pretty lousy, but he did speak to his lawyer. Ken (lawyer) called Judge Panella in Northampton County and also Dan Pollanski, the District Attorney. They both agreed that there was no valid reason for Ed to have been transferred to Lehigh County maximum facility and that a transfer to a minimum security facility with good medical services should be They also concurred that Ed should not be sent back to Bucks County due to the administrative treatment he received there.

The judge spent a good 30 minutes discussing this with Ken, which is virtually unheard of. They discussed that Panella's sentencing had specifically stated that Ed was to serve all of his sentence at Bucks County, alluding to the fact that the BCCF administrators should never have transferred him. Furthermore, the judge agreed that there was no basis provided for the "protective custody" designation.

On an even more positive note, the judge and the DA were to discuss revisiting Ed's sentence with Ken. They both agreed that they had expected Ed to serve his minimum sentence and be paroled after 6 months. We will hear more about this shortly.

This could result in Ed's immediate release. A note of caution to you optimists out there: several layers of administrative b.s. are in place to assure that prisoners are not easily released (to prevent them from taking advantage of family or political ties, etc.)

So, we were feeling fairly upbeat about the whole situation... At 12:30, Ed phoned from yet another prison phone system (TeleLink). He was transferred back to Northampton County Prison. As most of you will remember, this prison was built in the 1800s and has horrible conditions including roaches and rats.

Ed is now in the infectious disease medical unit there. There is not *supposed* to be any smoking on this unit, but of course inmates do. Ed is allergic to cigarette smoke. When he was last in this facility, he was very ill with 104 fever and coughing up blood. We can imagine how difficult that type of coughing could get with Ed's jaw broken and wired shut.

The medical facility there is run by a private company who cuts costs wherever possible, including neglecting to provide prescribed medications to inmates. Ed was given a pillow, which seems like a bonus compared to the Lehigh facilities. Ed was woken up around 8am Wednesday and moved to a new cell in the infectious disease ward (he had been transferred yesterday as well). He also got to see the Lehigh Prison doctor for the first time since his release from the hospital. The doctor was concerned about continued pain Ed has in his right temple and was to call the hospital to review the xrays for possible fracture there. He was also going to prescribe a stronger painkiller for Ed (currently on Tylenol 3 with Codeine). Ed is fairly sure that he will have to start this process all over again with a doctor at Northampton County, whenever one sees him. The discharge unit at Lehigh County refused to allow Ed to take his legal paperwork with him. His lawyer has phoned the discharge unit, who is now "searching for the folders".

Ed still needs to get a soft toothbrush and a cover for his cast so he can shower -- believe it or not, he hasn't been able to shower since last THURSDAY; when they transferred him on Friday, he was in a holding cell for about 10 hours and hadn't had a chance to shower before 10AM on Saturday. You can just imagine his current condition, after losing a few pints of blood and then having surgery...

We have no assurance that they will allow him to receive the package we're sending today which includes these items. We tried getting a copy of his medical release instructions to send along with the package, but the hospital requires Ed to sign a release form before they'll provide the instructions to anyone but Ed. The prison system, including medical facilities, seem to feel no compulsion to follow the medical orders. Lehigh didn't provide him with liquified food and didn't have a mortar/pestle to grind up his medication and vitamins. Ed doesn't hold much hope that the Northampton County facilities will be any better. He also hasn't had any ice on his incisions since last night (more than 12 hours ago). If his arm swells under the cast, his circulation could be cut off.

We've also just called the Lehigh County DA's office to find out what Ed has to do to file criminal charges against the guy who beat him up (Michael Williams). Apparently, no one from the police department has asked Ed if he wants to file charges. No one took photographs of Ed's condition after the beating. Ed has to ask for a special criminal complaint form from the prison he's in. He'll do this today; he *has* to file the criminal complaint against his assailant before he can file civil complaints against Bucks County and Lehigh County prisons.

If anyone can send him a money order for $10 or $15, that would also help - he could then purchase soap, shampoo, paper, pen and stamps at the comissary. He's now at:
Northampton County Correctional Facility

ATTN: Ed Cummings, M3
666 Walnut Street
Easton, PA 18042

For the record, the Warden at this facility is:

Terrence O'Connel
voice: 610.559.4228
fax:   610.252.4082

More information on this case can be found on the following web site:

the complete here.

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