2012 at DeafInPrison.com

By BitcoDavid

Although our brief hiatus for the holidays isn’t officially over until Wednesday, I wanted to get this post up before the end of the year. I would like to begin by wishing all our contributors, guest posters, readers and commentators the happiest of holidays. 2012 was a great year for us, and I truly hope that 2013 proves to be orders of magnitude better, not just for us, but for all of youyou who have made DeafInPrison.com possible.

DeafInPrison.com was founded in December of 2011 by our Publisher, Joanne Greenberg. It was at the behest of one of our contributors – Dr. McCay Vernon – after he was moved by the Felix Garcia story. I became Editor and Administrator in January of 2012. We spent about 2 months developing the format and launched on March 4th.

Solitary Confinement by Stan MoodyImage: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2011/12/03/18701671.php

Solitary Confinement by Stan Moody
Image: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2011/12/03/18701671.php

During the past 9 months we’ve covered a number of subjects including Deaf culture, Deaf education, the School to Prison Pipeline, prison health care, the mentally ill in prison, prison rape and sexual abuse, overcrowding in our prisons and the War on Drugs.  We’ve managed to bring together some excellent minds as contributors and guest columnists, and enjoyed over 700 comments.

We’ve peppered these great articles with some truly wonderful artwork. Artwork which – speaking as a content creator – is a source of pride for me. We’ve undergone a number of upgrades and format changes since our launch. First and foremost, our ability to embed videos. This feature allowed us to bring you the entire Felix Garcia Interview. And since we weren’t dependent on a hosting site, we could insert those videos fully captioned. I caption my videos manually. That guarantees an error free and accurate representation of what’s being said. Sadly, I have seen other captioned videos – those that rely on autocaptioning software – that look like the mess you get when you let your cell phone autocorrect your text messages.

Our ability to embed videos, in fact, was what gave Jim Ridgeway the confidence to allow us access to the Felix videos, in the first place. An action that resulted in my deepest gratitude and indebtedness to him. He was quite reticent to put these videos up on YouTube, where they would have been unprotected and vulnerable to abuse.

Felix and me 10/28/2012 Image Courtesy of Pat Bliss

Felix and me 10/28/2012
Image Courtesy of Pat Bliss

And DeafinPrison.com has done a lot more for Felix’s all important cause, than simply putting up a few videos. Our contributor, Pat Bliss, has been working tirelessly – for several years now – to obtain Felix’s well deserved freedom. She visits him as often as possible, and corresponds with him constantly. (He calls her Mom.) She has become the go to expert on the case, and has written about it extensively on DeafInPrison.com.

We created a petition site at http://www.thepetitionsite.com/453/783/026/felix-garcia-should-be-granted-a-full-pardon/ and we plan to deliver those signatures to the Governor and several cabinet members in Florida. Unfortunately, over the past few weeks, we haven’t been getting the attention to this petition that it requires. Felix’s clemency hearings are going on now . We need 700 more signatures before we can present this, and we want it to work in conjunction with the hearings.

Please! Please! If you haven’t signed this petition, do so now. And please share it to all your friends.

Felix has already served more time than many guilty people serve for similar crimes – and he’s innocent. He deserves justice.

juvenile girl in prison PBSNewsHour/YouTube Photo by Richard Ross

juvenile girl in prison PBSNewsHour/YouTube Photo by Richard Ross

Other upgrades have included the ability to embed non-video media, such as PDFs and Excel files, and our awesome sidebars – another source of pride for me. Through our sidebars, we’ve been able to provide you with bleeding edge coverage of the latest posts by a host of Web sites and Blogs. Our sidebars are an ever expanding source of additional information and interactive content, and a good percentage of my work on the site is in maintaining and adding to them. I hope you find them useful and enjoyable, and moreover, I hope you will gain a greater appreciation for them as they grow.

We’ve also begun adding interactive tag links to all our stories, as well as related content links to the bottom of each post.

During this first 9 months, we’ve made some wonderful contacts and partnerships. I would like to extend my gratitude to each of them, and extend the hand of friendship to all others who would like to be a part of the DeafInPrison.com experience. Here’s the honor roll:

Human’s in Shadow, National Assn. of the Deaf, Glenn Langohr, Jim Ridgeway, Mad Mike’s America, Charlie Swinbourne, Shanna Groves , PrisonMovement’s Weblog , Marsha Graham, DeafRead.com, CrimeDime, Talila Lewis and HEARD, Diane Lane Chambers, ImageWorksLLC, Maria Dollhopf, Cynthia Dixon, Prison Enquirer, Curi56 and Thousand Kites.

I hope I got everybody, but if I missed you, please accept my apology and feel free to backlink to yourself in a comment. A lot of you have multiple sites, and I, obviously can only create one link per name. You can also backlink to one of your other sites.

Randy Garber Blue Jay Blues. Image courtesy of Jean F. Andrews.

Randy Garber Blue Jay Blues. Image courtesy of Jean F. Andrews.

Now, on to the Stats:

We received 31,000 views in 2012. We created 240 posts and uploaded 493 pictures. Our busiest day was October 25th with 451 views. Our most popular piece that day was Angela McCaskill Speaks Out. That piece was our fourth most popular of all time, with the first three installments of the Felix Garcia Interviews edging it out for the #1,2 and 3 slots.

Our top 5 referrers were FaceBook, Networked Blogs, WordPress, Blog Catalog and DeafRead. We had views from 84 countries.  Our videos – 16 of them, altogether – received 1897 views. We got 778 comments.

I’ve been involved with the Blogosphere and Citizen Journalism since it first started back in the ’90s, and everybody has always told me it takes at least a year to get a site off the ground. Based on that, I have to say DeafInPrison.com is doing exceptionally well. I’m proud of our success, but I’m looking to 2013 to make this past year, pale by comparison. Remember, we’re only 9 months old. That’s still infancy – at least in dog-years.

Now, I don't really get why somebody would want this painted over, but... http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/09/14/tribute-to-graffiti-50-beautiful-graffiti-artworks/

Now, I don’t really get why somebody would want this painted over, but…
http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/09/14/tribute-to-graffiti-50-beautiful-graffiti-artworks/

Here’s some of where I see us going. I could die and go to Heaven, if Felix got full clemency, and was finally released. Perhaps we could convince him to share some of his experiences with us, as a contributor or guest blogger. I want to see us at least double - if not triple our posting for this coming year. I also want to add more videos and more non-video embedded media. I want to see our side bars grow further, packed with more interactive attractions. I want more input from our existing contributors, and I would like to bring as many more on board, as possible. I also want to see more guest posts – and of course, I would love the opportunity to guest post on your blog. Shoot me a line or comment if you think that might be something you’d be interested in.

Again, thank you all for being a part of the DeafInPrison.com project and here’s to wishing you all a happy and prosperous 2013.

English: Visitors entrance to the Utah State P...

Visitors entrance to the Utah State Prison in Draper, Utah. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

The Complete Felix Garcia Interview by Links

By BitcoDavid

Video editor in digital linear suite. 2002.

Video editor in digital linear suite. 2002. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve received some requests to reintegrate all the Felix videos back into one single interview. The result of that would be a 2 hour long piece. In my experience as a video editor, I’ve come to realize that most people can’t endure watching a 2 hour video.

However, in the name of continuity, I have chosen to provide links to all the videos, in sequence. That way, those of you who haven’t seen the whole thing, will be able to do so – without having to search the whole site. I will also include these links in one of our sidebars, so you will always be able to quickly access them.

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4
Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8

This series represents a massive effort on the parts of all concerned. The Initial interview involved travel to Florida for Pat Bliss and Jim Ridgeway. They were only allowed one hour per month with Felix, so they did the first hour on the last day of one month, and the 2nd hour on the 1st day of the following month. Felix himself was having trouble getting his hearing aids repaired, and getting issued fitting clothes, and was only ready mere moments before the scheduled time.

English: A download symbol.

A download symbol. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Our interpreter had to download the files from my private server, because they were too large to e-mail. She would then watch them and record an audio track with her interpretation. Finally, she would upload that file back up onto my server.

Then, I’d take the file, make it into a stereo mix, and sync it to the original audio track. Then I had to add a separate video track, and manually type in the captions. Autocaptioning software is too inaccurate.  And where most Autocaption applications work with one audio track, I was working with 4.

The finished files were over 5 Gb in size. I’d re-render them down to 50Mb, and upload them to the site.

The only actual editing of the original interview is at the end of the 8th segment. Here, Mr. Ridgeway gives Felix his personal contact info, and you can see why we needed to cut that out. Other than that, this is the interview in its entirety.

Again, these videos are the private copyrighted property of Jim Ridgeway and cannot be copied, duplicated, embedded or shared. You are however, welcome – and in fact, encouraged – to share links to DeafInPrison.com. We want as many people as possible to see this powerful and moving interview.

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

Deaf Awareness Week – Day 6, Felix Interview Section 7

Image courtesy of Pat Bliss

I’m glad to be able to finally bring you the 7th installment in our series with Felix Garcia, in prison, and being interviewed by Jim Ridgeway and Pat Bliss. As always, this intellectual property is under the explicit copyright of Jim Ridgeway and cannot be shared, downloaded or reblogged, but you are by all means, encouraged to share the link.

Producing these videos represents a tremendous amount of work, by all concerned, and it is for that reason that they take so long for us to make available to you.

In keeping with Deaf Awareness Week, and the fact that Yesterday, September 28th was Felix’s 51st birthday – his 30th behind bars, I would be deeply grateful if you would take just a moment to sign our petition, after viewing this moving and informative video.

http://deafinprison.wordpress.com/2012/09/28/deaf-awareness-week-day-5-happy-birthday-felix/

Links to the petition also can be found in both sidebars, and here’s a link to the actual petition site page.

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/453/783/026/felix-garcia-should-be-granted-a-full-pardon/

So, without further ado, here’s Felix #7:

Finally! Felix #6 is Up!

Here’s the 6th installment in our interview series with Felix Garcia, in prison. Copyright Jim Ridgeway, Interviewers Jim Ridgeway and Pat Bliss, Tech and captions, Me :), and our awesome wonderful interpreter still opts for confidentiality – but I’m working on her. We’ll make a rock star of her yet.

So, enjoy – here’s Felix Garcia Interview Part 6.

Solitary Confinement is Used as Torture – From AlterNet

As pertains to the Deaf, even incarceration within a general population environment can be likened to solitary confinement. In many cases, the inmate may be the sole Deaf occupant of the facility. In such cases, he will have no one to communicate with, and will in essence be in solitary confinement. However, this article refers to so called control unitsSupermax prisons and the other more traditional definitions of solitary confinement.

Perhaps the most notorious case of all is that of the  Angola 3 , three Black Panthers who have been held in solitary confinement in Louisiana for more than 100 years between the three of them. While Robert King was released after 29 years in solitary, his comrades – Albert Woodfox and Herman Wallace – recently began their 40th years in solitary confinement, despite an ongoing lawsuit challenging their isolation and a growing international movement for their freedom that has been supported by Amnesty International.

This story came from AlterNet. It discusses not only the horrors of unending solitary confinement, but also the inequity with which it is meted out.

But while broad patterns can be discerned, these are the numbers that are missing: How many of those in solitary confinement are Black? How many are self-taught lawyers, educators or political activists? How many initiated hunger strikes, which have long been anathema to the prison administration? How many were caught up in the FBI-organized dragnet that hauled thousands of community leaders, activists and thinkers into the maws of the U.S. “justice” system during the Black liberation movement of the 1960s and 1970s?

http://www.alternet.org/civil-liberties/solitary-confinement-used-torture-chambers-black-dissidents?akid=9250.79351.Xb2r6B&rd=1&src=newsletter697066&t=12

Human Rights Watch estimated that there were approximately 20,000 prisoners being held in Supermax prisons, which are entire facilities dedicated to solitary confinement or near-solitary. It is estimated that at least 80,000 men, women and even children are being held in solitary confinement on any given day in U.S. jails and prisons.

Reading this article, I was stunned by the time spans they discuss. The thought of being completely alone, in the dark, and deprived of any form of aesthesis for even a period of a few days is terrifying. Imagine being locked up like that for 40 years.

The following links are already embedded in both the original AlterNet article, and in this post, but I felt the need to add them anyway.

http://solitarywatch.com/2012/02/01/how-many-prisoners-are-in-solitary-confinement-in-the-united-states/

http://www.hrw.org/reports/2000/supermax/Sprmx002.htm#P40_391

http://blog.amnestyusa.org/iar/louisianas-angola-3-100-years-of-solitude/

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