Prison Officials Finally Relent to Outrage Over Dying Girl’s Last Request

The federal bureau of prisons finally relented to overwhelming public condemnation over its refusal to release a father to be with his dying daughter. People were aghast at the federal prison officials refusing a dying 10-year-old girl, Jayci Yaeger, her last wish: to spend time with her dad who is serving time for a drug offense.

Jayci is dying from brain tumors and has asked for spend some time with her Dad,

Jason. The prison officials, however, have denied requests for a 30-day release or any other accommodation under the circumstances. Mind you, Jason is in for drugs, not serial murder.

On Wednesday afternoon, prison guards drove Jason Yaeger to a Lincoln hospice, where he spent several hours at her bedside. No one else was allowed in the room except Jason Yaeger, Jayci and the escorts.

Until the case was publicized and resulted in public outcry, the prison warden denied requests for a longer furlough because he did not view as an extraordinary circumstance.

Not an extraordinary circumstance. It appears that the only thing that made it an extraordinary circumstance for the warden was not the dying girl but the press coverage.

For the latest story, click here.

16 thoughts on “Prison Officials Finally Relent to Outrage Over Dying Girl’s Last Request”

  1. jane:

    I ‘m not sure your statement correlating race with criminality helps much. Had you looked at stats from the late 1800’s regarding prisoners you would have seen a decided skewing of ethnicity towards immigrants (Irish, Italians, etc.)as they too were stigmatized by the criminal justice system due to their poverty and the squalor of their living conditions.

    Also your supposition that felons cannot vote only holds true in three states. Some southern states, like Florida, enacted these laws in the late 1880’s to insure that freed slaves could not vote and thus dilute white power structures. Seems that trend is continuing today among our most reactionary of Republicans. Most states have passed laws permitting ex-felons to conditionally participate in our democratic process reasoning, as perhaps you may not, that they have paid their debt to society and should at least be invited back into that society if they are willing. Only three states adopt the quaint notion of lifetime bans, and remarkably they are still in the Old Red South: Virgina, Kentucky, and of course, Florida.

    I am not sure if I read your comment as supporting or opposing programs to permit felons to have the vote. If you are in oppositon and if you would like to learn more, here is an article from 2005 in the Boston Globe setting out most of the facts:

    Also, welcome to our little forum if you have not posted before. You will find two things true here if you have not already done so. First, most posters are quite respectful of opposing viewpoints with some limited exceptions. Second, you had better have support for your arguments because the group is bright and articulate, with my postings perhaps being the exception.

  2. Thank goodness Jayci got to see her dad before she passed away. Perhaps then she was at peace.

    Regarding the speculation of stupid laws becoming felonies, imo that answer seems obvious: felons cannot vote. A few weeks ago I read in the paper that 1 in 9 African American males, between 19-24 (perhaps 18) has been incarcerated.

  3. Jill, I completely agree with yours and Mr. Scahill’s assessment. Look how high gas and oil prices have risen since this insane war began!

    As far as I’m concerned, the military industrial complex is just as bad for a civil and peaceful society as the prison industrial complex is. It’s all for the PROFIT of certain groups of people. And the rest of us — average citizens — are paying a terrible price.

  4. Hi Susan,

    Thanks for your kind words and explanation. I will try to find this book. I agree that the profit motive is a major factor in the number and conditons of our prisons.

    Jeremy Scahill writes about this same dynamic taking place with the war (i mean, peace keeping industry) contractors. He believes cheney-bush and friends have set up the conditions for perpetual war to profit the contract companies.

    In both cases, these companies are a danger to civil society.

  5. Hi Jill, sorry you haven’t been feeling well lately, but your posts haven’t suffered at all, from what I’ve read. They look pretty coherent to me. Hope you’re feeling better now. 🙂

    You asked what my explanation is for the number of people law enforcement is putting into prison. One of the reasons is that the building of prisons has become a business. Last year, I picked up a book that the corrections industry probably wish had never been written, called THE REAL WAR ON CRIME, THE REPORT OF THE NATIONAL CRIMINAL JUSTICE COMMISSION, Stephen R. Donziger, Editor. It was a real eye-opener, and painted a very grim picture. It may be out of print now, I happened to pick it up at my local used book store.

    Here’s a quote from Chapter Two, “Prisons,” on page 31:

    “Since 1980, the United States has engaged in the largest and most frenetic correctional buildup of any country in the history of the world. During this time the number of Americans imprisoned has tripled to 1.5 million. About 50 million criminal records–enough to cover nearly one-fifth of the entire U.S. population–are stuffed into police files. Hundreds of billions of dollars have poured from taxpayers’ checking accounts into penal institutions and the businesses that service them. Several million have come to depend on the criminal justice system for employment.” [End quote]

    There’s a lot more in that chapter and in the whole book that is not only very disturbing but rather frightening, given JT’s column not too long ago regarding more victimless things being made into “crimes” over the last few years.

    Why would law enforcement find it necessary to resort to such absurd measures at all? When you take into account that it takes a huge number of prisonERS for the prison industry to survive and even worse, to make a PROFIT (a large number of prisons have been taken over by private corporations), you have the simple and very chilling reason.

    Now I’m sure some of the neo-con representatives are going to say I’m being an “alarmist,” or something equally ridiculous. That’s their standard “M.O.,” to discredit and even ridicule opponents who write or speak uncomfortable facts publicly. Let THEM read the same book I did, and maybe they will finally see that they too could one day become part of this obscene business…as prison inmates. It certainly isn’t a business I want to be a part of, either as an employee OR an inmate!

  6. Susan & Jill:

    If that warden does not let Jason attend little Jayci’s funeral, I will drop to my knees every night whether I believe or not and fervently pray that I get to be the heavenly gatekeeper on the day that warden applies for admission. I will extend the same magnanimity.

  7. This is off this topic but applicable to many other posts and something I think many would “enjoy”. It has to do with the cheney-bush sorcery/counterinsorcery plans. The book is called: The Men Who Stare at Goats by Jon Ronson. It is hysterically funny and equally distrubing. It also examines the origin of the so called “subleathal” weapons we see used, often against our civilian population as well as in a military context.

  8. Susan,

    I apologize for not having the most coherent postings of late. There has been a wheatball filled with nails with my name on it and I haven’t been feeling very well. I’ve been looking at the bush doctrine of counterinsorcery but so far that hasn’t worked. Maybe I’ll get an update in 6 months.

    I am sorry to hear of the young girl’s death. The warden can be very proud of his actions.

    Like you, I worry/wonder about the number of people we put in prison. What is your explanation for this?

  9. Jill, I couldn’t agree more. I know there are those who say that people who break the law deserve whatever harsh and even worse treatment they get. To that pro-punishment attitude, I say really, and what if YOU were the person in the jail or prison for having broken a very minor law, one which was completely NON-VIOLENT and had caused NO harm or injury to anyone?

    I don’t accept the argument that even those who are accused or convicted of violent crimes deserve to be tortured, either physically or mentally, by prison guards or other prison staff, it just doesn’t fly. We’re supposed to be BETTER than that. We’re supposed to be a civilized society in the U.S., yet our record too often falls far short of that perception, both in our past history and currently.

    JT pointed out, in his column “The Criminalization of America,” that more and more harmLESS offenses were being made into “crimes,” such as not keeping one’s lawn completely perfect, wearing too-baggy pants, and public profanity. Which is complete nonsense to me. Why are lawmakers so intent on putting MORE people into jails and prisons for what can only be described as “Mickey Mouse felonies,” I wonder? And would these so-called “criminals” deserve to be brutalized by prison guards simply because they broke some ridiculous crime statute that they probably didn’t even know existed? Of course they don’t, yet there are still some folks in charge of jails and prisons who actually believe the idiotic notion that more punishment is “better,” no matter what the offense. The cruelty and stupidity of some people truly boggles the mind.

  10. I just learned that little Jayci died early this morning. According to the news story (link below), the actual visit between father and his daughter lasted only 30 minutes. Whether it was due to a change for the worse in Jayci’s condition or terminated by prison officials is not a detail provided in this story.

    Cancer-Stricken Girl Whose Last Wish to see Inmate Dad Has Died,2933,342794,00.html

  11. Susan,

    You are right. When I read Fear Up Harsh about an army interrogator’s experience with torture in Iraqi prisions, I was struck when the author related the following: Lagouranis said that many of the military guards had been civilian guards in US prisons. These guards told him they did way worse to the prisoners back home than what they were doing to Iraqi prisoners. They had people out nearly naked in the snow in stress positions for hours on end, I believe, in PA. This is pure sadism. The absolute hatefulness and cruelty in our prisons is astounding. There is of course, an a prior moral argument against treating others that way. There is also the practical effect of brutalizing other people and sending them back into everyday life after time served.

  12. Mespo, I couldn’t agree more. And thanks for naming the source of that statement, I didn’t know who had originally said it. At least the first part. 🙂

  13. Susan:

    If I could add a corollary to Lord Acton: Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely … and makes you a mean SOB.

  14. I’d be willing to bet that if there had been no press coverage, the warden wouldn’t have budged one inch on this request, and the girl would have died without ever seeing her father. And I have often wondered why some of these prison officials are deliberately cruel to both inmates AND their families or loved ones when it is so unnecessary. The answer for me is simple; because they CAN, and because they enjoy it.

    It’s only my opinion of course, but people who deliberately enjoy being cruel to others should NEVER be put in positions of authority such as being a prison warden. They never admit their cruelty, of course, they just say they’re “strict disciplinarians.” Well, they can spin it any way they want, it’s still deliberate cruelty to me. I’m just glad that the public pressure on this case forced this warden into one small concession, which he most likely would never have made otherwise.

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