The ongoing good deed called Brothers Behind Bars, which is retired Sons of Silence patch holder Iron Mike Davis’ free newsletter for incarcerated bikers, has been banned in at least two federal prisons.
Terry O’Brien, the warden at United States Penitentiary – Hazelton in Bruceton Mills, West Virginia began banning the newsletter in April. B.R. Jett, the Nurse Ratched and warden at the Federal Medical Center in Rochester, Minnesota began banning the publication in June.
The newsletter was banned from Australian prisons last year. At the time Iron Mike told The Aging Rebel, “Something I’ve said for years: ‘Australia today, Canada tomorrow, and the U.S.A. the day after.’ I truly believe countries like Canada, Germany, U.S.A., and others are watching and seeing what works in Australia to outlaw motorcycle clubs – starting with the 1%er ones.”
Brothers Behind Bars frequently features content first published on this page. The books The Aging Rebel: Dispatches From The Motorcycle Outlaw Frontier and Out Bad, both by the author of this page, have been banned in multiple state prison systems – most recently Texas.
The Dangerous Words
Brothers Behind Bars is markedly non-partisan. The most recent issue was distributed to 365 prisoners representing 73 motorcycle clubs. The newsletter is funded by contributions from numerous motorcycle clubs members and supporters including Aid for Injured Motorcyclists, National Coalition of Motorcyclists, In Country Vietnam MC Nation, Soldiers For Jesus MC Nation, Outlaws MC Nation, Pagan’s MC Nation, Vagos MC Nation and Devil Diciples MC Nation.
The editorial content of the July issue begins “In memory of Hells Angel Brian from California who passed away on June 19th (see article)… R.I.P. Brian…In memory of Forsaken Few Chuck “Buffalo” Perry, a 30 year member who passed away on June 26th… R.I.P. Buffalo… Welcome Hells Angel Chris to the NCOM Brothers Behind Bars Newsletter Mailing List… Special Thanks goes to Mongol Deano who is currently at El Dorado Corr Fac Kansas for his $ 30.00 donation to this newsletter…”
The Song And Dance
Under case law, a publication can be banned if a “valid, rational connection between the prison regulation and the legitimate governmental interest put forward to justify it” can be asserted. The allegedly inflammatory sentiments above are forbidden under Bureau of Prisons’ Program Statement 5266.10 which asserts that a “Warden may reject a publication if it is determined detrimental to the security, good order, or discipline of the institution or it may facilitate criminal activity.”
In banning the newsletter Warden Jett stated that Brothers Behind Bars “depicts gang information which has been determined detrimental to the security, good order, or discipline of the institution or it may facilitate criminal activity.”
Warden O’Brien believes that reading about the passing of Hells Angel Brian Brewer, for example, and joining in his respectful remembrance “can effect the orderly running and safety of the institution which could lead to harm and serious injury to others, would result in major disturbance or serious property damage.”
Let a thousand flowers bloom.