BOP Warden Senselessly Cruel to Non-Violent Inmate Grieving Death of His Sister During Holidays

According to Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) policy, a Warden is authorized to grant an emergency bereavement furlough and release non-violent inmates for 30 days or less to grieve and bury an immediate family member who has died. The most likely candidates for furloughs are non-violent inmates housed under an honor system at federal prison camps that the BOP designates as “out-custody” facilities where there are no bars, walls or barbed-wire fences to prohibit non-dangerous inmates from simply walking away into the local community.

“Although BOP furlough policy offers a compassionate and humane alternative for non-violent inmates to return home to grieve and bury a dying child, spouse, sibling or parent, many Wardens in the BOP, such as Acting Warden Christiansen at the federal prison camp in Florence, Colorado have shown themselves to be senselessly cruel and heartless to grieving inmates and their families suffering the devastating loss of a loved one,” says Lisa Stewart of A Just Cause.

On November 14, 2018, just a week before the Thanksgiving holiday, the sister of Florence camp inmate David Banks, unexpectedly passed away at the age of 56. The distraught Banks filed a furlough request with Acting Warden Christiansen to go home for only six days to grieve with his family and bury his sister on November 21st (a day before Thanksgiving). Banks’ case manager, Ms. Bond, told him that Florence Wardens, in essence, don’t respect national BOP policy for allotting up to 30 days for a bereavement furlough and have established their own policy, rarely granting bereavement furloughs and arbitrarily limiting such to 48 hours or less no matter where they are from in the country. Although Mr. Banks has been a model prisoner and satisfied BOP criteria for receiving the furlough, Acting Warden Christiansen arbitrarily denied Mr. Banks’ six-day furlough request.

The abuse did not stop there, as Inmate Banks was told he would have Bereavement minutes to talk to his family during this time, however, those minutes were not given during the entire grieving process but were added eleven days after death of his beloved sister, “says Lamont Banks,” Executive Director of A Just Cause.

“Over the years, many camp inmates have been approved for multi-day furloughs to travel unsupervised to other BOP prisons,” says Lamont Banks, Executive Director of A Just Cause and brother of David Banks. “Recently, a camp inmate at Florence was approved for a 52-hour furlough to travel unsupervised to a prison in another state, and nearly a dozen camp inmates were permitted to attend an all day job fair in Colorado Springs at the Chapel Hills Mall and walk around unsupervised,” adds Lamont Banks (AJC). “Additionally, Warden Christiansen releases unsupervised numerous camp inmates to work in the local community 40 hours per week and for all day medical appointments. So why would Christiansen, a day before the funeral, deny David, who is my blood brother, a furlough for grieve with his family and bury our sister, when national BOP policy allows 30 days?” asks Lamont Banks. “Christiansen had nothing to lose by granting the bereavement furlough, but like so many other Wardens in the BOP he gets pleasure from using his power to inflict additional pain and suffering on inmates and their families.

It is clear from Warden Christiansen’s actions, he is a dark-hearted, cruel man who is void of humanity and evil for the sake of being evil,” adds Lamont Banks.

A Just Cause believes that there are many in society who believe Mr. Banks not being able to be with his family during the death of his sister is his fault because he committed a crime. But what the public doesn’t know is that both the Colorado U.S. Attorney’s Office and a federal judge committed egregious acts of misconduct to wrongly-convict and imprison Mr. Banks and his codefendants. During a conversation with Executive Assistant to the Warden, Mr. Bacon, Lamont Banks of A Just Cause was informed that the AUSA who prosecuted the case against the IRP6, was contacted on the Furlough request submitted by inmate David Banks, and that the AUSA had a say. When asked if Warden had final say, he stated that was correct “says Banks”. In reality the AUSA Matthew Kirsch has no jurisdiction. There is no policy to this action is listed anywhere at BOP.

Irrefutable evidence of Banks’ innocence and the prosecutorial and judicial misconduct responsible for the wrongful conviction of him and his codefendants known as the IRP6 was published in a dossier by A Just Cause. The injustice of Banks and the IRP6 drew the ire of a retired federal appeals judge and prompted four members of Congress to send a letter to the DOJ concerning the dossier in November 2017. The DOJ has yet to respond to Congress or dismiss the indictment under the law as a result of outrageous government misconduct.
Dossier –
Congressional Letter to DOJ –

“I continue to experience shockwaves of grief in my heart from my sweet Wanna’s death,” says David Banks about his sister Lawanna Clark. “I needed to be there to share, support and comfort them in their grief and they in mine, even if just for six days,” adds David Banks. “I never committed a crime and lost the last six precious years with my sister simply because the Colorado U.S. Attorney and judicial officials disregarded evidence of our innocence and chose misconduct to win at any cost,” adds Banks. “Don’t take my word for it, just read the dossier and you will see the horrible things the government did not only to me but also to my sweet Wanna,” concludes David Banks.

A Just Cause will bring Florence’s abusive furlough practices, its arbitrary departure from national BOP policy and Warden Christiansen’s discriminatory actions to the attention of Congress for inquiry and/or investigation. Under the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C.A. 500-706) it is unlawful for Florence officials to set an arbitrary 48-hour limit for emergency furloughs and for Acting Warden Christiansen to act in bad faith or rely on factors which Congress has not intended it to consider in denying Mr. Banks’ furlough. “If Congress were to ask Warden Christiansen to provide them with the BOP policy or criteria underlying his decision to deny Mr. Banks’ furlough he would have no answer,” concludes Stewart. AJC will continue in its tireless efforts to help free David Banks and his codefendants, Clinton Stewart, David Zirpolo and Demetrius Harper