Behind Bars

Buried Alive, But Fighting On

A Letter to Friends from Lynne Stewart

In the best-selling Steig Larsson trilogy, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, the heroine, Lisbeth Salander, a hardwired, brilliant young computer genius is shot and presumed to be dead, but is actually buried alive by the antagonist. He is a prototype of the cruel, greedy, misogynistic, exploiter. She claws herself out of her premature grave and, indomitable and focused, defeats him. Finally by the end of volume three she has triumphed—using her own brains and, relying on her friends and comrades—over the entire corrupt corporate, governmental, military power structure that had been trying to oppress and suppress her, her whole life.

Thursday, July 15, Federal Judge John Koeltl attempted to bury me alive. Acting for the Government and Judges of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, he sentenced me at their demand, to more than five times the term he originally thought “right and just.” With his new sentence, of ten years, I am buried in the Prison Industrial Complex until I am nearly 80 years old, if I make it. But, believe me, I, like Lisbeth Salander, intend to lift the dirt off and, even if weakened and wounded, regain my voice and strength!

Like Lisbeth, I too will always fight back. Justice has been my life, and upholding the Bill of Rights, my joy to defend and utilize on behalf of the People. Since I am now reduced to asking everyone’s support and help for personal problems, whether medical or designation of my prison, or other legal issues, I want everyone to know what’s expected and to have immediate connection to the people who will continue to be responsible for me and getting the word out. Along with that, I hope you will maintain contact if there is an opportunity where you live or at an event sponsored by your organization, to speak out about my current situation and highlight the injustice of increasing my sentence only to satisfy the most conservative judicial elements and feed the fear of the so-called war on terrorism.


1. Website, complete with sentencing minutes and submissions to the Court, articles, comment, letters, and upcoming events:

2. Live persons: Ralph Poynter, 917 853-9759; email: Lynne Stewart Organization:

3. Snail Mail: Lynne Stewart, #555304054, MCC NY, 150 Park Row, New York, NY 10007, or Ralph Poynter, 1020 Dean Street, Brooklyn, NY 11216

4. Email:

Medical: I still have a number of unresolved conditions-mysterious spot on my uterus to be checked (biopsy) for possible cancer, monitoring of bladder condition, a newly discovered kidney stone. My chronic problems under treatment—diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol and assorted aches and pains and annoyances of aging! The Judge directed that I stay at MCC in New York City so that my doctor will continue to be responsible for my treatment. Our daughter, Dr. Zenobia Brown, will continue to consult with him.

Prisons: The Judge also directed that I remain at MCC during the pursuit of an appeal. He also recommended to the Bureau of Prisons that I be sent for imprisonment to Danbury FCI in Connecticut, about two hours driving, or on MetroNorth Rail line, from New York City. Visiting conditions will be much better and I will be able to see more of my family and supporters for longer periods in more ameliorative surroundings. Of course, the Bureau of Prisons is a law unto itself and if it decides I need to go elsewhere, the Judge’s recommendation doesn’t control. There are a limited number of women’s prisons. They are in Minnesota, Florida, California, and West Virginia. There is also the Federal Prison Hospital for Women in Carswell, Texas (near Fort Worth).

The Numbers: ten years equals 120 months; 87 percent Good Time Credit for Good Behavior equals 104.4 months; Already Served, equals eight months. Totaled out, it is approximately eight years. The last six to 12 months is usually served in a halfway house (but nothing about this case has ever been usual!) The Grand Total is 84 months more to go.

Where so we go from here legally?

Court-wise, we are still making decisions about Possibilities of Appeals, Campaigns for Commutation, Clemency, etc. Keep in touch with the Web Page. There will always be issues for me. Incidentally, I mentioned at sentencing that I had volunteered to teach GED and Literacy in here, and had been turned down—BOP regulations. They have neither program, nor any education program for the women. The following Monday, a sign-up sheet was posted for ...GED and Literacy classes, a first here according to long term prisoners!!! The classes have started. You never know what can work! I was also asked how much time I could give. We’ll see.

Just as the establishment tried to finish off Lisbeth Salander by burying her alive, I too am trying to dig myself out. Give me an assist. Continue the work. That is most important to me.

Join the ongoing campaigns for Justice for the Scott sisters, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Leonard Peltier, Albert Woodfox and Herman Wallace (of The Angola Three).

Remember All the Political Prisoners. Write to them. Put a little something in their commissary.

Force the government to End the Imperialist Wars.

Fight Racism. Fight for Palestine.

Challenge the Politicians. Demand that they tell you where they stand on Me.

Resist! Resist! Resist! Resist! Resist!

My gratitude and boundless embraces for everything everyone has done.


Lynne Stewart 53504-054


150 Park Row

New York, NY 10007

July 21, 2010