First Letter from Nick Sand

Nick Sand 35287-136
F.C.I. Terminal Island
Box 3007
San Pedro, CA 90731

April 1999

Beloved Friends,

After 2½ years of being bounced from one temple to another (10 in all) I am finally able to begin to settle in for awhile at the above address. I was extradited by Minister's Order from Canada in May of '98. It was a complicated negotiation between the Crown, Ottawa, Washington and San Francisco via the international assistance group. This effectively (hopefully) will credit almost all the Canadian time on the U.S. sentence.

When I arrived in San Francisco I was placed in the county jail, a real hell, with many sick people puking and detoxing all around me, and an incredible noise level, with demonic needlessly rude guards screeching and threatening and sometimes beating up their prisoners. Air circulation was almost non-existent, the food bad, exercise in the gym once every two or three weeks. The DEA is apparently quite angry with me and wanted to file new charges and were quite chagrined to find that because they were so hasty in filing extradition papers on my old charges that they were limited to these charges alone. This was the Sunshine Acid conviction from '74 based on actions in the winter of '68-'69 (a sentence of 15 years) and the subsequent bail-jumping charges. Nevertheless, they tried, and assigned a fulltime DEA agent to the prosecutor to help wring every bit of acrimony and time out of this situation for me. They even revived the old hanging judge who originally gave me that extremely severe sentence 25 years ago. True to form he sentenced me to 5 years consecutive on the bail I jumped to avoid his draconian sentence.

But, in comparison to the insane laws that they have passed since then what I received was a kiss. There are LSD dealers in here who are serving life sentences without possibility of parole. Insane! Especially since all the false propaganda put out by NIMH 30 years ago and other fabrications about LSD have all proven to be absolutely false with no basis in fact. LSD turns out to be the least toxic substance per dose with no side effects short or long term that are harmful in any way. And totally non-addictive.

So I'm still alive and kicking and thanks to a lot of help from many people I have been sent to this old overcrowded prison in Southern California. Timothy Leary was here as well as many people from the brotherhoods of light and even some old girlfriends when it was co-ed or all women.

After my conviction for bail-jumping I was sent to Dublin detention center, which was quite nice relatively speaking, in the San Francisco East Bay area, and was held there for 5 months pending a probation report and sentencing. The total sentence is 20 years, of which I will probably have to serve another 7 or 8 unless I get action on appeals and writs, which is possible but not without extensive expenditure and research to see if the issues will fly and even then the odds are in the 10% - 30% range depending on whether you listen to the optimists or the pessimists. I may need more letters of reference.

I left from Dublin in the middle of February and was put on a Bureau of Prisons bus heading south thru hills and mist and cherry blossoms emerging from night as dawn arrived. Quite beautiful, especially after being locked down inside for 2½ years! They lock you in cages built in the bus while you are shackled (feet), belly-chained and handcuffed to the chain. While you are trussed up like this they guard you with loaded shotguns and automatic weapons. Everyone on the bus was there for drugs, not violence. After two days of no sleep I arrived exhausted and was put into a dormitory which serves as the intake unit and also post-punishment unit. This is a bewildering mixture of thieves, newcomers, pirates, cutthroats and innocents who quickly lose their innocence. Fortunately I speak Spanish. This place's population is about 65% Latino.

It was wonderful to be able to walk freely outside and see the ocean and sky and clouds after all this time. This lasted about 24 hours and I was peremptorily arrested and thrown in the "hole", to my astonishment. The charge was "reclassification", which no-one could explain. I was rather chagrined to be back in jail so soon after 2½ years of lockdown. Accordingly I wrote to the warden complaining that I had been in jail, had worked for the warden in another prison and library, etc., with nothing but praise for my work and why I thought that this further jailing was quite unfair. Lo and behold the very next morning the warden himself appears at my door, and looking thru that cute little door in the door thru which they feed and handcuff you, inquires what I did to piss off the prosecutor, hinting that the prosecutor had been fiddling with my record and had frightened his staff. We chatted for a few minutes and he said I should not be in the hole and that he would get me out. I was later told that he was pissed off that I had been thrown in there. The Bureau of Prisons like to run things their way. Happily I was released the next morning, back into the den of thieves.

I lost a few items and then I figured out how to get into "B" unit of 4-men cubicles which is much more restful. My bed has a view of the water and the ships and the sky. I am in with an old Black Panther who remembers the old days when the color bars and prejudice dropped away and sunshine shone everywhere. There are a significant number of very intelligent people here in this population of 1200, maybe 50 - 100, and 20 people who are high and spiritual and one who is actually awake. These people are very supportive and have been helping me integrate into the opportunities here.

For myself, I alternate between exhaustion and joy. I walk miles and miles everyday, get sunburned (in March!), and slowly and painfully get accustomed to what seems like relative freedom. I can walk around a lot and see herons and seals and otters and stars and the moon again, and it's very beautiful. There is a sweat lodge here and I did my first one here in the U.S. I have signed up for Kabbalah studies, Siddha Yoga, Hare Krishna meditation and inner healing groups which are like little islands of sanity in here. I do a lot of yoga and meditation but the new job they gave me is rather restrictive as I am locked into the laundry most of the day and I can't do my usual 2½ hours of yoga so I've been taking it very easy for awhile as I phase in and look for nourishing niches.

In Canada I had been writing everyday and completed a 600-page book which I hope will become a foundation stone in this area of study. Here it is more difficult with so much overcrowding. There is virtually no quiet flat place upon which to write. I am looking to get into a 2-man cell with desk which here is a major luxury even if they are tiny. The weather, however, is ideal, being sunny and warm with a cool breeze off the ocean most of the year. Southern California! So while indoor facilities are quite limited this is greatly offset by being able to spend so much time outdoors. After so much confinement this is a great blessing.

My personal feeling and prophecy is that as soon as we pass the 2000-year-mark which is a transition of great insecurity for many people (2nd coming of Christ, planet-destorying meteors, E.T.'s and also the attempt to restore law and order in the face of such rapid change (futile)) we will face up to the necessity of changing rapidly. We will have to. Things will change very rapidly soon, probably with the same speed that overtook Russia.

Meanwhile overcrowding intensifies in here and the authorities attempt to squeeze everything out of their slaves that they can. Many things are not provided, like soap and toothpaste and all articles of toiletry and snacks, etc. They even sell fruit here. Should you care to send in some money it would be appreciated in any amount. Send via U.S. postal order to my name and number. In any event I can be reached here at the above address. Keep in touch.

Much love,

Second Letter from Nick Sand

Nicholas Sand