Inmate In 'The Hole'—For Practicing Journalism?

Seth Ferranti, federal inmate 18205-083 and a writer for The Daily Beast, The Fix, and elsewhere has been held in the Special Housing Unit, or solitary confinement, at FCC Forrest City in Arkansas since Thursday June 4—evidently as punishment for his journalism. After beginning a 304-month sentence as an “LSD Kingpin” under mandatory minimum sentencing laws in 1993, the first-time, nonviolent offender began reporting from “inside the belly of the beast.”

“They have not notified me what I am in here for yet, and it's been a week of lockdown in a 6-foot by 9-foot cell,” Ferranti says in a letter written with a dull pencil—the only writing implement he’s allowed—and sent to The Fix, which shared it with The Daily Beast. In it, he asks that his work remain published and suggests that The Fix publish a piece, “using excerpts from this letter,” called “Drug Treatment Writer Snatched Out of Treatment for Writing About It.”

“I have violated no rules, only written for publication,” Ferranti writes, adding that he’s spending “the long hours of nothingness writing or doing something productive.” In the letter, he asks that anyone wishing to inquire about or object to the “violation of my first amendment rights” contact:

South Central Regional OfficeFederal Bureau of PrisonsU.S. Armed Forces Reserve Complex344 Marine Forces Drive, Grand Prairie, TX 75051Phone: 972-730-8600E-mail: SCRO/[email protected]

The Federal Bureau of Prisons did not answer numerous calls for comment about Ferranti.