Allegations of Abuse
Letter Smuggled to The San Francisco News
September 20, 1935

Please investigate criminal cruelty practiced on prisoners at Alcatraz prison.

A few of the cases are, one, Edward Lewis, age 28, serving a three-year sentence, kept in dungeon for a total of more than six weeks, starved, shot in face with gas gun, beaten over head with clubs by three guards (names to be given to investigating committee). He is now insane and is kept in a cage in the hospital. No hope for his recovery.

His family lives at Los Banos, Cal. They don't know about it yet. This warden naturally will not give out information, but if an investigation is made and the inmates are questioned you will get the evidence.

Another case is Joseph Bowers, also insane from same cause, but not as bad condition as Lewis.

James Grove is also insane and is under mental observation.

John Standig tried to commit suicide but was found by guards and now is under observation.

Three others tried suicide also.

If this keeps on everyone here will be insane. In the name of God, do something!

The men here are not the type claimed by the officials. Eight or ten may be. The rest are no different than any prisoners in any other United States prison. All the propaganda is to give publicity to Cummings. We don't mind if he gets publicity as long as he don't drive us all insane by this inhuman scheme. If you believe in justice, do something about this, especially about Lewis.

When you investigate, don't believe what officials say. Naturally they won't hang themselves.

We don't get our original mail and the copies we get are just a small part of what our families write. Men here have been framed into sentences all out of proportion with their case by the most despicable tricks...

Most of the men here are without money and their families are poor and couldn't help them much even if they knew, but there is no way they can know because they won't let them say anything in letters. Please act!

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