Immediately following September 11, 2001, several political prisoners, including Richard Williams, were put in isolation, even though there was no evidence of any kind linking them to the attacks. Richard was the last political prisoner to be released back to the general population on February 11, 2002. He spent 5 months in isolation, in freezing cold conditions. He was put in shackles and had a video camera fixed on him every time he left his cell, even to take a shower. He had virtually no contact with any one, not even his family, as his phone calls were restricted to one 15-minute call per week.
The day after Richard was released back to general population, he suffered a minor heart attack. It seems quite reasonable to presume that the physical and emotional stress of being isolated for five months is related to the onset of his heart attack. While in the hospital in the city of Lompoc (outside the prison), Richard experienced the "worst treatment of my 17 years in prison." The guards blocked normal health care by keeping Richard in 3-point restraint in the hospital bed, training guns on him, and intimidating the doctors and nurses. Richard’s health is much better today and he remains in good spirits despite all.
Then on April 30, 2002, he was unexpectedly put back in isolation. This is not a matter of misconduct. In fact, on May 2, his lawyers were told that Richard was put in the hole for "reclassification," with implies that the prison authorities were trying to label him a dangerous prisoner in need of a higher security classification. Richard interprets this as an effort by USP Lompoc or Bureau of Prison authorities to transfer him to an even higher security prison USP Lompoc, which is already a level 6 super max prison. If transferred, he will face horrendous conditions--the equivalent of being locked down 24/7. After suffering a heart attack, it seems even more imperative that Richard not be subjected to such harsh conditions. Richard, his family, his lawyers, and his supporters and friends do not want Richard transferred.