Environmentalist Daniel McGowan Jailed for Writing Blog About Prior Imprisonment

| by Michael Allen
article imagearticle image

Daniel McGowan was sentenced in 2007 to seven years in jail after pleading guilty to arson and other crimes connected to a series of fires at some lumber companies in 2001.

The fires were attributed to the Earth Liberation Front, a radical environmentalist group that often resorts to violent acts of protest.

McGowan had been serving the last part of his sentence at a half-way house in Brooklyn, New York, but was taken into custody on Wednesday for writing a blog post on on Monday.

McGowan is now behind bars at the Metropolitan Detention Center in New York City, reports

However, his imprisonment is under review, according to Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) official.

In his blog article, McGowan claimed that the reason he was originally sentenced to a Communication Management Unit (CMU) inside a federal prison in Illinois was because the Justice Department didn’t like his politics.

In his blog post titled, “Court Documents Prove I was Sent to Communication Management Units (CMU) for my Political Speech,” McGowan wrote on the

Since August 2008, when I first arrived at the CMU, I have been trying to get answers as to why I was singled out to be sent there.  Only now -- three years after I filed a federal lawsuit to get to the truth -- have I learned why the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) sent me to the CMU: they simply did not like what I had to say in my published writing and personal letters. In short, based on its disagreement with my political views, the government sent me to a prison unit from which it would be harder for me to be heard, serving as a punishment for my beliefs.

...It may be true that courts have held that a prisoner's freedom of speech is more restricted than that of other members of the public, but no court has ever said that means that a prisoner is not free to express political views and beliefs that pose no danger to prison security and do not involve criminal acts.

Jenny Synan, McGowan’s wife, told that law enforcement told her that McGowan violated a term of his release by writing the blog, because he is banned from “interacting with the media.”

"He just posted his thing a few days ago about all this stuff, about his political beliefs and speech, and they do something to him because of his post about this,” said Synan. “It's crazy."

"Needless to say, this is outrageous," Rachel Meeropol of the Center for Constitutional Rights told "I've never heard of a regulation limiting an individual from blogging or contacting the news media."

Sources: and