UPDATE: 5:25 p.m. — Lawyers for environmental activist Daniel McGowan said in a statement Friday afternoon that he had been returned to his halfway house in Brooklyn. They added that they had confirmed McGowan was jailed by federal marshals on Thursday for his Huffington Post blog post — on the basis of a prison regulation that was declared unconstitutional by a judge in 2007.
Their statement read:
Daniel McGowan has been released from the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn where he was taken into custody yesterday and is back at the halfway house where he has been residing since his release from prison in December. Yesterday, Daniel was given an “incident report” indicating that his Huffington Post blog post, “Court Documents Prove I Was Sent to Communication Management Units (CMU) for My Political Speech,” violated a BOP regulation prohibiting inmates from “publishing under a byline.” The BOP regulation in question was declared unconstitutional by a federal court in 2007, and eliminated by the BOP in 2010. After we brought this to the BOP’s attention, the incident report was expunged.
The Bureau of Prisons did not immediately return a request for comment.
The earlier story …
NEW YORK — The jailing of environmental activist Daniel McGowan is under review, a Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) official said Friday morning.
McGowan, who pleaded guilty to arson linked to the Earth Liberation Front in 2006, was serving out the final months of his seven-year sentence in a Brooklyn halfway house when he was jailed by federal marshals Thursday morning, allegedly for writing a commentary on The Huffington Post critical of a harshly restricted federal prison unit in which he had spent time.
Tracy Rivers, a residential reentry manager for the BOP in New York, told HuffPost Friday morning, “We are reviewing this case to determine if the actions that were taken were appropriate.”
Rivers declined to say more about why McGowan was moved to the Metropolitan Detention Center, citing privacy issues. But she noted that a determination would be made in McGowan’s case by the end of Friday.
In general, Rivers said, prisoners can be punished for violating a BOP rule that prohibits giving interviews to the news media without official approval. But that rule says nothing about prisoners writing blog posts.
McGowan’s wife, Jenny Synan, told HuffPost that neither he, his lawyers nor a BOP official she talked to about the case had heard of a regulation prohibiting prisoners from writing blog posts.
In a statement Thursday, McGowan’s lawyers at the Center for Constitutional Rights said, “If this is indeed a case of retaliation for writing an article about the BOP retaliating against his free speech while he was in prison, it is more than ironic, it is an outrage.”
UPDATE: 1:25 p.m. — Daniel McGowan may soon leave jail. His attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights, Rachel Meeropol, told HuffPost Friday afternoon, “We have been told by the BOP that he will be sent back to the halfway house today.”