Tony Alamo in isolation in prison

Evangelist placed there after a fight

Texarkana Gazette/October 21, 2010

Evangelist Tony Alamo is in isolation at the federal prison in Tucson, where he is serving a 175-year term for sex crimes, according to his lawyer.

Attorney John Wesley Hall Jr. of Little Rock said prison officials placed Alamo in the special unit after a physical confrontation with another inmate and allegations Alamo made verbal threats to harm prosecutors and others connected with his criminal case.

"He's a crime victim and they locked him in the hole," Hall said. "That guy must really be proud of himself to beat up a blind, 76-year-old man."

Hall said he is uncertain as to what caused the altercation but thinks Alamo was attacked.

"I'm not sure of the extent of his injuries," Hall said.

Hall said he is concerned that Alamo's diabetes is not being properly managed in the special unit and said Alamo has not been allowed the use of his eyeglasses or the machine he needs to "read the Bible."

"He can't see a punch coming to duck," Hall said.

Hall said Alamo's seeing machine is in storage at the prison despite a promise from officials to position it in the library for his use.

Hall said Alamo has had to give the combination to his locker to other inmates because he can't read the numbers on the tumbler.

Hall said Alamo has been confined in the isolation unit for at least 60 days.

"There are a number of reasons an inmate could be placed in segregation," said Bureau of Prisons spokesman Edmond Ross.

Ross said the "special housing unit" is like "a jail inside a prison" where inmates are locked in their cells for most of the day.

Ross said a disciplinary infraction or a pending investigation into a disciplinary matter can lead to placement in the unit. Inmates can also be assigned to the unit if they need protection.

"It's hard to say," Ross said when asked abou the typical length of stay in the special housing unit. "It could be short, just a few days, or it could be weeks or months depending on the circumstances of the individual."

Ross said BOP policy prevents disclosure of specific information concerning an inmate's status or disciplinary record.

According to a recent post on the Website hosted by Tony Alamo Christian Ministries, Alamo is a "political prisoner."

"The true reason for Pastor Alamo's imprisonment is exposing the one world government cult," the Website said. "He is being held in the ‘hole' for no reason. He cannot make phone calls. His incoming and outgoing mail is rarely received in a reasonable amount of time. The one world government cult and media will use all means to silence the truth and deceive the whole world."

Alamo's phone privileges were suspended for more than 400 days in March because he was attempting to conduct business over the phone, according to previous interviews with Hall and a former Alamo attorney.

Inmates are prohibited from running an enterprise within a federal prison.

Alamo, whose real name is Bernie LaZar Hoffman, was convicted in July 2009 in Texarkana on all 10 counts in a federal indictment accusing him of bringing five girls he wed across state lines for sex.

He was moved from a downtown Texarkana jail to the Arizona lockup in February.

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