by Mutope Duguma
Although our initial focus was and is ending long term solitary confinement for thousands of prisoners who been subjected to unspeakable torture by the state of California’s prison officials – a protracted struggle inside our Prisoner Human Rights Movement – the state is resisting the fact that torture must end, which is exposed inside their reluctance to end long term solitary confinement.
But for far too long we have watched men and women held indefinitely in state and federal prisons for decades at a time, under deplorable living conditions, suffer horrible deaths. We’ve seen prisoners routinely shot to death by prison officials for engaging in non-lethal combat, which they use as justification to carry out murder.
Many murders have occurred by proxy due to dependency on a prison medical system which should provide adequate medical treatment for the many ailments prisoners suffer. So many times prisoners have suffered untreated throughout their whole illness, simply because the prison medical chief medical officer decides he does not want to foot the bill. I’ve seen and continue to see prisoners suffer due to being denied much needed life-saving medical treatment.
You’ve heard the horror stories told by prisoners and their families, from ADX to Guantanamo Bay to Pelican Bay, where men and women are physically and psychologically traumatized due to state and federal sanctioned torture. The death toll of prisoners inside these torture chambers should be high enough to end or shut down each and every one of these solitary confinement units.
Prisons are and will always be a reflection of society and are a presentation of our humanity or inhumanity in the way people treat each other in a free society because prisons are a revolving door. We see with the many police killings of citizens of this nation: In 2012, 313 New Afrikans were killed by police, security guards or wannabe cops. From 2006 to 2014, police killed 75 Mexicans. And they are still killing.
Abolishing the death penalty is about respecting life – not hiding behind an outdated biblical interpretation of some God complex that the state and federal government feels gives them the right to kill in the name of their God and so-called Amerikkkan citizens. The scales of justice are tilted top to bottom – justice for the rich and privileged at the top and injustice for the poor and oppressed at the bottom.
The scales of justice are tilted top to bottom – justice for the rich and privileged at the top and injustice for the poor and oppressed at the bottom.
The poor are forced to live half-butchered lives and subjected to mass incarceration and government sanctioned deaths by its over-zealous, racist cops who carry out the roles of judge, jury and executioner to enforce “security” on the streets of Amerika and by racist, super-rich capitalist politicians who authorize the killing of many helpless, poor individuals on death row. All are considered the undesirable, poor citizens of this nation.
The fact that these are all people of the “underclass” held for the sole purpose of exploitation inside prisons shows that laws are constructed in order to incarcerate as many people as possible, processing poor people through a racist judicial system, where racist judges issue ridiculously long sentences. It’s not enough to incarcerate people for violations of the law; these judges are issuing out death sentences to exclusively poor people of this nation.
Laws like three strikes, two strikes and 10-20-life continue to hold prisoners on indefinite sentences and the 85 percent sentencing law where you do 85 percent of your time no matter how much you get. If a judge gives you 50, 100, 150 to 200-plus years, with 85 percent, you are more than likely dying in prison. They also issue life sentences, where a person can get 41 to life or 15 to life, plus 25 years. That’s not current with the life sentence, where you got to do two separate sentences. And then if the Board of Parole Hearings denies you parole on that first life sentence, you cannot start serving on the other sentence.
These are hate sentences, under a racist system that is trying to lock up as many people as possible indefinitely, for profit, especially New Afrikans, Mexicans and poor individuals of this nation. They give out ridiculous amounts of time in order to make prisoners look like they’re real dangerous to society, based only on the time given to them.
Case in point: Marissa Alexander was given 20 years for shooting in the air to scare off the man who had been abusing her in order to protect herself, which she had every right to do, based on the law. The fact is that prisons suck the life out of societies, human resources and the economy, and the money goes straight into the pockets of profiteers. Prisoners being held in gladiator-like concrete quarters throughout their prison stay gives the impression to the public that they are savages.
Prisoners being held in gladiator-like concrete quarters throughout their prison stay gives the impression to the public that they are savages.
We all know that idle time corrupts all, and the prison environment tends to enhance idle thoughts and actions, which can incite internal strife and racial violence inside prisons. This reflects failure on the part of those who oversee prisons, because they have absolute power and control over prisons and the prisoners within them. The violence they stir up feeds into the concept of why prisons are necessary, thus serving the interests of our keepers. That is why the CDC history of over 50 years of violence was orchestrated for the most part by our keepers, who allowed it to occur.
Our agreement to end hostilities is about changing the culture of prisons from one of violence to one that serves the interests of prisoners and their families. Many prisoners never grow into their true potential because they are compromised by frivolous violence that serves no one’s interest other than the keepers. So the importance of the Prisoners Human Rights Movement is about reclaiming our civil and human rights as a reflection of our own humanity, instead of allowing the state and federal officials to define our humanity, as they always paint a picture of us being inhumane.
True prisoner solidarity is our objective, but time will be our strongest testament. We must work just as hard for peace as one would for WAR! Peace breeds “war manners,” and the state is always pulling the puppet strings of its slave traitors, snitches, turncoats, rats to do its dirty, ruthless bidding of creating chaos. We must establish strong communication lines and programs that will facilitate ending “idle time.”
We must expect nothing from our oppressors unless demanded by our representatives, who represent our prison class rather than state or national interests. We must carry out our prison struggle. We see prisoners in Texas, Ohio, Georgia, North Carolina and more pushed to extremes due to oppressive living conditions inside prisons. We, too, in California were pushed to extremes due to the same conditions, so we stand in solidarity with all oppressed prisoners, men and women.
So the Prisoners Human Rights Movement is needed to reclaim our lives and freedom, end all state and federal abuses of prisoners and stop the mass incarceration of humans, especially the poor.
One Love, One Struggle
Send our brother some love and light: Mutope Duguma (James Crawford), D-05996, PBSP SHU D2-107, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City CA 95532.