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Behind Enemy Lines

Warden Burl Cain of the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola weighs the risks of transferring Kenny “Zul

Angola warden ponders releasing Zulu from 35 years in solitary – but he’s a Panther

August 1, 2014

A man who has spent 35 years in solitary confinement – one of the longest stints in a U.S. prison – may soon be released into the general inmate population. In an exclusive interview outside the gates of the largest prison in America, Warden Burl Cain of the Louisiana State Penitentiary said he is prepared to take Kenny “Zulu” Whitmore out of what is known as closed cell restriction if the inmate, who is 59 years old, no longer represents a safety risk.

‘Mass Incarceration on Trial’

July 31, 2014

In “Mass Incarceration on Trial,” Jonathan Simon writes, the decisions in Madrid v. Gomez, Coleman v. Wilson, Plata v. Davis, Coleman-Plata v. Schwarzenegger and Brown v. Plata “are legal precedents with ongoing relevance to prison lawyers and officials, but they are also a public sociology text, addressed to all of us, concerning the threat that mass incarceration poses to prisoners, prison officers, and any society with pretensions to decency.”

Chess vs. checkers

July 30, 2014

Life is like a game of chess and checkers. Many of us play checkers. And many of us think we’re playing chess, but, in practice, we’re actually playing checkers. So it should be of no surprise to any of you when I say, most poor people play checkers, prisoners in particular. Now what does this analogy im­ply? Most people make decisions in life without thinking ahead or assessing the ramifications of their decisions, especially prisoners!

Stop the McFarland GEO women’s prison!

July 29, 2014

On Thursday, July 31, communities impacted by incarceration, immigrant detention and escalating violence against women and children will march to the site of a new women’s prison in McFarland to demand its immediate closure. Advocates will convene at McFarland Park, 100 Frontage Rd, McFarland, Calif., at 5 p.m. CDCR has contracted with the GEO Group to run the McFarland prison. The GEO group, like the state of California, has been challenged by prisoner hunger strikes, protests and lawsuits due to the deplorable and inhumane conditions of their facilities.

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Rally to stop wrongful convictions planned in Louisiana

July 29, 2014

In reference to my case as told in the June issue of the Bay View, I have connected with Eric Brown, attorney Mummi Ibrahim and Rev. Melvin Slack, who is a candidate to be the next mayor of Shreveport. Slack is about positive change and he promotes Black-on-Black love. Pastor Brown is also supporting my cause, freedom. He is orchestrating a rally to stop wrongful convictions in Louisiana.

Medical ‘care’ at Soledad is degrading … and lethal

July 28, 2014

The people who are housed in this institution, Salinas Valley State Prison in Soledad, Calif., are having a lot of issues with medical. It’s very degrading. Doctors are taking convicts off their pain medication, such as morphine, methadone and Gabapetine, known as Neurontin, saying it’s being abused. Correction officers don’t care about us convicts nor do the doctors.

Pennsylvania hunger striker: I’m in search of a voice to help me bring light to our struggles

July 26, 2014

I’m from SCI-Smithfield in Pennsylvania and I’m in search of a voice to help me bring light to the struggles that the inmates in this facility face. Now I’ve been on my hunger strike since June 11, 2014, and the reason for my hunger strike is policies being overlooked, harassment from COs, very poor calories on daily trays, refusal of proper medical treatment and denial of the equal protection of the laws and due process.

Anthony Robinson Jr., cropped

Inside a CCA private prison: Two slaves for the price of one, Part Two

July 25, 2014

In 1973, the National Advisory Commission on Criminal Justice Standards and Goals issued a report which stated in part: “The prison, the reformatory and the jail have achieved only a shocking record of failure. There is overwhelming evidence that these institutions create crime rather than prevent it.” This same report stated directly: “No new institutions for adults should be built and existing institutions for juveniles should be closed.”

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Racism in San Francisco County Jail

July 24, 2014

In regards to the prison censorship issue, I am just chiming in to let it be known that it isn’t a “nudity” thing (the California Department of Corrections’ new censorship regulations are disguised under the title “Obscene Material” – ed.); it’s a Black-Latino thing, period! I’m not in prison, I’m in County Jail 5 in San Francisco, and it has even trickled down this far. Here we are not allowed to receive magazines that are most favored by Blacks or Latinos.

Imam Jamil Al-Amin (H. Rap Brown) transferred to Butner Federal Medical Center, N.C.

July 18, 2014

Attorney Karima Al-Amin, wife of Imam Jamil Al-Amin, formerly known worldwide as H. Rap Brown, the voice of Black power, announced yesterday what has now been confirmed: “Imam Jamil has been moved to Butner FMC (Federal Medical Center), North Carolina.” Word on his condition or whether he has received medical care has not yet come. Still, this great man remains behind enemy lines, and the same mass pressure by the people that resulted in his transfer must be applied and intensified until he is free.

Federal judge strikes down California’s death penalty

July 16, 2014

A federal judge has ruled that California’s death penalty system is unconstitutional, finding it arbitrary and in violation of the Constitution’s Eighth Amendment. “Today’s ruling … is a monumental victory for justice,” declared San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi. “I commend U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney for his courage and wisdom,”

Guantánamo nurse refused to participate in ‘criminal’ force-feedings

July 15, 2014

A military medical professional at Guantánamo Bay recently refused to force-feed detainees after witnessing the suffering it caused them. The incident is thought to be the first case of “conscientious objection” to force-feeding at Guantánamo since a mass hunger strike began at the prison last year.

To celebrate the movement: The California prisoner hunger strike one year later

July 14, 2014

One year ago on July 8, 30,000 California prisoners refused meals and work assignments, beginning a 60-day hunger strike with the core demand of ending the state’s use of indefinite solitary confinement. This was the largest hunger strike in U.S. history, and it presented the deepest challenge yet to solitary by bringing national and international attention to a practice that has long been condemned by human rights groups as torture.

Dolores Canales, founder of California Families Against Solitary Confinement, speaks at a rally in Norwalk, California, on the day the third California mass prisoner hunger strike began, July 8, 2013, one year ago today. Prisoners’ families see the hunger strikes and the torture that instigates them not only as political issues but as personal issues that could take the lives of their loved ones.

Prisoners and advocates commemorate the one-year anniversary of the hunger strike by California prisoners and file lawsuit against CDCR

July 8, 2014

A year ago on July 8, over 30,000 people inside California prisons began a hunger strike to bring an end to the state’s use of indefinite solitary confinement. On the one-year anniversary of the largest prisoner hunger strike in California history, the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law today is filing a lawsuit charging CDCR with illegally refusing to publicly disclose information, data and studies regarding its solitary confinement rules, policies and practices.

Opposition to the torture of solitary confinement is strong in Pennsylvania, where this rally was held prior to a state legislative hearing on Sept. 18, 2012.

Events worldwide commemorate mass California hunger strike first anniversary

July 8, 2014

Prison family members, formerly incarcerated persons, opponents of solitary confinement and mass incarceration and others in Pennsylvania will be fasting and making calls to Gov. Corbett and Department of Corrections Secretary Wetzel on July 8 to join the California Families Against Solitary Confinement and supporters around the country and the world in commemorating the one-year anniversary of the California prison hunger strike.

H. Rap Brown addresses a National Guardian meeting in New York City on Oct. 27, 1967. This hero of the Black Power Movement, one of the most fiery and influential leaders of the 20th century, deserves our strongest support.

Supporters demand political prisoner Imam Jamil (H. Rap Brown), diagnosed with rare cancer, be hospitalized immediately

July 8, 2014

Political Prisoner Imam Jamil Al Amin, formerly known as H. Rap Brown, is in critical medical condition and in desperate need of our urgent action. Imam Jamil was a dominant and influential figure in the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements of the 1960s. He served as chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and later as Minister of Justice for the Black Panther Party.

This drawing, the icon for all three California hunger strikes recognized around the world, was contributed by the renowned prison artist Kevin “Rashid” Johnson, then held in solitary confinement in Virginia, now in Texas. – Art: Kevin “Rashid” Johnson, 1859887, Clements Unit, 9601 Spur 591, Amarillo TX 79107

Largest hunger strike in history: California prisoners speak out on first anniversary

July 7, 2014

One year ago, on July 8, 2013, 30,000 California prisoners initiated the largest hunger strike the world has ever seen. Sixty days later, 40 prisoners, who had eaten nothing in all that time, agreed to suspend the strike when state legislators promised to hold hearings on ending solitary confinement, the heart of their demands. The 2013 hunger strike followed two in 2011. In the interim, effective October 2012, the hunger strike leaders, representing all racial groups, issued the historic Agreement to End Hostilities, which has held with few exceptions throughout the California prison system ever since.

Outlaw to walk free July 14

June 30, 2014

We are excited about the impending release from prison of our beloved friend and comrade, Frank “Outlaw” Reid, on July 14. Outlaw will finally walk free! Allies in D.C. and Virginia have been raising financial support for his re-entry. Our latest effort is a mixed media zine called Justice for Outlaw, which includes an intensive study, by Outlaw, on the origins of the Virginia prison system and how it functions today.

As public and legal pressure mount to save prisoners from dying of the heat this summer, Texas officials announced June 23 they’ve bought a new kind of fan, but insist the purchase was not in response to the pressure. Texas houses many of its prisoners in metal buildings. – Photo: Bob Daemmerich

Houston needs a civilian review board – but Texas needs much more!

June 29, 2014

For the past four years, community activists and civil rights leaders in the Houston area have been fighting hard to establish a civilian review board with prosecutorial power over local police. The board would oversee the activities of a Houston Police Department (HPD) which has had a “love affair” with the use of excessive and lethal force on Houstonians. The problem with HPD is much larger than it appears and affects everyone in Houston.

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“Power of Unity” – Graphic: Soundthings

Calipatria riots need to cease and unity needs to spread

June 28, 2014

Men at Calipatria on general population yards A, B and C can show the same courage as the hunger strikers, who are honored around the world, by pledging to respect the Agreement to End Hostilities and stop all fighting and riots between racial groups. The Agreement must continue to hold within all California prisons and unity needs to spread across the state. Only then can justice be won.

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