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Behind Enemy Lines

Michael Brown’s body lay in the street for over four hours. Like public lynchings, the delay was meant to strike terror in the hearts of the people.

Another dead teenager: Only in solidarity will we ever get back what’s been taken from us

August 27, 2014

Police officers in Ferguson, whose sole duty is to protect and serve, are seen using dogs, tear gas and now military grade weapons to suppress any peaceful protest and public outcry. This really hits home to those who can relate to being targets of police brutality, where in essence police departments have become judge, jury and executioner, getting away with murder time and time again.

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SB 260: Don’t deny yourself a chance at life

August 18, 2014

There may be hope after all. Back in 1995, I was a juvenile, tried as an adult, tried and convicted of first degree murder. Senate Bill 260, which became part of the Penal Code effective Jan. 1, 2014, is called California Youth Offenders Parole. The new youth offender parole process in this new law applies to people who were under the age of 18 at the time they committed their crime, were tried as adults and sentenced to life or a determinate sentence.

California corrections officials located and designed Pelican Bay State Prison, opened in 1989, as a place where torture could be conducted with impunity. The torture the following year of Vaughn Dortch, a Black man who survived an attempt to boil him alive until his skin fell down around his ankles, horrified judges and the public. – Photo: National Geographic

SB 892: Letter from four main reps at Pelican Bay to California legislators

August 13, 2014

On May 1, 2014, we, California inmates who have been in solitary confinement for long periods of time, co-signed a letter addressed to the California Senate and Assembly expressing our grave concerns with Sen. Hancock’s SB 892. We wish to follow up on our previous letter, as SB 892 has now been approved by the Senate and is being considered in the Assembly.

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Imam Jamil Al-Amin and son, cropped

Biopsy results released for Imam Jamil Al-Amin (H. Rap Brown)

August 8, 2014

On July 23, 2014, at the Butner Federal Medical Center, Imam Jamil had a bone marrow biopsy to determine the presence of myeloma cells. Yesterday, Kairi and I visited with him at Butner, and today he was told by the Butner medical staff that the biopsy results revealed “some myeloma cells.” More than likely he will be returned to Florence ADX until he has another episode.

Dr. Zonke Zaneke Majodina, Efia Nwangaza at ICCPR Geneva 0314-1514, cropped

From the Keystone State to the Golden State: The need for a national movement to liberate political prisoners

August 4, 2014

The names represented in this article are just the “known” political prisoners and no disrespect to any brothas and sistas left off the list. The purpose of the list is to illustrate the current plight of our movement’s political prisoners, who, despite surviving countless hostile encounters with the state’s security forces, are on the verge of succumbing to old age and infirmities behind the walls and gun towers of the empire’s Prison Industrial Complex.

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Protesters march against in-custody deaths in Santa Cruz on April 6, 2013. – Photo: Sin Barras

Grand Jury investigates Santa Cruz County Jail deaths

August 3, 2014

Santa Cruz County is seen by many as a model for enlightened jail and prison policies. But last month the Santa Cruz County Grand Jury released a report on the unusual number of deaths in the county jail in 2012 and 2013 titled “Five Deaths in Santa Cruz: An Investigation of In-Custody Deaths.” The Grand Jury found that a lack of after-hours mental health evaluations and failures to follow procedures on the part of jail staff likely contributed to the deaths.

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.

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