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Prison Stories

Prisons in Texas are, like Angola in Louisiana, former plantations. As prisons, they are still today worked by enslaved people, people who get no pay, not even credit to shorten their sentences. This is the Cummins Prison Farm, 1975. – Photo courtesy The Marshall Project

End prison slavery in Texas now!

February 11, 2016

In Texas we know that we are being exploited, mistreated, degraded and abused. Many prisoners in Texas are content with the modern day slave plantation system, which is managed and operated by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. However, many prisoners are not content; in fact they are frustrated and angry. The strategies utilized by prisoners in other states that have similar conditions to Texas don’t necessarily apply here.

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Free Rev. Pinkney!

February 3, 2016

Rev. Edward Pinkney is the kind of preacher that Martin Luther King would have admired. Pinkney has for years advocated for his community, fighting for water rights, fair elections and social justice for the people of Benton Harbor, Michigan. Because of his political activities, he’s been targeted by the government, tried by the Michigan political machine before an all-white jury and, with no evidence, convicted of allegedly altering five petition dates!

CHOOSE1’s Three Strikes Reform Act needs 500,000 signatures by July 17 to make the November ballot

February 2, 2016

In late December, CHOOSE1, a grassroots, non-profit organization, received approval to begin gathering signatures to have the Three Strikes Reform Act of 2016 placed on the November 2016 election ballot. The California Attorney General’s Office has given CHOOSE1 until June 17 to gather signatures from registered voters to qualify the initiative. The goal is 500,000 signatures to ensure enough are gathered to meet statutory requirements.

Three prisoners bid a loving farewell to Hugo Pinell

February 1, 2016

I often visit the spot where they took you from us. I still can’t accept it. Although we didn’t know each other, I knew your spirit. I cried for you the day your light was dimmed. I never met you, but you were my brother, my father, my dear friend. Yogi, I’m afraid. I’m afraid because the same climate that dimmed your light is still here on this yard. The gatekeepers on this yard are still playing chess with brothers’ lives.

Support the loved and loyal Bay View: Keep the voice of the people alive

January 31, 2016

During these 14 years straight of Security Housing Unit time I’m forced to endure, the Bay View has been – and will hopefully continue to be – my stabilizer, mentally, the komrade, homie as well as the teacher and tutor for myself and many others in these SHU, Ad-Seg etc. prison industrial slave complex isolation units. So I – we – ask those of you who’re able to please subscribe or make a donation to the loved and loyal Bay View National Black Newspaper.

A closer view of Steven James’ painting, which he’s offering to donate to Allegra, Yogi’s daughter

I was one of the last ones to see our beloved Brotha Yogi alive

January 30, 2016

My name is Devon Bush, a Black Afrikan inmate in struggle here in CSP Sac. Look, I was involved in the riot that took place Aug. 12, 2015, in the B-Yard. Also, I was one of the last ones to see our beloved Brotha Hugo L.A. “Yogi Bear” Pinell R.I.P. alive. His last words to me was, “Do come back.” The short three and a half weeks I spent with him on the yard is filled with enough love and realism to last me a lifetime.

They’re releasing us to GP, where they’d rather see us war and kill one another off

January 29, 2016

After a combined total of over 65 years in the SHU, our brothers Zaharibu, Heshima and Kambui, after surviving decades of unprovoked torture, have been released to general population. This is in fact proof that through agitation, small victories can be won. It is not by mere coincidence that the administration all of a sudden decided to release all of us freedom fighters to GP so abruptly after the assassination of our beloved Hugo Pinell on Aug. 12.

Growing up in Compton: A woman’s story

January 28, 2016

Often, women’s experiences are less present in the stories of how violence has decimated lives, families and communities. From these women writing from inside, we learn of remarkable efforts by families to resist police violence and terror, confront criminalization, and refuse state efforts to turn communities against each other. These stories are critical to the histories emerging from Compton and other sites of ongoing struggle.

Historic settlement to end California’s indefinite solitary confinement finalized in court

January 27, 2016

On Tuesday, federal Judge Claudia Wilken approved the final agreement to end indefinite solitary confinement in California, calling it humane, innovative and fair. Prisoners celebrated the settlement agreement, whose terms were agreed on last September, claiming it as a victory that bolstered their struggle for human rights. Anne Weills pointed out that “what was missing from the courtroom were all the prisoners who risked their lives in the hunger strikes of 2011 and 2013.”

Bomani Shakur (Keith LaMar), shackled, smiling cropped

Bomani Shakur (Keith LaMar), innocent on death row

January 23, 2016

Today our guest on Block Report Radio is Bomani, formally known as Keith LaMar. He is an Ohio death row political prisoner and survivor of the Lucasville Rebellion 23 years ago. He will talk to us about the history of that rebellion, his recent hunger strike, the state of Ohio planning to set his execution date and more. It’s on honor to have you on, my brother. Can you tell the people about the Lucasville Rebellion?

CURB responds to CDCR’s new master plan: ‘A concerning vision of a more powerful prison system’

January 22, 2016

This report reveals the failure of CDCR’s efforts to sustainably reduce incarceration and resolve the humanitarian crisis of its prisons and instead outlines a concerning vision for an expanded and more powerful prison system. We must begin making investments that will sustainably reduce incarceration, close prisons and provide true opportunities for people in low-income communities to thrive.

Talib Hanif (Marcelle Williams)

‘Annotated Tears: America’s Auschwitz’

January 20, 2016

The title of my book, “Annotated Tears: America’s Auschwitz,” came from one of the poems inside. It’s a socio-political piece geared toward unveiling California’s injustice system, with specific reference to its treatment of juveniles, which upon reflection resembles Hitler’s Germany. The piece, entitled “America’s Auschwitz,” begins: Everybody’s a victim — Sick depictions of pain … Gestapos lurking through the ghettos — Trailed by a bag of chains …

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Mumia in the crosshairs: Stop efforts to murder him by medical neglect

January 19, 2016

Most Amerikans don’t know of Amerika’s sordid practices and its continued implications in the treatment of Mumia and its millions of others imprisoned. It is by design that they don’t, which is why officials determinedly persecute and aim to kill critical messengers like Mumia. This is why he has been under attack for decades, and why we cannot allow them to now succeed in murdering him by medical neglect.

Jabari Scott 122815, 2 days before SHU-to-GP tsf, cropped

Jabari Scott in GP! ‘Man, it was beautiful enjoying my first cup of joe’

January 15, 2016

I’ve transferred to the general population! After my CCI counselor read off my whole history to the committee, from my felony arrest to every incident I was involved in through my incarceration, Warden Davey began to explain that after nine years and seven months he was releasing me from the SHU and lowering my custody level because I haven’t received any rule violation write-ups for quite some time.

Khalfani Malik Khaldun in a photo taken April 27, 2011

Yogi and Harold were leaders among men: Two stories of revolutionary valor

January 13, 2016

The examples Hugo Pinnell and George Jackson gave as revolutionary leadership transformed my life and that of many others who became aspiring revolutionaries. So when we received word from outside comrades that in August – always August it seems – on Aug. 12, 2015, Comrade Hugo was stabbed and killed while on a canteen line in New Folsom Prison yard, the world stood still for us. Comrade Harold Brown sacrificed many of his years in prison trying to overturn restrictive policies that isolated prisoners in solitary confinement.

Mumia’s wife, Wadiya Jamal, hugs him during a visit on April 9, 2015. This photo shows the terrible, “elephant-skin” rash on his arms.

Mumia’s fight for medical treatment

January 10, 2016

Protest Big Pharma’s price gouging that threatens Hep-C patients, including Mumia, on Monday, Jan. 11, 12 noon, at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference for Big Pharma executives and investors at Westin St. Francis Hotel, 335 Powell St., Union Square, in San Francisco. Gilead Sciences sells the curative Harvoni pill in Egypt for 10 cents each, and Gilead does not lose money at this price. In the U.S., Gilead is price-gouging at about 10,000 times the cost of production!

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The passive aggressive murder of a living legend

December 29, 2015

Though on paper they took Mumia off death row, it seems like the government has opted to passively murder the activist under the cloak of bureaucratic immunity. The state seems intent to allow the Hepatitis C to “progress” until Mumia dies. This is just another case of murder by the hands of a racist system. They are content to cut costs by denying us proper healthcare. They’re killing our OGs y’all. Look at what they are doing to Mumia!

David Johnson of the San Quentin 6 on his comrade Hugo ‘Yogi’ Pinell

December 28, 2015

Hugo “Yogi” Pinell was a soldier of the people. He defended Black prisoners against racist attacks and stood up for the basic human rights of prisoners. Racist prisoners don’t respect prison unity. There was an agreement in existence at the time to end all hostilities. But it was an agreement that was not honored by racist White prisoners. So in collusion with prison guards, they took advantage of the situation and they assassinated Yogi.

Tension at New Folsom between Blacks and guards since assassination of Hugo Pinell

December 28, 2015

I am currently in solitary confinement for a “Battery on a Peace Officer,” which took place on Sept. 24, 2015, six weeks after the assassination of beloved political prisoner Hugo “Yogi” Pinell at New Folsom State Prison B-Facility. Prison officials released a statement to the media that several correctional officers were “ambushed” by a group of Afrikan Amerikan inmates on C-Facility, which in reality is far from the truth.

Assassination of Hugo Pinell: One guard asked another, ‘Did they get him?’

December 27, 2015

I would like to expose injustice and further educate you and your readers on the events surrounding the murder of Hugo “Yogi” Pinell. I was housed in California State Prison Sacramento. Black and white inmates were placed on lockdown because of racial tension between the two ethnic groups. While locked down, staff received confidential information that Hugo Pinell’s life was in danger and threats were being made on his life by racially motivated inmates.

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