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Prison Stories

Two years after historic settlement ending indefinite solitary confinement in California, CCR details ongoing violations, releases report showing lasting consequences of SHU post-release

November 21, 2017

Two years after the historic settlement of Ashker v. Governor of California marked the end of indefinite solitary confinement in California, the Center for Constitutional Rights and co-counsel filed a motion to extend the terms of the settlement by one year, noting that substantial reforms are still needed and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) continues to violate the constitutional rights of Ashker class members.

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Workers World challenge overturns Pennsylvania prison ban

November 18, 2017

The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections sent a letter to Workers World Publishers on Oct. 13, informing us that the denial of Workers World issue 35, Aug. 31, into Pennsylvania prisons has been “overturned.” A previous DOC letter to Workers World Publishers on Sept. 11 stated: “The August 31 issue of Workers World newspaper has been denied to all inmates housed in Pennsylvania prisons.” Their reason: The issue contained articles that “call for people to join the fight against white supremacy.”

After seven years of solitary confinement, I’m heading to population … and snitch school?

November 18, 2017

After spending over seven years in solitary confinement, I was finally given the opportunity to go back to the general population through a re-entry program in which we must re-enact scenarios that focus on putting one in a no-win situation where they’re accused of something someone else did, know who the culprit is, and are threatened with a disciplinary case. In situations like these, most of us will stand firm and not snitch, but from the looks of these classes they are designed to train us into snitching in efforts to avoid petty sanctions.

Hunger strike at Wabash Valley

November 17, 2017

Several inmates at Wabash Valley Correctional Facility have announced that they have begun a hunger strike to protest their deteriorating conditions. Their immediate demands include removal from camera monitored cells, relocation from abusive staff, and the cessation of tampering with food and the confiscation, reading and withholding of mail by administration. Charges are often brought as a form of reprisal, beginning with disciplinary reports filed by disgruntled or sadistic guards looking to punish inmates for refusing passive obedience to their oppression.

Are California prisoners the property of prison staff?

November 9, 2017

I frequently hear correctional officers make statements such as, “Inmate, get off my table,” “Inmate, get off my yard,” “Inmate, get off my bed” and so on. The idea that they own everything in the prison sounds like they have serious ownership issues, along with superiority complex and delusions. It could also be the reason they abuse prisoners so much. If correctional officers believe we are their property, they could justify abusive treatment of “their” property.

Glenn Dyer Jail hunger strike: ‘We have people that are only getting out of cell twice a month’

November 7, 2017

In mid-October, 125 prisoners at the Glenn Dyer Detention Facility in downtown Oakland – over 30 percent of the prisoners housed there – participated in a five-day hunger strike to protest what they say are abusive conditions of isolation and poor healthcare in Alameda County jails. On Oct. 17, over 30 supporters rallied outside of the Alameda County administrative building, where the county supervisors’ offices are located, to draw attention to the striking prisoners.

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Jalil A. Muntaqim: The making of a movement

November 6, 2017

I would like to propose it is time to organize a new international campaign to persuade the U.N. International Jurists to initiate a formal investigation. This investigation would be based on discovering U.S. human rights violations as they pertain to our long-held political prisoners. I am proposing this campaign be organized under the slogan of “In the Spirit of Nelson Mandela,” as it is believed this slogan will resonate with progressives around the world. It will inspire them in international solidarity to join our efforts to persuade the U.N. International Jurists to initiate this call for a needed investigation.

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We are all bound by the same chain

November 5, 2017

Prisons are corporate entities. We can make the calls to End Prison Slavery and Amend the 13th all we want, but the fact remains that if we don’t organize around defunding the enterprise, nothing is going to change. The Campaign to Redistribute the Pain 2018 is more than just a boycott against prison contractors. It is more than just a call for the next salvo in the struggle to end slavery. It is, among other things, the next step in the process to forge our struggle into a national movement.

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Demand justice for women in West County Jail

November 4, 2017

In response to a recent S.F. Chronicle report detailing horrendous conditions suffered by female detainees in the West County Jail in Richmond, today I sent a “cease and desist” letter to Contra Costa Sheriff David Livingston. Despite massive opposition from Richmond residents and elected officials, the Contra Costa Sheriff’s office contracts with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for the use of the West County Jail to house people suspected of immigration violations.

Only 22 with freedom less than a year away, TB was damn sure not suicidal

November 2, 2017

I am writing regarding an Oct. 3, 2017, so-called suicide of a 22-year-old brother, Tabadrick Campbell. He was from Ft. Myers, Florida, where he is also known as TB. Everybody who knew him personally, in here and in the streets, will tell you that suicide was nowhere one of TB’s thoughts, tendencies or actions. He was damn sure not suicidal with only about 11 months left to go home to his family. Now he’s dead and they’re talking about suicide. Tell that lie to somebody else.

Incarcerated women risk their lives fighting California fires – part of a long history of prison labor

October 25, 2017

For most of the 23 years Romarilyn Ralston spent in a California prison, she made 37 cents an hour, unable to afford crafty birthday cards for her two sons, let alone the financial support she desperately wanted to give them. Ralston did clerical and recreational work at the California Institution for Women in Chino, while voluntarily training women who have recently made national headlines for being on the front lines of the state’s biggest wildfires.

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Support demands of Prisoners United on hunger strike in Alameda and Santa Clara Counties

October 16, 2017

On Oct. 15, 2017, Prisoners United in Glenn Dyer Detention Center courageously led the way in a hunger strike that will span across two counties and four jails. Santa Rita Jail, Santa Clara County Main Jail and Elmwood D.O.C. will continue the strike in solidarity on Oct. 22. We are calling for support from families and the community to contact the Alameda County Sheriff administration, at 510-272-6878, and Alameda County Board of Supervisors, at 510-272-6347, to meet our demands.

Don’t let CDCR reverse our hunger strike-won legal victory: Statement of prisoner representatives on second anniversary of Ashker v. Brown settlement

October 12, 2017

The Oct. 14, 2015, victory was achieved through three hunger strikes and the non-violent legal and political action of thousands of California prisoners, their families, supporters and their attorneys. Now, however, we believe that CDCR is still engaged in constitutional violations that deny prisoners due process and seeks to put us back in the hole – for many, indeterminately under the guise of Administrative SHU.

Free speech is a battlefield and the oppressed must unite

September 30, 2017

Many in this country believe all citizens enjoy the right to free speech. But this is a myth. Free speech is reserved only for those who control the media and other power structures and those who agree with the political establishment. Oppressed nations in particular are regularly denied free speech, especially when that speech involves pointing out what’s wrong with Amerika. Once locked up in U.$. prisons, people further lose their ability to read and communicate freely.

‘Security/welfare checks’: Call for 602s, 22s and artwork

September 29, 2017

Are you living in segregated housing – SHU, Ad-Seg, PSU, Condemned Units? Are correctional officers coming around to your cell every half hour or hour to conduct security/welfare checks? Are these checks conducted in a quiet manner? Or do these checks disturb you? Do they interfere with your ability to sleep, or cause physical or mental health problems? The PHSS Committee to End Sleep Deprivation and CFASC/Family Unity Network want to help prisoners pursue this grievance.

Aljerwon Moran: Can a Black man get George Zimmerman’s verdict?

September 28, 2017

Like George Zimmerman, Aljerwon Moran, a 23-year-old African American man, was accused of second degree murder. Zimmerman and Moran both admitted to pulling the trigger causing the death of another human being. Both alleged the homicide was done in self-defense. However, Zimmerman is a free man – and Moran is sentenced to spend the rest of his life in jail.

Letter to a young gangster

September 27, 2017

I really enjoyed the few times we exchanged ideas about the new Black Liberation Movement. I was a little surprised when you told me that you consider yourself to be a Black revolutionary because most young brothers who gangbang don’t identify themselves as such; and that’s because being one requires opposing and resisting racism and other systems of oppression, which is a huge burden and responsibility. Others simply don’t understand the concept of a revolutionary.

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Watani Stiner: Tending to historical wounds

September 26, 2017

My life began in the Jim Crow South, in Houston, Texas. I remember the segregated world I was born into …  the separate water fountains, the back of the bus, the going around to the back door of Mr. Fontnoe’s grocery store to buy milk for my mother and grandmother. I recall the segregated section of the movie theaters – and the long, seemingly endless net partitioning the giant sandy beaches, separating the “Colored” folks from the “Whites.” Can you imagine that it once was a reality, a segregated beach!

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Let’s fight hard to get Rashid out of Florida now!

September 26, 2017

I don’t know about you, but this entire state of affairs concerning Comrade Rashid just is not sitting well with me. Rashid uncovers the abuse and murder of prisoners in Texas and then the state conspires with Florida DOC to place him in a worse place and in harm’s way? Hell no! Why isn’t this story on the front page of the USA Today? I mean, somebody must be willing to do an exposé detailing this story. I’m extremely grateful for the Bay View but we can do more.

O’ dungeon master, my dungeon master!

September 26, 2017

About 10 years ago a beautiful young spirit moved to my tier, here in North Seg. He was born and raised in Alabama at a time when “Dungeons and Dragons” was enchanting the hearts and minds of little boys everywhere. He grew up to become a “dungeon master” without peer and came to spread his magic amongst the men of San Quentin’s Death Row. He wore his inner child on his sleeve and coaxed the wounded inner child of many others to come to the surface and play.

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