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Prison Stories

After more than 400 years of Black history in this country, Black children must still remind the public of their humanity.

Pattern of practice: Centuries of racist oppression culminating in mass incarceration

January 26, 2015

After winning their freedom in the bloodiest conflict in U.S. history, Blacks were in many cases and places denied basic human, civil and political rights, literally forcing New Afrikans back into slavery by denying them a right to life. Over the years the government declared and waged war on the New Afrikan communities – war on unemployed “vagrants,’ war on crime, war on drugs, war on gangs – culminating in mass incarceration.

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“Solitary Confinement Is Torture” – Art: Michael D. Russell, C-90473, PBSP SHU D7-217, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City CA 95532

The way forward to end solitary confinement torture: Where’s the army?

January 25, 2015

I snapped to the fact that once we successfully exposed this torture program to the world, making the people aware, at least some of the responsibility shifts to the people to hold the lawmakers responsible. It’s unbelievable to me to see the numbers of people out there who are aware of the continued torture we are subjected to, and yet they’ve failed to take any action to hold those responsible accountable.

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After a roof caved in a year ago in another part of the prison, more beds were moved into this already overcrowded dorm.

The voice of a slave who is not afraid to speak out against Alabama’s wickedness and corruption

January 21, 2015

When I arrived at Childersburg Community Work Center on Oct. 25, 2013, I did so with one of the worst cases of ringworm any of the medical staff here or at St. Clair had ever seen. How that came to be I will explain later. It didn’t take long for me to see that I was at a very nasty and unconstitutional facility, and on Nov. 19, 2013, I filed a formal complaint to the U.S. Department of Justice and the State Fire Marshall.

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Humanity indicted for our silence in the face of torture

January 12, 2015

As imprisoned activists we’ve often asked society: What have your eyes seen to wish to see no more? And what have your ears heard to wish to hear no more? Your self-imposed silence has only fueled the government’s thirst for fascist repression, and this repression has manifested on every level of society, causing humanity to hemorrhage, while debris from this hemorrhaging stains the dissipating remnants of a deteriorating society.

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Phil Africa

Phil Africa of MOVE dies under suspicious circumstances in Pennsylvania prison

January 12, 2015

On Saturday, Jan. 10, 2015, Phil Africa, revolutionary, John Africa’s first minister of defense and beloved brother, husband and father, passed away under suspicious circumstances at the State Correctional Institution at Dallas, Penn. Phil will never be forgotten and this is not the end. He is dearly missed, but his strong example should inspire everyone to fight harder for the freedom of the MOVE 9 and all political prisoners.

Prison closings in Virginia mean worse conditions for prisoners

January 2, 2015

Prisons are closing in Virginia. Officials say they can’t afford to keep them open. We need to get the Virginia Department of Corrections to make some changes, because although we are incarcerated and have been convicted of crimes that have led us to where we are, I’d like to be treated like a human, not an animal. If we continue to voice our opinions, hopefully it’ll eventually make something happen. Until then, same fight, different cage.

Federal Pell Grant eligibility for people in county jails or juvenile hall

January 1, 2015

When I was in prison, I used to work out with heavy weights constantly. But when I started to understand that my best chances of survival were actually centered on education, I focused more on that instead, and it has made all the difference in the kind of life I now have. When I was released, having a student aid package was what kept me from having to go back into the underground economy in order to survive.

Support SB188: Give Delaware prisoners a shot at freedom

December 31, 2014

There is a chance coming up in the January-June session of the Delaware House of Representatives to restructure habitual offender sentencing. Senate Bill 188 would place application of habitual offender enhanced sentencing in the hands of judges. Currently, power hungry and politically motivated district attorneys have misused the enhancement to further their careers.

Nurse fired for speaking out: ‘I am on a mission to stop torture at CDCR’

December 31, 2014

Assigned to the Mental Health Crisis Bed (MHCB) unit, I found 80-plus patients suffering torture, sexual abuse and neglect. President Obama would recognize it as torture. The vast majority of victims were Black or Hispanic, all the abusers White. Cold, dark cells hold captives in isolated sensory deprivation – drugged, sick and in pain. Nurses prevented death only to prolong torment, sometimes for years. The number of patients suffering preventable deaths during “medical treatment” in CDCR facilities may exceed all legal executions nationwide.

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The Palestinianization of Blacks in the United States

December 30, 2014

The United States of America’s treatment of Black people – it’s so-called citizens – are nearly identical to how the Israelis treat the Palestinian people. What we have going on here in America is an ongoing counter-insurgency war by the dominant, majoritarian, Anglo-American U.S. government against the minority Black peoples. What we have here is the Palestinianization of Blacks in the United States.

No matter what they say or do, we die

December 29, 2014

They elect the first African American president of the United States, and we still die. They say that we now live in a post-racial America, yet we still die. President Obama says to the youth to be patient, because change takes time, and while we have patience, we still die. President Obama says that times have changed, and that things aren’t as bad as they used to be. Times may have changed, but we are still dying!

Kerry Shakaboona Marshall

Pennsylvania politicians pass Mumia Gag Law: Help fund the lawsuit to stop it

December 28, 2014

In an attempt to curry favor from the Fraternal Order of Police and conservative voters, Pennsylvania’s Gov. Tom Corbett, Department of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams and the majority of state legislators – all of whom have sworn to uphold and protect the Constitution – have removed Mumia Abu-Jamal’s right to free speech from the Pennsylvania and United States Constitutions in order to permanently gag him.

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Eric Payne is interviewed Dec. 26 by WALB.

‘Helping Me, Help Me’: Help returning prisoners find work, stay free

December 26, 2014

I was released from prison on Tuesday, Nov. 25. I left prison with a pair of state-issued khaki pants, a white shirt, cheap sneakers, a thin jacket, and $35 – $10 of which were my own. None of this is enough to start a new life! There’s little or no help out here for the man or woman leaving prison. I’m committed to the cause from this day forth.

The artist writes, “With the utmost respects to all the PBSP SHU Short Corridor representatives for having the brilliant foresight and wisdom to move the whole system in such a profound and positive direction, I thought respectfully to capture their sentiment in art. In solidarity.” – Art: Michael D. Russell, C-90473, PBSP SHU D7-217, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City CA 95532

Prisoners’ Agreement to End Hostilities as the basis for the abolition of ‘legal’ slavery

December 25, 2014

On Oct. 10, 2012, the Pelican Bay D-Short Corridor Collective, men from various cultural groups and walks of life, put into effect the historic “Agreement to End Hostilities,” perhaps the single most significant “door to genuine freedom” opened in American society in recent human history. What makes it so significant is not simply its motive force but, more importantly, its true potential for our collective liberation as a society.

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Edward Julious -1, cropped

Lucasville vet: Refusing to snitch on men merely protesting inhumane prison conditions cost me 27 years

December 19, 2014

At Lucasville in 1993, we came together to protest oppression, to stand against cruel and unusual punishment. Now several have died as martyrs and others await their date at the death chamber. Yet no one answers our cry for help. Come to our aid, answer our call to arms, help us get the justice that has been so long denied before it is too late.

Chairman Shaka Zulu: Resistance is the way forward

December 12, 2014

Our study group here has expanded exponentially since these demonstrations across the country. People here with me who only yesterday refused to come to terms with being victims of social injustice are now identifying with the forces of revolution. They no longer have a defeatist mentality. Ferguson has shown that RESISTANCE IS THE WAY FORWARD. We are moving – to what destination, only time will tell.

I grew up in Guantánamo: Now that you have heard my story, you cannot turn away

December 10, 2014

Fahd Ghazy is a Yemeni national who has been detained at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, since February 2002 when he was only 17 years old. One of the last remaining prisoners to have been detained as a juvenile, Fahd was cleared for transfer by President Bush in 2007 and again by the Obama administration in 2009. Now 30 years old, he has spent over one-third of his life in Guantánamo without charge. He is represented by the Center for Constitutional Rights.

Marie Levin holding picture of brother Sitawa, cropped (1)

California’s savage system of confinement: An end to solitary is long overdue

December 9, 2014

Less than two weeks ago the United Nations Committee against Torture issued a report strongly criticizing the U.S. record on a number of issues, among them the extensive use of solitary confinement. While the U.S. uses long-term solitary more than any other country in the world, California uses it more than any other state. This practice is designed to break the human spirit and is condemned as a form of torture under international law.

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Have NO contact with police – they are child killers

December 9, 2014

When we were growing up, we understood that most of these white, Black and Brown police officers were predators. They came to our communities pumped up, looking for action. And there are several profiles of them: cocky, scared, fearless, racist, prejudiced, biased, anxious, gangsters etc. We was warned as young boys to have NO engagement with police, under NO circumstances.

16 hours in the torture chamber

December 5, 2014

Officer Akers sexually harassed the entire unit – most of which is New Afrikan – by conducting a striptease in which we were ordered to “squat and cough and spread your buttocks open,” solely for the sadomasochistic pleasure of Officer Akers. Let me explain that I am in Red Onion State Prison (ROSP), I protested, and in return for my protest I was put in “five-point restraints,” stark naked into a totally empty cell, just concrete and steel.

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