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Prison Stories

Missouri ignores US Supreme Court ruling requiring resentencing of prisoners given life without parole as juveniles

July 20, 2017

I am currently serving life without parole in the Missouri Department of Corrections. I have been incarcerated since the age of 15. I’m being held under an unconstitutional sentence along with 80-plus others who were sentenced to life without parole as juveniles (JLWOP). In June 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court found it unconstitutional to sentence a juvenile to life without parole, according to Miller v. State of Alabama (2012). We must be taken back in front of our respective courts and be resentenced.

O.J. Simpson, keep speaking for the powerless in prison

July 20, 2017

As I’m watching the O.J. Simpson parole hearing, I can’t help but think of how life can take unexpected turns. Since 1994, we have watched a superstar – a man who was on top of the world – fall from grace in rapid fashion. We all know the story of his trial in the murders of his wife Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman. He was acquitted in that trial. About 10 years later, he wasn’t so lucky when the state of Nevada convicted him in a robbery case for which he was given a harsh 33-year sentence.

Exploited, abused, neglected: Mental illness and solitary confinement in Texas prisons

July 18, 2017

Imagine spending 23 hours each day alone in a 6-by-9-foot space. Crowd into it a toilet-sink combo, rusty iron set of bunk beds and overhead lockers, layers of peeling paint in multiple colors, showing the years of neglect, black mold, roaches, rats, along with spiders and bugs I can’t even identify – then you’ll have some idea of what home looks like to many people here in Texas’ Eastham Unit.

Rashid: I’m off to Florida and a new phase of reprisals for publicizing abuses in US prisons

July 14, 2017

“I was unceremoniously packed off to the Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) on June 22, 2017. Florida, notorious for its own extremely abusive prisons, readily signed on to take up Texas’s slack. And being an openly corrupt system unaccustomed to concealing its dirt, FDC officials shot straight from the hip in expressing and carrying on efforts to repress and act out reprisals for my exposing and challenging prison abuses.” Readers are urged to share this story widely and write to Rashid right away; mail equals support, and the more he gets, the safer he’ll be.

Folsom ASU protesters, dispersed and persecuted, suspend hunger strike, appeal for support inside and out

July 11, 2017

A swift salute to all of the supporters and those concerned with the ongoing fight to reform CDCR’s ASUs. As of June 19, the hunger strike has been suspended until further notice. It is unfortunate that we as prisoners must use this process in order to shine light on CDCR’s unwillingness to oversee its ASU conditions. CDCR allowed Folsom State Prison administration to retaliate, isolate and condone the poor conditions in its ASU. Now I’ve been transferred to even more extreme conditions.

Indiana prisoners call for families and supporters to fight back against new mail policy that bans children’s drawings, grandparents’ letters, even greeting cards

July 10, 2017

“Prison Lives Matter” and “Amend the 13th: Abolish Legal Slavery in Amerika Movement” are seeking to get the people, i.e., family, friends, inmates and the outside movement, involved in the struggle to raise awareness and fight the cruel and inhuman treatment of prisoners, the daily violations of our human and civil rights, and the economic exploitation of our families. Rally Friday, Aug. 11, 11 a.m., outside the Indiana Department of Corrections headquarters.

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Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March coming to Washington DC Aug. 19

July 9, 2017

On Aug. 19, 2017, Washington, D.C. will host a Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March to draw attention and national support to amend the 13th Amendment of the United States Constitution. The 13th Amendment has spawned various forms of penal slavery since its ratification such as the convict leasing system, the chain gang labor system, the prisoner agricultural workers system and the modern day prison slave sweatshops euphemistically called “correctional industries corporations.”

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Texas prisoner suffering stroke denied medical care, left for dead on cell floor for over 12 hours

July 8, 2017

Many courts have held that a serious medical need is “one that is so obvious that even a lay person would easily recognize the necessity of a doctor’s attention.” See Brown v. Johnson, 387 F.3d 516, 522 (7th Circuit, 2008). Being denied medical care at the Clements Unit Maximum Security Prison in remote Amarillo, Texas, is so common that the average prisoner here can expect to be denied some form of medical care during his stay.

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Discovering your humanity in an inhumane environment

July 3, 2017

Whether, we are in prison or in so-called free society, our lives should not be in the hands of people who have no value for human beings whatsoever. How can we expect someone to do the human thing when they have no respect or love for humans? This question has to be answered in order for prisoners who have found their humanity inside these inhumane prison environments to be treated humanely.

Mumia’s struggle for freedom reaches crucial stage

July 2, 2017

Mumia Abu-Jamal is a journalist, a former Black Panther, a MOVE supporter and an innocent political prisoner. His freedom from false murder charges is long overdue, after 36 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. Winning Mumia’s freedom would be a victory against this injustice system and pave the way for others, as did his victory to get Hep-C treatment, which helps Pennsylvania prisoners as well as other thousands nationwide.

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From Angola, Louisiana, Aljerwon’s story

July 1, 2017

A 23-year-old African American male is accused and convicted of murder in the second degree. Sadly, there is a higher chance of that happening with our young Black men than any other ethnic group in the U.S. Even when evidence favors a Black defendant, the verdict of guilty is handed down to Black males between the ages of 18 through 35 at four times the rate for whites. Take Aljerwon Moran, for instance.

The power of economics: One message, one mind, one movement

June 30, 2017

First and foremost, we must stay on message. And what is that message? We are uniting to End Mass Incarceration and Prison Slavery. In doing so, we have to keep at the forefront of our heart, mind and spirit that slavery – which predominates over mass incarceration – is an economic enterprise system that is mathematically put together and thus capable of being scientifically taken apart.

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Rev. Pinkney, free at last, is already back in action

June 29, 2017

In these days of tremendous change and social upheaval, it’s good to know that a man of impeccable integrity is back in the public arena. After two and a half years in various Michigan prisons, Rev. Edward Pinkney has returned to his home in Benton Harbor, Mich. A bulldog for social justice, the reverend, who turns 69 this year, shows no sign of slowing. As a fighter for justice, Rev. Pinkney brings many gifts to the table.

David Johnson of the San Quentin Six salutes political prisoner and expert jailhouse lawyer Ruchell Magee

June 28, 2017

Ruchell Magee’s legal knowledge was instrumental in stopping the legal lynching of the San Quentin Six. We owe him a debt of gratitude for his efforts and for the legal documents he prepared for us. I first met Ruchell in January 1970 upon my release from San Quentin’s B Section. I was housed in A Section and there is where I met James McClain and Ruchell. Ru was recognized on the yard as a sharp legal mind and helped many brothers get their cases overturned.

Answering a higher calling

June 27, 2017

Revolutionary greetings! As always, I come in the vision – the vision for land, independence, socialism and total liberation for all oppressed peoples; for the release of all political prisoners and prisoners of war, and the abolishment of legal slavery in amerikkka. We are seeing a phenomenon with the number of formations and individuals coming together in solidarity in order to organize for the Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March on Washington, D.C., on Aug. 19, 2017.

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True rehabilitation will put prisons out of the slavery business

June 26, 2017

Thank you for being patient with my absence and the new method of my way in reaching out to you to discuss what we are attempting to accomplish. First and foremost, I thank God for giving us a platform to be heard to alleviate or mitigate the number of unheard voices in our concrete jungles across Alabama. People ask me, “Why do you do this? Are you a rebellion junky?” I say, “No.” This is about the men around me and the women and children incarcerated in this state and country.

A mass work stoppage is the ultimate sanction

June 25, 2017

I would like to share my thoughts and some solutions to inmate pay. More and more people need to start filing grievances, doing legal work and writing state legislators in regards to our pay – peacefully. What has happened to me in the 20 years since our pay was last increased? Tobacco has gone up 600 percent, the average costs of food has gone up 300 percent, the price of TVs have doubled, more money is being made from the tablets, and the sizes of products have gone down while the prices go up.

Believing In Myself

June 23, 2017

I created my brand – my foundation – out of necessity. It was essential to my existence to find a purpose for my life that was greater than myself. I was tired of aimlessly traveling through life when all I had to show for it was a life sentence. That hangs over my head like a dark cloud. I had to ask myself, “What is your legacy going to be?” After pondering that question, I decided to turn my family name, Bim, into an inspirational slogan, Believing In Myself. I’m proud that I created something that the masses can relate to.

Have anti-Muslim sentiments arrived in prison?

June 23, 2017

The Central California Intelligence Center received a Suspicious Activity Report from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation in 2010. A guard reported that he conducted a search of two inmates’ cells. “Both inmates are Muslims who appear to have radical Islamic views. Both inmates have since been placed in our Administrative Segregation” (the hole). Anti-Muslim sentiments do not only exist in the outside world, they exist in prison, too.

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Muslims at Texas’ Clements Unit are being starved during Ramadan: ‘Don’t like it? Become a Christian’

June 21, 2017

In a year where Islamophobia is at an all-time extreme in Texas prisons, I think it is a perfect time for me to shed light of the injustice Muslim brothers are facing here at the Clements Unit. I am not Muslim myself, but I am against the oppression of all humans no matter how unpopular their social standing is. Since I have been in solitary confinement at the Clements Unit, I’ve witnessed the administration fail miserably at recognizing brothers fasting during Ramadan.

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