December 2, 2016
A call for a national work stoppage was issued for Sept. 9, 2016, to inmates all across America to bring an end to the “exception” – the slavery clause – in the U.S. Constitution’s 13th Amendment upholding slavery for prisoners. Sadly, I, along with a very small sprinkle of inmates here and there on “the farm” (a reference to Angola, a former slave plantation turned into the largest prison in the country) answered the call.
December 1, 2016
In January 1994, 23-year-old DeWayne Ewing and a girlfriend discarded a condom as they left a park in the Oakland hills. A rape took place in the same park a few days later, and three days after the rape, police found the condom under a bush and put it with the rape kit. Thirteen years later, in June 2007, police pulled DeWayne over for an illegal turn and arrested him for rape on a cold hit DNA match.
November 29, 2016
Leaving out of Pelican Bay solitary confinement torture prison facilities/units/cages for the first time on Jan. 23, 2015 – after arriving there Nov. 29, 1990 – I remember witnessing my first sunrise. It would be the first of many first time experiences of using my natural senses again after being buried alive in that concrete box deprived of the natural use of those senses for the last 25 years – a quarter century.
November 29, 2016
The San Francisco Bay View is an African American newspaper based in San Francisco, California. For over four decades, its progressive liberation journalism has been championing human right issues nationwide, especially on behalf of the thousands of men and women being warehoused inside one of the hundreds of dungeons dotting the national landscape of America. The owners of this newspaper, Willie and Mary Ratcliff, have been uncompromising in their support for prisoners. We owe them not only our support but our appreciation for being our spearhead in advocating for a variety of prisoners’ rights issues.
November 28, 2016
For those who are not familiar with W.L. Nolen, this beautiful New Afrikan brotha was one of the founders of the Black Liberation Movement in the California Prison System, along with Comrade George Jackson. Comrade W.L. Nolen was instrumental in shaping and molding the exemplary model of undaunting resistance that many of us New Afrikans now find ourselves emulating today.
November 22, 2016
On Nov. 10, 2016, the state of Texas transferred me and 43 other men to the Administrative Segregation Unit at the Eastham Unit in Lovelady, Texas. Eastham is one of the oldest units in the state. The conditions there are much worse than at the Telford Unit. The most glaring issue for prisoners and guards alike is contaminated drinking water! High levels of copper and lead have been found in the water supply. The water has a horrible stench to it. And the taste? absolutely repulsive!
November 16, 2016
While Barack Obama speaks without blushing about the virtues of the North American “democracy” and lectures us on human rights, an innocent man languishes in his cell, totally isolated, awaiting only death or for what the U.S. president alone can, but does not, do. Leonard Peltier, Anishinabe-Lakota, a leader of the American Indian Movement, AIM, writer and poet, has just completed 40 years in prison, and is one of the political prisoners jailed for the longest time in the whole planet.
November 14, 2016
You say / she killed him. / Not because / he’d put his hands up / or because / he’d turned / and walked away / or because / his car broke down. / She killed him / after / we’d trained her / in lethal violence / after / we’d given her / a gun and a badge / both loaded / with expectation / after / we’d trained her / to see him / not / as a stranded motorist / but / as a Black man / aka a threat.
November 12, 2016
City Attorney Dennis Herrera declared that the state’s current bail system is unconstitutional, and, in a court filing, Herrera said he will not defend the bail system in a federal class-action lawsuit brought by a national civil rights group against San Francisco’s sheriff. “This two-tiered system of pretrial justice does not serve the interests of the government or the public and unfairly discriminates against the poor,” Herrera told the court.
November 1, 2016
On Labor Day here at the William P. Clements Unit, a prison in remote Amarillo, Texas, the prisoners awoke to a late breakfast: a single PBJ sandwich, a small bowl of dry cereal and no beverage. This grossly inadequate meal, which is our common fare during institution-wide lockdowns, signaled that a weeks- or months-long lockdown was in effect. Hunger pangs set in almost immediately.
October 31, 2016
Sept. 9, 2016, was the start of the largest prison strike in U.S. history. Over 72,000 incarcerated workers in 22 states refused to provide their labor to profit the prison industrial complex. California forces 5,588 incarcerated workers to labor in exchange for little or no compensation. Another 4,000 earn $2 a day fighting Californian wildfires with inadequate training and equipment. The prison system in California reaped $207 million in revenue and $58 million in profit from forced labor in 2014-15.
October 30, 2016
My journey began in the mid-1980s, when folks in my community began to hear about a “supermax” prison that would be built in nearby Crescent City, California. At that time, my colleague Tom Cairns and Mike Da Bronx, my husband, and me were busy at KHSU producing a weekly radio show called Alternative Review. In 1990, I would get one of the first letters from that place, Pelican Bay State Prison. It came from a young man named Troy Williams. He liked my radio show.
October 29, 2016
Nearly a thousand subscribers to the Bay View newspaper were denied their September papers – and we suspect their October papers as well – because of its coverage of the nationwide strikes to end prison slavery that began Sept. 9. Prison officials censoring the paper claim it will incite disruption. Like claims that someone being beaten by a gang of cops is “resisting,” the Bay View is “disrupting” prison operations.
October 27, 2016
In a number of prisons around the country, the September Bay View was banned, and we suspect the October paper will be too. If your paper was denied, the prison is required to give you and the Bay View a notice saying why banning the Bay View is constitutional, allowing you and us to appeal that decision. So the first step is to insist on a notice and then appeal it; so will we. Here is George Rahsaan Brooks’ appeal. We think he’ll win, just as he did before.
October 26, 2016
As the culture of violence in Alabama’s prison system continues to spiral out of control, yet another provocation has resulted in another day of violence at Holman Prison. Holman is experiencing major staff shortages as a result of officers joining and supporting the non-violent work strikes being led by Free Alabama Movement. ADOC commissioners responded by dispatching CERT Team staff notorious for violent beatings, sexual harassment and excessive force.
October 22, 2016
Since opening its doors on Dec. 15, 1969, Alabama’s William C. Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore, Alabama, has been a bastion of violence, fear, pain and baleful human suffering. A Holman inmate was stabbed during a four-way fight and another died of an apparent suicide less than two weeks after the Department of Justice launched an investigation into violence, sex abuse, overcrowding and other issues at Alabama’s prisons.
October 20, 2016
I recently received a form that was generated by the California City Correctional Facility administration. This form notified me that I would not be allowed to read my Bay View newspaper this month. While this may seem like a clear constitutional violation, CDCR has stipulated by law that no inmate may possess any literature “which contains or concerns plans to disrupt the order, or breach the security, of any facility.”
October 16, 2016
This year at Holman in Atmore, Alabama, there have been five suicides in its segregation unit – more suicides or homicides than in its population. The latest was a mentally ill young man in his 20s. The conditions in the Administrative Segregation housing wings at the H.H. Coffield Unit located at Tennessee Colony, Texas are horrible, and these conditions have driven prisoners to suicide, approximately 13 deaths just this year! We need the broadest exposure of this horrifying trend.
October 15, 2016
Not since the 1980s, when the state of Michigan simultaneously ratcheted up “tough on crime” laws and eliminated good time credits, have Michigan’s prisons been so overcrowded and seething with so much discontent. Crammed into overcrowded prisons, underfed, denied proper medical care and programming while forced to work for declining slave wages as commissary prices rise, no wonder Michigan prisoners are rising up! The only question is, Why did it take so long?
October 8, 2016
At Holman Prison in Atmore, Alabama, only two officers reported for work for the second shift Saturday, Oct. 8. Officers confess being fed up with Gov. Robert Bentley’s putting their very lives in jeopardy simply to further his political agenda of institutionalizing Alabama with plans for new state-of-the-art prisons. The officers at Holman are walking off the job and refusing to come back to work after filing grievance after grievance concerning the ill treatment of prisoners, overcrowding and forced slave labor.