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Prison Stories

Against racism, for hope and healing, support Coyote and his family as he returns to jail

January 22, 2017

Coyote Acabo caught a felony assault case in July of 2015 during a Black Lives Matter protest while defending a comrade who was put in a chokehold by a white inebriated man enraged that his good time country music show was interrupted by a group of cacophonous, banner-bearing protesters. The Bay View met Coyote years ago when he was locked up in Nevada and sent us one of his brilliant commentaries on the evils of imprisonment. We rejoiced with him when he was released and ask readers to support him now as he’s locked up for doing the right thing. Donate what you can at https://rally.org/supportcoyoteacabo.

Rashid attacked: Texas prison officials are punishing us for exposing their abusive ways to the media

January 19, 2017

It is well known among staff and prisoners that if we file a grievance without any physical evidence, their failure to admit the allegations results in our claims being dismissed. Simply enough, they lie during any investigation. Outside pressure and exposure is one aspect that can counter this, which is what Rashid has been doing for years. Staff are now realizing this, too, and are retaliating to cause disruption and preserve their practices.

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President Obama, grant clemency to Dr. Mutulu, Veronza, Leonard, Oscar and, posthumously, Marcus Garvey

January 14, 2017

Dear Mr. President, On behalf of The Malcolm X Commemoration Committee, a memorial and humanitarian project dedicated to preserving the legacy of Malcolm X in New York City, we urgently, though respectfully, implore you to grant executive clemency to Dr. Mutulu Shakur, Veronza Bowers, Leonard Peltier, Oscar Lopez Rivera and posthumously to Marcus Garvey for both humanitarian reasons and in the interests of justice.

The Folsom 6 who stood up for Yogi are vindicated

January 14, 2017

On Oct. 14, 2016, the last six convicts – the Folsom 6 – were brought to court in Folsom State Prison accused of ambushing several correctional officers on C Facility, Sept. 24, 2015, six weeks after Brother Hugo “Yogi” Pinell was ambushed by several white inmates on B-Yard with some corrupted correctional officers’ assistance. The judge could not fix his face to the camera as he read the decision that the charges were dismissed on all defendants on the basis of insufficient evidence.

Mumia: Hepatitis C gets a knockout punch! – Update: DOC appeals, the struggle continues

January 10, 2017

Just a few hours ago, I placed a call to my civil lawyer, Bret Grote of the Pittsburg-based Abolitionist Law Center. I could hear the excitement in his voice. “Did you hear the news yet?” he asked. I hadn’t. Then he told me that U.S. District Judge Robert Mariani granted our motion for a preliminary injunction, ordering heath care staff on the DOC’s Hepatitis Care Committee to cease their unconstitutional protocol in my case and to begin treatment of my hepatitis infection with direct-acting antiviral medications.

Prison strike organizers to protest food giant Aramark

January 8, 2017

The people who organized the country’s biggest prison strike against what they call modern-day slavery have planned their next target: corporate food service giant Aramark. The $8.65 billion company is one of the country’s largest employers and serves food to more than 100 million people a year. It also provides meals for more than 500 correctional facilities across the country and has been the subject of complaints about maggots and rocks, sexual harassment, drug trafficking and other employee misconduct.

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Decarcerate Louisiana for sustainable economies

January 3, 2017

We are freedom fighters incarcerated at Angola State Prison and are moving to build our organization Decarcerate Louisiana. We’re advocating for community reinvestment. We believe in sustainable economies and strong local communities. Decarcerate Louisiana is organizing to redress injustice and to battle against systemic racism, classism, inequality, oppression, repression, criminalization and mass incarceration in our communities.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch: Grant compassionate release to Richard ‘Mafundi’ Lake

January 2, 2017

We write to ask your assistance in securing compassionate release from prison for an elderly, disabled prisoner in poor health.
Richard (Mafundi) Lake is serving a sentence of life without the possibility of parole in an Alabama state prison – the mandatory term under the state’s “three strikes and you’re out” policy. Now 76, Mafundi is in poor health in an overcrowded prison that is inadequately heated during the cold weather and without air conditioning in the stifling Alabama summers.

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California blames incarcerated workers for unsafe conditions and amputations

January 1, 2017

In September, prisoners across the country launched a nationwide strike to demand better working conditions at the numerous facilities that employ inmate labor for little or no pay. Inmates in America’s state prisons – who make everything from license plates to college diploma covers – are not only excluded from the U.S. Constitution’s prohibition on slave labor, but also exist largely outside the reach of federal safety regulations meant to ensure that Americans are not injured or killed on the job.

President Obama: Support Dr. Mutulu Shakur’s clemency petition

December 31, 2016

We are writing to urge you to commute the sentence of Dr. Mutulu Shakur. He has served more than 30 years in prison for his conviction arising from his participation in the social justice movement of the past century. He is recognized as a leading member of the movement for human rights for African-Americans. Granting Shakur clemency will be an act of grace and healing that is much needed in our racially divided society today.

President Obama: Issue a medical parole for Imam Jamil Al-Amin, formerly known as H. Rap Brown

December 30, 2016

Imam Jamil, 73, has suffered imprisonment for over 16 years – 12 years in solitary confinement, for no reason. Seven of those years were in the “supermax” federal prison in Florence, Colorado. While in that Administrative Maximum Facility, he had no human contact, no fresh air, nor sunlight. Now that Imam Jamil has been diagnosed with an incurable cancer and the prison has proven unable to provide medical care, please release him to Humanitarian Parole.

Killing time: Lawsuit reveals officials killed prisoner, framed cellmate and lied to media

December 30, 2016

To punish Rashid for writing this, retaliatory guards massively gassed him while handcuffed, plus his bedding and cell walls and refuse to decontaminate; sign the RootsAction petition now (link inside)! Within a year, three federal lawsuits have been brought behind the tortured deaths of men imprisoned at the William P. Clements Unit in remote Amarillo, Texas. The latest suit was filed against 33 security and medical staff, concerning their roles in the Jan. 19, 2016, death of Alton Rodgers.

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Sitawa: Exiting solitary confinement – and the games CDCr plays

December 29, 2016

It is very important that you all clearly understand the depth of human torture to which I was subjected for 30-plus years by CDCr and CCPOA.* The torture was directed at me and similarly situated women and men prisoners held in Cali­fornia’s solitary confinement locations throughout CDCr, with the approval and sanc­tioning of California governors, CDCr secretaries and directors, attorneys general, along with the California Legislature for the past 40 years.

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If Black lives really matter, we need the courage to police the police and stop killing us

December 26, 2016

We point fingers all we want, but we can’t do that unless we’re ready to look in the mirror at ourselves. The mirror doesn’t lie.
We have to stop killing us for Black lives to matter. We have to do something about the drugs in the hood. We have to teach the kids that’s having kids how to be parents. I was 15 with a kid. My story is very epic in that I am the epitome of what the youth in the hood face every day. I just haven’t figured out how to use my story and voice to help change things.

When we don’t fight hate, we are preparing for others to die

December 24, 2016

In light of what occurred in Orlando, Florida, and other mass shootings, it comes as no surprise to any of us that the political establishment wants and encourages us to think of madness like this within the narrow context of gun control – taking guns out of the hands of criminals. But, the question must now be asked of the larger community: Why are we so unwilling to view and struggle around what these acts really are – hate!

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Alabama prisoner commits suicide just weeks after testifying in federal mental health trial

December 23, 2016

Last week, an Alabama state prisoner who had testified in an ongoing federal trial over the state of mental health care in state prisons was found dead, apparently of suicide. According to the Alabama Department of Corrections, he was found unresponsive, hanging from a piece of cloth in his cell. The state’s attorney said, “Jamie’s case is emblematic of the utter neglect and mistreatment of people with serious mental illness in ADOC prisons.”

Mutope: Because the Bay View was there for us, the world came to our defense

December 20, 2016

We, the people, have to realize that our current contradictions are not just about economics, but instead are about being able to speak truth to the powers that be. Case in point, if we hadn’t been able to express in great detail what we prisoners were suffering from while being held in solitary confinement and have our letters published in the Bay View, then our voice would have never been heard. But because the Bay View was there for us, the world came to our defense.

From media cutoffs to lockdown, tracing the fallout from the U.S. prison strike

December 19, 2016

Prisons in some states are withholding newspapers from inmates amid a strike against prison conditions and billions of dollars worth of prison labor. The passing of the 13th Amendment in 1865 formally abolished slavery, but with a stipulation that enabled plantation owners to use prisoners as a replacement for the lost labor. As a group called the Free Alabama Movement rallied for a Sept. 9 labor strike in spring, prison authorities across the country began clamping down on news and information in ways that the ACLU says may be in violation of the First Amendment.

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Women in Texas prison decry abuse, banning of Bay View: ‘There’s no exaggerating the inhumane treatment that saturates Miserable Murray’

December 14, 2016

A few months ago, I exposed the corruption of this particular unit and others across Gatesville, Texas, striving for justice, peace and respect to no avail. In response to the grievances, articles and complaints the women here have written, we’ve been subjected to more abuse. Out of retribution, the mailroom has banned the San Francisco Bay View newspaper from subscribers to receive and also ransacked several dorms to confiscate all newspapers any offenders were in possession of.

Free Alabama Movement: Kinetik Justice under attack; protect him now!

December 12, 2016

Today Swift Justice received information that Kinetik Justice (Robert Earl Council), co-founder of the Free Alabama Movement, was assaulted by two correctional officers at Limestone Correctional Facility last week. Swift Justice asked us to pass these words along: “TODAY I ask EVERYONE, no matter what state or country, to unite and protect Kinetik Justice in a time he needs us most!”

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