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Prison Stories

The Black ones too

July 1, 2015



During the recent events surrounding the murder of unarmed Black males by white police officers in this country, it has been pointed out, and correctly so, that America has a steep and tortured history concerning the murders of Blacks by whites – legally and illegally! But what has for the most part been left out of this real life and death conversation is the fact that Black police officers have done, and are still doing, the same thing as their white police partners.

Message to Black youth

June 30, 2015



Primacy should be given to an understanding of the material fact we are all one family. Our relations are consanguineous (related by blood) stemming from our common Afrikan ancestry. Each of you constitutes one link in the great chain that is representative of the whole, i.e., the family, which is also our New Afrikan (Black) Nation.

Proposition 47: The clock is ticking to apply for relief

June 29, 2015



By now, there’s a good chance that you’ve heard of Proposition 47 (Prop 47). With more than 3,200 people released from state prisons and 115,000 petitions filed under the law within the first six months of its passage, Prop 47 is likely the most significant reform to California criminal justice policy since 2011’s Realignment. It is critical that individuals with eligible criminal convictions act quickly because the law created only a three-year application window.

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“Censorship” – Art: Michael D. Russell, Pelican Bay

New California prison censorship rules ban ‘Windows 7 for Seniors for Dummies’ and ‘Your Child’s Development from Birth to Adolescence’ as too hot for prisoners

June 28, 2015



On April 30, the Office of Administrative Law gave the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation its approval on amended censorship regulations proposed by the department over a year ago. The amended regulations as approved and now in effect are essentially identical to those the department originally put forward on March 25, 2014, which drew sharp public criticism.

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“Bidness Etc” illustration of Abbvie Pharmaceuticals Limited’s success at capturing market share with its Hep C cure, Viekira Pak, Feb. 2015

US prisoners sue for constitutional right to lifesaving Hep C cure

June 27, 2015



Attorneys filed lawsuits in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts this week on behalf of prisoners who say they’re being denied new lifesaving treatment for Hepatitis C because of the cost of the drugs. Gilead Sciences manufactures two versions of the cure, Harvoni and Sovaldi. Abbvie Pharmaceutical Limited, formerly Abbot Labs, manufactures another, Viekira Pak. The cost of any one of the three is roughly $90,000.

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CCI Step Down Program is bogus

June 27, 2015



I have taken the position to shut down this fake SDP (Step Down Program) crap. So all of Step 4, who have the most to lose – we all agree that these latest types of 115s, or RVRs (CDCR Form 115, Rules Violation Reports), are just another way to keep us held in SHU or a means of bringing us back once we make it out to the General Population mainline, and we’d rather take our stance now!

This 1968 poster shows John Clutchette, George Jackson and Fleeta Drumgo being escorted by guards.

Soledad Brother John Clutchette asks for your help

June 26, 2015



I have read your publication periodically over the years, and after some discussion with fellow prisoners, it was suggested I seek your assistance with getting the message out there that I need help! The enclosed documents tell a lot of the story of what I’ve been up against for years. Most of my support system has died – mother, wife, daughter and sister. The Brother Keith Wattley took my case and fought it to a short lived victory.

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Unity between races is going strong; be proud of yourselves!

June 25, 2015



The End of Hostilities between races within the California prison system went into effect in 2012. Since that time, I am amazed at how the different races have worked diligently to unify with one another despite a few little hickups here and there. You all should be proud of yourselves for what you have been able to accomplish in such a very short period of time.

Rev. Pinkney, hero of Benton Harbor, speaks from prison

June 25, 2015



If we assume that life is worth living and that man has a right to survive, I will say the body of assorted judges, prosecutors and politicians must be held accountable for their wrongdoing – their action and inaction. We must find a right alternative to injustice in America. Rev. Edward Pinkney has been deprived of his liberty for the last six months. He sits in prison falsely accused of vote fraud, separated from loved ones and community.

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Strange fruit

June 23, 2015



The cherry blossoms with a bullet in its pit because its roots have been watered by the muffled screams of slaves hanging from its branches … A child plants a prayer in the garden of his mother’s mind next to his father’s broken dreams; she raises him on bitter milk and cold cereal: a meal she deems fitting to prepare him for the world. I sometimes wonder if Trayvon Martin and Oscar Grant are in heaven writing an epistle to the people on the same bullet?

After the Civil War, to maintain slavery, Black people, including children like these, were convicted of bogus crimes and forced to work for free. Just like today. Isn’t it time to end slavery?

We must leave the crops in the field

June 23, 2015



We have an opportunity to confront ourselves realistically, to have a stake in a real opportunity for freedom. The only way we can have an impact on the system is to make their oppression of us a financial burden that diminishes their profits rather than increases them. If they use the profits from your labor to write laws to keep you in prison, what does it profit you to work for them? If they intend for you to rot away in a cell, then let their crops rot away in the fields!

Anthony Robinson Jr. 2015, web cropped

The New Underground Railroad Movement

June 23, 2015



The New Underground Railroad Movement is a grassroots inside-outside organization that recognizes that the institutionalization of mass incarceration is the greatest civil rights and social issue we are faced with today. The New Underground Railroad Movement is dedicated to shutting down the “prison industrial complex” through tactical, organizational and grassroots work strikes, boycotts and class conscious empowerment.

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Four years since our hunger strikes began, none of our core demands have yet been met: Our protracted struggle must continue

June 21, 2015



We prisoners need to prepare for a massive peaceful protest and work stoppage if prison officials don’t change 1) The culture to which prisoners and their families are subjected: so much mental and physical torment; 2) End long term solitary confinement, as they promised; and 3) Implement our five core demands. Too many humans are suffering who don’t need to be suffering.

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“California Department of Corruption and Retaliation” – Art: Roger “Rab” Moore

The Fairness and Restoration Act of 2015

June 20, 2015



We as prisoners did not forfeit our citizenship when we came to prison or the laws which are designed to protect our basic human rights and dignity. The implementation and enforcement of the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act was a clear procedural deprivation of our rights under the Fifth and 14th Amendments. The Fairness and Restoration Act 2015 is about restoring fairness and justice to those who were denied it.

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San Quentin’s dreaded Adjustment Center, where George Jackson made his last stand

Death Row prisoners challenge torturous conditions in San Quentin’s ‘Adjustment Center’

June 19, 2015



Six condemned men living in extreme isolation in San Quentin’s Adjustment Center filed a class action lawsuit today seeking to end the inhumane and degrading conditions in which they are confined and challenging the complete absence of meaningful procedures by which they are placed and retained in those conditions.

Mumia was gravely ill when Johanna, with Abdul Jon and Pam Africa, visited him on April 6, 2015.

Johanna Fernandez: We need to bring Mumia home!

June 17, 2015



I visited Mumia this past Saturday, June 13. Mumia was in good spirits. We talked about the happenings of the world, and he shared a lot about his stay at Geisinger Medical Center. It is clear that the hospital contained the spread of skin lesions that were out of control, and in so doing contained the worst symptoms of a serious skin disease. But the skin disease itself remains active all over his body and undiagnosed.

Top doc blasts California prison health care

May 30, 2015



The California department of prisons threatened, muzzled and defamed a top medical officer at San Quentin for blowing the whistle on its shoddy mental health care, the doctor claims in court. Dr. Christopher S. Wadsworth, former chief psychiatrist and medical director of San Quentin State Prison, claims the state and 10 prison officials retaliated against him for a March 2014 memo on constitutionally inadequate conditions that continue today.

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Stop strip searching my mom!

May 29, 2015



The deadline to comment on new – and unacceptable – rules for prison visiting is Friday, June 5! Issued by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCr) supposedly to keep drugs and cell phones from being smuggled into the prisons – contraband most often brought in by guards for sale to prisoners – the new rules call for strip searching any visitor singled out by sniffing dogs. But only visitors have to submit to a strip search. All others entering are only subject to an airport type pat-down search. Please send in your comments by June 5 and in addition, everyone is urged to sign the petition described herein.

New study shows 44% of Black women have incarcerated family member

May 27, 2015



On May 20, 2015, the Du Bois Review published “Racial Inequalities in Connectedness to Imprisoned Individuals in the United States,” a groundbreaking article exposing the devastating effects of mass incarceration on the women who are so often left behind to pick up the pieces. The article reports that one in four women in the United States currently has an imprisoned family member.

The militarized Georgia Department of Corrections Special Operations Section demonstrates a cell extraction at Horizons Event Center during a career fair, where military personnel leaving the service were recruited to become guards. – Photo: Misuzu Allen, U.S. Air Force

We cannot live by bread alone: Texas abuses prisoners with denied food and bread-and-water diets

May 26, 2015



Food is routinely used by U.S. prison officials to summarily punish, torture, abuse and retaliate against prisoners. This happens with especial frequency in administrative segregation (solitary confinement) where prisoners are confined inside locked cells all day every day and must have all meals delivered by guards. Under such circumstances, we remain at guards’ total mercy “to eat or not to eat.”

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