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Prison Stories

California moves to curb solitary confinement

April 14, 2014

Following a mass hunger strike by prisoners in California last year, some state legislators promised to reform the use of Security Housing Units (SHU). This week, Assembly Bill 1652, passed the Assembly Public Safety Committee. It now heads to the Assembly Appropriations Committee. If the bill becomes law, prisoners would only be sent to SHU for specific serious rules violations that come with determinate SHU sentences.

Menard hunger strikers still fighting to be treated like human beings

April 12, 2014

I am currently incarcerated at Menard Correctional Center in Illinois and housed in the high security unit in administrative detention. I was one of the inmates who was on hunger strike over harsh living conditions and denial of our due process, which is still going on. No! Things haven’t changed after the hunger strike was over. We still are in a fight to be treated like a human being. Just know we haven’t quit our fight.

Women prisoners plead for help

April 10, 2014

Two women writing to expose abuse that has terrorized them at CIW (California Institution for Women) wish not to reveal their identities for fear of more retaliation. We have no voice. There is no one to help us. PLEASE HELP! How you can help: Contact the CIW warden, Kimberly Hughes, at California Institution for Women, 16756 Chino-Corona Road, Corona, CA 92880, 909-597-1771.

Joint hearing on solitary prisoner supporters in overflow room 021114

Public Safety Committee to hear Ammiano’s solitary confinement bill

April 8, 2014

The Assembly Public Safety Committee, chaired by Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, will hear Ammiano’s AB 1652 to control use of solitary confinement on Tuesday, April 8, at 9 a.m. in Room 126 of the State Capitol. The bill comes out of a series of in-depth hearings held in the wake of prisoner hunger strikes in 2011 and 2013. AB 1652 limits the violations and situations for which a prisoner can be placed in SHU.

Step Down Program: Orwell’s story come true

April 1, 2014

George Orwell’s book titled “1984” was about a police state that controlled every aspect of life, including thinking, enforced by the “Thought Police.” This book comes to mind when I hear of the new Step Down Program CDCR is implementing. Its components are not new. California has had and still has programs like this in juvenile facilities as an attempt – which is often successful – to reprogram the youth’s mind to become controlled and subservient to the police state. Submit your comments on the Security Threat Group/Step Down Program regulations by 5 p.m. on April 3 to m_STGRegulation@cdcr.ca.gov by email or 916-324-6075 by fax.

Security Threat Group policy is sugarcoated racial profiling aimed at torture

April 1, 2014

The experimental Security Threat Group (STG) gang identification policy is not what CDC is making it out to be. It’s a sugarcoated form of racial discrimination and racial profiling to cover their ass in torturing human beings in California’s isolation units.

Petition for Black Victims’ Restitution

March 31, 2014

The New Afrikan Prison Rights Movement is presently promoting the concept of a Black Community Victims Foundation. The BCVF will be responsible for serving our victims of violent crimes. The BCVF will be community-based and independent from government and/or law-enforcement influences. This is a health and safety issue. We hope to establish a chapter in every New Afrikan community.

An end to ‘the hole’? 6 signs that solitary confinement reform is coming

March 30, 2014

Roughly 80,000 people are held in solitary in the United States on any given day, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, in many cases for minor violations of prison rules (or no violation at all – ed.). Much of the momentum in the movement to reform the use of solitary confinement in the United States comes from the work of prisoners themselves.

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'Humanity' by Michael D. Russell, web

We are the world

March 29, 2014

We human beings are a political, social, cultural and economic force trapped within the colonial powers of our oppressors’ system, in and out of prison. Our struggle is for absolute self-determination and liberation on a national and international level, by way of changing from scientific capitalism into a scientific socialist system, which is crucial for changing and ending human suffering.

Shadae (Dae Dae) Schmidt

Demand a special review into the death of Shadae ‘Dae Dae’ Schmidt

March 29, 2014

Shadae Schmidt, aka Dae Dae, was a 32-year-old African-American woman who died of a heart attack on March 13, 2014, at CIW prison in Chino. We suspect her death is due to medical negligence because she had been asking for medical help for weeks. We are asking for as many people as possible to demand that the federal medical receiver’s office conduct a special review into Shadae’s death immediately.

Not just me, we!

March 29, 2014

To more or less justify their new plan of attack on prisoners, CDCr is adding street gangs to their already burgeoning list of people they can throw into extreme, inhuman isolation for the ficklest of reasons. Waving at someone can be construed as a gang signal.

Bobby McClelland, cropped

Proven innocent: The case of Bobby McClelland

March 28, 2014

As the world laid to rest Nelson “Madiba” Mandela, who was wrongfully incarcerated for 27 years, I thought about the case of Bobby McClelland. He was arrested 23 years ago on May 19, 1990, for an alleged attempted murder and processed through the same Los Angeles County Jail that was recently indicted on 18 federal counts for, amongst other things, obstruction of justice.

'Dare to Struggle' art by Carlos Ramirez, P-69993, PBSP SHU C9-106, web

Power concedes nothing: A discussion on CDCr’s insidious regulatory semantics and judicial collusion in maintenance of SHU torture units

March 28, 2014

Our struggle to abolish SHU torture units is inextricably linked to the broader struggle to seize cultural hegemony in the U.S. from the ruling class and its tool, the state. Our collective efforts have repeatedly exposed the state’s contradictions and sparked the people’s appetite for freedom and new social relationships. These activities undermine the reactionary character structure upon which authoritarian society is based. These actions are thus revolutionary.

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The hearts of warriors

March 26, 2014

The connection between the minds and hearts of the people has grown so distant, so impersonal, so unlike the revolutionary spirit of the 1960s that the heartbeat of the movement can barely be felt or heard anymore. Come closer. Has the system been so effective in beating the fight out of the struggle that, when the eyes of warriors meet, we no longer recognize each other?

Pelican Bay earthquake prompts double locking of cells, reveals need for united front

March 25, 2014

Know your enemy from your friend. On March 10, not too far from Pelican Bay State Prison, a 6.9 earthquake struck in Eureka and the powerful vibration was felt miles around. At that moment my thoughts began racing and the thought which prevailed was this: “If these haphazardly-designed concrete slabs began collapsing, we’d all be in the same damn boat – crushed dead.”

Blood in my pen

March 24, 2014

My pen cutting wounds into the surface, forming letters, creating words that express my existence. — Wounds that never seem to heal because they are real testaments to who I am, where I come from, and what I been through. — Peroxide only seems to palliate the damage, making the healing process dawdle. — Locked in solitary confinement, fighting a war that’s within myself.

Panther unleashed

March 23, 2014

Comrades, after nearly two years of 23-hour lockdown in Ad-Seg here in Texas, I have recently been released to general population. I spent close to one year on one of the most notoriously abusive high security units in Texas, the Estelle High Security Unit located in Huntsville. Unknown to the fascist oppressors who held me captive on Estelle, I kept meticulous records of the abuse and mistreatment I witnessed and fell victim to.

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Striking Georgia prisoners name names, allege sexual abuse, ongoing threats and maltreatment by staff

March 20, 2014

Not quite a month ago, I wrote that we at Black Agenda Report had received word of a new self-organized hunger strike among prisoners in Georgia’s notorious Diagnostic and Classification Prison at Jackson. A second communication says eight prisoners are still refusing food and are on the receiving end of abuse and threats from correctional officers at Jackson. The note also sheds some chilling light on the reason for the prisoners’ self-organized action.

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Hunger strikes spread to Texas detention center

March 19, 2014

After a massive hunger strike inside the Tacoma Detention Center reached its 11th day, detainees found their effort spreading to other facilities inspired by their demands. Immigrants held at the Joe Corley Detention Center in Conroe, Texas, initiated their own fast in protest of their treatment at the facility run by the same company, the GEO Group, and as part of the nation-wide call for an end to deportations.

Major reform of solitary confinement introduced in California Senate

March 17, 2014

Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, today introduced new legislation to revise and reform solitary confinement conditions and procedures in California’s prisons. “Isolating large numbers of inmates for long periods of time, as we are currently doing, is an expensive and deeply troubling practice that undermines effective rehabilitation and long-term public safety,” Sen. Hancock said.

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