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Prison Stories

Woman prisoner hands shackled at waist

Imprisoned people facing medical neglect and violence: Family members and organizers speak out

November 26, 2015

On Nov. 11, an imprisoned person at Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF) faced extreme violence at the hands of prison guards. Stacy Rojas and three others were detained, physically abused, sexually harassed, strip searched in the presence of male guards, and kept without water, food or restrooms for 11 hours. Requests to speak with members of the prison’s Investigative Services Unit have so far been ignored.

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“No Price Is Too High” – Art: Damon Shuja Johnson, E-20385, RJDCF FA5-116, 480 Alta Rd., San Diego CA 92179

Prisoners, where is thy victory?

November 25, 2015

“You assist an evil system most effectively by obeying its orders and decrees. An evil system never deserves such allegiance. Allegiance to it means partaking of the evil. A good person will resist an evil system with his or her whole soul.” – Gandhi. Corrections Corporation of America and California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is the epitome of this quote, and it is not enough for those reading this to agree with the truths delineated herein.

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This powerful painting was created on something like a professional painter’s canvas, a piece of white cloth 22 inches square, that we plan to frame and hang on the wall. Maybe the artist will write again and tell us how he was able to do this. The message we see in it is the unconquerable dignity of New Afrikan people, so we’re calling it “We Are Kings and Queens.” – Art: Roger “Rab” Moore, G-02296, HDSP D3-121, P.O. Box 3030, Susanville CA 96127

Do Black lives matter behind prison walls?

November 24, 2015

Does being convicted of a crime forfeit all your rights as a human being? Does being railroaded through a clearly unjust, unequal and racist judicial system forfeit your human rights? Guilty or not, I am still a person. I am a human being. We need people to understand that the struggle for human rights, the struggle to be free and not murdered by the state or its agents doesn’t stop at the prison gates.

The Ricky Davis affair: A Hurricane Katrina story

November 23, 2015

It is clear that Ricky Davis never had a chance of receiving fairness in a toxic judicial environment. The Ricky Davis affair is just one of the little known travesties that has arisen as a result of Hurricane Katrina. In Louisiana, a life sentence means you die in prison. Mr. Davis’ act of heroism has turned him into a victim of an arbitrary racially motivated legal lynching. If Black Lives Matter, it’s hard to tell down here in Louisiana.

Ohio death row political prisoner Bomani Shakur (Keith LaMar) speaks

November 19, 2015

The Block Report speaks wit’ Ohio death row political prisoner Bomani Shakur (Keith LaMar) about the Lucasville Rebellion, the recent hunger strike that he came off of, the state of Ohio planning to set his execution date and more. Tune in for more at The Justice for Keith LaMar Campaign is asking you to join the fight to #FREEKeithLaMar. We must call for freedom not death.

'Free Rev. Edward Pinkney' graphic

Rev. Pinkney: I believe Berrien County officials have put a hit on me, inside the prison system

November 16, 2015

A heavy and cruel hand has been laid upon me. On Oct. 6, 2015, I was transferred back to Marquette Branch Prison, a two-day ride on the bus, shackled, mistreated and intimidated. I was forced to strip on five different occasions. I am forced into overcrowding, inadequate exercise, lack of clean clothing and inadequate medical care which violates the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

The Bay View first met Bomani Shakur and his comrades from the legendary Lucasville uprising when he wrote “If we must die,” published Jan. 5, 2011, two days into a hunger strike that succeeded in winning them the long sought privilege of contact visits – being able to touch their loved ones rather than “visit” on the phone through glass – and it was a source of inspiration for the California hunger strike that began that July. Bomani’s messages of support for the California hunger strikers helped them survive the hunger and retaliation.

Keith LaMar (Bomani Shakur) and other Lucasville prisoners on hunger strike since Nov. 9

November 13, 2015

Keith LaMar (Bomani Shakur) is an innocent man on death row in Ohio who began a hunger strike Monday, Nov. 9. His execution date could be set as early as January. Ohio built a special prison for Bomani and their other scapegoats from the 1993 11-day Lucasville prison rebellion, the longest in U.S. history. They call Bomani the worst of the worst, and they can’t wait to exterminate him. Now more prisoners are joining the strike. Call prison officials to support their demands.

Jesse Perez, web cropped

Prison guards face jury in retaliatory abuse of solitary confinement case – pack the courtroom through Friday, Nov. 20!

November 12, 2015

Jesse Perez, a young man buried alive in the Pelican Bay SHU, began advocating for a Prisoner Political Action Committee after the hunger strikes, when attention had turned to legislative action. Now he’s suing his jailers for their retaliation, and the judge denied defendants’ summary judgment motion. The trial began Nov. 9 and is expected to continue to Friday, Nov. 20. Pack the courtroom daily (except no court Thursday): Courtroom 4, 17th floor, Federal Building, 450 Golden Gate Ave., San Francisco.

Wopashitwe Mondo Eyen we Langa

Political prisoners for 45 years – yet Mondo and Ed live lives that matter

October 31, 2015

When people hear the story of Ed and Mondo, some say the prison time is a waste of their lives. They have wasted nothing. Despite their circumstances, and they are bleak to be sure, they each live productive lives, “lives that matter.” During the last 45 years, both men have continued to teach and influence, to set a positive example and guide their peers. They serve as a reminder to us all to make each day count for something more than ourselves.

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Hugo 'Yogi' Pinell, daughter Allegra Taylor hugging him New Folsom 080215, web cropped

Comrades hail hero and martyr Hugo Pinell

October 30, 2015

Letters continue to pour in to the Bay View from prisoners who remember the great Hugo “Yogi” Pinell as a hero and a martyr and want the world to know and remember him too. His work will not only be memorialized but also carried forth by all he has touched. You and your lessons will be remembered always – and, like you, will forever inspire resistance. Determination. The longing to be free. And the courage to fight for it.

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FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn

FCC cuts predatory phone rates to reconnect prisoners’ families

October 29, 2015

On Oct. 22, 2015, at an open meeting, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) passed proposed rules that substantively reform what advocates call a broken prison and jail telephone industry. The package of reforms ushered in by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and Commissioner Mignon Clyburn was heralded by advocate organizations that comprise the Campaign for Prison Phone Justice, along with myriad criminal justice reform and civil rights groups.

Tactical targeting of iconic activist Hugo Pinell

October 28, 2015

Time and time again, those of us behind these enemy lines are forced to consciously recognize the significance of the Black August attack on one of the iconic San Quentin Six. It is no puzzle for those familiar with the tactics and practices of prisoncrats that their spin doctors, like (CDCr spokesperson) Terry Thornton, promulgate deceptions to try and conceal the fact that the End Hostilities policy instituted by prisoners has been reasonably effective.

Jalil gets a visit from comrades with the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement in November 2009.

Attica book ban

October 26, 2015

On Oct. 7, political prisoner Jalil Muntaqim was denied four books which arrived for him at Attica Correctional Facility. Muntaqim is a former member of the Black Panther Party and Black Liberation Army and one of the longest held political prisoners in the world today; he has been incarcerated since 1971, when he was only 19 years old. Muntaqim was initially told he could have the books, but when a guard noticed that one of the titles in question was actually written by Muntaqim himself, he simply said, “No way.” This censorship is simply a more petty example of harassment directed against someone who is hated for what he represents.

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Kelevin Stevenson

Georgia, land of peanuts, pecans and prisons, has always been a penal colony

October 26, 2015

The Georgia Department of Corrections is operating a behavior modification torture program designed to break a prisoner’s mind, body and spirit in order to instill fear and docility into each prisoner placed in the program. Prisoners are deliberately denied proper nutrition, media access, medical services, religious and political expression, access to the courts etc. There is nothing positive about this program.

Women’s prisons as sites of resistance: An interview with Victoria Law

October 25, 2015

Too often, organizing work done by incarcerated women goes wholly unrecognized. In her book, “Resistance Behind Bars: The Struggles of Incarcerated Women,” Victoria Law focuses on the many forms of activism happening inside of women’s prisons, most of which never reach the dominant media. In the following interview, Law shares ways in which individual acts of resistance are building toward a transformational new reality.

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Stand firm collectively and denounce the actions that caused the death of Hugo ‘Yogi’ Pinell

October 24, 2015

Here’s where we are: Everyone who claims to be committed to the Agreement to End Hostilities needs to take care not to allow our beloved revolutionary giant Hugo “Yogi” Pinell’s death to be just another tragic and senseless bullshit reactionary violent statistic. Stand firm collectively and denounce those actions that caused Yogi’s death! This is a wake-up call to action!

'Together to End Solitary' logo

‘Together to End Solitary’ unites activists nationwide

October 24, 2015

No one is more knowledgeable about the lasting damage solitary confinement can cause than the tens of thousands of men, women and children experiencing it today. Building on the activism of these individuals, communities around the country are coming together to demand an end to long-term solitary confinement through public events and actions on the 23rd of each month in recognition of the 23 hours per day those in solitary confinement are confined to their cells.

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“Hugo ‘Yogi Beat’ Pinell” – Art: Kevin “Rashid” Johnson, 1859887, Clements Unit, 9601 Spur 591, Amarillo TX 79107

Brother Hugo Pinell: The tragic loss of a true servant

October 22, 2015

When I received the sad and shocking news about our loss of Brother Hugo Pinell, aka Yogi Bear and Dahariki, I must say it felt like a big blow to my gut. In losing our Brother Hugo Pinell, I lost not only a brother, but a comrade, hero, motivator and educator. This bold and principled revolutionary will be sorely missed. However, Brother Yogi would want for us to push ahead in the struggle. That way we’ll be paying our beautiful brother a great honor.

Prison officials, ACA inspectors ignore contaminated water in Texas prisons

October 21, 2015

In the September 2015 edition of Prison Legal News, Panagioti Tsolkas of the newly formed Prison Ecology Project wrote a scathing article that shed light on a serious problem at a prison located in Navasota, Texas. Dangerous levels of arsenic have been found at the Wallace Pack Unit. “How could the American Correctional Association continue to give Wallace Pack Unit passing marks and rave reviews if the drinking water is contaminated with poison?”

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Representative or the represented?

October 19, 2015

Recently, Congresswoman Corinne Brown revealed that white legislators from Florida’s redistricting body changed her district to include the state’s overcrowded but under-represented prisons. If the Congressional Black Caucus had fought for and prevailed on prisoner enfranchisement, Rep. Brown would have no viable argument against her redistricting, for prisoners would be allowed to vote as everyone else.

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