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Prison Stories

Mumia Abu Jamal in wheelchair, Wadiya Jamal visit 040915, cropped

Wadiya Jamal: Help my husband get free! Mumia is dying in there!

April 13, 2015

On Thursday, April 9, 2015, I visited my husband, Mumia Abu-Jamal, at SCI Mahanoy. I saw the photos taken of Mumia during the visit on Monday, April 6, but I still wasn’t prepared for how Mumia looked. Seeing him in the prison visiting room, he was worse. I felt my husband is about to die. He was shivering so hard, I put my arms around him and my head to his chest to hear his heart and to bring some warmth to his body because he said he was freezing. We need to keep up the pressure. Let the warden and state corrections secretary know we insist that Mumia have medical specialists of his own choosing examine and treat him.

Human Rights Pen Pal Program flier, web

Visitor decries racism at Pelican Bay in open letter to warden

April 10, 2015

What decade is this? It is unthinkable that your staff would be allowed to threaten Mr. Crawford for having a friendship with two white women. Does this threaten the officers, make them insecure? There have been centuries of racist and patriarchal violence such as this and I refuse to stand by while my friend Mr. Crawford is subjected to more of the same.

'BloodZ n CripZ It's on'

Struggle without sacrifice is useless

April 10, 2015

Our 45-year protracted “civil war” between Damus (Bloods) and Kiwes (Crips) has probably claimed thousands of lives, if not millions, and it probably will claim a lot more lives if we don’t begin to change this vortex of violence that has plagued us as a people internally. The unifying of our strengths is basic to our people’s survival.

“Pelican Bay SHU Half Living, Half Dying” – Art: Michael D. Russell, C-90473, PBSP SHU D7-217, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City CA 95532

Prisoner Human Rights Movement fights on many fronts to reclaim our lives and freedom

April 10, 2015

We must carry out our prison struggle. We stand in solidarity with all oppressed prisoners, men and women. The Prisoners Human Rights Movement is needed to reclaim our lives and freedom, end all state and federal abuses of prisoners and stop the mass incarceration of humans, especially the poor.

Mumia, no glasses, barely able to stand Mahanoy infirmary 040615, cropped

See how sick Mumia is – keep calling!

April 7, 2015

Mumia struggled to get out of his wheelchair so that we could take a photo of him. We share these photos to give you a sense of the gravity of Mumia’s condition. He has lost over 50 pounds, and his entire body is covered with a hard, leathery layer of jet-black skin, that is bloody, painful and itchy. Yet he chuckled as he read letters from school children. Keep calling to demand that outside doctors of Mumia’s choosing be allowed to evaluate and treat him immediately. A National Day of Action has been called for Friday, April 10. The Bay Area rally is at 4 p.m. in front of the Oakland Federal Building, 1301 Clay St. Be there! And listen to the Block Report Radio interview with Mumia’s son, Jamal.

Mumia and Wadiya share the joy of their first contact visit (no glass between them) on Feb. 6, 2012, after he was released from 30 years on death row and in solitary confinement.

Mumia’s wife, Wadiya Jamal: It’s time to stop trying to kill my husband and free him now!

April 6, 2015

Guards stood outside the hospital room and one was inside the room with Mumia. I was shocked at his condition: He had lost over 40 pounds, was weak, barely able to sit up and keep his head up, handcuffed to his chair, with labored breathing and dry mouth. I told him about all the love outpouring for him and that the world is watching!

The text in this powerful painting was supposed to say: “No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning oneself,” a quote from the 19th century philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. However, as Shuja’s wife Shamika explains, the realities of prison life can get in the way. They can “take away from the beauty of art and self-expression, but sometimes they make it more powerful. We spell corrected the quote and Shuja wrote it out before he added it to the painting, but somehow between keeping them from destroying his work and staying alert and aware of his surroundings, his attention to detail was interrupted. He won’t be able to fix it. Now that he’s mailed it out, I can’t mail it back to him. It’s not allowed.” During Shuja’s nearly 30 years of incarceration, medical neglect has made him permanently disabled and confined him to a wheelchair. He’s stayed sane by developing into an outstanding artist, his paintings and cartoons featured in the Bay View for many years. It’s time to bring him home. – Art: Damon Shuja Johnson

Let’s help Shuja come home to his family

April 5, 2015

Damon Shuja Johnson writes: “I am writing this letter to humbly ask if I can call upon you to send a letter of support on my behalf to the Board of Parole Hearings (BPH). I need your help!” During Shuja’s nearly 30 years of incarceration, medical neglect has made him permanently disabled and confined him to a wheelchair. He’s stayed sane by developing into an outstanding artist. Now it’s time to bring him home to his loving family.

“Mumia: He Ain’t Free Cuz We Ain’t Free” – Art: Kevin “Rashid” Johnson, 1859887, Clements Unit, 9601 Spur 591, Amarillo TX 79107

Mumia’s life is in danger; only the people can save him – keep calling!

April 4, 2015

Now is the time for everyone to actively jump into the movement full force. We must mobilize the way we did in 1995 and 1999 to stop the execution. We must use all of our energy to immediately demand proper medical care for Mumia and push for his full release. Keep calling the heads of Corrections and of Mahanoy Prison. Contribute to Mumia’s Emergency Medical Fund. All who can are urged to join the caravan Monday, April 6, to Corrections Secretary Wetzel’s office. And all who cannot be there are urged to CALL 717-728-4109, especially before 8 a.m. Monday. See Sunday night update.

Mumia Abu Jamal in 2013

Mumia’s son says, ‘My father is in pain,’ as Mumia is sent back to prison

April 2, 2015

“My father is in pain,” Mumia Abu-Jamal’s son Jamal Hart related to his uncle and Mumia’s oldest brother, Keith Cook, after a brief 10-minute visit with Mumia Wednesday at the Schuylkill Medical Center. “He was having trouble breathing and wasn’t doing as well as he was yesterday.” Nevertheless, Mumia was transferred back to the infirmary at SCI Mahanoy – the same prison infirmary that failed to identify his diabetes, gravely misdiagnosed him and gave him severely detrimental treatment. Readers are urged to call and contribute.

This photo taken last year of Mumia with his oldest son, Jamal Hart, and his oldest brother, Keith Cook, shows how thin Mumia was even before this diabetic crisis. Now he has lost 70-80 pounds in the past three months.

Mumia Abu-Jamal hospitalized in diabetic shock, guarded, family and friends denied access

March 31, 2015

Imprisoned journalist and former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal has been taken to the Intensive Care Unit of Schuylkill Medical Center in Pottsville, Penn., without any notification to his family, friends or lawyers. Abu-Jamal’s longtime friend, Professor Johanna Fernández, said, “We were told he was in diabetic shock and taken to the hospital.” Listen to an interview with Professor Fernández recorded by Block Report Radio at about 8 a.m., March 31, and an interview with Mumia’s brother, Keith Cook, recorded this morning, April 1. This story is being updated frequently.

This imaginative sign appeared at the Oakland action on March 23.

Gov. Jerry Brown, AG Kamala Harris and CDCr officials, you have the power to stop torture in California prisons

March 29, 2015

We are sharing our express concerns as the CCI Prisoner Human Rights Movement Local Council – Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa (Dewberry), Danny Troxell, Antonio Villagrana and George Ruiz – concerning the non-functional operation of Steps 1 through 4 and how we as SHU Step Down Program prisoners are being denied our federal and state constitutional rights to equal protection and substantive and procedural due process.

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SHU-shifting: An update on and overview of the Ashker v. Brown class action

March 28, 2015

Some nine months after allowing certification of two classes in Ashker v. Brown, Judge Claudia Wilken issued her written order granting Plaintiffs’ Motion for Leave to File a Supplementary Complaint on March 9, 2015. Pursuant to the order, a supplemental class of plaintiffs – those who’ve spent 10 years or more in Pelican Bay State Prison’s SHU but have recently been transferred to other California SHUs – may proceed with their Eighth Amendment claims as class representatives.

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Free Speech Society: Forum for prison activists inside and out

March 25, 2015

The Free Speech Society (FSS) is primarily a movement to defend and preserve the rights of imprisoned activists to inform society of the social contradictions of the prison industrial slave complex in hopes of educating the people not only to the existence of these social ills but their impact on their daily lives. Join us in this historic effort and support the FSS with your time, talent and treasure.

“Trapped, Isolated” – Art: Roger “Rab” Moore (address above)

The criminality of solitary confinement

March 21, 2015

In this series of articles, we have traced the various mechanisms whereby the prison procedures of “gang validation” are used to deny the civil rights, the human rights and even the humanity of the prisoners. These procedures mark the criminality of the prison administration. The real crime problem in the U.S. is the prison system itself and its judicial machine. Together they are making justice and democracy practically impossible.

Abdul Olugbala Shakur

Grant ‘Strategic Release’ to Abdul Olugbala Shakur

March 20, 2015

A petition for Strategic Release, a groundbreaking initiative to free prisoners with a record of service to their communities, will for the first time be presented to the Parole Board April 2, 2015, on behalf of Abdul Olugbala Shakur. A two-sided petition form to print out, sign and circulate is posted below. Signed petitions must be returned in time to send them to the Parole Board by April 2. An online petition is also available.

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Successful motion in court strengthens California prisoners’ case against solitary

March 10, 2015

Pelican Bay prisoners named as plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit against the use of solitary confinement in California gained an important victory yesterday. U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken ruled in favor of a motion allowing prisoners who have been in solitary confinement for more than 10 years, but have been transferred out of Pelican Bay State Prison since the lawsuit was first filed, to remain eligible as class members in the case.

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Prison artist uses ‘visual language’ to inspire his brothers

March 2, 2015

I’ve learned to use the term “visual language,” meaning I try my best to let my art creations speak to the people in a way they’ll feel and deeply understand intuitively just by viewing it. I really hope you like this composition. This art is simply titled “Help Me,” being a composition. You can see everything in it is arranged in relation to each other, especially the pain we endure as people of color.

On leaving solitary confinement after 26 years, I salute all the advocates of progressive positive change

March 1, 2015

Today, Jan. 23, 2015, I appeared before the Director’s Review Board and I was granted release from PBSP SHU (Pelican Bay State Prison Security Housing Unit) after 26 years in solitary confinement. I’m to be transferred to Salinas Valley State Prison, where I’ll be able to have human contact and new experiences and hopefully be able to re-meet my family.

To Hunters Point

February 28, 2015

This is a bigger giant that we all must come together and fight. There’s too many young men warring with each other and not with the real enemy. The true enemy is the one who’s telling your mothers, grandmothers, fathers, baby mothers, kids, friends to pack up their things and move, while the police ride around victimize us because of our skin colors. They even go as far as killing us just because of someone videoing them doing their job in a vicious way.

This is California Men’s Colony, built in 1954; it houses over 4,000 prisoners. According to Capital Engineering Consultants and Soltek Pacific Construction, they completed a new 50-bed mental health crisis facility there in 2012.

Nurse Paul Spector blows the whistle on torture in a California prison

February 27, 2015

For decades, prisoners in California have protested the torturous conditions they are subjected to. Now a nurse has come forward who worked in a California prison and can speak to personally witnessing some of these horrors perpetrated by some of his colleagues at the California Men’s Colony State Prison in San Luis Obispo. Paul Spector was fired from his job for speaking out. Check him out in his own words …

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