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Prison Stories

Hugo Antonio Lyon Martinez Pinell, March 10, 1944-Aug. 12, 2015: In your absence

August 1, 2017

In your absence — I am forced to accept the truth: You are not here with us. It’s been a two-year roller coaster ride; I have been up, down and all around with my emotions, as well as my thoughts. Tears stream down my face, and sometimes with a smile, when I am in deep thought of how much love you gave to me – and I miss that. In your absence — I have been angry enough to want to SHOUT to the mountains about the torture and corruption you experienced at the hands of them who held you captive for 51 years.

On Dec. 6, 1865, Black bodies were nationalized – and our prison movement was born

August 1, 2017

As I write this article, I am not sure what day the Civil War began or what day it ended. The facts that I do know about the Civil War are not worth repeating here, as that story already occupies plenty of space in American text. My muse, instead, is about the particular vestige of slavery that the Civil War bequeathed to us on Dec. 6, 1865, that now forms the basis of our struggle to end mass incarceration and prison slavery in 2017.

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Free California political prisoners Romaine ‘Chip’ Fitzgerald and Ruchell ‘Cinque’ Magee

July 31, 2017

Resolution calling for the release of California political prisoners Romaine ‘Chip’ Fitzgerald and Ruchell ‘Cinque’ Magee —
WHEREAS, Romaine “Chip” Fitzgerald and Ruchell “Cinque” Magee have been incarcerated for their political views and actions in support of the Black Liberation Movement; WHEREAS, even while in prison, Romaine “Chip” Fitzgerald and Ruchell “Cinque” Magee continue to adhere to their principles;

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An introduction to the Peoples Prison Defense Committee

July 31, 2017

I’ve been actively working on the blueprint and inner working of a nonprofit, The Peoples Prison Defense Committee, which will be a wing of or in partnership with George Jackson University. PPDC is a grassroots non-profit organization whose primary mission is rooted in prison and parole oversight. Through information, direction, providing of resources and community awareness and engagement, the committee seeks to bridge the gap between the community and the prison.

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Rising temperatures can kill Texas prisoners. Corrections ignored that, says federal judge

July 30, 2017

A federal judge in Houston ordered a geriatric prison in Texas to help inmates overcome extreme heat and rising summer temperatures, referencing climate change in a groundbreaking ruling this week. U.S. District Judge Keith Ellison deemed it cruel and unusual that state corrections are aware of dangerous and lethal heat risks – at least 23 men in Texas prisons have died from the heat in the last 20 years – yet have failed to impose safeguards.

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Survivors of long term solitary confinement petition for institutional restitution

July 30, 2017

To: CDCr Secretary Scott Kernan and Director Kathline Allison — From: Abdul Olugbala Shakur (aka J. Harvey, C48884) and Joka Heshima Jinsai (aka S. Denham, J38283) — The following is what we believe to be just and fair and reasonable requests considering the inhumane treatment that many of the prisoners were being subjected to while housed in solitary confinement, or isolation, for decades, especially at Pelican Bay State Prison and Corcoran State Prison.

Federal judge orders air conditioning installed in Texas prison in response to prisoners’ lawsuit

July 29, 2017

In an amazing and quite shocking turn of events, federal Judge Keith P. Ellison from the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division, has ORDERED the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to install air conditioning at the Wallace Pack Unit, located in Navasota, Texas. The prison agency has 180 days to comply. Most of this ongoing struggle for human rights has been published right here in the San Francisco Bay View, but please allow me to refresh your memory.

Black August statement 2017

July 29, 2017

Black August Memorial (BAM) is our socialist oriented institution that was developed out of the special need for New Afrikan (Black) people in Amerika to implement our own ways and means to commemorate the selfless sacrifices and deeds rendered by many New Afrikan (Black) heroes and sheroes – exposing to the light of day the injustices heaped upon us daily in pursuit of the New Afrikan (Black) freedom, justice, equality and human and civil rights.

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Rashid: Thrown in solitary for publicizing abuses

July 28, 2017

On July 14, 2017, I was brought before a Florida Department of Corruptions (FDC) Institutional Classification Team (ICT) for a staged hearing to have me thrown in solitary confinement, euphemistically called Close Management (CM) by the FDC. As described in my recent article “I’m off to Florida,” the basis for this recommendation was my involvement in publicizing prison abuses in other states where I’d been confined. Florida officials vowed to put a stop to my activities.

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Rebuilding an economic self-empowerment movement after more than 30 years in solitary

July 28, 2017

To the Bay View, thank you for sharing my enclosed thoughts, concerns and other key examples of long neglected and long overdue economic self-empowerment movement rebuilding solutions. I look forward to these good faith opportunities to add my talents and voice to our never-ending struggles for a true sense of racial, social and economic justice.

George Jackson University and the Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March

July 27, 2017

It is knowing who we truly are as a people that is going to break the chains of psychological slavery and facilitate our capacity to abolish legalized slavery in Amerikkka. The George Jackson University is on the front-line in this battle over the minds of our people. One of our primary goals is to transform the entire Prison Industrial Slave Complex into the largest progressive university in the country, if not the world.

Message from the youth: Abolish slavery

July 26, 2017

As was once said to me by a fellow Muslim brother when I embraced Islam, “If you can take that same intensity that was applied to gangbanging and apply it to Islam, you will become a great Muslim.” Well, it’s the same for this fight we have on our hands induced by this modern day slavery in Texas. NOW, people, is the time to break these chains. We as a people who are aware must spread the word to the unaware and awaken society on what’s taking place in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Healed people heal people: Use Prop 57 to restore leadership and strengthen communities

July 24, 2017

The regulations California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitiation (CDCR) promulgates to execute Prop 57’s provisions are applied too narrowly. I’m asking that legislators extend Prop 57’s 50 percent time credit to violent and serious offenders, apply the credits retroactively and include non-violent third strikers in the parole eligibility process. I’m also asking that community members contact their representatives in support of the same.

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Missouri ignores US Supreme Court ruling requiring resentencing of prisoners given life without parole as juveniles

July 20, 2017

I am currently serving life without parole in the Missouri Department of Corrections. I have been incarcerated since the age of 15. I’m being held under an unconstitutional sentence along with 80-plus others who were sentenced to life without parole as juveniles (JLWOP). In June 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court found it unconstitutional to sentence a juvenile to life without parole, according to Miller v. State of Alabama (2012). We must be taken back in front of our respective courts and be resentenced.

O.J. Simpson, keep speaking for the powerless in prison

July 20, 2017

As I’m watching the O.J. Simpson parole hearing, I can’t help but think of how life can take unexpected turns. Since 1994, we have watched a superstar – a man who was on top of the world – fall from grace in rapid fashion. We all know the story of his trial in the murders of his wife Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman. He was acquitted in that trial. About 10 years later, he wasn’t so lucky when the state of Nevada convicted him in a robbery case for which he was given a harsh 33-year sentence.

Exploited, abused, neglected: Mental illness and solitary confinement in Texas prisons

July 18, 2017

Imagine spending 23 hours each day alone in a 6-by-9-foot space. Crowd into it a toilet-sink combo, rusty iron set of bunk beds and overhead lockers, layers of peeling paint in multiple colors, showing the years of neglect, black mold, roaches, rats, along with spiders and bugs I can’t even identify – then you’ll have some idea of what home looks like to many people here in Texas’ Eastham Unit.

Rashid: I’m off to Florida and a new phase of reprisals for publicizing abuses in US prisons

July 14, 2017

“I was unceremoniously packed off to the Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) on June 22, 2017. Florida, notorious for its own extremely abusive prisons, readily signed on to take up Texas’s slack. And being an openly corrupt system unaccustomed to concealing its dirt, FDC officials shot straight from the hip in expressing and carrying on efforts to repress and act out reprisals for my exposing and challenging prison abuses.” Readers are urged to share this story widely and write to Rashid right away; mail equals support, and the more he gets, the safer he’ll be.

Folsom ASU protesters, dispersed and persecuted, suspend hunger strike, appeal for support inside and out

July 11, 2017

A swift salute to all of the supporters and those concerned with the ongoing fight to reform CDCR’s ASUs. As of June 19, the hunger strike has been suspended until further notice. It is unfortunate that we as prisoners must use this process in order to shine light on CDCR’s unwillingness to oversee its ASU conditions. CDCR allowed Folsom State Prison administration to retaliate, isolate and condone the poor conditions in its ASU. Now I’ve been transferred to even more extreme conditions.

Indiana prisoners call for families and supporters to fight back against new mail policy that bans children’s drawings, grandparents’ letters, even greeting cards

July 10, 2017

“Prison Lives Matter” and “Amend the 13th: Abolish Legal Slavery in Amerika Movement” are seeking to get the people, i.e., family, friends, inmates and the outside movement, involved in the struggle to raise awareness and fight the cruel and inhuman treatment of prisoners, the daily violations of our human and civil rights, and the economic exploitation of our families. Rally Friday, Aug. 11, 11 a.m., outside the Indiana Department of Corrections headquarters.

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Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March coming to Washington DC Aug. 19

July 9, 2017

On Aug. 19, 2017, Washington, D.C. will host a Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March to draw attention and national support to amend the 13th Amendment of the United States Constitution. The 13th Amendment has spawned various forms of penal slavery since its ratification such as the convict leasing system, the chain gang labor system, the prisoner agricultural workers system and the modern day prison slave sweatshops euphemistically called “correctional industries corporations.”

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