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Prison Stories

Ruchell Magee, longest held political prisoner in the world, heads to parole hearing

March 2, 2018

Ruchell is now 78 years old and will turn 79 in March. He’s eligible for parole for several reasons, the most obvious of which is the federal three-judge order to release elderly prisoners to reduce the prison population that he points to in the letter. Please take the time to write letters to the governor, legislators, lots of editors and online publications, and spread it all over social media. Fifty-four years in prison is outrageous! He is truly a political prisoner. 

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We stand together so prisoners never have to go through the years of torture we did

March 1, 2018

This is a follow-up to our October 2017 Prisoner Class Human Rights Movement’s statement of prisoner representatives on the second anniversary of the Ashker v. Brown settlement. I am sharing a copy of my proposed “Open Letter to Gov. Brown, California legislators and CDCR Secretary Kernan on ongoing human rights violations and lack of reparative action for decades of torture” with the hope of helping to re-energize our movement, by gaining widespread support for the positions presented in the “open letter.”

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From retaliation to torture in a Florida prison unfit for habitation

February 28, 2018

Known today as Florida State Prison (FSP), what was originally called Florida’s East Unit was constructed in 1961 and included another institution now known as Union Correctional Institution. Nearly 60 years old, FSP has been poorly maintained with cellblocks unfit for habitation. During Florida’s sweltering summer and autumn months, the cells, lacking air conditioning, become sweat boxes and infested with ants, spiders and huge cockroaches, with black mold growing on the ceilings.

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PTSD SC: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Solitary Confinement

February 26, 2018

California Department of Corrections and rehabilitation (CDCr) had been locking classes of prisoners up in solitary confinement since the ‘60s as part of CDCr’s para-military low-intensity warfare, to break the minds and spirits of its subjects, California’s prisoner class. CDCr’s solitary confinement has two operating components: 1) punishing you and 2) physically and mentally destroying you.

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Wrongfully returned to SHU: Six-month update

February 25, 2018

I begin this six-month update on the activities of CDCR and the CCPOA with my utmost thankfulness and respect for the San Francisco Bay View. I thank your staff and readers for continuing to shine a bright light on the injustices that occur daily behind enemy lines, as it pertains to human beings who are marginalized as prisoners, defined as slaves by the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, but yet full citizens of this country! I have now been housed in Pelican Bay Level II SHU for six months, and the situation has not progressed but has rapidly deteriorated.

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Prisoner firefighters poisoned by Montecito mudslide – no forewarning

February 16, 2018

Incarcerated firefighters save bureaucrats in California millions of dollars every year by performing the various odd jobs that nobody else wants to do. On Friday, Jan. 12, 2018, two crews from Oak Glen Conservation Camp were sent to clean up the mudslides that wreaked havoc in the affluent neighborhoods of Montecito. Inmate crews were not forewarned of any hazards posed by the mud as they were deployed for one week.

Fake flu quarantine equals real lockdown in Michigan prisons

February 15, 2018

Prisoners on the west side of Chippewa Correctional Facility at Kincheloe, Michigan, have been locked down since Jan. 30, 2018 – eight men crammed into cubicles designed for four, in old, mold-infested cattle barns containing approximately 320 men each, sick and healthy alike – under the guise of a “quarantine” for the influenza virus epidemic that has spread throughout North America and the world.

Shaka Shakur: Help resuscitate justice in Sullivan County

February 13, 2018

Usually Feb. 21 is a day of remembrance and reflection for me as it represents the anniversary of the day Brother El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz aka Malcolm X was assassinated by agents of the U.S. government and its counter-intelligence program, COINTELPRO. Well, this Feb. 21, 2018, I’m having to focus on and prepare for a different type of assassination, a different type of murder, but still a lynching nevertheless. The only difference is it’s in a U.S. kourt* of law.

General TACO, embrace accountability for the good of the Black Riders

February 10, 2018

Comrade TACO, I have been one of your most avid supporters within my organization. But I can no longer associate with you or remain silent. I am asking that you embrace accountability for the good of the Black Riders. To me, accountability means being responsible to myself for my choices and for the consequences of my choices. For me, accountability is an internal skill, not an external process. TACO, nobody can force you to be accountable. And lastly, I will tell you that accountability is a rigorous and difficult process.

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Free innocent Leonard Peltier! On his 43rd year in prison, he yearns to hug his grandchildren

February 6, 2018

I am overwhelmed that today, Feb. 6, is the start of my 43rd year in prison. I have had such high hopes over the years that I might be getting out and returning to my family in North Dakota. And yet here I am in 2018 still struggling for my FREEDOM at 73. I do not think I have another 10 years, and what I do have I would like to spend with my family. Nothing would bring me more happiness than being able to hug my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

End the isolation of Jamil Al-Amin (formerly H. Rap Brown)

February 4, 2018

How you can help Imam Jamil: Yahya Abdussabur, a leading supporter of Iman Jamil Al-Amin, in distributing this letter by email, writes: The letter is part of the continuing effort to gain freedom for our beloved Imam Jamil Al-Amin. As Allaah has enjoined on us, “Enjoin what is right and forbid what is evil” and as the Holy Prophet has said, “Want for your brother what you want for yourself.” Please sign this letter and encourage your jamaat, friends and associates to do the same.”

Criminalizing ‘Panther Love’ and the New Wave COINTELPRO tactics in Texas prisons

February 3, 2018

We continue to see and hear lies coming from U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies in respect to their hyper-surveillance of groups and individuals who are New Afrikans and who engage in constitutionally protected activities such as protests, rallies, marches, litigation and political efforts. With this essay, I seek to give a detailed explanation into the ongoing campaign of retaliation and harassment the members of the NABPP-PC have been subjected to.

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Seeing the problem, being the solution, making the sacrifice

February 2, 2018

In the December 2017 issue of Bay View, our Brother Terrance Amen stated the following: “We all know what the problems are, but very little energy and effort are focused on the solutions.” Our Campaign to Redistribute the Pain 2018 focuses all of our energy and effort on the solution to the problems that we perpetuate from the way that we are spending our money while in prison. Invariably, solutions create issues because solutions call for sacrifice.

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Again and again

February 1, 2018

Hi, invisible ghost, whose pictures are in black and white. They show your racist expression in the light of day. You hung Black bodies with your little ghost child looking on. Like a virus that has gone into hiding only to reappear from your dormant stage and upset humanity’s long, beautiful, joyful, proud period of struggling to keep their better angels safe, your ghostly and invisible stench incites us to pick up arms and force you back into confinement over and over, again and again, like a flu shot each winter.

Dr. Belay Reddick hosts spoken word event

February 1, 2018

Dr. Belay D. Reddick asked for a show of hands: How many of the Oakdale federal prison inmates had ever heard of spoken word? Close to two-thirds of the 150 prisoners gathered last month in the prison’s chapel raised their hands. He then asked how many of the men had ever attended a spoken word event, a question that alluded to the presentation of his latest re-entry project. Last month’s event featured nationally-acclaimed championship poet Sha’Condria “iCon” Sibley of Alexandria, Louisiana.

Behind enemy lines: News briefs

January 31, 2018

The tragic news came to the Bay View from Taharka Omowale that Black Panther Political Prisoner Richard “Mafundi” Lake had joined the ancestors. Mafundi’s decades of schooling the youth in Alabama prisons makes him the progenitor of the Free Alabama Movement and the current, burgeoning prison abolition movement across the country. The Bay View invites you, if your life was touched by Mafundi, to write a brief tribute for publication.

Kwame Shakur brutally assaulted by guards at Pendleton Correctional Facility, Indiana

January 31, 2018

On Saturday, Dec. 30, Kwame “Lil Beans” Shakur was brutally assaulted by correctional officers at Pendleton Correctional Facility in Pendleton, Indiana. For a full week prior to the attack, inmates in disciplinary segregation had been kept in their cells for 24 hours a day, in violation of policy and international standards of human rights. No form of recreation or bathing was allowed during that time and for at least a full week following the 31st. Shakur and a fellow inmate encouraged others on the block to voice their grievance against the guards. Retaliation followed.

In Florida prisons, will so-called street thugs find the courage to confront corporate thugs?

January 30, 2018

Though the so-called street thugz forgot about the struggle, it’s IWOC that didn’t forget! Corporate thugz will continue to keep their boots on the necks of the so-called street thugz as long as we don’t unite. So what we gonna do, so-called street thugs? Fight for our rights with the help of Gainesville IWOC or let the slavemaster’s children (prison guards) continue to shine a flashlight up our buttz? You like that? I don’t.

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Black and white: The people who run America separate us for their benefit

January 30, 2018

With words that come from my heart, I’d like to tell you of myself, in hopes people may see and know that there are folks with soul and with heart all over. I am 46 years old. My mom was Cherokee and German, my Dad was Irish American and we lived in Dalton, Georgia. I am the youngest of nine kids. We lived in what is called Newtown. My mom and Dad were seen the same as a Black person with a fair-skinned person. I grew up as the only non-black American on my street till mom passed on Sept. 21, 1981.

DeWayne Ewing and the abomination of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act

January 29, 2018

In 2017, Federal District Court Judge Charles Breyer denied the habeas appeal of DeWayne Ewing, an innocent man, based on the timeliness of his appeal rather than on the facts of the case, because of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA), passed in 1996 – the Senate voted 91-8 – and signed by Bill Clinton. Part of the way Congress tried to make the death penalty “more effective” was to limit the ability of prisoners to appeal, especially to have multiple appeals.

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