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Prison Stories

‘An execution date should not be scheduled’ for Bomani Shakur (Keith LaMar)

October 1, 2018

“An execution date should not be scheduled because Mr. LaMar’s death sentence is precisely the sort identified by the Joint Task Force to Review the Administration of Ohio’s Death Penalty. Mr. LaMar’s conviction rests on prisoner testimony which is not independently corroborated, there is no physical or video evidence linking him to the crimes and he has always maintained his innocence. Evidence supporting Mr. LaMar’s innocence is slowly coming to light after dogged efforts to unearth such proof following years of suppression.”

‘It is in the service of God to inflict wrath on the evil doer,’ says Missouri prison nurse in the midst of unparalleled brutality and torture during National Prison Strike

October 1, 2018

I am writing to let you know the conditions us convicts at South Central Correctional Center (SCCC) have endured and expose the brutal assault that took place on Aug. 23, 2018. I was placed in Administrative Segregation and stripped of my privileges – contact visits, phone calls, canteen, personal property etc. – for the reason of investigation. That’s a violation of my due process rights, as I am punished before being found guilty of anything.

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Missouri prisoners protesting ad-seg restrictions in run-up to National Prison Strike shackled to iron bench

September 30, 2018

The prisoners of Missouri’s South Central Correctional Center’s ad-seg units have initiated a consolidated effort to protest and change the conditions found not only at the facility, but in every other Level 5 institution across the state. Prisoners began to refuse their cellmates on the basis of protective custody, after which they are placed on iron benches, shackled with hands behind their backs for hours at a time where they are denied meals and, due to overcrowding, not offered any alternative cell to go to – ultimately forcing prisoners to accept living in a volatile situation just in order to get to eat.

The deafening drumbeat of the unfree

September 30, 2018

Above the din of disturbing news – that discordant banging you’re hearing, steadily getting louder and louder, that you can no longer ignore – that’s the drumbeat of the unfree. Dehumanized by the labels “prisoner,” “inmate” and “convict,” even reduced to serial numbers like Victor Hugo’s Jean Valjean in “Les Misérables,” these men and women are, just like you and me, or any mortal – irrespective of flaws, frailties, even felonious acts and misdemeanors – endowed with the right to be treated with dignity, decency and respect.

Greg Curry: Black August at Ohio State Penitentiary

September 29, 2018

As for the events inside of this prison, with all attempts to FREE people, you first have to wake them up to their condition. In my pod, I started sharing reading material, about the value of their labor, about Black August events across the country and how just by refusing to continue to work for cops that treat them so bad that they could make a difference. Although this strike took place ahead of the nationally planned Black August dates, for three weeks this strike was every bit Black August inspired and I hope we made all our comrades past and present proud.

The old Dixie Boys in Florida still have that Jim Crow mindset

September 28, 2018

On Aug. 21 until Sept. 9, there was supposed to be a nationwide protest within the penal system. Aug. 21 is the anniversary of Black Panther Gen. George Jackson being killed by the pigs and Sept. 9 is the anniversary of the 1971 Attica Rebellion. Mr. Jackson was a true revolutionary and the Attica Rebellion was a revolutionary time in history. The people have no idea of class struggle.

Heroic or heinous: The death penalty case of Thomas Porter

September 27, 2018

Thomas Porter is a 42-year-old Black man held on Virginia’s Death Row for the Oct. 25, 2005, shooting death of a Norfolk, Virginia, cop. At his trial, it was undisputed that the cop walked up and grabbed him around the throat without warning, then tried to throw him to the ground. Thomas reflexively pushed the cop back, asking what he was doing. Without warning or explanation, the cop pulled his gun and fired on Thomas but missed. In a split second reaction, Thomas pulled and fired his own gun, fatally hitting the cop in the head – a clear case of self-defense.

Pennsylvania prisoners launch boycott of new mail system privatized by prison profiteers

September 27, 2018

“I am going to boycott the third-party correspondence system,” Bryant Arroyo, an activist and organizer currently detained at SCI Frackville in central Pennsylvania, told this Workers World reporter during an extended Sept. 23 interview. Arroyo urges all prisoners to immediately cease sending and accepting mail in response to the draconian new prison policies of current Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf.

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Plausible deniability and sinister bigotry ​inside ​Texas prisons

September 26, 2018

When Texas Department of Criminal Justice Executive Director Bryan Collier, Correctional Institutions Division Director Lorie Davis and Office of the Inspector General Joint Terrorism Task Force member Nick Vaughn contrived the plot to kidnap me from Ramsey 1 Unit on June 22, 2018, at 4:30 a.m., they figured that no one would notice, no one would care and, if questioned about the strange occurrence, they would claim plausible deniability.

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Smyrna 17: Trials of Delaware ‘riot leaders’ begin Oct. 8

September 25, 2018

On Feb. 1-2, 2017, a riot occurred at Delaware’s James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Building C that resulted in a correctional officer being assaulted and another being killed. After a nine-month investigation led by the Delaware State Police, an 18-man indictment was handed down on Oct. 17, 2017. Everybody pled not guilty and chose trial by a jury except for one co-defendant. Not only did this cowardly snitch fabricate his story and just blatantly outright lie on others indicted, but he’s an ancient RAT, meaning that he snitched on some boys back in the day.

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Rashid: The prison struggle continues

September 24, 2018

Fear and deference of prisoners toward their captors (conditioned through outright violent terror) replicates almost exactly that of Blacks towards whites under the chattel slavery and Jim Crow systems of the Old South. The absolute power of prison officials is no less extreme. And they exercise that power just as arbitrarily. But oppression breeds resistance and a movement is underway where prisoners across the U.S. are staging a range of protests in opposition to slave labor and inhumane treatment in U.S. prisons.

Prison strike solidarity update: Solid Black Fist newsletter released as striking continues

September 23, 2018

Jailhouse Lawyers Speak (JLS) is currently continuing to focus energy on supporting strikers who’re suffering retaliation, raising awareness of those who continue to strike and educating policymakers of strikers’ demands. These will be our primary focuses in this season. Action points: Print and distribute Issue No. 6 of Solid Black Fist. Support prisoners still striking, raise awareness that the National Prison Strike continues in Ohio and California. Circulate the online petition to Congress demanding prisoners’ basic human rights needs be met.

Prison-assisted drug overdoses: Deadly K2 epidemic is spreading in Texas and many other state and federal prisons

September 23, 2018

The number of K2-related deaths in Texas prisons is mounting, year after year. Due to this drug being undetectable by prison drug-testing kits, it has become a favorite drug of choice for prisoners and prison officials who profit handsomely from smuggling it in. This has caused other common prison drugs, like cocaine, marijuana and meth, to be discarded by prisoners who now have the ability to get high without worrying about failing drug tests.

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Deceptions, lies and misappropriation of funds at McConnell Prison in Texas

September 17, 2018

Written Sept. 4, 2018 – Today the heat and humidity inside my cell has reached a level which has caused me to feel dizzy, and I have been experiencing migraine headaches. Senior U.S. District Judge Hilda Tagle denied my request for an emergency preliminary injunction. One of my main requests was that she order TDCJ to fix the inoperable and malfunctioning HVAC system here on the McConnell Ad-Seg Unit.

National Prison Strike: State retaliates against South Carolina prisoners in the wake of Hurricane Florence

September 17, 2018

Perhaps no demonstration has been more effective in illustrating the states’ inhumane treatment of prisoners than officials’ decision not to safely relocate incarcerated people trapped in the red zone area of Hurricane Florence’s path after South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster issued an evacuation order to citizens on Sept. 10. The state’s refusal to safely move prisoners out of the hurricane’s path is a blatant disregard to the humanity of those residing there dependent solely on the state’s protection.

Solidarity update: Continued resistance as a national coalition

September 16, 2018

The National Prison Strike flooded the media and transformed the national narrative surrounding prisoners’ human rights. While the symbolic end date of the national prison strike passed on Sunday’s 45th anniversary of the Attica Uprising, prisoners take the lead in determining whether to continue striking depending on their individual circumstances at their institutions: some extending the call, others placing a new date on their call and even striking indefinitely.

Solidarity update: Second week of the National Prison Strike

September 8, 2018

Prisoners have been staying strong throughout these weeks of the prison strike. Thank you all for your support in this movement to end mass incarceration and prison slavery as well as to bring livable conditions to the living and work spaces of incarcerated individuals in the United States. This has been a monumental effort and our success is being recorded as we speak. Don’t get tired; don’t allow prisoners to get tired. We must continue to fill them with energy as they strike. You all are doing amazing work and I’m incredibly thankful and honored to be among you.

Your first day of prison is your last day of being human

August 29, 2018

Your first day of prison is your last day of being human. Your life is no longer yours. You are now state property. You BELONG to them now, and they hate you. They don’t recognize your humanity or dignity. You’re locked in crowded holding pens, forced to piss and shit without modesty. You’re stripped butt naked in front of everyone else and forced to show the guard your asshole.
You’re shackled, hands and feet, to others like a human centipede of anguish and hopelessness. You no longer have a name but you’re given a number, a catalog number.

Reports back from the first week of the 2018 National Prison Strike

August 29, 2018

Prisoners are rising up in institutions across the country – and now internationally – in protest of the living and working conditions in the prisons. The first week of the strike has just come to an end and we have seen a substantial wave of success. The mainstream media attention on the strike has been monumentally greater than we have ever seen in the past. Along with this, the public narrative towards prisoners has changed dramatically. The public eye is focused on securing and protecting prisoners’ rights. We are also committed to highlighting the injustices that are inherent to our criminal justice system.

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Nelson Mandela Day: Building a new type of unity

August 28, 2018

The basis for the Prison Lives Matter Campaign and this demonstration is not only to shed light on the poor treatment and inhumane living conditions that prisoners are subjected to, although we know this is the initial motivating factor for most families and supporters who get involved with the prison movement and demonstrations such as this one. However, the objective is to tie this struggle into our overall class and national struggle against racist capitalist-imperialist domination and exploitation of the proletariat.

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