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Prison Stories

Panther unleashed

March 23, 2014

Comrades, after nearly two years of 23-hour lockdown in Ad-Seg here in Texas, I have recently been released to general population. I spent close to one year on one of the most notoriously abusive high security units in Texas, the Estelle High Security Unit located in Huntsville. Unknown to the fascist oppressors who held me captive on Estelle, I kept meticulous records of the abuse and mistreatment I witnessed and fell victim to.

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Striking Georgia prisoners name names, allege sexual abuse, ongoing threats and maltreatment by staff

March 20, 2014

Not quite a month ago, I wrote that we at Black Agenda Report had received word of a new self-organized hunger strike among prisoners in Georgia’s notorious Diagnostic and Classification Prison at Jackson. A second communication says eight prisoners are still refusing food and are on the receiving end of abuse and threats from correctional officers at Jackson. The note also sheds some chilling light on the reason for the prisoners’ self-organized action.

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Hunger strikes spread to Texas detention center

March 19, 2014

After a massive hunger strike inside the Tacoma Detention Center reached its 11th day, detainees found their effort spreading to other facilities inspired by their demands. Immigrants held at the Joe Corley Detention Center in Conroe, Texas, initiated their own fast in protest of their treatment at the facility run by the same company, the GEO Group, and as part of the nation-wide call for an end to deportations.

Major reform of solitary confinement introduced in California Senate

March 17, 2014

Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, today introduced new legislation to revise and reform solitary confinement conditions and procedures in California’s prisons. “Isolating large numbers of inmates for long periods of time, as we are currently doing, is an expensive and deeply troubling practice that undermines effective rehabilitation and long-term public safety,” Sen. Hancock said.

Feedback from Menard hunger strikers on noise demonstration: ‘Never stop beating your drums!’

March 16, 2014

The following excerpts are from people locked up at the High Security Isolation Unit at Menard Correctional Facility in Illinois. They are responding to a noise demonstration by outside supporters during the hunger strike there last month. Continue marching, never stop beating your drums and always fight with what you have. Prisoners all across the country in these isolation units are rising up, and revolution is in the air. That is, peaceful revolution, of course.

Political prisoner Marshall Eddie Conway released after 44 years

March 6, 2014

A small hearing March 4, 2014, in an obscure courtroom at the Circuit Court for Baltimore City ended with the release of former Black Panther Marshall “Eddie” Conway, who has spent nearly 44 of his 67 years in maximum security prisons. “He helped me when I was incarcerated at 15 years old,” said DJ, one of the young men who met Eddie in prison as a kid.

Calling for ABOLITION of solitary confinement

March 5, 2014

Some activists inside the SHUs have said that the ultimate goal was to bring about a shift in public opinion, and that once public consciousness had gotten to the point where the general public in California knew that solitary confinement was torture and had to stop, the balance of power would finally tip. I believe that we are gathering momentum and approaching that time!

Anthony Robinson Jr., cropped

Inside a CCA private prison: Two slaves for the price of one

March 3, 2014

I am a new found political prisoner within the grips of one of CCA’s slave camps, Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility, here in Tutwiler, Mississippi. CCA, especially here at TCCF, has mastered the art of purchasing two slaves for the price of one – the two slaves being the inmate residents and the bottom rung correctional officers, providing cheap labor at minimum wage.

California’s most dangerous Security Threat Group

February 26, 2014

The comment period prior to formal adoption of the STG Pilot Program closes April 3, when a hearing will be held from 8 a.m. to noon at the East End Complex Auditorium, 1500 Capital Ave., Sacramento, CA 95811. Submit your comments before April 3 to CDCR, Regulation and Policy Management Branch, P.O. Box 942883, Sacramento CA 94283-0001, by fax to 916-324-6075 or by email. If you have questions, call branch chief Timothy Lockwood at 916-445-2269.

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Jalil Muntaqim (Anthony Bottom), mom Billie Bottom-Brown, web cropped

A mother’s cry

February 25, 2014

This is the voice of a mother crying for the freedom of her child, Anthony Leonard Bottom, aka Jalil Muntaqim, who has been swallowed up in the New York penal system for 37 years, 1977-2014. My child has been held captive in the belly of New York state prisons without any regard for his constitutional human rights. Consequently, as a political prisoner, he has become a forgotten, disenfranchised citizen of the United States of America.

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How torture is inflicted on prisoners in solitary confinement

February 24, 2014

This is a glimpse into torture by prison staff, using any means available, of which solitary confinement at Pelican Bay State Prison in California is only a reflection of the inhumane treatment and clear U.S. constitutional violations of our First, Fifth, Eighth and 14th Amendment rights that prisoners in solitary everywhere are subjected to.

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Larry 'Key' Mitchell bodybuilder, cropped

Social consciousness, prison struggle and perseverance: a personal account

February 23, 2014

There are hundreds of prisoners who have been falsely validated as members or associates of prison gangs that can viscerally relate to my experience, from living life as an outlaw in society to being prosecuted and convicted to prison, only to be persecuted while in prison, fundamentally for educating oneself by trying to heighten one’s sense of cultural and social awareness.

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Hunger strike representative: Resist, resist and liberate

February 22, 2014

I hear demagogues go on their vicious attacks about how violent prisoners held in solitary confinement are, yet we are actually the role model prisoners, if there is such a title. Many of us have sat in these tombstones back here under concentrated torture, while correctional officers have violated and disrespected us routinely, subjecting us to physical and psychological torment each day we have been back here.

CDCR still fabricates evidence, so what’s our Plan B to free the people?

February 21, 2014

The heart of our oppression – indefinite housing in SHU – remains fully intact and has yet to be ruptured. Our Plan B should focus solely on their sacred cow and work toward getting fixed dates for SHU placement. This is where our real struggle will be. Only when our future hunger strikes and work strikes are coupled with strong activism in our communities will we have a successful Plan B.

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Russell Maroon Shoatz released from solitary confinement – first time in general population in more than 22 years

February 20, 2014

“My talk with Maroon today was very moving. There are no words to adequately convey the significance of his release to the general population for him and his family. This is a significant victory for a growing people’s movement against solitary confinement and the human rights violations inherent in mass incarceration. If we continue to work hard and support one another in this movement, these victories could very well become a habit.”

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Georgia prisoners on hunger strike since Feb. 9

February 19, 2014

On Feb. 9, 2014, prisoners in the special management unit of the Georgia Diagnostic Correctional Prison began another hunger strike to protest conditions. Some of the prisoners have had enough of the oppression and decided to take a true stand in fighting for their rights. Most of the prisoners participating are some of the same prisoners from the Dec. 9, 2010, and the June 11, 2012, hunger strikes, and these prisoners are again refusing to eat until conditions change.

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Broad coalition responds to 2-year extension on prison overcrowding case

February 14, 2014

On Feb. 10, the federal court granted California and Gov. Jerry Brown a two-year extension to reduce the deadly overcrowding in our state’s prisons. We urge the Legislature to act immediately to implement parole and sentencing reforms, cancel all prison expansion plans, invest in community-run anti-poverty and recidivism programs, and build lasting and public accountability and oversight.

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Chicagoans brave cold to rally in support of Menard hunger strikers

February 14, 2014

About 25 people came out in Chicago to stand firmly with the Menard hunger strikers today. At least four formerly incarcerated were among the demonstrators in Chicago, and a couple of us had both long and bitter experience with being held in solitary confinement for many years and being on hunger strike ourselves.

Solitary confinement, CDCR get slammed at legislative hearings; Ammiano files bill to limit solitary to 36 months

February 11, 2014

Despite attempts by the CDCR to insure the public that they are acting with prudence to change people’s gang validations and correct injustices and general inhumane conditions in prison SHUs, testimony from experts and the public continued to unmask the basic torture and impunity of the CDCR’s policies in maintaining prolonged isolation and prisons that fundamentally violate human rights. Hundreds packed two hearing rooms demanding real change.

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Pelican Bay Short Corridor Human Rights Movement: Banned testimony of the four main prisoner representatives

February 11, 2014

This is our banned testimony: There is no reason California can’t run very high security prisons that allow prisoners held in segregation to have contact visits with family, phone calls to family and friends, educational and rehabilitation programs, more out-of-cell time, cells with windows, recreational yards that allow for small groups to recreate together and see the outside world: in short, segregation from the general population, but not torture or dehumanization. It’s time for California to do the right thing. It’s time for the legislature to enact meaningful reforms.

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