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Prison Stories

CDCr counterpunch: New rules designed to silence prison protest

June 13, 2014

When prisoners write to publications in order to tell our stories to the outside world, why would that be a threat now to the penological interests of the CDCr when it never has been for over 40 years? The policy [new proposed censorship rules, officially called “Obscene Material” regulations] is in retaliation for prisoners telling our personal horror stories, while carrying out hunger strikes in protest of such cruel and unusual punishment inside solitary confinement.

A Quest for Democracy in Sacramento

June 11, 2014

More than 200 people came to the Capitol in Sacramento as part of a lobby day for justice-involved and formerly incarcerated individuals, with participants travelling from around the state. The second annual Formerly Incarcerated People’s Quest for Democracy focused on 16 bills, including policies on reentry, sentencing reform and sealing of juvenile records.

Menard hunger strikers’ message of solidarity with conscious captives nationwide

June 9, 2014

The Menard High Security Unit hunger strikers send a message of solidarity to the brothers of the struggle who refuse to bow down to state torture and systemic degradation up in these concentration kamps across Amerikkka. We also send mad love and respect to Bay View for creating a holy space for the most down-pressed voices in society to be expressed and heard.

Fight new prison censorship rules proposed by CDCr

June 4, 2014

Under the guise of “obscenity” regulations, CDCr has proposed sweeping new political censorship rules for mail going both into and out of the prisons. If these changes are approved, CDCr will permanently ban any documents it defines as “contraband,” including political publications and correspondence that should be protected by First Amendment constitutional rights.

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Hundreds of California prisoners in isolation to join class action lawsuit

June 3, 2014

On June 2, a federal judge allowed hundreds of California prisoners to join a lawsuit challenging prolonged solitary confinement in California prisons when she granted the case class action status. Class certification allows the case to include all prisoners who are serving indefinite SHU terms as a result of gang validation who have not been placed in a new step-down program.

Kevin “Rashid” Johnson’s art is featured in the 2014 Syracuse Cultural Workers Peace Calendar, and this image graces the month of May. He created it to mark National Occupy Day in Support of Prisoners on Feb. 20, 2012.

Texas prison officials and medical staff kill prisoners and move to silence witnesses

June 1, 2014

Comeaux, along with Finley and several other prisoners, anticipated that Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) officials would ultimately kill him, so Finley promised Comeaux that in the event that he died suspiciously, Finley would inform his wife and the courts of the circumstances surrounding his death. Now, Finley is being targeted for honoring his word to his deceased neighbor.

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Humiliation and loss: Mass cell searches at Corcoran SHU

May 31, 2014

As of this writing, I’m finally getting situated from another mass cell search being done here at the Corcoran SHU by Gestapo police. This is supposed to be a once a year ordeal, so they searched the whole yard. Well, if so, then why do we get searched so often at different, unexpected times and why do they use K9 dogs and the metal detectors on us and our mattresses? This cell search had to be my most humiliating one yet.

Free Kunta Kinta Green: When someone is innocent, it’s everyone’s business

May 30, 2014

I’m 37 years old, a husband and father of seven children with two grandkids. On July 15, 2009, I was arrested and charged with second degree murder. Prior to my arrest, I had a very promising future. I was a college student majoring in film, I own and operated Coastal Fence Co., Just Fence It, Price Low Fence Co. and Grave Yard Records in Shreveport, Louisiana. I was very well known in the community for creating jobs and being positive.

We interrupt this program: Prison censorship of TV news

May 29, 2014

Public broadcast stations KQED and KTMP are just two stations multi-casting from Sutro Tower that are currently being blocked or restricted by the SQ administration under the guise of technical difficulties. But it is actually intentional and because these provide programs such as world news and Democracy Now, even documentaries denouncing the horrific practice of long-term torture by solitary confinement in California prisons.

Retired federal judge concludes court should reverse and remand or dismiss IRP6 conviction

May 29, 2014

IRP Solutions was a small, Black-owned software development company with 15-19 employees that competed against big businesses for lucrative, multi-million-dollar government contracts. Looking back on the raid of IRP Solutions’ business, conducted in 2005 by 21 FBI agents, it is apparent that IRP’s direct competitors were not going to let a small, Black-owned company win a substantial and lucrative contract that had been theirs for years.

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Open letter to Assemblyman Tom Ammiano from prisoners in solitary confinement in Corcoran State Prison

May 23, 2014

We write out of concern for the manner in which certain aspects of CDCR’s Step-Down Program (SDP) are being implemented, specifically, self-directed journals and cognitive behavior therapy. Because the aim of these components is to change and restructure the subject’s thought processes, it is a mental health issue, which requires the involvement of mental health professionals in its implementation and oversight.

Open letter to Sen. Loni Hancock from prisoners in solitary confinement in Corcoran State Prison

May 23, 2014

We write out of concern for the manner in which certain aspects of the step-down program (SDP) are being implemented by the CDCR, specifically, self-directed journals and cognitive behavior therapy. Because these components have to do with changing and restructuring the thought processes of people, they involve mental health issues and require the involvement of mental health professionals in their implementation and oversight.

The Pennsylvania Coalition for the Fair Sentencing of Youth is collecting photos and statements like this in their effort to abolish sentences of life without parole for youth. Tweet yours to @PACFSY or email pacfsy@gmail.com for posting on their Facebook page.

Child sentenced to 227 years – is it justice?

May 17, 2014

A child who kills vs. a child who was present but did not kill – what sentence does he deserve? A child of color vs. a Caucasian child – does the system treat them the same? How about the youthful offender vs. the adult offender? Personally, it has been my experience with the law that child killers and children who committed assaults are more likely than adults to be treated to the most cruel punishments.

You can’t blame a homesick, underfed prisoner from wanting a few creature comforts once in a while. But through their commissary purchases, prisoners are estimated to contribute $3 billion annually toward their own incarceration. – Photo: Carolina Hidalgo, Tampa Bay Times

We are allowing our money to be used as a weapon of war against us

May 17, 2014

In solidarity I offer this suggestion: Reduce your contribution to your imprisonment. Instead, contribute to your child’s development. Advantages: The prison system has less funding, the companies that lobby for prisons lose money and you remain healthy to fight! Federal prisoners spend $300 million a year in commissary. It is estimated that prisoners contribute $3 billion annually toward their own incarceration.

Guantanamo Global Day of Action 052314 poster

Judge orders US government to halt force-feeding of Guantánamo prisoner and preserve video evidence of abuse

May 16, 2014

District Court Judge Gladys Kessler has for the first time ordered the U.S. government to suspend force-feeding of a hunger-striking prisoner in Guantánamo Bay. The same order requires the Obama administration to halt ‘forcible cell extractions’ of a prisoner, in which a team of guards in riot gear storms a prisoner’s cell to move him by force to feedings if he refuses to go.

Activists mobilize against California’s proposed $500 million jail expansion

May 15, 2014

After the revised proposed state budget was released yesterday, activists from around the state are calling on Gov. Jerry Brown to remove the $500 million outlined for jail expansion. With $15 billion in cuts to social safety net programs, prison reform groups like Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB) are questioning why the state is increasing spending on prisons and jails instead of social programs and public education.

Review Board suggests Pelican Bay prisoner stop political writing for favorable placement

May 13, 2014

I was validated on the mere basis of my New Afrikan revolutionary beliefs and political activities, expediently defined and treated as “gang activity.” I was literally told that my political writings were in the hands of others and would I consider not writing such because of their “concerns.” Naturally I refused to conform to their illegal requests, but a clear message was delivered to me: CDCR prefers that prisoners not evolve politically but to remain gang oriented inmates.

The Fifth Circuit stays tonight’s scheduled execution of Robert Campbell

May 13, 2014

Today the Fifth Circuit has ruled that Texas may not proceed with the scheduled execution of Robert Campbell, a man whose lifelong mental retardation was not proven until new evidence, long hidden by prosecutors and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, very recently came to light. According to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2002 decision in Atkins v. Virginia, he is ineligible for the death penalty.

SB 892 and AB 1652: Pelican Bay prisoner representatives speak to the California Assembly and Senate

May 9, 2014

We are writing to offer our position on the two bills pending before the Assembly and the Senate – SB 892 and AB 1652 – dealing with the solitary confinement and gang validation policies of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). The narrower and more focused (and less costly) AB 1652 would far better serve the public safety, prison security and the humane treatment of prisoners.

Antonio Guillen: May Day message to the working class people of the world from Pelican Bay SHU

May 8, 2014

I am one of the hunger strike representatives from Pelican Bay State Prison. I along with my family are also part of the working class people of America. As a young boy, I’d watch my parents in their daily struggles. Even now, while I’m in prison, my wife and children are part of the daily grind that is the work force!

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