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Prison Stories

An end to ‘the hole’? 6 signs that solitary confinement reform is coming

March 30, 2014

Roughly 80,000 people are held in solitary in the United States on any given day, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, in many cases for minor violations of prison rules (or no violation at all – ed.). Much of the momentum in the movement to reform the use of solitary confinement in the United States comes from the work of prisoners themselves.

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'Humanity' by Michael D. Russell, web

We are the world

March 29, 2014

We human beings are a political, social, cultural and economic force trapped within the colonial powers of our oppressors’ system, in and out of prison. Our struggle is for absolute self-determination and liberation on a national and international level, by way of changing from scientific capitalism into a scientific socialist system, which is crucial for changing and ending human suffering.

Shadae (Dae Dae) Schmidt

Demand a special review into the death of Shadae ‘Dae Dae’ Schmidt

March 29, 2014

Shadae Schmidt, aka Dae Dae, was a 32-year-old African-American woman who died of a heart attack on March 13, 2014, at CIW prison in Chino. We suspect her death is due to medical negligence because she had been asking for medical help for weeks. We are asking for as many people as possible to demand that the federal medical receiver’s office conduct a special review into Shadae’s death immediately.

Not just me, we!

March 29, 2014

To more or less justify their new plan of attack on prisoners, CDCr is adding street gangs to their already burgeoning list of people they can throw into extreme, inhuman isolation for the ficklest of reasons. Waving at someone can be construed as a gang signal.

Bobby McClelland, cropped

Proven innocent: The case of Bobby McClelland

March 28, 2014

As the world laid to rest Nelson “Madiba” Mandela, who was wrongfully incarcerated for 27 years, I thought about the case of Bobby McClelland. He was arrested 23 years ago on May 19, 1990, for an alleged attempted murder and processed through the same Los Angeles County Jail that was recently indicted on 18 federal counts for, amongst other things, obstruction of justice.

'Dare to Struggle' art by Carlos Ramirez, P-69993, PBSP SHU C9-106, web

Power concedes nothing: A discussion on CDCr’s insidious regulatory semantics and judicial collusion in maintenance of SHU torture units

March 28, 2014

Our struggle to abolish SHU torture units is inextricably linked to the broader struggle to seize cultural hegemony in the U.S. from the ruling class and its tool, the state. Our collective efforts have repeatedly exposed the state’s contradictions and sparked the people’s appetite for freedom and new social relationships. These activities undermine the reactionary character structure upon which authoritarian society is based. These actions are thus revolutionary.

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The hearts of warriors

March 26, 2014

The connection between the minds and hearts of the people has grown so distant, so impersonal, so unlike the revolutionary spirit of the 1960s that the heartbeat of the movement can barely be felt or heard anymore. Come closer. Has the system been so effective in beating the fight out of the struggle that, when the eyes of warriors meet, we no longer recognize each other?

Pelican Bay earthquake prompts double locking of cells, reveals need for united front

March 25, 2014

Know your enemy from your friend. On March 10, not too far from Pelican Bay State Prison, a 6.9 earthquake struck in Eureka and the powerful vibration was felt miles around. At that moment my thoughts began racing and the thought which prevailed was this: “If these haphazardly-designed concrete slabs began collapsing, we’d all be in the same damn boat – crushed dead.”

Blood in my pen

March 24, 2014

My pen cutting wounds into the surface, forming letters, creating words that express my existence. — Wounds that never seem to heal because they are real testaments to who I am, where I come from, and what I been through. — Peroxide only seems to palliate the damage, making the healing process dawdle. — Locked in solitary confinement, fighting a war that’s within myself.

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.

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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