July 13, 2017
Ava DuVernay undertook the documentary “13th” in order to explore and bring attention to the Prison Industrial Complex. The film’s title refers to the 1865 amendment to the U.S. Constitution, in which slavery was abolished “except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.” The story told by “13th” thus goes back to the early chain-gangs of Black prisoners – men arrested for petty offenses under the post-Civil War Black Codes who were then contracted out to perform labor that they had previously performed as privately-owned slaves.
June 26, 2013
I was flown here to Texas on June 14. This is a bit more dire than the February ordeal, so it calls for at least as much sustained and broad help. (Rashid was abruptly transferred from Virginia, where he’d been held, mostly in solitary confinement, since 1990, to Oregon in February 2012, where he was placed in Oregon’s Orwellian Snake River Correctional Unit, an unvarnished behavior modification program.)