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Tag: cruel and unusual punishment
Coco Das’ article, “Should we celebrate when a fascist regime endorses prison reform?” reached me at a particularly ripe time. None of the ironies observed about Trump’s endorsement of the First Step Act, a bipartisan criminal justice reform bill, were misconstrued, nor did I take them for granted.
The Free South Carolina Movement is a collective of political prisoners, politicized and political prisoners of war, organized with friends, family, loved ones and supporters with a common cause, aims and objectives, i.e. self-determining education, adequate healthcare suitable for poor and oppressed peoples, bringing families closer together, true freedom, transforming the present genocidal sentencing structure, bringing awareness to the public and the youth, putting an end to the pipeline from preschool to prison and the systematic extermination of Black and Brown peoples.
When, in October 2016, I wrote, “Death row inmates in Alabama are human guinea pigs” because the state’s capital punishment regime – specifically its barbaric, often bungled lethal injection protocol – is already so dark, so depraved, so outrageously cloaked in lies and officious secrecy, I never could have predicted the situation could get worse. But it has. Plans are now underway for Alabama to develop a protocol to execute death row prisoners with nitrogen gas.
Caltrans is perhaps the largest and most high profile evictor of homeless encampments in California. According to “The Mile Marker: A Caltrans Performance Report” – the organization’s quarterly progress report – Caltrans estimated that it spent $10.04 million cleaning up homeless encampments in fiscal year ending 2017. Obviously, Caltrans should be impacted by Martin v. Boise, because it restricts the conditions under which evictions can be made.
On Sept. 4, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that cities may not punish homeless people for sleeping outside in public spaces if they do not have access to shelter elsewhere. The case – Martin v. City of Boise – started way back in 2009, when six current and formerly homeless residents of Boise, Idaho, sued the city for giving citations to people who were sleeping outside. The lawsuit rested on the notion that these citations violated the Eighth Amendment rights of Boise’s homeless residents, amounting to cruel and unusual punishment.
A copy of this historic document in its original form was sent to Bay View arts editor Wanda Sabir by Kumasi, a Los Angeles-based prison movement scholar and central leader of the Black August Organizing Committee who was a close comrade to George Jackson. Kumasi was reminded of this Manifesto when he learned of the National Prison Strike that began in Black August 2018 and believed Bay View readers would value the opportunity to witness prison movement evolution.
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.
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.
Rally at the San Francisco Federal Courthouse while the four California prisoner hunger strike and Ashker class representatives meet and confer* with CDCr to address the continuing solitary conditions that violate the Ashker lawsuit settlement agreement. The four prisoner hunger strike representatives will be present in the courtroom, an historic presence! Help create a strong show of solidarity with prisoners fighting for human rights! Join the rally outside the courthouse on Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018, 11:30 a.m., at the Phillip Burton Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse, 450 Golden Gate Ave., San Francisco.
On July 3, a critical ruling issued in Ashker v. Brown (aka Ashker v. Governor, Docket No. 4:09-cv-09-5796 CW (N.D. Cal.)), the federal class-action lawsuit challenging indefinite solitary confinement in California. The ruling, issued by Presiding Judge Claudia Wilken, granted Plaintiffs’ appeal on a motion challenging the ongoing conditions of extreme isolation endured by many class members.
On April 22, 2018, over 200 people attended the UCSC opening of the Reel Work May Day Labor Film Festival (RWLFF)’s 17th season, with the event theme “Together to End Solitary.” RWLFF’s motto, “We are stronger together,” is particularly poignant when coming together to end the extreme isolation of the state-sanctioned torture of solitary confinement. The film, “Cruel and Unusual, the Story of the Angola 3,” details the Angola 3's decades-long struggle for justice and to build an international movement to end solitary confinement.
On April 26, former Black Panther Herman Bell was released from prison in New York State after 45 years. That leaves at least 10 surviving members of the Black Panther Party behind bars, including Romaine “Chip” Fitzgerald, who is currently held at the California State Prison-Los Angeles. His next parole hearing is scheduled for May 4. I spoke to his friend Arthur League, a former Panther who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
By the time you receive this, many of the prisoners housed on H-Con supermax at Polk Correctional Institution will have started a hunger strike in protest of our conditions of confinement. Being that we are imprisoned, it is sometimes easier for society and executive management at the North Carolina Department of Public Safety (NCDPS) to view us as sub-human, forget about us and assume that we are receiving quality care. This is not the case.
I begin this six-month update on the activities of CDCR and the CCPOA with my utmost thankfulness and respect for the San Francisco Bay View. I thank your staff and readers for continuing to shine a bright light on the injustices that occur daily behind enemy lines, as it pertains to human beings who are marginalized as prisoners, defined as slaves by the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, but yet full citizens of this country! I have now been housed in Pelican Bay Level II SHU for six months, and the situation has not progressed but has rapidly deteriorated.
A federal judge in Houston ordered a geriatric prison in Texas to help inmates overcome extreme heat and rising summer temperatures, referencing climate change in a groundbreaking ruling this week. U.S. District Judge Keith Ellison deemed it cruel and unusual that state corrections are aware of dangerous and lethal heat risks – at least 23 men in Texas prisons have died from the heat in the last 20 years – yet have failed to impose safeguards.
In a year where Islamophobia is at an all-time extreme in Texas prisons, I think it is a perfect time for me to shed light of the injustice Muslim brothers are facing here at the Clements Unit. I am not Muslim myself, but I am against the oppression of all humans no matter how unpopular their social standing is. Since I have been in solitary confinement at the Clements Unit, I’ve witnessed the administration fail miserably at recognizing brothers fasting during Ramadan.
“Administrative segregation” is prison bureaucratese for solitary confinement. On Thursday, prisoners in solitary at California’s Old Folsom State Prison went on hunger strike for their Eighth Amendment right to be protected from cruel and unusual punishment. I spoke to Raquel Estrada, wife of Anthony Estrada, a prisoner writing for the strikers in the San Francisco Bay View newspaper, who elaborated on the conditions of her husband’s confinement.
On Feb. 1, scores of men in Delaware’s largest prison, the Vaughn Correctional Center, took over one of the buildings in their facility. The prison, built in 1971 and known for its serious overuse of solitary confinement, is one of the state’s most severely overcrowded and punitive facilities. Hoping to push the state to improve living conditions at Vaughn, the prisoners didn’t just take control of Building C – they also took guards hostage. And to make the public aware of why they were protesting, they called the media.
At 4 a.m. on the morning of Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017, a network of Oakland community members took over Marcus Garvey Park, moving in small homes, a hot shower, a healing clinic and other services – declaring it a people’s encampment for those who need housing and basic services. The group, which includes folks living on Oakland streets, activists from #FeedthePeople and #Asians4BlackLives and individuals from the community, said the move-in demonstrates their ability to provide what the City of Oakland cannot to its most vulnerable residents.
A few months ago, I exposed the corruption of this particular unit and others across Gatesville, Texas, striving for justice, peace and respect to no avail. In response to the grievances, articles and complaints the women here have written, we’ve been subjected to more abuse. Out of retribution, the mailroom has banned the San Francisco Bay View newspaper from subscribers to receive and also ransacked several dorms to confiscate all newspapers any offenders were in possession of.