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Posts Tagged with "cruel and unusual punishment"

What happened at Vaughn prison?

February 27, 2017

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.

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Filed Under: Prison Stories
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Marcus Garvey Park in Oakland reclaimed for community housing and services by homeless residents, activists

January 27, 2017

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.

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Filed Under: SF Bay Area
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Women in Texas prison decry abuse, banning of Bay View: ‘There’s no exaggerating the inhumane treatment that saturates Miserable Murray’

December 14, 2016

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.

Free Alabama Movement: Kinetik Justice under attack; protect him now!

December 12, 2016

Today Swift Justice received information that Kinetik Justice (Robert Earl Council), co-founder of the Free Alabama Movement, was assaulted by two correctional officers at Limestone Correctional Facility last week. Swift Justice asked us to pass these words along: “TODAY I ask EVERYONE, no matter what state or country, to unite and protect Kinetik Justice in a time he needs us most!”

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Filed Under: Prison Stories
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Props 62 and 66: Death penalty debate behind enemy lines

October 28, 2016

Read the perspectives of Spoon Jackson, serving a sentence of Life Without the Possibility of Parole (LWOP), “the other death penalty,” at Lancaster State Prison near Los Angeles, and Tim Young, on San Quentin’s Death Row near San Francisco. Spoon calls LWOP “as hideous as Death Row” and recommends “no” on Prop 62. Tim says vote “yes”: “With LWOP, we live to fight another day.”

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Filed Under: California and the U.S.
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Maroon sues DOC and wins! Settlement reached in Shoatz v. Wetzel

July 12, 2016

July 11, 2016, Pittsburgh, Penn. – A settlement has been reached in the case of Shoatz v. Wetzel, which challenged the 22-year solitary confinement of Abolitionist Law Center client and political prisoner Russell Maroon Shoatz. This brings an end to litigation begun in 2013. In February 2014, following an international campaign on behalf of Shoatz, he was released from solitary confinement.

Federal sentence enhancements keep Black low-level drug offenders in prison for life without parole

May 25, 2016

Over the past few years, President Obama, former Attorney General Eric Holder, members of both houses of Congress and many other elected officials have expressed the need for criminal justice reform. Much concern has been raised regarding overly harsh penalties for low-level drug offenses and firearms violations. There is, however, one particularly egregious judicial injustice that has not made the headlines, perhaps because it primarily effects only poor African Americans.

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Filed Under: California and the U.S.
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Exposing toxic work conditions inside Texas Prisons

April 28, 2016

Environmental injustices are forced upon people of color and disadvantaged minorities. This is a fact and not a subjective feeling or statement. Prison officials and ACA inspectors attempt to cover up and downplay the fact that numerous Texas prisons have contaminated water supplies and Texas Correctional Industries employees force pri­soners to work in toxic environments. Does anyone think the U.S. government will intercede on our behalf?

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Filed Under: Prison Stories
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Petition on abuse in Virginia prisons

March 31, 2016

We are demanding that our rights be respected, protected and adhered to. These demands are not abstract or hyperbolized, nor are they privileges disguised as rights. Privileges are earned, and rights are guaranteed via law, policies and/or the Constitution. In every section of this petition, I have cited law, policy and the U.S. Constitution that governs what prisoners are guaranteed.

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A victory for Maroon!

March 1, 2016

On Friday, Feb. 12, United States District Magistrate for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Cynthia Reed Eddy, issued a decision denying both parties’ motions for summary judgment and ordering a trial in the case of Shoatz v. Wetzel, which challenges the 22-year solitary confinement of Abolitionist Law Center client and political prisoner Russell Maroon Shoatz. The trial will mark the first in the country in a case challenging long-term solitary confinement.

Albert Woodfox attends his birthday party as a free man, happy to ‘give others hope’

February 20, 2016

Friday, Feb. 19, Albert “Shaka” Woodfox, the only member of the Angola 3 remaining in prison, was released after nearly 44 years in solitary confinement. Earlier in the month, Ashé Cultural Arts Center had scheduled a screening of the film, “Panther: Vanguard of the Revolution,” directed by Stanley Nelson, at 5:30 p.m. to celebrate Albert Woodfox’s birthday that day, Feb 19. The evening turned into an actual birthday party for Woodfox.

Tension at New Folsom between Blacks and guards since assassination of Hugo Pinell

December 28, 2015

I am currently in solitary confinement for a “Battery on a Peace Officer,” which took place on Sept. 24, 2015, six weeks after the assassination of beloved political prisoner Hugo “Yogi” Pinell at New Folsom State Prison B-Facility. Prison officials released a statement to the media that several correctional officers were “ambushed” by a group of Afrikan Amerikan inmates on C-Facility, which in reality is far from the truth.

For Mumia, we demand no retaliatory transfer and treatment to cure his Hepatitis C now!

September 16, 2015

Mumia’s attorneys have filed a lawsuit charging the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections with medical neglect. On Sept. 5, prison staff boxed up all Mumia’s personal effects from his cell while he was in the prison infirmary trying to recover from the prison’s medical malfeasance and neglect that nearly killed him. A retaliatory transfer to some other prison would be a new blow against Mumia’s health, and would steep him and his family in greater fear and uncertainty.

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Filed Under: Prison Stories
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Prisoners report on San Quentin health crisis: Legionella outbreak prompts water shutdown

September 9, 2015

On the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, government officials and first responders continue to lack the ability to plan for emergency situations. San Quentin State Prison, California’s oldest prison, is still on a virtual lockdown – or “modified program” – as normal programs for all inmates have ceased since Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015, after “one confirmed case of Legionnaires’ disease” was discovered, Warden Ron Davis’ Aug. 27 bulletin said.

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In San Francisco, sleeping is a crime: New data shows SFPD giving mountains of tickets to homeless people for resting

August 25, 2015

At a time that the Department of Justice is calling the citing, arresting and forced displacement of homeless people for sleeping cruel and unusual punishment, new data from the SFPD indicates that it is fully engaged in this practice: Homeless people received 11,920 citations for resting in public space in 2014. A total of 13,390 citations were given to homeless people for anti-homeless “offenses.”

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Filed Under: SF Bay Area
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Hugo Pinell was assassinated under color of law

August 17, 2015

Hugo Pinell was assassinated at New Folsom State Prison. Like Comrade George, Hugo has been in the crosshairs of the system for years. His assassination exemplifies how racists working in conjunction with prison authorities commit murderous acts like this. We saw it on the yard at Soledad in 1970 and we see it again on the yard at Folsom in 2015. It comes at a time when prisoners are collectively trying to end decades of internal strife. Those who took his life have done a disservice to our movement. Their actions served the cause of the same oppressor we fought against!

Moving forward with our fight to end solitary confinement

May 20, 2015

Greetings of solidarity and respect to all similarly situated members of the prison class unified in our struggle to end long term solitary confinement and win related long overdue reforms to the broken California prison torture system! As one of the four principle prisoner class representatives, I am presenting this further update on where things stand with our human rights movement from my perspective.

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SHU-shifting: An update on and overview of the Ashker v. Brown class action

March 28, 2015

Some nine months after allowing certification of two classes in Ashker v. Brown, Judge Claudia Wilken issued her written order granting Plaintiffs’ Motion for Leave to File a Supplementary Complaint on March 9, 2015. Pursuant to the order, a supplemental class of plaintiffs – those who’ve spent 10 years or more in Pelican Bay State Prison’s SHU but have recently been transferred to other California SHUs – may proceed with their Eighth Amendment claims as class representatives.

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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.

Shining a light on the historic moment: Reflections on prison isolation and the struggle for change

May 6, 2014

On July 8, 2013, 30,000 prisoners of the California prison system – and hundreds more across the United States – refused meals to take a stand about the conditions of prisoners in the various forms of solitary isolation – approximately 14,000 human beings in California alone. It was the third hunger strike in California in two years. Dozens of prisoners deprived themselves of solid food for 60 days. One prisoner died.

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