December 3, 2017
Six California prisoners wrote to me in 2015 to ask about the Hepatitis C cure, shortly after the San Francisco Bay View newspaper published my interview with activist attorney Peter Erlinder titled “US prisoners sue for constitutional right to lifesaving Hep C cure.” They’d been able to read it because the Bay View sends a print edition to prisons all over the country every month. I tried and failed to answer those letters and I’ve felt bad about it ever since. I would have swiftly responded to all the prisoners who wrote to me about the Hep C cure if I’d been able to send electronic mail.
May 30, 2017
I left CDCr wondering how PBSP could remain in shambles after 22 years of court oversight. As I started educating myself about prison reform, I stumbled upon Keramet Reiter’s 2016 book, “23/7: Pelican Bay Prison and the Rise of Long-Term Solitary Confinement.” Within those pages, I found validation and some disturbing answers. I wish this book had been available to me before I started working in CDCr.
April 28, 2017
A new day has dawned, pregnant with opportunity. For the first time, the Federal Bureau of Prisons has granted the status of “pilot program” to a prisoner-created, prisoner-run rehabilitation and reentry program, effectively offering prisoners an opportunity to control their own destiny. For many of us who have spent decades in federal prison, the Young Men Incorporated (YMI) program is a reality few could have imagined.
September 28, 2016
Pastor Kenneth Glasgow was one of roughly 500 people who convened in Oakland, California, last weekend for the first national conference of the Formerly Incarcerated, Convicted People and Families Movement. Hailing from more than 30 states, it was a shared fact of life among participants that the change they need – including fundamental civil rights – will not simply be handed to them by people in power. They must fight for it themselves.
July 2, 2016
Senior White House officials, city leaders, educators, community residents and inmates gathered inside the All Faith Chapel at the Atlanta federal prison on May 9 to hear a debate team of three inmates with lengthy custodial sentences challenge a team of three Morehouse College undergraduates. The highly anticipated event was themed The Great Debate and Reentry Forum: Everyone Deserves a Fair and Second Chance.
January 10, 2016
Protest Big Pharma’s price gouging that threatens Hep-C patients, including Mumia, on Monday, Jan. 11, 12 noon, at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference for Big Pharma executives and investors at Westin St. Francis Hotel, 335 Powell St., Union Square, in San Francisco. Gilead Sciences sells the curative Harvoni pill in Egypt for 10 cents each, and Gilead does not lose money at this price. In the U.S., Gilead is price-gouging at about 10,000 times the cost of production!
June 27, 2015
Attorneys filed lawsuits in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts this week on behalf of prisoners who say they’re being denied new lifesaving treatment for Hepatitis C because of the cost of the drugs. Gilead Sciences manufactures two versions of the cure, Harvoni and Sovaldi. Abbvie Pharmaceutical Limited, formerly Abbot Labs, manufactures another, Viekira Pak. The cost of any one of the three is roughly $90,000.
June 20, 2015
We as prisoners did not forfeit our citizenship when we came to prison or the laws which are designed to protect our basic human rights and dignity. The implementation and enforcement of the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act was a clear procedural deprivation of our rights under the Fifth and 14th Amendments. The Fairness and Restoration Act 2015 is about restoring fairness and justice to those who were denied it.
February 15, 2015
In the South Carolina prison system, accessing Facebook is an offense on par with murder, rape, rioting, escape and hostage-taking. Back in 2012, the South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC) made “Creating and/or Assisting With a Social Networking Site” a Level 1 offense, a category reserved for the most violent violations of prison conduct policies. It’s one of the most common Level 1 offense charges brought against inmates.
September 23, 2014
Claiming the need for emergency passage of new visiting policies, the California Department of Corrections (CDCR) is proposing the use of canines and ION scanners that would subject visitors to prisons to humiliating and traumatizing strip searches. The move has brought swift condemnation from prisoner advocacy organizations and groups that work with prisoners, including the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition (PHSS).
June 22, 2014
The fiery H. Rap Brown, chairperson of SNCC, minister of justice for the Black Panther Party and one of the original four targets of the FBI’s infamous COINTELPRO to neutralize Black power, is presently entombed in the federal prison at Florence, Colorado, one of the world’s 10 worst prisons. Pursued relentlessly since the ‘60s, he was wrongfully convicted in 2002 – the prosecutor bragging that they finally got him after trying for 24 years. His wife, attorney Karima Al-Amin, tells his story on the Block Report.
November 6, 2013
Only by reducing the amount of time inmates spend behind federal prison bars – by eliminating harsh mandatory minimum sentences and resurrecting federal parole – will much of the unnecessary suffering caused by prison overcrowding and budgetary financial strain be alleviated. There is currently a federal parole proposal pending before Congress and President Obama. Your signature as well as your support is needed.
October 22, 2013
Solitary confinement does little or nothing to promote public safety or prison safety. It is not only harmful but unnecessary and incredibly costly. Violence levels plummeted by 70 percent of previous levels when the commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Corrections reduced the number of prisoners held in solitary confinement by 85 percent.
June 16, 2013
The continuing campaign to gain compassionate release for Lynne Stewart – the grievously ill, imprisoned human rights attorney – is headed to Washington, D.C. with a continuing vigil in front of the White House starting on Monday, June 17. Despite being approved for compassionate release, Stewart continues to be held in Carswell Federal Prison in seriously deteriorating health.
March 7, 2013
The battle over the future of Tamms became the most visible and contentious example of a phenomenon seen around the country: Otherwise progressive unions are taking reactionary positions when it comes to prisons, supporting addiction to mass incarceration. And when it comes to issues of prisoners’ rights in general, and solitary confinement in particular, they are seen as a major obstacle to reform.
July 4, 2012
“Solitary confinement does one thing: It breaks a man’s will to live and he ends up deteriorating,” testified Texas death row exoneree Anthony Graves before a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Tuesday, June19. The hearing, convened by Subcommittee Chair Sen. Richard Durbin, was the first of its kind at the federal level on the issue of solitary confinement.
June 30, 2011
Prisoners in the Security Housing Units, SHUs, at Pelican Bay and Corcoran state prisons in California are beginning an indefinite hunger strike on July 1, 2011, to protest the cruel and inhumane conditions of their imprisonment in what is being called “an unusual show of racial unity.” Breaking news: Prisoners at Centinela have joined the hunger strike. A prisoner there reports: “Only a few inmates are walking the yard. No Blacks or Hispanics have left their cells. No one has gone to work. He said all the races are united in this fight.”
June 20, 2011
On Thursday, June 2, 2011, came word that former Black Panther leader, Geronimo ji-Jaga (née Elmer G. Pratt) died in exile in Tanzania.
August 4, 2010
Marilyn Buck was a former political prisoner and prisoner of war. Along with Mutulu Shakur, she was responsible for the liberation of Assata Shakur from prison in 1979. She later went underground and spent 25 years in prison. She was released July 15, 2010. Then suddenly, only 19 days later, she was gone.
March 20, 2010
In Illinois, federal judges have allowed at least two lawsuits to proceed against correctional officials for using full body scanners to reveal the anatomy of both prisoners and visitors without removing their clothing. This is the very same device that airports are seeking to implement on some inbound flights to the United States.