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Across Amerika, home of the world’s largest prison population, growing numbers of the imprisoned are coming to realize that they are victims of social injustice. Foremost, they are victims of an inherently predatory and dysfunctional capitalist-imperialist system, which targets the poor and people of color for intensified policing, militaristic containment and selective criminal prosecutions, while denying them access to the basic resources, employment and institutional control needed for social and economic security.
Nearly a thousand subscribers to the Bay View newspaper were denied their September papers – and we suspect their October papers as well – because of its coverage of the nationwide strikes to end prison slavery that began Sept. 9. Prison officials censoring the paper claim it will incite disruption. Like claims that someone being beaten by a gang of cops is “resisting,” the Bay View is “disrupting” prison operations.
As the culture of violence in Alabama’s prison system continues to spiral out of control, yet another provocation has resulted in another day of violence at Holman Prison. Holman is experiencing major staff shortages as a result of officers joining and supporting the non-violent work strikes being led by Free Alabama Movement. ADOC commissioners responded by dispatching CERT Team staff notorious for violent beatings, sexual harassment and excessive force.
Since opening its doors on Dec. 15, 1969, Alabama’s William C. Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore, Alabama, has been a bastion of violence, fear, pain and baleful human suffering. A Holman inmate was stabbed during a four-way fight and another died of an apparent suicide less than two weeks after the Department of Justice launched an investigation into violence, sex abuse, overcrowding and other issues at Alabama’s prisons.
At Holman Prison in Atmore, Alabama, only two officers reported for work for the second shift Saturday, Oct. 8. Officers confess being fed up with Gov. Robert Bentley’s putting their very lives in jeopardy simply to further his political agenda of institutionalizing Alabama with plans for new state-of-the-art prisons. The officers at Holman are walking off the job and refusing to come back to work after filing grievance after grievance concerning the ill treatment of prisoners, overcrowding and forced slave labor.
Since Sept. 13, 2016, when Warden Raybon released approximately 20 people from segregation, most of whom were there for violent incidents – only to see several stabbings take place, including one person critically injured and another losing an eye – a total of eight more officers have either quit or given notice. Now officers are expressing concern that ADOC commissioners are intentionally exacerbating violence at the expense of human life in efforts to push forward their plan to extort the public for $1.5 billion to build new prisons in next year’s legislative session.
Anyone relying on mainstream media wouldn’t know it, but the U.S. prison system is shaking up right now. No one knows how big the initial strike was yet, but the information is slowly leaking out between the cracks in the prisons’ machinery of obscurity and isolation. Over the weekend more than 50 protests erupted across the country and around the world in solidarity with the Sept. 9 nationwide prisoner work stoppage and protest.
Photos of pages from what appears to be a guard’s composition book have been leaked from inside Holman Prison. Correctional Officer Howie Coates apparently wrote: “I hate inmates and won’t do anything for those motherfuckers besides what is allowed by the state correctional facility and state laws, nothing else. The thought of getting to friendly with inmates makes me feel physically ill. … I get the feeling sometimes to shot them all and not feel bad about it. Annoying insects that should be killed off the face of the earth and finally judged for their sins once and for all!”
My message is not just to the men and women in these solitary holes. I myself am in one right now. My message is to the whole 2.5 million victims of mass incarceration and prison slavery. Everyone! All of us around the country, let’s just shut down. Wherever you are, just stop working. If you are in solitary confinement, spread the word to those rotating in and out. When they try to lock up those who organize and lead the shutdowns in population, don’t even give up.