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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.
Lorenzo “Cat” Johnson continues his fight for freedom. He is an innocent man serving a sentence of life imprisonment. In Pennsylvania a life sentence means just that. There is no parole, no release until you are carried out feet first or win a reversal of your conviction. And even then the struggle is to definitively defeat the prosecution’s unceasing efforts to reconvict and re-imprison.
The Clean Lounge, a clean and sober space located in Bayview Hunters Point in San Francisco, was full of Fired Up! women and supporters, family and friends.There was so much collective healing wisdom in the room. Fired Up! is an insider-outsider grassroots network founded by CCWP former prisoners that meets weekly in the San Francisco County Jail.
On Nov. 6, a majority of the voters in California voted to amend the Three Strikes Law. In Cali alone, according to the film “Cruel and Unusual,” there are over 4,000 people locked up doing life under Three Strikes for nonviolent offenses. The Documentary Film Fest is featuring “Cruel and Unusual” on Nov. 11, 12 and 15 in San Francisco and Berkeley.
After the execution of three Somalis and the wounding and capturing of another in the Indian Ocean on April 12, a leader of the so-called pirates vowed to avenge the deaths of these youth who held the U.S. captain of a cargo vessel known as the Maersk Alabama for five days.