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I am calling on colleagues and professional organizations to recognize publicly and use our influence to bring an end to prolonged solitary confinement in American jails, prisons and detention centers. Not only is there is a great need for solidarity among individuals and organizations to uphold human rights and ethical principles but also to reduce reprisals against any whistleblower. Considering that 95 percent of those incarcerated will be released back to the community, bringing with them the negative health consequences of their confinement, the conditions and traumas they face while incarcerated should concern us all.
The abuse and traumatization of children strikes a chord in our society, perpetuating a vicious cycle that results in poor outcomes in adolescence, adulthood and beyond. Victims often end up in abusive situations again as adults and are more prone to substance abuse, incarceration and mental illness. For many children who have been abused, the trauma unfortunately does not end after Child Protective Services intervenes. Failure to Protect laws serve to remove these children from nonoffending parents, revictimizing the same children the system is supposed to safeguard.
The monumental documentary created by filmmaker Branson Wright, “Pass Interference: The Davone Bess Story,” chronicles the life of one of Oakland’s most talented athletes, who shot to superstardom in the NFL. Then his life crumbled when he had to come face to face with his own mental illness. I caught up with filmmaker Branson Wright to talk about the motivation for doing the film, mental illness, a hometown hero and more ...
Working towards the success of the Millions for Prisoners March has been a central theme of the Amend the 13th’s agenda since the outset. In a movement dedicated to not only abolishing legal slavery in Amerika, but transforming the nature and structure of unequal social, political and economic relationships upon which mass incarceration is based, support for the March is of course an obvious priority – but what is not so obvious is why this march is vital to the very future of progressive social change in Amerika.
The No New SF Jail Coalition has been selected to receive the prestigious Hero Award by the San Francisco Human Rights Commission and its Equity Advisory Committee. The coalition celebrated a monumental victory last December, when, after years of community organizing and advocacy, they persuaded the Board of Supervisors to reject plans for a new jail in San Francisco.
On March 4, I heard Angela Davis speak at the Beyond the Bars: Connecting the Struggles conference, which was held at Columbia University. Davis’ speech focused on the necessary abolition of the criminal justice system, specifically incarceration. As Davis spoke, I flicked through the mental photographs of Black men and women locked in cages. The story of Jamycheal Mitchell came to mind.
Against all odds, a grassroots coalition defeated a plan to build a new, 384-bed downtown jail at a cost of $240 million – up to $465 million including 30 years of debt financing. In what the No New Jail Coalition called “an historic moment in our long and difficult fight against jail expansion,” the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted Dec. 15 to reject the new jail plan.
The California department of prisons threatened, muzzled and defamed a top medical officer at San Quentin for blowing the whistle on its shoddy mental health care, the doctor claims in court. Dr. Christopher S. Wadsworth, former chief psychiatrist and medical director of San Quentin State Prison, claims the state and 10 prison officials retaliated against him for a March 2014 memo on constitutionally inadequate conditions that continue today.
For decades, prisoners in California have protested the torturous conditions they are subjected to. Now a nurse has come forward who worked in a California prison and can speak to personally witnessing some of these horrors perpetrated by some of his colleagues at the California Men’s Colony State Prison in San Luis Obispo. Paul Spector was fired from his job for speaking out. Check him out in his own words ...
San Francisco’s jail population is steadily decreasing, and we hope that the number of San Francisco youth struggling to find support during their parents’ and family members’ incarceration will decrease with it. This is why we as youth who have all experienced parental incarceration in San Francisco oppose a new jail in our city. Why invest in a new jail rather than the potential of our youth?
Roughly 80,000 people are held in solitary in the United States on any given day, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, in many cases for minor violations of prison rules (or no violation at all – ed.). Much of the momentum in the movement to reform the use of solitary confinement in the United States comes from the work of prisoners themselves.
Comrades, today is the 8th of November 2013, and I must tell you that no sooner had the ink dried on the October San Francisco Bay View newspaper and the October-December issue of Turning the Tide than the Texas Department of Criminal Injustice waged an all-out attack on Comrade Kevin “Rashid” Johnson and myself.
Solitary confinement can eat away at someone’s mind, making mental illness worse and leaving many people depressed, suicidal, hopeless or hallucinating. It’s no place for individuals with mental illness. In 1995, a federal court in California agreed. After a trial exposing the appalling conditions at Pelican Bay, a federal judge ordered all mentally ill prisoners out of the prison’s security housing unit (SHU) in a case called Madrid v. Gomez.
Christopher Jordan Dorner is dead, but his words and actions will continue to impact the Los Angeles area and beyond for quite some time. The former U.S. Navy lieutenant and Los Angeles police officer who is alleged to have shot and killed four people early in February was the subject of the largest manhunt in Southern California history.
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 July 1, 2011, I and my fellow prisoners – on their own free will – will be commencing a hunger strike to protest the denial of our human rights and equality via the use of perpetual solitary confinement. The Supreme Court has referred to “solitary confinement” as one of the techniques of “physical and mental torture.”