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Posts Tagged with "Michael D. Russell"

DACA: The latest from the un-Obama

September 30, 2017

If there is one unifying principle emerging from the disaster known as the Trump Regime, it is the president’s singular mission to erase the executive presence of his predecessor, Barack Obama. This may be seen most recently in Trump’s bumbling undoing of Obama’s executive order known as DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, done to further endear him to his so-called “base,” white nationalists who love to hear about the suffering of nonwhite Others.

Free speech is a battlefield and the oppressed must unite

September 30, 2017

Many in this country believe all citizens enjoy the right to free speech. But this is a myth. Free speech is reserved only for those who control the media and other power structures and those who agree with the political establishment. Oppressed nations in particular are regularly denied free speech, especially when that speech involves pointing out what’s wrong with Amerika. Once locked up in U.$. prisons, people further lose their ability to read and communicate freely.

O’ dungeon master, my dungeon master!

September 26, 2017

About 10 years ago a beautiful young spirit moved to my tier, here in North Seg. He was born and raised in Alabama at a time when “Dungeons and Dragons” was enchanting the hearts and minds of little boys everywhere. He grew up to become a “dungeon master” without peer and came to spread his magic amongst the men of San Quentin’s Death Row. He wore his inner child on his sleeve and coaxed the wounded inner child of many others to come to the surface and play.

US prisons practice the same slavery and racism celebrated by Confederate monuments

September 15, 2017

On Aug. 11, white supremacists rallied in Charlottesville, Virginia, against the removal of the statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee, It turned deadly. The Charlottesville events happened just a week before Aug. 19, the date of the planned mass rally in Washington, D.C., against mass imprisonment. This rally and the growing movement of which it is part are aimed at dismantling not merely symbols of past racism and slavery like Confederate monuments, but the 13th Amendment, which still authorizes slavery today and is directed predominantly against people of color.

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On Dec. 6, 1865, Black bodies were nationalized – and our prison movement was born

August 1, 2017

As I write this article, I am not sure what day the Civil War began or what day it ended. The facts that I do know about the Civil War are not worth repeating here, as that story already occupies plenty of space in American text. My muse, instead, is about the particular vestige of slavery that the Civil War bequeathed to us on Dec. 6, 1865, that now forms the basis of our struggle to end mass incarceration and prison slavery in 2017.

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Texas prisoner suffering stroke denied medical care, left for dead on cell floor for over 12 hours

July 8, 2017

Many courts have held that a serious medical need is “one that is so obvious that even a lay person would easily recognize the necessity of a doctor’s attention.” See Brown v. Johnson, 387 F.3d 516, 522 (7th Circuit, 2008). Being denied medical care at the Clements Unit Maximum Security Prison in remote Amarillo, Texas, is so common that the average prisoner here can expect to be denied some form of medical care during his stay.

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Losing direction: The abysmal history of mental health care at Pelican Bay State Prison

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.

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Psychological warfare in prison: Segregation is the soul breaker

February 28, 2017

The psychological warfare that is taking place in the prisons here in the United Snakes of Amerikkka is placing prisoners in the soul breaker (segregation) for confinement that equals decades. I refer to segregation being the soul breaker because that is what long term segregation is designed to do, break a man’s soul completely. Among the misconceptions about solitary confinement is that it’s used only for a few weeks or months.

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Protest prison censorship of the Bay View: Use this sample letter

October 29, 2016

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.

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Censoring the Bay View shows how much master fears a revolt

October 20, 2016

I recently received a form that was generated by the California City Correctional Facility administration. This form notified me that I would not be allowed to read my Bay View newspaper this month. While this may seem like a clear constitutional violation, CDCR has stipulated by law that no inmate may possess any literature “which contains or concerns plans to disrupt the order, or breach the security, of any facility.”

My life in solitary confinement

September 29, 2016

I wake up every morning and stretch, then say a prayer thanking the Lord for allowing me to make it through another day and night. My mattress is in real poor condition, as it’s old and the cotton is coming out, so I’ve had to re-sew it in order not to further damage my back. I spend at least 20 minutes every morning stretching, then brush my teeth and wash my face. This starts at 5 a.m.

SF Bay View banned inside Indiana prisons: Do Black Lives Matter behind the walls?

June 27, 2016

In the December 2015 issue of the San Francisco Bay View, I wrote an article entitled “Do Black Lives Matter Behind the Walls” and introduced to the Bay View audience the newly formed New African Liberation Collective (NALC). While this particular issue was allowed into prisons throughout the state, it was seized at the Pendleton Correctional Facility, where I was being housed, based upon the orders of the Internal Affairs Department as a security risk.

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Tactical targeting of iconic activist Hugo Pinell

October 28, 2015

Time and time again, those of us behind these enemy lines are forced to consciously recognize the significance of the Black August attack on one of the iconic San Quentin Six. It is no puzzle for those familiar with the tactics and practices of prisoncrats that their spin doctors, like (CDCr spokesperson) Terry Thornton, promulgate deceptions to try and conceal the fact that the End Hostilities policy instituted by prisoners has been reasonably effective.

Good men, not worst of the worst

September 22, 2015

We are coming up on three years since the End of All Hostilities with all races has been implemented. I’ve been seeing people from all walks of life and groups observing the Agreement to End Hostilities. What CDC could not do in 20-30 years, these brave men in the Short Corridor prison collectives accomplished in just a short period of three years. Yet CDC continues to label them “worst of the worst.” That’s complete bullsh-t!

California Attorney General Kamala Harris must end the barbaric practice of solitary confinement

August 17, 2015

California Attorney General Kamala Harris is nothing if not ambitious. Not content with being the Golden State’s top law enforcement officer – a position she has held since 2011, after serving seven years as San Francisco County’s district attorney – she’s currently running for the U.S. Senate and is the clear favorite to replace Barbara Boxer, who is retiring in November 2016. Harris must not miss this historic opportunity to end solitary confinement in California.

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Filed Under: California and the U.S.
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We can’t breathe! Thoughts on our Agreement to End Hostilities

July 25, 2015

The Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary defines the word “hostility” as 1) a hostile state, condition or attitude; enmity; antagonism; unfriendliness; 2) a hostile act; 3) Opposition or resistance to an idea, plan project, etc.; 4) acts of warfare; 5) war. So our initial question to the people is: “What does hostility mean to you?”

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While counting President Obama’s NAACP speech and prison visit as big wins, let us keep fighting

July 18, 2015

On Tuesday, July 14, one day after commuting the sentences of 46 people currently serving sentences for nonviolent drug offenses in federal prisons, President Obama addressed the NAACP National Convention in Philadelphia. In his address, the president declared that our criminal justice system is “built on the legacy of slavery, segregation and other structural inequalities that [have] compounded over generations.” Our current system, the president said, is “not an accident.”

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Pelican Bay Hunger Strike: Four years and still fighting

July 14, 2015

Four years ago prisoners in California – led by those in the control units of Pelican Bay – organized a hunger strike to demand an end to the torturous conditions of solitary confinement. Two more strikes would follow, with over 30,000 prisoners taking united action in the summer of 2013 – both in isolation and in general population in nearly every California prison. Current prison organizing continues a historic legacy of struggle.

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New California prison censorship rules ban ‘Windows 7 for Seniors for Dummies’ and ‘Your Child’s Development from Birth to Adolescence’ as too hot for prisoners

June 28, 2015

On April 30, the Office of Administrative Law gave the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation its approval on amended censorship regulations proposed by the department over a year ago. The amended regulations as approved and now in effect are essentially identical to those the department originally put forward on March 25, 2014, which drew sharp public criticism.

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Pennsylvania prison bars Bay View; prisoner fights back – and wins

May 21, 2015

Rahsaan won his appeal and the release of his March Bay View. With his letter, he enclosed the “Final Appeal Decision,” dated April 30, 2015, and marked “Grant Inmate Appeal.” Now he is working to get his April and May Bay Views released. The Bay View thanks and congratulates this outstanding jailhouse lawyer and encourages others who encounter censorship to follow his lead.

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