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Posts Tagged with "prison reform"

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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Filed Under: Prison Stories
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Why isn’t ‘prison reform’ seeking an effective demand for change?

March 26, 2017

The criminal justice system, as an instinct to protect itself and profit from its agenda, protects “criminality” as an inherent reaction and vision of poor people of color. Those who are the most victimized by crime are not those in positions to make and implement policy. Therefore, the image of crime has ethnic connotations that create class disparities that accept an “us against them” social policy which paints crime as a social activity of poor people of color, and punishment as a task of the privileged class to maintain order.

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Filed Under: Prison Stories
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On death row, art is a way to win hearts and minds

February 28, 2017

From expressing spirituality and identity to creating a meditative focus, art takes on a heightened value inside prison. In the U.S., art has become a new weapon in the battle for hearts and minds over the justness of the death penalty – an increasingly heated and polarizing issue touching on not just the ethics and morality of state-sponsored killing but prison reform, class and the inequities of the justice system.

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Filed Under: Culture Stories
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Black woman prisoner in Alabama fights for voting rights: Transformation v. modification

July 30, 2016

I want to address a point overlooked and ignored, that Alabama Constitution Article VIII Section 177 (a) and (b) are contradictory. The former states, “Every citizen of the United States who has attained the age of 18 years … shall have the right to vote.” The latter, however, states, “No person convicted of a felony involving moral turpitude … shall be qualified to vote until restoration of civil and political rights.”

Filing for federal clemency, sentence reduction and other ‘decarceration’ projects

February 27, 2016

Most parties now agree that mass incarceration is NOT the solution to crime in America. The reason being its prison population size is NOT determined by the number of CRIMES committed. So if the crime rate is not the dominant factor, what is? UNJUST racial and class policies are the dominant driving forces behind mass incarceration in the U.S. today. We urge federal prisoners to file for relief under the programs offered.

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Filed Under: Prison Stories
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Expand clemency! Freeing 46 is a start but not enough

July 15, 2015

On July 13, President Barack Obama followed up his March 2015 pardons of 22 federal prisoners by commuting the sentences of 46 federal prisoners who had served time for what has been described by the Washington Post as overly harsh sentencing. On Thursday, July 16, Obama will meet with law enforcement officials and prisoners at El Reno, the first time a sitting president has visited a federal prison.

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Filed Under: California and the U.S.
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Quest for Democracy 2015: Formerly incarcerated people lobby for justice in Sacramento

May 28, 2015

Our Formerly Incarcerated Quest for Democracy (Q4D) Day continues to grow and evolve. This year we had over 250 committed people. We had around 30 teams advocating on legislation relevant to formerly incarcerated people and our communities. Grassroots co-sponsors got a chance to educate community members about their bills. And Sen. Holly Mitchell as well as Assemblymembers Reginald Jones-Sawyer and Autumn Burke addressed participants.

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Filed Under: California and the U.S.
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Elect David Campos, worthy successor to Tom Ammiano, the conscience of the California Assembly

November 3, 2014

Tim Redmond, executive editor of the website 48 Hills, the Secrets of San Francisco, says that 17th District California State Assembly candidates David Campos and David Chiu are quite different candidates, especially on hard core economic issues. However, the race between them is now so close that it’s all about who most effectively gets their voters to the polls.

I am the US economy – from prison to the streets

April 26, 2014

This is for the moms and pops in East Oakland or any other urban neighborhood in honor of the African union of Marcus Books, from a prisoner political action committee to being a member of the formerly incarcerated people’s policy academy or the freedom plan of United KAGE Brothers (UKB), from the urban freedom schools focused on real life Block Reportin’ of “Unfinished Business.” This is for my brothers of the NCTT Cor SHU and all supporters of our hunger strike coalition.

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Filed Under: Prison Stories
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35 years anchoring the prison abolition movement: Legal Services for Prisoners with Children’s 35th Anniversary Celebration

November 6, 2013

At Legal Services for Prisoners with Children’s 35th Anniversary Celebration on Oct. 19, headlined by Dr. Angela Y. Davis and Michelle Alexander, I noticed immediately the “logo,” a phoenix rising from the ashes, the theme for California Coalition for Women Prisoners’ 15th Anniversary celebration of the Fire Inside two years ago. All of Us or None is 10 years old now, and LSPC at 35 is the parent of CCWP.

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Filed Under: SF Bay Area
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Political prisoner Romaine ‘Chip’ Fitzgerald writes to Assembly Public Safety Chair Tom Ammiano

September 28, 2013

It is my sincere hope this letter will be received in the same spirit of appreciation and cooperation in which it is written. First and foremost, I wish to acknowledge the courage and independent thinking and actions you demonstrated in the unannounced visit to inspect the conditions of confinement at Pelican Bay State Prison Security Housing Unit and speak with the strike leaders.

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Filed Under: Prison Stories
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Remembering Attica

September 6, 2013

Sept. 9, 2013, marks the 42th anniversary of the prison uprising at the Attica Correctional Facility in upstate New York. Forty-two men, mostly inmates, were killed in the armed retaking of the prison under the orders of Gov. Nelson Rockefeller. I was there, as one of the “observers” specifically requested by the inmates. We tried to negotiate a peaceful, non-violent settlement of the dispute.

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Filed Under: Prison Stories
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Solidarity and solitary: When unions clash with prison reform

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.

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Filed Under: Prison Stories
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Working the room: Inmates in solitary confinement tell their stories and move people to action against torture and systemic oppression

January 30, 2013

By taking to heart the experiences shared by Heshima Denham we learn that one of the greatest gestures of support and reassurance of the safety of prisoners who are vocal about their circumstances is constant visibility. Solitary confinement is torture; it is a violation of some of the most basic of human rights; and the agents of the state responsible for carrying out this abuse need to be exposed.

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Filed Under: Prison Stories
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Political prisoner news briefs

August 10, 2012

Black August is a time to remember and recommit to freeing our political prisoners who were targeted by COINTELPRO and similar schemes and have been imprisoned ever since – many for more than 30 years.

DA’s race: Stop overcrowding prisons

September 29, 2011

The Supreme Court ordered California to release 33,000 prisoners due to unhealthy conditions and prison overcrowding in the Plata vs. Brown prisoner lawsuit. The high court showed it was serious by demanding the release of 10,000 of these prisoners by a December 2011 deadline.

The road from Attica

September 9, 2011

Sept. 9 marks 40 years since the uprising at Attica State Prison in upstate New York and the deadly and sadistic retaking of the prison – and mass torture of hundreds of prisoners all the rest of the day and night and beyond – by state police and prison guards on the morning of Sept. 13, 1971. Attica and its aftermath exposed the powder kegs ready to explode inside the U.S. prisons.

Hope for prisoners sentenced as juveniles to life without parole

May 6, 2011

In the state of California, 227 people who were juveniles when they were convicted are serving life term prison sentences without the chance to ever re-enter society. Senate Bill 9, the Fair Sentencing for Youth Act, would allow sentence reduction to 25 years to life.

Locked down, exploited and mistreated

January 10, 2011

Inmate beatings by prison guards occur across Georgia following an eight-day peaceful protest to highlight inhumane conditions in the prisons. These protesting prisoners must be silenced because a whole range of corporate interests has found that they can profit from caging human beings.

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Filed Under: Prison Stories
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Wanda’s Picks for May

May 1, 2009

Shout out to First Lady Michelle Obama, who presented the bust of Queen Mother Sojourner Truth, a woman who experienced first hand the hardships of slavery, yet emerged strong, so strong she had to remind America she too was a woman, a woman deserving all the respect and honor reserved for privileged white women.

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Filed Under: Culture Stories
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