July 14, 2014
One year ago on July 8, 30,000 California prisoners refused meals and work assignments, beginning a 60-day hunger strike with the core demand of ending the state’s use of indefinite solitary confinement. This was the largest hunger strike in U.S. history, and it presented the deepest challenge yet to solitary by bringing national and international attention to a practice that has long been condemned by human rights groups as torture.
July 8, 2014
Prison family members, formerly incarcerated persons, opponents of solitary confinement and mass incarceration and others in Pennsylvania will be fasting and making calls to Gov. Corbett and Department of Corrections Secretary Wetzel on July 8 to join the California Families Against Solitary Confinement and supporters around the country and the world in commemorating the one-year anniversary of the California prison hunger strike.
July 8, 2014
Political Prisoner Imam Jamil Al Amin, formerly known as H. Rap Brown, is in critical medical condition and in desperate need of our urgent action. Imam Jamil was a dominant and influential figure in the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements of the 1960s. He served as chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and later as Minister of Justice for the Black Panther Party.
July 7, 2014
One year ago, on July 8, 2013, 30,000 California prisoners initiated the largest hunger strike the world has ever seen. Sixty days later, 40 prisoners, who had eaten nothing in all that time, agreed to suspend the strike when state legislators promised to hold hearings on ending solitary confinement, the heart of their demands. The 2013 hunger strike followed two in 2011. In the interim, effective October 2012, the hunger strike leaders, representing all racial groups, issued the historic Agreement to End Hostilities, which has held with few exceptions throughout the California prison system ever since.
June 30, 2014
We are excited about the impending release from prison of our beloved friend and comrade, Frank “Outlaw” Reid, on July 14. Outlaw will finally walk free! Allies in D.C. and Virginia have been raising financial support for his re-entry. Our latest effort is a mixed media zine called Justice for Outlaw, which includes an intensive study, by Outlaw, on the origins of the Virginia prison system and how it functions today.
June 23, 2014
Keith LaMar, also known as Bomani Shakur, is a prisoner in Ohio, condemned to death on false charges following the 1993 Lucasville Prison Uprising. Bomani is one of five men condemned to death after being railroaded through forced snitch testimony. They are known as the Lucasville Five. The following is an interview with Bomani from death row, recorded on March 7, 2014.
June 19, 2014
The suit details a series of confiscations of Robert Saleem Holbrook’s mail since January 2012 that includes academic correspondence with a college professor, scholarly essays from the anthology “If They Come in the Morning,” a Black history book, and a newsletter published by HRC, The Movement, which focuses on prison abuse, solitary confinement, and ways that prisoners’ family members can come together to challenge human rights abuses and injustice in the criminal legal system.
June 14, 2014
CDCR has proposed regulations that could permanently ban any documents it defines as “contraband,” including political publications and correspondence that should be protected by First Amendment constitutional rights. Why are prison officials attempting to increase the political, mental and emotional isolation of people in solitary confinement struggling to resist an already crushing physical isolation?
June 13, 2014
When prisoners write to publications in order to tell our stories to the outside world, why would that be a threat now to the penological interests of the CDCr when it never has been for over 40 years? The policy [new proposed censorship rules, officially called “Obscene Material” regulations] is in retaliation for prisoners telling our personal horror stories, while carrying out hunger strikes in protest of such cruel and unusual punishment inside solitary confinement.
May 28, 2014
Members of the Transport Workers Solidarity Committee, including (among others) the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, BART workers and AC Transit bus drivers, were appalled to hear that the Oakland Unified School District succumbed to pressure from the Fraternal Order of Police and the right-wing Fox News by shutting down the educational Urban Dreams website, which includes material on Mumia Abu-Jamal and Martin Luther King Jr.
May 23, 2014
We write out of concern for the manner in which certain aspects of CDCR’s Step-Down Program (SDP) are being implemented, specifically, self-directed journals and cognitive behavior therapy. Because the aim of these components is to change and restructure the subject’s thought processes, it is a mental health issue, which requires the involvement of mental health professionals in its implementation and oversight.
May 23, 2014
We write out of concern for the manner in which certain aspects of the step-down program (SDP) are being implemented by the CDCR, specifically, self-directed journals and cognitive behavior therapy. Because these components have to do with changing and restructuring the thought processes of people, they involve mental health issues and require the involvement of mental health professionals in their implementation and oversight.
May 17, 2014
In solidarity I offer this suggestion: Reduce your contribution to your imprisonment. Instead, contribute to your child’s development. Advantages: The prison system has less funding, the companies that lobby for prisons lose money and you remain healthy to fight! Federal prisoners spend $300 million a year in commissary. It is estimated that prisoners contribute $3 billion annually toward their own incarceration.
May 9, 2014
We are writing to offer our position on the two bills pending before the Assembly and the Senate – SB 892 and AB 1652 – dealing with the solitary confinement and gang validation policies of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). The narrower and more focused (and less costly) AB 1652 would far better serve the public safety, prison security and the humane treatment of prisoners.
May 6, 2014
On July 8, 2013, 30,000 prisoners of the California prison system – and hundreds more across the United States – refused meals to take a stand about the conditions of prisoners in the various forms of solitary isolation – approximately 14,000 human beings in California alone. It was the third hunger strike in California in two years. Dozens of prisoners deprived themselves of solid food for 60 days. One prisoner died.
May 4, 2014
California prisoners, who suspended their 2013 hunger strike, the largest such strike in history, after two legislative leaders promised bills addressing the strikers’ demands, are now opposing one of those bills. Sen. Loni Hancock’s Senate Bill 892 would give prison regulations on “gang validation” and the new step-down program the force of law. And it would leave California with the largest population of prisoners in solitary confinement of any country in the world or state in the United States at enormous cost to the taxpayers.
May 4, 2014
No functional changes have transpired in this prison. If anything, it has become worse. I will not support nor participate in any sort of so-called Step Down Program for any reason. After 41 straight years in the “hole” – i.e., SHU – I have nothing to step down from. Either release me to any mainline with no strings attached or the heck with it. I’ll merely die in the hole.
May 3, 2014
The motivation to organize the National Afrikan-Amerikan Family Reunion Association, NAAFRA, a family movement in-gathering all New Afrikan families with reunions and those not yet experiencing the joy of reunion activity in their family into a single family movement charged with the fire of change and coming forward with a passion of love and pride in being Afrikan.
May 1, 2014
Our Five Core Demands of the hunger strikes have not been met. And we see that reform always equals revisionism, which means it’s no change. The food has literally gotten worse, although for a month they attempted to adequately feed us. The medical care continues to be inadequate. The educational programs and privileges are not afforded, and prisoners are still made to suffer in these inhumane conditions, now familiar to us for years on end.
April 30, 2014
On the evening of April 5, hundreds gathered in downtown Oakland for the National Lawyers Guild San Francisco Bay Area Chapter’s (NLGSF) annual fundraising dinner. This year, the NLGSF honored California prison hunger strikers and the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity (PHSS) coalition of family members, activists and friends who supported the strikers. The assembled crowd was able to hear directly from those inside California prisons.