Tag: solitary confinement
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.
When I attended the Society for Neuroscientists annual conference in San Diego last month, I expected to be doused in information regarding the field’s newest knowledge and innovations. Designed to bring together 30,000 of the world’s top neuroscientists, I was so excited to be engaged in this enriching environment for the first time. I never would have expected that I would be encompassed by emotions as I listened to the story of a man named Robert King during a roundtable discussion on contemporary social issues.
On Tuesday, Dec. 11, up to 40 immigrants detained at the now infamous Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma began refusing meals, initiating a hunger strike in protest of the conditions they face. One detained activist listed the group’s demands as follows: “I am part of a group of detainees that are going to go on hunger strike as the only way to protest and shine a light on the abuses that we suffer here." This strike is the latest in a series of strikes protesting conditions inside the facility; the most recent mass strike began on Aug. 21 in conjunction with a national prison strike.
On Friday, Nov. 16, activists from across Ohio and Pennsylvania collaborated for an action outside the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) Central Office in Columbus. The rally was in response to a number of repressive and retaliatory actions against prisoners following the massive #August21 prison strike. Organizers of the action included Lucasville Amnesty, Pittsburgh Anarchist Black Cross, Central Ohio IWOC (Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee) and BQIC (Black Queer and Intersectional Collective).
I’m writing to bring awareness to the current problems we face at 850 Bryant St., on the Seventh Floor in the San Francisco County Jail. Not only for months do the toilets constantly overflow, causing us to have to smell fecal matter all day, but also they serve us dinner at 3:30 p.m. every day but let the trays sit in the hallway for two hours before we receive them, so we have only cold food every single meal. Now, in addition, when it rains, the roof leaks rusty water on my bed.
Jason reports within the past year, prison guards are turning up the way they retaliate for his published exposés and activism. From false charges to legal property theft and now physically unprovoked beatings. Jason is urgently requesting help in beating an attempted frame-up. Below is a suggested script that you can use to make complaints to the TDCJ Ombudsman, as well as Ellis Unit Warden Kelly Strong, Regional Director Wayne Brewer and TDCJ Director Bryan Collier.
The lockdown of 47,000 prisoners in all 25 Pennsylvania prisons began Aug. 29, 2018, and lasted for 12 days. Department of Corrections (DOC) Secretary John Wetzel backed by Gov. Tom Wolf said the lockdown was an emergency measure to protect prison guards. They claimed there was widespread illness of guards from physical contact with synthetic drugs. This is false. The lockdown looks like it was a planned pre-emptive action so that the National Prison Strike didn’t spread to Pennsylvania prisons. The “drug emergency” was a pretext to isolate, repress and control prisoners.
Palestinians confined in Israel’s brutal prisons issued a statement of solidarity on Aug. 20 with the National Prison Strike in the U.S. Members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine expressed the utmost support for their sisters and brothers jailed in this country’s horrific system of mass incarceration who courageously launched a nationally coordinated protest against their imprisonment and the oppressive conditions they face. For bravely carrying out this act of international solidarity and other acts of defiance, Israeli prison officials retaliated against imprisoned PFLP leaders on Aug. 29.
I answered the call Aug. 21, 2018, and put together a hunger strike team. My name was released on the local WTOL News as one of the protesters with the Nation of Islam, who showed their support by hitting the parking lot entrance with banners to protest mass incarceration and prison slavery. A plot to kill me and poison my food by an officer was exposed. But I’m hard to kill. Can’t stop, won’t stop.
Statement regarding the Nationwide Prison Strike of 2018 issued Oct. 15, 2018, by the Prison Strike Media Team. The extent of repression and retaliation by prison authorities against suspected participants in this year’s nationwide prison strike continues to emerge slowly. The National Lawyers Guild Prisoners’ Legal Advocacy Network (NLG-PLAN) has received additional details from 12 states.
This prisoner-led strike is not only about their list of 10 demands; it’s a clear call for their human rights! This is no small feat – and it’s dangerous! These men and women are putting their lives on the line – for themselves and for us. The retaliation began weeks before the strike even began. Don’t think for one moment this isn’t also about us here on the outside. Most of us are complicit in the horrors that have taken place in our nation’s prisons.
As incarcerated people across the country began a three-week series of protests, a contingent of physicians, health professions students and other allied health professionals expressed their solidarity with the protestors. More than 125 students and healthcare providers signed an open letter endorsing the National Prison Strike, with many participating in local solidarity actions or making phone calls to prisons to show support for the strikers’ demands.
While I was immersed in the National Prison Strike back home, I had no idea how solidarity looked to others who felt trapped outside of the resistance. Some felt unable to connect with the people they desperately wanted to join in fighting for. Some Americans may say, How can I support a prisoner? in the same way that I struggled to connect with Tico Educators – in both cases knowing that their plight is worth fighting for.
Above the din of disturbing news – that discordant banging you’re hearing, steadily getting louder and louder, that you can no longer ignore – that’s the drumbeat of the unfree. Dehumanized by the labels “prisoner,” “inmate” and “convict,” even reduced to serial numbers like Victor Hugo’s Jean Valjean in “Les Misérables,” these men and women are, just like you and me, or any mortal – irrespective of flaws, frailties, even felonious acts and misdemeanors – endowed with the right to be treated with dignity, decency and respect.
Thomas Porter is a 42-year-old Black man held on Virginia’s Death Row for the Oct. 25, 2005, shooting death of a Norfolk, Virginia, cop. At his trial, it was undisputed that the cop walked up and grabbed him around the throat without warning, then tried to throw him to the ground. Thomas reflexively pushed the cop back, asking what he was doing. Without warning or explanation, the cop pulled his gun and fired on Thomas but missed. In a split second reaction, Thomas pulled and fired his own gun, fatally hitting the cop in the head – a clear case of self-defense.
On Feb. 1-2, 2017, a riot occurred at Delaware’s James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Building C that resulted in a correctional officer being assaulted and another being killed. After a nine-month investigation led by the Delaware State Police, an 18-man indictment was handed down on Oct. 17, 2017. Everybody pled not guilty and chose trial by a jury except for one co-defendant. Not only did this cowardly snitch fabricate his story and just blatantly outright lie on others indicted, but he’s an ancient RAT, meaning that he snitched on some boys back in the day.
Fear and deference of prisoners toward their captors (conditioned through outright violent terror) replicates almost exactly that of Blacks towards whites under the chattel slavery and Jim Crow systems of the Old South. The absolute power of prison officials is no less extreme. And they exercise that power just as arbitrarily. But oppression breeds resistance and a movement is underway where prisoners across the U.S. are staging a range of protests in opposition to slave labor and inhumane treatment in U.S. prisons.
The basis for the Prison Lives Matter Campaign and this demonstration is not only to shed light on the poor treatment and inhumane living conditions that prisoners are subjected to, although we know this is the initial motivating factor for most families and supporters who get involved with the prison movement and demonstrations such as this one. However, the objective is to tie this struggle into our overall class and national struggle against racist capitalist-imperialist domination and exploitation of the proletariat.
A diverse crowd of around 500 mostly young activists turned out for a rally Aug. 25 at San Quentin Prison. Most came from Oakland, many in two chartered buses, but sizable contingents traveled from San José, Santa Cruz and San Francisco as well. Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee, a key organizer of the rally, along with Prisoners Human Rights Coalition, CA, and many other Bay Area activist groups, including Party for Socialism and Liberation, helped publicize the action. The idea for the strike originated with Jailhouse Lawyers Speak, an incarcerated group of prisoner rights advocates.
The following statement was released by the Palestinian prisoners of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, jailed by Zionist colonialism for their role in struggling for the freedom of their people. They are among nearly 6,000 Palestinians imprisoned by the Israeli occupation today. Their solidarity comes to extend fists of resistance and hands of unity through prison bars to support the U.S. National Prison Strike, beginning Aug. 21.