Tag: Three Strikes law
On Aug. 21 until Sept. 9, there was supposed to be a nationwide protest within the penal system. Aug. 21 is the anniversary of Black Panther Gen. George Jackson being killed by the pigs and Sept. 9 is the anniversary of the 1971 Attica Rebellion. Mr. Jackson was a true revolutionary and the Attica Rebellion was a revolutionary time in history. The people have no idea of class struggle.
Gov. Brown’s Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016 was a sham that gave false hopes of freedom to thousands of juvenile offenders who have grown up – and are now adults – in California prisons and Three Strikers, who believed they would finally see their 20-, 30- and 40-year-old priors, which have kept them behind bars long after their current sentence has been completed, go away. But that’s not the reality.
You may think you know this story. A man lives the high life of a drug dealer, becomes a fugitive, goes to prison for a long time and eventually redeems himself. But you would be wrong. Malik Wade’s story is much, much more. While “Pressure” is a story about a man existing in Dante’s Inferno who transformed himself into an educated and enlightened person, it will also take you on Malik’s sometimes painful but never boring journey that has led him to who he is today.
As momentum continues to grow against the colossal U.S. imprisonment system, the need for strategic targets is crucial, yet we are seeing an overbearing focus on private prisons. We are in a moment when reforms that appear to be “progressive” can actually entrench the violence of policing, imprisonment and surveillance even further.
The California State Supreme Court has re-affirmed its decision allowing Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed initiative for changing California’s parole system to begin gathering signatures for the November ballot. The March 9 decision was the second time the court kept Brown’s crime initiative alive by rejecting a request by state prosecutors to halt signature-gathering for the measure.
In late December, CHOOSE1, a grassroots, non-profit organization, received approval to begin gathering signatures to have the Three Strikes Reform Act of 2016 placed on the November 2016 election ballot. The California Attorney General’s Office has given CHOOSE1 until June 17 to gather signatures from registered voters to qualify the initiative. The goal is 500,000 signatures to ensure enough are gathered to meet statutory requirements.
Often, women’s experiences are less present in the stories of how violence has decimated lives, families and communities. From these women writing from inside, we learn of remarkable efforts by families to resist police violence and terror, confront criminalization, and refuse state efforts to turn communities against each other. These stories are critical to the histories emerging from Compton and other sites of ongoing struggle.
A petition for an initiative proposing major changes in California’s Three Strikes law has been filed. The proposed initiative was received on Sept. 16 by the state Attorney General’s Office from a nonprofit, grassroots organization called CHOOSE1. It is entitled: “The Three Strikes Rehabilitation and Reform Act of 2016.” Supporters would need to collect 500,000 valid voter signatures for the initiative to be placed on the November 2016 ballot.
On Nov. 4, California voters passed criminal justice reform measure Proposition 47. Proposition 47 changes the lowest level drug possession and petty theft crimes from felonies to simple misdemeanors for some people. Although re-sentencing is not guaranteed, up to 10,000 people in California’s prisons and jails will be eligible for resentencing, and newly sentenced individuals who meet the requirements will be under county jurisdiction.
Police officers in Ferguson, whose sole duty is to protect and serve, are seen using dogs, tear gas and now military grade weapons to suppress any peaceful protest and public outcry. This really hits home to those who can relate to being targets of police brutality, where in essence police departments have become judge, jury and executioner, getting away with murder time and time again.
The Death Penalty is one of many signs of a society that is morally deteriorating, especially a society that proclaims an affinity with God and the Holy Scriptures. First of all, there’s nothing in the Holy Scriptures which gives moral support and/or credence to the implementation of the Death Penalty. This is a man-made evil, and it is this spiritual contradiction that will eventually condemn us all to a spiritual and moral death.
There are hundreds of prisoners who have been falsely validated as members or associates of prison gangs that can viscerally relate to my experience, from living life as an outlaw in society to being prosecuted and convicted to prison, only to be persecuted while in prison, fundamentally for educating oneself by trying to heighten one’s sense of cultural and social awareness.
I was pleased to read about the current talk of creating a political action committee (PAC) for prisoners. There was a time when I despised the whole oppressor political apparatus, but I was lucky enough to have comrades who explained that there is nothing wrong with being involved in local politics because these are the ways that we can transform our communities at the current stage in our struggle.
There is a matter of some urgency that should be passed along as broadly as possible, because it is just that serious. We issued a statement, “Creating broken men, Part 2,” where we voiced our outrage at the inclusion of the mandatory brainwashing components of Section 700.2 of the CDCR’s Step Down Program (SDP.) Since that time several things have developed.
Word from within is that California’s prison hunger strikers have been studying the Irish hunger strike of 1981 led by Bobby Sands, in which 10 Irish republicans died because of the stubborn refusal of Margaret Thatcher to recognize them as human. California Gov. Jerry Brown and California prison officials could learn from the Irish hunger strike as well.
While addressing the news about California’s voters overwhelmingly supporting the Three Strikes Reform Act, Prop 36, one district attorney stated that there are about 250 people from Kern County who are eligible for resentencing under Prop 36. And it is her job to make sure that none of them are released. That sentiment is shared by other district attorneys and judges throughout the state.
Californians demand further reductions in prison spending to restore social services. A post-election poll by Californians for Safety and Justice determined that 62 percent of voters believe too much state funding goes to California’s prison system, and 86 percent agree that more resources should be dedicated to preventing crime rather than funding prisons and jails.
On Nov. 6, a majority of the voters in California voted to amend the Three Strikes Law. In Cali alone, according to the film “Cruel and Unusual,” there are over 4,000 people locked up doing life under Three Strikes for nonviolent offenses. The Documentary Film Fest is featuring “Cruel and Unusual” on Nov. 11, 12 and 15 in San Francisco and Berkeley.
Yesterday’s election results show Californians calling for additional cuts to the prison population and corrections budget while approving new taxes to save programs like education, welfare, childcare and healthcare. Voters resoundingly passed Proposition 36 by a 69 percent to 31 percent margin. Proposition 30 was passed by voters 54 percent to 46 percent.
The reform of the Three Strikes Law with Proposition 36 will take a tool away from the police and DAs that has been used to oppress low-income and people of color communities. Any respite from the oppression of racism and capitalism on poor folks is worth voting for. So I say yes on Proposition 36.
12Page 1 of 2