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Prisons in some states are withholding newspapers from inmates amid a strike against prison conditions and billions of dollars worth of prison labor. The passing of the 13th Amendment in 1865 formally abolished slavery, but with a stipulation that enabled plantation owners to use prisoners as a replacement for the lost labor. As a group called the Free Alabama Movement rallied for a Sept. 9 labor strike in spring, prison authorities across the country began clamping down on news and information in ways that the ACLU says may be in violation of the First Amendment.
On Sept. 9, 2016, the 45th anniversary of the Sept. 9, 1971, Attica Rebellion, the Free Alabama Movement kicks off the National Non-Violent and Peaceful Prison Shutdown for Civil and Human Rights at Holman Prison in Atmore, Alabama. After launching its movement in 2014 with the first coordinated work stoppages and shutdowns in Alabama prison history, Free Alabama Movement issued a call in 2015 for the first coordinated nationwide prison work strike in U.S. history.
Our attention has been turned this week to Holman Prison in Alabama where rolling uprisings inside have led to prisoners taking control of certain areas of the prison. Prisoners have since released a set of demands including increased educational programs for prisoners, monetary damages for physical and mental abuse, and revoking the State’s 446 laws that – similar to Three Strikes laws – harden sentences for subsequent convictions.
I am a 38-year-old Black male from the city of Richmond, Virginia, who has been incarcerated for over 20 consecutive years. I am serving a 93-year prison sentence without the possibility of parole for my participation in a robbery that resulted in the shooting deaths of two innocent people. Having exhausted all available post-conviction remedies in the courts, prisoners like me have few avenues to regain our freedom here in the commonwealth of Virginia.
Every morning, young and old African Americans are paraded through courtrooms in San Francisco, dressed in orange jumpsuits not unlike Guantanamo inmates and often shackled in handcuffs or chains. The vast majority of judges and prosecutors are resigned to that daily reality. The City’s jail in 1994 had 4.4 times the proportion of Black inmates as in San Francisco as a whole. By 2012, the jail population was 9.5 times more Black than The City. It is time to address the apartheid-like conditions in the metropolis and stop giving passes to the “liberal” coastal cities like San Francisco.
On Thursday, July 31, communities impacted by incarceration, immigrant detention and escalating violence against women and children will march to the site of a new women’s prison in McFarland to demand its immediate closure. Advocates will convene at McFarland Park, 100 Frontage Rd, McFarland, Calif., at 5 p.m. CDCR has contracted with the GEO Group to run the McFarland prison. The GEO group, like the state of California, has been challenged by prisoner hunger strikes, protests and lawsuits due to the deplorable and inhumane conditions of their facilities.
This is the voice of a mother crying for the freedom of her child, Anthony Leonard Bottom, aka Jalil Muntaqim, who has been swallowed up in the New York penal system for 37 years, 1977-2014. My child has been held captive in the belly of New York state prisons without any regard for his constitutional human rights. Consequently, as a political prisoner, he has become a forgotten, disenfranchised citizen of the United States of America.
I am a 55-year-old New Afrikan man. I came to prison in 1980 for a first degree murder that I did not commit. The prosecutor, judge, victim’s family and my family know that I did not commit this murder. How is it that I can say it as a matter of fact? Because the actual killer confessed to the murder during the trial, did the time for the murder and he has since been released in 1986.
In an Aug. 6, 2013, op-ed piece published in the Los Angeles Times, Jeffrey Beard, the secretary of California’s inaptly named Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDC), cynically attempts to dehumanize a significant percentage of California’s population – i.e., the state’s incarcerated population – while making light of the grave human rights abuses perpetrated by the CDC.
In our current climate, it is increasingly hard to see how some of the alternating proposals flowing from these debates, namely, a “good guy with a gun” in every school or a generic “gun control” that bans all bad guns and gun accessories will be anything but a distraction from truly understanding and addressing the root of what is causing people to die.
California’s adoption of mandatory minimums, drive for three-strikes laws and participation in the nationwide “War on Drugs” campaign of the 1980s has created a burgeoning prison system fractured along racial, humanitarian and economic lines.