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The CDCR continues to mislead the public in order to get whatever it is they want at that moment. In front of the cameras, they pretend to care, while using a lot of fancy words … like rehabilitation, honesty, integrity etc. … But in reality they don’t give a “blank” about prisoners.
The play “Every Five Minutes” by Scottish writer Linda McLean is an unique look into the effects of solitary confinement on a man named Mo – recently released after 13 years behind bars. Captured by insurgents, he was tortured, denied contact with family or others outside of his captors. The effects of this deprivation are one disorientated man whom we meet at his coming out dinner.
The only way that we can stop the bleeding is by prisoners ending it first. By embracing the Agreement to End Hostilities, we can change our prison oppression into a more productive prison environment that serves the interests of us prisoners, as well as put an end to the policies that are inhumane.
As a people who should be championing the cause of the tired, the poor and the huddled masses yearning to breathe free, we need to first find humane solutions to our social ills. Isolation, incarceration and, yes, LWOP sentences are barbaric and sit in the realm of the lesser of two evils. And that’s why California still has the cruel instruments of death as its solutions.
Ultimately, this is a peaceful movement to assert our humanity. Differences in race, sets and associations matter not. Each of us is ultimately responsible for maintaining and preserving our own self-respect. We hope that as comrades you will help lift each other up as you come to realize that the same oppressor oppresses us all!
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.
Three Strikes has disproportionately targeted the poor and people of color. More than 70 percent of the Three Strikes prisoners serving life sentences are either African American or Latino; making Three Strikes one of the leading civil rights issues of today. We need your help. On Nov. 6, California residents will have another opportunity to amend Three Strikes. Vote Yes on Prop. 36.
The Three-Strikes law has significantly contributed to the increase in California's prison population. Nearly two thirds of the second or third strikers have been incarcerated for nonviolent crimes. With only 7% of California’s population, Blacks comprise 45% of the Third Strikers. Vote Yes on Prop 36, the Three Strikes Reform Act of 2012, this November!
The first book I read after I decided to consciously educate myself to be a part of the movement was Sanyika Shakur’s “Monster” in the mid-‘90s. I was inspired by the sharpness of his ideas, his vocabulary and his grasp on history. I respected him in the same way I respected Tupac Shakur. I knew that one day I wanted to be able express myself as articulately as the two of them.
This powerful event resonated deeply, bringing meaning to the “occupy” movement and showing that its power is to support existent fights and organizing efforts for silenced peoples that have been raging on for years as well as to shed light on the increasingly po’lice controlled state that we all live under.
California Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to send nonviolent prisoners back to county jails under a new law, AB-109, also known as “Realignment,” reclassifies certain nonviolent, non-serious and some sex offense felonies, allowing the convicted to serve time in a county jail, home detention or probation instead of prison.
I am not about to trust a “movement” that offers no critique of the role of state violence in upholding capitalist economic interests. I am not about to get arrested with some “white” guys whose interests are just their own, who only noticed injustice when they were the ones who got laid off, arrested, beat down or tased.
Patricia Wright is a prisoner in Central California Women’s Facility’s Nursing Unit coping with an extraordinary array of challenges. She is legally blind, has stage four cancer that has spread to her breasts and her brain, causing her to lose control of her bodily functions, leaving her diapered, and has been given six months to live. What’s worse is that she’s innocent.
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.
Dhanifu Karim Bey, an elder in Los Angeles’ conscious community, a former Black Panther and a long time school teacher, is being forced to fight for his life unjustifiably in court in a three strikes case. Pack the courtroom Friday, Aug. 5, 8 a.m., Norwalk County District Court, Department J, 12720 Norwalk Blvd., in Norwalk.
This morning the U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed a previous court order requiring the state of California to reduce dramatically the number of people in its horribly overcrowded state prison system. California will have two years to reduce overcrowding by 46,000. “Public safety is a direct outcome of public education, affordable housing and living-wage jobs. These are goals we can achieve now if we take this opportunity to shrink prisons and jails,” declared Professor Ruth Wilson Gilmore, author of “Golden Gulag.”
Walking clean and sober can be very lonely for a parolee whose comfort zone is hanging out with addicts and traveling the road of drugs and criminality. I for one will admit that I perhaps know less about free society than I do about prison life.
Universities all over the state of California have erupted into protest over the raising of student fees. In the Bay Area, rebellions have been going down at UC Berkeley and at San Francisco State University regularly; students actually have brought their feelings right to the front door of the chancellor’s house.
Ishmael Reed is one of the most read writers of his generation, along with Toni Morrison and Amiri Baraka, living in America. In 1962, Reed co-founded “East Village Other,” a well known underground publication at the time, and was a member of the Umbra Writers Workshop, which helped to give rise to the Black Arts Movement. He has published nine novels, four collections of poetry, six plays, four collections of essays and a libretto. He currently lives in Oakland, and I approached him one day while he was visiting KPFA’s studios to ask him what he thought about the state of affairs between the police and Oakland’s Black community, with the backdrop of the police murder of Oscar Grant and, in a separate incident, the police murder of Lovelle Mixon, after Mixon allegedly killed four Oakland police officers.
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