This 1968 poster shows John Clutchette, George Jackson and Fleeta Drumgo being escorted by guards.

by John Clutchette

I have read your publication periodically over the years, and after some discussion with fellow prisoners, it was suggested I seek your assistance with getting the message out there that I need help!

This 1968 poster shows John Clutchette, George Jackson and Fleeta Drumgo being escorted by guards.
This 1968 poster shows John Clutchette, George Jackson and Fleeta Drumgo being escorted by guards.

The enclosed documents tell a lot of the story of what I’ve been up against for years. Most of my support system has died – mother, wife, daughter and sister. The Brother Keith Wattley took my case and fought it to a short lived victory.

Note, I was found suitable for parole in 2003, but that decision was reversed. Also, the court ruled in my favor on a Habeas Corpus; that’s when I found out they had 11 confidential 1030s (Confidential Information Disclosure Forms) against me containing all sort of allegations. I received copies in 2005. The courts later sealed that evidence and labeled it confidential to prevent my attorney from seeing the information.

Instead of taking me back before the Parole Board, I was locked up on a 114-D investigation order, validated a BGF (Black Guerilla Family) and sent to Corcoran SHU for six years.

Director Susan Hubbard let me out on the Step Down Program, bypassing the first four steps to Step 5, sending me straight to General Population. I had to postpone all hearings while in the SHU. They were giving guys 10 and 15 year denials, based on that alone. Jan. 27, 2015, was my first time going back before them since the 2003 hearing.

It would take more time and paper than I have right now to rehash over 45 years of history – bottom line being, I went before the Parole Board in 1972, after Fleeta Drumgo and I was acquitted, when all the events were fresh. They found me suitable and paroled me; in 2003 I was found suitable and in 2015 I was again found suitable.

The enclosed documents tell a lot of the story of what I’ve been up against for years. The Brother Keith Wattley took my case and fought it to a short lived victory.

Gov. Brown “reversed” the Parole Board as though the events of 1971 were something new. I wasn’t charged or indicted with the San Quentin Six, yet the governor acts as if I was an unindicted conspirator.

Before I close, let me go on record by saying none of us – George, Fleeta, David, Willie, Luis, Johnny, Hugo, James, Ruchell, William – were BGF. I’ve always taken issue with those who used George as a recruitment tool, for lack of a better word, reducing all his efforts and sacrifice to what the prison authorities now call a “Black prison gang.” The Brother had evolved far beyond that.

What I am trying to do is get some funds for Keith Wattley. He has represented more prisoners than myself and is deserving some reward and benefit for his diligence.

What I am trying to do is get some funds for Keith Wattley. He has represented more prisoners than myself and is deserving some reward and benefit for his diligence.

Thank you in advance for whatever assistance you can provide.

Respectfully,

John Clutchette

Send our brother some love and light: John Clutchette, C-23857, CSP Solano B7-139L, P.O. Box 4000, Vacaville, CA 95696

It’s time for the last Soledad Brother to go home

This is the full photo of the Soledad Brothers that is featured in the famous poster.
This is the full photo of the Soledad Brothers that is featured in the famous poster.

In a March 15, 2007, story headlined, “Justices Look Past Notorious History for Inmate’s Parole,” the San Francisco Daily Journal quoted the divided appellate panel explaining why he deserves to be paroled: “The fact that Clutchette was one of the ‘Soledad Brothers’ denotes only an alleged involvement in the murder of a corrections officer, of which he was acquitted. It is no wonder the People have never, even in the trial court, attempted to explain how this historically interesting but otherwise irrelevant material was significant for denial of parole.”

Clutchette enclosed a clipping of the article in a packet of papers with his letter. Also in the packet is a 1982 CDC Form “Q” “Tip and Enemy Information” naming him a BGF member and “one of the Soledad Brothers. Involved in SQ adjustment center incident of 8-21-71.” He notes this is “the sole basis for the BGF designation … This is not a validation.”

Ironically, several credible reports are circulating that high CDC officials want to remove BGF from the list of prison gangs because it is a political organization and not a gang but that “internal politics” are preventing them from doing so. Clutchette is in his 70s; how much longer must he wait?

How you can help

John Clutchette also enclosed with his letter a copy of a May 27, 2015, letter from his lawyer, Keith Wattley, relaying the bad news that Gov. Jerry Brown had “reversed” the Parole Board’s grant of parole – but also holding out hope: “We think that you have a very good chance of success in the courts … We would charge $3,500 to file your petition in the California Superior Court and ask the court to appoint us as your counsel.”

Clutchette asks that contributions be sent directly to his attorney, reminding readers that “no amount is too small.” Address your checks or money orders to Keith Wattley, UnCommon Law, 220 4th St., Suite 103, Oakland CA 94607.

Clutchette asks that contributions be sent directly to his attorney, reminding readers that “no amount is too small.” Address your checks or money orders to Keith Wattley, UnCommon Law, 220 4th St., Suite 103, Oakland CA 94607.

Why abolish prisons?

by John Clutchette

This Associated Press wirephoto dated March 27, 1972, pictures John Clutchette and reports that he and Fleeta Drumgo were found “innocent of all charges in the death of a white prison guard two years ago.”
This Associated Press wirephoto dated March 27, 1972, pictures John Clutchette and reports that he and Fleeta Drumgo were found “innocent of all charges in the death of a white prison guard two years ago.”

This letter is excerpted in the 1972 book, “If They Come in the Morning: Voices of Resistance,” by Angela Davis.

Today’s prison system should be abolished because it is a system predesigned and constructed to warehouse the people of undeveloped and lower economic communities. Under the existing social order, men and women are sent to prison for labor (free labor) and further economic gain by the state.

Where else can you get a full day’s work for 2 to 16 cents an hour, and these hours become an indeterminate period of years. This is slave labor in 20th century America. Repeat! Men and women are sent to prison for free labor, not for what contributions they might make to their communities, under the guise of rehabilitation.

Ninety-eight percent of all people held in U.S. concentration camps are people of oppression. We are the people who come from the underclass of the system. We are the people castigated and barred from the productive arenas of social employment, decent housing, correct education, correct medical care etc., etc., a war of survival …

Today’s prison system should be abolished because it is a system predesigned and constructed to warehouse the people of undeveloped and lower economic communities.

Bear with me. I don’t intend to sound bitter, but only to relate the truth. We must come to know the truth. We are the people left to the crumbs of the system …

We are the people who lie prey to the criminal elements of the system. The choice – survive or perish – the first always being to survive.

It is a fact that man is a product of his environment, that the character and state of mind of a people, a race, a nation, the world, depends essentially and decisively on being able to control their economic environment in relation to controlling the fruits of their labor. In essence, this is the determining factor of one’s social, political and economic power.

Again, 98 percent of all the people in concentration camps are members of the oppressed class. You won’t find members of the ruling clique in places like this, but you will find their victims. …

98 percent of all the people in concentration camps are members of the oppressed class.

Building more and better prisons is not the solution. Build a thousand prisons, arrest and lock up tens of thousands of people; all will be to no avail.

This will not arrest poverty, oppression and the other ills of this unjust social order. But the people, working in united effort, can eliminate these conditions by removing the source that produces them.

Building more and better prisons is not the solution. Build a thousand prisons, arrest and lock up tens of thousands of people; all will be to no avail.

We need people who will stand up and speak out when it is a matter of right or wrong, of justice or injustice, of struggling or not struggling to help correct and remove conditions affecting the people. All I ask is that the people support us. I will break my back in helping to bring peace and justice upon the face of the earth.

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