by Bennu Hannibal Ra-Sun
To all held captive in US prisons, jails and detention facilities in the United States of America and around the world:
We are the National Freedom Movement (NFM). We are building our leadership from the incarcerated community in local, state and federal institutions throughout America.
We are organizing from behind enemy lines with the support of activists, advocates and our loved ones. We declare in unity that:
On April 3, 2021, our Brother Peace Justice of Georgia issued the call for a “1 Million Families for Parole Rally.” The NFM is supporting this call to action as part of our #APathwayToFreedom. The NFM, just like Brother Peace Justice, is demanding change to the parole system around the nation, which includes implementation of our Reuniting Families, Rebuilding People and Communities Parole Justice Bill.
Our parole justice bill would reinstate federal parole and establish objective mandatory parole criteria for every parole-eligible individual.
The only pathways to freedom that we will ever see are those that we create ourselves. Parole, like many components of the criminal justice system, has become a politicized institution that is controlled by investors, segments of the financial sector, prison guard unions and private business interests.
Legislation like the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984, the Truth in Sentencing Act of 1998 and the Crime Bill of 1994 forced states to enact legislation that facilitated keeping prisons filled beyond capacity – with no way out.
Parole boards across the country are denying paroles at alarming rates with the intent of keeping prisons filled for political and financial interests. Boards are exercising their unlimited discretion to deny parole no matter the qualifications or readiness to re-enter society of the person being considered.
This arbitrary and abusive exercise of discretion has now become even more deadly during the COVID-19 pandemic. During the “tough on crime” and “war on drugs” era, the federal government enacted legislation like the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984, the Truth in Sentencing Act of 1998 and the Crime Bill of 1994 that forced states to enact legislation that facilitated keeping prisons filled beyond capacity – with no way out.
These laws abolished federal parole and mandated that states scale back parole eligibility standards and grant rates. In addition, these federal laws incentivized states to create “violent offender” classifications, 85 percent laws and more punitive parole boards that made early release on parole almost non-existent.
This call for unity extends to all. We have to apply pressure on the federal and state governments to enact legislation to undo the damage caused by their “war on drugs.”
The NFM is challenging parole and many other aspects of the Prison-Industrial Slave Complex, but we have to be united if we are to be successful. We cannot allow ourselves to be divided by race, geography, class, national origin, affiliation or any of the many other divisive strategies used by our captors to keep us from realizing our demand for freedom.
As part of our parole initiative and April 3, 2021, event, we demand the following:
- We demand that federal parole be immediately reinstated.
- We demand the creation of a mandatory parole criteria and curriculum based on the specific educational, rehabilitative and re-entry needs of every parole-eligible person.
The National Freedom Movement can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. CorrLinks invites accepted.