60 F
San Francisco
Friday, September 20, 2019
Behind Enemy Lines

Behind Enemy Lines

Stories from the prison industrial complex.

True life: I’m serving a 40-year sentence too

Secondary prisonization is what happens when people visit someone in prison. Children are no exception. We experience subtle versions of our parent’s physical confinement, elaborate surveillance and strict guidelines for any and everything. In my experience, from the long rides all the way to small prisons in the middle of nowhere, Kentucky, to my little sister’s severe nosebleeds in the car as we traveled through the mountains of West Virginia, to the amped up security at each facility, to the absurdly cold visitation rooms – all of it was miserable.

Amplify the voices these prisons try to silence: Fight censorship from California to Pennsylvania

Departments of corrections and state legislatures are putting into place chilling bans on free speech and expression by prisoners, formerly incarcerated persons, family members, friends, journalists, advocates and activists. Pack the courtroom for the hearing on Abu-Jamal v. Kane, challenging Prisoner Gag Law SB 508, on Thursday, Feb. 26, 10 a.m., in U.S. Courthouse, 228 Walnut St., Courtroom 2, Harrisburg, Penn.

Beloved political prisoner Hugo ‘Yogi Bear’ Pinell, feared and hated by guards, assassinated in...

Black August adds another hero and martyr to the roll. By some accounts, it was his first day on the yard after 46 years in solitary confinement when Hugo “Yogi” Pinell was assassinated Aug. 12. Prison guards celebrated on social media: “May he rot in hell” and “Good riddens” (sic), they typed. Yogi was the only member of the San Quentin 6 still in prison, and his role in the events of Aug. 21, 1971, the day George Jackson was assassinated, has earned the guards’ incessant enmity ever since.

Send us your drawings of degrading places

Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility (ADPSR) will be holding an exhibition at the UC Berkeley College of Environmental Design this October-November on the design of execution chambers and spaces of solitary confinement. It will have an online presence and may travel to other venues as we develop the project, so stayed tuned. But first, to succeed, we need drawings!

Keith Tharpe and the death penalty’s racist roots

Unacceptable racial bias is at the root of capital punishment; it is an ignominious bloody stain running deep, with terribly tragic results, in the frayed fabric of our country.

A strategy meant to break me fuels my passion for human rights

I am an inmate at Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF) in Chowchilla, California. In April 2013, I and another individual were falsely accused of sexual assault and placed in Administrative Segregation (Ad-Seg) immediately. I was forced to face the loss of my job assignment, property, good living quarters, placement and status in groups and organizations.

California prisoners say videos show ‘gladiator fights’ at Soledad State Prison

California prisoners released video recordings of two prisoner fights they say were set up by officials at the Correctional Training Facility in Soledad, California. It is now the second facility to report so-called “gladiator fights” after prisoners spoke out about similar incidents at the state prison in Corcoran.

Pastor Eric Payne paroled, then snatched from his church, wife, four children back to...

My husband did nothing wrong, no violation of his parole at all. This error is not his fault, but he is being punished as if it is. Because of this recent knowledge, or unless you know of another plan of action, we feel the best remedy is to seek his release via the Parole Board with a seasoned and aggressive Parole Board attorney. We need help, direction, case study, laws etc. that will assist in my husband’s immediate release.

California prisoners endangered by forced integration of snitch yards

On Dec. 14, 2018, families of prisoners and supporters traveled to Sacramento to rally in front of the California Department of Corrections and rehabilitation’s (CDCr) headquarters against the CDCr-induced violence that many of their loved ones are experiencing. The next rally is Friday, Feb. 15, 1 p.m., in front of CDCr Headquarters, 1515 S St., Sacramento.

Alachua County is first in Florida to end prison slave labor

On Tuesday, Dec. 11, the Alachua County Commission unanimously voted to become the first elected authority in Florida to end the use of slave contracts from the Department of Corrections (FDOC). The Gainesville branch of the Incarcerated Workers’ Organizing Committee (IWOC) applauds Alachua County for leading the state in ending the use of slave labor and calls on the City of Gainesville and the University of Florida to follow suit.

Prisoner dies in cell fire as guards watch

On June 29, 2018, prisoner Freddie Pickett lost his life here at North Carolina’s supermax facility, Polk Correctional, due to the deliberate indifference shown daily by the miscreants who patrol these concrete fields.

Texas prison officials approve, then rescind contact visit for Miguel and Paulina

After being promised a five minute contact period to hug, Miguel and Paulina were denied this opportunity. Turns out Major Nunez did not have the authority to allow Miguel and Paulina to hug.

New evidence of innocence spurs two court filings for Mumia Abu-Jamal

“Hopefully, Mumia will get a re-trial and the truth will finally get told. We await his release from hell.”

Bomani Shakur from Ohio’s Death Row: Racism is evil – kill it!

They won’t cut your fingers off these days, or hoist your body over a bonfire; worse, they’ll give you what appears to be a fair trial, then find you guilty with no evidence to support the verdict, then throw you in solitary confinement for decades (until you either lose your mind or exhaust your appeals), then strap you down to a gurney and pump poison through your veins – and, worst of all, after all is said and done, they’ll call it justice!

Alabama hunger striker Kenneth Traywick issues demands and is force fed

Tens of thousands of men confined behind what is being called the “most dangerous” prison system in the nation. Alabama prisons have the highest homicide rate in America, as well as the highest suicide rate. But what is hidden – what has not been reported – are the root causes behind those statistics.

Free South Carolina Movement statement on the first anniversary of the state-orchestrated fratricide at...

We are gathered here on this day to commemorate the fallen comrades that made their transition in the Lee County Massacre exactly one year ago. If it weren’t for the innovative resources of prisoners, this travesty would have been downplayed by the South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC), or worse: It could have been swept under the rug.

Alabama leader Kinetik Justice in fifth day of hunger strike, refusing all food and...

As a last resort to protest the Alabama Department of Corrections’ unlawful use of solitary confinement, Robert Earl Council, known nationally as Kinetik Justice, that he is on an official hunger strike, refusing all food and liquids. Join the phone zap demanding release for him and 30 other prisoners unjustifiably in solitary.

Mule Creek State Prison is run by white supremacists

I observe the following: Mule Creek State Prison (MCSP) is run by an organized gang of white supremacist custodial, medical and psychiatric staff and their unconscionable non-white accomplices. I shall only cite the following examples of the willful denial of medical treatment by MCSP medical staff, as they shall allow me to die if my life depends on their saving it. I am severely ill due to the long term denial of genuine medical treatment.

Mumia Abu-Jamal hospitalized in diabetic shock, guarded, family and friends denied access

Imprisoned journalist and former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal has been taken to the Intensive Care Unit of Schuylkill Medical Center in Pottsville, Penn., without any notification to his family, friends or lawyers. Abu-Jamal’s longtime friend, Professor Johanna Fernández, said, “We were told he was in diabetic shock and taken to the hospital.” Listen to an interview with Professor Fernández recorded by Block Report Radio at about 8 a.m., March 31, and an interview with Mumia's brother, Keith Cook, recorded this morning, April 1. This story is being updated frequently.

Support Comrade Malik: Prisoner rights activist left in solitary far too long

Supporters of Keith “Malik” Washington ... are urged to sign and send this letter to: Ombudsman Office, P.O. Box 99, Huntsville, TX 77342-0099, 936-437-4927, fax 936-437-4930, ombudsman@tdcj.texas.gov and as many other intended recipients as possible. Send encouragement to Malik as well.

Latest News

Michigan: The Good Time Bill myth

If Michigan state legislators really want to pass a bill that effectively reduces the current population inside jam-packed state prisons (TIS), they should introduce a bill, or bills, that simply repeals disciplinary time, as enacted back in 1998.

Biden his time

Do you elect someone who has failed you for decades, again, again – and again?

One year later, National Prison Strike demands manifest in presidential proposal

Every one of the [National Prison Strike] demands is addressed in Bernie Sanders’ criminal justice reform plan.

Mothers challenge SFUSD: ‘They treat my daughter like a criminal because...

Shonte insists that this incident is part of an ongoing saga of discrimination and profiling by Ida B. Wells staff and alleges that her daughter was targeted and had been searched over a dozen times the previous year.

#StokersSoWhite: 2016 Horror Writers’ Association boycott

“'Beloved' would have been considered gothic horror if it had been written from a white character’s point of view by a white author.”