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Monday, January 27, 2020
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Behind Enemy Lines

Stories from the prison industrial complex.

Prisoners forced to submit to radiation experiments for private foreign companies

In Illinois, federal judges have allowed at least two lawsuits to proceed against correctional officials for using full body scanners to reveal the anatomy of both prisoners and visitors without removing their clothing. This is the very same device that airports are seeking to implement on some inbound flights to the United States.

From Pelican Bay: CDCR to offset prison population cut by putting more men in...

The reduction of 35,000-40,000 prisoners equals a potential loss of $2 billion in the yearly CDCR budget and 7,000 CCPOA members. The “security threat group” (STG) scheme enables CDCR to segregate a lot more men. Segregation costs nearly double general population and requires more staff.

A letter to the prisoners on strike in Georgia

We, as members of activist and community organizations in the Bay Area of California, send our support and salute you for making history as your strike has become the largest prison strike in the history of this nation. We recognize the potential that your action has to improve the lives of millions subject to inhumane treatment in correctional facilities across this country.

Herman Wallace in trouble, hospitalized – updated 11/29

Robert H. King, Angola 3 activist, former political prisoner, called to tell me that Herman Wallace, while visiting with Jackie Sumell and her friend, had what appeared to be a heart attack or stroke. Alarmed, Jackie banged on the door of the locked visiting room to get guards' attention.

An interview with Kevin Cooper: We may be sending an innocent man to his...

Kevin Cooper has been locked down on death row in San Quentin for the past 26 years. He was convicted of the 1983 murder of the Ryen family, although no reliable evidence showed him to be guilty. On the contrary, the case has overwhelming evidence suggesting that he is in fact an innocent man.

No Prison Fridays: Panthers organize shutdown of prison construction project

The persistent turnouts of people’s power community outrage each week compelled New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and his attorney general to announce in early May that they had scrapped plans to build the youth prison at the planned site.

To the contrary, George Jackson was never a prison gang member

It is absolutely impossible for George Jackson to have been validated as a BGF prison gang member, as CDCR state operatives murdered George Jackson on Aug. 21, 1971, at San Quentin State Prison, when the prison gang validation process was non-existent.

The Black Guerrilla Family and human freedom

Under the aegis of repressing a “gang” called the Black Guerrilla Family (BGF), the administration carried on a witchhunt against the political thinking of many Black prisoners and punished them by solitary confinement. This article, the second in a series of three, looks at the notion of prison gang, its relation to the prisoner’s need for defense and how that affects us beyond the prison wall.

Aug. 8, 1978: MOVE members remain in prison 39 years later solely because they...

What happened to them on Aug. 8, the hellistic rain of police gunfire, beatings, rape threats and incarceration, was nothing compared to what they faced in Philadelphia courtrooms, where they were denied their every right, including their alleged right to self-representation, beaten again when they refused to attend their own legal lynchings, and then, the lynchpin – convictions, and common sentences before Judge Edwin Malmed of 30 to 100 years, for third degree murder?!

Don’t let the torturer define torture

You cannot bury thousands of human beings under conditions that amount to torture – and you cannot leave it up to the torturer to establish the criteria for what constitutes torture. They never see anything wrong with what they do even when violating the law and the humanity of people. The STG policy makes it easier for CDCR to confine us to their dungeons.

Locked up and left behind: New York’s prisoners and Hurricane Irene

“We are not evacuating Rikers Island,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a news conference Friday afternoon. Bloomberg annouced a host of extreme measures being taken by New York City in preparation for the arrival of Hurricane Irene, including a shutdown of the public transit system and the unprecedented mandatory evacuation of some 250,000 people from low-lying areas.

A response to CDCR’s ‘Security Threat Group Prevention, Identification and Management Strategy’

After we read the content of the document [the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s “Security Threat Group Prevention, Identification and Management Strategy,” released in March], we had a tier discussion of it. To a man, we believe that document is nothing more than an attempt by CDCR to regain public support.

Amy Buckley in Mississippi prison: I will not give up until I receive the...

Despite being prisoners of the state of Mississippi, we have the right to receive prompt medical treatment, clean clothes to wear, a clean and safe living environment and access to our families. The Mississippi Department of Corrections may not care about my health, but my health is important to me and my family. When I came into this system I was healthy and I plan to leave healthy! I will not give up until I receive the medical care I deserve.

Palestinian prison hunger strikers declare solidarity with California prison hunger strikers

The Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa’adat expresses its deepest solidarity with the prisoners on hunger strike in Pelican Bay, California, in the United States. These prisoners, inside the racist and brutal U.S. prison system, have also stood together on hunger strike to demand an end to abuse and the use of isolation against prisoners, particularly long-term isolation, to demand proper food, and an end to torture and abuse.

Letter of support for the hunger strikers from Bomani Shakur of the Lucasville 5...

Ask anyone who has ever been on a hunger strike; the process of intentionally starving oneself is a very painful ordeal. And yet, there are places on this planet where the idea of death is preferable to continuing down a path that offers no hope or relief from suffering. I live in such a place; I know.

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.

It’s back on now

I am currently in SCI Greene prison in Pennsylvania. All this time I never knew such a beautiful paper like this existed for our community, that has the character of putting everything in the paper, no matter how much it will scare the masses with truth and clear and undiluted information as to what is going on in our communities and groups and in other minority communities. I feel solidarity and love and purpose when I read your paper, which was lent to me by a brother in here.

Lawyers for Russell Maroon Shoatz submit request to UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan...

The Free Russell Maroon Shoatz website describes him this way: “Russell Maroon Shoatz is a dedicated community activist, founding member of the Black Unity Council, former member of the Black Panther Party and soldier in the Black Liberation Army. He is serving multiple life sentences as a U.S.-held prisoner of war.” Shoatz has been locked in solitary confinement at various state prisons for the past 22 years, 28 of the past 30 years.

What solitary confinement does to the brain

A comprehensive new article by Brandon Keim in Wired Science is titled “The Horrible Psychology of Solitary Confinement.” Keim does an excellent job of summing up the research on the psychological effects of solitary. He also points to the relative lack of cutting-edge neuroscientific research on the subject, which might show the physical effects isolation has on the brain.

Free California political prisoners Romaine ‘Chip’ Fitzgerald and Ruchell ‘Cinque’ Magee

Resolution calling for the release of California political prisoners Romaine ‘Chip’ Fitzgerald and Ruchell ‘Cinque’ Magee --- WHEREAS, Romaine “Chip” Fitzgerald and Ruchell “Cinque” Magee have been incarcerated for their political views and actions in support of the Black Liberation Movement; WHEREAS, even while in prison, Romaine “Chip” Fitzgerald and Ruchell “Cinque” Magee continue to adhere to their principles;

Latest News

Mayor Breed commits to support Black San Franciscans who shut down...

We demand that City Supervisors work to keep Black folks in San Francisco and to improve their quality of life. We demand that they pass policies to immediately relieve the disparities.

The University of California’s ‘bad practice’ in the Hunters Point Shipyard

The UC committee finds the recent surface radiation testing at the Hunters Point Shipyard sufficient and calls for “an informational meeting with the residents of Parcel A to discuss the cost and benefits of further radiation testing of the parcel.” Supervisor Shamann Walton has called a public meeting for Tuesday, Jan. 28, 7 p.m., at 451 Galvez Ave., the Storehouse at the Shipyard. All residents are urged to attend.

Moms 4 Housing: Un-Wedgewooding the world must be led by Mama...

Moms 4 Housing and all the beautiful people who stood together with the Moms are sheroes and heroes who manifested something capitalism tries very hard to kill: People Power. But they also manifested MAMA POWER, which, like all of us mamaz and daughters know, can take down a developer or real estate snake any day.

California prisoners call for end to machismo and femicide in Mexico

https://youtu.be/UB69VbhxmUk VICE News investigates the murder of women in Mexico and meets relatives of the...

Stress busters for working parents

Working parents, among others, may find themselves increasingly short-tempered, anxious or depressed as a result of stress at work. This may be especially hard if you’re parenting with ACEs – that is, if you’re dealing with unresolved trauma from your own childhood.