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Equity across the board is the crucial component for creating positive change within Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women. Commissioners must take account of all women’s needs. As it stands, new policies are implemented within the narrow scope of reducing overcrowding in the interest of public safety with the age-old tactic of fearmongering. Thus, violent offenders serving LWOP (Life Without Parole) are devoid of representation.
In conjunction with our formal introduction of Free Alabama Movement to the world, I spoke of “a flicker becoming a flame.” And, the threat of that flame blazing into a wildfire for change. To be in balance with the Universal Order, myself and hundreds of men confined within the Alabama DOC decided to become the change we wanted to see. From ‘14 throughout ‘15 and ‘16 we worked, tirelessly, fanning that flicker – networking, mobilizing, organizing and educating – into a flame.
Since the beginning of 2018, four people in ADOC custody – three in solitary confinement and one on death row – have died by suicide. The suicide rate in Alabama prisons is one of the highest in the country. In June 2017, U.S. District Judge Myron H. Thompson declared the mental health system in Alabama prisons “horrendously inadequate,” an unconstitutional failure that led to what Thompson called a “skyrocketing suicide rate” among prisoners.
Today as I write this article I am sitting in one of Alabama’s prisons looking around at the many lost, confused and content slaves who occupy the overcrowded slave quarters called Alabama Department of Corrections. The task that I, Brother Ra Sun and Kinetic Justice have before us is to convince these brothers on today’s modern day plantations; they are still slaves, made applicable by the 13th Amendment of the United States Constitution, and are contributing to their enslavement. Unfortunately, I’ve yet to find the best way to do that.
We continue to see and hear lies coming from U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies in respect to their hyper-surveillance of groups and individuals who are New Afrikans and who engage in constitutionally protected activities such as protests, rallies, marches, litigation and political efforts. With this essay, I seek to give a detailed explanation into the ongoing campaign of retaliation and harassment the members of the NABPP-PC have been subjected to.
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has officially signed into law the Definition of Moral Turpitude Act, giving many convicted felons, both incarcerated and formerly incarcerated, the right to vote. Previously, the state barred some felons from voting. This measure was part of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901. I encourage all prisoners in Alabama who are eligible to step up and register now. Contact Secretary of State John Merrill and the Board of Registrars in the county where you currently reside.
In the wake of the white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, the left’s anti-fascist response to defend that community and the death of Heather Heyer, a rally that had been planned and organized over a two-year period by imprisoned people and the grassroots prison advocacy group IAMWE offered a powerful opportunity for those looking to actively confront white supremacy. Their demand is the end of slavery in America – the elimination of the “exception clause” in the 13th Amendment.
First and foremost, we must stay on message. And what is that message? We are uniting to End Mass Incarceration and Prison Slavery. In doing so, we have to keep at the forefront of our heart, mind and spirit that slavery – which predominates over mass incarceration – is an economic enterprise system that is mathematically put together and thus capable of being scientifically taken apart.
The Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC), specifically W.C. Holman Correctional Facility, has openly declared war against the SF Bay View National Black Newspaper. The administration of this prison has informed me that your newspaper is no longer allowed in this prison because your paper is “racially motivated.” I’m going to fight with all my might in protest by going on a hunger strike until they lift this racist, ignorant and illegal ban prohibiting the SF Bay View National Black Newspaper from coming into this prison and/or prison system as a whole!
These brutes, these sadistic Babylon officials must be exposed! Tanakia Watkins was attacked by an inmate today (March 14) and the officers set it up and turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to it. They were about to lock her up in segregation. We protested, as she’d done NOTHING and was incoherent. After the attack, they shouldn’t have even moved her. They didn’t even call medical to assist her. Once they had her down the hall, the OFFICERS broke Watkins’ leg in two places.
“Alabama prison officials are investigating the beating death of an inmate who was attacked by other prisoners Thursday – the second deadly attack on a state prisoner within 24 hours,” reports the Montgomery Advertiser Feb. 19. We have uncovered multiple incriminating facts that have led to the needless deaths at what is called “Hellmore,” the now notorious medium security prison Elmore Correctional Facility.
Last week, an Alabama state prisoner who had testified in an ongoing federal trial over the state of mental health care in state prisons was found dead, apparently of suicide. According to the Alabama Department of Corrections, he was found unresponsive, hanging from a piece of cloth in his cell. The state’s attorney said, “Jamie’s case is emblematic of the utter neglect and mistreatment of people with serious mental illness in ADOC prisons.”
Despite scant media coverage, the largest prison strike in history is entering its third week. Retaliation is rampant, both against the organizers in prison and against the Bay View for spreading the word. The Free Alabama Movement that started the prison-strikes-to-end-slavery campaign is defeating a violent divide-and-conquer scheme to turn prisoner against prisoner with a Peace Summit, reminiscent of the Agreement to End Hostilities in California, which this month is entering its fifth year of keeping the peace.
I want to address a point overlooked and ignored, that Alabama Constitution Article VIII Section 177 (a) and (b) are contradictory. The former states, “Every citizen of the United States who has attained the age of 18 years … shall have the right to vote.” The latter, however, states, “No person convicted of a felony involving moral turpitude … shall be qualified to vote until restoration of civil and political rights.”
Despite being held in solitary confinement for years, men known as Kinetik, Dhati and Brother M, primary leaders of the Free Alabama Movement, have been instrumental in organizing a statewide prison work stoppage in Alabama that began on Sunday, May 1. Alabama prisoners who have been on strike over unpaid labor and prison conditions are accusing officials of retaliating against their protest by starving them.
Friday night, March 11, prisoners took over Holman Prison in Alabama. A fight between inmates escalated to include guards and even the warden. Staff fled, and the prisoners took over, lighting guard towers on fire and barricading the doors. Prisoners say the officer had used excessive force to break up a minor fight. “He went in swinging his stick and throwing inmates around. People get tired of seeing their fellow convicts get treated that way (and) are getting more and more aggravated every day when their rights are being taken away, even the rights we’re supposed to have as human beings.” A rally at Holman is set for Saturday, March 19, 9-11 a.m.
When I arrived at Childersburg Community Work Center on Oct. 25, 2013, I did so with one of the worst cases of ringworm any of the medical staff here or at St. Clair had ever seen. How that came to be I will explain later. It didn’t take long for me to see that I was at a very nasty and unconstitutional facility, and on Nov. 19, 2013, I filed a formal complaint to the U.S. Department of Justice and the State Fire Marshall.
My message is not just to the men and women in these solitary holes. I myself am in one right now. My message is to the whole 2.5 million victims of mass incarceration and prison slavery. Everyone! All of us around the country, let’s just shut down. Wherever you are, just stop working. If you are in solitary confinement, spread the word to those rotating in and out. When they try to lock up those who organize and lead the shutdowns in population, don’t even give up.