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Odd as it seems, seeing prisoners left for dead or killed by guards is nothing new to me. The reason this may seem odd is that each death was during my seven-year stint in solitary confinement, and I was a prime witness or in earshot of a direct witness. It seems that the Ad-Seg Transitional Program (ASTP), where I am now, is no exception where the killing of prisoners is concerned, as I was recently in the proximity of another. And, of course, another cover-up.
After randomly being awakened in the early morning, boarded onto the TDCJ transportation bus, then shipped to the Ramsey Unit, a prisoner told me that the experience was like “being snatched from a dungeon and sent to a new wave slave plantation.” The statement he made is a reality that many prisoners housed in close custody units and solitary confinement cells throughout the state of Texas are experiencing, on a whim.
Many courts have held that a serious medical need is “one that is so obvious that even a lay person would easily recognize the necessity of a doctor’s attention.” See Brown v. Johnson, 387 F.3d 516, 522 (7th Circuit, 2008). Being denied medical care at the Clements Unit Maximum Security Prison in remote Amarillo, Texas, is so common that the average prisoner here can expect to be denied some form of medical care during his stay.
Ruchell Magee’s legal knowledge was instrumental in stopping the legal lynching of the San Quentin Six. We owe him a debt of gratitude for his efforts and for the legal documents he prepared for us. I first met Ruchell in January 1970 upon my release from San Quentin’s B Section. I was housed in A Section and there is where I met James McClain and Ruchell. Ru was recognized on the yard as a sharp legal mind and helped many brothers get their cases overturned.
In a number of prisons around the country, the September Bay View was banned, and we suspect the October paper will be too. If your paper was denied, the prison is required to give you and the Bay View a notice saying why banning the Bay View is constitutional, allowing you and us to appeal that decision. So the first step is to insist on a notice and then appeal it; so will we. Here is George Rahsaan Brooks’ appeal. We think he’ll win, just as he did before.
On this 37th anniversary of Black August, first organized to honor our fallen freedom fighters, George and Jonathan Jackson, Khatari Gaulden, James McClain, William Christmas and the sole survivor of the Aug. 7, 1970, Courthouse Slave Rebellion, Ruchell Cinque Magee, it is still a time to embrace the principles of unity, self-sacrifice, political education, physical fitness and/or training in martial arts, resistance and spiritual renewal.
This photo of Hugo “Yogi” Pinell was taken in the New Folsom visiting room in early 2014, when he was first released from the Pelican Bay SHU. Derek Anderson says of this man who was a hero and role model to fellow prisoners, “He made it possible for us to walk with our heads held high in this wilderness.”
Filmmaker Noel Schwerin is someone who is concerned about the way prisoners are classified and housed in racially segregated units in California and around the United States. Come check out “In an Ideal World” at the San Francisco Black Film Festival as well as meet the filmmaker Noel Schwerin and one of the former prisoners in the film to discuss this and many other issues dealing with the human rights of prisoners.
It’s been made quite clear that I’m here in Texas in direct response to my having brought undesired public scrutiny to Oregon’s and Virginia’s prisons. This is an account of what I’ve experienced and witnessed in just a couple of weeks here, which can only be described as Cowboy Justice – as lawless as the Wild West. It is also an appeal to public support and activism.