Your first day of prison is your last day of being human. Your life is no longer yours. You are now state property. You BELONG to them now, and they hate you. They don’t recognize your humanity or dignity. You’re locked in crowded holding pens, forced to piss and shit without modesty. You’re stripped butt naked in front of everyone else and forced to show the guard your asshole. You’re shackled, hands and feet, to others like a human centipede of anguish and hopelessness. You no longer have a name but you’re given a number, a catalog number.
It is urgent that the security of Shaka Shakur and Jimmy Jones be ensured, but the only way is through mass pressure from the outside. IDOC Watch asks that people call Wabash Valley warden Richard Brown at 812-398-5050 and IDOC Commissioner Robert E. Carter Jr. at 317-232-5711. Say that you are aware that Shaka Shakur, 135647, is being charged for defending himself against mistreatment by guards and that Jimmy Jones, 891782, is facing repression for exposing the situation. Demand that charges against Shaka be dropped and all disciplinary action against Jones be ceased.
Should you or a loved one ever have the great misfortune of being tried and convicted in the state of Texas, your sentence, no matter how great or small, could very well be a death sentence. If you are resilient, strong of mind and body, then perhaps you would survive the conditions: deadly heat, toxic water, squalid living quarters and ill prepared food – and struggle through the conditioning: slave labor, consistent degradation, dehumanization in a variety of fashions – bowing down to insulting, offensive verbal abuse from staff, group strip searches, zero privacy.
Aug. 19 at 11:00 a.m., courageous and loving folks in San Jose, Calif., joined with sister marches and rallies throughout the country in support of prisoners’ human rights and amending the 13th. Their courage is found in the rejection of an institution so prevalent and insidious that any criticism can bring a mountain of ridicule and judgment. It is an institution shielded by a centuries old narrative that tells people, “They are not like us,” and consequently, “they” are undeserving of our humanity.
On May 16, inmates at Old Folsom State Prison made contact with the outside world to announce that they will begin a hunger strike on May 25 in response to ongoing mistreatment, dehumanization and unbearable living conditions at Old Folsom. When incarcerated people take action to fight for their dignity, their rights and their lives, those of us on the outside must answer with solidarity. Our support is crucial in getting their demands met and minimizing retaliation against them. We must let these brave individuals know that we have their backs, and that they will not be forgotten.
To address some of the issues and provide relief for our trans and gender non-conforming loved ones inside – a coalition has formed to work on legislation benefiting trans prisoners. This year, the coalition is running SB 310: The Name and Dignity Act for Incarcerated Trans People. SB 310 is crucial to the safety and well-being of trans people. If passed, SB 310 would give dignity to people experiencing extreme dehumanization.
Development of the concept and strategy for the “amend the 13th: abolish “legal” slavery in Amerika movement” began in November 2013 following the close of the third hunger strike here in California, after holding discussions and issuing statements with other think tank coordinators on the next logical step for our anti-prison industrial slave complex (PISC) struggle.
Having been one of the many who have been let out of the control units (SHU), I can say that there is some victory in this development, but there is much work to be done outside the SHU and still a ways to go before victory is complete. This accomplishment of opening the gates of SHU for many simply means we face new forms of oppression; it changes in form but not in essence.
This is a public notice to all freedom fighters, activists and community leaders: SLAVERY IS NOT DEAD! Did the 13th Amendment abolish slavery? Ask anyone in the United States this question and they will answer most emphatically: Yes, of course it did. If you, the person reading this article and call to action, believe this as well, please allow me to inform you: You are wrong! Slavery is not dead! Rather than abolish slavery, the 13th Amendment LEGALIZED it!
From within and beyond the $100,000 8-by-14-foot steel and stone sensory deprivation cell that is designed for my mental, physical and social dehumanization, I bring to you this letter of concern regarding the adverse effects of long-term sensory deprivation. Upon seeing me for the first time in over a year, a fellow prisoner shook my hand and then proceeded to put both arms around me to embrace me.
Greetings of solidarity and respect to all similarly situated members of the prison class unified in our struggle to end long term solitary confinement and win related long overdue reforms to the broken California prison torture system! As one of the four principle prisoner class representatives, I am presenting this further update on where things stand with our human rights movement from my perspective.
On Oct. 10, 2012, the Pelican Bay D-Short Corridor Collective, men from various cultural groups and walks of life, put into effect the historic “Agreement to End Hostilities,” perhaps the single most significant “door to genuine freedom” opened in American society in recent human history. What makes it so significant is not simply its motive force but, more importantly, its true potential for our collective liberation as a society.
A child who kills vs. a child who was present but did not kill – what sentence does he deserve? A child of color vs. a Caucasian child – does the system treat them the same? How about the youthful offender vs. the adult offender? Personally, it has been my experience with the law that child killers and children who committed assaults are more likely than adults to be treated to the most cruel punishments.
What a tragic image: A man and his son handcuffed and shackled together, yet musingly delighted about seeing a senior family member whom they are not going inside to visit. Rather, the two are to join in what is widely considered as America’s modern day form of slavery. The inhumanity represented in this artwork should be disturbing to anyone with a conscience – but few are moved.
As can be seen from the LSPC report, “Cage within a Cage: A Report on Indeterminate SHU Confinement and Conditions,” CDCR’s torture has reached beyond just the targeted California indeterminate SHU class imprisoned person and extends into the families and communities as well.
Policing in our cities is a militarized process, with features quite similar to counter-insurgency in war zones. Just within California, the LAPD trained U.S. soldiers going to Iraq in urban policing, returning soldiers from Afghanistan have trained the Salinas anti-gang squad, and Israeli police and Bahranian military recently trained the Oakland Police and UC-Berkeley police.
For 15 years the California Coalition for Women Prisoners - activists on the outside together with prisoners on the inside - have published an extraordinary newsletter called the Fire Inside. Hear Angela Davis keynote the anniversary celebration, hosted by our own Wanda Sabir, Friday, Oct. 14, 7 p.m., at the Women’s Building, 3543 18th St. at Valencia, San Francisco.
Another young, unarmed Black man, Kenneth Harding, has been gunned down in broad daylight. He was shot numerous times in the back as he fled, his empty hands held in the air. His crime had been a simple train fare evasion for which San Francisco police executed him in the street.
Support for the hunger strike grows with solidarity actions across the U.S. and Canada this past weekend. A series of noise demonstrations outside jails, detention centers and prisons occurred internationally in St. Louis, New York City, Oakland, Los Angeles, Montreal and Kitchener, Ontario.
Prisoners in the Security Housing Units, SHUs, at Pelican Bay and Corcoran state prisons in California are beginning an indefinite hunger strike on July 1, 2011, to protest the cruel and inhumane conditions of their imprisonment in what is being called “an unusual show of racial unity.” Breaking news: Prisoners at Centinela have joined the hunger strike. A prisoner there reports: “Only a few inmates are walking the yard. No Blacks or Hispanics have left their cells. No one has gone to work. He said all the races are united in this fight.”