Tags First Amendment
Tag: First Amendment
“Dear U.S. Attorney General: For over 100 years, citizens born and naturalized in the U.S. who have been convicted of crime have endured the inhumane indignity of being stripped of our citizenship and right to vote through felony disenfranchisement by way of the United States Constitution’s 13th Amendment. Additionally, citizens who have been arrested or continue to be housed in jails and prisons nationally in all 50 sovereign states have been subjected to the conspiratorial practice of police and/or prison officials who violate our First Amendment right to free speech as well as political association through on-going censorship practices that limit what we can read or write and to whom.” – Excerpt of grievance crafted by North Carolina Department of Correction prisoners Randy Watterson and Joseph “Shine White” Stewart
Lorie Davis has created a culture within TDCJ by which jailhouse lawyers, also known as “writ-writers,” are subjected to manifold reprisals for their peaceful and legal activities. Activities which are supposed to be protected under the U.S. Constitution’s First and 14th Amendments!
On Tuesday, Sept. 6, Bay Area Green Parties will protest the Commission on Presidential Debates’ youth engagement function at Dominican University in San Rafael. The CPB is a private, corporate-funded corporation controlled by the Republican and Democratic National Committees that excludes third parties. Dominican University is partnering with the private entity to produce College Debate 16, an event they say will encourage student involvement.
A petition for Strategic Release, a groundbreaking initiative to free prisoners with a record of service to their communities, will for the first time be presented to the Parole Board April 2, 2015, on behalf of Abdul Olugbala Shakur. A two-sided petition form to print out, sign and circulate is posted below. Signed petitions must be returned in time to send them to the Parole Board by April 2. An online petition is also available.
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.
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.
There is a trick that the California prison administration pulls on African Americans in prison. It is to charge them with gang activity if they refer to “George Jackson” or any of his writings or ideas or to the “Republic of New Afrika” or the politics of New Afrikans. Thousands of people, mostly Black and Brown, have been held in solitary confinement for years and even decades, because “gang activity” constitutes a “security threat to the prison,” according to the Administration.
This letter, Re: Comments on CDCR’s Proposed Regulations: Obscene Material, from attorney Leila Knox of Bryan Cave LLP, one of the world’s largest law firms, was emailed and mailed on Nov. 7, 2014, to Regulation and Policy Management Chief Timothy M. Lockwood, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, P.O. Box 942883, Sacramento, Calif. 94283-0001. The comment period is now closed.
Often when citizens of this nation think of “state repression,” images of Egypt, North Korea, Apartheid Palestine or Nazi Germany immediately spring to mind. U.S. state controlled media has become practiced at flooding our airwaves and attitudes with images of violent retaliation and systematic repression of dissent in other nations as a means to obfuscate the U.S. state’s engagement in identical activity in its own society.
After the Richmond City Council meeting of July 1, I experienced one of the most intense and hostile encounters I have had to endure as a public official and in my entire life for that matter. Since then, there has been at least one news report and a series of deliberate misrepresentations of what took place that night. It is not my intention to respond to false accusations raised or dignify the insults with a response.
CDCR has proposed regulations that could permanently ban any documents it defines as “contraband,” including political publications and correspondence that should be protected by First Amendment constitutional rights. Why are prison officials attempting to increase the political, mental and emotional isolation of people in solitary confinement struggling to resist an already crushing physical isolation?
Our torture would be magnified under these new proposed rules that Stainer and his cronies are introducing by attempting to silence prisoners and publishers whose voices have been prominent in waging struggle against our perpetual suffering. CDCr wants to stifle our truths and disconnect us from society at large. Prisoners would no longer be able to write to the media outlets that allow us to speak to our suffering.
Our resolve remains as strong as ever, and we continue to press forward. No one should receive a sentence from a court and then have those responsible for carrying out that sentence exact revenge and arbitrary punishments at their whim. This is the reality that 30,000 men and women lent their collective voice to opposing.
The W.L. Nolen Mentorship Program is a community-based pen pal service to provide the people of our communities with an opportunity to connect with and engage the current class and generation of New Afrikan Black Revolutionaries on several fronts. It will provide the people with a correct understanding of the New Afrikan Black Liberation Movement via the social principles of “Each One Teach One.”
There should be no doubt indefinite solitary confinement is torture. Yet in §700.2, the CDCR has devised an insidious program whereby they can leverage this torture to coerce validated SHU prisoners to submit to brainwashing in lieu of debriefing – the end result being qualitatively no different: “broken men” will be created by a new process.
The U.S. Supreme Court has decided to let stand a lesser ruling that allows citizens in the state of Illinois to record police officers performing their official duties. Up until just last year, anti-eavesdropping legislation on the books across Illinois meant any person within the state could be imprisoned for as long as 15 years for recording a police officer without expressed consent.
I’m writing this letter to advise you and your loyal readers of the retaliation that Pelican Bay State Prison gang investigators have taken up against those of us inmates who “associate with SF Bay View” and inform them not to be discouraged or dissuaded in our struggle to have our voices heard.
George Washington, the first president and one of the founding fathers of the United States, once argued, “If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led to the slaughter.” Yet in many controversial cases, United States courts have ruled against the First Amendment guarantee to free speech.
The guard confiscated four items: 1) a document titled “So That We Don’t Fool Ourselves — Again: Study Notes on Secure Communication”; 2) an article titled “History is a Weapon! Black August Resistance,” by Watani Tyehimba; 3) an article from Prison Focus newspaper, which included a picture of George Jackson; and 4) the photocopy of “Blood in My Eye.”
When we, the prisoners housed in the Corcoran ASU, initiated a hunger strike to protest against the inhumane conditions and constitutional violations we faced, prison officials responded with retaliation and indifference. Their intent was clear: to set an example of what would occur if these protests that had been rocking California prisons this past year continued.
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