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I’m a published writer, author of “Before Orange was the New Black: The Camp Hill Story.” What I’ve written could be the motivation for the excessive brutality aimed at me lately. Since October of 2017 I have endured the worst, most cruel, inhumane conditions on the highest level, from beatings to excessive force and misuse of authority. I filed complaints on several occasions. My complaints have not been taken into consideration. I’m speaking out on such conditions not only for myself but also for inmates who have endured similar or worse conditions that may not have a voice or support.
“I am going to boycott the third-party correspondence system,” Bryant Arroyo, an activist and organizer currently detained at SCI Frackville in central Pennsylvania, told this Workers World reporter during an extended Sept. 23 interview. Arroyo urges all prisoners to immediately cease sending and accepting mail in response to the draconian new prison policies of current Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf.
What I have discovered is that the state of Texas has conspired with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to downplay and cover up toxic and contaminated water supplies in state-run prisons as well as the rural communities which have found themselves in close proximity to these toxic sites. It is not just the prisoners in Texas who are suffering the ill effects. I have also discovered that what is happening in Texas is not unique.
The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections sent a letter to Workers World Publishers on Oct. 13, informing us that the denial of Workers World issue 35, Aug. 31, into Pennsylvania prisons has been “overturned.” A previous DOC letter to Workers World Publishers on Sept. 11 stated: “The August 31 issue of Workers World newspaper has been denied to all inmates housed in Pennsylvania prisons.” Their reason: The issue contained articles that “call for people to join the fight against white supremacy.”
In the spirit of the MOVE conference held May 5-7 in Philadelphia to educate the public about the MOVE organization, I will like to expound on the U.S. government sanctioned attacks on MOVE within the larger context of the FBI’s campaign of harassment, murder, frame-ups and imprisonment of Black revolutionaries during the radical ‘60s and ‘70s, and even today, in an effort to thwart the realization and actualization of Black unity, Black power and Black liberation.
The psychological warfare that is taking place in the prisons here in the United Snakes of Amerikkka is placing prisoners in the soul breaker (segregation) for confinement that equals decades. I refer to segregation being the soul breaker because that is what long term segregation is designed to do, break a man’s soul completely. Among the misconceptions about solitary confinement is that it’s used only for a few weeks or months.
I’m writing on behalf of the Committee to Save Mumia Abu-Jamal to ask if you might help us in an emergency. The Committee is the official fundraising venue for Mumia’s legal defense today. It has been raising funds, quietly, since Mumia was facing execution in the ‘90s. Since Mumia fell ill, we have been behind on payments to Mumia’s lead health attorney and we need to raise funds – quickly. Would you consider making a donation and identifying one or two others who might do the same?
On April 7, 2016, while housed in the Special Management Unit at SCI Fayette on a nine-day hunger strike, confined to the infirmary, I was assaulted by a three-man team of officers with a total of five cans of OC spray. Then again by a seven-man team with another can of OC spray – a sixth can. I was then placed face down inside a shower stall with an officer and shield laying on top of me. I was handcuffed behind my back and shackled, then savagely beaten with fists, batons and open handcuffs.
I am a cadre of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party Prison Chapter, currently incarcerated at Red Onion Prison in the southwest corner of Virginia. I’ve been a subscriber to SF Bayview for 14 months. I recently received the August 2016 issue, which came as a pleasant surprise. Prior to that, my copies of Bayview were arbitrarily disapproved with the pseudo-justification that “content could be detrimental to offenders’ rehabilitation efforts.”
July 11, 2016, Pittsburgh, Penn. – A settlement has been reached in the case of Shoatz v. Wetzel, which challenged the 22-year solitary confinement of Abolitionist Law Center client and political prisoner Russell Maroon Shoatz. This brings an end to litigation begun in 2013. In February 2014, following an international campaign on behalf of Shoatz, he was released from solitary confinement.
Mumia’s health is seriously deteriorating, as has been witnessed in recent weeks by his visiting doctor, clergy, counselors, teachers, family and friends. Evidence of intensifying hepatitis C symptoms and possible development of the diabetes that nearly killed him a year ago call for immediate and appropriate treatment. Mumia needs us again! Please call, fax and email now! Medical malfeasance and deliberate indifference at SCI-Mahanoy are killing Mumia Abu-Jamal.
On Friday, Feb. 12, United States District Magistrate for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Cynthia Reed Eddy, issued a decision denying both parties’ motions for summary judgment and ordering a trial in the case of Shoatz v. Wetzel, which challenges the 22-year solitary confinement of Abolitionist Law Center client and political prisoner Russell Maroon Shoatz. The trial will mark the first in the country in a case challenging long-term solitary confinement.
Sen. Sanders, you have spoken out against the depredations of Big Pharma, refused to take donations from any of them, and call for “Medicare for all.” You’ve also spoken to support the Black Lives Matter movement. Currently in Pennsylvania there is a case before a federal court which embodies both of these battles, Abu-Jamal vs. Kerestes. Mumia Abu-Jamal is suing to force the Department of Corrections to immediately provide him treatment with the Hep C drug.
“This conference that we are picketing ... is an obscene reflection of the reality of this country today, that the most important thing is money and profit and not human needs!” – Carole Seligman, speaking at the demonstration - It was in their fancy tailored suits and with suspicious eyes that big pharma CEOs and investors got interrupted by protestors and speeches such as the above as they came and went from the too-big-to-fail JP Morgan-sponsored conference on “health care” (read: profit care) at the elite Westin St. Francis hotel on Union Square in San Francisco on Monday, the 11th of January, 2016.
Protest Big Pharma’s price gouging that threatens Hep-C patients, including Mumia, on Monday, Jan. 11, 12 noon, at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference for Big Pharma executives and investors at Westin St. Francis Hotel, 335 Powell St., Union Square, in San Francisco. Gilead Sciences sells the curative Harvoni pill in Egypt for 10 cents each, and Gilead does not lose money at this price. In the U.S., Gilead is price-gouging at about 10,000 times the cost of production!
Major George Tillery is a Pennsylvania lifer, 65, who confronted SCI Mahanoy Superintendent John Kerestes over Mumia Abu-Jamal’s deteriorating health. Prison authorities retaliated against Major Tillery – repeatedly ransacked his cell and denied him medical treatment for seeking medical assistance for Mumia and other prisoners. Tillery was transferred to SCI Frackville and then falsely charged with drug possession, disciplined and given six months in “the hole.”
Mumia’s attorneys have filed a lawsuit charging the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections with medical neglect. On Sept. 5, prison staff boxed up all Mumia’s personal effects from his cell while he was in the prison infirmary trying to recover from the prison’s medical malfeasance and neglect that nearly killed him. A retaliatory transfer to some other prison would be a new blow against Mumia’s health, and would steep him and his family in greater fear and uncertainty.
On Aug. 3, 2015, political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal’s lawyers filed an amended lawsuit suing Pennsylvania state prison staff for medical neglect. Two days prior, Abu-Jamal was informed by prison medical staff that he has active Hepatitis C, which his outside doctors believe is the underlying cause of severe medical conditions. The prison is currently refusing to provide Abu-Jamal with any treatment for Hepatitis C.
Political prisoner and revolutionary journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal has been the victim of criminal neglect by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections for months, and his life is in grave danger. He is weak, in the infirmary, and continues to need a wheelchair to come out to visits. Mumia needs all of us to help now! Sign the petition to help save – and free – Mumia. Also, we need to keep up the pressure with phone calls. No execution by medical neglect! Save Mumia’s life!
On Thursday, April 9, 2015, I visited my husband, Mumia Abu-Jamal, at SCI Mahanoy. I saw the photos taken of Mumia during the visit on Monday, April 6, but I still wasn’t prepared for how Mumia looked. Seeing him in the prison visiting room, he was worse. I felt my husband is about to die. He was shivering so hard, I put my arms around him and my head to his chest to hear his heart and to bring some warmth to his body because he said he was freezing. We need to keep up the pressure. Let the warden and state corrections secretary know we insist that Mumia have medical specialists of his own choosing examine and treat him.
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