Tag: Prison Culture
In 2015, I participated in a re-entry program at the Women’s Prison in Raleigh, N.C. Prior to this, I had never set foot in a prison before, and I was so anxious on this day to meet the two mentees that were assigned to me. On Nov. 3, 2018, I encountered another first and that was to actually visit someone in prison. I was introduced to Veronza Bowers by a fellow inmate who told me that Veronza was a former Black Panther who had been serving 46 years in prison. I was immediately interested in connecting with this iconic figure in the Black Power Movement, as my late dad was also a former Black Panther. So, on Aug. 14, 2018, thus began my journey into a beautiful, lifetime connection.
On May 17, 2018, Kerry “Shakaboona” Marshall, a renowned incarcerated human rights activist and juvenile life-without-parole prisoner, was re-sentenced to a prison term of 29 years to life – “time served” – for a murder he committed in 1988 when he was 17 years old. As a prelude to Shakaboona’s re-sentencing hearing, an interactive exhibit and assembly titled “People Change, People Change the World” was held on March 24 at the Mosaic Community Church in West Philly.
As I write this article, I am not sure what day the Civil War began or what day it ended. The facts that I do know about the Civil War are not worth repeating here, as that story already occupies plenty of space in American text. My muse, instead, is about the particular vestige of slavery that the Civil War bequeathed to us on Dec. 6, 1865, that now forms the basis of our struggle to end mass incarceration and prison slavery in 2017.
Comrade Hugo “Yogi Bear” Pinell was murdered on Aug. 12, 201, at California’s New Folsom State Prison. He was a veteran and much loved leader of the Prison Movement against oppressive prison and social conditions. On behalf of the New African Black Panther Party‑Prison Chapter (NABPP-PC), I would like to share some thoughts in his honor and memory and also to point out important lessons our movement must learn and carry on from his legacy.
Letters continue to pour in to the Bay View from prisoners who remember the great Hugo “Yogi” Pinell as a hero and a martyr and want the world to know and remember him too. His work will not only be memorialized but also carried forth by all he has touched. You and your lessons will be remembered always – and, like you, will forever inspire resistance. Determination. The longing to be free. And the courage to fight for it.
Life is like a game of chess and checkers. Many of us play checkers. And many of us think we’re playing chess, but, in practice, we’re actually playing checkers. So it should be of no surprise to any of you when I say, most poor people play checkers, prisoners in particular. Now what does this analogy imply? Most people make decisions in life without thinking ahead or assessing the ramifications of their decisions, especially prisoners!
Following a mass hunger strike by prisoners in California last year, some state legislators promised to reform the use of Security Housing Units (SHU). This week, Assembly Bill 1652, passed the Assembly Public Safety Committee. It now heads to the Assembly Appropriations Committee. If the bill becomes law, prisoners would only be sent to SHU for specific serious rules violations that come with determinate SHU sentences.
Jamie and Gladys Scott walked out of prison Friday into the free world. Yet the sisters' "debt to society" is still far from paid. The conditions of their release stipulate that Gladys Scott must give Jamie Scott a kidney, and the sisters will have to pay out money to maintain their freedom.