A year of deep study by the Committee on Revision of the Penal Code revealed glaringly widespread problems rooted in deep racial inequity and culminated in a final report with 10 substantial recommendations for reform; in tandem with the report, Senate Bills SB 81 and SB 82 are now working their way through the Senate, introduced by Senator Nancy Skinner and Assemblymember Sydney Kamlager.
California Coalition for Women Prisoners calls on prison administrators and state representatives to release elderly and at-risk populations and take necessary sanitary and human rights precautions to protect our communities from COVID-19
In this moment of crisis, the prisons will act as an incubator for COVID-19. If we want to protect the entire country from this disease, we must empty the prisons.
Fair and Just Prosecution, a coalition of newly-elected local prosecutors committed to a justice system with fairness, equity, and compassion, denounces the public health hazard of incarceration in the face of COVID-19 and calls for decarceration, humane conditions, healthcare measures, and a reduction of immigrant detention to keep our communities safe during and after the outbreak.
If federal, state and local officials take swift action, they can not only prevent the spread of COVID-19 inside prisons, jails and detention centers and ensure the safety and wellness of our loved ones in cages, but they can also have an enormous impact on the wellness of the rest of the country.
A revolution in inside/outside organizing is pushing prison activism to new levels, harnessing new technologies and broad-based people power to push back against the exploitative and extractive prison industries and injustices of incarceration.
Felony disenfranchisement is a symptom left behind from Jim Crow. The rights of formerly enslaved Africans were tweaked, trimmed and stripped throughout the Jim Crow era.
I am a prison abolitionist in my heart. But I’m a prison reformist in the world by virtue of the sad fact that I can’t yet imagine a working society without prisons. I’ve spent every birthday since my 13th in an institution, so I’ve seen only prisons, heard only “prisons.” I want to abolish prisons; I just don’t have the imagination. Part of my failure is a lack of language to describe such a world convincingly. Likewise, a barrier we face trying to dismantle the prison industrial complex is we continue to use the language that helped build it.
Read the perspectives of Spoon Jackson, serving a sentence of Life Without the Possibility of Parole (LWOP), “the other death penalty,” at Lancaster State Prison near Los Angeles, and Tim Young, on San Quentin’s Death Row near San Francisco. Spoon calls LWOP “as hideous as Death Row” and recommends “no” on Prop 62. Tim says vote “yes”: “With LWOP, we live to fight another day.”
Our Five Core Demands of the hunger strikes have not been met. And we see that reform always equals revisionism, which means it’s no change. The food has literally gotten worse, although for a month they attempted to adequately feed us. The medical care continues to be inadequate. The educational programs and privileges are not afforded, and prisoners are still made to suffer in these inhumane conditions, now familiar to us for years on end.