Tags San Quentin State Prison
Tag: San Quentin State Prison
San Francisco – San Francisco County jail has seen a 40 percent increase in positive COVID-19 cases since June 18, 2020. This surge prompted a broad coalition of prominent entities to send a joint letter to the San Francisco Superior Court, urging it “in the strongest possible terms” to restore the zero bail policy in San Francisco to help reduce the jail population during the ongoing pandemic.
Gavin Newsom seems more interested in protecting a future run for president than the health and safety of the state’s most vulnerable populations, whether they be undocumented residents or prisoners in our state’s sprawling gulag. Being “tough on crime” while preserving a generally liberal reputation is the cynical balancing act.
I am a Harlem Native who is incarcerated, and nearing the end of my prison sentence – three more years. However, within this pandemic, I sit in a pressure cooker, Sing Sing Correctional Facility in Westchester County, where the coronavirus infection rates are among the highest. Staff and inmates are infected.
There are 2.3 million people incarcerated in America. I am one of them.
It’s important we avoid using “violent criminal” rhetoric to justify abandoning thousands of elderly people, which endangers us all. And, it is no longer acceptable to put white folks’ fears ahead of the safety of Black and Latinx people.
Prisons are an extension of the slave trade, and the death penalty is just a more evolved way of lynching Black folks. With ACA(12), we can vote the death penalty into extinction.
I write this missive to you so that you will hear from me about how I feel and what I think going forward in this fight for my life. Like all of you, I am happy that we have finally “won” something from some entity in this state. But after learning what exactly outgoing Gov. Brown wrote in that executive order I am not as excited as I was at first, or should be.
I am calling on colleagues and professional organizations to recognize publicly and use our influence to bring an end to prolonged solitary confinement in American jails, prisons and detention centers. Not only is there is a great need for solidarity among individuals and organizations to uphold human rights and ethical principles but also to reduce reprisals against any whistleblower. Considering that 95 percent of those incarcerated will be released back to the community, bringing with them the negative health consequences of their confinement, the conditions and traumas they face while incarcerated should concern us all.
Congratulations to Brothers in Pen for a fantastic book party and reading Oct. 20 at San Quentin State Prison. The work, whether fiction or poetry, creative nonfiction, memoir or dramatic lit, is stellar and the huge panel afterward, where the writers shared their creative process and the importance of art in their lives, was equally valuable and enlightening. That such beauty is possible behind bars is testament to the power of art to light darkness.
Few prisoners, if any, at San Quentin State Prison participated in what was reported to be the largest prisoner-led strike in United States history. There are many reasons for these prisoners’ lack of involvement. Most of the men imprisoned at San Quentin were unaware of the strike and the groups involved with it like Jailhouse Lawyers Speak and the Bay Area National Prison Strike Solidarity Committee.
Ronnie Goodman, a well known San Francisco artist who is experiencing homelessness, had his artwork confiscated by the City, and was then arrested and spent a night in jail. He was charged with a state anti-lodging law known as 647e, which is probably unconstitutional, and felony vandalism, which was then dropped for lack of evidence. Ronnie is a very gifted, creative individual who has struggled with many challenging issues, including poverty, homelessness, racism, hunger and injustice.
Incarcerated firefighters save bureaucrats in California millions of dollars every year by performing the various odd jobs that nobody else wants to do. On Friday, Jan. 12, 2018, two crews from Oak Glen Conservation Camp were sent to clean up the mudslides that wreaked havoc in the affluent neighborhoods of Montecito. Inmate crews were not forewarned of any hazards posed by the mud as they were deployed for one week.
Don’t miss the highly acclaimed play, ‘Solitary Man: My Visit to Pelican Bay State Prison,’ performed by Charlie Hinton and Fred Johnson. Fred and Charlie launched the new two-person version in September 2017 and return now, on Feb. 10 and 14, for two performances as benefits for the SF Bay View newspaper: Saturday, Feb. 10, 7:30 p.m., at ANSWER, 2969 Mission St., San Francisco and Wednesday, Feb. 14, 7 p.m., at Freedom Archives, 518 Valencia, San Francisco – Show the Bay View some love on Valentine’s Day!
Celebrate Dr. Espanola Jackson Day on her birthday, Feb. 9, with the San Francisco Bayview Hunters Point community. We take this opportunity to honor the memory of Espanola as a community leader during Black History Month. For details of the event, which will be held in the Alex Pitcher Room at the Southeast Community Center, go to the Facebook and register your RSVP online with Eventbrite. All are welcome. Spread the word.
The public, with its hunger for revenge, does not want to hear about personal acts of atonement by people who have been sentenced for a crime. Acts of atonement by the condemned are usually viewed as a ploy to save his or her own life – not as a genuine act of redemption. People on death row are deemed the lowest of the low. Many people believe death-row prisoners cannot be “reformed” because they are “unformed” as human beings.
Congrats to new San Francisco Mayor London Breed! Congrats to TheatreFirst for “Participants,” the kind of collaborative theatre project which should be the norm, not the exception. Make sure you check out the finale for the TF 2017-18 season: “Between Us” and “Just One Day” beginning Feb. 18. Listen to two engaging conversations with playwrights and actors about “Participants”: Dezi Soléy and Cheri L. Miller, Skyler Cooper, Nick Nanna Mwaluko, Carl Lumbly.
The Jericho Movement to Free All Political Prisoners was started by Safiyah Bukhari (d. 2003), Herman Ferguson (d. 2014) and Jalil Abdulmuntaqim, who is a Black Panther political prisoner incarcerated for over 44 years. Jericho has maintained a steady course for 20 years. Beginning with its famous march on Washington in 1998, Jericho has continued to campaign to free freedom fighters, community activists and revolutionaries primarily from movements of the 1960s and ‘70s.
I recently read “Blood in the Fields: Ten Years in the Nuestra Familia Gang” and was taken aback by one of the main characters in the book. Mando was a young guy who grew up in a violent household, joined a gang and ended up committing a murder that would net him a sentence of 29 years to life. I became very sad and thought of one of the young men I met while visiting San Quentin State Prison in California for an educational panel, Efrain.
Six California prisoners wrote to me in 2015 to ask about the Hepatitis C cure, shortly after the San Francisco Bay View newspaper published my interview with activist attorney Peter Erlinder titled “US prisoners sue for constitutional right to lifesaving Hep C cure.” They’d been able to read it because the Bay View sends a print edition to prisons all over the country every month. I tried and failed to answer those letters and I’ve felt bad about it ever since. I would have swiftly responded to all the prisoners who wrote to me about the Hep C cure if I’d been able to send electronic mail.
My life began in the Jim Crow South, in Houston, Texas. I remember the segregated world I was born into … the separate water fountains, the back of the bus, the going around to the back door of Mr. Fontnoe’s grocery store to buy milk for my mother and grandmother. I recall the segregated section of the movie theaters – and the long, seemingly endless net partitioning the giant sandy beaches, separating the “Colored” folks from the “Whites.” Can you imagine that it once was a reality, a segregated beach!