Unconscionable, inhumane, violently genocidal is the reality this story by Victoria Law for Truthout informs with reports by women incarcerated at FMC Carswell about what clearly is deliberate indifference to deadly conditions putting residents’ lives in danger, validating the consideration so stated: ‘If they can’t take care of us, release us.’
Trapped behind the walls she said, “In the beginning, I used to flippantly say that when the COVID finally comes here, the prison will just let us all get sick and die. I thought that I was just being dramatic, but it might have been more prescient than I know.”
imagine being quarantined indefinitely as a foster child where you have no idea when you will see your parents next. As statewide shutdown orders sweep through the nation, child welfare agencies and juvenile courts are, by and large, treating foster children and system-impacted families with sheer indifference. Most COVID-19 juvenile court orders, if any exist at all, merely address court closures and give brief statements that parent-child visitation is suspended indefinitely.
Despite coronavirus pandemic, Treasure Island cleanup and redevelopment construction continues to...
Twenty years before COVID-19, poor and people of color, some with disabilities, and low- and middle-income market rate renters were subjected to the island’s high winds carrying toxins creating a respiratory disease cluster.
Gentrification is the process in which neighborhoods where people of color have lived for years become desirable, especially from the viewpoint of the white gentrifier. This process frequently begins, but most often ends in the displacement of long-time residents. It seems contradictory that white hipsters who support progressive movements, liberation and climate justice are the very people who contribute to the elimination of marginalized communities.
So let’s take a look at the work we are doing: 1) attempting to amend the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, 2) abolishing prison slavery and, in my case, 3) exposing the pervasive problem of toxic water supplies in Texas and Pennsylvania! Yes, I did say Pennsylvania! We have seen retaliation and obstruction of justice tactics by employees of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
It is well known among staff and prisoners that if we file a grievance without any physical evidence, their failure to admit the allegations results in our claims being dismissed. Simply enough, they lie during any investigation. Outside pressure and exposure is one aspect that can counter this, which is what Rashid has been doing for years. Staff are now realizing this, too, and are retaliating to cause disruption and preserve their practices.
Nearly a thousand subscribers to the Bay View newspaper were denied their September papers – and we suspect their October papers as well – because of its coverage of the nationwide strikes to end prison slavery that began Sept. 9. Prison officials censoring the paper claim it will incite disruption. Like claims that someone being beaten by a gang of cops is “resisting,” the Bay View is “disrupting” prison operations.
Too often, organizing work done by incarcerated women goes wholly unrecognized. In her book, “Resistance Behind Bars: The Struggles of Incarcerated Women,” Victoria Law focuses on the many forms of activism happening inside of women’s prisons, most of which never reach the dominant media. In the following interview, Law shares ways in which individual acts of resistance are building toward a transformational new reality.
My message is not just to the men and women in these solitary holes. I myself am in one right now. My message is to the whole 2.5 million victims of mass incarceration and prison slavery. Everyone! All of us around the country, let’s just shut down. Wherever you are, just stop working. If you are in solitary confinement, spread the word to those rotating in and out. When they try to lock up those who organize and lead the shutdowns in population, don’t even give up.
Recently, the U.N. Human Rights Committee issued a report excoriating the United States for its human rights violations. It focuses on violations of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the country is party. The report mentions 25 human rights issues where the United States is failing. This piece focuses on a few of those issues – Guantanamo, NSA surveillance, accountability for Bush-era human rights violations, drone strikes, racism in the prison system, racial profiling, police violence and criminalization of the homeless.
Roughly 80,000 people are held in solitary in the United States on any given day, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, in many cases for minor violations of prison rules (or no violation at all – ed.). Much of the momentum in the movement to reform the use of solitary confinement in the United States comes from the work of prisoners themselves.
A small hearing March 4, 2014, in an obscure courtroom at the Circuit Court for Baltimore City ended with the release of former Black Panther Marshall “Eddie” Conway, who has spent nearly 44 of his 67 years in maximum security prisons. “He helped me when I was incarcerated at 15 years old,” said DJ, one of the young men who met Eddie in prison as a kid.
My friend Dequi Kioni-Sadiki is a schoolteacher and grandmother in her early 50s who’s married to a former Black Panther serving time upstate. Dequi met her husband, Sekou Odinga, a few years ago, in the course of her activist work, visiting prisoners in New York State. Dequi and Sekou fell in love and were married almost three years ago. You think something’s wrong with Dequi for getting involved with a prisoner?
It’s been made quite clear that I’m here in Texas in direct response to my having brought undesired public scrutiny to Oregon’s and Virginia’s prisons. This is an account of what I’ve experienced and witnessed in just a couple of weeks here, which can only be described as Cowboy Justice – as lawless as the Wild West. It is also an appeal to public support and activism.
Unjustified imprisonment and torturous living conditions have prisoners hunger striking all over the world. Many people who read the Bay View on the regular are aware of the California prison hunger strike, which has been going on for over a month now and started with over 30,000 prisoners statewide participating. But many know nothing about another prison hunger strike that is going on simultaneously on a U.S. military base in Cuba.
Seven years ago, late in the evening on June 9, 2006, three prisoners – Ali al-Salami, a Yemeni, and Mani al-Utaybi and Yasser al-Zahrani, both Saudis – died at Guantánamo, in what was described by the authorities as a triple suicide, although that explanation seemed to be extremely dubious at the time and has not become more convincing with the passage of time.