Two New Posters for Rally at Sacto Hearing

Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity

Thanks to Melanie Cervantes and Dignidad Rebelde, we have two new posters for the rally to be held this Tuesday, February 11 following the California legislative hearing on solitary confinement. Poster images below. These and others will be screened at Sole Space on Telegraph in Oakland Sunday afternoon; see below and come help! The flyer for the hearing and rally is here.

Poster for Sacramento rally

Another poster for Sacramento rallyPrintingPartyDignidadRebelde

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Racial War Inside an Indiana Prison

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February 11th, 2014: Support The Prisoner-Led Movement To End Long Term Solitary Confinement

Original Post on Moorbey’z blog –leghearingfeb11flier1

Posted in Activism

Shackled, When I Should Be Free!

Outstanding..!

shelbycourtland

Black men incarcerated

I get by on a wing and a prayer
and if you believe that, you’re a fool.
There are no Angels to help me out,
I’m just the subject of ridicule.

I’ll never get a moment to shine.
For in purgatory, I am stuck.
What did I do to deserve this life?
When I was born, I was out of luck!

I am the biggest fool there is,
thinking of brighter days ahead.
As I fight to stay alive,
and walk among the dead.

How many people give a damn
for a body in need like me?
Confined in a six by eight and
shackled when I should be free.

For thirty years, I’ll be in here.
It’s called the ‘war on drugs’.
And though liquor is their vice,
they turned us into thugs.

Written by,
Shelby I. Courtland
©2014 Shelby I. Courtland

That bastard Obama has pardoned more goddamn…

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Lethal Injection vs Firing Squad

Truthloader – Since 1976, when the death penalty was reinstated in the United States, five methods of execution have been used to kill death row inmates: lethal injection, electrocution, gas chamber, hanging and firing squad. Nowadays, the US’ primary method of execution is lethal injection because it’s considered the most humane. But in recent years, lethal injections have been throwing up some pretty big problems for states to deal with. To the extent that in the last month politicians have been calling for a return to execution by firing squad in at least two states, while another state has made moves towards increasing the use of electrocution. We take a look at what’s going on…

Posted in Death Penalty

Update on Hunger Strike at Menard Correctional in Illinois

Prison Books Collective

Force-Feeding-by-Michael-Russell-081113-webFrom The San Fransisco Bay View

On Jan. 15, 2014, approximately 25 prisoners in Administrative Detention at Menard Correctional Center went on hunger strike. The hunger strikers have been told the prison administration is working on obtaining a preliminary injunction to force feed them. They expect to continue the hunger strike even if they are force fed. “We need as much outside support as possible,” the prisoners say. Please call or email: Gov. Pat Quinn, Warden Rick Harrington, Illinois Department of Corrections Director Salvador Godinez.

The following information is drawn from letters received from prisoners in Administrative Detention at Menard Correctional Center in Menard, Illinois, and compiled by attorney Alice Lynd.

Jan. 21, 2014 – On Jan. 15, 2014, approximately 25 prisoners in Administrative Detention at Menard Correctional Center went on hunger strike. Officers shook down their cells and took any food they found. The hunger strikers were sent to…

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Solitary Confinement…Medically Ethical?

Physicians who work in U.S. prison facilities face ethically difficult challenges arising from substandard working conditions, dual loyalties to patients and employers, and the tension between reasonable medical practices and the prison rules and culture.

Posted in Insanity, Mental Health | 1 Comment

Solitary Confinement: No Way Out of the Monster Factory

Posted in Control Unit, Insanity, Mental Health, Sensory Deprivation, SHU, Surviving Solitary

Murderer’s family launching lawsuit after ‘failed, agonizing’ 25-minutes-long execution

National Post | News

Ohio’s capital punishment system likely faces new challenges following an unusually long execution in which the condemned man appeared to gasp several times.

Family members of death row inmate Dennis McGuire planned a Friday news conference to announce a lawsuit over McGuire’s death, which they are calling unconstitutional. And it’s almost certain lawyers will use McGuire’s Thursday execution to challenge Ohio’s plans to put a condemned Cleveland-area killer to death next month.

“All citizens have a right to expect that they will not be treated or punished in a cruel and unusual way,” defence attorney Jon Paul Rion, representing McGuire’s adult children, said Thursday. “Today’s actions violated that constitutional expectation.”

McGuire’s attorney Allen Bohnert called the convicted killer’s death “a failed, agonizing experiment” and added: “The people of the state of Ohio should be appalled at what was done here today in their names.”

McGuire’s lawyers had attempted last week…

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Illinoiz prisonerz in Menard High Security Unit plan to begin hunger strike Jan. 15

Moorbey'z Blog

by Alice and Staughton Lynd

The following information is based on numerous letters from prisoners in the High Security Unit at Menard Correctional Center in Illinois written in December 2013. These prisoners expect to go on hunger strike on Jan. 15, 2014, due to their placement and retention in severe isolation, under inhumane living conditions, without notice, reasons or hearing. This will be a peaceful protest.

Retaliation can be expected. These men ask for our support and action. And they ask us to spread the word.

Menard Correctional Center
The IDOC website says, “Menard Correctional Center was established on the banks of the Mississippi River in 1878. … Menard is the state’s largest maximum security adult male facility.”

After the TammsCorrectional Center was closed in January 2013, several High Security Units have been opened in other prisons throughout Illinois. The High Security Unit at Menard Correctional Center is one of several such…

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Declaring an impasse, judges to order solution on prisons

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‘It’s Torture’: Pirate Bay Founder Kept In Solitary Awaiting Hacking Trial

Published on Dec 17, 2013

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has slammed Sweden over Gottfrid Svartholm’s case. Since his transfer to a Danish prison, the Pirate Bay founder has been kept in solitary confinement and denied access to mail and reading material. Last month, Gottfrid lost his bid for an appeal to the Swedish Supreme Court and was extradited to Denmark, where he faces charges of hacking into the mainframe computers of CSC, a Danish IT company –

READ MORE http://on.rt.com/pg2ac7

 

Posted in Abuse, Control Unit, Human Rights Watch, Sensory Deprivation, Solitary Confinement | Tagged , , ,

Marooned at Guantanamo: Aging inmates face medical issues

gazzetta

GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba — The inmates of the detention center here were once considered the “worst of the worst” in the “war on terror.” U.S. officials locked away hundreds of men picked up all over the world in a belief that they were all hardened enemies of America, ruthlessly committed to their cause.

But now, more than a decade later, many of the remaining detainees — the vast majority of whom have never been charged, and scores of whom have been cleared for release — are ailing as they get older behind bars. Their physical and mental health after years of captivity, often marked by hunger strikes, now requires frequent medical attention.

This week, an ophthalmologist was flown from the U.S. to the naval base to perform cataract surgery on two prisoners who have been held without trial for more than a decade. Navy Lt. Cmdr. William Greg, the officer…

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Women in Solitary Confinement: Sent to Solitary for Reporting Sexual Assault

Moorbey'z Blog

By Victoria Law

Women who report being sexually assaulted by prison staff face abuse and isolation.

Women who report being sexually assaulted by prison staff face abuse and isolation.

It seems absurd that a person who has been sexually assaulted would be punished for speaking up, especially since prison policy prohibits sexual contact between staff and the people whom they guard. Yet, in many women’s prisons, those who report rape and other forms of sexual assault by prison personnel are often sent to solitary confinement.

After enduring over a year of repeated sexual assaults by a guard, Stacy Barker became one of 31 women incarcerated in Michigan who filed Nunn v MDOC, a 1996 lawsuit against the Department of Corrections for the widespread sexual abuse by prison guards. The following year, Barker was repeatedly sexually assaulted by an officer, who was also a defendant in Nunn. After a month of silence, she reported the assaults to a prison psychiatrist. Barker was immediately…

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Albert Woodfox iz being stripped of justice by prison officialz

Moorbey'z Blog

By Contributing Op-Ed columnist

http://www.nola.com/opinions/index.ssf/2013/11/albert_woodfox_is_being_stripp.html

Jasmine Heiss

Albert Woodfox will take the stand at a courthouse in Baton Rouge Wednesday morning (Nov. 13). His testimony will cover the most recent chapter in what has become four decades of a nightmare behind bars. Mr. Woodfox, 66, has spent 23 hours a day in a 6- by 9-foot cell for more than 40 years.

Angola Three member Albert Woodfox is asking a judge to re-enforce rules surroung strip and cavity searches of inmates in Louisiana’s prisons.

These are conditions of prolonged solitary confinement, years in a cage with little meaningful human contact and no access to rehabilitation programs. This treatment is cruel, inhumane and degrading. Since March, the Louisiana corrections department has compounded this nightmare by subjecting Mr. Woodfox to invasive strip and cavity searches every time he leaves his cell – when he goes to see the doctor, gets a haircut or uses…

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Half a Life in Solitary: How Colorado Made a Young Man Insane

After being wrongly convicted,  Mandez went to prison and was promptly placed into solitary for institutional offenses so petty that they almost beggar belief.

Excerpts from The Atlantic – “The story of Sam Mandez is appalling on so many different levels it’s hard to know where to begin. Convicted for a murder no one has ever proven he committed, sentenced to life without parole at the age of 18 because the judge and jury had no other choice, confined for 16 years in solitary for petty offenses in prison, made severely mentally ill by prison policies and practices, left untreated in that condition year after year by state officials, Mandez personifies the self-defeating cruelty of America’s prisons today.

And yet Mandez is not alone in his predicament. All over the nation, in state prisons and federal penitentiaries, officials are failing or refusing to adequately diagnose and treat inmates who are or who are made mentally ill by their confinements. The dire conditions in which these men and women are held, the deliberate indifference with which they are treated, do not meet constitutional standards. And yet there are thousands like Mandez, symbols of one of the most shameful episodes in American legal history.

The Crime

On July 26, 1992, an elderly woman named Frida Winter was murdered in her home in Greeley, Colorado. The police recovered fingerprints from the scene and later found some of Winter’s things in a culvert near her home. But for years the investigation went nowhere in large part because it was flawed in nearly every way. Other fingerprints from Winter’s home were not recovered. Leads were not adequately pursued. Logical suspects were not properly questioned. At the time of Winter’s death, Sam Mandez was 14 years old.

Four years later, the police caught what they considered a break. Fingerprints from Winter’s home finally found a match in a police database—and the match was Sam Mandez, who had just turned 18. They brought him in for intense questioning. But Mandez had a strong alibi. He and his grandfather had painted part of Winter’s home in 1991, a year before her death. There was good reason for his prints to have been on the window that was broken on the night of Winter’s death. Mandez had been in trouble with the law before—but never for a violent crime.

There were no eyewitnesses. There was no confession. There was no evidence of any kind that Mandez had murdered Winter. But there was one other link between them. Among the items recovered from that culvert after Winter’s death was a matchbook from a business in Henderson, Nevada. The Mandez family had relatives there. The cops said this proved that Mandez had been inside Winter’s house on the night of her death: He had burglarized her home, and thus, under a dubious extension of Colorado law, he was necessarily guilty of first-degree murder…

…After being  convicted of a crime with which he never should have been charged, Mandez went to prison and was promptly placed into solitary—”administrative segregation,” is what bureaucrats call it—for institutional offenses so petty that they almost beggar belief. He made a three-way phone call he wasn’t supposed to make. He put his key in a bathroom lock after it was closed for the evening. How about: Even Kafka, even Hugo, did not memorialize such diabolical perversions of law and justice.

For that, Colorado prison officials in 1998 put Mandez away, in lockdown, where he more or less has remained for nearly 16 years. What happens when you take a young man and confine him in such conditions for such a long period? The young man becomes severely mentally ill. And his illness causes him to act out. And in acting out he gets in more trouble, which justifies his continuing placement in solitary confinement which in turn causes him to act out more.

Colorado officials, including state judges, have known about Mandez’s deteriorating condition for many years. Years ago, he was finally classified as “seriously mentally ill.” And yet to date, no one has granted him any relief. No one has ordered state correctional officers to adequately treat Mandez’s mental illness. And because he hasn’t been properly treated he’s doomed to fail the test to be released from solitary. “Progression out is contingent on program compliance,” the state contends, and “demonstrating appropriate behavior.”  Read The Full (Appalling) Story Here

 

Posted in Abuse, ACLU, Colorado, Confined Kids, Ethics, Insanity | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

On Soul-Killing Solitary

Moorbey'z Blog

by Abby Zimet

Belatedly, inadequately, the issue of solitary confinement has been seeping into the news – with the Pelican Bay hunger strikes, the story of Herman Wallace and the Angola Three, the willingness of the U.N. to declare such long-term isolation – from time, touch, speech, light, all human contact – torture, and legislative attempts to curb it. More searing testimony from Five Omar Mualimm-ak, a prison reform activist who served almost 12 years in prison, over five of them in solitary, “out of sight and invisible to other human beings – and eventually, even to myself,” for “offenses” like having too many postage stamps, eating all an apple, or not eating enough – “refusing to eat.”

“Yet neither a judge nor a jury of my peers handed down this sentence to me. Each of the tormented 23 hours per day that I spent in a bathroom-sized…

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Prison Guards Repeatedly Abuse Inmates

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(To this day, the CDCr continues to claim that decades in the SHU does not constitute solitary confinement – cm)

Moorbey'z Blog

Joint Hearing Addresses Use of Solitary Confinement in Calif. Prisons

http://www.californiahealthline.org/articles/2013/10/10/joint-hearing-addresses-use-of-solitary-confinement-in-calif-prisons

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At a joint hearing of the Assembly and Senate Public Safety Committees on Wednesday, lawmakers examined the state’s use of security housing units for indefinite isolation of prisoners, the Sacramento Bee reports.

The hearing follows a two-month inmate hunger strike protesting the practice (White, Sacramento Bee, 10/9).

Background on Hunger Strike

In July, 30,000 inmates began refusing meals as part of the protest.

Members of the hunger strike — organized by inmates at Pelican Bay State Prison — sought a five-year limit on such isolation, as well as new educational and rehabilitation programs.

Prisoners called off the strike in early September (California Healthline, 9/6).

Prisoners’ advocates now are pushing the state to:

  • End the use of indefinite terms in solitary confinement;
  • Change the criteria for…

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RIP Herman Wallace – The “Muhammad Ali of the Criminal Justice System”

This morning we lost without a doubt the biggest, bravest, and brashest personality in the political prisoner world.  It is with great sadness that we write with the news of Herman Wallace’s passing.

Herman never did anything half way.  He embraced his many quests and adventures in life with a tenacious gusto and fearless determination that will absolutely never be rivaled.  He was exceptionally loyal and loving to those he considered friends, and always went out of his way to stand up for those causes and individuals in need of a strong voice or fierce advocate, no matter the consequences.

Anyone lucky enough to have spent any time with Herman knows that his indomitable spirit will live on through his work and the example he left behind.  May each of us aspire to be as dedicated to something as Herman was to life, and to justice.

Below is a short obituary/press statement for those who didn’t know him well in case you wish to circulate something.  Tributes from those who were closest to Herman and more information on how to help preserve his legacy by keeping his struggle alive will soon follow.

On October 4th, 2013, Herman Wallace, an icon of the modern prison reform movement and an innocent man, died a free man after spending an unimaginable 41 years in solitary confinement.

Herman spent the last four decades of his life fighting against all that is unjust in the criminal justice system, making international the inhuman plight that is long term solitary confinement, and struggling to prove that he was an innocent man.

Just 3 days before his passing, he succeeded, his conviction was overturned, and he was released to spend his final hours surrounded by loved ones.  Despite his brief moments of freedom, his case will now forever serve as a tragic example that justice delayed is justice denied.

Herman Wallace’s early life in New Orleans during the heyday of an unforgiving and unjust Jim Crow south often found him on the wrong side of the law and eventually he was sent to the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola for armed robbery.  While there, he was introduced to the Black Panther’s powerful message of self determination and collective community action and quickly became one of its most persuasive and ardent practitioners.

Not long after he began to organize hunger and work strikes to protest the continued segregation, endemic corruption, and horrific abuse rampant at the prison, he and his fellow panther comrades Albert Woodfox and Robert King were charged with murders they did not commit and thrown in solitary.

Robert was released in 2001 after 29 years in solitary but Herman remained there for an unprecedented 41 years, and Albert is still in a 6×9 solitary cell.

Herman’s criminal case ended with his passing, but his legacy will live on through a civil lawsuit he filed jointly with Robert and Albert that seeks to define and abolish long term solitary confinement as cruel and unusual punishment, and through his comrade Albert Woodfox’s still active and promising bid for freedom from the wrongful conviction they both shared.

Herman was only 9 days shy of 72 years old.

Services will be held in New Orleans. The date and location will be forthcoming.

For more information visit www.angola3.org andhttp://angola3news.blogspot.com/.

 

Posted in Aging In Prison, Albert Woodfox, Angola 3, Herman Wallace, History, Solitary Confinement, Torture | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment