Police, prison and abolition

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blindpig
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Police, prison and abolition

Post by blindpig » Mon Jul 17, 2017 3:21 pm

This thread is a continuation of the thread started at the Bell, http://www.thebellforum.net/Bell2/www.t ... l?t=150375

Rashid: I’m off to Florida and a new phase of reprisals for publicizing abuses in US prisons
July 14, 2017
Readers are urged to share this story widely and write to Rashid right away; mail equals support, and the more he gets, the safer he’ll be: Kevin Johnson, O-158039, RMC, P.O. Box 628, Lake Butler FL 32054

by Kevin ‘Rashid’ Johnson

Packed off to Florida

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Following Texas prison officials planting a weapon in my cell on March 26, 2017, then stealing most of my personal property on April 6, 2017, in an ongoing pattern of retaliation for and attempts to repress my writing and involvement in litigation exposing and challenging abuses in Texas prisons, including their killing prisoners, I was unceremoniously packed off to the Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) on June 22, 2017.

This transfer came as outside protests mounted against the abuses, and Texas officials became more and more entangled in a growing web of their own lies invented in their efforts to cover up and deny their reprisals against me, and also while a contempt investigation was imminent upon a motion I filed in a federal lawsuit brought by relatives of one of the prisoners they’d killed – a killing I’d witnessed and publicized.

Florida, notorious for its own extremely abusive prisons, readily signed on to take up Texas’s slack. And being an openly corrupt system unaccustomed to concealing its dirt, FDC officials shot straight from the hip in expressing and carrying on efforts to repress and act out reprisals for my exposing and challenging prison abuses.

The Welcoming Committee

Following a four-hour flight from Texas to Florida, I was driven in a sweltering prison van from an airport just outside Jacksonville, Florida, to the FDC’s Reception and Medical Center (RMC) in Lake Butler, Florida. I was forced to leave most all my personal property behind in Texas.

Upon reaching RMC, I was brought from the van, manacled hand and foot into an enclosed vehicle port, where I was met by a mob of white guards of all ranks. I was ordered to stand in a pair of painted yellow footprints on a concrete platform as the guards crowded around me.

I was ordered to stand in a pair of painted yellow footprints on a concrete platform as the guards crowded around me. “This is Florida, and we’ll beat your ass! We’ll kill you!” said the spokesman.

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This stunning art is one of countless reasons to come to the aid of Rashid right now. One of the nation’s leading incarcerated intellectuals and revolutionaries, his drawings and writings energize the fast-growing prison movement. This drawing, one of his most recent, is called “Neoliberalism.” – Art: Kevin “Rashid” Johnson
Their “chosen” spokesman, a tall goofy guard, R. Knight, stepped forward and launched into a speech consisting of threats and insults. He emphasized that I was “not in Virginia or wherever else” I’d been. That “this is Florida, and we’ll beat your ass! We’ll kill you!” He assured my “Black ass” that my tendency to protest “won’t be tolerated here.”

He went on and on, like an overseer explaining the plantation’s code of decorum and the “place” to a newly arrived Black slave. The analogy is apt. “You will answer us only as ‘no sir’ and ‘yes sir,’ ‘no ma’am’ and ‘yes ma’am.’ You forget this and we’ll kick your fucking teeth out,” he barked.

I was then taken through the various stages of being “processed” in: fingerprinted, examined and questioned by medical staff etc. Knight took possession of my property and stole a number of documents and all my writing supplies (five writing tablets, four ink pens, 19 envelopes, stamps), all my hygiene supplies (deodorant, shampoo, two bars of soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, nail clippers) and so on.

All these items that I brought with me from Texas were inventoried and logged by Texas officials. Knight logged and inventoried me as receiving from him only my watch, some legal papers, 15 envelopes and my eyeglasses.

Next, I was taken into an office and sat before a Sgt. L. Colon, RMC’s “gang (or STG, Security Threat Group) investigator.” He proceeded in the same hostile terms. He explained that he knew all about me and his displeasure with my published articles about prison abuses, and he assured that FDC would put an end to it. He admitted his purpose was to put an STG profile on me, refer it to FDC’s central office in Tallahassee to be upheld, and I would then be put on STG file, which in turn would be used to stop my writings.

He proceeded to ask about me being a “Black Panther leader” and, using a thoroughly amateur interrogation method, attempted to have me characterize myself and my party as a gang. When his efforts failed, he charged me with being a “bullshitter.” I told him only that I am a member of a constitutionally protected, non-violent communist party and whatever false stigma he wanted to try and invent against me and us was typical of fascist governments and we’d address it publicly and in court. Our “interview” was terminated.

Another nurse did my medical history check, remarking that my blood pressure reading was extremely high, 145/103. Although she had all my medications sitting there in front of her, and I told her I had not received my dose that day, she refused to provide them and did nothing.

Upon arriving in Florida, I had not received my hypertension medications since the prior morning. The sweltering heat was aggravating my condition. During the intake process a routine blood pressure check was done and my reading was around 145/103. The nurse who did the reading passed me on to another nurse who did my medical history check, remarking that my reading was extremely high. Although she had all my medications sitting there in front of her, and I told her I had not received my dose that day, she refused to provide them and did nothing.

Barbaric housing

Following completing the intake process, I was walked a substantial distance across the prison yard carrying my bag of property in handcuffs and the sweltering midday heat, dizzy from my elevated blood pressure.

I was led to K-building, the solitary confinement unit, where I was put into a cell, K-3-102, which had no bunk in it and had a commode that had to be flushed by guards from outside the cell – often they would not flush it when it needed to be and I asked them to. The commode had otherwise been obviously left unflushed for long periods, because inside the bowl was and is a thick, yellowed layer of calcium and waste residue and it reeked of fermented urine and feces.

Just before I entered the cell, it was wet-mopped, not to sanitize it, but to cover the entire floor with water that would not, and did not, dry for over a day afterward due to the extreme humidity and lack of air circulation in the cells. There is no air conditioning in the cell blocks and, unlike in Texas, FDC prisoners may not have in-cell fans.

My cell was infested with ants which would find their way into my bed as I slept on the floor. I received numerous bites from them and I believe also roaches that frequently crawled into the cell. At night, in the pitch black cells – and even when the lights were on – mice and huge, two-inch-long cockroaches, along with the “regular” smaller breed of roaches, ran into and explored the cell.

My cell was infested with ants which would find their way into my bed as I slept on the floor. I received numerous bites from them. At night, even when the lights were on, mice and huge, two-inch-long cockroaches, along with the “regular” smaller breed of roaches, ran into and explored the cell.

The K-building lieutenant, Jason Livingston, posted a special note outside my cell door stating I was on a heightened security status, that I and the cell were to be specially searched any time I exited or entered the cell, that I was to be specially restrained and the ranking guards had to accompany me to and from any destination outside the cell. The pretense was that I was an extreme physical threat.

I was denied my hypertension medications until I briefly fell unconscious on the evening of June 24, 2017.

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Florida has earned its reputation for extreme brutality and repression against prisoners.

Following sending word out to an attorney and others about my conditions and experiences, who apparently raised complaints on my behalf, I was moved to a “regular” cell, K-1-204, on June 30, 2017, with a bunk and a commode I can flush. I was repeatedly confronted by various guards who’ve commented that I’m no dangerous person and they don’t understand why I’ve been profiled or treated as though I am.

A week later FDC officials would come clean, exposing on the record their actual motives for my mistreatment, and “special” security status.

Solitary confinement for publicizing abuses

My readers and others will recall when, in January 2017, I was given a disciplinary infraction by Texas officials for a statement I wrote about suffering their abuses that was published online. When confronted about such retaliatory acts by a PBS reporter, Ms. Kamala Kelkar, TDCJ spokesman Jason Clark initially lied, denying that I received any such infractions, until Ms. Kelkar emailed him a copy of the charge I’d received. He then suddenly changed his story, lying yet again to claim the infraction had been overturned, then declined to answer any further questions.

Clark knew enough to deny and try to cover up such acts of retaliation against a prisoner exercising his right to freedom of speech. Florida officials, however, have come right out admitting and exposing such actions.[ii]

On July 6, 2017, I was confronted by RMC classification officer Jeremy Brown, who notified me that I am to be formally reviewed for placement on Close Management I status, which is the FDC’s name for solitary confinement. The reason he gave for this review was the exact STG pretext Sgt. L. Colon told me on my first day was going to be created to justify suppressing my writings about prison abuses.

Brown served me written notification stating my CMI review was based upon my alleged “documented leadership in a Security Threat Group that is certified by the Threat Assessment Review Committee in Central Office.” Remember, this is the very same illegal basis upon which California prison officials were indefinitely throwing prisoners in solitary confinement which prompted three historic mass prisoner hunger strikes in 2011 and 2013 and was abolished upon the settlement of a class action lawsuit against the practice in 2015.

My assignment to solitary confinement is for “documented leadership in a Security Threat Group” … This is the very same illegal basis upon which California prison officials were indefinitely throwing prisoners in solitary confinement which prompted three historic mass prisoner hunger strikes in 2011 and 2013 and was abolished upon the settlement of a class action lawsuit against the practice in 2015.

But FDC officials went much further in supporting “comments” to state their true motives for devising to put me in solitary and for my mistreatment up to that point.

As Colon had threatened, an STG label was invented against the New Afrikan Black Panther Party, a party about which Colon admitted he and the FDC had no prior knowledge. The reason the party was designated an STG and gang was because (get this!) I’d written articles while in Oregon and Texas prison systems that were published online about abuses in the prisons which generated concern and perfectly legal protests from the public, which was characterized as my gang following that “caused disruption in the orderly operations” of the prisons.

The notice went on to admit, as I’ve long contended in my writings, that these writings are the actual reason I’ve been transferred from state to state – illegal retaliatory transfers – which was characterized as STG activities.

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Passing mention was made that I’d received disciplinary infractions while in Oregon and Texas, but no attempt was made to show those infractions bore any connection to my party affiliation. In fact, those who have followed my writings and the series of official reprisals – which is now being admitted by FDC officials – know those infractions were fabricated retaliations, many of which I was prevented from contesting.

So, according to FDC officials, I am a confirmed gang leader because I publicize prison abuses through articles that are posted online and my gang members and followers are members of the public who read my articles and make complaints and inquiries of officials, which acts are characterized as presenting disruptions to prison operations – or in other words throwing a monkey wrench in their business-as-usual abuses.

According to FDC officials, I am a confirmed gang leader because I publicize prison abuses through articles that are posted online and my gang members and followers are members of the public who read my articles and make complaints and inquiries of officials, which acts are characterized as presenting disruptions to prison operations.

For this I am to be thrown into solitary, which means any future posting and publishing of writings by me about prison abuses will be characterized as my continuing to engage in STG or gang activities, and any legal public protests as my gang members threatening prison security.

I didn’t make this up, it’s all in writing; read it HERE (scroll down to “SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS”). This is where taxpayers’ monies are going in financing these ubiquitous gang busting units. And should you protest, you will be labelled a gangster yourself. I won’t belabor the point.

Dare to struggle, Dare to win!

All Power to the People!

Kamala Kelkar, “Resistence Builds Against Social Media Ban in Texas Prisons,” PBS NewsHour Weekend, Jan. 29, 2017, 5:23 p.m. EST

[ii] “The First Amendment forbids prison officials from retaliating against prisoners for exercising the right of free speech,” Farrow v. West, 320 F.3d 1235, 1248 (2003)

Send our brother some love and light – and share this urgent story widely. The more people who write to him now, the safer he’ll be: Kevin Johnson, O-158039, RMC, 7765 S. Cr. 231, P.O. Box 628, Lake Butler FL 32054.

http://sfbayview.com/2017/07/rashid-im- ... s-prisons/
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

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Re: Police, prison and abolition

Post by blindpig » Thu Jul 27, 2017 3:22 pm

Message from the youth: Abolish slavery
July 26, 2017
by Kojuan Miles

I am a reformed gang member from South Central Lanes. I am now practicing Islam, which translates to mean submission, obedience and peace. Being incarcerated right now, I am in a state of submission and in order to retain peace I must be obedient.

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Kojuan Miles at age 20 – seven years ago – was playing football in Tacoma, Washington.

I grew up in Los Angeles, where there is a certain intensity applied to gangbanging that stems from tribal warfare, and through this unruly violence there is still solidarity that unites the worst of adversaries in the closest of compounds to fight for equality for our known or unknown brothers. As was once said to me by a fellow Muslim brother when I embraced Islam, “If you can take that same intensity that was applied to gangbanging and apply it to Islam, you will become a great Muslim.”

Well, it’s the same for this fight we have on our hands induced by this modern day slavery in Texas. NOW, people, is the time to break these chains.

As spoken by my brother Keith “Malik” Washington in the March 2016 Bay View: “We cannot do what others have done because we have not reached the level of solidarity and political development prisoners in other states such as California have reached.” But like Sam Cooke once sang, “A Change Gon Come,” and the time for change is now.

To create this mentality of solidarity, we have to all come together and become one like the bricks in the wall. And in order to come together, we as a people who are aware must spread the word to the unaware and awaken society on what’s taking place in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Let not the fight begin only in Texas, but let it extend as far as this message of truth can reach. Because loved ones afar are still affected as well. Take me, for example. I am currently incarce­rated in the state of Texas, but I have no family in Texas; every­one is back in California. Being trapped here causes stress on my family because Texas keeps denying my parole for reasons unrelated to what I was charged for.

NOW, people, is the time to break these chains.

At the same time, they keep telling me I’m getting paid for work time and good time, but yet I keep getting set-off after set-off. It seems almost impossible to get out of Texas and back home to my mother, who is very ill from diabetes. I’m pretty sure that I’m not the only one who has come from another state and been bound by this modern day slavery.

So let this be the beginning of a battle that extends as far and wide as possible so this fight won’t be just for us in Texas but in other states if any are affected by these same circumstances. So let’s spread the word and awaken awareness because a closed mouth doesn’t get heard.

Amerika must know that slavery has not yet been abolished. One can still maintain peace, submit and be obedient as a Muslim, but if given a righteous cause, one can still fight. So we the people must recognize this cause and fight for what’s right.

Amerika must know that slavery has not yet been abolished.

To my Texas brothers, to my Texas sisters, to my Caucasian brothers, to my Latino brothers, to my brothers of affiliation, we as a whole are being affected by this centuries old plague of bondage. So let’s not look at it as something only the Muslim or the Blackman is going through but something we as a people are going through – one love!

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These are the photos Kojuan is referring to, this one taken in 1975 at the Cummins Prison Farm in Texas. – Photo courtesy The Marshall Project

Tell a family member; tell a friend. Let’s start aiming at the media to shed light into the darkness. Let’s start blogging about it. Let’s create discussions about this in political environments through the internet. Let’s email people of great importance who will hear this condition that we prisoners in Texas prisons live in and will make a change to end slavery in Texas once and for all.

In the Bay View March 2016 issue, there were pictures from 1975 and 1978 of inmates in Texas being shouted orders to work by a gunman on a horse – work that no one can actually prove we are being compensated for. How different is that from when my ancestors used to pick cotton over 200 years ago? Not much. Ain’t no difference between those 1970s pictures and what goes on today.

Generally speaking, we just don’t have pictures of today. Same cowboy boots, same spurs, same Confederate gray uniforms, same cowboy hats, same pistol and shotgun, same “Bossman” shouting orders on a horse to this day.

We’re not asking for a lot – just to be recognized for our hard work through compensation. Every man should be paid for his hard work and effort and not be told he is getting paid so TDCJ (Texas Department of Criminal Justice) can just sound and look good to the public.

We’re not asking for a lot – just to be recognized for our hard work through compensation.

Both parties – us prisoners in Texas and TDCJ – know that no one is getting paid and no one is doing any paying. If a legitimate and professional analyst were to look into this so called system of payment for our work time and good time, he or she would find this system to be fraudulent. This is what is keeping us from going home to our loved ones.

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This photo was taken in 1978 at the Ellis Unit in Texas. – Photo courtesy The Marshall Project

It’s a franchise for modern day slavery. If they can keep us bound in chains, then they can continue to make money off of us; if they let us go, then they lose profits and proceeds. This is systemic bondage built on slavery and Confederate principles.

Through these words, I hope that same intensity that came from my days of rampant gangbanging can radiate an energy in you that signifies a calling for solidarity. That’s a word often used by my brother Keith “Malik” Washington in his article on the abolition of prison slavery in Texas in the March 2016 issue.

Taking a stand starts with us and we can build a mass movement if we can stand together. So, people, hear me out because this is far, far more than just an outcry. Let this instead be the beginning of a struggle that does not begin with me but it begins with us. Power to the people.

Taking a stand starts with us and we can build a mass movement if we can stand together.

Send our brother some love and light: Kojuan Miles, 1912338, Coffield Unit, 2661 FM 2054, Tennessee Colony TX 75884.

http://sfbayview.com/2017/07/message-fr ... h-slavery/
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Re: Police, prison and abolition

Post by blindpig » Mon Jul 31, 2017 1:27 pm

Rising temperatures can kill Texas prisoners. Corrections ignored that, says federal judge
July 30, 2017
by Kamala Kelkar

A federal judge in Houston ordered a geriatric prison in Texas to help inmates overcome extreme heat and rising summer temperatures, referencing climate change in a groundbreaking ruling this week.

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Inside a Texas prison cell on a hot day – Photo: Bob Daemmerich

U.S. District Judge Keith Ellison deemed it cruel and unusual that state corrections are aware of dangerous and lethal heat risks – at least 23 men in Texas prisons have died from the heat in the last 20 years – yet have failed to impose safeguards.

Ellison slammed the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for continuously violating the Eighth Amendment by subjecting inmates at the Wallace Pack Unit south of Navasota to heat indexes that regularly exceed 100 degrees in summer.

Texas has the largest state-run prison system in the country, with over 150,000 inmates, approximately 18,000 of them over the age of 55, having expanded from 18 prisons in 1978 to the current 106. Of those, 28 have air conditioning in all housing areas while the rest often only have it for staff, if at all, according to Corrections.

The six plaintiffs in the case testified that they get headaches and excessively sweat, become lethargic and are debilitated, some while working and some with health issues and on medications that prevent their bodies from adjusting to high temperatures.

U.S. District Judge Keith Ellison deemed it cruel and unusual that state corrections are aware of dangerous and lethal heat risks – at least 23 men in Texas prisons have died from the heat in the last 20 years – yet have failed to impose safeguards.

“The Eighth Amendment imposes a duty on prison officials to provide ‘humane conditions of confinement’,” Ellison wrote in a 100-page ruling. “Plaintiffs have shown a substantial risk of serious injury or death as a result of the conditions at the Pack Unit.”

While he does not use the words “climate change” in his order, he refers to a report called “Heat in U.S. Prisons and Jails, Corrections and the Challenge of Climate Change,” by Columbia Law School.

The reference comes as a footnote after the sentence, “The Court and the parties have no way of knowing when a heat wave will occur, but it is clear that one will come.”

Michael Gerrard, a professor at the law school, who teaches about climate and environmental law and supervised the report, said that he believes it is the first time a judge has referred to the threat climate change poses to inmates.

“The next lawsuits about heat in prisons will probably cite this decision, both in general and in support of the proposition that heat will get even worse moving forward,” Gerrard said.

“The Eighth Amendment imposes a duty on prison officials to provide ‘humane conditions of confinement’,” Ellison wrote in a 100-page ruling. “Plaintiffs have shown a substantial risk of serious injury or death as a result of the conditions at the Pack Unit.”

This is the second preliminary ruling in the class-action lawsuit, which followed a record-breaking heat wave in 2011 that killed 10 people inside state prisons.

About one year ago, the court ordered Corrections to provide safe drinking water for inmates at the Pack Unit after tests revealed arsenic in the water at two-to-four times the standard level permitted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

This is the second preliminary ruling in the class-action lawsuit, which followed a record-breaking heat wave in 2011 that killed 10 people inside state prisons.

Inmates recently filed a similar complaint at the state’s oldest maximum security prison, the Eastham Unit in Lovelady. Eastham was built on top of land where slaves were forced to work before the Civil War. After the war, it was maintained by many newly-freed slaves who were convicted of crimes during the Jim Crow era and leased back to landowners, according to the book “Texas Tough” by historian Robert Perkinson.

People at Eastham are claiming in federal court that the water there is foul, that it smells and leaves gritty residue in their mouths and has caused untreatable and relentless stomach problems, as well as black mold in their cells.

“I understand this is prison and I’ve paid my dues for my crime, but does that justify me being subjected to live in unsanitary conditions?” wrote Keith “Malik” Washington, an inmate at Eastham who is helping with the case, in a letter to the NewsHour Weekend.

The suit cites “boil water” notices that have been posted in the facility by the state’s environmental agency and reminds the court that inmates are not allowed to boil the water and are forced to drink it in the scorching heat during summer months.

“I understand this is prison and I’ve paid my dues for my crime, but does that justify me being subjected to live in unsanitary conditions?” wrote Keith “Malik” Washington, an inmate at Eastham who is helping with the case, in a letter to the NewsHour Weekend.

But the judge in that case said the claims are “rather routine” and did not permit the plaintiff a lawyer to represent the case, significantly decreasing the chances it will play in their favor.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice denies that water is unsafe at any of its facilities and has stated it will appeal Ellison’s ruling.

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National Weather Service heat index warning chart
And in an interview before the ruling, vice president for offender health services Dr. Owen Murray also denied that there are any water or heat-related health issues.

These issues in Texas prisons have been under a scrutinous eye since the summer of 2011. In the middle of the state, more than 100 days were 100 degrees or more, shattering all previous records dating back to 1907, according to the National Weather Service.

Inside facilities, which are rarely air conditioned, it feels a lot hotter because massive groups of people are confined to small spaces with little ventilation. This makes the heat index – the combination of temperature and humidity that projects what the weather feels like – skyrocket.

And while county, juvenile and federal prisons as well as states such as Alabama, Ohio and Delaware all have regulations on heat, Texas state Corrections does not.

Lance Lawry, the president of a union representing 4,000 correctional officers statewide, described the inside of state prisons during the summer as “hell on earth.”

“They’re kind of like a big bathroom, they have toilets, they have sinks, showers going and there’s a lot of humidity produced in there,” Lance said. “It’s not uncommon for them to get 120 or 130 degrees in there with the high degree of humidity.”

A senior medical director in August of 2011 had also written in an email to colleagues after two inmates had to be airlifted, “With our aging and sicker population, we really need a better long term strategy for dealing with this type of weather.”

Several families of inmates who died have also issued wrongful death lawsuits related to heat, supported by the union.

In Ellison’s ruling, he was taken aback that Corrections had not made any new substantive policies about heat wave since then. He also said that indifference has permeated all aspects of handling extreme heat – from refusing to consider air conditioning to using cooling units that can sometimes make humidity worse.

“In some cases Defendants’ actions have risen beyond indifference to obstruction, such as when, after this lawsuit was filed, [the warden] ordered his staff to stop measuring the indoor heat index during the summer months,” he wrote.

He ordered that the inmates who are most vulnerable to heat-related illnesses be housed in units that do not exceed 88 degrees on the heat index.

An expert for Texas Corrections testified that it could cost $1.2 million to air condition for three months or $22 million to install a permanent system at Pack, but Ellison pointed out flaws in the testimony, saying it was “needlessly high and does not accurately reflect the true cost.”

Inmates can buy a fan for about $20 at their commissary, but not all facilities have the proper outlets and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not recommend them above heat index of 95 degrees because using them can make people even hotter.

Still, Joan Covici, who runs a nonprofit that allows people to donate fans to inmates, said, “There have been many years we have not been able to serve all the people on the waitlist.”

Kamala Kelkar is a digital associate producer for PBS NewsHour Weekend. She has been a journalist for nearly a decade, reporting from Oakland, India, Alaska and now New York. She can be reached on Twitter at @kkelkar.

http://sfbayview.com/2017/07/rising-tem ... ral-judge/

The relative quiet of the prison revolt suggests that repression has been massive and successful. For now.
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

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Re: Police, prison and abolition

Post by blindpig » Sat Aug 05, 2017 5:03 pm

The 13th Amendment (1865) ordered the abolition of slavery in the United States, except as punishment for a criminal conviction. In other words, federal law permits the use of incarcerated persons for free labor by state officials and also by the private sector.

Add your name to a growing movement to finally fix this injustice.

From the late 1800s until now, unpaid prison labor has been the pattern, practice, and collective mindset of various states across America. Southern states have taken particular advantage of the wording of the 13th Amendment, and in turn, current resistance movements have risen out of prison-dense states like Texas and Alabama, where units are often compared to plantations.

The degrading treatment of people in prison, however, is a nationwide issue, as shown in the widespread imposition of solitary confinement, assaults by guards, and medical neglect.

On Saturday, August 19th, prison activists and everyone who wants to join in will march in Washington DC, San Jose CA, and other cities around the country (see full list at right).

RootsAction stands in solidarity with these prison activists fighting for human rights, and we urge you to do the same.

People in prison, like all other human beings, should be compensated for their labor, whether with wages or with reduced sentences.

Paying incarcerated people for their labor enables them not only to better provide for themselves while in prison, but also to pay outstanding bills and unpaid court fees that have accumulated over time (and that may have landed many of them in prison in the first place).

Compensating imprisoned people for their labor through a legitimate "Work Time" system that reduces their sentence would grant them the opportunity to be reviewed early by parole boards and released back into society. This system also relieves state taxpayers, through the simple fact that an earned early release is one less imprisonment to pay for.

Sign this petition to demand that Congress propose a constitutional amendment to abrogate the "exception clause" which, since the 1865 passage of the 13th Amendment, has watered down the abolition of slavery, allowing that practice to continue being applied to individuals convicted of a crime and thereby legitimizing the systematic disrespect and abuse of people in prison.

After signing the petition, please use the tools on the next webpage to share it with your friends.

This work is only possible with your financial support. Please chip in $3 now.

-- The RootsAction.org Team

P.S. RootsAction is an independent online force endorsed by Jim Hightower, Barbara Ehrenreich, Cornel West, Daniel Ellsberg, Glenn Greenwald, Naomi Klein, Bill Fletcher Jr., Laura Flanders, former U.S. Senator James Abourezk, Frances Fox Piven, Lila Garrett, Phil Donahue, Sonali Kolhatkar, and many others.

So, the liberals getting involved. You can bet that abolition of prisons or police as we know them is not on the liberal agenda, yet I suppose any visibility is a help. Too bad that around here the chain gang is considered a panacea for all societal ills.
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Re: Police, prison and abolition

Post by blindpig » Fri Sep 01, 2017 8:13 pm

Destroy All Prisons Tomorrow

A response to the debate on abolition in Jacobin Magazine.

The weekend of August 19 2017, amid the second nationwide inside/outside mass protest against prison slavery in as many years, Jacobin Magazinepublished an article against prison abolition entitled How to End Mass Incarceration by Roger Lancaster. Lancaster argued that returning to an ideal of puritan discipline and rehabilitation is more realistic than pursuing the abolition of prison entirely.

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Jacobin caught a lot of deserved flack from abolitionists on social media for it. Numerous scholars, organizers and journalists decried Lancaster's article, creating such an online storm that Jacobin decided to publish a response article entitled What Abolitionists Do penned by Dan Berger, Mariame Kaba and David Stein. Unfortunately, this response fails to fully critique Lancaster's arguments and instead sells other abolitionists out. Their thesis paragraph reads:

Critics often dismiss prison abolition without a clear understanding of what it even is. Some on the Left, most recently Roger Lancaster in Jacobin, describe the goal of abolishing prisons as a fever-dream demand to destroy all prisons tomorrow. But Lancaster’s disregard for abolition appears based on a reading of a highly idiosyncratic and unrepresentative group of abolitionist thinkers and evinces little knowledge of decades of abolitionist organizing and its powerful impacts.

The Lancaster article levies the typical straw-man critique of abolition as an unrealistic “heaven-on-earth” vision. He presents Michel Foucault’s vision of a carceral society from Discipline and Punish as an alternative aspiration and argues that “we should strive not for pie-in-the-sky imaginings but for working models already achieved in Scandinavian and other social democracies.” He accuses abolitionists of being “innocent of history” and “far out on a limb” when comparing prison to chattel slavery.

These arguments expose a poverty of Lancaster’s analysis, and they are easily refuted. The idea that the US could adopt a Scandinavian style prison system through simple public awareness campaigns is desperately naive to the history of racial capitalism on this continent. The idea that a Foucauldian carceral society could exist here without massive quantities of racially targeted violence and coercion is far more pie-in-the-sky than the abolitionist recognition that prison depends on and cannot function without abominable levels of dehumanization and torture. Lancaster is the one with a utopian vision divorced from history, his prisons without torture or slavery can only be imaged by someone who hasn’t honestly grappled with the history of the US as a settler colonial nation that has always been existentially dependent on putting chains on Black people.

>Rather than confronting Lancaster directly on these points, Berger, Kaba and Stein dodge half the argument. They effectively inform an out-of-touch Lancaster about the practical works of abolitionists navigating reform as a means to our end, and the growing movement that those with abolitionist commitments and analysis have inspired. Unfortunately, they let the rest of his argument stand, transferring his straw man to a group of “highly idiosyncratic and unrepresentative... abolitionist thinkers” who Lancaster’s “reading seems to be based on”. This vague language begs a few questions: who are these thinkers that “demand to destroy all prisons tomorrow” and why can’t they be named? Why is their work excluded from Berger, Kaba and Stein’s understanding of “What Abolitionists Do”?

Neither of these articles managed to mention the August 19 Millions for Prisoners March, or last September’s nationally coordinated prison strike, an event that Jacobin stood out among left and even mainstream news sources in their failure to cover. Instead, Berger, Kaba and Stein focus almost all attention on a strategy of non-reformist reforms. They go in depth describing abolitionists winning victories similar to those Lancaster advocates.

These victories come from good and vital work that we have no desire to dismiss or undervalue. We honor and respect Critical Resistance, Incite! and the other mentioned organizations, and recognize that much of their vision and efforts are not limited to what was portrayed in this article. But we take exception to Berger, Kaba and Stein’s choice to position non-reformist reform as though it is or can be the whole of abolition, and their dismissal of other approaches as “highly idiosyncratic and unrepresentative”.

Both Lancaster’s article and the abolitionist's response reference efforts to abolish chattel slavery, but neither acknowledge the most important historical event from that time: the Civil War. The southern plantation system was not and could not have been converted into a humane system of rehabilitative discipline as Lancaster suggests, nor could it have been abolished by a steady campaign of “non-reformist” policy changes chipping at it. To suggest either response to the present system of mass incarceration and prison slavery is equally absurd, yet these are the only things being discussed in Jacobin.

The abolitionists of the 1800s certainly engaged in legislation and policy change, and their contemporaries certainly countered with visions of a kinder gentler plantation, but history was in fact made by those who engaged in acts that forced change on a nation unwilling to depart from its racist history. It was the underground railroad, the harboring of freed slaves, and the support for uprisings, sabotage and rebellions which compelled Lincoln to sign the emancipation proclamation. It took the bloodiest war in US history to enforce that proclamation. This discussion about “how to end mass incarceration” that does not include forcibly overcoming the violent persistence of white terror and black captivity in the united states is completely out of touch.

As prison rebels reminded us on August 19, and continue to remind us every day, slavery did not end with the set of reforms that followed the Civil War. In fact, it was the compromises of policy-change oriented abolitionists that allowed the 13th Amendment to pass with an exception clause that leaves us still fighting to abolish slavery here today.

No progress against white supremacy in the United States has ever been made by reform alone. Before the civil war, non-reformist reforms of slavery were won amidst an uncompromising “fever-dream demand” to free all slaves now. That demand was eventually won because slave revolts and the underground railroad did not only dream it, they pursued and realized their demands through direct action. After the war, similar demands and actions were part of every step toward liberation and against convict leasing, Jim Crow, and the Ku Klux Klan. These demands and dreams remain part of the struggle against prison slavery, mass incarceration and white terrorism today. To dismiss them as “highly idiosyncratic and unrepresentative” is an insult.

It is naïve to think that ending prison won't require as much fight as every other concession wrenched out of the system of racial capitalism that founded America. That fight is already occurring, it's being led by the prisoners, and the pressure they exert is essential to the advance of any policy change or non-reformist reforms promoted by the article. It is incredibly disappointing to see the scholar-activist abolitionists who wrote this article distance themselves from prison rebellions, prisoner solidarity organizations, and the roots of the abolition movement.

One of these authors, Dan Berger has made his career studying political prisoners and black liberation revolutionaries. He wrote The Struggle Within and Captive Nation, which draw from the rebellions of the 1970s. In this article he departs from the respect and honoring of black revolutionary intellectuals that characterize his other works. He's erased the fact that prison abolition was largely founded on George and Jonathan Jackson's deaths and their willingness to die rather than be incarcerated a single day longer. It is an egregious offense for this scholar of that history to now say “a fever-dream demand to destroy all prisons tomorrow.. [is] highly idiosyncratic and unrepresentative... [of] abolitionist organizing.”

Why is this happening? Why is Berger betraying his inspiring research subjects for Jacobin and Lancaster? What reason do these abolitionists have for reframing and excluding radicals and revolutionaries from abolitionism? It appears they'd like to convince Jacobin's readers that most abolitionists are respectable people whose vision is not so far from Lancaster's. They also seem keen to define abolition in a way that academics can comfortably adopt without risking career advancement. Then there’s the suspicious coincidence that they’ve limited abolition's tactical scope to approaches that center the work of the non-profit industrial complex and pandering politicians. We don’t like speculating about the potentially self-serving motives of our allies. We’d rather trust that Berger, Kaba and Stein focused their article on what they saw as the most tedious aspect of Lancaster’s tired argument. We trust, but not blindly.

The last paragraph of What Abolitionists Do recognizes the “urgent need for robust debate” and claims that the “debate must engage what exists in on-the-ground organizing”. We agree, which is why we believe the discussion must include prison rebels and the organizations that fight with them. Anarchist Black Cross Chapters, The Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee of the IWW, and various other groups are working to back up the prisoners who refuse to be slaves today, who won’t wait for some imagined non-reformist reformed future.

We and the prisoners we work with have coordinated the largest prison strikes and protests in history. According to estimates from Solidarity Research, our actions can cost prison systems hundreds of thousands of dollars per day. One anarchist prison rebel in Ohio did the math and concluded that a well supported prisoner strike would tank not only the prison system, but the entire state budget in a few weeks’ time. On August 18, when Lancaster's article came out, prison rebels and their supporters had frightened Florida and South Carolina into locking down their entire system for the weekend, costing them thousands of dollars, and significant public support. We are building power and pursuing abolition by making prison impossible, not merely by slowly reforming it out of existence.

Abolition now! is not just for “bumper stickers or social media” it is a call to action which is being answered, which is accumulating power, and which can mutually reinforce the work done on non-reformist reforms. The pressure of resistance can force reform concessions, which in turn can empower and embolden further resistance. This feedback loop can have great power to corrode the prison system and eventually topple it, and all the oppressive systems that depend upon it, but not if the non-reformist reformers are more interested in appealing to Lancaster’s disciplinary vision than in solidarity with prisoner resistance.

We support a diversity of tactics, and respect all the work Berger, Kaba and Stein do and hold up in their article. We recognize the need for creative alternatives as well as non-reformist reforms that give our incarcerated comrades, their families and the communities targeted by the prison system room to breathe and space to struggle more effectively. We respect the hell out of the work of the organizers, scholars and journalists who have helped win those reforms, but we also demand that the work and risks of prison rebels and outside solidarity efforts be recognized. We are abolitionists not only because we envision and are committed to building a new world, but also because people we love are trapped in these facilities that existentially depend on abominable practices of slavery and torture and that maintain an intolerable white supremacist social order for the rest of us. We won’t let those who resist from inside the walls, who demand freedom first and freedom now to be quietly swept into the shadows for the sake of easier arguments with abolitions opponents.

https://incarceratedworkers.org/news/de ... s-tomorrow

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Re: Police, prison and abolition

Post by blindpig » Sat Sep 02, 2017 1:39 pm



One of the comrades inside (cali)
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Re: Police, prison and abolition

Post by blindpig » Tue Sep 05, 2017 4:32 pm

AMERICA IS STILL A SLAVE NATION: MASSIVE ABOLITIONIST GATHERING HELD IN WASHINGTON, D.C.

05 SEP 2017

Brian Sonenstein & Jared Ware BRIAN SONENSTEIN & JARED WARE

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Krystal Rountree of IAMWE Prison Advocacy Network. Photo by Brian Sonenstein. Krystal Rountree of IAMWE Prison Advocacy Network. Photo by Brian Sonenstein.

As white nationalists in Charlottesville and Boston provoked large, and at times, violent demonstrations, what may have been the largest gathering of abolitionists in the nation’s history took place in Washington, D.C.

The Millions For Prisoners Human Rights March was the first march on Washington in opposition to prison slavery since the adoption of the 13th Amendment. The amendment, which came at the end of the Civil War, did not abolish slavery in the United States but instead restricted it, allowing the practice to continue so long as it was “punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.”

Known as the exception clause, it is viewed by many in the movement as the bridge between chattel slavery and a system of bondage based on criminalization.

Those assembled came with specific demands. The first was the removal of the exception clause from the 13th amendment. The second demand was for a congressional hearing reviewing the exception clause as a violation of international law.

The march was  two years in the making . Jailhouse Lawyers Speak, a collective of imprisoned human rights advocates, was the first to issue a call for a march. Solidarity demonstrations took place in several states.

Organizers of last year’s September 9 national prison labor strike, including the Free Alabama Movement and Industrial Workers of the World’s Incarcerated Worker’s Organizing Committee, lent their support. Grassroots organizers at IAMWE Prison Advocacy Network, helmed by director Krystal Rountree, brought the rally to reality.

The gathering was made up by a diverse coalition of prison reform and abolition groups representing various communities affected by incarceration.

In Washington, D.C., hundreds of people marched from Freedom Plaza to Lafayette Square, where a small stage was set on a lawn across the street from the White House—a symbol of American power and governance  literally built by slaves.

Despite receiving little to no media coverage, the event was as compelling as it was historic. It was a show of increasing strength and solidarity for challenging legalized slavery in the United States. It also reckoned with accomplishments, setbacks, and the passage of time, as speakers took the stage to reflect on the history of slavery, the Constitution, and the prison industrial complex.

The march was planned long before last year’s national prison strike. Many incarcerated organizers identified it as the next step once strike actions wound down.

August was chosen for its significance to the movement. The 19th sits in the middle of Black August, a month of education around Black Liberation movements. It is also the month that George and Jonathan Jackson, two brothers and seminal figures within Black Liberation and prison abolition circles, were killed by state forces.

As the date drew near, multiple states, like Florida and South Carolina, took preemptive measures against those who would show solidarity with the march from the inside. In Florida, officials placed every state prison—over 97,000 people—on lockdown, restricting movement, communication, and access to programs ahead of the weekend.

For Righteousness And Justice, Period

“I was 15 years old when they turned me into a slave,” recalled Yusef Salaam, a member of the Central Park Five. “I want that to sink in for a second.”

“Donald Trump, who sits in that White House right over there, took out a full page ad in New York City’s newspapers calling for the reinstatement of the death penalty specifically for the Central Park Five.”

Like many of the day’s speakers, Salaam’s presence reminded the marchers of important moments in the movement’s history—moments that still have relevance to the ongoing struggle today. Salaam was joined by former Black Panthers, members of the Black Liberation Army (BLA), a member of MOVE, former political prisoners, and other abolitionists and reformers.

Ramona Africa, the sole adult survivor of the bombing of the MOVE house by Philadelphia police in 1985, has seen nearly four decades of repression against her family members, the political prisoners known as the MOVE 9.

“Those running this system have trampled over people, ever since this system. So I take any opportunity I can to speak out, not only for my brothers and sisters who’ve been imprisoned 39 years for a crime they didn’t commit, but for righteousness and justice, period,” Africa said in an interview with independent journalist Chuck Modiano.

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Jihad Abdulmumit, Chairperson of the National Jericho Movement. Photo by Brian Sonenstein

Jihad Abdulmumit, Chairperson of the National Jericho Movement and a former BLA member and political prisoner, focused on the absurdity that being “duly convicted” could subject someone to slavery within a government where there have been so many unjust and immoral legal practices.

He highlighted segregation laws and the Dred Scott decision, which deemed that Black people had “no rights which the white man was bound to respect.” He referenced how the constitution deemed Black people “three fifths of a man and no count for a woman.”

“Can’t drink from this water fountain laws, can’t pee in this toilet laws, reckless eyeballing of white woman laws, can’t travel after dark laws,” Abdulmumit said. “Or maybe it’s talking about the FBI’s counterintelligence program (COINTELPRO), maybe it’s talking about the set-ups and the frame-ups and the domestic Black Ops.”

But the rally’s younger participants had some of the strongest messages, focused on systemic and intersectional critiques and connected to the abolition of prisons and slavery in our time.

Hana X Abdur Rahim from People’s Justice Project was one of the boldest young voices for Black liberation and abolition.

“I am here to build Black Power, because without Black Power we do not have power,” she said. “I am here to build true liberation, not reform, because fuck reform!”

“The true path to freedom, justice, and liberation is in abolishing the 13th Amendment [exception] clause.” To achieve abolition, Abdur Rahim said people must “speak on the abolishment of the biggest terroristic gang in America, the modern day slave catchers, which is your local police department, backed by the Fraternal Order of Police.”

“America is a slave nation,” she said. “We need to say it. We need to believe it. We need to be literal in our speech. It is not mass incarceration. It is slavery.”

Whose Lives Matter?

April Goggans of Black Lives Matter D.C. began her remarks by connecting Black Lives Matter as an organization that fights for justice for victims of police violence to the struggle against the prison industrial complex and immigrant detention.

“We should be just as outraged at every soul that sits in a jail cell, or in a tent in the desert at a jail, to immigrants in detention centers. If we haven’t made that connection between police and ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement], we are missing out. ICE is the police.”

In a conversation with Chuck Modiano, she discussed “alternatives to calling the police, because the end result is incarceration.”

She highlighted life in southeast D.C., in one of the only remaining majority-Black wards of the nation’s capitol, where the Black population has decreased by over 220,000 people since 1970 due to gentrification.

“When we see our young folks on the corner, we’ve got a whole neighborhood full of folks who just love to call the police on them. Because that’ll teach them a lesson, right?” Goggans said.

“We use the police to police each other, to police ourselves into jails where there are more police.”

Goggans addressed popular misconceptions that contribute to the prison industrial-complex.

“It’s a lazy assumption to continually say that Black Lives Matter does not care about Black on Black crime. Black on Black crime doesn’t damn exist. We live in communities where if everybody in your community is Black, chances are both sides of whatever transpires are going to be Black.”

“To label it as such is for what, optics?” she said.

Goggans described the tactics of the “Gun Recovery Unit,” which polices D.C.’s predominantly Black seventh district, where she resides. Officers in the unit wear a t-shirt with the sun cross, a white supremacist symbol, placed over the “O” in the word “Powershift.”

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April Goggans of Black Lives Matter D.C. Photo by Brian Sonenstein.

At this point in her speech, someone in the crowd shouted, “Fuck the Police!” to which Goggans responded, “Absolutely, fuck the police! I’m all about that, because the other thing that’s killing us is our respectability.”

“Stop telling these young men and women to pull up their pants,” she said. “Why? Who did that stop from getting shot? I’m still looking.”

Goggans shared her hopes for her own 19 year old daughter’s safety, but then recalled the story of Miriam Carey, an office manager at a dental practice who was killed by police in front of her 13 month old daughter for making a U-Turn at a checkpoint near the White House. The incident occurred a few hundred yards from where Goggans addressed the crowd.

“There is no perfect victim,” she said. “There is no perfect prisoner that we fight for. It’s the institution that is sick.”

The Metropolitan police in D.C. have killed almost one person for every month in the year, she said, noting that most people even within D.C. don’t know their names.

“Because we still are talking about respectability. Whose lives matter? Nobody wants to talk about prisoners, because what’s the first thing that they say? ‘Well, they must’ve done something to get in there.’”

Most conversations about prisoners lead into this myth of rehabilitation, she said, in which “bad” people go to prisons, so that they can come out “good.”

“If you have bought into that bullshit, then we’re just lost,” Goggans said. “If you believe in prison abolition, if you believe in prisoner’s rights, then there is absolutely no reason that someone comes back to our community and has no support.”

Goggans highlighted the level of organization and community involvement that enable actions, like the Montgomery Bus Boycotts. She challenged the crowd not to be complacent with online resistance and spectacles, which don’t lead to meaningful action. People must build the structures and resources necessary for resistance within their own communities, she said.

“How do you stop mass incarceration from the beginning? Community defense. And that means so many things. Do you have doctors in your community? Because you can’t take everybody to the hospital and feel like they’re going to come home and not to jail, depending on how they decided that person got there.”

“What is the world without prisons, the world without police? Who has the power? Who makes the decisions? Those are the decisions that we have to make within ourselves within our communities.”

“This is not a feel good day to pat ourselves on the back. This is a day of action,” she said. “Everything you do should have an action. We’re done talking. We’re done marching for the sake of marching.”

A few minutes later, observers got a chance to show that abolition is not just a theory but a practice that has many forms. As James Mackey from Stuck On Replay shared his experiences and spoke about the impact incarceration has had on his family, a man ran up to the stage and started shouting at him.

The man, who said he was a military veteran, was clearly upset and claimed Mackey didn’t know what he was talking about, yelling that Mackey wasn’t doing anything to help. As police began to station themselves closer to the crowd, some of the rally’s participants formed a wall with their backs to the police to shield their vision. Others began to put their bodies between the disgruntled man and Mackey. They walked him away from the stage and spoke with him for a while, deescalating the situation enough to allow the event to resume.

Assessing Change From A Solitary Cell

The Angola 3’s resistance to prison slavery is legendary and draws upon some of the most direct and literal connections between slavery in the Antebellum south and how it still looks today.

At Louisiana State Penitentiary, also known as Angola, they organized in a prison built on four contiguous slave plantations, where the earliest inmate lock-ups were slave quarters before the Civil War.

Angola still operates to this day, producing millions of pounds of produce annually on the backs of incarcerated people, who are paid, at most, pennies an hour and in many cases nothing at all for their labor.

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Albert Woodfox and Robert King of the Angola 3. Photo by Brian Sonenstein.

Albert Woodfox, who co-founded a Black Panther Party chapter inside Angola, spent the better part of 44 years in solitary confinement—the longest stretch of any prisoner in U.S. history. Woodfox came to the march to support his Angola 3 comrade Robert King and answered questions for the few independent media outlets covering the event.

“I think one thing that being in solitary confinement did was it sharpened my sense of observation,” said Albert Woodfox in an interview with Eddie Conway of TheRealNews.com.

“One of the questions I was asked the most was, ‘How have things changed since spending 44 years in solitary confinement and in prison?’” noted Woodfox.

“From the observation of my surroundings and people, I felt that there was no real meaningful change in America. That all the changes were all superficial. And then along comes Donald Trump to prove that my observations were all correct.”

King’s speech centered around encouraging people to continue to remain active and spread the message to the American people about the ongoing existence of slavery in the U.S. as permitted under the 13th Amendment.

“The only way that you can create a wave…you have to disturb the water,” King said.

“If you throw a pebble in the pond, you’ll get a ripple. If you throw a million pebbles in a pond, ten million pebbles in a pond, you get more than a ripple my friend. You get a wave. You get a tsunami. Something that can wash away a lot of bad things.”

https://shadowproof.com/2017/09/05/mill ... hts-march/
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Re: Police, prison and abolition

Post by kidoftheblackhole » Tue Sep 05, 2017 5:29 pm

I was just coming to bump this thread. Bob and I wrote to Rashid a few weeks ago and we just got a reply in the mail today.

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Re: Police, prison and abolition

Post by blindpig » Fri Sep 08, 2017 4:00 pm

This is of course the Voice of Authority, Hopefully we can get a report from the 'inside'.

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Officers compared the Norton Correctional Facility to a “Third World” country after a violent inmate uprising that saw multiple fires set in the prison. Google, Twitter via @KOSE_Union

SEPTEMBER 06, 2017 6:39 PM

Correctional officers compared a Kansas prison to “a Third World country” after a violent inmate uprising late Tuesday that saw multiple fires set in the facility.

Inmates smashed windows throughout the Norton Correctional Facility. They took over staff offices and destroyed computers. They broke into the prison’s clinic and stole syringes. And some were wielding homemade weapons when correctional officers from three other prisons arrived at Norton to help restore order, according to multiple correctional officers.

The Kansas Department of Corrections described the incident as an “inmate disturbance,” but a correctional officer said it was a “full-blown riot” that involved 400 or more inmates in the prison in northwestern Kansas that houses roughly 850.

“When a little disturbance is when the inmates take over the facility, I don’t know what a riot is,” said the correctional officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “Basically, they tried to burn the place down.”


A second correctional officer, who aided in the effort to restore order, agreed about the details of the incident and accused the state agency of trying to downplay its magnitude.

“They just demolished that place,” he said “That place looked like a Third World country. They’re (Department of Corrections) candy-coating that stuff.”

Samir Arif, spokesman for the Kansas Department of Corrections, confirmed that multiple fires were set inside the facility and said the agency was still assessing the damage. He also verified the broken windows and other details’ of the officers’ accounts, but would not specify the number of inmates involved.

“We’re still trying to figure out who was responsible for what,” Arif said.

The incident follows week of unrest in Kansas state prisons at a time when many facilities have been understaffed. Gov. Sam Brownback announced a pay raise for prison employees last month as a way to help address the issue.

A third correctional officer, who works in Norton, said the facility has faced increased tension in recent weeks as inmates from other facilities have been transferred into Norton as the Corrections Department pursues plans to renovate its prison in Lansing.

Single cells have been converted to double cells and doubles to quadruples, the officer said.

“These guys are fighting over toilets,” the officer said. “It was making for high tension from the overcrowding.”

Arif disputed that there was overcrowding at the prison, but Rick Gadbury of Topeka, a friend of an inmate in the facility, also said conditions have deteriorated since the recent transfers.

“Conditions out there are deplorable,” Gadbury said. “No adequate showers, toilets or room for that many people.”

The Norton officer also described strained relations between the guards and the new prisoners at Norton, where most inmates are considered low-medium-security or minimum-security.

RELATED STORIES FROM THE KANSAS CITY STAR
Violent Kansas prison disturbance is just the latest in state’s corrections issues
Violent Kansas prison disturbance is just the latest in state’s corrections issues
“Those inmates (from other facilities) have a different mentality than inmates selected for Norton,” the officer said. “They are hardened criminals. These are inmates who are used to running the facility, but in Norton, officers run the facility.”

That changed Tuesday night. According to one of the officers called from another prison, the word from commanding officers was that the inmates had taken control of the Norton facility.

Four fires were started — three in inmate wings and one in a captain’s area where computers are for inmates’ use, according to the Norton officer. The officer thought about a dozen inmates were the primary instigators of the violence.

State troopers, local police and correctional officers from three prisons in central and western Kansas were called to Norton to help get the inmates back under control, while the local fire department dealt with the fires.

Pepper spray was used to pacify inmates, according to the Norton officer.

The agency has not reported any inmate injuries. Two staff injuries have been reported.

The officer who accused Corrections of “candy-coating” the situation pointed to the motivations of the inmates as one reason for the lack of inmate injuries.

“They weren’t rioting against each other. They were going against the DOC. … They just wanted to make a statement,” he said, noting inmates’ frustration.

On Wednesday the agency transferred 100 inmates to other prisons across the state. About half of them will be going to the Lansing Correctional Facility, a prison 28 miles northwest of Kansas City, he said.

“This is a security practice to break these guys up,” Arif said. “Most of them are going to Lansing, but they’ll be spread throughout the state.”

Arif said the 100 inmates were chosen because they posed a “security challenge.” With the transfers, the number of inmates will decrease to 756. The prison has 196 staff members and 17 vacancies.

Two Lansing employees said that as many as 70 inmates were brought to that facility Wednesday.

One Lansing staff member said security was heightened as Norton inmates arrived on buses.

“I think it could potentially hamper security, especially since so many of the guys who banded together for this riot (at Norton) are being sent to the same place instead of being split up,” the staff member said.

The Lansing staff member said maximum-security inmates were moved to medium-security areas to accommodate the influx.

Robert Choromanski, executive director of the Kansas Organization of State Employees, expressed concern about the transfer of inmates to Lansing considering that facility’s high number of staffing vacancies; it had 109 vacancies as of mid-August, the most of any Kansas prison.

“We have such high staffing vacancies at Lansing,” Choromanski said, “to be absorbing 70 more inmates on top of the already precarious security situation is dangerous and poses a security threat to officers.”

Max Londberg: 816-234-4378, @MaxLondberg

Bryan Lowry: 816-234-4077, @BryanLowry3

http://www.kansascity.com/news/politics ... 55602.html

"like a Third World Country", as those well traveled turn-keys put it was their way of saying 'animals', savages, and people who like living like savages, like, you know, the poor, particularly the poor of color. Conditions never got nothin to do with it.
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Re: Police, prison and abolition

Post by Dhalgren » Fri Sep 08, 2017 7:37 pm

"like a Third World Country", as those well traveled turn-keys put it was their way of saying 'animals', savages, and people who like living like savages, like, you know, the poor, particularly the poor of color. Conditions never got nothin to do with it.
Right. And this:
“They weren’t rioting against each other. They were going against the DOC. … They just wanted to make a statement,” he said, noting inmates’ frustration.
" If it were necessary to give the briefest possible definition of imperialism we should have to say that imperialism is the monopoly stage of capitalism." Lenin, 1916

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