Handicap This! September-October 2015

September 6, 2015

A roundup of the situation of people with disabilities and how they are fighting for their rights including in Mexico, a prison in Carlisle, Penn., outrage against the shackling of two young students with disabilities in Covington, KY, the banning of a child with cerebral palsy and autism in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, and disabled people in Iraq who face neglect and isolation.

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Black Lives Matter

May 3, 2015

The long-simmering outrage of Black masses has broken out into a movement against this racist society, particularly its pattern of racist killings by the police. It has not only reverberated internationally, but also made itself felt in the battle of ideas and the sphere of theory.

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12 years in the SHU

May 1, 2015

Pelican Bay Prison, Calif.—Twelve years have passed since I entered the Security Housing Unit (SHU) on gang validation. This year I turned 53 years old. My cognitive skills over this past decade have taken an odd turn. The deterioration is discernible. When I first arrived I was attentive and, if you’ll excuse the expression, bright-eyed. I thought I could beat this thing, whatever this thing was. I confess—I was ignorant.

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Women in solitary

March 7, 2015

A woman prisoner talks about how women experience Security Housing Units (SHUs) at the California Institution for Women (CIW).

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Being in the SHU

November 24, 2014

Crescent City, Calif.—The physical and emotional toll of being in the SHU (prisons’ “Secure Housing Unit”): • Manic guards off their meds. • That last good photograph stamped with a boot. • Classification hearings postponed for potlucks. • The daughter whose eyes fill when you ask innocently, who are you?…

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Aramark excels in dishing up maggots

Lapeer, Mich.—Recently over 100 Aramark Correctional Services (ACS) employees have been fired and banned from Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) prisons for smuggling in drugs, cell phones and other contraband, sex with prisoners, and, most recently, paying one prisoner to kill another at a prison in Kincheloe. ACS has proven incapable of maintaining sanitary kitchens and food lines and has failed to follow the MDOC menu, consistently running out of food as it’s being served, failing to follow required cooking procedures, and making numerous menu item substitutions—all in violation of its three-year, $145 million contract with the MDOC….

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Readers’ Views, September-October 2014, Part I

August 31, 2014

From the September-October 2014 issue of News & Letters

U.S. CRISES: RACISM, POLICE, LABOR STRUGGLES

New York News and Letters Committee prepared a flyer on Eric Garner (see: “NYC Police murder Eric Garner” this issue) headlined: “Wanted For Murder: Daniel Pantaleo.” It denounced the fact that the cops who killed Garner are [=>]

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No rehabilitation

July 7, 2014

From the July-August 2014 issue of News & Letters

Oakland, Calif.—On June 14 Critical Resistance (CR), an organization working for the abolition of the prison system, held a community forum on California Department of Corrections and rehabilitation (CDCr). (Prisoners refuse to capitalize the “R” because there is no “rehabilitation.”)

The forum took up new [=>]

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Catch-22 for prisoner with disabilities

December 7, 2013

The only way to get out of Administrative Segregation is by attending the Gang Renouncement and Dissociation Process. After many months I was told that I could not attend this program because the units do not house inmates with wheelchairs and don’t have cells or showers for the handicapped.

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Pelican Bay families support prisoners

February 21, 2013

From the January-February 2013 issue of News & Letters:

Pelican Bay families support prisoners

Editor’s note: California Families Against Solitary Confinement (CFASC) came together during the prisoners’ 2011 hunger strike initiated by prisoners in Security Housing Unit (SHU). To support the prisoners’ ongoing movement, specifically the Agreement to Cease Hostilities (see Nov.-Dec. 2012 N&L), CFASC [=>]

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Honduras three years after the coup

December 12, 2012

La Voz de los de Abajo (Voices from Below) sponsored a delegation to Honduras in September, three years after the 2009 coup which deposed the elected President Manuel Zelaya.

Under his successor President Lobo, violence escalated. Seventy Aguán campesinos (peasants) were murdered in three years.

Honduras’ homicide rate is the highest in the world. Lawyers, politicians, human [=>]

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Pelican Bay prisoners aim to end hostilities

December 11, 2012

Hunger strike unity logo created by a Pelican Bay prisoner

Agreement to End Hostilities

(NOTE: All names and the statement must be verbatim when used and posted on any website or media, or non-media, publications)

August 12, 2012

To whom it may concern and all California Prisoners:

Greetings from the all PBSP-SHU [Pelican Bay State Prison-Security Housing [=>]

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From the belly of the beast—Pelican Bay prisoners speak

August 10, 2012

A new pamphlet

Pamphlet front cover

From the Introduction:

Hunger strikes by California prisoners, fighting perpetual solitary confinement, arose in mid-summer 2011 and the fall just when the Occupy movement took off. The prisoners’ thoughts and actions put the criminal justice system on trial in the same spirit as the Occupy Everywhere movements put the [=>]

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Red Onion prisoners STRIKE!

August 9, 2012

Wise County, Va.—On May 19 an inmate from Red Onion State Prison (ROSP) phoned a member of Supporting Prisoners and Acting for Radical Change (SPARC), informing her that on May 22 at least 11 inmates were going on hunger strike to protest the inhumane conditions of Red Onion.

The group of participating prisoners spanning two cell [=>]

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Virginia prison hunger strike

May 30, 2012

Prisoners at Red Onion State Prison in Wise County, Virginia, went on hunger strike on May 22.  More details can be found at the Solidarity with Virginia Prison Hunger Strikers blog, which lists the ten demands here.  You can join a facebook group to support the strike.

News and Letters Committees issued this solidarity statement:

The courageous [=>]

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Honduran prison fire

April 6, 2012

World in View

The Comayagua national prison fire may have started accidentally, but the horrific result—at least 360 deaths—was anything but accidental. With the fire raging, prisoners remained locked up for half an hour. The Comayagua fire chief said that prison officials ini­tially stopped firefighters from entering, citing security protocol.

The prison was grossly overcrowded. Indeed, the [=>]

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Voices from Pelican Bay SHU hunger strikers

November 26, 2011

September 28, 2011

Revolutionary Salutation,

The SHU prisoners hunger strike started again as of Sept. 26….Apparently the level of prisoner participation surprised California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR)….Despite the attempt to undermine and stigmatize the latest effort, the general consensus of the prisoners is that there is no stopping until some real quality changes are made [=>]

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SHU prisoners: We want to be treated like human beings!

November 17, 2011

Pelican Bay, Calif.–On Sept. 26 Security Housing Unit (SHU) prisoners resumed their hunger strike, suspended on July 20, to give California prison authorities a chance to make good on their promises to address the prisoners demands (see “Pelican Bay SHU struggle continues!” Sept.-Oct. N&L). Especially important to the prisoners was getting out of perpetual solitary confinement, [=>]

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L.A. solidarity with Pelican Bay prisoners

September 15, 2011

Los Angeles–On Aug. 13, 30 youths, mostly young women, gathered at the County Twin Towers Prison to support the Pelican Bay prisoners’ hunger strike. With the drumbeat and the performance of Aztec dancers, the protesters held individually made signs that read: “Prisoners are human beings, give them their rights”; “We stand in solidarity for prisoners’ [=>]

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Pelican Bay hunger striker speaks

September 14, 2011

Pelican Bay, Calif.–Here in Pelican Bay State Prison’s Security Housing Unit (SHU), a number of us prisoners decided to launch a peaceful collective protest in the form of a hunger strike starting July 1. This action is necessary due to the anti-human, draconian institutional policies implemented by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR).

According [=>]

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Pelican Bay SHU struggle continues!

September 13, 2011

Pelican Bay, Calif.–The hunger strike among California prisoners, consigned to perpetual solitary confinement in Security Housing Units (SHU), was suspended on July 20. The conditions that drove many prisoners to severely endanger their health by not eating for three weeks persist. According to prison officials themselves, at one point 6,600 inmates in at least 13 [=>]

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Justice for Oscar Grant!

August 31, 2011

Oakland, Calif.–On June 12 over 150 demonstrators marched to downtown Oakland from Fruitvale BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) station, dubbed “Oscar Grant Station” by community activists. We were protesting the mild charge and minimal sentence handed down to Grant’s killer, former BART cop Johannes Mehserle. Mehserle was released from a Los Angeles County jail the [=>]

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Stop torture in California prisons!

August 6, 2011

A special report from News and Letters Committees:

Stop torture in California prisons!

The hunger strike among California prisoners, consigned to perpetual solitary confinement in Security Housing Units (SHU), officially ended on July 20th but what persists are the conditions that drove many prisoners to severely endanger their health by not eating for three weeks. Prisoners we [=>]

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Pelican Bay SHU on hunger strike

July 22, 2011

Editor’s note: Prisoners at Pelican Bay Security Housing Unit (SHUs) are going on a hunger strike July 1 to demand the prison recognize they are human beings. This follows the Georgia prison uprising and the Ohio prisoners’ actions earlier this year. Prisoners at Corcoran State Prison announced they are joining the strike. Several cities, including [=>]

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‘Man in a cage’

June 5, 2011

Amarillo, Texas–The people in charge of this prison unit’s law library (which is in charge of providing indigent inmates with supplies and postage) flex their supposed power on the poor prisoners. They are known to openly and willfully interfere with inmates’ legal work and appeals, while being free to abuse the poor who are incarcerated [=>]

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$31 ‘crime’ = 10 years

June 3, 2011

From the new issue of NEWS & LETTERS, May-June 2011:

$31 ‘crime’ = 10 years

Lawton, Okla.–Patricia Marilyn Spottedcrow, a 25-year-old nursing home worker and mother of four children, from Kingfisher, Okla., was arrested for selling $31 worth of marijuana to a police informant in December of 2009 and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

“It [=>]

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Torturer Jon Burge’s reign of terror

April 5, 2011

Editor’s note: Mark Clements spent 28 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. He was one of many tortured under former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge’s reign of terror. Clements is now Chairman of the Wrongful Convictions Committee of the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression. The following is excerpted from [=>]

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Readers’ Views (Jan.-Feb. 2011)

February 28, 2011

THE OPPOSITE OF WAR IS NOT PEACE BUT REVOLUTION

Your Statement, War threat over Korea,” issued on your website on Dec. 9 had it just right! “The continuing threat of war on the Korean Peninsula underscores the urgency of the Marxist-Humanist perspective that the opposite of war is not peace but revolution.”

And you had it right [=>]

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Georgia’s prisoners STRIKE!

February 16, 2011

On Dec. 9, prisoners throughout Georgia began the largest prisoner strike in U.S. history. They refused to leave their cells for work or other activities, dubbed their strike a “Lockdown for Liberty,” and released a humanist statement of demands. These included: a living wage for work done; educational opportunities; humane health care; an end to [=>]

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Stop the culture of torture

November 18, 2010

From the Nov.-Dec. 2010 issue of News & Letters:

Forum: Stop the culture of torture

Chicago–At the end of September the Illinois Coalition Against Torture gave venue to torture victims and their primary lawyer at “Jon Burge GUILTY–beyond the trial.” The event featured Mary L. Johnson, mother of a still-imprisoned torture victim; Flint Taylor, battling lawyer for [=>]

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