The voice of a prisoner in Pennsylvania tells us about the harsh experience of being in solitary confinement for the mentally ill.
Untitled (Unexceptional and Unforgettable)February 5, 2022
Charles Tookers’ ode to his first three years of solitary confinement
Thoughts from the outside: Black August, an evolving IdeaAugust 29, 2020
For many New Afrikan Revolutionaries August has a profound significance. For me Black August attempts to set forth a new humanism.
Voices from the inside out: On becoming humanMarch 11, 2020
Faruq reflects on the question of social interaction in the modern capitalist world, seen from the point of view of someone who has spent several years in prison.
Readers’ views, March-April 2020: Part twoMarch 6, 2020
Readers’ views on philosophy and the retrogressive changed world; pandemics and social control; mental illness and criminal ‘justice’; culture’s bizarre normal; and voices from behind bars.
Readers’ Views, January-February 2020, Part TwoJanuary 22, 2020
Readers’ Views on Philosophy and Revolution; disorder is the order; anti-Semitism; Black August, and voices from behind bars.
Voices from the inside out: A ‘free world’ viewJanuary 21, 2020
Former prisoner Faruq writes of how in prison he “figured out how to become truly myself” and how that is manifested while on parole.
Essay: Black August, from 1971 to 2011-13November 17, 2019
In the spirit of Black August Memorial, Faruq talks about the conditions of Black prisoners, the need to break race divisions between them and white prisoners, and the quest for the Idea of Freedom.
Essay: Black August, from 1971 to 2011-13September 4, 2019
Ex-prisoner Faruq takes up the revolutionary history of Black August Memorial and relates it to his life and the historic Pelican Bay Hunger Strike.
Voices from the inside out: Promises brokenAugust 31, 2019
A prisoner’s critique of Wisconsin’s Governor Tony Evers’s broken promise of reducing prison population in the state to half.
Voices from the Inside Out: What is freedom?June 27, 2019
What does it mean to be paroled from prison? Before release, all I had was time. It was all torture. Now, I don’t have time. The effort to sustain myself takes most of my time and energy. Freedom, for me, means having time to work out who I am, how I want to relate to others.
‘Pulling Chain’March 10, 2018
Do you ever wonder what happens to all of your family members after the courtroom drama? After the news cameras and news articles dry up? After the victim impact statements and the jury’s verdict have been handed down?
Two death sentences
A prisoner talks about why life without parole is a second death sentence.
Treat PTSD from the torture of solitary
Prisoner Human Rights Movement representatives call on California government officials to provide mental healthcare, support groups and other relief to prisoners formerly in solitary confinement who are living with PTSD.
Struggle against solitary confinement continues!
Bay Area Californians rally against all forms of solitary confinement including for those released from indefinite solitary into level IV general population who are experiencing conditions worse than they experienced in solitary.
(In)justice system confrontedJanuary 31, 2018
Various prisoner support organizations gathered before an Alameda County Board of Supervisors Public Safety Committee hearing on jails and detention centers in November, 2017.
The view from solitaryJuly 6, 2017
Jonathan J. Rodriguez submits a drawing of the view from his solitary cell.
Readers’ Views: May-June 2017May 1, 2017
Reader’s Views on Women vs. Reaction; Women and Philosophy; Syria and Humanity; Support Trans Children!; Animals and Us; Repression vs. Justice; Why Read “N&L”; Voices from Behind the Bars
Long-term solitary continues in PennsylvaniaNovember 27, 2016
Shared story of a prisoner experiencing solitary confinement in Pennsylvania.
Need for lifelong self-development
Shared story from Jesse Perez, prisoner in solitary confinement in a California prison.
Humanism: a way forward for prisonersSeptember 17, 2016
Prisoner and hunger striker Faruq looks at the way forward after the historic California prisoners’ hunger strike and emphasizes the importance of “the banner of our humanism that allowed the forging of a tremendous unification across the racial divides.”
Voices from the inside out: Wisconsin prisoner hunger strike
Prisoner Robert Taliaferro writes of the Wisconsin maximum security facility prisoners’ hunger strike to end the inhumane practice of long-term solitary confinement and for improved medical care for prisoners with mental illness in segregation.
Shut down all of today’s Alcatrazes!September 14, 2016
On Aug. 23, California’s Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity coalition leafletted the staging area for trips to Alcatraz prison raising discussions with locals and tourists about how solitary confinement is torture.
Upon leaving Pelican Bay: my firsts (of many :))July 6, 2016
Prisoner Brutha Baridi tells what it means to be released from the hell of solitary confinement and experience several new “first” experiences.
Walking against indefinite detention
Buddy Bell of Voices for Creative Nonviolence tells of their recent 150-mile walk across the state of Illinois on the issues of indefinite detention, solitary confinement and the racist U.S. prison system.
Voices From the Inside Out: Prisoner’s ‘worth’July 5, 2016
Prisoner Robert Taliaferro discusses the profit made from prisoners by the prison industrial complex and the shame of supposed rehabilitative programs that in reality are required, not for rehabilitation but for continued punishment of prisoners and profit for the prisons.
End solitary confinement at Rikers IslandMay 18, 2016
A Transgender woman former prisoner exposes what life is like in solitary confinement at Rikers Island and argues for its abolition.
Prisoner beats legal odds to win guard retaliation suitJanuary 26, 2016
Jury unanimously finds that prison guards violated California prisoner Jesse Perez’s constitutional rights.
Readers’ Views: January-February 2016, Part 1January 25, 2016
California prisoners battle barbaric ‘justice’ system; Against ISIS attacks; Women under attack; Support Maati Monjib; The Burmese Way; Race, class & politics.
Stop Rikers crueltyDecember 15, 2015
Prisoner supporters speak out on draconian proposals for Rikers Island jail.
Prisoners speak on Hugo ‘Yogi’ PinellDecember 11, 2015
Prisoners mourn and remember assassinated prisoner Hugo ‘Yogi’ Pinell.
California prisoners battle barbaric U.S. ‘justice’ systemOctober 26, 2015
In California the ongoing struggle of prisoners against the U.S.’s barbaric criminal justice system reached a milestone in the effort to totally transform a society in which millions of poor, unemployed and people of color end up in an inhuman gulag.
Hugo “Yogi” Pinell (1945-2015)September 3, 2015
On Aug. 12, Hugo “Yogi” Pinell (1945-2015) was killed in the California State Prison-Sacramento. Pinell was a comrade of George Jackson, W.L. Nolen, James Carr, and other founders of the modern prison movement.
California prisons’ punitive ‘wellness checks’
Pelican Bay Prison guards use court-ordered “wellness checks” to harass prisoners. They make it impossible for anyone to get any sleep as they rampage through each SHU pod for 10-20 minutes.
Readers’ Views, Sept.-Oct. 2015, Part 2August 31, 2015
Readers’ thoughts on “Dialectics of Philosophy and of Forces of Revolution”; “Free Mumia!”; “Federico Arcos, 1920-2015”; and a section of “Voices from Behind the Bars.”
Philip Zimbardo and Marx’s HumanismAugust 30, 2015
A discussion with Philip Zimbardo followed the San Francisco premiere of “The Stanford Prison Experiment,” a movie based on his notorious 1971 experiment. It raises questions about the meaning of being human, which for Marx turned on needing human beings as free beings whose self-determining, free, conscious activity is not a mere means but the first necessity of life.
Transgender liberation at the Left ForumJuly 3, 2015
A report of two workshops on Trans liberation at the Left Forum, one that was affirming and one that provided no way forward for Trans people except a very narrow view of both gender and the Trans liberation struggle.”
Editorial: Black Lives Matter NOW!June 28, 2015
The video of Cpl. Eric Casebolt’s June 5 attack on Dejerria Becton and other kids at a pool party in McKinney, Texas, went viral because it was simultaneously shocking and commonplace. In 2015 USA, protests were inevitable and were heard around the world.
Workshop Talks: When workers’ own time begins
How, on the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, does that document speak to what workers and prisoners are facing today?
Women in solitaryMarch 7, 2015
A woman prisoner talks about how women experience Security Housing Units (SHUs) at the California Institution for Women (CIW).
What solitary meansJanuary 30, 2015
Nothing can prepare you for entering the Security Housing Unit (SHU). It’s a world unto itself where cold, quiet and emptiness come together, seeping into your bones, then eventually the mind.
Prison hunger strike commemoratedNovember 24, 2014
From the November-December 2014 issue of News & Letters
Oakland, Calif.—On Sept. 6 about 100 people in Mosswood Park commemorated one year since the suspension of the historic 60-day hunger strike, the third of its kind, by California prisoners opposing the torture of solitary confinement. The Security Housing Units (SHU) prisoners’ unprecedented cross-race [=>]
Solidarity had the might to move the mountain of prison torture that kept us isolated and voiceless. We still need you now, even moreOctober 13, 2014
An appeal from prison hunger strike activists Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa and Jabari Scott about the unlawful and inhuman conditions at Tehachapi State Prison and the non-implementation of the agreements worked out between prisoners and California Gov. Jerry Brown. News and Letters Committees has been covering the prisoners’ hunger strike even before it began (see Pelican [=>]
House of no justiceSeptember 1, 2014
I am an inmate at New Folsom State Prison and was personally involved in the statewide hunger strike that started on July 1 in protest of California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitiation’s (CDCR) practices of cruel and unusual punishment.
Readers’ Views, September-October 2014, Part 2August 31, 2014
From the September-October 2014 News & Letters
THE FREE SPEECH MOVEMENT AND THE BLACK REVOLUTION
I am in the movement still because of the Free Speech Movement (FSM)—it turned my life around. I studied everything about the New Left. I came to Berkeley and decided this is where I needed to be. [=>]
Readers’ Views, July-August 2014, Part 1July 7, 2014
From the July-August 2014 issue of News & Letters
RESPONSES TO MARXIST-HUMANIST PERSPECTIVES
The Marxist-Humanist Perspectives (N&L, May-June 2014) give a critical assessment of the polarization between the oppressive forces of capital’s social relations and humanity’s efforts to realize human dignity. It shows humans are not just passive victims of capital. First [=>]
California legislators ignore hunger strikers’ voicesMarch 19, 2014
Sacramento, Calif.–At the Legislative Hearings on Feb. 11, experts presented their analyses, which showed that even the very small changes California Department of Corrections (CDC) said they were implementing, in fact they are not. No policies are being changed to address the problems brought out by prisoners and their families. One family member was taking the legislators to task, saying that the promises of reform the legislators vow to make now, they made 10 years ago. Nothing changed. Things got worse.
Readers’ Views, Jan.-Feb. 2014, Part 2March 9, 2014
ENVIRONMENT UNDER THREAT
Recently I attended a talk near Berkeley, Calif., by a retired professor about the effect of environmental damage on political instability in the Middle East. He spoke disparagingly of Arab countries, but was full of praise for Israeli technology and “adaptive science.” He stated that autocracy was the best way to confront [=>]
Readers’ Views, Nov.-Dec. 2013, Part 2December 15, 2013
Readers’ Views from the Nov.-Dec. 2013 N&L: SYRIA AND WORLD POLITICS; WARS PAST AND PRESENT; PHILOSOPHY AND MASSES; PRISONERS READ & SPEAK
Catch-22 for prisoner with disabilitiesDecember 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.