Author Archive: Prison Books Collective

Political Prisoner Birthday Poster For January 2016 Is Now Available

January Political Prisoner Birthday Cake

Hello Friends and Comrades,

  1. Here is the political prisoner birthday poster for January.(11″x17″ PDF, 450KB) Print it out and plaster your community, both in commemoration of these freedom fighters and to advertise locally for a political prisoner letter writing night.Get together with some friends in your town to send birthday cards to these fighters in our struggle. It’s an easy way to help remind them that they aren’t forgotten. If you make one, remember—don’t use anything like white-out, stickers, tape or glitter on it. We also recommend that you put a return name and address and their name and prisoner number on the card, lest the authorities “lose” the envelope and forget where it is going. If you would like to add a birthday or sign up for our poster mailing list, email us at ppbirthday@riseup.net.
  2. Be sure to check out the latest Political Prisoner/Prisoner Of War every-other week update (PDF, 305KB) by the NYC-Anarchist Black Cross. There are lots of important updates on many political prisoners. This one includes updates on Marius Mason, Mumia Abu Jamal, Oscar López Rivera and more.

Remember: They are in there for us, we are out here for them!

Fellow Workers: Remember! We are in here for you, you are out there for us!

Until Every Cage Is Empty,

The Prison Books Collective

Political Prisoner Birthday Poster For December 2015 Is Now Available

December Political Prisoner Birthday Cake

Hello Friends and Comrades,

  1. Here is the political prisoner birthday poster for December.(11″x17″ PDF, 275KB) Print it out and plaster your community, both in commemoration of these freedom fighters and to advertise locally for a political prisoner letter writing night.Get together with some friends in your town to send birthday cards to these fighters in our struggle. It’s an easy way to help remind them that they aren’t forgotten. If you make one, remember—don’t use anything like white-out, stickers, tape or glitter on it. We also recommend that you put a return name and address and their name and prisoner number on the card, lest the authorities “lose” the envelope and forget where it is going. If you would like to add a birthday or sign up for our poster mailing list, email us at ppbirthday@riseup.net.
  2. Be sure to check out the latest Political Prisoner/Prisoner Of War every-other week update (PDF, 322KB) by the NYC-Anarchist Black Cross. There are lots of important updates on many political prisoners. This one includes updates on Albert Woodfox, Chelsea Manning, Leonard Peltier, Jalil Muntaqim, and more.

Remember: They are in there for us, we are out here for them!

Fellow Workers: Remember! We are in here for you, you are out there for us!

Until Every Cage Is Empty,

The Prison Books Collective

Imprisoned People Facing Medical Neglect and Violence, Family Members and Organizers Speak Out

Monday, November 23, 2015
by Dolores Canales, Family Unity Network, and Hannah McFaull, Justice Now

Sacramento – On November 11th, an imprisoned person at Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF), faced extreme violence at the hands of prison guards. Stacy Rojas and three others were detained, physically abused, sexually harassed, strip searched in the presence of ma le guards, and were kept without water, food or restrooms for eleven hours. The group was illegally kept in administrative segregation without a lock up order and have been denied health care support for the injuries caused by these officers. Requests to speak with members of the prison’s Investigative Services Unit have so far been ignored.

“I just want to let them know that we have been physically abused, sexually harassed,” said Stacy Rojas, “and that this was just wrong. They used excessive force, totally used excessive force against us and we need help.”

The public acknowledgment of excessive use of force and deadly use of force by police has increased throughout the nation. Video recordings of interactions between the police and the public have increased significantly in recent years as technology has improved and the number of distribution channels has expanded. This is not an option open to people experiencing violence from guards behind prison walls and any attempt to speak out is often met with retaliation and increased force.

“Our communities in and out of lock up have lived experiences with biased policing — ranging from racial profiling, to excessive, and sometimes lethal, use of force”, stated Patrisse Cullors co-founder of #BlackLivesMatter. “We hear about it more and more in the communities we live in, but rarely hear about the traumatic ways that it manifests in the California prison system. Stories like Stacy’s are happening everyday inside of California prisons and jails with little to no measures taken by authorities to keep people safe and hold law enforcement, such as prison guards accountable.”

Advocacy organizations working with people in women’s prisons are familiar with reports of abuse and violence, like that experienced at CCWF last week. The California Coalition for Women Prisoners, Justice Now, the Family Unity Network, the TGI Justice Project and others regularly provide legal and medical advocacy support following incidents of violence perpetrated by correctional officers at women’s prisons.

This group of organizations and Stacy’s family members are requesting an independent investigation of the violence and excessive use of force used. They are requesting medical care and safe housing for Stacy and all those involved. The group also demands an end to the violence imposed on women, transgender people, gender nonconforming people, and communities of color within the California prison system.

“My sister is at the end of a fourteen year sentence and it seems as though some would wish to take that away. This has never happened [to Stacy] before. We have never had fear for my sister’s life”, said Adriana Rojas. “My sister Stacy Rojas’ constitutional rights have been violated by being stripped searched by male guards, assaulted by means of kicking and stomping, taken outdoors in near 40 degree weather, threatened with rape, humiliated, placed in holding cages for nearly 12 hours, and deprived of food and water.” Albert Jacob Rojas added, “They were denied medical attention and denied the right to speak to internal affairs. We ask that anybody who cares about human rights and women’s rights please join us in demanding justice for all.”

Family members and advocates are calling for:

  • An immediate independent investigation into the violence and excessive force used by guards in this incident.
  • Suspension of guards involved pending investigation.
  • Comprehensive medical treatment for injuries sustained during the incident.
  • No retaliation for speaking out against this abuse.

For more information: https://www.facebook.com/JusticeNowOrg/ or @justicenoworg. Join Team Abolition! Join Justice Now in building a movement among people in women’s prisons and local communities to build a safe, compassionate world without prisons.

Political Prisoner Birthday Poster For November 2015 Is Now Available

November Political Prisoner Birthday Cake

Hello Friends and Comrades,

  1. Here is the political prisoner birthday poster for November.(11″x17″ PDF, 432KB) Print it out and plaster your community, both in commemoration of these freedom fighters and to advertise locally for a political prisoner letter writing night.Get together with some friends in your town to send birthday cards to these fighters in our struggle. It’s an easy way to help remind them that they aren’t forgotten. If you make one, remember—don’t use anything like white-out, stickers, tape or glitter on it. We also recommend that you put a return name and address and their name and prisoner number on the card, lest the authorities “lose” the envelope and forget where it is going. If you would like to add a birthday or sign up for our poster mailing list, email us at ppbirthday@riseup.net.
  2. Be sure to check out the latest Political Prisoner/Prisoner Of War every-other week update (PDF, 333KB) by the NYC-Anarchist Black Cross. There are lots of important updates on many political prisoners. This one includes updates on Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, Mumia Abu-Jamal, the MOVE 9, Sundiata Acoli, Eric King, Tyler Lang, Leonard Peltier, Doug Wright, and more.

 

 

Remember: They are in there for us, we are out here for them!

Fellow Workers: Remember! We are in here for you, you are out there for us!

Until Every Cage Is Empty,

The Prison Books Collective

ACLU sues Mississippi city over ‘debtors’ prisons’

via jursit.org

by Emelina Perez

[JURIST] The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [official website] filed a federal class action lawsuit [complaint] on Wednesday against the city of Biloxi, Mississippi, the Biloxi Police Chief, a Municipal Court judge and Judicial Correction Services, Inc. for allegedly arresting and jailing poor people illegally in debtor’s prisons. The plaintiffs were arrested [press release] for failing to pay traffic fines and held in jail for up to seven days without a hearing and were not informed of their right to counsel. The ACLU argues that the detentions violate citizens’ rights under the Fourth Amendment to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures without probable cause and the Fourteenth Amendment right to hearings on the ability to pay, which was granted by the Supreme Court in 1983.

Although the US Supreme Court [official website] outlawed the practice of incarcerating people for court-imposed debts over 30 years ago, many local and state governments are still accused of jailing poor people in “debtors’ prisons.” The ACLU filed a lawsuit against Benton County [press release] in Washington earlier this month, claiming it unconstitutionally collects court-imposed debts. In March the ACLU filed a similar suit[press release] against DeKalb County in Georgia. In 2014 the Supreme Court of Ohio [official website] warned state judges to end the policy [JURIST report] of imprisoning people who are unable to pay court fines. The ACLU of Ohio had released a report [JURIST report] the previous year urging the Ohio Supreme Court to bring an end to the debtors’ prisons.

54 Hunger Strike Ends; Day 3 of LaSalle14 Hunger Strike; Retaliation against strikers continues

Via ppnews at freedomarchives.org

October 21st, 2015

54 South Asian detainees, From Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Pakistan (known as the “ElPaso54”) at the El Paso Processing/Detention Center started a hunger strike at breakfast time on October 14, and ended their hunger stike last night (7 days). All of the strikers were asylum seekers, and have been held for up to 9 or 11 months. The hunger strikers were engaged in a full hunger strike, meaning no food and no water. As of Monday, another hunger strike was launched in LaSalle Detention Center in Jena, Louisiana, by 4 Indian and 10 Bangladeshi detainees (known as the “LaSalle14”).

Yesterday, ICE brought the Bangladeshi Consular Minister Shamsul Alam Chowdhury into the detention facility to pressure the ‪#‎ElPaso54 to break their hunger strike. The Consular spent over 10 hours in the facility pressuring and intimidating the hunger strikers, including threatening that if didn’t “eat now, or I will get your birth certificates from Bangladesh so we can get your travel documents to send you back.” DRUM firmly believes that ICE allowing the Consular to visit asylum seeking detainees is in violation of federal laws (8 CFR 208.6), and further endangers lives by exposing asylum seekers to representatives of the very same government they are seeking asylum from.

DRUM will continue to support the organizing of the hunger strikers and detainees, and uplift their demands and decisions. ICE continues to target those strikers and detainees it believes are isolated. Lead organizer, Haji Khiay Mohamed Bilal (A# 202-156-877), who provided interpretation for other strikers, has been moved to solitary confinement again.
There is an online petition by the Not1More Campaign to bring attention to the issue:
http://www.notonemoredeportation.com/portfolio/asylumseekersdetained/

Follow regular updates at: https://www.facebook.com/DesisRising

54 South Asian Hunger Strikers at El Paso Immigrant Detention Center

via freedomarchives.org

October 19th, 2015

Day 6 of 54 South Asian Hunger Strikers at El Paso Immigrant Detention Center

14 Detainees Launch Hunger Strike in Lasalle Detention Center
Since strike began, 11 detainees released, 6 in critical medical condition, and 1 organizer released from solitary confinement

54 South Asian detainees, From Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Pakistan (known as the “ElPaso54”) at the El Paso Processing/Detention Center started a hunger strike at breakfast time on October 14. All of the strikers are asylum seekers. Some detainees have been held for up to 9 or 11 months. The hunger strikers are engaged in a full hunger strike, meaning no food AND no water. (Sign the petition to support the strikers)

They have been joined by the launch of a hunger strike in Lasalle Detention Center in Jena, Louisiana, where 4 Indian and 10 Bangladeshi are on hunger strike (known as the “LaSalle14”). The LaSalle14 are coordinating their efforts with the ElPaso54.

The detainees are demanding an immediate halt to deportations, investigations into unfair hearings and interference with their legal cases, release from detention for those granted parole.

As a result of the hunger strike, 11 detainees (6 hunger strikers, and 5 non-striking detainees) were released on Friday night from El Paso.

As a result of calls from concerned community members into the facility and local ICE office, one of the co-lead organizers, Haji Khiay Mohamed Bilal (A# 202-156-877), who was beaten up in front of other detainees and kept in solitary confinement for 2 days, was released back to the other hunger strikers.

6 strikers are in critical medical condition, Shamsuddin (A# 202-849-636), Md. Mahbubur Rahman (A# 202-156-816), Delwar Hussain (A# 202-156-197), Md. Aminul Islam (A# 202-155-398), Mohammad Shahjahan (A# 202-155-399), Haji Khiay Mohamed Bilal (A# 202-156-877)

The detainees are coordinating their efforts with DRUM – Desis Rising Up & Moving, a South Asian immigrant rights organization in New York City. DRUM organizer Kazi Fouzia said “these hunger strikers are strong and well organized. We need to hear their stories and voices and see how this country treats refugees at our borders and in detention centers.”

There is an online petition by the Not1More Campaign to bring attention to the issue:
http://www.notonemoredeportation.com/portfolio/asylumseekersdetained/

Political Prisoner Birthday Poster For October 2015 Is Now Available

images

Hello Friends and Comrades,

1) Here is the political prisoner birthday poster for October. As always, please post this poster publicly and/or use it to start a card writing night of your own.

2) Be sure to check out the latest Political Prisoner/Prisoner Of War every-other week update by the  NYC-Anarchist Black Cross. There are lots of important updates on many political prisoners. This one includes updates on Eric King, Marius Mason, and Albert Woodfox.

Until Every Cage Is Empty,

The Prison Books Collective

Books kept me alive in prison

books!
The end of the ban on sending books to prisoners in the UK reminds me just how vital they were to my survival inside, and to the life I have lived since

From The Guardian/ By Erwin James

The official lifting on the ban on sending books to prisoners, which comes into effect on Tuesday, finally brings to an end one of the most irrational and baffling Ministry of Justice policy decisions in recent times. When I consider my life before prison and my life after prison, the difference is so immense it’s almost immeasurable. In my heart, I know that I could not have made the changes I needed to make, to live a contributing life, without education and books.

In 2008 I wrote a piece about The Grass Arena, the life story of former vagrant John Healy who found redemption through chess. “A good book can change the way you think about life,” was how I started the piece. Healy’s book had been sent to me by a probation officer in 1990 when I was around six years into my life sentence and struggling. “Read what this man has achieved and be inspired,” she wrote in the inside cover. I did and I was. Never could I have imagined then that 18 years later I would be instrumental in getting The Grass Arena republished
as a Penguin Modern Classic
. This book is still a source of inspiration and hope today.

How any of us become who we are is a complicated process. I was already trying to figure it out long before I read about John Healy. It was the first year of my life sentence and I was locked in my cell in Wandsworth prison for 23 hours a day. I was without skills or abilities, but I could read. I’m sure the six books a week I was allowed from the prison library helped to keep me alive during that uncertain year, unlike the man in the cell above mine who hanged himself during my first Christmas inside.

At first I read so I wouldn’t have to think – then a friend sent me a book called Prisoners of Honour, a gripping account of the Dreyfus Affair by David Levering Lewis. This was the book that would really make me think and change the way I
thought about life. (more…)

2,000 cases may be overturned because police used secret Stingray surveillance

Stingray
A motion filed Friday says the State’s Attorney’s office colluded with police to withhold ‘discovery’ material obtained via Stingrays from defendants

From The Guardian/ by Nicky Woolf

More than 2,000 cases could be overturned in Baltimore as the first motion for a retrial is filed accusing the state’s attorney’s office and the police of “deliberate and willful misrepresentation” of the use of the secret surveillance equipment known as Stingrays.

The motion, which was filed on behalf of defendant Shemar Taylor by attorney Josh Insley in the Baltimore city circuit court on Friday, says the state’s attorney’s office colluded with the police department to withhold “discovery” material from the defendants and the courts about the use of the Stingray device. Taylor was convicted of assault, robbery and firearm possession.

Manufactured by the Harris corporation and around the size of a briefcase, Stingrays are one of a class of surveillance devices known as “cell-site simulators”, which pretend to be cellphone towers in order to extract metadata, location information, and in some cases content from phones that connect to it.

Prosecutors are required to reveal the evidence against defendants in the “discovery” phase of a criminal trial.

However, a Guardian investigation in April revealed a non-disclosure agreement that local police and prosecutors were forced to sign with the FBI before using the Stingray devices, which mandated them to withdraw or even drop cases rather than risk revealing Stingray use. (more…)