Tag Archive: Alabama

Sekou Kambui Paroled!

sekouFrom Denver Anarchist Black Cross

This morning, after forty years in the hands of the State, New Afrikan political prisoner Sekou Kambui has been paroled! Given the provision that Sekou finds an approved halfway house and transition program, he will be released from Bibb County Correctional in a few weeks.

We want to thank everyone who signed the petition, called the parole board, and especially Sekou’s tireless supporters in Alabama, Houston, and elsewhere.

Free all Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War!

UPDATE: Sekou Kambui Facing Continued Retaliation

sekouFrom Denver Anarchist Black Cross

Sekou Cinque T. M. Kambui, after having his cell ransacked, has been written up by Bibb County officials on  an alleged contraband violation. For this he faces at least forty-five days in a disciplinary unit (it is unclear whether this is SHU or some other high-security wing of Bibb County Correctional). He cannot receive visitors for the next 145 days, meaning of course that he will be lacking crucial support before and after his parole hearing. This is simply the latest in a long list of retaliatory actions taken against Sekou for his political activity behind bars, and reflects a history of transfers, write-ups, and mail-tampering preceding upcoming parole dates.

This ploy to silence Sekou at a crucial moment in his fight to be free is nothing new, but it must be met with resistance. For now, Sekou simply requests continued support through the petition for his freedom and letters to the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles. The link to the online petition is below. Freedom to Sekou Kambui and all political prisoners!

http://www.change.org/petitions/alabama-board-of-pardons-and-paroles-free-political-prisoner-sekou-cinque-t-m-kambui-aka-william-j-turk-113058a

Sekou Kambui’s Parole Hearing Scheduled

sekouFrom Denver Anarchist Black Cross

Sekou’s long-delayed parole hearing has finally been scheduled for the 18th of June! We are making one last push for letters of support, petition signatures, and funds to get myself and another supporter (and more folks, if possible) down to Alabama for the hearing. In the state of Alabama, parole hearings are held outside of the prison, and prisoners cannot attend. Supporters, however, can pack these hearings, and it would be of great help to Sekou to have vocal support there.

Below is the link to an EverRibbon page set up by a fellow Sekou supporter in Colorado. If there’s any money you can donate, please do so here:

And again, please continue to send in letters of support for Sekou’s release, addressed to:
Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles
301 South Ripley Street
PO Box 302405
Montgomery, Al 36130-2405
Chairman Clifford Walker
Associate Members Robert P. Longshore and William W. Wynne Jr.
Please send copies (and/or originals) of all letters to:
Aaron Schaefer
C/O DABC
P.O. Box 11236
Denver, CO 80211
Support letters and hard copies of the petition will be hand-delivered to the parole board on the 18th.
Letter Template [if you need it]

(more…)

Mothers Behind Bars

An exterior view of The Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women, in Wetumpka, Ala., Feb. 6, 2014. Corrections officers have raped, beaten and harrassed women inside the prison for at least 18 years, according to a Justice Department investigation, but the appetite for costly reform in Alabama appears minimal as conditions remain bad and prisoners are still fearful despite the investigation.

An exterior view of The Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women, in Wetumpka, Ala., Feb. 6, 2014. Corrections officers have raped, beaten and harrassed women inside the prison for at least 18 years, according to a Justice Department investigation. 

By Samantha Sarra/ From Truth Out 

For mothers behind bars, the prison walls are held up with patriarchy, racism and poverty. Injustice is the mortar that holds together the bricks of the prison industrial complex and the handcuffs worn by female inmates are still tightly linked to the shackles of slavery and oppression.

A law passed by the New Jersey Legislature in February 1804 declared the children born to slave mothers to be “free” at birth, but they still remained bound as servants to their mother’s owners until their 20s. Two hundred years later and true abolition has yet to take place with the continued racialized criminalization of poverty and mothers behind bars, whose children remain bound to generational cycles of trauma and discrimination.

The legacy of children being entangled in the repercussions of legislation continues as Republican Governor Bill Haslam passed a law last month in Tennessee criminalizing women for their pregnancy outcomes. The law, which will disproportionately affect already marginalized mothers, would make it a crime to carry a pregnancy to term if you struggle with addiction or substance abuse. The punitive prosecution of pregnant mothers, charging them with criminal assault rather than creating better access to health care, was a move opposed by major medical associations, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and the American Civil Liberties Union. (more…)

Radical Philosophy and the Free Alabama Movement

famBy Lisa Guenther/From Truth Out

Last summer, thousands of prisoners in California launched a 60-day hunger strike to protest and transform oppressive policies in the California Department of Corrections. One member of the organizing team called their strike action a “multi-racial, multi–regional Human Rights Movement to challenge torture.”

This weekend, another prisoner-led human rights movement is gaining momentum in Alabama. The Free Alabama Movement (FAM) seeks to analyze, resist, and transform prison slavery from within the Prison Industrial Complex.

Both of these movements challenge us, as philosophers and as people, to interrogate the meaning of slavery, torture, human rights, and political action. What does it mean to struggle for one’s human rights as an “offender” in the world’s first prison society? What can philosophers and political theorists learn from the example of incarcerated intellectuals and political actors whose everyday lives are situated at the dangerous intersection of racism, economic exploitation, sexual violence, and civil death? What would it mean to respect the specificity of the Free Alabama Movement, and at the same time to recognize that even the freedom of non-incarcerated philosophers may be bound up with the freedom of Alabama? What is freedom, after all? What – and where – and who – is Alabama?

In what follows, I will share what I have learned about the Free Alabama Movement over the last couple of days. But don’t take my word for it! Check out the FAM website, which includes photos and videos of degrading prison conditions, as well as this brilliant spoken word analysis of prison slavery. Follow the movement on Facebook and Twitter. And read the 100-page manifesto written by prisoner-organizers about the situation in Alabama prisons and the movement to end prison slavery. (more…)

Inmates to strike in Alabama, declare prison is “running a slave empire”

Melvin Ray

Melvin Ray

Breaking: Reached in his cell, Free Alabama Movement leader tells Salon inmates will refuse work to end free labor

From Salon

Inmates at an Alabama prison plan to stage a work stoppage this weekend and hope to spur an escalating strike wave, a leader of the effort told Salon in a Thursday phone call from his jail cell.

“We decided that the only weapon or strategy … that we have is our labor, because that’s the only reason that we’re here,” said Melvin Ray, an inmate at the St. Clair correctional facility and founder of the prison-based group Free Alabama Movement. “They’re incarcerating people for the free labor.” Spokespeople for Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley and his Department of Corrections did not respond to midday inquiries Thursday. Jobs done by inmates include kitchen and laundry work, chemical and license plate production, and furniture-making. In 2011, Alabama’s Department of Agriculture reportedly discussed using inmates to replace immigrants for agricultural work; in 2012, the state Senate passed a bill to let private businesses employ prison labor.

Inmates at St. Clair and two other prisons, Holman and Elmore, previously refused to work for several days in January. A Department of Corrections spokesperson told the Associated Press at the time that those protests were peaceful, and told AL.com that some of the inmates’ demands were outside the authority of the department to address. The state told the AP that a handful of inmates refused work, and others were prevented from working by safety or weather issues. In contrast, Ray told Salon the January effort drew the participation of all of St. Clair’s roughly 1,300 inmates and nearly all of Holman’s roughly 1,100. He predicted this weekend’s work stoppage would spread further and grow larger than that one, but also accused prison officials of hampering F.A.M.’s organizing by wielding threats and sending him and other leaders to solitary confinement. “It’s a hellhole,” he told Salon. “That’s what they created these things for: to destroy men.”

To grow the movement, said Ray, “We have to get them to understand: You’re not giving up anything. You don’t have anything. And you’re going to gain your freedom right here.” (more…)

A message from an anarchist prisoner on the Alabama prison work strike

adoc

HOW YOU CAN HELP

We ask that you make phone calls to the Warden, the commissioner of the Alabama Department of Correction, and the Governor of Alabama, to check on the situation, our condition, demands, and welfare.

Please call:

Warden Gary Hetzel (Holman Prison): (251) 368-8173
Commissioner Kim Thomas (Alabama DOC) (334) 353-3870
Governor Robert J. Bentley: (334) 242-7100

From Anarchy Live!

Clenched-fist salute!

I’m Michael and yes, I’m locked down in one of Amerika’s many prisons in the state of Alabama. But that does not excuse me from the struggle for a better world. And I believe that anarchism is the best alternative to what exists now. I believe this without reservations. Anarchism is not about building state power, but rather, destroying the state and building new humyn relationships based on mutual aid and cooperation and freedom.

I’m not a public speaker, but a warrior in the struggle to build that new humyn relationship, mutual aid, cooperation, and freedom from all coercive power, rather than a soldier, because a soldier is someone who is ordered about without thinking for him/herself in a hierarchical structure. A tool of a ruling power.

Right now there is a struggle going on in Alabama’s prisons demanding a change in the horrendous, unsanitary, and inhumane conditions in the prisons. In the prison I’m at, Holman, birds fly around the kitchen dropping bird shit on prisoners and/or their food, industrial light fixtures are falling from the ceiling injuring at least one prisoner seriously, during the winter months the showers are cold, the dorms are also cold in the winter, inadequate medical care, inadequate outdoors exercise time, inadequate nutrition, harassment of family members during visiting hours, and a host of other serious problems too numerous to list (see Justice or Just Business for more). But most of all, we are fighting and struggling for our dignity and humanity. (more…)

New York Times Covers Prison Rape In Alabama

Monica Washington gave birth while in the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women in Wetumpka, Ala. Her daughter, KaMyrrie, left, lives near Montgomery with a relative, Brenda Singleton, right.

Monica Washington gave birth while in the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women in Wetumpka, Ala. Her daughter, KaMyrrie, left, lives near Montgomery with a relative, Brenda Singleton, right.

From The New York Times

WETUMPKA, Ala. — For a female inmate, there are few places worse than the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women.

Corrections officers have raped, beaten and harassed women inside the aging prison here for at least 18 years, according to an unfolding Justice Department investigation. More than a third of the employees have had sex with prisoners, which is sometimes the only currency for basics like toilet paper and tampons.

But Tutwiler, whose conditions are so bad that the federal government says they are most likely unconstitutional, is only one in a series of troubled prisons in a state system that has the second-highest number of inmates per capita in the nation. (more…)

Alabama Women’s Prison Still Guilty of Sexual Abuse

tutwilerFrom The Associated Press

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama Department of Corrections officials and Gov. Robert Bentley’s office say they had been working to improve conditions at Julia Tutwiler Prison before a federal investigation found evidence of inmates being sexually abused by staff and fellow prisoners.

A report from the U.S. Department of Justice said instances of sexual abuse at the hands of prison staff and others have been underreported for nearly 20 years. The report also said jail staff condoned a strip show inside the facility and would deliberately watch inmates shower and use the restroom.

Federal officials visited the prison in April and recently sent their findings to Bentley in a 36-page letter. Investigators have said prisoners there fear for their safety. (more…)

Inmates strike to protest Alabama prison conditions

FREE_ALABAMA_MOVEMENT_FAM_UNCONDITIONAL_142335787_thumbnailFrom WAFF

HUNTSVILLE, AL  – January 7th

Prisoners in three different state prisons think it is time they get paid for doing kitchen work, laundry and maintenance tasks. In protest of not being paid for institutional work, some have refused to report for work at three different facilities since the weekend.

The inmates are also seeking better living conditions and a revamping of the parole system. They said prisons are too overcrowded. State prisons are operating at almost double the capacity they were built to hold. (more…)