Tag Archive: Florida

Pensacola Prison Books In Urgent Need Of Solidarity

open booksFrom Open Books

For those who were not aware, Open Books–a non-profit bookstore which houses the Prison Book Project–was hurt very badly in the recent floods in Pensacola, Florida. As you can imagine, books and water do not mix well. Due to three feet of water entering our store, we lost approximately 3000 books and have an estimated damage amount at $10,000. We also lost a considerable amount of the stock for the Prison Book Project.

If you are not familiar with us, all of the proceeds at Open Books goes directly to fund the Prison Book Project. The Prison Book Project, which runs out of our store, has been in operation for 14 years. We have survived several hurricanes, flooding, and numerous economic calamities. However, this flood hit us very hard.

In the past, we have been incredibly fortunate to have great support throughout our various communities, both local and international. We have supported numerous prison books projects throughout the country. We’ve donated resources to several up-and- coming prison books projects, we have held fundraisers for others in need, we have taken thousands of letters from other projects which were in trouble, and have offered our experience to those who might need help. With the help of these communities in the spirit of mutual aid, we have been able to function for over a decade now, a great feat for any prison book project. And although we know everyone’s projects are always functioning on a shoestring budget, we reluctantly feel the need to ask for your help.

Many have asked what are the best ways to help. The best ways in which you can help us are as follows: (more…)

Gas explosion at Florida jail kills two prisoners and injures 150

escambia jail explosionEscambia County jail in Pensecola partially collapsed in blast but officials play down link between explosion and torrential rain

From The Guardian

An apparent gas explosion rocked a jail in the Florida Panhandle late Wednesday, killing two inmates, injuring more than 100 other people, and causing the building to partially collapse, according to a county spokeswoman.

At the blast site Thursday morning, glass was strewn about on the ground in front of the jail. The front of the building appeared bowed out, with cracks throughout.

The explosion happened about 11 pm CDT at a booking facility at the Escambia County jail, and as many as 150 inmate and corrections officers were injured, said Kathleen Castro, the county’s public information manager. About 600 inmates were in the Pensacola building at the time, and the uninjured were taken to jails in neighboring counties, she said.
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Vigil Brings Demands from Detainees on Hunger Strike to GEO Group CEO’s Neighborhood

geocropFrom Earth First! Newswire

Demonstrators visually and vocally presented the suppressed demands of immigrant detainees on hunger striker to George Zoley, CEO of for-profit prison giant GEO Group. Zoley resides in a wealthy gated community in Boca Raton, Florida, just miles away from the company headquarters.

“We are here in front of George Zoley’s neighborhood to bring the demand of the immigrant detention center hunger strikers to him at his home and know that he cannot ignore them any longer,” said protestor Britni Hiatt.

Over the past two weeks hunger strikes have taken place at two different immigrant detention facilities owned and operated by the GEO Group, one in Tacoma, Washington and one in Conroe, Texas. The hunger strike began in Washington with 750 detainees refusing food and work, and spread to 120 detainees in Texas. Demands of the hunger strikers include: an immediate halt to all deportations, just treatment for detainees, an end to crowding in cells, an end to double judgment policies, adequate food and medical care, affordable calling prices and lower rates at commissary.

GEO Group has responded to both strikes by revoking the rights of detainees, threatening to force-feed strikers, putting strikers in solitary confinement, threatening their immigration status and cutting off communication with the outside world.

“The whistle has been blown,” says Cici Claar, “It’s time for GEO to address these offenses and stop engaging in retaliation and suppression.”

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Freeing Marissa Alexander

Marissa_Sign_on_Restaurantby Victoria Law/, from Truthout

Three years ago, a single warning shot sent Marissa Alexander to prison. Last month, an appeals court overturned her conviction, ruling that the jury received flawed instructions on self-defense. Supporters are calling for the prosecutor to drop all charges rather than subject Alexander to a new trial.

As reported earlier on Truthout, Marissa Alexander, a mother of three and a survivor of abuse, had given birth to a baby girl in July 2010. The previous year, she had obtained a restraining order against her ex-husband Rico Gray. When she learned that she was pregnant, she amended it to remove the ban on contact while maintaining the rest of the restraining order.

On August 1, 2010, she and Gray were at home when Gray attacked her. “He assaulted me, shoving, strangling and holding me against my will, preventing me from fleeing all while I begged for him to leave,” Alexander recounted in an open letter to supporters.  This was not the first time that he had assaulted her. (more…)