Tag Archive: NCPLS

Breaking: New Evidence of Neglect and Abuse in the Death of NC Prisoner Michael Kerr

michael_kerr_webThe following letter was part of a correspondence between a regular anarchist prison news bulletin and a prisoner who was eye (and ear) witness to the events leading up to the death of Michael Kerr. The prisoner’s name has been redacted to protect them from backlash from the administration. Kerr died in (perhaps, up to now) mysterious circumstances en route between Alexander CI and Central Prison. The NC DPS, after initially saying there would be no investigation, has now said there will be. A scanned image of the letter can be seen below.

This is XXXX XXXXXXX, and I am being housed at Alexander CI [in Taylorsville, NC]. I’m writing about the oppression, racism, and injustices that are going on here at Alexander. You’ve got officers and sergeants that will go out of their way to harass you or misuse their authority, that will instigate or provoke inmates to get them on the segregated unit where they will jump you. If you write the superintendent he will do nothing about the injustices that are going on here.

I have also written prison legal services (NCPLS) about a murder I witnessed. I hope you can let somebody know what happened to this mental health inmate, Michael Kerr. (more…)

Suit: Mentally ill NC inmate often pepper sprayed

Questions have been raised about the treatment of inmates in Unit One, a special 192-bed section at Central Prison known as "The Hole."

Questions have been raised about the treatment of inmates in Unit One, a special 192-bed section at Central Prison known as “The Hole.”

by Michael Biesecker/ from WNCN

Lawyers for an inmate who suffers from a serious mental illness say he was abused at North Carolina’s Central Prison by guards who repeatedly doused him with pepper spray while he was locked in a tiny cell.

Diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and a victim of childhood sexual abuse, inmate Jerry C. Williams has spent much of his 57 years in state psychiatric hospitals and prisons. He was first arrested at age 10 for shoplifting and began hearing voices in his head in his late teens, according to his prison mental health evaluation.

He was most recently sentenced in 2002 by a judge in his native Wayne County to more than 28 years in prison for being a habitual felon, following a lengthy record of convictions for trespassing, assault and burglary. He has an IQ of 76 that provides him with “borderline Intellectual functioning,” according to prison records. (more…)

Judge to hear arguments in Central Prison lawsuit

Central_Prison315_280By EMERY P. DALESIO, Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. — A federal judge was scheduled to hear arguments Thursday about dismissing a lawsuit that accuses guards at North Carolina’s maximum security prison of sadistically beating inmates, resulting in broken bones and wheelchair confinement.

U.S. District Judge Terrence Boyle planned to consider whether there is enough evidence already presented in court documents to go ahead with the lawsuit on behalf of eight inmates at Central Prison in Raleigh.

The inmates accuse 19 correctional officers of taking handcuffed and shackled inmates from solitary confinement cells where they were placed for disciplinary reasons to blind spots out of view of security cameras, then severely beating them. Former prison administrators Gerald Branker and Kenneth Lassister are accused in the lawsuit of failing in their duties for not developing policies on investigating inmate abuse complaints and to preserve video tapes that might contain evidence from being erased.

“For years, the inmates of Unit One have pursued every avenue available to them to put an end to the violence that is routinely inflicted upon them. They have filed grievances, engaged in letter writing campaigns to public officials, gone on hunger strikes, and exhausted all of the administrative remedies available to them. The violence has not stopped,” wrote Elizabeth Simpson, an attorney for North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services representing the inmates. (more…)

North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services On The Chopping Block

jailNCPLS is encouraging people to contact their state house representatives to support their funding (find your representative here)

From NC Policy Watch

Moving the State Bureau of Investigation from Attorney General to Department of Public Safety oversight may have been one of the lead stories coming out of the Senate budget released on Monday, but there’s several other head-scratching and fiscally short-sighted ideas tucked away in there.

Among them: slashing funding for North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services, the group providing the often constitutionally-mandated legal assistance for some 37,000 inmates in state corrections facilities.

The Senate proposal calls for the elimination of the $2.89 million contract with Prisoner Legal Services, “in favor of prison legal terminals provided by Department of Public Safety.” (more…)

Lawsuit: Eight inmates beaten at NC Central Prison

centralFrom WRAL


RALEIGH, N.C. — A federal lawsuit on behalf of eight inmates at North Carolina’s Central Prison alleges correctional officers used “blind spots” out of view of security cameras to beat handcuffed and shackled inmates.

An amended complaint filed last week in U.S. District Court by lawyers at North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services says the beatings occurred in Unit One, a cell block known as “The Hole” where inmates are kept in solitary confinement for disciplinary reasons.

The inmates’ abuse claims are supported by medical records documenting blunt-force injuries that occurred while they were segregated from other prisoners, including broken bones, concussions and an inmate who is still unable to walk months after his hip was shattered.

N.C. Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Pam Walker said the agency would not comment on pending litigation.

The lawsuit names as defendants 21 correctional officers accused of participating in the abuse, as well as two wardens at the maximum security prison in Raleigh. The lawsuit alleges that former prison administrator Gerald J. Branker and current administrator Kenneth Lassister knew about the problems. (more…)

150 Copies of The New Jim Crow To Go Into NC Prisons

newjimcrow The New Press just donated 150 copies of the excellent book The New Jim Crow to us to be sent to North Carolina prisoners. This comes right on the heels of NCPLS successfully challenging the ban by the North Carolina Dept. of Corrections on The New Jim Crow as a violation of the First Amendment. This donation is a huge help for us at the Prison Books Collective and the populations we send books to. There is a great need inside prisons to understand the roots and nature of the prison-industrial complex. We want to publicly thank The New Press for publishing this important book and making it available to NC prisoners.

We at the Prison Books Collective are excited to put this book into the hands of prisoners. We will continue to provide resources like this and others to help enable prisoners to self-educate, self-organize, and challenge the roots of their conditions. If you’re able, please consider helping us by becoming a monthly sustainer of our work or making a one-time donation. Your generosity not only feeds our work, it is a part of it. Pooling resources is resistance in action.

About the book:

The New Jim Crow is a stunning account of the rebirth of a caste-like system in the United States, one that has resulted in millions of African Americans locked behind bars and then relegated to a permanent second-class status—denied the very rights supposedly won in the Civil Rights Movement. Since its publication in 2010, the book has been dubbed the “secular bible of a new social movement” by numerous commentators, including Cornel West, and has led to consciousness-raising efforts in universities, churches, community centers, re-entry centers and prisons nationwide. The New Jim Crow tells a truth our nation has been reluctant to face. (more…)