Tag Archive: prison industrial complex

Stop the regulations that would ban the Bay View from California prisons

“Censorship” – Art: Michael D. Russell, C-90473, PBSP D7-217, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City CA 95532

“Censorship” – Art: Michael D. Russell, C-90473, PBSP D7-217, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City CA 95532

From San Francisco Bay View

The public comment period is open now; it closes Nov. 10, 2014, at 5 p.m. See here for the text of the changes as revised (on Oct. 20) and here for the regs as originally proposed

Under the guise of “obscenity” regulations, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) has proposed sweeping new political censorship rules for mail going both into and out of the prisons. We called for your help in June, and we’re calling for it again.

The CDCR promised to go back to the drawing board, saying the public had misunderstood its intent. Yet, the revisions recently made by the department are superficial and fail to address the serious concerns so many of us raised in our public comments.On Oct. 20, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) issued revisions to its proposed “obscene materials” or censorship regulations published earlier this year. This was in response to hundreds of public comments submitted to the department.

If the proposed regulations are approved, CDCR will be able to permanently ban any publications it considers contraband, including political publications and correspondence that should be protected by First Amendment constitutional rights. (Banning the Bay View, which CDCR blames for instigating the hunger strikes, seems to be a major objective. – ed.)

The proposed regulations are designed to (1) censor writings that educate the public about what is actually occurring inside the prisons, (2) stifle the intellectual, personal and political education and development of those incarcerated, (3) stifle efforts by prisoners to nonviolently organize, and (4) expand the CDCR’s ability to arbitrarily cut off its wards from direly needed contact and support coming from outside, thus further isolating them. (more…)

Former Chief of Prisons in Mississippi, Is Arraigned On Corruption Charges

mississippicorruptionFrom New York Times

Christopher B. Epps, a former state corrections commissioner in Mississippi, was arraigned in federal court on Thursday on charges of participating in a corruption scheme in which he received nearly a million dollars from a contractor who paid off Mr. Epps’s home mortgage and helped him buy a beach condominium.

A 49-count federal indictment unsealed Thursday documents a complex conspiracy dating to 2007 in which Mr. Epps is accused of receiving dozens of bribes totaling as much as $900,000 in exchange for directing lucrative state prison contracts to firms connected to Cecil McCrory, a local businessman and former state legislator. Both men pleaded not guilty Thursday before a federal magistrate in Jackson, Miss.

The indictment says that Mr. McCrory operated several companies that had contracts with the state, including for prison administration, commissary services and evaluating Medicaid eligibility across the state prison system. (more…)

Prison Smells Like Balls: The Hidden Stench of Mass Incarceration

stenchFrom Playboy

“Jail smelled cold,” Adam told me. He only spent one night in a county jail nearly a decade ago, but still, he can immediately conjure the scent. “It’s the cold of, like, old plaster and metal,” he said. That, mixed with sweaty feet and greasy pillowcases—the stifling odor of shared air and nutsacks. “Plus, I was housed with a crack addict,” Adam (who asked me to change his name for this piece) added, “who smelled of urine and just not showering for months on end.” Adam was talking about a jail in Connecticut, but it could have any correctional institution in the country. No matter where you go, it’s the same wall of rancidity that hits the minute you’re buzzed through the secured gate—the stench of thousands of men crammed into much too tiny space, raw humanity in all its disgusting nakedness.

The number of Americans who know this smell continues to grow, although it’s difficult to quantify exactly. Some, like Adam, are arrested and discharged, go to court and never serve an actual sentence. Others cycle in and out of the system their entire lives. We know that in 2012 there were some 6.9 million adults under correctional supervision in the US. That includes not only those housed in jails and prisons, but people on parole and probation—all of whom have likely spent at least one night locked up. That means one out of every 35 adult Americans knows the smell of which I write, likely a larger percentage than ever before. In the past four decades, our country’s prison population exploded 500 percent (with non-violent drug offenders making up much of that population), and continues to grow . At the same time, prison construction has slowed, and overcrowding persists.

Though recent attention on incarceration has been mainly focused on for-profit prison corporations and the treatment of juvenile offenders—both worthy subjects—it’s the visceral grotesqueness of human warehousing that outsiders never hear of, and likely never want to. In acknowledging how these conditions affect millions of Americans, how such scenes and scents literally change lives forever, you are forced to recognize just how foul mass incarceration has become.  (more…)

Third Hunger Strike Begins at the Tacoma Detention Center

hungerstrik2From Common Dreams

At least 200 people stopped eating on Fri. Oct. 31st, and more people will join today (Monday)

Tacoma, WA – Immigrant detainees are putting their bodies on the line for the third time this year, to call attention to the inhumane treatment in the GEO Group detention center. Geo Group, a corporate giant that profits off the unnecessary suffering of those it imprisons for the convenience of ICE, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, while their civil immigration status is investigated. Advocates are concerned that hunger strikers will suffer retaliation similar to the retaliation inflicted during previous hunger strikes. Hunger strikers were placed in solitary confinement for up to 30 days and threatened with force-feeding. Last spring hunger strikers received promises from ICE officials that have never been implemented.

Geo Group has been allowed to supplement their lavish compensation of more than $100 per day per person with a cluster of self-reinforcing schemes to profit even more from the people placed in their “care.” Those schemes include: (more…)