Tag Archive: prisoner unity

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…)

Call-in to Support Missouri Hunger-strikers

call-inFrom South Brooklyn Anarchist Black Cross

From: Shyheim El-Mumin

I am a prisoner being held captive here in the state of Missouri at the Potosi Correctional Center’s Ad-Seg (Administrative Segregation, a form of solitary confinement) unit. Since my arrival here on Aug. 9, 2012, I’ve been a target for harassment. This is my fourth time here. This is a maximum security prison, Level 5. This is the prison where they house Missouri’s death row prisoners. If I’m not mistaken, it is the only place where death row prisoners are allowed in general population. That alone says a lot about this prison.

We [the hunger-strikers] are asking that you all who are reading this contact Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon and Director George A. Lumbardi at (573) 526-6607, P.O. Box 236, Jefferson City, MO 65102, http://www.doc.mo.gov; Warden Troy Steele, (573) 438-6000, 11593 State Hwy O, Mineral Point, MO 63660; as well as the ACLU in St. Louis, Missouri, and ask for John Chasenoff, Civil Rights Division, ACLU Eastern Missouri, 454 Whittier, St. Louis, MO 63108, (314) 652-3111. PCC prisoners are in desperate need of assistance from any and all outside organizations, politicians, agencies, state representatives, officials, media, investigative agencies, etc. Please assist us to make prison officials cease their transgressions and malicious violations of our federally and state-protected rights and cease continuing restrictions of confinement. (more…)

Hasan of the Lucasville Prisoner Uprising

lucasville1from AshevilleFM

This week, we spoke with Imam Siddique Abdullah Hasan who is facing the death penalty for his role as a negotiator during the prisoner uprising at the SOCF facility in Lucasville in April of 1993. Hasan, as well as 4 other prisoners, are facing the death penalty for participation as “leaders” in the uprising. 4 of them are charged with the death of a prison guard by the name of Bobby Vallandingham as well as 9 inmates considered to be snitches.

The riot began as negotiations between Sunni prisoners, of which Hasan was one of the leaders, took guards hostage in hopes of bringing state attention to the problems at the prison. In particular among their concerns was the imposition of a TB test that was in contradiction to their religious beliefs and for which an alternative was readily available. Soon, other prisoners began to take space and control. Fearing a bloody outcome like was seen at Attica in New York, representatives of the Sunni community, the Aryan Brotherhood and the Black Gangster Disciplanes at Lucasville began negotiations with the state to bring a peaceful resolution to the uprising. Graffiti displayed within the prison began speaking of “Convict Race” and “Black and White Unity”.

After the end of the uprising, the state, under pressure from Vallandingham’s family, railroaded the five. The call for blood was great, but since the Lucasville Disturbance, so have been the calls for justice in the case of the prisoners punished in relation to the Lucasville Disturbance. (more…)

Hunger striker considers where we go from here, wonders, ‘Will the Legislature dupe us too’?

Protesters from Humboldt County unfurled this banner outside Pelican Bay State Prison on July 8, the first day of the 2013 mass hunger strike, the largest in history with 30,000 participants initially. The huge banner reappeared at many subsequent rallies. – Photo courtesy PHSS Humboldt

Protesters from Humboldt County unfurled this banner outside Pelican Bay State Prison on July 8, the first day of the 2013 mass hunger strike, the largest in history with 30,000 participants initially. The huge banner reappeared at many subsequent rallies. – Photo courtesy PHSS Humboldt

From San Francisco Bay View

Written Sept. 8, 2013 – First and foremost we want to give a lot of respect and love to all the human beings who made their voices heard and the countless dedicated supporters and organizations who beat the drum as well as the pavement demanding an end to solitary confinement, LONG TERM solitary confinement.

To the 30,000 hunger strikers who courageously stood up, we commend each and every one of you, no matter if you did one day or the whole 60 days. We have had three hunger strikes in which none of us could imagine such courage would stem from such a peaceful protest. But as I have written in an article called, “Because I’ve seen men,”* my own personal strength and resolve has been improved on. I could not have ever expected to be amongst such courageous individuals. I salute each and every one of you.

We want to always give much respect and love to the six prisoners who sacrificed their lives despite what CDCr propagated against you. We know each and every one of you died for a cause that’s more honorable than anything, especially in a world where men and women die every day for nothing. We also know none of you were suicidal. We will forever hold you all in our memory, high before the world. (more…)