Tag Archive: prisoner voices

Durham Jail: Schedule your visitation with your loved one or friend online!

As is always the case with new initiatives, somebody (in this case, GTL) is gettin’ paid.

As is always the case with new initiatives, somebody (in this case, GTL) is gettin’ paid.

From Amplify Voices

What people are saying so far about this ‘great’ new service:

  • It’s bullshit.
  • It’s another way for them to get all kinds of personal information about people who are visiting at the jail. (Including checking warrants and people’s records.)
  • You have a window of five days: You must schedule at least two days in advance and no more than seven. So, are you expecting people to plan, or not?
  • WTF?
  • They only have so many slots, so you get shut out if they all fill up. It’s made so everyone on a pod CAN’T have a visit.
  • It’s confusing, and it doesn”t work. And the staff doesn’t know how to use it.
  • When you use the lobby computer to schedule a future visit, everyone in the lobby can see all of your personal info.
  • And, the best part: People are waiting as long as ever to get in for a visit.

Check back for more reviews of this great new service, brought to you by Durham County Detention Facility.  (more…)

A tough cell: US to defend solitary confinement use before UN

solitary-confinementReports suggest over 80,000 prisoners in isolation at any time, but government insists punishment is not systematic

NEWARK, N.J. — In a small, brightly lit office in Newark, Ojore Lutalo lays out sheet after sheet of paper covered in disquieting words and images — collages made from photographs and cutouts from magazines pasted alongside the text of legal documents and blueprints and Lutalo’s words. They are the product of his incarceration for nearly 30 years in a New Jersey prison, 22 of them in solitary confinement.

“I would create these collages to help maintain my sanity,” said Lutalo. “I would get up every morning. I would read and write, exercise. I’d write letters. Some days I would do collages all day long. I’d just cut and paste, cut and paste.”

On Nov. 12 and 13, the practice of holding incarcerated people in prolonged isolation will come under international scrutiny when the U.S. government goes before the United Nations Committee Against Torture in Geneva, part of a periodic review to assess the country’s compliance with the Convention Against Torture and the first U.S. review under Barack Obama’s administration.

This year the 10-person U.N. committee has repeated its concerns about imposing prolonged isolation on prisoners. In a list of issues to be addressed with the U.S. — including the use of secret detention facilities, Guantánamo Bay and the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” — the committee has asked the government to “describe steps taken to improve the extremely harsh regime imposed on detainees in ‘Supermax security prisons,’ in particular the practice of prolonged isolation.”

The U.S. government insists that “there is no systematic use of solitary confinement in the United States.” There is abundant evidence to the contrary; Latulo can attest to that. He is just one of tens of thousands of men and women who have spent years, sometimes decades, in solitary confinement in the U.S. (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…)

“Silence Mumia Law” Protesters Drown Out PA Governor

mumiaFrom emajonline / By Betsey Piette

OCT 21, 2014

Lots of media were on hand Oct. 21 to record the moment when Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett put his signature on the “Revictimization Relief Act” – dubbed the “Silence Mumia Law” by civil rights activists. The problem was that none of media could hear Corbett speak. Nearly 50 protesters standing a short distance away from Corbett’s press conference at 13th and Locust Sts in Philadelphia drowned him out with constant chants of “Our brother Mumia is under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back!” and “One term Tom!”

In what would seem to be a Hail Mary effort to revive his failing reelection bid, Corbett, his political business allies and the Fraternal Order of Police cynically set up shop on a sheltered portable stage at the location where Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner was shot and killed in Dec. 1981. Political activist and journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal, who happened upon the scene, was framed by police for the shooting and subsequently served over 30 years on death row before being released into general prison population in 2011. Abu-Jamal maintains his innocence.

The same movement that has steadfastly fought to free Abu-Jamal responded with less than 24-hours notice to turn out on a weekday to confront the state’s latest effort to silence him. They were joined by prisoner rights groups and civil liberties forces that see the anti-Abu-Jamal law as a blanket attack on the constitutional rights of all prisoners, and a dangerous precedent at a time when more attention is focused on mass incarceration. (more…)

Former Political Prisoner Eddie Conway To Speak at UNC and in Durham

Eddie_Conway_WebThursday, November 13th
@ 7pm @ Sonja Haynes Stone Center – Auditorium
150 South Rd, Chapel Hill, NC 27599Friday, November 14th, 2014
@ 7pm @ The Pinhook in Durham, NC
117 W. Main St. Durham, NC, 27701

Marshall “Eddie” Conway was the defense minister of the Baltimore chapter of the Black Panther Party. Framed for the murder of two Baltimore police officers in 1970, he was sentenced to life in prison. While in prison, Eddie Conway earned three diplomas, started a prison literacy program, and organized prisoner unions and libraries. Conway has authored two books from prison, Marshall Law: The Life and Times of a Baltimore Black Panther, and his exposé The Greatest Threat: The Black Panther Party and COINTELPRO. After serving 43 years in prison, Conway was released on March 4, 2014.

Eddie Conway will be speaking about his time in the Black Panther Party, his prisoner organizing work inside prison, and what his life has been like since being released.

You can find out more about Eddie Conway’s story here.

Register your attendance with your employer, law enforcement, and various government agencies and corporations here.

A Call for Support from Anarchist Prisoner Michael Kimble

send-solidarity-inside-prisons-graficanera-NO-COPYRIGHTFrom Anarchy Live!

On the 27th of August 2014, I was in a physical altercation with another prisoner and now I’m in segregation for possibly a year.

Anyhow, I need y’all’s support while I’m in segregation. I need y’all to make sure I’m not idle (bored) by sending me radical newspapers, newsletters, magazines, letters, and stamps.

The thing about segregation is that it’s designed to cause pain and hurt, but it can also be turned into a school and place to build resistance. Everyone wants something to read to occupy the mind and not be bored, so it’s a great opportunity to pass literature around knowing it’s going to be read. In general population, prisoners are caught up in their own thing, whether it’s sports, drugs, gangbanging, TV, etc. and have little or no time or inclination to read anything that challenges the norm.

THE WAR CONTINUES!
FUCK THE STATE!
ANARCHY NOW!

[Please do not send books, as only religious books are allowed into segregation at Holman; zines, newsletters, newspapers, and pamphlets are fine. Literature, letters and stamps can be sent to Michael at the following address:

Michael Kimble
138017 / K-9
3700 Holman Unit
Atmore, AL 36503
]

An interview with Michael was featured on episode #24 of CrimethInc.’s Ex-Worker podcast. Click here to download, subscribe, or read a transcript of the episode.

 

How Can The Atlantic Give Us 5,000 Words on Prison Life Without Interviewing Prisoners?

solitary_630_2From Mother Jones/ by Shane Bauer

As someone who writes about prisons, and who two spent years behind bars, I devour nearly everything written about it, especially the long-form stuff. So I was excited when I saw that The Atlantic’s latest issue had a major story called “How Gangs Took Over Prison.”

Then I read it. Anyone who has ever survived anything traumatic—domestic abuse, rape, torture, war—knows the particular jolt that happens in the body when someone makes light of that thing that you once thought could destroy you. I am a former prisoner—I was held captive in Iran from 2009-2011—and a survivor of solitary confinement. In my experience as a reporter who writes about prisons, it is surprisingly rare that I come across people outside of the prison system who justify long-term solitary confinement. Even within the world of prison administrators many are against it. The last two times I’ve attended the American Correctional Association conferences, there have been large, well attended symposiums on the need to curb the use of isolation.

Graeme Wood, the writer of the Atlantic story, gives a different impression of the practice. He visits Pelican Bay State prison, which probably has more people in solitary confinement for longer periods than any other prison in the world. He goes to the Security Housing Unit, or SHU, where people are kept in solitary confinement or, as he gently puts it, are “living without cellmates.” When he enters, he says it’s “like walking into a sacred space” where the silence is “sepulchral.” The hallways “radiate” and the prisoners are celled in the “branches of (a) snowflake.” Beautiful.

It’s difficult to understand why Wood does not find it worth mentioning that the cells in those snowflakes are each 7×11 feet and windowless. Men literally spend decades in those cells, alone. I’ve been to Pelican Bay, and wrote a story about it in 2012. I met a man there who hadn’t seen a tree in 12 years. Wood tells us categorically that everyone there is a hard-core gang member. This is what the California Department of Corrections consistently claims, but if Wood did a little digging, he would find that number of the prisoners locked away in the SHU are jailhouse lawyers. (more…)

For hacker Jeremy Hammond, prison is a temporary inconvenience

hacker hammondThe political activist and Anonymous hacker has big plans after his release from prison, scheduled for 2020

From Aljazeera

MANCHESTER, Ky. – Dozens of websites – many belonging to law enforcement organizations – escaped planned destruction and defacement when the FBI arrested high-profile hacker Jeremy Hammond in 2012.

“I was at the peak of my work,” Hammond told America Tonight from a medium-security, federal prison facility in Kentucky. “It’s a shame I got caught when I did.”

The political activist and computer whiz said he had already breached dozens of vulnerable websites and was “halfway finished” with preparations for a full-fledged cyberattack when federal authorities disrupted his plans. He said he was going to launch new online attacks every week. Most of his targets never even knew they were his would-be victims.

“F*ck FBI Friday,” he chuckled. “It was only heating up by the time I was arrested.”

(more…)

AN ALVARO LUNA HERNANDEZ UPDATE

alvaro-luna-hernandezFrom Sacramento Prisoner Support 

On June 27th Alvaro Luna Hernandez was moved to the  James V. Allred Unit in brutal fashion. About a month later Sacramento Prisoner Support received a very welcome letter where he updates us on the conditions of the move, and his current situation. He wanted this update to be shared with the world. Let’s pass this along, and make sure Alvaro’s voice is heard. If you click on these two images they’ll be much easier to read. (more…)