Tag Archive: prisoner voices

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.