Tag Archive: solitary confinement

Albert Woodfox’s Overturned Conviction Upheld in Unanimous Decision

angola32From Angola 3 News

We are thrilled and honored to announce that just hours ago, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Judge Brady’s 2013 ruling overturning Albert’s conviction for a third time in a 3-0, unanimous decision (view a PDF of the official court ruling here).

Though the courts have finally ruled in the interest of justice, it may still be months or years before this innocent man is released from his solitary cell.

This is THE moment those of us whose lives have been touched by these men and this case over the years have been waiting for. This is the time when we must call upon the whole of our connections, creativity, and courage to call with one voice for the immediate, unequivocal release of Albert Woodfox from prison once and for all without delay.
Even with a unanimous decision in Albert’s favor, firmly planted in a mountain of innocence evidence, the State can still tie up his release in a number of appeals and even choose to re-indict and attempt to retry him.

Lest we lose Albert to delayed justice, as we did Herman, we must all come together to demand that this nightmare finally come to an end. (more…)

NC inmate’s death shows need for prison review

kerrFrom News and Observer

When a convict goes to prison, he loses his freedom, but he does not lose his humanity. And he should not lose his life.

Michael Anthony Kerr lost all. The 53-year-old former Army sergeant who had a mental illness died March 12 while being transported from the Alexander Correctional Institution in Taylorsville to Central Prison in Raleigh. He was being taken to Raleigh for medical treatment after spending his last five days in solitary confinement, handcuffed and lying unresponsive in his own waste.

Kerr’s sister, Brenda Liles, who had taken her concerns about her brother’s well-being to top prison officials, said, “They treated him like a dog.”

Now the state Department of Public Safety is treating the public like Kerr’s death is none of its business. The department gave minimal assistance to the medical examiner doing the autopsy, and Secretary of Public Safety Frank Perry has declined to discuss the facts of the case . (more…)

NC agencies lock down info on inmate’s death from dehydration

kerrFrom News and Observer

Michael Anthony Kerr spent the last five days of his life handcuffed in a prison cell, unresponsive, off his mental health medicine, and lying in his feces and urine. An hour or two before the former Army sergeant died, officials at Alexander Correctional Institution put him into a wheelchair and drove him 2-1/2 hours east to a prison hospital in Raleigh.

When Kerr, 53, arrived at Central Prison, his body was cold.

Somewhere between Taylorsville and Raleigh, as the prison vehicle passed emergency rooms at eight hospitals, Kerr died of dehydration.

“They treated him like a dog,” said Brenda Liles, his sister.

The state Department of Public Safety has released almost no information to the public on Kerr’s March 12 death. Secretary of Public Safety Frank Perry declined to discuss the facts of the case but said he called in the State Bureau of Investigation to look into the death. (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…)

Jeremy in solitary: here is what we know

Jeremy Hammond, by Molly Crabapple

Jeremy Hammond, by Molly Crabapple

From Free Jeremy

We received word last night that Jeremy had been placed in the Segregated Housing Unit (SHU), also known as solitary confinement. He had previously been placed in solitary confinement during pretrial detention. Details are spotty, but this is what we know so far:

  • He was placed in the SHU on 10 October.
  • The prison, FCI Manchester, claims that Jeremy stole clothing, but we don’t know whether they allege that he stole from a guard or another inmate. Jeremy denies this accusation unequivocally, and it goes against his character.
  • We have been in contact with Jeremy’s lawyers, who are in contact with the prison to see if anything can be done to appeal his placement in the SHU.

Make no mistake: We firmly believe Jeremy has been placed in solitary confinement as retaliatory punishment for filing complaints against the prison for withholding his mail. The prison had begun rejecting books and even legal material related to Jeremy’s own case. Jeremy had written that he was willing to take his grievances to the highest possible level in order to see them resolved. (more…)

Political Prisoner Birthday Poster For October 2014 Is Now Available

octoberpoliticalprisonersFrom Prison Books

Hello Friends and Comrades,

1) Here is our super duper late political prisoner birthday poster for October. As always, please post this poster publicly and/or use it to start a card writing night of your own. This month’s poster honors the life and work of Loukaniko, the Greek riot dog, who died this month following health troubles that some people believe stemmed from their repeated exposure to tear gas.

2) CrimethInc. has a Kickstarter to print 100,000 free copies of their new booklet, introducing radical ideas and values to a broader audience.. To Change Everything is a full-color 48-page booklet. In fresh, accessible language, it explores the virtues of self-determination, illuminates why authoritarian power structures cannot resolve the crises they produce, and discusses how to weave our personal revolts together into a collective struggle for liberation. If you have any extra money, consider throwing some their way.

3) Political Prisoner Tom Manning is scheduled to see the US Parole Board in November. In a recent letter he asks that people write letters supporting his release on parole. He writes “so if folks can just write their own letters expressing each ones ideas rather than all of them sounding like they read a form letter – so that they put their own voice down on paper.”

Please write a letter to support Tom!

Your letter should reference:
Thomas Manning #10373-016

and be sent to:

U.S. Parole Commission
90 K Street, NE, Third Floor
Washington, D.C. 20530

Please make a copy and send it to:
Tom Manning 10373-016
FMC Butner
PO Box 1600
Butner, NC 27509 (more…)

Accused of Stealing a Backpack, High School Student Jailed for Nearly Three Years Without Trial

KaliefbrowderFrom The New Yorker

In the early hours of Saturday, May 15, 2010, ten days before his seventeenth birthday, Kalief Browder and a friend were returning home from a party in the Belmont section of the Bronx. They walked along Arthur Avenue, the main street of Little Italy, past bakeries and cafés with their metal shutters pulled down for the night. As they passed East 186th Street, Browder saw a police car driving toward them. More squad cars arrived, and soon Browder and his friend found themselves squinting in the glare of a police spotlight. An officer said that a man had just reported that they had robbed him. “I didn’t rob anybody,” Browder replied. “You can check my pockets.”

The officers searched him and his friend but found nothing. As Browder recalls, one of the officers walked back to his car, where the alleged victim was, and returned with a new story: the man said that they had robbed him not that night but two weeks earlier. The police handcuffed the teens and pressed them into the back of a squad car. “What am I being charged for?” Browder asked. “I didn’t do anything!” He remembers an officer telling them, “We’re just going to take you to the precinct. Most likely you can go home.” Browder whispered to his friend, “Are you sure you didn’t do anything?” His friend insisted that he hadn’t.

At the Forty-eighth Precinct, the pair were fingerprinted and locked in a holding cell. A few hours later, when an officer opened the door, Browder jumped up: “I can leave now?” Instead, the teens were taken to Central Booking at the Bronx County Criminal Court. (more…)

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.

 

Mentally ill North Carolina inmate held in solitary confinement dies of thirst

michael_kerr_webMedical Examiner’s Office said Anthony Michael Kerr died of severe dehydration in March of this year

From The Guardian

A North Carolina inmate with mental illness who had been held in solitary confinement died of thirst, according to an autopsy report released Thursday.

Anthony Michael Kerr, 53, was found unresponsive in the back of a van on 12 March after being driven roughly three hours from Alexander Correctional Institution in Taylorsville to a mental hospital at Central Prison in Raleigh.

The North Carolina Department of Public Safety subsequently fired a captain and four nurses at Alexander. A nurse and a staff psychologist resigned.

At the time, Public Safety Secretary Frank L Perry pledged an “an aggressive, yet thorough internal investigation” into Kerr’s death. However, nearly nine months later the agency has not made public any results of that probe.

In the North Carolina Medical Examiner’s Office report, pathologist Dr Lauren Scott says a senior prison official allowed a “witnessed review” of an internal review into Kerr’s death, though the medical examiner’s office was not permitted to keep a copy. Scott wrote that the report left unanswered key details about the circumstances leading to Kerr’s death, including when the inmate last had access to food and water. (more…)

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…)