Tag Archive: Russell Maroon Shoatz

Russell Maroon Shoatz released from solitary confinement – first time in general population in more than 22 years

maroonFrom Abolitionist Law Center

February 20, 2014: Pittsburgh PA —  Russell Maroon Shoatz was released from solitary confinement into the general prison population at State Correctional Institution (SCI) Graterford this morning, ending more than 22 consecutive years in solitary confinement. The news was confirmed by Maroon during a legal call with an attorney from the Abolitionist Law Center.

Maroon’s son, Russell Shoatz III, said, “We are very excited that this day has finally come. My father being released from solitary confinement is proof of the power of people organizing against injustice, and the importance of building strong coalitions. I especially want to thank all of those who have supported the collective struggle to end my father’s solitary confinement, including my siblings and members of the Shoatz family, the Human Rights Coalition, Abolitionist Law Center, Scientific Soul Sessions, the entire legal team, UN Special Rapporteur Juan Mendez, the 5 Nobel Peace Laureates, the National Lawyers Guild, Center for Constitutional Rights, along with the dozens of other organizations and thousands of individuals who have participated in this effort.”

The move comes after Maroon, who turned 70-years-old in August 2013, was transferred to three different Pennsylvania prisons in the past nine months. It marks the first time that Shoatz has been in the general prison population in the state of Pennsylvania since 1983, when he was placed in solitary confinement due to his work with the Pennsylvania Association of Lifers to abolish life-without-parole sentences. For a 17-month period between 1989-1991, Maroon was held in the general prison population at the federal penitentiary at Leavenworth, Kansas. (more…)

Lawyers for Russell Maroon Shoatz submit request to UN Special Rapporteur on Torture

maroonFrom Free Russell Maroon Shoatz

October 17, 2013: Pittsburgh PA —  Lawyers for Russell Maroon Shoatz submitted a communication to the United Nations Special Rapportuer on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Juan Mendez, requesting that he inquire into Shoatz’s nearly 30 years of solitary confinement within the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (PA DOC). Shoatz is a 70-year-old, former Black Panther Party member who has been locked in solitary confinement at various state prisons for the past 22 consecutive years, and 28 of the past 30 years.

The request comes at a time when the campaign to release Shoatz from solitary confinement has been gathering increasing international attention. In August, Nobel Peace Prize laureates Jose Ramos-Horta of East Timor, Mairead Corrigan Maguire of Northern Ireland, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa marked the occasion of Maroon’s 70th birthday by sending a letter to PA DOC Secretary John Wetzel that read: “We also affirm, in the strongest possible humanitarian terms, that now is the time for the immediate and unconditional release from solitary confinement and restricted housing of Russell Maroon Shoatz. After decades of solitary confinement – including the past 22 consecutive years – there is no reason for further delay. Continued confinement in 23-hour-a-day isolation is nothing short of torture.”

For the last 23 years, Shoatz has had an impeccable disciplinary record, and has not received on serious rule violation during this time. Despite his model behavior, advancing years, and health problems, the PA DOC has refused to release this father, grandfather, great-grandfather, human rights advocate, and published author into the general prison population. (more…)

September 4, 2013 Campaign Update – Action Alert

SAMSUNGFrom Free Russell Maroon Shoatz!

Maroon Transferred to SCI-Frackville

Campaign to Free Russell Maroon Shoatz
September 4, 2013 Update/Action Alert

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Just 5 days after observing his 70th birthday, on August 28, 2013, former Black Panther and political prisoner Russell ‘Maroon’ Shoatz was transferred to the State Correctional Institution (SCI) at Frackville, a maximum security institution. He has once again been immediately placed in a restricted housing unit (RHU): solitary confinement of twenty-three-hour-a-day lock down. Shoatz was not given a reason for the transfer.

The transfer came one week before Pennsylvania Department of Corrections’ (PA DOC) officials, including Secretary John Wetzel, must report to a federal judge on the progress of Shoatz’s release into the general population. DOC defendants in the case Shoatz v. Wetzel have represented to the court on multiple occasions that they intend to release Shoatz into the general population, but have so far failed to do so. (more…)

The Ex-Worker #8: Prison Abolition

ep8-250From Crimethinc.

Though a week late (sorry!), the eighth episode of the Ex-Worker is our longest yet, and wraps up our series on prisons and police, as we look at ways to dismantle the prison industrial complex and to address harm directly without the state. We interview members of Critical Resistance and Support New York to learn about how prison abolition and community accountability processes play out in practice. You’ll also hear also a review of a new collection of writings from political prisoner Russell Maroon Shoats, responses to listener feedback and anarchist perspectives on gun control, plus a letter from revolutionary Tom Manning about his transfer from solitary confinement. And of course we’ve got news from struggles worldwide, event announcements, Contradictionary entries, and plenty more.

You can download this and all of our previous episodes on our podcast page. You can also subscribe in iTunes here or just add the feed URL to your podcast player of choice. Rate us on iTunes and let us know what you think, or send us an email to podcast@crimethinc.com. A new episode is supposed to be released on the first and third Sunday of every month.