Posts Tagged ‘solitary confinement’

We had a breakfast potluck this morning for folks participating in the 23 hour fast against solitary confinement.  We had good food and good discussion, thanks so much to everyone who came!

We also got copies of some fliers with info about the Red Onion Prison Hunger Strike and the 23 hour fast. If you would like some of those fliers you can pick them up at the Wingnut!

Join us on Tuesday, June 19th at 5:30 PM at the John Marshall Court Building 400 N. 9th Street for a brief rally and then a march to the Richmond City Jail and back (1701 Fairfield Way). Bring signs, banners, noisemaking things, and water!

Tear Down All The Jails! Fire to the Prisons!

The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights will hold the first-ever Congressional hearing on solitary confinement on Tuesday, June 19 at 10am in Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 226.

We in Richmond are joining the national call by the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (this is not a religious action – just in Solidarity – with a cause) in a fast for 23 hours prior to the hearing – symbolising the 23 hours prisoners spend in solitary confinement cells per day. Join people across the nation in fasting from 1pm on Monday, June 18 until 12 noon on Tuesday, June 19.

In Richmond we will gather at the John Marshall Court House (400 N. 9th St) at 5:30pm with a short rally and march to the Richmond City Jail and back. We will march chain gang style, meaning two by two with home-made prison garb. Bring pots and pans. We encourage those with police or guard-uniforms to wear them. This is not mandatory but recommended.

Here is the link for the national call
http://www.facebook.com/events/406272916089904/

The United States is a world leader in holding prisoners in prolonged solitary confinement. There are 44 state-run super-max prisons and one federal super-max prison — each of which holds inmates exclusively in solitary confinement. At least 80,000 people in the U.S. criminal justice system are held in solitary confinement on any given day. From 1995 to 2000, the growth rate of segregation units significantly surpassed the prison growth rate overall: 40% compared to 28%.

We act in solidarity with the courageous hunger strikers at Red Onion State Prison, one of Virginia’s own super-max prisons, who are organising at great risk to themselves for rights that are already theirs under Virginia State law. Among their demands are fully cooked food with adequate nutritional content, access to grievance forms and a knowledge of why they are being held in solitary confinement and what is required of them to get out.

http://virginiaprisonstrike.blogspot.com/
____________________________________________

We are also collecting a list of names for people who wish to petition the VA Department of Corrections, Govenor McDonnell, and our state legislators.
Please send your information or questions and concerns to

Prisonerliberator@gmail.com

Name:
Organization (not required):
Zip Code:
Will you be participating in the 23hr fast for prisoners in solitary confinement: yes/no

(If you wish to include a statement to the petition add here)

*This is an informal petition! We will not solicit your information. This is specific to this event only.

After this march there is a fundraiser for the Richmond Zine Fest at the Flying Brick Library (506 S. Pine St)- join in to watch Grrly Show and Occupy America and eat cupcakes and popcorn!!

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We will be hosting a pre-fast breakfast (confusing right) at the Wingnut on Monday June 18th from 10am-12noon. Please come and share a dish (vegan dishes are awesome, but not required). There will be coffee and delishes!!! Conversation about the 23 hour fast against 23 hours of solitary confinement, the prison industrial complex in general, and the rally and march in Richmond happening on Tuesday June 19th at 5:30pm!

All are welcome to come, whether you plan on actually fasting for 23 hours or not.

More details about Tuesday’s rally and march here: http://www.facebook.com/events/315681221848912/

Hope to see you Monday morning!!! 2005 Barton Avenue or call 804 303 5449 or email wingnut_collective@yahoo.com for more info!

Join us on Tuesday, June 19th at 5:30 PM at the John Marshall Court Building 400 N. 9th Street for a brief rally and then a march to the Richmond City Jail and back (1701 Fairfield Way). Bring signs, banners, noisemaking things, and water!

Tear Down All The Jails! Fire to the Prisons!

The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights will hold the first-ever Congressional hearing on solitary confinement on Tuesday, June 19 at 10am in Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 226.

We in Richmond are joining the national call by the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (this is not a religious action – just in Solidarity – with a cause) in a fast for 23 hours prior to the hearing – symbolising the 23 hours prisoners spend in solitary confinement cells per day. Join people across the nation in fasting from 1pm on Monday, June 18 until 12 noon on Tuesday, June 19.

In Richmond we will gather at the John Marshall Court House (400 N. 9th St) at 5:30pm with a short rally and march to the Richmond City Jail and back. We will march chain gang style, meaning two by two with home-made prison garb. Bring pots and pans. We encourage those with police or guard-uniforms to wear them. This is not mandatory but recommended.

Here is the link for the national call
http://www.facebook.com/events/406272916089904/

The United States is a world leader in holding prisoners in prolonged solitary confinement. There are 44 state-run super-max prisons and one federal super-max prison — each of which holds inmates exclusively in solitary confinement. At least 80,000 people in the U.S. criminal justice system are held in solitary confinement on any given day. From 1995 to 2000, the growth rate of segregation units significantly surpassed the prison growth rate overall: 40% compared to 28%.

We act in solidarity with the courageous hunger strikers at Red Onion State Prison, one of Virginia’s own super-max prisons, who are organising at great risk to themselves for rights that are already theirs under Virginia State law. Among their demands are fully cooked food with adequate nutritional content, access to grievance forms and a knowledge of why they are being held in solitary confinement and what is required of them to get out.

http://virginiaprisonstrike.blogspot.com/
____________________________________________

We are also collecting a list of names for people who wish to petition the VA Department of Corrections, Govenor McDonnell, and our state legislators.
Please send your information or questions and concerns to

Prisonerliberator@gmail.com

Name:
Organization (not required):
Zip Code:
Will you be participating in the 23hr fast for prisoners in solitary confinement: yes/no

(If you wish to include a statement to the petition add here)

*This is an informal petition! We will not solicit your information. This is specific to this event only.

Photo by Silver Persinger

After this march there is a fundraiser for the Richmond Zine Fest at the Flying Brick Library (506 S. Pine St)- join in to watch Grrly Show and Occupy America and eat cupcakes and popcorn!!

This Friday, July 1st, marks the start of a hunger strike by prisoners at the Pelican Bay Prison in California.

“Therefore we have decided to put our fate in our own hands. Some of us have already suffered a slow, agonizing death in which the state has shown no compassion toward these dying prisoners. Rather than compassion they turn up their ruthlessness. No one wants to die. Yet under this current system of what amounts to intense torture, what choice do we have? If one is to die, it will be on our own terms.
Power concedes nothing without demand.” –  James Crowford, Mutop DuGuya (a/k/a Bow Low)

Specifically, the prisoners of the Security Housing Unit (SHU) are the ones calling for this strike.  An estimated 50-100 prisoners on Corridor D, are going on an indefinite hunger strike.  The D corridor (also known as the “short” corridor) has the highest level of restricted incarceration in the state of California and among the most severe conditions in the united states.  The rules of their confinement are extremely harsh in order to force them to “debrief” or offer up information about criminal or prison gang activity of other prisoners.  Most inmates in the SHU are not members or associates of prison gangs, as the PBSP staff claims, and even those who are put their lives and the lives of their families and other prisoners at risk if they debrief.

Back in California, the prisoners going on Hunger Strike need support from the outside. They are fighting for very, very basic rights. They are struggling against conditions that should NEVER have been allowed in the first place. If you are interested in supporting this hunger strike, or learning more about similar issues in Virginia, please get in touch with the Richmond Anarchist Black Cross – a local prisoner support and prison abolition organization. rvaabc@gmail.com or 804 303 5449

These are the five core demands of the hunger-striking prisoners:

  1. Eliminate group punishments. Instead, practice individual accountability. When an individual prisoner breaks a rule, the prison often punishes a whole group of prisoners of the same race. This policy has been applied to keep prisoners in the SHU indefinitely and to make conditions increasingly harsh.
  2. Abolish the debriefing policy and modify active/inactive gang status criteria. Prisoners are accused of being active or inactive participants of prison gangs using false or highly dubious evidence, and are then sent to longterm isolation (SHU). They can escape these tortuous conditions only if they “debrief,” that is, provide information on gang activity. Debriefing produces false information (wrongly landing other prisoners in SHU, in an endless cycle) and can endanger the lives of debriefing prisoners and their families.
  3. Comply with the recommendations of the US Commission on Safety and Abuse in Prisons (2006) regarding an end to longterm solitary confinement. This bipartisan commission specifically recommended to “make segregation a last resort” and “end conditions of isolation.” Yet as of May 18, 2011, California kept 3,259 prisoners in SHUs and hundreds more in Administrative Segregation waiting for a SHU cell to open up. Some prisoners have been kept in isolation for more than thirty years.
  4. Provide adequate food. Prisoners report unsanitary conditions and small quantities of food that do not conform to prison regulations. There is no accountability or independent quality control of meals.
  5. Expand and provide constructive programs and privileges for indefinite SHU inmates. The hunger strikers are pressing for opportunities “to engage in self-help treatment, education, religious and other productive activities…” Currently these opportunities are routinely denied, even if the prisoners want to pay for correspondence courses themselves. Examples of privileges the prisoners want are: one phone call per week, and permission to have sweatsuits and watch caps. (Often warm clothing is denied, though the cells and exercise cage can be bitterly cold.) All of the privileges mentioned in the demands are already allowed at other SuperMax prisons (in the federal prison system and other states).

There is a petition online supporting these demands, which you can sign here: http://www.change.org/petitions/support-prisoners-on-hunger-strike-at-pelican-bay-state-prison

Signing a petition is the least that one can do, and we would encourage people to take other actions in solidarity with these striking prisoners. Solitary confinement already makes humans very invisible, and the interests of the state in this case will be to make these prisoners and their struggle even less visible. These prisoners are offering up their lives in opposition the conditions they face on a daily basis, they deserve our attention.

More about this Hunger Strike is online here: https://prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.wordpress.com/

And a good explanation of the reasons for this Hunger Strike from one of the inmates is here: https://prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.wordpress.com/voices-from-inside/why-prisoners-are-protesting/

If you don’t know about Security Housing Units, you can look a lot closer than California for examples. Virginia had 2 Super Max prisons, Wallen’s Ridge is now down graded to Maximum Security Prison. The remaining Super Max prison, Red Onion, has many practices similar to those of the SHU in California. (more…)

Walter Bond is a political prisoner that we have been meaning to write about for a while now. When we read his statement to the Court upon his sentencing we were awed, inspired, and proud. We failed to re-post that statement in a timely fashion. However, because he is now being held in solitary confinement, it seems a good opportunity to revisit his statement and introduce or update people on Walter Bond and his case.

Walter Bond is an animal liberationist and an anti-capitalist. Basically, Walter Bond set fire to a sheepskin factory in Colorado in the name of the Animal Liberation Front. His brother then snitched on him. He was later sentenced to 5 years in prison. He is now being kept in solitary confinement because of the classification of the Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front as domestic terrorist groups- despite their policies of not harming humans or other animals physically.

If anyone is interested in writing Walter letters with the Richmond Anarchist Black Cross please come out on Tuesday April 12th at 7pm at the Wingnut. Walter’s birthday is April 16th.

For more frequent updates or details, please visit his official support website:
http://www.supportwalter.org

Walter Bond still has Federal and other charges pending, some of which he has plead not guilty to. The charges over his head make his final statement in court even more amazing. Here is his statement from Court, which was given on February 11th, 2011:

“I’m here today because I burnt down the Sheepskin Factory in Glendale, CO, a business that sells pelts, furs and other dead animal skins. I know many people think I should feel remorse… for what I’ve done. I guess this is the customary time where I’m suppose to grovel and beg for mercy. I assure you, if that’s how I felt, I would. But I am not sorry for anything I have done. Nor am I frightened by this court’s authority because any system of law that values the rights of the oppressor over the down trodden is an unjust system. And though this court has real and actual power, I question its morality. I doubt the court is interested in the precautions that I took to not harm any person or by-stander and even less concerned with the miserable lives that sheep, cows and mink had to endure, unto death, so that a Colorado business could profit from their confinement, enslavement, and murder.
(more…)