Hunger Strikes, Force Feeds, and Solitary Dreams

herman wallace

Bruce Reilly: While the California prisoners enter their fourth day of hunger strikes, the people of Guantanamo enter their 40th. Meanwhile, Herman Wallace has spent over forty years in solitary confinement in Louisiana.

Hunger Strike

pelican bay

Jonathan Simon: In California’s SHU, scores of prisoners have served more than twenty years of such conditions, and hundreds for more than ten.

Third California Prison Strike Looms

solitary = torture

Dan Bluemel: In 2011, inmates held in long-term solitary confinement in California prisons held two hunger strikes to protest their treatment. Because prison officials have not met the inmates’ demands, another hunger strike is planned for July 8.

Will President Obama Pardon the Longest Held Independentista?

oscar lopez rivera

Hans Bennett: Since all of Oscar López Rivera’s original co-defendants have since won their release, he is famous in Puerto Rico as the longest held Independentista political prisoner.

Undoing Racist Crack Cocaine Sentencing

crack cocaine arrest

Bruce Reilly: Our criminal justice policy in America, particularly the drug prohibition, is akin to our slavery policy of 1859. Most people realize it is anywhere from problematic to catastrophic.

Brown’s Revised Budget Discriminates Against Mentally Ill

parole agent

Lizzie Buchen: The bill stigmatizes people who have suffered from mental illness by shackling them with harsher supervision, and unreasonably assumes they will receive better supervision and treatment from the state than from the community.

How Abusing Prisoners Jeopardizes Public Safety

griffith-book-short

Angola 3 News: Hidden behind the walls, huge numbers of human beings have their spirits broken daily. Secretly, many suffer false disciplinary reports, illegitimate confiscation or destruction of personal property, physical beatings, rape, and sometimes fraudulent criminal penalties.

Gov. Brown Can Release Prisoners Early Without Compromising Public Safety

overcrowded prison

Lizzie Buchen: Keeping low-risk inmates behind bars does not enhance public safety; in fact, doing so may endanger the public, as excessive prison terms hamper reentry, damage families, and weaken communities.

Transformative Justice and Mass Incarceration: Can Faith Communities Help Create a New Frame?

mary-magdelene-870

Rev. Peter Laarman: A safe society is first and foremost a just society. In that respect we have an awfully long way to go. Let’s not waste any more time.

Why Russell ‘Maroon’ Shoatz Must Be Released From Solitary Confinement

we have not moved

Angola 3 News: This month, a 30-day action campaign was launched demanding the release of Russell ‘Maroon’ Shoatz from solitary confinement, where he has been held for over 23 consecutive years, and 28 of the last 30 years, in Pennsylvania prisons.

Why Jerry Brown Bucks Prison Realignment

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Gov. Brown’s recent actions show that it is not just the most visible partisans of the “prison industrial complex,” who we must persuade or overcome, but unfortunately the political establishment of the State.

From School to Prison

School-to-Prison-Pipeline

Anthony Samad: This new public discourse around the “school to prison pipeline” is not new at all. It was a predictable outcome of social control planning where the prison industrial complex started forecasting how many prison beds would be needed based on fourth grade test scores two decades ago.

Fixing California’s Mass Incarceration Mess

cowachilla prison

Dick Price: As California grapples with a prison system so broken that the U.S. Supreme Court has mandated reductions in the number of prisoners it holds, the three-part “Smart Justice: Rethinking Public Safety in California” discussion begun this past week is examining both consequences and possible solutions to the state’s mass incarceration mess.

Expecting Black Men to Play in Stadium Named After Prison

florida atlantic university

Bruce Reilly: I highly doubt any of the 99 players of the Florida Atlantic Owls were consulted about playing in The GEO Group Stadium next year, named after the world’s largest prison-owning corporation. I also doubt I need to illustrate the percentage of the Owls roster who are Black, or the percentage of The GEO Group’s “roster” are Black.

Strategizing to Defeat Solitary Confinement

out of control

Angola3News: Being sent to a control unit prison is tantamount to torture. Prisoners are held under conditions that today are not considered ‘humane’ even for animals. They are an extreme abuse of state power.

Coalition Pushes LA’s DA Candidates On Mass Incarceration Issues

jackie lacey

Peter Laarman: With Public Safety Realignment now underway, the DA’s role becomes even more pivotal. What our chief prosecutor believes and does has a huge impact on incarceration levels.

Amnesty International Denounces Torture in California Prisons

prisoners in isolation

Angola 3 News: Amnesty International considers that the conditions of isolation and other deprivations imposed on prisoners in California’s SHU units breach international standards on humane treatment

Immigrant Detention and the Private Prison Industry

handcuffs and money

Michele Waslin: Immigration detention has been steadily increasing over the last two decades. A new report by Justice Strategies suggests this increase is largely due to the efforts of private prison companies.

California Prison Guards Treatment of Visitors

Prison Guards Treatment of Visitors

Cayenne Bird: The prison guard Brassiere Brigade at Sierra Conservation Center went to great lengths to deny me an important visit for no valid reason and construed my informing them that I intended to report the events that transpired in my columns as a “threat” to the guards who oppressed me.

Community-Based Solutions: No Prisons No Jails — June 23

no prisons no jails

Come to a community meeting Saturday, June23, that confronts the financial choices that LA and California’s politicians are making to invest our resources in policing and imprisonment, rather than the services we need.

Selling State Prisons

Louisiana's Angola Prison, know as "The Farm"

Bruce Reilly: ALEC and for-profit prison lobbyists are fighting to stop the decriminalization of marijuana, to lengthen sentences, eliminate Good Time credits, curtail parole, incarcerate immigrants, maintain mandatory minimums, and increase Three Strikes laws because these efforts will increase their profits. But is this in the public’s best interest?

Prison Realignment or Expensive Musical Chairs

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Sharon Kyle: Given the public’s short attention span, it’s no wonder juicy celebrity gossip and salacious headlines have come to dominate the “news”. This is great for those who don’t want us to pay attention.

Mass Incarceration: Points of Agreement on the Right and the Left

susan burton

Diane Lefer: When a community sees daily injustice and doesn’t see the rule of law equally applied, it becomes morally and ethically easier to choose to live in a lawless way.

America’s Top Lobbyists on Criminal Justice Reform: Legal? Proper?

Martin Luther King Birmingham Jail

Bruce Reilly: For years I watched the full-time lobbyist of the Attorney General, their legislative specialist, testify against practically every attempt to reform the criminal justice system.

Friday Feedback: Fixing the Prison-Industrial Complex

B. Cayenne Bird: The California legislature uses prisons and jails as a means by which to finance the bureaucracy. They use it for job creation and the $1.8 million that Brown took from CCPOA dictates his loyalty to the prison guards.

Should We Crash the Prison System by Demanding Trials?

day-in-court-wide

Bruce Reilly: If everyone refused a plea bargain and went to trial, the system would crash. This maneuver is not new. I could have never organized these men to refuse plea bargains and go to trial for several reasons.

Santorum, Romney Square Off on Felon Disenfranchisement

mitt romney

Bruce Reilly: Romney, at first, beat around the bush. “I don’t believe people who have committed violent crimes should be given their right to vote.”

Two Triggers: One Stuffed, One Deflated

jerry brown

Although I have to admit I found it a bit creepy, the stuffed remains of Roy Rogers’ beloved steed was displayed on a Rose Parade float honoring Roy’s 100th birthday. Dangerously wobbling at the front of a somewhat over-the-top float, this Trigger, though dead, looked fat and healthy. The state budget Triggers, on the other [...]

California Ending Funding of Child Prisons

juvenile hall

Bruce Reilly: I am not too troubled possible financial bankruptcy due to prisons, particularly child prisons. The possible moral bankruptcy, however, runs much deeper than any bottom line.

Resisting Gender Violence Without Cops or Prisons

sista sista

Victoria Law builds upon her earlier prison abolitionist critique by discussing practical alternatives for effectively confronting gender violence without using the prison system.

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