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More Prisons, Higher Profits - by Kaley Kennedy
"Criticism of cheap prison labour is something often aimed at privately owned US super jails, but here in Canada, thousands of imprisoned people form a labour pool where wages dip below a dollar an hour. Every year, about 4,800 inmates across the country participate in CORCAN work programs.
Inmates are paid a maximum of $6.90 per day, have no vacation time or vacation pay and need clearance from a health professional to take a sick day. Overtime pay is just $1 per hour and inmates are required to hand over 25 per cent of any earnings over $69 biweekly, for room and board.
Prison expansion allows for a larger inmate workforce..."
If you type in "prison corporation" in any search engine you get a pretty good idea on what The Harper govt is up too..No question they want to turn the prison industry into a money making enterprise for a select few dirty tory scumbags and to do so means creating more laws to fill quotos...something we are witnessing with the introduction of new laws by the truckload....as for profit prisons can only be profitable if packed. Basically get rid of the conservatives before they get rid of you should be the Canadian motto right now....this election fraud is a golden opportunity if there ever was one.
Private Prison Company to Demand 90% Occupancy
This is Harper's idea of a multi-pronged approach to unemployment in this challenging economic climate. It seeks to encourage a reduction in the overall figures by potentially creating more jobs for the prison industry, while simultaneously incarcerating as many of those as possible who make up the statistics; thereby removing them entirely from consideration within the unemployment rate. You have to admit that it represents a far more aggressive strategy than the elementary one used by the Americans, where they simply stop counting people as being unemployed when they run out of benefits.
Thank you Buddy - Slumberjack - very informative.
Stephen Harper's corporate jails - this from a prime minister who oversaw the rigging of his own election. Someone should be up front and center, maybe eclipsing that Rae guy, I wouldn't even care if it was the green party - just someone else to add to Rae's voice. I can't believe it isn't a bigger issue.
Anyway, I can only add, anyone growing 5+ cannabis plants gets a 1 year sentence under the omnibus crime law - the judge has no say.
Oh and cyber crime. that's next, they'll find a way to arrest folk for their net activity.
Prison Spending Trumps Seniors for Harper Government
"The Harper government is prioritizing new prison spending over maintaining senior's retirement benefits, for reasons known only to itself. This when Human Resources Minister Diane Finley has just confirmed the upcoming federal budget will outline age-based eligibility deays to Old Aged Security, for even the neediest seniors..."
long past time for this government to go...
Here's the action Harper wants a piece of..
Locking Down an American Workforce in the Prison-Corporate Complex
"Prison labor as the past - and future - of American 'free market' capitalism.."
Prisoner Self-Injury on the Rise in Canada (and vid)
"Biggest spike among Aboriginal women offenders..."
Canada's gulag horror show
There's an amazing new documentary out called "The House I Live In" that I can't recommend strongly enough. It's about how the "war on drugs" fuels the prison industry and the devestating effectgs of imprisoning so many people both for what prison is like on the inside and how it screws up the lives of families left behind and leaves ex-felons really screwed in terms of getting jobs when they get out. It's American where these issues are even worse but could applies pretty well to Canada as well.
The House I Live In (trailer)
Rape in America's Prisons - by David Rosen
"...The prison-industrial complex, like the military-industrial system, is a self-perpetuating racket in which victory means failure. Like the military industrial system's demand for an eternal enemy, the prison-industrial complex would collapse without an inexhaustible stream of criminals..."
I just watched the Harry Belafonte movie Sing Your Song (2011). He went ballistic when he saw the five-year-old black girl being arrested and put in handcuffs for the huge crime of being "unruly". One of the quotes from that segment of the movie, where they talk about the USA having the largest prison population in the world, and it's a majority coloured men and women population, that "incarceration is the new slavery".
Awesome film - see it if you can.
Tens of Thousands of California Prisoners Launch Mass Hunger Strike The strikers are calling for an end to long-term solitary confinement and better prison conditions.
On Monday, July 8, prisoners at the Security Housing Unit (SHU) in California’s Pelican Bay State Prison began a mass hunger strike to protest long-term solitary confinement. It is not the first time such an action has taken place. In 2011, prisoners staged two separate hunger strikes to protest their continued placement in long-term solitary confinement.
Hunger strikers issued five core demands:
1. Eliminate group punishments for individual rules violations.
2. Abolish the debriefing policy and modify active/inactive gang status criteria.
3. Comply with the recommendations of the US Commission on Safety and Abuse in Prisons (2006) regarding an end to long-term solitary confinement.
4. Provide adequate food.
5. Expand and provide constructive programs and privileges for indefinite SHU inmates....
I've never really understood the prison system. I just don't see what it's supposed to solve.
On one extreme, people like Paul Bernardo and Clifford Olsen need to be kept off the streets. A person who grew a little pot? Obviously not. There are corporate fraudsters or white collar criminals who are acting with impunity, stealing the life savings of Canadians and others worldwide. No one would miss them and the lawyers, geologists, and accountants who enable them.
Is there a causal link between locking up criminals and the crime rate? As US incarceration rates go up, their crime rates seem to be falling. Another argument is that if you legalize abortion, crime rates go down a generation later. Locking up people to prevent them from committing more crimes is called the "prophylactic" aspect of criminal "justice".
The other cliche is that the population needs "to see justice being done", which is called the "retributive" or "punitive" aspect of criminal "justice". Some victims need to see their abusers being punished before they can get closure. An eye for an eye. This is sometimes known as the "therapeutic" aspect, "therapeutic" for the victims of crime and not the perpetrators of it.
Finally, advocates of prisons cite the "deterrent" aspect of the system. This only works if people think that they are always being watched. Throw in an "all-seeing" God who will send you to hell, even if you are not caught by police, and you will walk the straight and narrow. Most people walk the "straight and narrow" because they think they will be caught for doing otherwise.
Locking up people to prevent them from committing MORE crimes is called the "prophylactic" aspect of criminal "justice". [emphasis added]
Locking up people to prevent them from committing MORE crimes is called the "prophylactic" aspect of criminal "justice". [emphasis added]
Sorry to be way, way off topic, but locking up innocent people (either figuratively through coerced outpatient drugging or literally through hospitalization) to prevent them from committing crimes at all is called "mental health legislation." Trouble is, there's no trial, no jury. It just takes two shrinks to sign you in and then you've had it. There's time for an awful lot of injections before you're granted the courtesy of a review panel.
But thanks for your response. I'll read it seriously in a minute. Just needed to get that off my chest. Sorry.
Will California Prison Hunger Strike Lead to Gitmo-Style Force-Feeding?
"Amid a massive hunger-strike being waged across the state of California by thousands of prisoners in several facilities, officials may move to begin force-feeding inmates if it could prevent a larger uprising from occurring..."
Hunger Strike in the Empire of Dungeons - by Glen Ford
"Thousands of inmates are pitting their bodies against the State of California, which is determined to reduce them to 'non-persons, groveling masses of flesh.' But the incarceration State 'is not in the habit of acting in good faith, even with the judicial branch of government, on prison matters, much less negotiating with inmates."
California Prison Guards Retaliate Against Hunger Strikers, Lawyers Say
"Prison Guards are trying to break a hunger strike including thousands of prisoners in California by blasting cells with cold air, confiscating legal documents and in one case, banning lawyers according to legal representatives and relatives.
Authorities have taken the actions, it is alleged, in retaliation for a strike which entered its 12th day on Friday, putting pressure on the state's troubled penal system. Lawyers say the health of the men is bieng put at risk..."
California Prison Focus: Struggle Against Torture Continues, 2,500 still refusing meals; Demands still unmet after two years.
Visit Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity for Updates and events:
On one extreme, people like Paul Bernardo and Clifford Olsen need to be kept off the streets.
On one extreme, people like Paul Bernardo and Clifford Olsen need to be kept off the streets.
The extreme end of callous disregard for life is neither of those people. His name is Edward Burkhardt and he has killed way more people. He is not going to jail despite being a repeat offender in negligence. His cut throat business practices killed 50 people. He needs to be jailed before his addiction to profit claims more innocent lives.
The drive for all three men is power over others and they display the same sociopathic disregard for others.
PLEDGE OF RESISTANCE EMERGENCY ALERT!
Greetings to all Pledge signers,
Thank you for your support of the hunger strikers. As you may have heard, the hunger strike began on July 8 with California 30,000 imprisoned people refusing to eat. Hundreds of media outlets have been covering this historic event.
The California Department of Corrections and ‘Rehabilitation’ (CDCr) has begun to retaliate against the vocal spokespeople for the hunger strikers, who are located in Pelican Bay and Corcoran State Prisons. Our Pledge of Resistance Alert today will focus on the extreme brutality of prison authorities against the Representatives of the hunger strikers, who are in Pelican Bay State Prison.
The CDCr is also trying to undermine legal and community support of the hunger strikers. They have just issued ‘banning’ orders to Marilyn McMahon, an attorney for many of the Reps in Pelican Bay, denying her access to her clients.
Most likely, prison officials will not be thrilled to get your phone calls and emails, so please be determined and polite in trying to send your phone and email messages. Whether you get a voice or a voice mail, they will know you are watching them, and want them to Stop the Torture.
RETALIATION AGAINST PELICAN BAY PRISONER REPRESENTATIVES: On July 11, PBSP prison authorities removed 14 prisoner Representatives from their solitary confinement (SHU) cells and placed them in Administrative Segregation (Ad Seg) cells which are even worse than the SHU. The hunger strikers, many of whom are elder men and have severe chronic illnesses, are dressed in summer clothing, but the CDC has turned on air conditioning full blast, leaving some of the men sick and freezing....
Meanwhile, the prison officials have raided their SHU cells and confiscated their legal materials, including attorney-client protected documents pertaining to their highly publicized federal class action lawsuit against the state of California (Ruiz v. Brown).
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP STOP THE TORTURE: Tell the PBSP prison authorities to return the 14 prisoner Representatives to their cells. (Their names and prison numbers are at the end of this email.) Return all their property, especially the legal documents guards have confiscated. Lift the ban on their attorney, Marilyn McMahon, so that she can again access her clients. Medically monitor the men to ensure that the prison has not destroyed their health!
1. Contact Pelican Bay Warden Gregory Lewis: *** phone: 707-465-1000 x5001 *** email: Gregory.Lewis@cdcr.ca.gov
2. Copy to Dr. Jeffrey Beard, Secretary of CDCR *** phone: 916-323-6001 (alternatively 916-445-5073) *** fax: 916-442-2637 *** letter: Dr. Jeffrey Beard, Secretary CDCR, 1515 S Street, 5th Floor; Sacramento, California 94283
3. Copy to Assistant Warden at Pelican Bay, Rawland Swift *** phone: 465-1000 x6254 *** email: RSwift@cdcr.ca.gov
4. Back up: Public Information Officer at PBSP Christopher Acosta *** office phone: 707-465-9040 *** cell phone: 707-951-0350
THE 14 PRISONER REPRESENTATIVES: 1. Todd Ashker C58191 2. Arturo Castellanos C17275 3. Sitawa/ R.N Dewberry C35671 4. Antonio Guillen P81948 5. Danny Troxell B76578 6. George Franco D46556 7. Ronnie Yandell V27927 8. Paul Redd, Jr. B72683 9. James Baridi Williamson D34288 10. Alfred Sandoval D61000 11. Louis Powell B59864 12. Alex Yrigollen H32421 13. Gabriel Huerta C80766 14. Frank Clement D07919
Please write to the Reps.* Include one sheet of paper, one envelope and one loose stamp so they can write someone outside the walls. You can address your letter with the person’s name & prison number; Pelican Bay State Prison/SHU; PO Box 7500. Crescent City, 95532. *Mr. Arturo Castellanos may not be able to receive your letter. He’s on ‘restricted mail,’ by the prison authorities.
Thank you so much for your solidarity, Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition: Pledge of Resistance work group (for more info, http://www.prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.wordpress.com)
IJAN: Gov Brown Should Not Use the Holocaust to Hide Racism
"....Over the past two years, hunger strikers in California and Palestine have shared a struggle against inhumane treatment. Jews decry Brown's visit to Dachau while at home he condones racism."
Retaliation Continues Against Hunger Strike, Coalition Refutes CDCR’s Gang Myths
Oakland, July 22, 2013 – As the California prison hunger strike enters its 3rd week, reports of retaliation against strikers have increased. Last week it was reported that prison officials had moved at least 14 strikers from the Security Housing Unit (SHU) at Pelican Bay to Administrative Segregation (Ad-Seg), confiscated confidential legal documents, and forced cold air into their cells. Later in the week, legal advocate Marilyn McMahon and one of her paralegals were summarily banned from visiting any California prison. Reports that strikers have been moved to Ad-Seg or to entirely different facilities have also been coming from Corcoran State Prison. The denial of medical care to strikers, especially those with preexisting health conditions, remains a widespread concern for families and advocates.
Meanwhile, the California Department of Correction and Rehabilitation (CDCR) continues to claim that the hunger strike is a massive gang conspiracy.....
..this is the call out video announcing the hunger strike.
ALL OUT FOR CA PRISONER HUNGER STRIKE 2013 (video)
HUNGER STRIKE DAY 16: CDCR Refuses to Negotiate, Strikers Issue New Statement
With the California prisoner hunger strike in its 3rd week, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and medical receiver officials agreed to meet with a mediation team working on behalf of the hunger strikers. While the mediators were hopeful that the CDCR would discuss negotiations around the strikers‘ demands, they were quickly disappointed and dismayed by the CDCR’s conduct.
“The CDCR refused to let family members of strikers who are part of our team join in the discussions, they refused to negotiate or even address the strikers’ five demands, and they failed in any way to appreciate the urgency of this situation,” said mediator Ron Ahnen. The mediation team’s meeting with the federal health receiver’s office overseeing the California prison system left some assurances that the strikers would receive due medical care and left open prospects for future communication and discussions.
“This is a matter of life and death for both the strikers and their families,” said mediator Barbara Becnel. “We object in the strongest possible terms to the complacency of the CDCR.” Mediators have urged CDCR Secretary Beard to meet with them as soon as possible. His office has yet to respond....
Day 19: 30,000 CALLS FOR 30,000 HUNGER STRIKERS
On July 8, 2013 Prisoners at Pelican Bay and other prisons resumed their hunger strike and began work stoppages. They are committed to continuing the strike until California Governor Jerry Brown and the California Department of Corrections take decisive action to meet their demands.
Today is Day 19 of the hunger strike, and CDCR continues to retaliate against prisoners participating in this peaceful protest while refusing to negotiate. It is important that we continue to show our support & keep the pressure on Gov. Brown and the CDCR!
We have over 5,000 people that have signed the petition to Governor Brown. Now we need 30,000 CALLS for 30,000 Hunger Strikers!
JOIN US and USE YOUR POLITICAL POWER!
1) DAY 19: Call Governor Jerry Brown Phone: (916) 445-2841 (510) 289-0336 (510) 628-0202 Fax: (916) 558-3160
Suggested script: I’m calling in support of the prisoners on hunger strike. The governor has the power to stop the torture of solitary confinement. I urge the governor to compel the CDCR to enter into negotiations to end the strike. RIGHT NOW is their chance to enter into clear, honest negotiations with the strikers to end the torture.
2) Make sure you send this email to your friends, families, and networks. Ask them to stand in solidarity with us – sign the petition today and help us reach 30,000 calls
3) We encourage you to plan a gathering in your neighborhood to make calls and organize other solidarity actions. You can also come support actions this week
- Sunday, July 28 at 10am (Norwalk City Hall, 12700 Norwalk Blvd. Norwalk, CA 90650)
- Tuesday, July 30th at 10am (State Capitol, 1315 10th St Sacramento, CA 95814)
Thank you for your commitment.
Hunger Strikers, Supporters Vow to Continue Fight as Mediators Conclude Meeting with CDCR Secretary
Mediators working on behalf of California prison hunger strikers just concluded their meeting with CDCR Secretary Jeffrey Beard. Today’s meeting comes on the heels of nearly 100 family members of hunger strikers visiting the Capitol Tuesday, where they presented a petition signed by over 60,000 people demanding negotiations with hunger strikers to Governor Brown’s office.
The hunger strike mediators’ statement included, “We gave [Secretary Beard] ideas that would help bring the prisoners’ hunger strike to a just end in short order. We provided input for revisions to CDCR’s Security Threat Group Policy and Step Down pilot program. Our revisions are intended to create more humane conditions and circumstances. We urged him to follow the lead from other states, such as Illinois, Colorado and Mississippi, to end harsh and long term isolation practices.”...
Letters from Inside
Letter from PBSP dated July 28, 21st day of hunger strike: He’s lost over 40 pounds “and getting smaller by the day” — all fat gone, body eating muscle now. “There are several who already fell out from effects of the HS and we have some who have been placed in the hospital and the prison specialty clinic. But there are many of us who will see this out to the end. We are still strong.”
Postcard from PBSP dated July 29: “[…] they moved 14 of the reps [and others accused of being reps] to Administrative Segregation to further isolate them. The top brass ordered […] by the top brass out of Sacramento. […] But nothing changed, my sista. We are now on our 21st day and maintaining our course.”...
Oakland Protestors Released
Photo of the folks who went to jail yesterday for occupying the State Building in Oakland. Taken in the wee hours of the AM, right after they got out of Santa Rita.
Activists Lock Down at State Building, Call for Brown, CDCR to Negotiate with Prison Hunger Strikers and Police Arrest 7 Prison Hunger Strike Supporters at State Building.
Use of Solitary Confinement Increasing in Canada's Prisons (and vid)
"...More and more citizens are being criminalized and sent to prison."
Mediators Talk with Prisoners as Hunger Strike Reaches One Month, Situation Critical, Negotiations Crucial
Today, August 8 2013, marks one month for prisoners on hunger strike throughout the California prison system. Earlier today, the mediation team working on behalf of the strikers was able to speak to the prisoners at Pelican Bay who initially called for the strike. Just moments ago members of the mediation team issued the following statement:
All of the members of our mediation team were able to speak with hunger strike representatives at Pelican Bay for two-and-a-half hours. All four representatives are totally united and resolute. They were clear that this peaceful protest is not about them—it is about making real, fundamental changes to an incredibly unjust system.
They haven’t eaten for 32 days but they are cogent, focused, and committed.
We were able to work together to develop new ideas about how to move forward, which we’ll be acting on over the next few days. The mediation team will be staying in contact with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and issuing statements daily.
Reports from prisoners at Pelican Bay indicate escalated mistreatment from guards in the Administrative Segregation and Security Housing Units. Prisoners report being verbally abused by guards and over hearing them discussing orders “to treat some prisoners really nicely and others really badly.” Despite the abuse, prisoners remain steadfast in continuing their protest. “They are obviously feeling the effects of not having eaten in over a month, but they remain strong and in high spirits” said Anne Weills, a lawyer representing strikers at Pelican Bay. “They are fighting for themselves, their fellow prisoners, and those who will come after them. They are incredibly inspired by all the support they’ve received, and are steadfast in their commitments to improving conditions.”...
As California Prisoner Hunger Strike Reaches Critical Moment, Families and Advocates Return to Capitol, Demand Action from State Government
All eyes are on California, as prisoners across the state’s vast prison system hit their 38th day of hunger strike in protest of the torturous conditions of solitary confinement. Prisoners’ loved ones and supporters joined 100 people on the steps of the state capitol Wednesday afternoon, August 14, to demand swift and resolute action from California decision makers. Activists also set up a life-sized replica of a Security Housing Unit (SHU) cell, encouraging the governor, legislators, and members of the public to experience for just a few minutes what thousands of California prisons live through, many for decades.
Irene Huerta’s husband has been in solitary for 28 years and is currently on hunger strike. Huerta is part of a mediation team that is trying to keep channels of communication open between strikers and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), with hopes of reaching an end to the strike. “It is important for us to be here today. It is day 38 and our loved ones could die soon if no one steps up to do anything,” says Huerta. She joins many others in condemning the CDCR’s continued attacks on strikers, along with Governor Brown’s total silence on the entire issue. “For Brown to say nothing at all, at such a critical moment, that is a slap in the face. To say anything at all, even to speak against the strike, that’s one thing. But to remain silent when people’s lives are on the line and their families are worried sick? There is nothing worse.”....
Action Alert: HEALTH CARE IS A HUMAN RIGHT — EVEN FOR HUNGER STRIKERS!
Last week, more than 120 health care professionals signed an open letter in support of the Five Demands of the hunger strikers. The letter stated, in part:
“As healthcare providers, we are issuing this statement to register our concern with reports that the hunger strikers are being denied appropriate medical care. Where there has been a concerted attempt by the authorities to censor the strikers, and to keep the strike out of the news, dozens of letters from affected strikers at prisons across the state have reached supporters on the outside. These letters repeat similar details of medical neglect and abuse.”
EXCERPTS OF LETTERS FROM HUNGER STRIKERS (Names withheld):
From the Adjustment Center of San Quentin: “…This is just a small note to let you know I’m still alive. But on Friday morning at around 12:30am they found me on the floor unresponsive & a little blue-ish purple. From what the guys here say, the guards opened the door, I fell out and they jumped on me with a shield, cuffed me and took me out. Then dropped me at the first tier ’cause their hands slipped..
"...What happened?…The nurses said kidney failure. That I was so dehydrated that my kidneys shut down and I was blue-ish purple ’cause I almost froze to death….they put me on IV and warmed up my body with blankets and sent me… back to my cell by 4 am… “The nurses said…they’ll see me again soon if I don’t start eating. Which I won’t…”
California jails: “Solitary confinement can amount to cruel punishment, even torture” – UN rights expert
GENEVA (23 August 2013) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture, Juan E. Méndez, today urged the United States Government to abolish the use of prolonged or indefinite solitary confinement. There are approximately 80,000 prisoners in the United States of America who are subjected to solitary confinement, nearly 12,000 are in isolation in the state of California.
“Even if solitary confinement is applied for short periods of time, it often causes mental and physical suffering or humiliation, amounting to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and if the resulting pain or sufferings are severe, solitary confinement even amounts to torture,” Mr. Méndez stressed as nearly 200 inmates in Californian detention centres approach their fifth consecutive week on hunger strike against cruel, inhuman and degrading prison conditions.
“I urge the US Government to adopt concrete measures to eliminate the use of prolonged or indefinite solitary confinement under all circumstances,” he said, “including an absolute ban of solitary confinement of any duration for juveniles, persons with psychosocial disabilities or other disabilities or health conditions, pregnant women, women with infants and breastfeeding mothers as well as those serving a life sentence and prisoners on death row.”...
CA Senator Hancock and Assemblymember Ammiano Promise Hearings in Response to Prisoner Hunger Strike
As prisoners endure their 54th day without food, California state senator Loni Hancock and Assemblymember Tom Ammiano issued a statement today where they vowed to hold hearings in response to the hunger strike.
“The issues raised by the hunger strike are real – concerns about the use and conditions of solitary confinement in California’s prisons – are real and can no longer be ignored,” Senator Hancock and Assemblymember Ammiano said in a joint statement. Assemblymember Ammiano said further, “The Courts have made clear that the hunger strikers have legitimate issues of policy and practice that must be reviewed. The Legislature has a critical role in considering and acting on their concerns. We cannot sit by and watch our state pour money into a system that the US. Supreme Court has declared does not provide constitutionally acceptable conditions of confinement and that statistics show has failed to increase public safety.”....
The Shame of the State Prison Medicine and the California Hunger Strike
The Federal court decision on August 19 giving the state permission to force-feed hunger strikers deemed “at risk of near-term death or great bodily injury” is a shameful one. It violates long-established international law. The World Medical Association confirms force-feeding as an inhuman and degrading treatment that qualifies as torture by the European Court of Human Rights. Today’s order allows prisoners who previously executed “do not resuscitate” directives to be excluded, unless they were signed for the purpose of taking part in the hunger strike. It also allows officials to ignore such a directive if they determine “it was the result of coercion.”
The fact that such a sweeping order came at the request not only of corrections officials but of the court-appointed receiver’s office which oversees health care in the prisons is profoundly disturbing to those of us in the health professions who believe that our patients, including patients who are prisoners, have the right to reject unwanted medical treatment and their autonomy should be respected.
This hunger strike is historic; it will be remembered for years to come as a moment when prisoners united across deep racial divisions to assert, with their bodies on the line, what it means to be human fighting against an inhuman system. It is a moment when the prison medical department could have shown that it has been rehabilitated. It could have demonstrated its independence from the custodial culture that has overwhelmed it for so many years. Prison medical staff had the opportunity to play a protective role for their patients who are risking their health and possibly their lives by for an end to long-term solitary confinement. It’s a loss for everyone that they have allied themselves so shamefully with an intransigent prison administration that continues to deny the humanity of those in its custody....
Day 60 Mediation Team Statement: September 5, 2013
The Mediation Team is pleased to confirm that the 20 prisoner representatives, of all the ethnic groups involved in the hunger strike, have decided to suspend the strike on the 60th day. This result comes after huge sacrifice on the part of scores of prisoners –upwards of 40 people went without solid foods for eight and a half weeks. Thousands more went on and off in the two- month period, and thirty thousand participated....
..nicely put jerrym!
The United States has the highest incarceration rate and and 10 times the rate of China. In a world full of brutal, ruthless dictatorships it is good to know that in the land of the free people are so well protected from criminals, especially in the inner cities of America, and that Harper has us marching down the same road when even some arch-conservatives in the US are beginning to question the cost and effectiveness of this. Afterall, there is no price too high to pay by others for us to appear to be free from crime. Of course so-called white collar financial crime is not worth worrying about as it is not a criminal act, but simply an offence worthy of at most a fine, just like a traffic ticket. Afterall, we wouldn't want to hinder entrepreneurship in any way.
Prisoner Hunger Strike Fight Moves to Courts, Community Rallies in Support
In the wake of one of the largest hunger strikes in US history, prisoners will continue their fight in the courtroom Thursday afternoon. Lawyers will present oral arguments in Ashker v. Brown, a federal lawsuit on behalf of prisoners at the Pelican Bay State Prison in California. They will be seeking to certify a class of all prisoners serving indeterminate terms at the Pelican Bay Security Housing Unit (SHU), and a subclass of all prisoners who have been held at the Pelican Bay SHU for more than 10 years. Supporters will hold a press conference and rally at the Federal Building in Oakland before today’s proceedings....
California prison hunger strike leader: 'If necessary we'll resume. This is war'
Exclusive: From solitary confinement at the brutal Pelican Bay, Todd Ashker led a protest that shook the US penal system
Todd Ashker enters the visitation cubicle and a metal door slides shut behind him. He places his hands into a slot so a guard on the other side can unlock the handcuffs. He rubs his wrists and sits on the fixed stool. Scars and tattoos cover his arms. The hair is grey and close cropped, the moustache almost white. He is much thinner than the muscled, bulked-up prisoner I have seen in photos.
A thick glass window separates us and a surveillance camera peeps down, recording the scene. Ashker picks up the phone. I pick up mine. The voice is strong, with a vaguely mid-western lilt. "So. You're here."
Here is Pelican Bay state prison, an outpost of concrete and razor wire in a forest near California's border with Oregon. A beautiful, rugged landscape where Pacific waves crash against cliffs of redwood. You don't see any of that from the super-maximum security jail. Except for the blue guard towers it is drained of colour, a grey sameness coating gravel, fences and buildings.
It was built to isolate "the worst of the worst", the most dangerous murderers and gang leaders. Ashker, 50, has spent most of his life here: "They'll never let me out. I'm going to die here, I know that. But I have a choice. I can slowly rot or I can fight. Fight to change things."...
Angela Davis on Prison Abolition, the War on Drugs and Why Social Movements Shouldn’t Wait on Obama