Support the SCI Dallas 6!

From: SF Bay View, Nov, 13, 2014

The Dallas 6 trial, begun Nov. 10, is back in session at least through Nov. 20 at Luzerne County Courthouse; transportation is available to and from Philadelphia and Pittsburgh – email sd4hrc@gmail.com. Two stories follow.

The Dallas 6 go to court
by Mumia Abu-Jamal

They are called the Dallas 6 – and we ain’t talking about Texas.
Dallas, in Pennsylvania, is one of nearly 30 prisons in the state, located in its rural outback. The six are young Black men who, in 2010, tried to stage a peaceful protest in the prison’s “hole,” its solitary confinement unit.

They were moved to such protest after witnessing another prisoner, Isaac Sanchez, being strapped into a torture chair (prison officials call it a “restraint chair”) for hours – even overnight. When guards threatened to do the same to them, the men tried to cover their cell doors with their bedding – and refused to leave their cell, in an effort to protect themselves.

The guards armed themselves with batons and electrified equipment, and they stormed the six cells, leaving the men beaten, bloody, naked, eyes burning, their flesh seared with pepper spray.

All of the guards later admitted they suffered no injuries. How could they? They wore black body armor and helmets – what prisoners call “star wars” garb.

After some of the men filed grievances and civil suits, the DA replied with criminal charges, and on Nov. 10, 2014, the men were marched into Luzerne County Courthouse, in Wilkes-Barre, Penn., to face “riot” charges.

They were gassed, they were beaten, they were tasered and zapped with electro-shields – and they face riot charges!

It should be noted that this is the same county where judges took money to send kids to jail, where no one reported their monstrous actions – not even the DA! – for nearly a decade!

The Dallas 6 – Andre Jacobs, Anthony Kelley, Carrington Keys, Anthony Locke, Dwayne Peters and Derrick Stanley – are potentially facing more prison time for refusing to submit to torture, for men have died, in America, while strapped into the torture chair.

Should they have meekly submitted to torture – like sheep to the slaughter?

For more information on the Dallas 6, go to scidallas6.blogspot.com.
Help the Dallas 6 stand for justice and human rights!

© Copyright 2014 Mumia Abu-Jamal. Read Mumia’s latest book, “The Classroom and the Cell: Conversations on Black Life in America,” co-authored by Columbia University professor Marc Lamont Hill, available from Third World Press, TWPBooks.com. Keep updated at www.freemumia.com. For Mumia’s commentaries, visit www.prisonradio.org. For recent interviews with Mumia, visit www.blockreportradio.com. Encourage the media to publish and broadcast Mumia’s commentaries and interviews. Send our brotha some love and light: Mumia Abu-Jamal, AM 8335, SCIMahanoy, 301 Morea Road, Frackville, PA 17932.

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Petition: Free Andre Jacobs! He Has Suffered for Ten Years as a Victim of Solitary Confinement in Pennsylvania

Sign here: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/free-andre-jacobs-he-has-suffered-for-ten-years-as-a-victim-of-solitary-confinement-in-pennsylvania/

To: Secretary John E. Wetzel of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections
Sponsored by: Andre Jacobs Legal Defense Fund, Human Rights Coalition–Harrisburg, Int’l Prison Watch, On the Block Radio,  PA Advocates for Abandoned Adolescents.

Andre is a 29 year old Black man unjustly imprisoned and heavily targeted for his filing of grievances and lawsuits in defense of human rights inside the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (PA DOC).  By highlighting Andre’s battles against wrongful convictions and solitary confinement, we aim to bring greater public awareness to the injustices of the U.S. criminal justice system.

Andre Jacobs’s childhood was plagued with abuse and alcoholism in his immediate family. In 1997, when he was only 15 years old, Andre was first sentenced to prison for non-violent offenses. In 2001 Andre was placed in solitary confinement in retaliation for a lawsuit he had filed after being assaulted by a guard. Andre remains in solitary confinement to this day.  He has barely had a life outside of prison.

In 2005, at the Federal Courthouse in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Andre was dragged onto an elevator by U.S. marshals in front of his grandmother and beaten unconscious after the completion of a civil rights suit he had brought. Federal marshals conspired to frame Andre for assaulting them, despite his being cuffed and shackled at the time, and he was sentenced to an additional 17 years in prison as a result.

In 2008, Andre was awarded $185,000 by a jury in a civil rights suit after they determined that PA DOC staff had violated his rights. This was one of the four civil suits Andre has brought to trial from his solitary confinement cell, where he is held 23-24 hours per day in conditions of extreme social isolation, sensory deprivation, and subjected to constant acts of retaliation.

Against all odds, Andre has persevered through the torture, received a degree from Blackstone University, and is now a certified paralegal. Because of his talents as a jailhouse lawyer and his uncompromising defense of his rights and the rights of all prisoners, Andre has become a frequent target of racist guards and ranking officials and repeatedly subjected to assault, destruction of property, unlawful confiscation of legal mail, food tampering, withholding of medical care, starvation and deprivation of water, and placed on indefinite/permanent solitary confinement status by the secretary of the PA DOC.

Andre’s resilience and refusal to submit to arbitrary, racist, and lawless authority has placed him in harm’s way repeatedly and transformed him into an exceptionally talented and committed human rights defender. His story needs to be heard, his rights protected, and his cause championed.

“I am being killed psychologically. I’ve never had a chance at life and here people are conspiring to take my future from me. This is my first time in prison and it is truly a nightmare! I call on every organization, attorney, and member of society to assist me in educating the world in what goes on behind prison walls in America.”–Andre Jacobs.  



Please sign our petition for Andre, and forward to others, thank you!!
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/free-andre-jacobs-he-has-suffered-for-ten-years-as-a-victim-of-solitary-confinement-in-pennsylvania/

A Benefit Film Screening for Jailhouse Lawyer André Jacobs July 3rd

On the Block Radio Presents:

FREE event; but donations greatly appreciated.
July 3rd 2011
7PM t 11PM, The Lava Space, Lancaster Avenue, West Philly, PA

Bio: Andre Jacobs.

Because of his talents as a jailhouse lawyer and his uncompromising defense of his rights and the rights of all prisoners, Andre has become a frequent target of prison guards and officials, and repeatedly subject to assault, destruction of property, unlawful confiscation of legal mail, food tampering, withholding of medical care, starvation and deprivation of water, and placed on indefinite solitary confinement status by the Secretary of the PA DOC.

Quick Links

Extended bio of Andre Jacobs.
“On the Block Radio” Interview with Grandmother.
Human Rights Coalition/Fed-UP.
Update on Jailhouse Lawyer Andre Jacobs from www.ontheblockradio.org.
episode. April 19, 2011.
___________________________________
We talk with Elizabeth Springer, the grandmother of jailhouse lawyer Andre Jacobs.

Andre has been locked up in Pennsylvania correctional institutions since he was 15 years old. Ms. Springer talks about his early childhood, his experiences with harassment while in prison, developments with his appeal on federal charges of assault against prison guards, and the federal civil rights lawsuit he filed this past December against the PA DOC.

In December of 2010, Andre Jacobs filed a federal civil rights lawsuit in the Middle District of Pennsylvania against Pennsylvania Department of Corrections and state law enforcement agents in which he charges acts of torture against him. He filed that lawsuit while at SCI Huntingdon.

On The Block Radio
WPEB 88.1 FM-PHILADELPHIA
thepeople@ontheblockradio.org
267.414.8503

Read more here

Human Rights Coalition PA Prison Report

Emailed to Prisonwatch on June 14th 2011:
In this edition: Sexual harassment and medical neglect of women at SCI Muncy, abuse continues in the solitary units at SCI Cresson, jailhouse lawyer Andre Jacobs seeks a court injunction against retaliation by prison staff, and more..
The News from Inside

Sexual harassment and medical neglect at women’s state prison:

Two recent reports from women incarcerated at SCI Muncy women’s prison describe how on certain units, male prison guards are permitted to come into the bathrooms while the women are using the toilet or showering, and that shower curtains are not tall enough to maintain privacy. The women describe these policies as inappropriate and harmful to their feelings of safety and privacy.One woman reported that male guards have been fired for sexual harassment and escorted off the grounds of the institution, but that policies claim that institutional security trump the needs of individual safety and privacy.

An additional report from an anonymous prisoner describes another woman, Josette Wakely, being brutally beaten by her cellmate on March 3. Surrounding prisoners hit their alert buttons, informing prison guards McElroy and Lorico that Wakely was being beaten and raped. The officers responded by threatening to write up anyone who disturbed them again. It was only after the attacker rang her alert button to inform the officers of what she had done that they attended to the injured woman.Josette Wakely was life-flighted out of the institution and sustained scars and bruises.

Also at Muncy, an anonymous prisoner reported the wrongful death of Tonya Green on April 20, due to medical neglect. The reports that “Green had a history of medical issues and was put in [solitary confinement] after she could not get up from the sidewalk, after they allowed her to stay there for half an hour. They knew this woman was in pain. After she cried out while in [solitary] no one attended her. Later that night she died.” A memorial service was held for Tonya Green at the SCI Muncy chapel.

Prisoner assaulted by guards after protesting illegal search of another man’s cell:

Davon Hayes reports from the Restricted Housing Unit (RHU) at SCI Dallas that after protesting the April 4 search of a nearby prisoner’s cell without the prisoner present, a team of guards then searched his own cell, tampered with his property, and assaulted him while he was handcuffed, leaving him with a fractured left orbital bone.

Hayes reports that after witnessing a search team enter the nearby K-A-35 cell without the occupant present, he spoke up against the search, citing DOC policy ADM 203 which requires that prisoners be physically present during searches of their cells. His words infuriated Sergeant Donald Buck, who immediately called for a team of guards to seach Hayes’ cell. During the search, he was handcuffed behind his back and to his cell window while officers Santero, Fitzgerald, Amos, Headman, and Whiteman threw his legal property in the air, threw his Islamic materials on the floor, and removed his books from the cell. The team then uncuffed him from the window, forced him to the floor, and proceeded to beat him about the face, in the process fracturing his left orbital bone. During the assault, guards repeatedly pressured him to “sign off on the paperwork” and at least one guard yanked and pulled on the tether attached to his handcuffs in an attempt to make it appear that Hayes was resisting the assault.

Hayes has filed a private criminal complaint about the incident. He remains in solitary confinement in the SCI Dallas RHU.

Jailhouse lawyer seeks court injunction as prison continues retaliation:

State prisoner Andre Jacobs filed a motion for a preliminary injunction in the U.S. district court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania in early June seeking a court order to obtain immediate access to his legal property and compel prison authorities to establish a plan for returning him to general population after a decade of solitary confinement. The motion was filed with Judge Kane, who has been assigned to handle Jacobs lawsuit against more than 100 prison officials and employees, law enforcement officers, and mental and medical care providers for the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.

The civil rights suit deals with two years of retaliation that Jacobs has suffered since winning a $185,000 award in a lawsuit against prison staff. Since that victory in November of 2008 he has been subject to assaults, racist harassment, starvation, deprived of all his property on multiple occasions, been issued dozens of fabricated misconducts, had false criminal charges pressed against him, and been separated from most of his legal property for the past 6 months.

The injunction was filed as reports from SCI Rockview indicate an escalation in the threats and retaliation against Mr. Jacobs. According to one declaration, Lt. Andrews refused to permit Jacobs to access his property and made obscene comments and gestures toward him. Another declaration states that Lt. Nixon was reading confidential medical and legal property of Mr. Jacobs, and that she told him to “destroy as much of this shit as possible. Just ask around, I’ll write you up and bury you.” She then seized addresses, pictures, and legal notes of Mr. Jacobs without issuing a confiscation slip.

Lt. Nixon also deprived Jacobs of a shower and a razor.

Superintendent Lamas has also instituted a new policy of restricting solitary confinement prisoners to a maximum of two envelopes per week from commissary, reportedly stating that “Inmates are sending way too many complaints to HRC, the courts and Central Office for grievance appeals. This limits that.”

Abuse continues at SCI Cresson:

Chris Balmer, a 23-year-old state prisoner who has spent the last five years in solitary confinement, is being held in a hard cell without property, basic hygiene products, and running water, and has been placed on food loaf. Balmer is one of several prisoners in the Restricted Housing Unit and Secure Special Needs Unit at SCI Cresson who are being warehoused in solitary confinement and deprived of mental health treatment. The security captain Francis Pirozzola has reportedly been conspiring with guards to target prisoners thought to have knowledge of the abuse and harassment of the late John McClellan prior to his committing suicide. Damont Hagan, a jailhouse lawyer and human rights defender, was transferred from the prison immediately after the suicide. Several other prisoners are rumored to be scheduled for transfer as well, while those who remain report ongoing acts of intimidation, including death threats and starvation.

Announcements
Philly area: Wednesdays are Write On! Prison Letter Writing Night at the LAVA space at 4134 Lancaster, 6-9 pm. Come help us stay connected with the many prisoners who write to us with news from inside, learn to document crimes committed by prison staff, and help bring an end to the abuse and torture of our brothers and sisters behind bars.

If you’d like to know more about the Human Rights Coalition or would like to get involved, come to Write On!, to our monthly general meetings (second Monday of each month, 6pm), or call us at 215-921-3491, email info@hrcoalition.org, or visit our website at http://www.hrcoalition.org/

Pittsburgh area: Write On! – letter writing to prisoners and HRC work night every Wednesday at 5129 Penn Avenue from 7 -10pm. To get involved with HRC/Fed Up! in Pittsburgh,email hrcfedup@gmail.com or call 412-654-9070.

You’ve been listening to the Human Rights Coalition’s PA Prison Report. HRC is a group of current and former prisoners, family members, and supporters, whose ultimate goal is to abolish prisons.

Keep up the fight!

Federal judge reduces inmate’s award to $75,005

By Brian Bowling
PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A state prison inmate who successfully sued the Department of Corrections will get less than half the amount the jury awarded him, a federal judge decided Tuesday.

Andre L. Jacobs, 29, claimed in a 2004 lawsuit that prison guards at SCI-Pittsburgh in 2003 illegally confiscated and destroyed about 150 pages of his legal documents after discovering they were part of a lawsuit against the guards. An eight-person jury deliberated for three days in 2008 before awarding Jacobs $185,000 in compensatory and punitive damages.

U.S. District Judge Joy Flowers Conti partially granted a state motion and reduced the award to $115,000 in September 2009. The order Conti issued Tuesday further reduces five of the compensatory damage awards for mental harm and anguish from amounts ranging between $5,000 and $10,000 to $1 each, leaving him with an award of $75,005.

Jacobs has been in state custody since he was 15 years old, according to court documents. He is serving a state prison sentence of five to 18 years mostly for offenses he committed in prison. Details of his original conviction are unclear.

He also is serving a federal sentence of 17 years and six months in prison for assaulting two U.S. Marshals who were escorting him in 2005 after he lost a separate federal civil lawsuit.

Read more: Federal judge reduces inmate’s award to $75,005 – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
———–
Read the original story of how André was awarded 185,000 in 2008 here. We hope that André is released soon and that he can start living again, instead of being tortured, harassed and having his court documents stolen!

Human rights defender and jailhouse lawyer under attack


From: Human Rights Coalition/FedUp:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                            January 10, 2011
Contact: Bret Grote, HRC-Investigator –  hrcfeup@gmail.com        412.654.9070
The Human Rights Coalition-Fed Up! has received 4 affidavits stating that Andre Jacobs, a Pennsylvania state prisoner in solitary confinement, has been physically abused, issued death threats, denied medical treatment, called racial slurs, and had his legal property illegally withheld and confiscated by prison staff at SCI Huntingdon in the past week.
On January 3, 2011, prison guard Cook yelled out to prisoners on the solitary confinement unit, “You niggers are always complaining, we’re about to turn it up!” He then told Andre, “We already know you file paperwork, file a grievance and you’ll die here!”
On January 4, 2011, prison guard Cook told Andre, “We got a shitload of your legal mail out there. Either you sign an agreement to not try to sue about yesterday or you’re not getting it. That’s per Lt. Taylor and approved by Wakefield and Eckard [ranking staff].” After other prisoners spoke out, Andre was given some-but not all-of his legal mail.
On January 6, 2011, guard Uzenski made obscene comments when conducting a visual strip-search prior to escorting Mr. Jacobs to a physical. When Andre requested to see a Lt., Uzenski grabbed his arm, which was still in the door slot, and the other guard present slammed his arm in the slot, causing an abrasion. Uzenski said, “You got a problem with me looking at your f***ing c**k?! I’ll break you f***ing neck, nigger!” Mr. Jacobs was deprived a physical examination as a consequence, which he has been waiting on for 3 years.
In 2008, Mr. Jacobs was awarded $185,000 in a lawsuit against the PA Department of Corrections (DOC) in which he represented himself. Andre has been held in solitary confinement since 2001, when he filed his first lawsuit at age 19. He is now 28 years old.
Since that victory he has been transferred to three different prisons, repeatedly assaulted, attacked with electro-shock and chemical weaponry, strapped to the “restraint chair” for 18 hours at a time, held naked in a cell without property for 7 days on multiple occasions, deprived of food and water, and subject to other human rights violations. Andre has also been issued dozens of fabricated misconducts in order to keep him buried alive in solitary confinement.
The PA DOC has been made aware of these criminal violations on multiple occasions and have taken no action to hold perpetrators accountable.
Andre has recently filed a federal civil rights lawsuit in the Middle District of Pennsylvania over these acts of torture, naming more than 100 DOC and state law enforcement agents as defendants.
Acting Secretary Shirley Moore-Smeal, the first African-American woman to head the DOC, along with SCI Huntingdon Superintendent have been made aware of these human rights violations.

Human Rights Coalition-Pittsburgh

FedUp! Chapter
hrcfedup@gmail.com

http://hrcoalition.org