April 24th 2012 Occupying the In-Justice Department, DC on Mumia’s Birthday

Sorry Readers, we cannot make the screen any less wide, we tried!
But it sure looks good!

Here is the link to the video where we got it from (The Real News): http://therealnews.com/t2/component/hwdvideoshare/?task=viewvideo&video_id=73536

April 24th: Occupy the Justice Department: education about the prison industrial complex; amplifying the voices inside

From press releases:

OCCUPY4PRISONERS PRESENTS:

In Solidarity with the Occupy the Justice Department protest in Washington, DC
End Mass Incarceration! Tuesday, APRIL 24th

4PM – RALLY at 14th and Broadway, Oakland

Occupy4Prisoners and supporters will rally at Oscar Grant Plaza, where awareness and understanding regarding the brutality and corruption within the United States INjustice system will begin to rise up. We will be doing educational outreach about the prison system with music, speakers, a “Truth Mob” and amplifying the voices of people inside of prisons.

5PM – MARCH to Federal Building and Obama Headquarters

We will take to the streets to march as an expression of our solidarity with the 2.5 million people incarcerated in the country. The United States has the highest incarceration rate of any country, with 743 people in prison per 100,000 of national population. Occupy4Prisoners brings to the attention of the greater Occupy Movement how we cannot forget the bottom 1% of the 99% in our greater struggle for justice and equality.

The march will continue past the Federal Building (13th and Clay) where representatives from the Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia and the Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal will speak. Folks from the Bradley Manning Support Network will share information about Bradley’s plight when we reach the Obama Headquarters (17th and Telegraph.) Then we will march to…

6PM – THE INJUSTICE SYSTEM ON TRIAL – 19th and Telegraph

Once we arrive at the 19th and Telegraph Plaza, we will be putting the Injustice System on trial. Powerful local activists will preside over a trial that is actually about the truth.

The prosecutor will be Anita Wills, (Oscar Grant Committee and Occupy4Prisoners), the defense attorney will be Deborah Small, (Break the Chains), and the judge will be Jerry Elster (All of Us or None). The system will be played by Dan Siegel (National Lawyers Guild).

The jury will be YOU!

These witnesses will be bringing evidence against the system regarding the following charges:

1. Targeting youth of color

Chris M, Occupy Oakland Tactical Action Committee

Sagnitche Salazar, Youth Together and Xicana Moratorium Coalition

2. Allowing murder and assault by police to go unpunished

Denika Chatman, Kenneth Harding Jr. Foundation

Carey Downs & Dionne Smith Downs, A Mother’s Cry for Justice

3. Enforcing racism at every level

Jabari Shaw, Rapper, Laney College Black Student Union

Manuel La Fontaine, All of Us or None and Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity

4. Holding political prisoners hostage

Kiilu Nyasha, Independent journalist and former Black Panther

Aaron Mirmalek, Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee Oakland

5. Torturing people inside the prisons

Sharena Curley, Oscar Grant Committee

Luis “Bato” Talamantez, California Prison Focus and one of the San Quentin Six

6. Conspiring to commit mass incarceration

Linda Evans, All of Us or None and former political prisoner

Ghetto Prophet, Onyx Organizing Committee and spoken word artist

More information:

www.occupy4prisoners.org

www.occupythejusticedepartment.com

occupy4prisoners@gmail.com

Occupy Oakland Real Coverage! recorded live

From Occupy San Quentin, on National Occupy in Support of Prisoners Day, Feb 20h 2012, a live stream recorded with stage, speakers, etc, organized by Occupy4prisoners.org, from the stream of Bella:

Video streaming by Ustream

Occupy movement stages day of protests at US prisons

From The Guardian (UK)
Joined by the three hikers detained in Iran, activists point to overcrowding and inhumane conditions in US prison system

By: Ryan Devereaux
Guardian.co.uk, Monday 20 February 2012

Occupy demonstrators participated in a nationwide day of action to protest against the US prison system on Monday, with demonstrations carried out at over a dozen sites across the country, including prisons in California, Chicago, Denver and New York.

The call to protest was issued by activists with the Occupy Oakland movement and was co-ordinated to coincide with waves of prison hunger strikes that began at California’s Pelican Bay prison in July. Demonstrators denounced the use of restrictive isolation units as infringement upon fundamental human rights. The hunger strikes followed a US supreme court ruling in May which stated that overcrowding in the California prison system had led to “needless suffering and death.” The court ordered the state to reduce its overall prison population from 140,000 to 110,000, which still well-exceeds the state’s maximum prison capacity.

Sarah Shourd, Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer – the American hikers who were held for over a year by Iranian authorities – took part in demonstrations outside San Quentin prison in Marin County, California. Addressing the crowd, Shourd described the psychological impact of solitary confinement, saying her 14 and a half months without human contact drove her to beat the walls of her cell until her knuckles bled. Shourd noted that Nelson Mandella described the two weeks he spent in solitary confinement as the most dehumanising experience he had ever been through.

“In Iran the first thing they do is put you in solitary,” Fattal added.

Bauer said “a prisoner’s greatest fear is being forgotten.” He described how hunger strikes became the hikers’ own “greatest weapon” in pushing their captors to heed their demands. According to Bauer, however, the most influential force for changing their quality of life while being held in Iran was the result of pressure applied by those outside the prison. It was for that fact, Bauer argued, that “this movement, this Cccupy movement, needs to permeate the prisons.”

Occupy supporters are calling for a fundamental change in the US prison system, which today houses one quarter of the planet’s prisoners; more than 2.4 million people. As of 2005, roughly one quarter of those held in US prisons or jails had been convicted on a drug charge. Activists point out that in the past three decades the nation’s prison population has increased by more than 500%, with minorities comprising 60% of those incarcerated. The number of women locked up between 1997 and 2007 increased by 832%.

Demonstrators are broadly calling for the abolition of inhumane prison conditions, and the elimination of policies such as capital punishment, life sentences without the possibility of parole and so-called “three strikes, you’re out” laws.

Some demonstrators were also demanding changes in their own specific states. Activists in Columbus, Ohio, for example, highlighted the fact that their state is second only to Texas in rates of capital punishment and planned to deliver letters to several elected officials, including governor John Kasich.

Ben Turk, an activist with Red Bird Prison abolition, noted that rising prices in prison commissaries have also been an issue with many Ohio prisoners. According to Turk, prices at the commissaries where prisoners purchase food and other amenities have risen, while the amount of money prisoners are able to make have largely remained the same.

“We work with prisoners and ask them what their grievances are,” Turk said. “A lot of them talk about how commissary prices have been continually rising for the last couple of decades, while state pay remains the same.”

At least 20 prisoners at Ohio State Penitentiary chose to fast for the day in solidarity with Monday’s action.

In Washington DC, demonstrators protested new prisoner visitation policies that will include the installation teleconference TV screens in place of glass partition.

In New York City, Mercedes Smith, a Brooklyn mother, took the streets along with roughly 250 others who marched from the Lincoln Correctional Facility through Harlem. Smith said she and her 21 year-old son had both been personally impacted by the criminal justice system. Smith said her son had been stopped and searched by the police throughout his life and is now incarcerated.

Smith carried a sign that read “End the War On Drugs”. She said that people who were addicted to drugs had a “sickness” that was “not a reason to put them in prison.”

“This war is costing more money. All the money that they using to keep this war going on, they could open up more centers, more programmes to help people,” Smith told the Guardian.

Occupy movement stages day of protests at US prisons

From The Guardian (UK)
Joined by the three hikers detained in Iran, activists point to overcrowding and inhumane conditions in US prison system

By: Ryan Devereaux
Guardian.co.uk, Monday 20 February 2012

Occupy demonstrators participated in a nationwide day of action to protest against the US prison system on Monday, with demonstrations carried out at over a dozen sites across the country, including prisons in California, Chicago, Denver and New York.

The call to protest was issued by activists with the Occupy Oakland movement and was co-ordinated to coincide with waves of prison hunger strikes that began at California’s Pelican Bay prison in July. Demonstrators denounced the use of restrictive isolation units as infringement upon fundamental human rights. The hunger strikes followed a US supreme court ruling in May which stated that overcrowding in the California prison system had led to “needless suffering and death.” The court ordered the state to reduce its overall prison population from 140,000 to 110,000, which still well-exceeds the state’s maximum prison capacity.

Sarah Shourd, Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer – the American hikers who were held for over a year by Iranian authorities – took part in demonstrations outside San Quentin prison in Marin County, California. Addressing the crowd, Shourd described the psychological impact of solitary confinement, saying her 14 and a half months without human contact drove her to beat the walls of her cell until her knuckles bled. Shourd noted that Nelson Mandella described the two weeks he spent in solitary confinement as the most dehumanising experience he had ever been through.

“In Iran the first thing they do is put you in solitary,” Fattal added.

Bauer said “a prisoner’s greatest fear is being forgotten.” He described how hunger strikes became the hikers’ own “greatest weapon” in pushing their captors to heed their demands. According to Bauer, however, the most influential force for changing their quality of life while being held in Iran was the result of pressure applied by those outside the prison. It was for that fact, Bauer argued, that “this movement, this Cccupy movement, needs to permeate the prisons.”

Occupy supporters are calling for a fundamental change in the US prison system, which today houses one quarter of the planet’s prisoners; more than 2.4 million people. As of 2005, roughly one quarter of those held in US prisons or jails had been convicted on a drug charge. Activists point out that in the past three decades the nation’s prison population has increased by more than 500%, with minorities comprising 60% of those incarcerated. The number of women locked up between 1997 and 2007 increased by 832%.

Demonstrators are broadly calling for the abolition of inhumane prison conditions, and the elimination of policies such as capital punishment, life sentences without the possibility of parole and so-called “three strikes, you’re out” laws.

Some demonstrators were also demanding changes in their own specific states. Activists in Columbus, Ohio, for example, highlighted the fact that their state is second only to Texas in rates of capital punishment and planned to deliver letters to several elected officials, including governor John Kasich.

Ben Turk, an activist with Red Bird Prison abolition, noted that rising prices in prison commissaries have also been an issue with many Ohio prisoners. According to Turk, prices at the commissaries where prisoners purchase food and other amenities have risen, while the amount of money prisoners are able to make have largely remained the same.

“We work with prisoners and ask them what their grievances are,” Turk said. “A lot of them talk about how commissary prices have been continually rising for the last couple of decades, while state pay remains the same.”

At least 20 prisoners at Ohio State Penitentiary chose to fast for the day in solidarity with Monday’s action.

In Washington DC, demonstrators protested new prisoner visitation policies that will include the installation teleconference TV screens in place of glass partition.

In New York City, Mercedes Smith, a Brooklyn mother, took the streets along with roughly 250 others who marched from the Lincoln Correctional Facility through Harlem. Smith said she and her 21 year-old son had both been personally impacted by the criminal justice system. Smith said her son had been stopped and searched by the police throughout his life and is now incarcerated.

Smith carried a sign that read “End the War On Drugs”. She said that people who were addicted to drugs had a “sickness” that was “not a reason to put them in prison.”

“This war is costing more money. All the money that they using to keep this war going on, they could open up more centers, more programmes to help people,” Smith told the Guardian.

National Occupy in Support of Prisoners Day: 20 Feb 2012

This comes from our comrades at Redbird Prison Abolition:

Columbus, OH
America is the Prisonhouse of Nations, holding 2.3 million people behind bars. This is by far the highest incarceration rate in the world. The US police and surveillance forces are expanding every day. We live in the most sophisticated police state history has ever known. The state of Ohio houses over 50,000 prisoners and kills people on death row at a rate exceeded only by the state of Texas.

If Occupy is any kind of movement for the 99% then it must shine light on america’s prisoners, and resist the further expansion of the US police state.

On the afternoon of Monday Feb 20th, we will be visiting the offices of the following politicians and officials involved in the prison system, delivering polite letters, in the traditional form of democratic process:

-Governor John Kasich, who has the rarely used ability to pardon death row prisoners, and often used ability to appoint corporate cronies to positions of power.

-Senator Robert Portman, who was paid $272,853 by special interests to support the NDAA (the law allowing indefinite detention of US citizens).

-Gary Mohr, director of the Ohio Department of Retribution and Corruption (and former managing director of Corrections Corporation of America- the largest private prison corp in the country).

-Walter Distelzweig, chief of the Columbus Police Department.

Please attend. This action will be non-violent, low arrest risk, very proper and polite. We want to make sure these fascists can’t ever say that we didn’t ask them nicely.

Invite your friends to the facebook event:

http://www.facebook.com/events/343754312313460/?context=create

In solidarity with Occupy Oakland’s call for a national day of action for prisoners: occupy4prisoners.org

http://www.redbirdprisonabolition.org/2012/02/occupy-for-prisoners.html
———————–
[note from OH Prison Watch: Occupy Oakland approved the call for a National Occupy in Support of Prisoners Day, they did not organize it as far as we know]

Here is the provisional press release about this day, coming from the official website of Occupy4Prisoners:

Summary

We are calling for February 20th, 2012 to be a “National Occupy Day in Support of Prisoners.”

In the Bay Area we will “Occupy San Quentin,” to stand in solidarity with the people confined within its walls and to demand the end of the incarceration as a means of containing those dispossessed by unjust social policies.

Reasons

Prisons have become a central institution in American society, integral to our politics, economy and our culture.

Between 1976 and 2000, the United States built on average a new prison each week and the number of imprisoned Americans increased tenfold.

Prison has made the threat of torture part of everyday life for millions of individuals in the United States, especially the 7.3 million people—who are disproportionately people of color—currently incarcerated or under correctional supervision.

Imprisonment itself is a form of torture. The typical American prison, juvenile hall and detainment camp is designed to maximize degradation, brutalization, and dehumanization.

Mass incarceration is the new Jim Crow. Between 1970 and 1995, the incarceration of African Americans increased 7 times. Currently African Americans make up 12 % of the population in the U.S. but 53% of the nation’s prison population. There are more African Americans under correctional control today—in prison or jail, on probation or parole—than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War began.

The prison system is the most visible example of policies of punitive containment of the most marginalized and oppressed in our society. Prior to incarceration, 2/3 of all prisoners lived in conditions of economic hardship. While the perpetrators of white-collar crime largely go free.

In addition, the Center for Economic and Policy Research estimated that in 2008 alone there was a loss in economic input associated with people released from prison equal to $57 billion to $65 billion.

We call on Occupies across the country to support:

1. Abolishing unjust sentences, such as the Death Penalty, Life Without the Possibility of Parole, Three Strikes, Juvenile Life Without Parole, and the practice of trying children as adults.

2. Standing in solidarity with movements initiated by prisoners and taking action to support prisoner demands, including the Georgia Prison Strike and the Pelican Bay/California Prisoners Hunger Strikes.

3. Freeing political prisoners, such as Mumia Abu-Jamal, Leonard Peltier, Lynne Stewart, Bradley Manning and Romaine “Chip” Fitzgerald, a Black Panther Party member incarcerated since 1969.

4. Demanding an end to the repression of activists, specifically the targeting of African Americans and those with histories of incarceration, such as Khali in Occupy Oakland who could now face a life sentence, on trumped-up charges, and many others being falsely charged after only exercising their First Amendment rights.

5. Demanding an end to the brutality of the current system, including the torture of those who have lived for many years in Secured Housing Units (SHUs) or in solitary confinement.

6. Demanding that our tax money spent on isolating, harming and killing prisoners, instead be invested in improving the quality of life for all and be spent on education, housing, health care, mental health care and other human services which contribute to the public good.

Bay Area

On February 20th, 2012 we will organize in front of San Quentin, where male death-row prisoners are housed, where Stanley Tookie Williams was immorally executed by the State of California in 2005, and where Kevin Cooper, an innocent man on death row, is currently imprisoned.

At this demonstration, through prisoners’ writings and other artistic and political expressions, we will express the voices of the people who have been inside the walls. The organizers of this action will reach out to the community for support and participation. We will contact social service organizations, faith institutions, labor organizations, schools, prisoners, former prisoners and their family members.

National and International Outreach

We will reach out to Occupies across the country to have similar demonstrations outside of prisons, jails, juvenile halls and detainment facilities or other actions as such groups deem appropriate. We will also reach out to Occupies outside of the United States and will seek to attract international attention and support.

We have chosen Monday, February 20, 2012 at San Quentin, because it is a non-weekend day. Presidents’ Day avoids the weekend conflict with prisoners’ visitation, which would likely be shut down if we held a demonstration over the weekend.

Feb 20 2012: National Occupy for Prisoners Day! Plz Join!

Endorsed by Prison Watch Network, amongst many others:

From the website of the National Occupy for Prisoners Day:

website: Occupy4prisoners.org

Support is growing for the National Occupy Day in Support of Prisoners and Occupy San Quentin!

We’ve added flyers for Occupy San Quentin, and more endorsers for Feb 20.

Connect with us:

Facebook: Occupy4Prisoners

Twitter: @Occupy4Prisoner

We need YOU! Are you planning an action? Let us know and we will list, promote and support! Email occupy4prisoners [at] gmail [dot] com!
Actions

Bay Area, California
Occupy San Quentin . East Gate, San Quentin. Monday, February 20, 2012, 12 noon – 3pm. Carpool/meet-up – 10am at Oscar Grant Plaza (14th and Broadway, Oakland) Email occupy4prisoners [at] gmail [dot] com for more information.

Chicago, Illinois
Action being planned, email randi [at] nodeathpenalty [dot] org to connect up. Organizing meeting: Saturday, February 4, 2012. 4:00pm.
Occupy Chicago Headquarters
500 W Cermak, Chicago, Illinois

Los Angeles, California
Join California Families to Abolish Solitary Confinement – CFASC
at 3:00pm on Monday, February 20th
as we unite with others across the nation for a
National Day of Occupation in Support of Prisoners
We are gathering in front of LA’s own House of Torture
The Los Angeles County Jail
441 Bauchet Street
(corner of Vines and Bauchet)
Los Angeles, CA 90012
We are their voices!!

New York, NY
Protest Monday Feb. 20 – 2pm
Lincoln Correctional Facility
31 West 110th Street, NYC

The Prisoner Solidarity Subcommittee of Occupy Wall Street answers Occupy Oakland’s call to action and march in solidarity with the Pelican Bay hunger strike, with brothers and sisters who are dispossessed by the criminal INJUSTICE system, and with political prisoners everywhere.

Washington, DC
What: Rally in Support of Prisoners & Protest Against New Visitation Rules at DC Jail
When: Feb. 20th, 12 Noon
Where: 1901 D St. SE, Washington, DC
Who: Occupy DC, Criminal InJustice Committee
Contact: jtuzcu [at] gmail [dot] com

Why: Feb. 20th is National Occupy Day in Support of Prisoners day. Actions are planned around the country in support prisoners and against mass incarceration. In DC, we will also be protesting newly planned visitation procedures for prisoners and their families. These procedures will replace the already inhuman practice of placing thick glass between prisoners and their families during visits with a new video teleconference system in which contact will be conducted through a television screen. Adding to this outrage, the DC jail is spending millions on this new inhumane form of isolation and control.

Do you have an event planned? Email us at occupy4prisoners at gmail.com!