Philippe El Shennawy. Libre après 38 ans de prison

From: Le Télégramme, Jan. 25 2014

Philippe El Shennawy, the “perpetual prisoner,” was finally released from prison in France, after 38 years! 
Ses « premiers pas dans la vraie vie », il veut les consacrer à son épouse, à ses amis, aux gens qu’il aime et qui l’aiment : Philippe El Shennawy, l’un des plus anciens détenus de France, a recouvré la liberté, hier matin, après avoir passé 38 ans derrière les barreaux.

« Waouh (…). La vraie vie, c’est vous, c’est là ! », a lancé cet homme âgé de 59 ans à la masse de journalistes venus l’attendre à la sortie de la maison d’arrêt de Fresnes (Val-de-Marne). « Toutes ces années, il faudrait que ça serve à quelque chose », a-t-il ajouté, deux jours après avoir bénéficié d’une libération conditionnelle. Condamné à la perpétuité en 1977 pour un braquage avec prise d’otage auquel il a toujours nié avoir participé, il devra porter un bracelet électronique pendant deux ans. Il va commencer un travail de chef de projet dans l’événementiel culturel dès lundi.

« Comment j’ai fait pour tenir ? »

Extrait à l’aube de sa cellule, Philippe El Shennawy, qui a passé les deux tiers de sa vie en détention, est sorti peu après 9 h, avant de tomber dans les bras de son épouse, Martine. « Comment j’ai fait pour tenir ? », s’est-il interrogé, avant de marquer un temps d’arrêt pour réfléchir. « X raisons, les gens qui m’aiment, la non-acceptation de quelque chose que je n’ai jamais accepté… Et puis savoir que, de toute façon, j’allais sortir. » « J’ai envie de vivre », a-t-il ajouté, répondant aux questions des journalistes avec beaucoup de calme et de sobriété, sous les yeux de sa femme et d’un de ses deux avocats, Julien Dubs. « C’est la fin de l’attente après toutes ces années. Ça fait 35 ans que je l’attends. Oui, je suis prête », avait dit, peu avant sa libération, Martine El Shennawy.

Surnommé « le détenu perpétuel »

Depuis 1975, Philippe El Shennawy, surnommé « le détenu perpétuel » par les directeurs de prison, a connu un parcours carcéral hors norme : vingt ans à l’isolement, six années en internement psychiatrique, 42 transfèrements, 34 jours de grève de la faim, une tentative de suicide. Et deux évasions. Il va résider chez sa femme, hormis des permissions de sortir pour aller travailler, en semaine et le week-end en matinée, pour la famille, et retrouver leur fils Christophe, un « bébé-parloir » conçu lors d’une visite en prison.

La révision de son procès en ligne de mire

Si la liberté de l’ex-détenu restera très encadrée, il envisage de poursuivre son combat contre les longues peines et entend se battre pour la révision de sa condamnation pour le braquage d’une banque de l’avenue de Breteuil, en 1975, début de son long cycle d’enfermement. « Je veux être un témoin. Dire ce que j’ai vécu… Sans exagération », a-t-il soufflé. « Ça n’a pas de sens. Les longues peines, ça ne sert à rien. » Il a confessé que la prison lui avait apporté « une réflexion, une vision de l’humain ». « D’une certaine façon, j’ai toujours été libre », a-t-il déclaré avant de quitter, à pied, l’enceinte du centre de détention : ses « premiers pas dans la vraie vie ».

It takes one Shift to Ruin a Future

We received the following reality-check from someone caring for a person in prison:

To the Reader:

My friend in a Colorado prison wrote this essay. Candy is grandmother, not a master criminal, and sees what is happening. As a troubled teenager, she first went into a system that did not want to prevent crime, only to punish after its commission. 

She asked me to help her show people how the government is wasting our tax dollars and ignoring chances to prevent recidivism. Employees who don’t care what happens as long as they get a paycheck, are as detrimental working in prisons as in any business. Would you want them working for you? They are.

IT TAKES ONE SHIFT TO RUIN A FUTURE

By Candy Ra Coppinger

There are many lives sitting here in prison today. All have made bad choices. Many still do. Many come from all sorts of dysfunctional backgrounds—all sorts of abuse. We cry out for help.

The system places people in power or authority to see to our well-being. You may ask, “Are they still being neglected and abused behind the walls?” There is the aggressive, controlling officer who downgrades you; the one who uses unnecessary physical force on you. How about the officer, who, as a woman was having a violent seizure, was screaming and cussing at the individual on the floor with convulsions? Or the one who knows you are having a conflict with another inmate, instead of trying to diffuse it, keeps the strife going? What about the officer who brings in contraband to exchange for sex with a prisoner?

Your taxes are supposed to provide better medical care, education, and security. Instead, the administrative offices here were redecorated. You should see the beautiful cherry desk in the warden’s office. They can’t afford medical staff or teachers.

A COPD hearing is the due process given to inmates who break facility rules. The Colorado Code of Penal Discipline has rules that cover violations from not making your bed, to smoking a cigarette, to bartering and trading items you purchased from the commissary. Do you have any idea how many people are convicted at these hearings by an anonymous “kite?” (An unverified note saying, “Inmate #123 is guilty, but I can’t testify in public.”) So much for trying to do right if someone dislikes you.

Many inmates have no outside financial support. All inmates are required to work. The average 40 hour per week job pays $12.60 a month. Twenty percent of the $12.60 goes toward paying restitution and/or child support. That leaves approximately $9.00 on which the inmate must live for a month. If you have a civil case, such as a tort or a lawsuit pending, that takes another 20%. Don’t have a medical emergency. There goes another $5.00. Need hygiene items? What happens to the personal care products that religious organizations donate? Items must be purchased from the canteen. With little money, their convenience store prices redefine the term indigent.

Official policy says having affirmative family support is important. Explain this to your 75 year old grandmother who had her letter returned because she forgot to put the unit number on the envelope. Then, you recall the night when your spouse got drunk and loud. The neighbors called the police. Now, you can’t correspond or visit with him because of the domestic violence dispute. That you’ve been married for ten years and he’s trying, alone, to raise your two children doesn’t matter. If you can’t write him, what makes you think you can parole home to your spouse and children? It’s hard to maintain family support when you can’t communicate.
All the instability you had growing up—the inconsistency of what you could do or not—don’t worry. You’ still have all that instability and inconsistency in prison.

Everything depends on who, what, when, where and how. Right and left do not connect. Once you settle into a room with people with whom you’re compatible, you’ll get moved to a room that is chaotic. What is stability? Where do we get it?

You may ask how these kinds of things ruin a future. They are keeping a person in his or her distorted thinking. They are continuing the cycles that led many to incarceration: instability, inconsistency, lack of communication. Every time you cut educational programs, or use that funding for something else, you are taking away a person’s opportunity to grow and become a productive member of society. When you can’t or won’t provide an individual adequate medical care, is that not telling him or her they don’t matter? Are we not continuing to keep these individuals from having the hope and desire to have a better life within the legal parameters of our society? When you hire substandard employees, you are placing lives in their hands.

Ask yourself, is that shift I’m running ruining a future or raising prospects for a better future?

CRC 5/12/13

Write to Candy for support:

Candy Ra Coppinger #59072
La Vista Correctional Facility
PO Box 3
Pueblo, CO 81002
USA

Also posted on Prison Watch for Imprisoned Women

Mississippi’s incarcaration rate continues to climb, straining finances

From: Gulf Live, Mississippi Press
Jan. 10th 2013

JACKSON, Mississippi — As Mississippi enters the second half of the current fiscal year, Mississippi’s prison population continues to increase and shows no signs of abating, according to a news release from the state Department of Corrections.
During 2011, the number of prisoners under the jurisdiction of state and federal correctional authorities declined by 0.9%, from 1,613,803 to 1,598,780, but not in Mississippi.
Mississippi has increased its inmate population by over 1,000 in the past two years:
• July 1, 2012 – 22,023 inmates, an increase of 716 from July 1, 2011
• July 1, 2011 – 21,307 inmates, an increase of 382 from July 1, 2010
• July 1, 2010 – 20,925 inmates
According to the United States Department of Justice – Bureau of Justice Statistics, only three states — Louisiana, Mississippi and Oklahoma — have incarceration rates at or above 650 per 100,000 residents. Mississippi is second only to Louisiana in incarceration rates. 
Today, the U.S. has the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world, with over 1.5 million men and women living behind bars.

From Voters Legislative Transparency Project: Las Vegas: Prison Labor Used to Beat the Odds

This research article comes from the weblog: Voters Legislative Transparency Project. We are glad that they have investigated this:

Jan. 11th 2013, by Bob Sloan

Thousands of tourists, businessmen, CEO’s and executives from all over the world mix with citizens of Nevada in the luxury and splendor of Las Vegas’ many hotels and casinos.  Most come to this beautiful city for the gambling and incredible shows found everywhere one turns.  Inside the cool confines of casinos visitors can trust that every slot machine, roulette table and blackjack shoe is checked and monitored to guarantee fair play – no magnets under the roulette table, no dealer manipulating the cards or slots rigged to never pay out. Those trying to shave the odds are not welcome and at the first hint of cheating, find themselves on the sidewalk, banned or worse.

Each casino has a multitude of surveillance cameras to guarantee play is fair and the odds are understood by all who play the quarter slots or sit down at the high roller poker table.  To ensure such fairness, the Nevada Gaming Commission regulates every aspect of gambling in the entire state.  Strict penalties for violation of gaming regulations by casino operators keep each in line and playing by the rules.

Outside the casinos, locals find the guarantees of fair play and manipulation of odds are not so well regulated. State agencies responsible for overseeing and enforcing specific state laws and regulations have lost their vigilance.  In at least one case a state regulation involving the Nevada Department of Corrections is providing one company an unfair advantage over competitors.  The prize sought isn’t a hundred dollar hit on quarter slots, its millions in profits.  An important aspect of this advantage provided to a single company, is an increase in Nevada’s already high 10.8% unemployment rate.

The issue is an ongoing battle being waged over the use of inmate labor by a private company, Alpine Steel operating out of Las Vegas, NV.  Alpine is competing directly against other Nevada companies in the field of structural steel fabrication.  Alpine’s competitors pay fair wages, benefits, provide unemployment insurance and vacation pay, while Alpine avoids all those costs.

It is not illegal for companies to be allowed to use prison labor under current laws but there are strict state and federal regulations involved that must be met before allowing direct competition with prison made products:

Mandatory Criteria for Program Participation

Corrections departments that apply to participate in PIECP must meet all nine of the following criteria:

1. Eligibility. Authority to involve the private sector in the production and sale of inmate-made goods on the open market.

2. Wages. Authority to pay wages at a rate not less than that paid for work of a similar nature in the locality in which the work is performed.

3. Non-inmate worker displacement. Written assurances that PIECP will not result in the displacement of employed workers; be applied in skills, crafts, or trades in which there is a surplus of available gainful labor in the locality; or significantly impair existing contracts.

4. Benefits. Authority to provide inmate workers with benefits comparable to those made available by the federal or state government to similarly situated private-sector employees, including workers’ compensation and, in some circumstances, Social Security.

5. Deductions. Corrections departments may opt to take deductions from inmate worker wages. Permissible deductions are limited to taxes, room and board, family support, and victims’ compensation. If victims’ compensation deductions are taken, written assurances that the deductions will be not less than 5 percent and not more than 20 percent of gross wages and that all deductions will not total more than 80 percent of gross wages.

6. Voluntary participation. Written assurances that inmate participation is voluntary.

7. Consultation with organized labor. Written proof of consultation with organized labor prior to program startup.

8. Consultation with local private industry. Written proof of consultation with local private industry prior to program startup.

9. National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Written proof of compliance with NEPA requirements prior to program startup. (emphasis mine, source BJA PIECP program overview)

In the instant case, most of the above mandatory regulations are being ignored – entirely. Prevailing wages paid by most in the steel fabrication industry in Las Vegas are in excess of $17.00 per hour.  The inmates manufacturing components for Alpine are paid less than half that scale at minimum wage or less.

By having access to and using inmate labor provided by Nevada’s Silver State Industries (SSI), Alpine Steel, is able to underbid competitors for structural steel construction projects.  This company is just one of several businesses in Nevada (and 150 others nationwide) enjoying increased benefits and profits derived from inmate labor.  Other Nevada companies enjoying similar access to inmate labor include; Vinyl Products, Inc., (vinyl waterbeds), Thomson Equipment Company (Silver Line Industries trailer manufacture and remanufacturing) and Jacobs Trading Company (repackaging).

Alpine Steel is currently manufacturing and installing prison made structural steel components at three locations in Las Vegas; the SkyVue (Ferris Wheel developed by Howard Bulloch), Staluppi Automotive Group’s Planet Mazda and Wet ‘n’ Wild Las Vegas (financed by Andre Agassi; his wife, Steffi Graf; Dr. Steven and Karen Thomas, members of the Thomas family of Thomas & Mack Center fame; and Roger and Scott Bulloch, of SPB Capital Partners).  Companies competing with Alpine Steel for these contracts, were totally unaware they were competing against a company with such a distinct and hidden advantage.

While the Staluppi and water park projects are actively being constructed, the Sky Vue job appears to be abandoned, though developer Howard Bulloch assures the absence of activity is due to plan revisions – and not a lack of funding.

Read the rest here and plz read part 2 and 3 too when they are published

New Detention Centre opened in Amsterdam: Schiphol-West: join the Demonstration against this!

On January 13th there will be a demonstration at the latest detention centre where peopel without papers are  imprisoned. In The Netherlands, the authorities choose to call such detention centres “border-hospices”. Those who are opposed to locking up fellow human beings because of them having crossed ‘borders’ without the ‘right’ papers are calling to “Let your guests go free!”:

Website for this demonstration:

http://laatuwgastenvrij.nl/
Find them on Twitter

The demonstration is organized by the Amsterdam Catholic Worker, Time To Turn, and is supported by Amnesty International.

Flyer text:

ZONDAG 13-01-13:
LAAT UW GASTEN VRIJ!

Deze winter wordt het nieuwe Justitieel Complex Schiphol in gebruik genomen. Er
bevinden zich binnen de metershoge muren ook afdelingen met tweepersoonscellen voor
honderden mensen die niet in Nederland mogen (ver)blijven omdat ze niet over voldoende
papieren beschikken én voor mensen die oorlog, vervolging of armoede zijn ontvlucht en
in Nederland asiel aanvragen.

Maar God gebiedt ons bij monde van Mozes juist om de vreemdeling lief te hebben. Daarom roepen de Catholic Worker Amsterdam, Time to Turn en kerken uit de Haarlemmermeer op om dit gebouw symbolisch ‘om te smeden’ tot een gastvrije herberg. Amnesty International steunt deze aktie.

Programma:
13.15 u.  – Verzamelen in de de Pelgrimskerk, Havikstraat 5, Badhoevedorp.
13.30 u.  – Morrend Volk zingt en er is koffie en thee.
14.00 u. – Start van de MARS VOOR GASTVRIJHEID (3 km) naar het nieuwe gevang.
15.00 u. – Aankomst bij het Justitieel Complex Schiphol, Duizendbladweg 100,
Badhoevedorp. Toespraken door diverse sprekers, onder andere oud
burgemeester van Amsterdam, Ed van Thijn.
15.45 u. – Ronde om het gebouw heen lopen om te wuiven en de gevangenen een hart
onder de riem te steken.
16.15 u. – Heropening tot gastvrije herberg: Uitrollen rode loper, overhandigen van
verzoek aan de directie met bloemen, woordenboeken en spelletjes voor de
gasten en een sleutelbord vol sleutels – sleutels naar een gastvrije toekomst.
16:45 u. – warme chocomelk
17.00 u. – einde & vertrek bus

Geweldloosheid in woord en daad: Als je aan dit getuigenis voor een gastVRIJere
wereld mee wil doen, dan verzoeken we je om dat te doen in de geest van Jezus, Gandhi
en Martin Luther King, door geen verbaal of fysiek geweld tegen politie, marechaussee of
bewakers te gebruiken, niets te beschadigen en de aanwijzingen van de organisatoren op
te volgen.

Transport en catering: Voor wie niet zo goed ter been is, rijdt er een bus heen en terug
vanaf de Pelgrimskerk. ‘Rampenplan’ zal ons van warme koffie en thee voorzien.
Breng in goede staat verkerende spelletjes en (woorden)boeken mee voor de gevangenen
en sleutels voor in het sleutelbord, sleutels naar een gastvrije toekomst!.
Voor meer informatie: WWW.SCHIPHOLWAKES.NL of bel 06 – 3029 5461.
                     

Germany: 18th Rosa Luxemburg Conference includes discussion and teach-ins about the Prison Industrial Complex in the USA

The conference will discuss the so-called crisis that brings with it (amongst others) the break-down of parliamentary democracy, the strengthening of repressive instruments against ordinary civilians.

There has been much struggle against this repression, on all fronts and all over the world. For example, the fight agains tthe Prison Industrial Complex in the USA. 

This conference discusses what we can do.

From the program in German, which can be found here:

Date: Saturday, 12th of January 2013, from 10 AM

Location:
URANIA-Haus, An der Urania 17, 10787 Berlin

About the Conference in English: http://www.rosa-luxemburg-konferenz.de/article/125.about_the_conference.html

Free Mumia Berlin is co-organizing, and Mumia Abu-Jamal will also address the conference, as well as David Gilbert, Sundiata Acoli and Oscar López Rivera, all in prison as political prisoners.

Theme: Who is afraid of whom?

Ab 11.00 Uhr Vorträge

Wer hat Angst vor wem?

Im Sommer 2007 platzte in den USA die sogenannte Hypothekenblase. Seitdem hat sich die damals ausgelöste Finanz- und Wirtschaftskrise durch viele Länder der Welt gefressen.

Sie bringt stetig neue Rekorde an Armut, Arbeitslosigkeit und physischem Elend bis hin zum Hunger hervor. Politisch wurde der Weg dorthin in USA und EU durch verstärkte präventive Aufstandsbekämpfung, durch Verstärkung des Repressionsapparates, Abbau der parlamentarischen Demokratie und sozialer Regelungen bei großzügiger Sozialisierung der Verluste von Reichen und Banken freigemacht.

Die großen Medien der westlichen Welt begleiten jeden Schritt zur Enteignung von Lohnabhängigen, kleinen Selbständigen, Rentnern und Patienten mit Beifall. In den Weltordnungskriegen unter Führung der USA sind sie Teil der psychologischen Kriegführung gegen die eigene Bevölkerung. Neofaschistische Bewegungen erhalten Zulauf.

Widerstand gegen das Abrutschen in die Barbarei findet weltweit in unterschiedlichsten Formen statt. Von den Streiks der Schüler und Studenten in Chile über den Kampf gegen den Gefängnis-Industrie-Komplex der USA, die antikapitalistischen Bewegungen in den Bankzentren bis zu den Anstrengungen Kubas um die Bewahrung der Revolution.

Was zu tun ist – darüber wird auf der Rosa-Luxemburg-Konferenz 2013 zu sprechen sein.

Referenten:

  • Ignacio Ramonet (Frankreich), Direktor von Le Monde Diplomatique en Español, Präsident des Vereins Mémoire des luttes, Ehrenpräsident von Attac
  • Hernando Calvo Ospina (Kolumbien), Journalist, ehemal. politischer Gefangener
  • Ramón Chao (Frankreich), Schriftsteller, Journalist
  • Dan Berger (USA), Schriftsteller, Aktivist, Dozent
  • Luis Morlote (Kuba), Präsident der Vereinigung Hermanos Saíz (Organisation junger kubanischer Schriftsteller und Künstler), Abgeordneter der Nationalversammlung
  • Jean Ziegler (Schweiz), Soziologe, Vizepräsident des beratenden Ausschusses des UNO-Menschenrechtsrats (angefragt)

Außerdem Beiträge von politischen Gefangenen:

  • Mumia Abu Jamal (USA), Journalist
  • Sundiata Acoli (USA), ehem. Black Panther Party, Black Liberation Army
  • David Gilbert (USA), ehem. Weather Underground
  • Oscar López Rivera (USA), Unabhängigkeitskämpfer für Puerto Rico
  • Grußadresse der Cuban Five (in den USA gefangene kubanische Freiheitskämpfer)

Moderation: Dr. Seltsam

Seven arrested in protest outside Graterford prison

Published: Monday, in: Montgomery News

November 19, 2012

By Bradley Schlegel


Authorities arrested seven protesters from Decarcerate PA early Monday morning along Route 73 in Skippack.

The group was blocking the entrance to the construction site of two new prisons on the grounds of SCI Graterford, according to a public information release report from the Pennsylvania State Police.

The protesters lined up a number of chairs, desks and apples along the road between Hudnut and Lucon roads, according to Decarcerate PA spokesperson Thomas Dichter.

All from Philadelphia, the protesters face charges of criminal conspiracy, criminal trespass, failure to disperse and disorderly conduct, according to state police. The intent of the “mock schoolhouse” was to bring further attention to Gov. Tom Corbett’s plan to construct the new prisons, according to Dichter.

He said the grassroots organization believes the approximately $400 million needed to build the two facilities would be better utilized to fund Pennsylvania’s education, calling the demonstration an attempt to draw attention to the “wasting of valuable state resources.”

Authorities observed 10 school-style desks purposefully placed by the protesters to block the construction entrance, according to information provided by Morgan Crummy, the public information officer at the state police’s Skippack barracks.

The protesters set up at 6:40 a.m. Monday, according to Dichter.

He said they were arrested approximately one hour later.

Police said the desks were occupied by seven protesters and that authorities observed eight other protesters on foot.

All seven protestors — Layne Mullett, 27, of the 4000 block of Walnut Street; Jenna Peters-Golden, 27, of the 800 block of Saint Bernard Street; Leana Cabral, 29 of the 4000 block of Hazel Avenue; Erica Slaymaker, 23, of the 400 block of Sansom Street; Sean Damon, 35, of Chester Avenue; David Fisher, 41, of the 5000 block of Chester Avenue and Robin Markle, 26, of the 5000 block of Cedar Avenue — were arraigned by District Judge Albert Augustine, according to authorities.

The judge set the bail for each at 10 percent of $5,000, according to police.

Dichter described the nature of the demonstration as escalation of Decarcerate PA’s willingness to “do what needs to be done” to prevent the construction of the prisons.

http://www.montgomerynews.com/articles/2012/11/19/springford_reporter_valley_item/news/doc50aac332aa755924734922.txt?viewmode=fullstory

Changes in sending money to your loved one in an Ohio prison

The Ohio Department of Corrections is making changes to send in money to prisoners, that may make it more difficult for families and friends to do so. They now have to be on the “approved visitor list” in order to send a Jpay-issued money order of 1.50.

This seems needlessly not good, because some prisoners are only allowed a certain amount of visitors on their lists, and they then have to take someone off and put the person who wants to donate money, on there, with a waiting time of 30 to 60 days! It sounds a lot loke the Soviet Union in terms of bureaucracy.

Also note that another private corporation (Jpay) is going to earn and profit from this decision off the backs of Americans and others with loved ones in the Ohio prisons. Prison is Big Business!

However, we hope that the ODRC will change its mind when they see the loss in $$ because prisoners will not have enough to spend in the ODRC-shop.

This is from the ODRC-site:

Effective September 17, 2012, institutions will no longer accept money orders via the U.S. Mail. Any money order received by an institution after September 17, 2012, will be returned to the sender at the inmate’s expense.

The Department of Rehabilitation and Correction will be contracting the money order processing service to a new vendor, JPay.

Please visit the JPay Web site at https://www.jpay.com/moneyOrderForms/OH_Money_Order_coupon.pdf for additional information.

Below are some key changes:

Only approved (or tentatively approved) visitors may send money. You may apply to be a visitor by filling out the application found at http://www.drc.ohio.gov/web/visiting.htm and sending it to the facility where the inmate resides.

Applications are no guarantee of approval. Visiting approval requires the permission of the inmate and can take up to 30 to 60 days. You should be as thorough as possible in completing the application process and respond promptly to any requests for additional information from institutional staff. All new visitors will only be added in compliance with the Department’s visiting policies located at http://www.drc.ohio.gov/web/drc_policies/drc_policies.htm.

Every time you send in a money order to JPay, you must complete the Money Order Deposit form, found on the JPay Website. You must use the form for the State of Ohio. You will also need to send in a copy of your driver’s license (or state ID or passport) with each money order. This will be used to match your name to the visiting list.

The name on the money order must exactly match:
– the name on the driver’s license, state ID, or passport; AND
– the name and date of birth used to register as a visitor with DRC or the money order will not be processed.

You will not be able to send any letters to the inmate with the money order. Any letters sent to inmates with the money order will be discarded.

Money orders may not exceed $200, unless approved in advance by the institution Warden. If you need to send more than $200, contact the institution for details on the procedures.

A fee of $1.50 will be deducted from the money order prior to forwarding the funds to the inmate. For example, if you send a $20 money order, $18.50 will be posted to the inmate’s account.

Money Order Coupon link:

http://www.drc.ohio.gov/web/drc_policies/drc_policies.htm

Meridian Schools Violated Student Rights In Mississippi, Arrested Students Without Probable Cause, Feds Say

By HOLBROOK MOHR 08/10/12 05:40 PM ET AP

Via: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/11/feds-student-rights-viola_n_1768306.html

Meridian Mississippi Schools

JACKSON, Miss. — Officials in east Mississippi operate a “school-to-prison pipeline” that incarcerates students for disciplinary infractions as minor as dress code violations with a policy that affects mostly black and disabled children, the U.S. Justice Department said Friday.

The Justice Department said police in the city of Meridian routinely arrest public school students without determining if there’s probable cause when the school wants to press charges for a violation. Federal authorities say the students are then denied due process in youth court and on probation. The Justice Department did not outline specific allegations of wrongdoing against the school district in a letter to state and local authorities. Instead, it appears from the letter that the problems begin once a student is arrested.

Once arrested, the youth court puts the students on probation, sometimes without proper legal representation, according to the letter. If the students are on probation, future school violations could be considered a probation violation that requires them “to serve any suspensions from school incarcerated in the juvenile detention center,” the department said.

That means if a student is on probation and then gets suspended for a minor infraction like “dress code violations, flatulence, profanity, and disrespect,” the student could have to serve that suspension in the detention center.

“The students most severely affected by these practices are black children and children with disabilities in Meridian,” the Justice Department said.

The Justice Department made the allegations in a letter to Mississippi’s governor, attorney general and various officials in Meridian and Lauderdale County.

“These entities, working in conjunction, help to operate a school-to-prison pipeline that routinely and repeatedly incarcerates children for school disciplinary infractions,” the letter said.

The department said if the matter isn’t corrected soon it will sue the Lauderdale County Youth Court, the Meridian Police Department and the Mississippi Division of Youth Services, a division of the state Department of Human Services. The Division of Youth Services is involved the probation system.

“The systematic disregard for children’s basic constitutional rights by agencies with a duty to protect and serve these children betrays the public trust,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “We hope to resolve the concerns outlined in our findings in a collaborative fashion, but we will not hesitate to take appropriate legal action if necessary.”

The police department referred questions to a city spokesman, who didn’t immediately return a call. The governor’s office, the youth court and DHS didn’t immediately comment on the letter. The school district superintendent didn’t immediately respond to a message.

The letter said the findings are the result of an eight-month investigation. The letter also said that Lauderdale County Youth Court Judges Frank Coleman and Veldore “Vel” Young pledged to cooperate in the investigation, but “consistently denied DOJ access to information about the policies and practices” of the court and directed the city of Meridian to deny the department access to files concerning children.

April 19th—The Day to Break the Silence! 
Say No to Mass Incarceration!

It is time and way past time to stand up and say NO MORE! Our youth are being treated like criminals—guilty until proven innocent, if they can survive to prove their innocence. The vigilante murder of Trayvon Martin concentrates the racial profiling that leads into more than 2.4 million people being warehoused in prison and the millions more who are treated like second-class citizens even after they’ve served their sentences.

April 19th must be a day of standing up and saying NO MORE to all of this. It must be a day of teach-ins and rallies in high schools and colleges; a day of youth, tired of being demonized, taking to the streets—joined by many others from different backgrounds, races and nationalities who stand with them; a day of speaking bitterness to the way the whole criminal justice system abuses millions of people. All saying in a powerful voice: NO to mass incarceration and all its consequences.

NO MORE TRAYVON MARTINS!


NO MORE OSCAR GRANTS!


NO MORE 2.4 MILLION PEOPLE WAREHOUSED IN PRISON!


NO MORE 1 IN 8 BLACK MEN IN THEIR 20’S LOCKED DOWN IN JAIL!


MASS INCARCERATION + SILENCE = GENOCIDE!

April 19th Convergences

Atlanta: 4 pm—Protest, speak-out, street theater, & march, Five Points MARTA Station.

Chicago: 5 pm—Federal Plaza at Dearborn & Adams. Houston: 3:30 pm—Convergence, intersection of Cleburne and Tierwester, March to Houston Police substation.

Los Angeles: 4 pm—Pershing Square, 5th & Olive, Downtown L.A.; 5 pm—March to LAPD Headquarters.

New York City: 4 pm—One Police Plaza, downtown Manhattan; 5:30 pm—March to Union Square.

San Francisco Bay Area: 12 noon—Rally, California State Building, Van Ness & McAllister—March to Federal Building, 7th and Mission Streets. Seattle: 3 pm—speak-out and picket, King County Jail, 5th Ave. & James St., downtown Seattle.

Endorsed by (as of April 14):

All-African Peoples Revolutionary Party (GC); Gbenga Akinnagbe, Actor; Rafael Angulo, Professor of Social Work, USC; Edward Asner, Actor; Dave Atwood, Houston Peace and Justice Center; Lawrence Aubry, Convenor, Advocates for Black Strategic Alternatives; Hadar Aviram, Associate Professor, UC Hastings College of the Law*; Lucy Bailey, Independent, LA Ca; Nellie Bailey, Occupy Harlem; Carissa Baldwin-McGinnis, Director of Peace and Justice, All Saints Church. Pasadena, Ca.; Jared Ball, VOXUNION Media, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement; Social Justice Committee, Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists; Rev. Dr. Dorsey O. Blake, Presiding Minister, The Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples; Blase Bonpane, Ph.D., Director, OFFICE OF THE AMERICAS; Herb Boyd, Harlem-based author, educator, journalist and activist; Bob Brown, co-director, Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael) Institute; Elaine Brower, World Can’t Wait, Military Families Speak Out; Richard Brown, Former Black Panther Party; John L. Burris, Civil Rights Attorney; Rev. Richard “Meri Ka Ra” Byrd, Senior Pastor, KRST Unity Center of Afrakan Spiritual Science; California Coalition for Women Prisoners; Kendra Castaneda, Prisoner Human Rights Activist with a family member in CA State Prison Segregation Unit; Denika Chapman, mother, and Marco Scott, uncle, of Kenneth Harding, Kenneth Harding Foundation; Eric Cheyfitz, Ernest I. White Professor of American Studies and Humane Letters, Cornell University; Solomon Comissiong, Executive Director, Your World News Media Collective (www.yourworldnews.org); Community Futures Collective, Vallejo CA; Drucilla Cornell, Professor, Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, Rutgers University; Colin Dayan, Robert Penn Warren Professor in the Humanities, Vanderbilt University; Oscar De La Torre, Founder/Executive Director, Pico Youth and Family Center, Santa Monica, CA; Emory Douglas, Black Panther Party/Alumni; Carl Dix, Revolutionary Communist, co-initiator of Campaign to Stop “Stop and Frisk”; Kevin Epps, Independent Filmmaker/Activist; Glen Ford, executive editor, Black Agenda Report; Dr. Henry Giroux, Department of English and Cultural Studies, McMaster University, Ontario, Canada; Rebeca Guerrero, Los Angeles, CA; Jeff Haas, Civil Rights Attorney, Activist and Author of The Assasination of Fred Hampton: How the FBI and Chicago Police Murdered a Black Panther; Kelley Lytle Hernandez, Professor of History, UCLA; Nicholas Heyward Sr., October 22nd Coalition to Stop Police Brutality, Parents Against Police Brutality, and father of Nicholas Naquan Heyward, Jr., killed by NYPD; Jeremy Hiller, Education Not Incarceration; Mike Holman, Executive Director, Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund*; Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace (ICUJP) members Mary C. Singaus, Douglas MacMillan, Margaret Hutchinson, Stephen L. Fiske, Susan Anderson, Ed Fisher, Anthony Manouses, and Andy Griggs, Los Angeles CA; The International Coalition to Free the Angola 3; Melvin Ishmael Johnson, Director of Dramastage-Qumran Workshop; Mesha Irizarry, Idris Stelly Foundation; Tom Kleven, Professor, Thurgood Marshall School of Law; Cephus ‘Uncle Bobby’ Johnson, Oscar Grant Foundation; Robin DG Kelley, Distinguished Professor of History, UCLA; Robert King, Freed Angola 3; Wayne Kramer, Jail Guitar Doors USA, Co-Founder; Patricia Krommer CSJ, Pax Christi So. California; Roshanak Kheshti, Assistant Professor, Ethnic Studies, University of California, San Diego; Sarah Kunstler, Esq., National Lawyers Guild NYC*; Laura Magnani, American Friends Service Committee; Joe Maizlish, Los Angeles, CA; BM Marcus, Community Director, Comm. Advocate Organization, Brooklyn NY; Dr. Antonio Martinez, Institute for Survivors of Human Rights Abuses, and co-founder of the Marjorie Kovler Center for the Treatment of Survivors of Torture; Carlos Meza, Occupy Whittier; Rev. Janet Gollery McKeithen (Unity Methodist Clergy), President, Methodist Federation for Social Action, Cal-Pac; Peter McLaren, School of Critical Studies, Faculty of Education, University of Auckland, New Zealand; Rev. Darrel Meyers, Presbyterian Church USA; Nancy Michaels, Associate Director of the Mansfield Institute for Social Justice and Transformation; Aaron Mirmalek, cousin of Leonard Peltier, LPDOC, Oakland, CA; Gregg Morris, Assistant Professor, Journalism, Department of Film and Media Studies, Hunter College; Khalil Gibran Muhammad, author of “The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime and the Making of Modern Urban America; Rev. Sala Nolan, National Minister for Criminal Justice and Human Rights, United Church of Christ; Oakland Education Association Representative Assembly; Occupy Education, Northern California; October 22nd Coalition to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation (New York Committee); Kelly Phillips, Symple Equazion/ author of “The Art of Frowns to Smiles”; Laura Pulido, Visiting Professor, Department of Black Studies, UCSB; Professor, Department of American Studies and Ethnicity, USC; Willie and Mary Ratcliff, Editor, San Francisco Bay View Black National Newspaper; Anthony Rayson, curator of South Chicago Anarchist Black Cross Zine Distro; Rev. Dr. George F. Regas, Rector Emeritus, All Saints Church, Pasadena, CA; Joyce Robbins, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Touro College; Dylan Rodriguez, Professor and Chair, Dept. of Ethnic Studies, University of California, Riverside, and founding member of Critical Resistance: Beyond the Prison Industrial Complex; Stephen Rohde, Chair, Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace; Lila Salas, Occupy Whittier; Rev. Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou, Freedom Church; Dan Siegel, Civil Rights attorney; Jonathan Simon, Adrian A. Kragen Professor of Law, U.C. Berkeley; Ellen Snortland, author, activist, performer; Jahan Stanizui, Culver City Interfaith; Debra Sweet, Director, World Can’t Wait; Heather Thompson, Departments of African American Studies and History, Temple University; Paul Von Blum, African American Studies, UCLA; Jim Vrettos, Professor of Sociology, John Jay College of Criminal Justice; Anne Weills, National Lawyers Guild; Cornel West, author and educator, co-initiator of Campaign to Stop “Stop and Frisk”; Tim’m T. West, Community Activist, Youth Advocate, Hip Hop Artist/Poet; Hadar Aviram, Associate Professor, UC Hastings College of the Law*; Anita Wills, Occupy 4 Prisoners; Clyde Young, Revolutionary Communist, and former prisoner;
*For Identification Purposes Only