Free Mississippi Movement

From: Free Alabama – Mississippi Movement Blogtalk Radio Show:

Please listen to the recording of August 8th FREE ALABAMA-MISSISSIPPI MOVEMENT’S blogtalkradio show as we continue our “HANDS OFF OF OUR WOMEN AT TUTWILER” series ahead of our “MARCH ON TUTWILER” AND rally at the State Capitol on August 23, 2014, beginning at 11 a.m.

Also, we will get an update on our FAMILY… in Georgia, and learn about new developments and oppressive tactics that are being carried out by the State against the Men and Women who want their FREEDOM over there also.

“MISSISSIPPI BROWN” will be back again and we look forward to another great show.

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Bill Seeks To Privatize Half Of Ohio Prisons

Thank you to the people at Ohio’s Death Row on Blogger for bringing this to our attention –

Ohio prisons could soon become corporations if lawmakers pass a bill that would privatize up to half of the state’s correctional facilities.
An e-mail sent by the Ernie Moore, the director of Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, warned workers of the possibility, 10 Investigates’ Paul Aker reported on Thursday.
Supporters of the bill said privatizing prisons could save tax dollars, but the prison system’s union employees worry it means they will be out of work.

Continue Reading on ONNtv 

Read Senate Bill 269 Here

More information can be found here;
http://www.ocsea.org/badforohio/

(Even though the above link is for Ohio Civil Service Employees they do have resources that could be utilized by citizens on that page.)

20 inmates shot dead during Mexico prison battle

MEXICO CITY – Twenty inmates were shot to death Monday when a group of prisoners attacked another gang inside a prison in the Mexican state of Sinaloa, authorities said. Two policemen guarding the prison were wounded.
The lock-up in the Pacific coast city of Mazatlan was quickly brought under control and investigators found two pistols and an assault rifle inside, said Martin Gastelum, a spokesman for the Sinaloa state prosecutors’ office.

Gastelum said all the dead inmates were killed by other prisoners. He did not say whether police fired any shots while restoring order.
Sinaloa state Public Safety Secretary Josefina Garcia told Radio Formula that one of the two police officers wounded was in serious condition.
Garcia said 17 of the dead were among the inmates attacked and three were with the attackers.

Local media said those attacked were apparently members of the Zetas drug gang, which is battling the powerful Sinaloa cartel, but officials were unable to confirm that.

Many of Mexico’s most powerful drug traffickers hail from Sinaloa, a key smuggling corridor and cultivation area for marijuana and opiates. The northwestern state, and Mazatlan in particular, are rife with turf battles among drug gangs.
Mexico’s drug gangs frequently try to break their members out of prison, by staging attacks from the outside or buying off prison officials. But there was no immediate confirmation Monday’s shootings involved a prison-break attempt.

Former inmate speaks on CA prisoners abuse series

While reading the Sacramento Bee prison abuse series (9-10 May 2010), I was forced to recall the stretch I served in solitary confinement while incarcerated in the Michigan Department of Corrections. The series reveals some horrible abuses of inmates in California’s prisons, many of which mirror the units we have here in Michigan.

One of the more troubling findings is the lack of redress for prisoners who have been mistreated. When a prisoner’s grievance process is meaningless, or when the grievance is simply never processed, there is no good resolution. Either the prisoner must accept the abuse or find an alternative method of registering his complaint. Often, the alternative method does not work out well.

Beginning my ten-year run in solitary, I was placed next to an inmate called “Brown Dog” who endured the “gas and a cell rush” about three times a week, mostly out of boredom. (By “gas and a cell rush,” I mean a correction officer shooting massive quantities of pepper spray into the cell, opening the door, then a rush of five or six officers – all geared up in helmets, chest protectors, shin shields, and arm padding – who would tackle, twist, and restrain the inmate.) Brown Dog had numerous sheets of paper hanging outside of his cell which I found out later listed restrictions of many sorts. He was not allowed paper in his cell. The water for his toilet/sink fixture was shut off. He was not allowed the three weekly showers everyone else was allowed. He was not allowed to go outside at all, and he was on food loaf, where everything from the meal – say, for instance, ham, yams, two slices of bread, butter, an orange, and red Kool-aid – are blended together into a puree, then baked into a “loaf”. I wondered why he would continue to cause more trouble. “I’m on detention for five more years, and I’ve got nothing better to do,” he’d tell me. Certainly, he had nothing at all to do. He was not allowed anything.

In the many years that followed, I learned how people came to dig such deep holes. Many times I saw simple problems mushroom. If a dinner tray lacked an item, the inmate would request a replacement. If the officer replaced the item, everyone was happy. Sometimes, however, the officer would not. The inmate would ask to speak to the sergeant. The officer would not tell the sergeant. So when the officer came around to pick up the trays, the inmate would refuse to return his tray in an attempt to get the sergeant up onto the cellblock. By this time, of course, the sergeant would come, but he would bring with him the rush squad and a can of pepper spray. Instead of the replacement food item, the inmate received food-loaf for seven, 14, even 30 days.

I don’t know what started Brown Dog down that long road that he traveled, but I have always wondered how many cases such as his could have been stopped if one person had attempted to solve the problem rather than simply resort to force. I don’t pretend that guards are mostly bad and inmates are mostly good. Real life is rarely as simple as that. But many of the problems that crop up in prison could be resolved if the parties involved would muster the effort to try to understand each other. Oft-times, however, those with authority simply choose force.

If we demanded better dispute resolution skills of the officials, we not only might see less need for isolation units but also better outcomes for inmates when they leave. I believe the only way we can achieve that, however, is to improve oversight of those officials we vest with so much power over inmates. The Bee investigation supports this conclusion. And if inmates found that they could achieve a reasonable solution through a grievance procedure instead of having their grievances discarded or ignored, they may choose that route instead of the gas and cell rush method.

By Peter Martel
Criminal Justice Program Associate
American Friends Service Committee
1414 Hill Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Office: 734-761-8283, ext 2

38 Recent HIV Deaths at Alabama Prison

Welcome to American Gulag – Prison News
Wednesday, September 03 2003 @ 08:58 AM UTC
Contributed by: Admin
Submitted by sara totonchi:

On Wednesday, Dr. Stephen Tabet, MD, MPH, an infectious disease specialist, released a detailed 125-page report addressing a large number of deaths and “substandard” medical care provided to HIV and AIDS infected male prisoners confined at Limestone Correctional Facility. The report was filed as an expert opinion in the federal lawsuit of Leatherwood, et. al. v. Campbell, et. al. a case that challenges the inadequate medical treatment and living conditions for HIV and AIDS prisoners at Limestone.

The report provides a graphic portrayal of 38 HIV prisoner deaths since 1999; an examination of numerous HIV prisoners currently confined at the facility; and a tour of the physical facilities used to house the HIV prisoners.

“The medical treatment and living conditions experienced by our clients is completely unacceptable, unconstitutional and appalling,” stated David Lipman, attorney for the class of HIV prisoners at Limestone.

Since 1999, 38 HIV prisoners have died at Limestone. Dr. Tabet’s report concludes that “[I]n almost all instances the death was preceded by a failure to provide proper medical care or treatment.” Almost all of the 38 HIV deaths were caused by “preventable illnesses.” In fact, “[P]atients with serious diseases experienced serious delays in medical care or were not treated at all.” One HIV prisoner “had such severe pneumonia that he suffocated in front of the medical staff – despite the patient’s requests for treatment, he was not sent to a hospital until his condition was irreversible.” Dr. Tabet’s report concludes that “the most egregious medical failure at Limestone is the number of preventable deaths.”

In addition, the report details his personal examination of numerous HIV and AIDS infected prisoners on February 12 and 13, 2003. During the HIV prisoner examinations, Dr. Tabet discovered instances of patients not receiving medical treatment for potentially life threatening illnesses — such as cryptococcal meningitis and pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP); accessibility for handicapped HIV prisoners being “disregarded and neglected”; and evidence of a “recent widespread outbreak of staphylococcal skin infections.

Dr. Tabet also examined the overcrowded open warehouse where the HIV infected prisoners are housed. In his report, Dr. Tabet finds that the “[S]ide-by-side and head-to-toe bunk arrangements place these immune compromised patients and the staff at an undue risk of acquiring contagious diseases.”

Dr. Tabet’s report has been filed in the Northern District Court of Alabama. Dr. Tabet has been retained by the lawyers representing the class of HIV prisoners confined at Limestone. Trial has been scheduled before Federal District Court Judge Karon Bowdre after January 15, 2004. Earlier, in February 2003, Alabama Department of Correction’s own auditors — Jacqueline Moore and Associates — found similar medical and living conditions.

Attorney Lipman continues, “The state of Alabama has failed to provide even a basic, humane level of medical care for our clients. Dr. Tabet’s findings parallel the previous findings found by Alabama Department of Correction’s own auditors, Jacqueline Moore and Associates. We seek Federal Court intervention as the state of Alabama has forfeited their right to provide medical care.”

The report, pleadings and photographs of the prison can be viewed on the web-site of the Southern Center for Human Rights at: http://www.schr.org/prisonsjails/press%20releases/press_limestonereport.htm

Former CO and Deputy Arrested

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has arrested a former Campbell County sheriff’s deputy on child sex charges.

In a news release, the TBI said 36-year-old Daniel Ward of Jacksboro was picked up Tuesday after a county grand jury indicted him Monday on 16 counts involving one alleged victim.

Among the charges are two counts of sexual battery by an authority figure. Others relate to sexual battery against a girl under 13.

The TBI said it began investigating at the request of the district prosecutor in December. Ward is accused of molesting the girl numerous times between October 2003 and March 2009.

Ward was formerly a correctional officer and patrol deputy in Campbell County.
He was booked into jail on $25,000 bond.

http://www.myeyewitnessnews.com/news/state/story/Former-Deputy-Faces-Child-Sex-Charges-in-East/saX785kctkqCWKjvhigdsA.cspx

Torture at a Louisiana Prison

CounterPunch

By Jordan Flaherty

The torture of prisoners in US custody is not only found in military prisons in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo. If President Obama is serious about ending US support for torture, he can start here in Louisiana.

The Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola is already notorious for a range of offenses, including keeping former Black Panthers Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox, in solitary for over 36 years. Now a death penalty trial in St. Francisville, Louisiana has exposed widespread and systemic abuse at the prison. Even in the context of eight years of the Bush administration, the behavior documented at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola stands out both for its brutality and for the significant evidence that it was condoned and encouraged from the very top of the chain of command.

In a remarkable hearing that explored torture practices at Angola, twenty-five inmates testified last summer to facing overwhelming violence in the aftermath of an escape attempt at the prison nearly a decade ago. These twenty-five inmates – who were not involved in the escape attempt – testified to being kicked, punched, beaten with batons and with fists, stepped on, left naked in a freezing cell, and threatened that they would be killed. They were threatened by guards that they would be sexually assaulted with batons. They were forced to urinate and defecate on themselves. They were bloodied, had teeth knocked out, were beaten until they lost control of bodily functions, and beaten until they signed statements or confessions presented to them by prison officials. One inmate had a broken jaw, and another was placed in solitary confinement for eight years.

While prison officials deny the policy of abuse, the range of prisoners who gave statements, in addition to medical records and other evidence introduced at the trial, present a powerful argument that abuse is a standard policy at the prison. Several of the prisoners received $7,000 when the state agreed to settle, without admitting liability, two civil rights lawsuits filed by 13 inmates. The inmates will have to spend that money behind bars –more than 90% of Angola’s prisoners are expected to die behind its walls.

Systemic Violence

During the attempted escape at Angola, in which one guard was killed and two were taken hostage, a team of officers – including Angola warden Burl Cain – rushed in and began shooting, killing one inmate, Joel Durham, and wounding another, David Mathis.

The prison has no official guidelines for what should happen during escape attempts or other crises, a policy that seems designed to encourage the violent treatment documented in this case. Richard Stalder, at that time the secretary of the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections, was also at the prison at the time. Yet despite – or because of – the presence of the prison warden and head of corrections for the state, guards were given free hand to engage in violent retribution. Cain later told a reporter after the shooting that Angola’s policy was not to negotiate, saying, ”That’s a message all the inmates know. They just forgot it. And now they know it again.”

Five prisoners – including Mathis – were charged with murder, and currently are on trial, facing the death penalty – partially based on testimony from other inmates that was obtained through beatings and torture. Mathis is represented by civil rights attorneys Jim Boren (who also represented one of the Jena Six youths) and Rachel Connor, with assistance from Nola Investigates, an investigative firm in New Orleans that specializes in defense for capital cases.

The St. Francisville hearing was requested by Mathis’ defense counsel to demonstrate that, in the climate of violence and abuse, inmates were forced to sign statements through torture, and therefore those statements should be inadmissible. 20th Judicial District Judge George H. Ware Jr. ruled that the documented torture and abuse was not relevant. However, the behavior documented in the hearing not only raises strong doubts about the cases against the Angola Five, but it also shows that violence against inmates has become standard procedure at the prison.

The hearing shows a pattern of systemic abuse so open and regular, it defies the traditional excuse of bad apples. Inmate Doyle Billiot testified to being threatened with death by the guards, “What’s not to be afraid of? Got all these security guards coming around you everyday looking at you sideways, crazy and stuff. Don’t know what’s on their mind, especially when they threaten to kill you.” Another inmate, Robert Carley testified that a false confession was beaten out of him. “”I was afraid,” he said. “I felt that if I didn’t go in there and tell them something, I would die.”

Inmate Kenneth “Geronimo” Edwards testified that the guards “beat us half to death.” He also testified that guards threatened to sexually assault him with a baton, saying, “that’s a big black…say you want it.” Later, Edwards says, the guards, “put me in my cell. They took all my clothes. Took my jumpsuit. Took all the sheets, everything out the cell, and put me in the cell buck-naked…It was cold in the cell. They opened the windows and turned the blowers on.” At least a dozen other inmates also testified to receiving the same beatings, assault, threats of sexual violence, and “freezing treatment.”

Some guards at the prison treated the abuse as a game. Inmate Brian Johns testified at the hearing that, “one of the guards was hitting us all in the head. Said he liked the sound of the drums – the drumming sound that – from hitting us in the head with the stick.”

Solitary Confinement

Two of Angola’s most famous residents, political prisoners Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox, have become the primary example of another form of abuse common at Angola – the use of solitary confinement as punishment for political views. The two have now each spent more than 36 years in solitary, despite the fact that a judge recently overturned Woodfox’s conviction (prison authorities continue to hold Woodfox and have announced plans to retry him). Woodfox and Wallace – who together with former prisoner King Wilkerson are known as the Angola Three – have filed a civil suit against Angola, arguing that their confinement has violated both their 8th amendment rights against cruel and unusual punishment and 4th amendment right to due process.

Recent statements by Angola warden Burl Cain makes clear that Woodfox and Wallace are being punished for their political views. At a recent deposition, attorneys for Woodfox asked Cain, “Lets just for the sake of argument assume, if you can, that he is not guilty of the murder of Brent Miller.” Cain responded, “Okay. I would still keep him in (solitary)…I still know that he is still trying to practice Black Pantherism, and I still would not want him walking around my prison because he would organize the young new inmates. I would have me all kind of problems, more than I could stand, and I would have the blacks chasing after them…He has to stay in a cell while he’s at Angola.”

In addition to Cain’s comments, Louisiana Attorney General James “Buddy” Caldwell has said the case against the Angola Three is personal to him. Statements like this indicate that this vigilante attitude not only pervades New Orleans’ criminal justice system, but that the problem comes from the very top.

The problem is not limited to Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola – similar stories can be found in prisons across the US. But from the abandonment of prisoners in Orleans Parish Prison during Katrina to the case of the Jena Six, Louisiana’s criminal justice system, which has the highest incarceration rate in the world, often seems to be functioning under plantation-style justice. Most recently, journalist A.C. Thompson, in an investigation of post-Katrina killings, found evidence that the New Orleans police department supported vigilante attacks against Black residents of New Orleans after Katrina.

Torture and abuse is illegal under both US law – including the constitutional prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment – and international treaties that the US is signatory to, from the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ratified in 1992). Despite the laws and treaties, US prison guards have rarely been held accountable to these standards.

Once we say that abuse or torture is ok against prisoners, the next step is for it to be used in the wider population. A recent petition for administrative remedies filed by Herman Wallace states, “If Guantanamo Bay has been a national embarrassment and symbol of the U.S. government’s relation to charges, trials and torture, then what is being done to the Angola 3… is what we are to expect if we fail to act quickly…The government tries out it’s torture techniques on prisoners in the U.S. – just far enough to see how society will react. It doesn’t take long before they unleash their techniques on society as a whole.” If we don’t stand up against this abuse now, it will only spread.

Despite the hearings, civil suits, and other documentation, the guards who performed the acts documented in the hearing on torture at Angola remain unpunished, and the system that designed it remains in place. In fact, many of the guards have been promoted, and remain in supervisory capacity over the same inmates they were documented to have beaten mercilessly. Warden Burl Cain still oversees Angola. Meanwhile, the trial of the Angola Five is moving forward, and those with the power to change the pattern of abuse at Angola remain silent.

Jordan Flaherty is a journalist based in New Orleans, and an editor of Left Turn Magazine. He can be reached at neworleans@leftturn.org.

Research assistance for this article by Emily Ratner.