Support the Texas Prison Work-Strikers: Stop retaliation against Texas prisoner population

This comes from the IWW Incarerated Workers Organizing Committee:

Demands of Texas prisoners / incarcerated workers

As of Monday, April 18th, prisoners in Texas have been on rolling labor strikes for two weeks. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) is retaliating by locking the prisons down and depriving prisoners of even the standard abysmal human necessities they are forced to provide. Retaliation against people who refuse to work for free is one of the tools prison administrators use to assure that prisoners can continue to be exploited in today’s modern day slave system.

If you have a minute, please call the following administrators and read the scripts below:

*Brad Livingston, Executive Director, TDCJ, (936) 437-2101 or (512) 463-9988
*Bryan Collier, Deputy Executive Director, TDCJ, (936) 437-6251 or (512) 463-9988
*Jay Eason, Deputy Director, TDCJ, (936) 437-6318 or (512) 463-9988
*TDJC Ombudsman Office (936) 437-4927 ombudsman@tdcj.texas.gov
*TDJC Office of the Inspector General (936) 437-5030 oig@tdcj.texas.gov
*TDCJ Executive Director (512) 463-9988 exec.director@tdcj.state.tx.us

EASY Script:
“Hi I’m calling in support of striking prisoners in Texas and their demands for good time, an end to $100 medical copay, an independent grievance procedure and an end to human rights abuses. Stop enslaving our brothers and sisters and assure that your staff is not retaliating against striking workers by giving them write ups, eyes on Texas!”

CHALLENGING Script:
“Hi I heard about the prisoners labor strike and I’m calling to find out what sort of progress you are making toward meeting the prisoners demands.” Here is the list of demands for you to discuss.

~~~~~

If you have a little more time and want to have an even more significant impact we need help determining which prisoners are being retaliated against on any given day. Which prisons are on lockdown seems to change every couple of days.

There are nearly 100 prisons on this list of prisons and administrator phone numbers. Please add comments to the list so that we are better able to track what is happening and hopefully get at least a couple of calls in to every facility.

Script: “Hello, I’m calling to see if this facility is on lockdown right now.”

If they say no, say “I have heard that some prisons in Texas are on lockdown because of a labor strike associated with a list of demands from the prisoners”. Then start reading them this list of demands and letter from a prisoner.

If they say yes, they are on lockdown, ask them about the conditions the prisoners are facing and also ask them what directives they are relying on to guide their actions in this matter. Here are some of the reported conditions:

– Workers are threatened with major infractions for withholding their labor. These infractions could result in good time being taken away. Although good time seems to rarely be applied to anyone’s sentence, the threat of losing it is highly coersive.

– The locked down prisoners are not receiving the hot meals. This means hundreds or thousands of prisoners have had nothing to eat but bologna or peanut butter sandwiches since April 4th.

– Mailroom staff is delaying or interfering with the delivery of inmate mail.

– There are reports of lights being left on during the night or left off during the day, other examples of petty harassment from trifling guards and threats that the lockdown treatment will extend for weeks or even months.

– Interfering with the prisoner’s access to basic necessities like food, sleep and connection with their families and the outside world is inhumane.

– Please stop punishing the prisoners for asserting their basic humanity, if you want them to come off the workstoppage, you should meet their demands.

The prisoners need sustained pressure on these institutions, so please call on Monday and then make plans to follow up at least once more later in the week, if not every day. Thank you!!!

~~~~~

Also, Looking ahead to May 1st, we are asking people to carry the prisoners voices with them to whatever May Day events they may be planning or attending. Alabama prisoners have called for a month-long workstoppage starting on May 1st. If you’re already getting rowdy May Day, please also consider throwing a jail demo or a protest at the public face of a prison-labor exploiting corporation.

 

Protest Disciplinary Actions Against Prison Hunger Strikers

This was sent by email to those who signed up to pledge taking action, but everyone can participate!
Greetings to all Pledge signers,
As you know, on July 8, 2013 more than 30,000 California prisoners initiated a historic hunger strike calling on the Governor and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to meet their 5 Core Demands. Sixty days and one death later, the strikers suspended the strike.
Thank you so much for continuing your support of the hunger strikers.
CDCR RETALIATES AGAINST PEACEFUL PROTEST WITH ACCUSATIONS OF SERIOUS RULE VIOLATIONS (115 WRITE-UP)
The hunger strike was a non-violent and peaceful protest of resistance against the violence and torture perpetrated against prisoners by prison staff. Prisoners all over the world use hunger strikes to affirm their humanity. Hunger striking is a time-honored form of peaceful protest, going back hundreds – perhaps thousands – of years. It allows nonviolent dissent for people who lack viable methods to obtain redress of grievances.
Every person who participated in this summer’s peaceful protest of refusing meals has received a 115 write-up, accusing him of committing a serious rule violation for his participation in the hunger strike. This is a continuation of CDCR’s attacks on the nonviolent protest.
A 115 WRITE-UP CAN EXTEND SOLITARY CONFINEMENT PERIOD AND RESULT IN DENIAL OF PAROLE
A 115 is serious. It can result in extending a prisoner’s period of solitary confinement by years, in the imposition of penalties like television restrictions, or in becoming the basis for denying parole.
If the 115 is gang-related, the results are even worse: it can be used to validate a prisoner as a gang member or associate. Validation can cause the prisoner to be moved to the Security Housing Unit (the “SHU,” aka solitary confinement), or to be kept longer in the SHU. Officials at California State Prison Corcoran, and possibly at other prisons, encouraged prisoners to stipulate that they had participated in the hunger strike, in exchange for a lesser 115 penalty. But that stipulation included a phrase acknowledging that the hunger strike was organized or directed by prison gangs, leading to grave repercussions for participants throughout the system.
Keeping people in solitary confinement for more years, because they peacefully protested solitary confinement, is outrageous! This is a symptom of the unjust retaliation that CDCR is perpetuating against hunger strikers.
TELL CDCR THAT THE PRACTICE OF ISSUING 115 WRITE-UPS FOR PARTICIPATING IN THE HUNGER STRIKE IS OUTRAGEOUS
Please contact M. D. Stainer, Director of the Division of Adult Institutions at CDCR. Your voice needs to be heard by the people making decisions! Tell him to end this policy of punishing people for refusing their meals in nonviolent protest, and to reverse the 115s that were given out. Let him know that you are distressed to hear that about his policy of issuing 115 write-ups, further oppressing the peaceful hunger strikers.
M.D. Stainer, Director
Division of Adult Institutions
Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
P. O. Box 942883
Sacramento CA. 94283
(916) 445-7688
PHSS will let you know when we find out the effects of our collective activity. Please share this Alert with your networks!
In solidarity,
Dana Gross, for Emergency Response Network – Pledge of Resistance
Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition

Action Alert: Take action for one who has taken action for others: Andre Jacobs being tortured at SCI Coal Township

From: HRC-FedUp! Emergency Response Network

September 27th 2010
URGENT: Andre Jacobs being tortured at SCI Coal Township
Please take action immediately

HRC just received a report from Andre Jacobs’ grandmother that last Thursday he was taken from his solitary confinement cell and strapped to a restraint chair for 17 straight hours after he spoke up in defense of another man being deprived food by guards.

See the Call-in Guide below and take action today. Forward this message wide and ask people to subscribe to our action alert list. Torture thrives in secrecy and we need numbers. Spread this on Facebook. Please help.

We only know of Andre’s situation because his grandmother went to visit him today (Monday).

He has been held without clothing for days and given only a thin garment to cover himself. Andre has been deprived of showers, legal property, hygiene and cleaning items. This is the 2nd time Andre has been stripped of clothing and property in less than two months. He is not supposed to be given property or clothing until Thursday.

Please take action immediately. Andre Jacobs is a leader in the human rights struggle inside the prison walls and has been subjected to systematic, racist dehumanization by prison personnel with the full knowledge and consent of the DOC hierarchy for years. Just last week he was in Luzerne County for a preliminary hearing for “riot” charges stemming from a series of retaliatory assaults, taserings, and pepper-sprayings perpetrated against himself and 6 others at SCI Dallas at the end of April. This incident is featured in the HRC report Resistance and Retaliation.

Andre is a 28-year-old jailhouse lawyer being targeted for neutralization because he inspires prisoners to stand up for their human rights, to fight racism via constitutionally-protected means, and to educate themselves and their families about the real function and purpose of these prisons.

HRC will send an update and call for further action later in the week. Thank you all for caring and taking action. It does matter. Please email and/or call 412-654-9070 and inform HRC that you have taken action. It helps us monitor the response and keep updated on the situation.

******* CALL-IN GUIDE **********************************
For Andre Jacobs, DOC # DQ5437:
Please call Supt. Varano 570.644.7890, Regional Secretary Klopotoski 717.975.4865, DOC Secretary Shirley Moore Smeal 717.975.4918, OPR Director Barnacle 717.214.8473,

Representatives Waters, Vanessa Brown, and Caltigirone (who were at the recent hearing on solitary), local and federal law enforcement, and all other appropriate persons. (click the links for phone numbers) http://hrcoalition.org/node/71

Spread the word to anybody with the decency to speak out. Tell them you are with the Human Rights Coalition (if you want to be identified as such) and that these actions are criminal.

Inform the prison officials and legislators of the ongoing abuse. Tell them the details above.
Andre’s DOC nr is: DQ5437
Demand the following when speaking to the prison and the DOC officials:
1) Andre is to be given clothes immediately
2) Andre is to be given writing materials immediately
3) Andre is to be given his legal property immediately
4) Andre is to be given all his state issue items and personal property immediately
5) these racist guards are to keep their hands off of him and stop abusing him

Ask the following (specifically of SCI Coal Township, whose Supt. Assistant is Kandis Dascani–she will say confidentiality prevents her from speaking, don’t fall for this, don’t let her put you off, tie up her phone and do not lay off):

1) when did Varano authorize this?
2) what is the justification for this?
3) Does Andre have clothes yet? does he have his property? does he have writing materials?
4) what policy number and section is this authorized by?

Inform DOC officials: That HRC intends on filing criminal charges and launching an investigation into the systematic torture of prisoners at SCI Coal Township.

Request that legislators investigate the prison system.

Love, Solidarity, and Struggle,

HRC-Fed Up!
Contact Information: phone:412-654-9070

Prisoner Punished For Writing Complaints Vindicated

May 4, 2010

NEW ORLEANS, LA – Because of ACLU of Louisiana litigation, the Louisiana Department of Corrections (“DOC”) has settled a lawsuit filed last year on behalf of Ernest Billizone, a prisoner punished for simple written complaints about his treatment. Mr. Billizone’s written complaints contained neither foul language nor threats of violence or unlawful or improper action, but the prison placed him in punitive isolation and stripped him of earned good time credit because they said he was “spreading rumors.” In settling, the Department of Corrections agreed to clear Mr. Billizone’s record and has 60 days to amend the unconstitutional disciplinary rule under which he was punished.

This is the second time within six years that the DOC has amended the same rule as a result of litigation. In 2004, in Cassels v. Stalder, a U. S. District Court declared an earlier version of the rule unconstitutionally vague and overbroad because it prohibited “spreading rumors.” Despite this ruling, Mr. Billizone was punished for “spreading rumors.” This court settlement and the change it requires should ensure that in the future prisoners will be able to exercise their rights to contact government officials.

ACLU Executive Director Marjorie R. Esman said: “No prisoner should be placed in isolation or punished for filing a written complaint, especially when it’s not a threat to anyone. Mr. Billizone had the right to speak out. His record has been restored because he shouldn’t have been disciplined in the first place. This should protect prisoners who want to speak out in the future.”

As part of the settlement, the Department of Corrections has agreed to reimburse the ACLU the amount of $56,697.85 for the attorneys’ fees and costs incurred in representing Mr. Billizone. The case, Ernest Billizone v. James LeBlanc et al., was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana. Billizone was represented by ACLU attorneys Barry Gerharz and Katie Schwartzmann.

Link to Article click Here