DOJ REPORT FINDS CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS VIOLATIONS AMID ABUSE



The DOJ investigation found that Alabama corrections officers frequently use excessive, and at times, deadly force in violation of inmates’ constitutional rights in 12 out of 13 prisons reviewed. It concludes the problem gives rise to “systemic unconstitutional conditions” and that “such violations are pursuant to a pattern or practice of resistance to the full enjoyment of rights secured by the Eighth Amendment.”

BETH SHELBURNE, TALK ABOUT BLACK MEN WHILE WE ARE ALIVE

Damn, Beth Shelburne !! What, the Black man gotta be dead first before you are willing to talk about us? Talk about us while we are alive too, and you might help save a life !!!

Beth Shelburne on July 29, 2020
Beth Shelburne on July 30, 2020

The way you are doing it, the public will be desensitized to Black genocide because they will only know of dead n*****. Oh, but that’s the plan, right?

FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT

ACLU’S BETH SHELBURNE RESORTS TO “BLACKFACE” REPORTING IN THE FACE OF GROWING DEMANDS FOR APOLOGY OVER ANTI-BLACK RACIST TWEET

JOIN FAM’S CALL FOR AN APOLOGY TO BLACK MOTHER MS. GABRIELLE EVANS

  If Beth Shelburne thinks that her strategic use and exploitation of a Black man who was murdered by Alabama Department of Corrections officers, Mr. Michael Smith, in her latest article is enough to quell our demand for an apology to Black mother Ms. Gabrielle Evans, for the anti-Black, racist, and disrespect that was shown towards her on July 15, 2020, think again !!!

Beth Shelburne exploits the death of a Black man, Mr. Michael Smith, with tokenism and “Blackface” reporting in her latest article as demands for apology grows. Photo Credit: Montgomery Advertiser.

  This past week, FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT also had to check another reporter, Melissa Brown, one of Beth’s colleagues and good friend, for using coded, racially divisive language during her coverage of the death of U. S. Rep. John Lewis. Ms. Brown immediately acknowledged the correctness of FAM’s complaint about her racially insensitive reporting, issued an apology, and deleted her post.

  

  FAM was alerted to this post after it was spotted on Beth Shelburne’s page. Beth was sharing the offensive post while asking others to “listen” to Ms. Brown.

ACLU’s Beth Shelburne fanning the flames of racist and divisive language.

  

Despite the fact that Ms. Brown acknowledged her comments as racially insensitive and inappropriate, and deleted the post, Beth Shelburne refuses to remove her post sharing the comment.

Thus, on the same day that the U.S. and the world mourned the death of a fighter for social and racial justice, and the same day that Alabama State Rep. Dismukes was attending a KKK celebration that had the media up in arms, the ACLU’s Beth Shelburne was caught promoting racially divisive, coded language that has been used historically to try to keep the Black community divided, weakened, and incapable of uniting in order to fight back against Jim Crow racism and violent attacks by the KKK. This is the “good trouble” that Honorable John Lewis spoke of in life, which was disparaged by Melissa and Beth, but which Melissa apologized for, and removed.

As for Beth’s “BLACKFACE” article, she merely rehashes information that is already available to the public and which incarcerated activist, including members of FAM, have reported on for years, sheds no new light on the situation. Furthermore, Beth parrots almost verbatim the words that several other Alabama journalist have already wrote concerning the DOJ report.

Beth’s article REEKS of pandering to the Black community for her previous anti-Black, disrespectful insult towards Black mother Ms. Gabrielle Evans. That’s not an apology, that’s adding insult to injury.

Learn more here: https://freealabamamovement.wordpress.com/2020/07/26/beth-shelburne-owes-black-mother-mr-gabrielle-evans-an-apology-for-racist-tweet/

Another point worthy of note is that, just as is glaringly missing from the DOJ report, Beth and other members of the media continue to protect the names of the officers who commit these crimes. Not a single one of the officers were identified in Beth’s story.

The criminal acts mentioned in the DOJ investigative report were committed by individuals; the Black community is waiting for names, not more rehased stats. Everything else in Beth’s article has already been spoken on. If no new light is being shed on the matter, what are we doing ?????? I’ll tell you what: pandering and attempting to placate and play on the intelligence of the Black community.

Another red flag of this suspect reporting can be gleamed from the fact Beth took great pains to point out the earnings of ADOC attorneys who are making millions defending ADOC against allegations of abuse, torture, terror and murder. Yet, Beth fails to note or even issue a disclaimer pointing out the fact that her own employer, the ACLU, has also robbed taxpayers for over a million dollars in litigation against ADOC. Beth makes no mention of this – frankly, because this is where Beth earns her check.

Moreover, the ACLU is not the only non-profit “pain-pimping,” money-extorting group of non-profit attorneys robbing Alabama taxpayers for millions through bogus prison litigation. As FAM founder and spokesperson Bennu Hannibal Ra-Sun pointed out in a 2016 video, Southern Poverty Law Center has cashed not one, but two, million-dollar checks in the past 3-plus years; but, as the DOJ Investigative report points out, with no results.

See video here: https://youtu.be/uGNCIVb72rA

Southern Poverty Law Center filed a 3-part class-action lawsuit against ADOC back in 2015. This lawsuit has been settled one claim at a time, with the third claim still pending. After each settlement phase, which SPLC collected appx. 1,000,000.00 USD at a time, SPLC has went so far as to allow the ADOC to be relieved of admitting to any wrongdoing.

SPLC allows the criminal enterprise ADOC to stipulate to no wrongdoing in exchange for millions of dollars in attorneys fees – $0.00 for the clients — while lives were lost.

Despite the release of liability by SPLC, Beth cites to the DOJ report in her lame “BLACKFACE” story, which clearly shows that the ADOC is guilty as sin. This is not unbiased reporting that we are receiving from Beth Shelburne.

Why didn’t Beth call out her employer and the other non-profit attorneys for their “pain-pimping” taxpayer-extorting million-dollar litigation tactics?

Southern Center for Human Rights collected 10’s of thousands in this litigation, but again, the settlement absolved ADOC of any wrongdoing

Let’s not forget that Equal Justice Initiative and Brian Stevenson did the exact same thing. EJI filed its class-action lawsuit against ADOC and St. Clair prison back in 2016. EJI settled for $ 600,000.00, the same amount Beth complains about for ADOC attorneys in her article. Brian Stevenson and EJI also allowed the ADOC to be absolved of all liability. And check this out: soon after Brian Stevenson and EJI entered into their $600,000.00 settlement, they began sending letters into the prisons stating that their settlement wasn’t being complied with, which means more litigation, more taxpayer fraud, more money for the pain pimps, but no results for the victims.

Notice how the EJI attorney uses the term “ADOC promised” instead of stating that the ADOC reached a $600,000.00 settlement to fix the deadly situation at St. Clair.

The only thing happening is millions of dollars in attorneys fees changing hands, while the people who are being injured, beaten, and murdered aren’t seeing one penny in compensation. And it is our attorneys who are making sure that we receive nothing in these settlements:

Southern Poverty, or more appropriate, Southern Pimps Law Center and all the others routinely enters into settlements where they  demand that their Black, poor and battered clients don’t receive one penny for state-violence, police brutality and police murder. Economic Racism

Meanwhile, the conditions inside of Alabama prisons continue to get worse. If you don’t believe that Beth Shelburne and her employer, ACLU and the rest of these non-profits are only about exploiting taxpayers for millions of dollars in attorneys fees, consider this:

Steven Smith was beaten to death at Donaldson Prison last year. Back in 2012 when the Southern Center for Human Rights settled their litigation with ADOC, many of the recommendations in that settlement mimic the recommendations you see in the DOJ report.

See: “Hicks v. Hetzel | Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse” https://www.clearinghouse.net/detail.php?id=11234

Click link to see full settlement

 

The reason why these issues are never resolved is because when the ACLU and other non-profit orgs. collect their fraudulent attorneys fees financial settlements where their poor clients receive nothing, they take the money and run. They don’t stick around to provide oversight to insure that the settlement terms are complied with. Also, the liability waivers that they routinely extend to the ADOC mean just that: the ADOC has done nothing wrong, so they have no real duty to fix anything. It’s all a money game.

Beth Shelburne, you can produce all the stories in Blackface that you like and think no one will notice what you are doing all you want. Just keep trying to deflect and play on the pain and suffering of hurt families. That age-old ante-bellum trick isn’t going to cut it with FAM. Not even blocking FAM from your account to try to silence our demand for an apology will help you.

Your anti-Black, racist, hurtful and disrespectful treatment  towards Ms. Evans, who had not even buried her child when you violated her in the most egregious and offensive way, won’t be soon forgotten. “Blackface” reporting ain’t fooling nobody no mo’. We are hip to every trick racism has.

  You, Rhonda Brownstein, Maria Morris, the law firm Zanzaur, Mujundar, & Debrosse, Southern Center for Human Rights, EJI, Southern Poverty Law Center, ACLU, and all the rest are naught but  pain-pimps cashing checks.

More Phase 2 settlement figures, all from 2017 alone:

$250.00.00 (SPLC)
$ 60,000.00 (SPLC)
$195.00 per hour monitoring fee, plus $200,000.00 more for filing motions. Southern Pimps Law Center has the game down pat.

$ 330,000.00, plus $ 18,000.00 per year
$230,000.00 more for the snakes.

Beth Shelburne, those from the Black community that you are entangled with like #AbolishRepEngland, and all others who refuse to denounce your disgusting, racist anti-Black and hateful acts and join this demand for an apology to our courageous Queen Ms. Gabrielle Evans, will be called out.

FAM demands social, racial, economic, political, and, among other things, fair justice. Not as a slogan but as a way of life.

FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT

freealabamamovement@gmail.com

WHO IS DANA WHITE? PERSPECTIVE ON NON–PROFITS FROM A BLACK EMPLOYEE

LIFTED W/O PERMISSION FROM A BADAZZ’S PAGE NAMED DANA WHITE, SOUNDS LIKE SOMEWHERE IN RED-NECK ALABAMA

“Here’s the truth about many nonprofits and the harm they cause in the name of social good. As long as white funding is tied to white saviorism, as long as boards function and recruit the way they have historically, as long as exploitative peer support models are sustained without fair pay and clear paths to leadership beyond program roles, these organizations are using Black and brown talent and passion like batteries. We will continue to be burned out, disposed of, and replaced unless all of the above is transformed on a wide scale.

I’m in a much better position and organization than where I started, but I have stories I could tell about my career thus far. And those stories are not uncommon.”

Sounds like he been around one of those”class action”, KKK Confederate, White Power joints. Y’all know which ones I’m talking about.

Re Post @rebelusionary on IG

There was a pro police rally at Eisenhower Park. I won’t even touch the vile racist nonsense coming from them as they don’t need any more attention.

I went to the counter protest event hosted by BWBU (Black White Brown United) and can I just say how tired I am of people hijacking movements? I applaud BWBU’s plan and I love the idea of keeping our backs to the people shouting at us and allowing them to reveal their character without our assistance.

The protest was supposed to be silent, there was a strategy and a purpose. I wasn’t aware of this until about 5 minutes into marching but as soon as I was informed, I adjusted accordingly. Maybe there are other ways to do it but this is what was planned by those hosting the protest. I repeatedly reminded people that we were not supposed to engage directly with any of the people on the other side but to no avail. People (mostly [color redacted]) were shouting nonsensical insults and undermining the strategic direct action that was planned. This is my own intuition and not to be taken as a stated fact however I suspect that there were people marching with us that were not really *with us*.
I even witnessed a Super enfranchised person getting dangerously close and shouting at a Black cop for aligning with their oppressors. Now I agree that cop is most definitely a house n***o but it is NOT the place of a ⚪️ person to shout obscenities at them about their internalized colonial complexion supremacy.

All that’s needed is one wrong move for things to go left. By recklessly antagonizing the police, you are putting Black and Brown lives in danger so you might as well put that sign down because clearly you don’t understand what it means.

To people considering themselves an “Ally”:

If you can’t follow the direction of Black people leading the movement,stay home.

If you don’t know how to respect a space that isn’t yours, stay home.

If you think you are swooping in as some kind of privilege-wielding Super Hero to save the day with us as your magical negro sidekicks, please stay home.

If you care more about your own fragile ego than advancing the agenda of those directly impacted, stay the F home.
YOU ARE *NOT* AN ALLY.

Thank you for coming to my TED Talk ✊🏾

BETH SHELBURNE OWES BLACK MOTHER MS. GABRIELLE EVANS AN APOLOGY FOR RACIST TWEET

Ms. Sandra Ray on the Right. Ms. Gabrielle Evans on the Left.

  When I first saw the Tweet I was immediately offended.

  I also immediately responded to it because I recognized it for what it is. Being exposed to racism and consciously fighting against it, opens ones eyes to the subtle slights and nuances when confronted with it.

  Black people are used to this type of racial discriminations when we see them. We know these tigers by their stripes well. We also know that they hate FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT and how this hatred keeps them away from us and our Movement against prison slavery. Their hate sometimes forces them to reveal their hand at times and in circumstances when they can’t help themselves. Nevertheless, their hatred, mixed with their racism will always find outlets for expression. It rips their own mask off, even when we know it was already there.

  July 15, 2020, was just the latest example. On that day, FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT was supporting another grassroots organizer, Rev. Sankey and Sis. Kim in the fight against oppression on Black people. Like FAM, Rev. Sankey doesn’t have the watered down message that others have. Like FAM, Rev. Sankey doesn’t tap dance to White Supremacy. Instead,we confront it and call it out when we see it. This means that our access to many media platforms to deliver our message is denied. We are locked out by institutional racism and the individuals who enforce it. In spite of these obstacles, we sojourn on. We simply have to grind harder to get our message out about our oppression as well as our oppressors.

  Thamkfully, for that protest, Rev. Sankey and Sis. Kim were able to reach our Sister  Ms. Gabrielle Evans. This amazing, strong and courageous Black Queen appeared on stage and delivered a message of pain, loss, courage and Black love for her son just four days after losing her 31 year-old him in an Alabama Death Camp. At the time, she was still planning her son’s funeral.

Laveris Evans was killed by systematic racism and genocide.

  Ms. Evans shared the stage that day with Ms. Sandra Ray, whose son Stephen died in 2019 in another Alabama Death Camp. Ms. Ray, though, is white. She is also the media darling and go-to person for white media personalities like Beth Shelburne. While they would never cover our events, they keep close tabs on their own. That’s how this story unfolded. Beth Shelburne was trying to support a white woman but without supporting a Black organization.

  It was this racist motive to support a white woman and to uplift the story of the white life that was lost, that equated into a difference in the way that these women were shown respect by Beth Shelburne. It took me back in history to the time when Black women were treated as less than animals by medical professionals like Dr. James Marian Sims, a story I included in my response to Beth’s racist Tweet. Dr. Sims is one of the physician who used to perform major surgical experiments on Black women without using anaesthesia because white supremacists ideology premises that Black women did not feel pain.

I thought about my own Black Mother. I contemplated how it made me feel just imagining if it were me instead of Laveris who was dead, and my Beautiful Queen and Black Mother was standing next to a white Mother who had also lost her son, and my Mom was treated with this level of disrespect and disregard. I felt rage at that moment because this same system that took Laveris’ life – and Steven’s — has also tried to take my life for fighting to reunite families just like Ms. Evans and young Black men just like her son back together. I know that racist like Beth Shelburne who have no respect for the pain and love of Black Mothers like Ms. Evans would have handled my Mom the exact same way.

Undoubtedly a Glorious Black Queen

I will defend the pain, the respect, the love and devotion of Black Mothers the World over. Black mothers feel the same sting of death as any other mother. It is not okay for Beth Shelburne or anyone to take liberties to try to highlight one life over another based on the color of skin. BLACK LIVES MATTER and BLACK MOTHERS MATTER too.

  In the midst of a protest that was attended my a majority of Black people, Beth Shelburne took the liberty and exercised her white privilege to elevated the life and loss of white Mother over a Black Mother. These Mothers literally occupied the EXACT same space, yet Beth Shelburne chose to separate them by race. This is unacceptable.

Sharing the same stage, literally standing in the same space.

An apology is DEMANDED !!! ACLU must DEMAND that their employee apologize for this racist disregard for Ms. Evans and Mr. Evans. Black Lives Matter is not a slogan to everyone.

BHRS

FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT

p. s. For those who may want to try to defend these racist actions of Beth Shelburne, I ask you where were you when it was time to defend Ms. Gabrielle Evans and the life of her son?

Press Release Package to Michael Harriot (CNN)

God hates it when the innocent are afflicted with violence and bloodshed. He hates evil and political corruption. He hates courts that are false and leaders that are abusive of their power. We need to rest assured that he will provide deliverance for his faithful followers and administer justice to those who have abused or harmed other people – if not in this life, for sure in the life to come.

We the “Concerned citizens of Alabama” are seeking help for the incarcerated women and men who have been brutally raped, beaten and murdered by the inside officers.

We are asking that these women and men have proper food (that does not say on its labels “NOT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION”).

We are seeking help for people with a mental illness who are being “over- medicated” to the point they are unable to function.

For the women and men who are not getting the proper equipment to protect themselves from the COVID-19 virus that surrounds them in the prison facilities; and all the injustices that our people face each and everyday.

At Donaldson Correctional Facility, the individuals with mental illness are housed in the gym of the facility due to overcrowdedness. The gym has very few windows and there is no ventilation flowing through. When it rains, the floors are flooded and these mentally ill men get wet. They sleep on the floor of the gym on a mat that was assigned to them. No beds or bunks but matts on the floors.

Women at Julia Tutwiler Prison are being raped everyday by prison officers and getting impregnated and having their child/children “ripped” from them. Women are also being raped and tortured with “flashlights” by ADOC prison officers.

Men at Bullock Correctional Facility are medicated to the point that when taking the meds administered by ADOC officials, they sleep for two (2) and three (3) days. When awakened, they find CONDOMS in their rectum. This is torture and taking a man’s manhood from him.

Another important factor is COVID-19. There have been many many deaths due to this virus and pandemic that we are all affected by. This virus is in every correctional facility in the state of Alabama. When an incarcerated person complains of feeling sick to someone of authority at the facility, he or she is denied medical attention and has to wait days to see a nurse. When it’s too late, they either die or have tested positive and in many cases are then sent back to their assigned bed (spreading the virus to other inmates) or finally transported to a hospital and in many cases have died upon arrival. That is mere hate and unconcern of human life. There are not enough masks or sanitizer for every incarcerated person.

Staff/employees of the ADOC have been diagnosed with this deadly virus as well. On Wednesday, June 24, 2020 only four (4) ADOC officials reported for work at Easterling Correctional Facility in Clio, Al due to being sick, tested positive for Covid-19 and in fear of contracting this deadly virus. The entire facility is on lockdown with the exception of one (1) dorm and the individuals in that dorm are being forced to work in the kitchen and serve food to everyone in the facility — putting their lives at risk.

Another demand we, the “Concerned Citizens of Alabama” are demanding is the removal of Alabama Parole Board Director, Charlie Graddick. The Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles has become a dysfunctional institution under the directorship of Charles Graddick and is exhibiting signs of institutional racism. Emerging data compiled in a recent report by Southern Poverty Law Center shows that paroles are being granted/denied based on race and that Black people up for parole consideration are being disproportionately impacted.

In May 2020, 160 people were considered for parole. Approximately 51% were black and 47% were white. Of these, only 15 made parole. 11 of the 15 were white, while 4 were black. This is a clear example of Institutional Racism that is being openly practiced by government officials.

Removal of the Director of Paroles, Charlie Graddick, is indeed needed due to there being a conflict of interest on Graddick’s behalf. Graddick sentenced many men and women to prison when he served as a Judge in Mobile, Al, before he was appointed to Alabama Attorney General’s Office. Graddick has now been appointed by Alabama Governor Kay Ivey as Director of Paroles for the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Parole.

Graddick also uses the word “hanging” at press conferences when speaking in regards to people up for parole, and his motto is “LOCK THEM UP AND THROW AWAY THE KEY”. In his position as director of ABPP, the lives and future of many men and women sits rests in his hands.

Lastly, we, Concerned Citizens of Alabama, demand automatic restoration of voting rights upon release from incarceration without having to wait 3 years for a pardon to have their voting rights restored.

This is just the “tip of the iceberg” of some of our concerns for our incarcerated men and women of Alabama.

We are also requesting a meeting with Governor Kay Ivey and Director of Paroles, Charlie Graddick to express our concerns regarding our incarcerated men and women in the Alabama prison system.

Sponsored by “Concerned Citizens of Montgomery, Al, joined in by “Concerned Citizens of Alabama”

Thank you kindly for your time,

Rev. Albert Sankey, Chairman (334) 269-5876
“Concerned Citizens of Montgomery”
Kimberly Garner, Co-Chairman (205) 563-3786
“Concerned Citizens of Montgomery”
Donna Smith – Parole Advocate (256) 404-5394
“A Voice for the Voiceless & “A Hope for the Hopeless”

4 or 5: How Many People Made Parole on June 25, 2020?

Yesterday, June 25, 2020, the #AbolishABPP held 36 Parole hearings. According to their news release, only 4 people were granted parole.

However, when you read their parole list from this same website, it shows GRANTED by the names of 5 different people:

1. Jamal DeCosta Short

2. Kandance Leanne Short

3. Anna Maria McNutt

4. Charles Wayne Phillips

5. Terry Wayne Short

See: https://paroles.alabama.gov/2020/06/25/parole-decisions-june-25-2020/

So, why is it that the #AbolishABPP is issuing conflicting statements within the same document? Here’s what we think:

As everyone knows, over the first two days of our #J232425 Protest at #AbolishABPP headquarters, FAM and the FAM Queen Team noticed that not a single Black woman had been granted parole. At the time, 72 hearings (35 on Day 1 and 37 on Day 2) had been held. Twenty-five Paroles were GRANTED as of Day 2, 17 to white males, 4 to white females, and 4 to black males.

 

After publicizing this information across social media, the very next day, June 25, 2020, #AbolishABPP granted its first and only parole to a Black woman, Mr. Anna Maria McNutt. We also noticed that #AbolishABPP was stalking our Twitter account when we sent out an ALERT after Queen Nikki D was blocked from entering the building where the #AbolishABPP is located. Queen Nikki D was attempting to deliver #FAMs12DEMANDS to the #AbolishABPP. So they definitely knew that we were informing the public about the Institutional Racism that was going on at the #AbolishABPP.

Damn stalkers need to be paying more attention to parole-ready men and women instead of lying on Twitter

 

 

It appears that many deserving people are being left hanging for parole by #GraddickMustGo, while there is credible evidence suggesting that racial quotas and Twitter posts are dictating parole considerations. Does any of this have anything to do with the fact that the #AbolishABPP is providing conflicting results in their statements? FAM thinks so.

Why is it that these people can’t count to 5? Is that the reason why parole numbers are so low?

We already know that the#AbolishABPP does not have any criteria or guidelines for granting Parole.  Why is it that these people can’t count to 5? Is that the reason why parole numbers are so low?

So, who was #5? When were they added to the list? Are Paroles being granted based on Twitter posts to mask institutional racism? What’s really going on?

#GraddickMustGo

#RemoveTheNooseFromABPP

#AbolishABPP

#DefundABPP

#OperationToppleAndDismantle

 

#PAROLEWATCH Update: June 24, 2020

Day 2

For the second consecutive day, FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT and FAM Queen Team lead a Protest at the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles. We will be back at the Bureau tomorrow to complete our 3-Day Protest #J232425, where we are demanding immediate change to the Bureau’s operations and leadership.

Day 2 saw a continuation of the pattern of Institutional Racism that has defined the Bureau under Charlie Graddick.

There were 37 parole hearings today. 21 White, 15 Black and 1 Hispanic. For the second consecutive day, no Black woman was on the docket. The results were as follow:

1) 10 Total Paroles were GRANTED

2) 9 White males were granted parole

3) 1 Black male was granted parole.

This is the second day that people who are White were granted at least 80% of all Paroles.

We are seeing once again that race is playing a significant role in determining who is incarcerated and who is released. FAM, FAM Queen Team and other organizations and supporters will be on site and presenting our #FAM12DEMANDS to the Bureau of Pardons and Paroles.

Contact:

Alert: Protest Going on Outside Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles

ALERT: Going on NOW !! Free Alabama Movement and FAM Queen Team Protest in Montgomery at the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles.
#J232425
#GraddickMustGo
#AbolishABPP
#DefundABPP
#AbolishRepEngland70
#Abolishbsingle362
#23000CantBreathe https://t.co/wRYZX3ALqH

32 COVID-19 Deaths So Far in ADOC: Silence is Deadly

32 COVID 19 deaths so far. Who are they?

Finally, the ADOC has release an updated report of the number of people who have died from COVID 19 inside Alabama’s deadly prisons. According to the ADOC website, 32 men and women have succumb to this deadly virus. But who knew?

From reading news reports you would think that hardly anyone is dying from COVID 19 in ADOC. How is it that 32 people have died from COVID 19 but no one has sounded the alarm that something tragic is going on? Where are these deaths occurring at? Has the ADOC identified a source? Which prisons are having the most outbreaks? What control measures and prevention strategies are being implemented? Is the public aware of the location of any clusters? What is really going on? 32

As many have heard by now, FAM is conducting a Protest at the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles this week on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. #J232425. The ADOC and the Parole Bureau have got to release people from these death camps. Let’s work collectively to free our people from these Death Camps before it’s too late.

FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT

FAM Releases List of #12Demands ahead of Protest: Join the Call to Action Now!!!

PROTEST JUNE 23, 24 and 25 @ 8:30 am, at the Headquarters of the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles

 

OUR LIST OF DEMANDS

DEMAND NO. 1. Mandatory Parole Criteria:

We DEMAND that the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles, in conjunction with the ADOC, immediately develop an Educational, Rehabilitation and Re-Entry Curriculum for every person in ADOC who is parole-eligible. Upon completion of this curriculum and after serving the parole minimum date, this person should be automatically granted paroled.

DEMAND NO. 2 Parole End Date (PED)

The Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles shall develop a Parole End Date (PED). Under current law, when an individual is granted parole, they must serve the remainder of their sentence on parole.

If that person has a life sentence or 99 years, for example, that person would remain on parole for the rest of their Life or for the balance of their un-served sentence.

No person should have to spend the rest of their life on parole. The reason why parole is granted is that the individual has demonstrated a fitness to re-enter society as a productive law-abiding citizen.

Once that person has demonstrated the ability to remain in society by being productive and law-abiding citizen over an extended period of time, there needs to be an ending period whereby this person can move on with their life free from the shackles of parole.

Under Alabama Law, 5 years is the maximum period of probation allowed. Parolees also need a Parole End Date of 5 years. 

We DEMAND that a 5-year maximum period of supervision be placed on parole and that any person who has already served at least 5 years on parole be released from parole supervision immediately.

DEMAND NO. 3. Removal of Charlie Graddick

Self-explanatory. The Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles has become a dysfunctional institution under the Directorship of Charles Graddick and is exhibiting signs of institutional racism.

Emerging data compiled in a recent report by Southern Poverty Law Center shows that paroles are being granted/denied based on race and that Black people up for parole consideration are being disproportionately impacted. 

In May 2020, 160 people were considered for parole. Appx. 51 % were Black and 47% were white. Of these, only 15 made parole. 11 of the 15 were white, while 4 were Black.

“11 were white and four were Black.” Institutional Racism.


This is Institutional Racism being openly practiced by government officials.

We DEMAND that Gov. Ivey remove Charles Graddick immediately!!!

DEMAND NO. 4. 20-Year Show Cause Hearing for Parole Denial 

The ADOC receives over $600,000,000.00 tax dollars every year to run the Department of Corrections. According to ADOC, $22,000.00 is invested annually into each person in their custody.
This is more than the total cost of a four-year college degree from many colleges.

This level of funding is more than sufficient to produce results in areas of education, rehabilitation, re-entry preparedness and corrections or else ADOC is a corrupt Enterprise guilty of perpetuating fraud on taxpayers.

Therefore, We DEMAND that the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles implement Due Process hearings and Show Cause by Clear and Convincing evidence why any person who has already served 20 years or more in ADOC should not be granted parole immediately. 

DEMAND NO. 5. In-person/Video parole hearing

The current parole review process does not allow the person being considered for parole to be present at the hearing either in person or by audio/video means.

The potential parolee is given a pre-screening interview with a parolee investigator, who then forwards this information on to the parole board.

The potential parolee is not told what the parole board will consider when making the decision concerning his parole. Nor is the potential parolee afforded access to the files that the parole board will review when considering parole.

Furthermore, once the hearing starts, the potential parolee is limited to only three people being able to speak in his behalf, for 5 minutes each, while the State is afforded an unlimited number of speakers against parole, unlimited time to speak, and the Victims Advocacy Group is allowed to speak as “paid protestors.”

The hearing is unfair and heavily weighed against people who are doing all that we can to return home to our families. 

All prospective parolees must be allowed to speak before the board on this important decision concerning our lives and freedom (Please see A GUIDEBOOK TO PAROLE IN ALABAMA by the Southern Poverty Law Center for a comprehensive outline of the parole process in Alabama, in addition to other contact information and resources).  

We DEMAND that any future parole hearing be conducted in person or Livestream video.

DEMAND NO. 6. Due Process and Transparency: 

Currently, the parole board is not required to provide the reason why parole is denied. Also, the parole board is not required to provide any guidance for the potential parolee as to what needs to  done in the future to guarantee parole.

Under current parole guidelines, the parole board can deny parole and set off the next parole hearing date for up to 5 years, all without stating why the parole was denied in the first place, or what the person needs to do over the next 5 years in order to be parole eligible when the next hearing date arrives.

The current system does not offer any due process or fundamental fairness to the person that the hearing is all about in the first place.


We DEMAND that new parole guidelines be implemented immediately, requiring that a parole denial be accompanied by a specific reason for the denial and a specific criteria guaranteeing parole at the next parole review date.  

DEMAND NO. 7. Expanded representation on the Parole Board to include a Defense Attorney, Community Organization, and Civic/Religious Leader

The current Parole Bureau is made up almost exclusively of members with a background in law enforcement. This is not a fair representation of the communities who benefits from the Parole Bureau.

There are many stakeholders in the Parole Bureau who are not afforded representation on the Board. The Bureau needs to reflect the community as a whole.

Therefore, we DEMAND that the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles create a Community-based local Bureau of Pardons and Paroles immediately, to include defense attorneys, community organizations, and Civic/Religious Leaders. These individuals will review early termination of parole requests, pardon requests, parole revocation proceedings, and all other post-parole related matters.

DEMAND NO. 8. Waiver of all parole fees

People getting out of Alabama prisons are provided a $10.00 check and one set of clothes upon release. This is hardly adequate for a person to successfully re-enter society.

Parole fees are an added burden that forces the parolee to pay for their freedom at a time when they are just being released from prison, sometimes after decades of confinement, with no resources. 

Additionally, taxpayers already fund the parole system, so collecting parole fees is only a windfall to parole agencies. This practice of collecting parole fees from the poorest people in our society must end.

We DEMAND that the collection of parole fees be banned immediately.

DEMAND NO. 9.  Automatic restoration of voting rights

The history of disenfranchisement in Alabama is well documented. One need only read comments from John B. Knox at the Alabama Constitutional Convention of 1901 to see the racial intent behind disenfranchisement: 

“And what is it that we want to do? Why, it is, within the limits imposed by the Federal Constitution, to establish white supremacy in this State.” 

“But if we would have white supremacy, we must establish it by law—not by force or fraud.”

Source: Alabama’s 1901 Constitution: Instrument of Power – Litera Scripta | The University of Alabama “Speech of Hon. John B. Knox, President of the Late Constitutional Convention in Alabama, at Centreville, November 9, 1901.” | Alabama Bicentennial 



https://alabama200.org/educators/primary-sources/constitutions-and-citizenship/1901-constitution/detail/speech-of-hon.-john-b.-knox-president-of-the-late-constitutional-convention

The Bureau of Pardons should no longer be allowed to be used as an instrument of white supremacy and institutional racism. No person should lose their civil voting right for life due to a criminal conviction.

We DEMAND that the civil right to vote be restored to every resident of the State of Alabama and that the Alabama Board of Registars be ordered to cease and desist for ever denying the right to vote to any person of account of a criminal conviction that does not involve misuse of the right to vote or the voting process.
  
DEMAND NO. 10.  Release All Technical Violators

All persons currently being held in custody for a technical violation should be released immediately. “Technical violations” (T.V.’s) may be for something as minor as a failure to report.

Oftentimes, this comes about due to lack of transportation. They may also be a failed urine tests, failure to pay fees or court costs, etc.

Whatever the cause, a T.V. does not involve committing a new crime. The technical aspect of the violation should be dealt with on the local level, never resulting in a return to an overcrowded, understaffed, underfunded, dangerous and deadly Alabama prison.

In addition, hundreds, if not thousands of people have had their parole revoked and then returned to prison for being charged with a new criminal offenses. Many of these individuals remain even though the new criminal charge was ultimately dismissed or they were found not guilty of the new charge. These people had their parole revoked simply for being charged with a new crime.

While it is sensible to place a parole hold on a parolee pending disposition of the new offense, if the new charge is dismissed then parole must be automatically reinstated. 

We DEMAND that the ABPP immediately reinstate all parolees whose parole was revoked due to a new charge that has since been dismissed, or for a technical violation.

DEMAND NO. 11. Grant parole to every person serving time for a drug offense and all individuals with a victimless offense — not involving no more than de minimus physical injury — who have already served 10 years or more

The “war on drugs” has been a war on Black people. The damage has been done. It is now time to heal. Drug task forces and other drug-related law enforcement agencies must be de-funded and disbanded. These funds must be redirected towards retribution and investment into communities and families that have been decimated by the “war on Black, Brown” and other communities.

We DEMAND that any person who has already served 10 years or more for any drug offense or for a crime that did not cause physical injury be immediately granted parole.

DEMAND NO. 12. Defund and Abolish the Alabama Bureau of Parole Board

The current parole system in Alabama is not working and should be unacceptable to anyone following it closely. Bureau members in Montgomery never meet and actually talk to prospective parolees. Instead, Bureau members are making decisions impacting the lives of 1000’s of people, while sitting amongst themselves in Montgomery.

Bureau members are not using any known objective criteria or proven methods to guide their decisions or to understand them. This lack of process is ripe for abuse.

No prospective parolee is in attendance. No process guides the Bureau members’ decisions. The decisions of the Bureau are virtually unchallengeable.

At most, these decision-makers are reviewing files that were prepared at the Institutional level, where state employees have day-to-day interactions and evaluations with the prospective parolee.

These inside evaluators include social service employees, classification specialist, psychologist, and correctional officers. Oftentimes, these workers have the same or more education than the parole board members, plus, they have the added expertise that comes from hands-on experience from day-to-day interaction with incarcerated citizens. These are the people who are the most qualified to make parole suitability decisions.

Parole decisions need to move closer to the places where the individuals reside, and farther away from Montgomery where the process of evaluating and assessing re-entry readiness is none existent…
The current setup needs to be abolished. 

We DEMAND that the Office of the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles and the Parole Board in Montgomery be defunded and abolished immediately.

CONCLUSION

These are the LIST OF DEMANDS for our Protest demonstrations on June 23, 24, and 25, @ 8:30 am, at the Headquarters of the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles.

Please call Governor Kay Ivey, Legislatures on the Prison Oversight Committee and your State and Local elected officials, and DEMAND that these changes be made Now. 



FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT
Grassroots Leadership From The Inside


#CallTheABPP today and DEMAND change NOW!!!



  For more information about this Protest or to list your organization as a Sponsor or Supporter, please contact us:


Email:  freealabamamovement@gmail.com fam@famqueenteam.com,

or

Twitter: @FreeAlaMovement

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Like our FB fan page: freealabamamovement#RedistributeThePain 

Rep. Chris England, ADOC Correctional Officers beat the man to death, hog-tied him, and then covered it up

Rep. Chris England was a member of Gov. Kay Ivey’s Prison Reform Study Group. When the PRSG ended, Rep. England co-sponsored legislation that FAM quickly called out as grandstanding. Rep. England responded to FAM’s Statement by admitting that his Bill “wasn’t being offered as a solution to our crisis.” Worthless Legislation !! The PRSG did not uncover this murder and cover-up. So far, the citizens of Alabama and the Black community haven’t received any relief from the institutional racism and oppression that is the ADOC.

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News
Alabama prison guards allegedly beat, hog-tied, ignored inmate who later died: Secret report

Billy Smith
Billy Smith and his mother, Teresa. Smith died in November 2017 after he was beaten in an Alabama prison. (Courtesy Teresa Smith | Injustice Watch)

By Adeshina Emmanuel | Injustice Watch
Originally published Feb. 18, 2020, this article is the first in an Injustice Watch series detailing problems in Alabama’s prisons. Injustice Watch is a nonprofit investigative journalism organization based in Chicago.

An Alabama prisoner died weeks after he was allegedly beaten by a fellow inmate, beaten again and hog-tied by prison guards, and then denied treatment by a nurse, according to a secret Alabama Department of Corrections report obtained by Injustice Watch.


The report contains shocking details about the death of Billy Smith, including apparent efforts to conceal the timeline of events and obscure the roles that correctional employees played in his fatal ordeal.

Smith, 35, was found dazed and injured on the floor of a bathroom at Elmore Correctional Facility in November 2017 after another man allegedly punched him in the head and knocked him out over a bungled drug deal.

Inmates took Smith, bloodied, to the shift command office, where witnesses said he complained about head pain and refused to wait outside. Officers then allegedly beat Smith, hog-tied him, and left him strapped to a gurney.

Smith lay untreated for at least an hour, witnesses said in the report, bleeding heavily from his nose and pleading for help.

Officers then took him to a nearby prison medical facility, where a nurse refused him treatment. When authorities returned with Smith, he was unconscious and trembling.

Prison officials then sent Smith back to the medical facility, and paramedics took him to a hospital. Smith, who suffered a fractured skull and brain bleeding, never woke up again. He died 26 days later from blunt force head trauma.

Smith’s mother, Teresa Smith, said the Alabama Department of Corrections never reached out with condolences or an explanation. Smith, who left behind three children, was serving time for a 2006 murder.

“For him to have to die like that — he got the death penalty in my view,” Teresa Smith said in an interview with Injustice Watch. “People say he deserved what he got, but nobody deserves to suffer like that. I know that inmates are prisoners, and maybe they are there for a reason, but they’re not animals; these are people’s sons, brothers, and daddies.”

Teresa Smith
Teresa Smith’s son, Billy Smith, died as a prisoner at Elmore Correctional Facility in December 2017. (Adeshina Emmanuel | Injustice Watch)

The details of how guards allegedly left Smith without prompt care for his wounds and then inflicted more injuries were included in the confidential investigative report that the Alabama Department of Corrections has kept secret from the public. In the report, inmates contradicted the explanations correctional staff gave investigators.

Some prison supervisors first denied seeing Smith hogtied, but later revised their statements or were otherwise called into question by video described in the report. An office log was found apparently altered, with notes about Smith missing and a dubious signature. One sergeant failed a polygraph exam, and an assistant warden edited her time card without explanation, according to the report.

Injustice Watch emailed the Alabama Department of Corrections with a long list of questions and sought interviews about what investigators found. Officials responded with a statement confirming that they had probed the circumstances around Smith’s death and forwarded findings to prosecutors, but declined to say much more, “out of respect for the legal process.”

Bryan Blount, who was serving time at Elmore for a 2002 murder, is scheduled to go on trial for manslaughter next month for allegedly causing Smith’s death. So, too, is former correctional officer Jeremy Singleton, who prosecutors say struck Smith multiple times on his head and failed to seek timely medical attention for the inmate.

Mickey McDermott, Singleton’s lawyer, said his client is innocent. Blount’s attorney didn’t return calls for comment. Neither did the state medical examiner who investigators said concluded that Blount was responsible for Smith’s death. Injustice Watch also reached out to the other officers accused of abusing Smith, the nurse who denied his care, and prison supervisors mentioned in the report. All either failed to respond to requests or refused to answer questions about what state investigators found.

The Shift Commander’s Office

Late in the afternoon of Nov. 13, 2017, prisoners found Smith with a bruised forehead and a bloody nose in a prison dormitory. Two officers were watching the dorm, according to the report, which houses nearly 200 inmates.

Prisoners told investigators that Blount punched Smith in the head about 5:30 p.m., knocking him to the concrete floor. The fight was over money — Blount accused Smith of shorting a package of synthetic marijuana. Prison officials alleged that Smith smuggled drugs for Blount from a nearby trade school where Smith attended classes. Smith, of Arab, Alabama, had struggled with addiction and crime since his teen years, his mother said.

Former Elmore correctional officer Joel McClease told Injustice Watch that an inmate brought him to the bathroom, where he found Smith lying on the floor by a toilet. Other prisoners told him Smith was intoxicated. McClease remembers helping Smith to a shower, saying he was conscious but unsteady on his feet. McClease said guards were typically advised to send injured or sick inmates to the shift office so that supervisors could then take them to a nearby prison health facility where nurses could evaluate their condition and fill out a “body chart.”

McClease said he radioed supervisors and requested that an “ambulance unit” of inmates come with a stretcher and transport Smith to the front shift command office.

According to the report, one of the inmates in the ambulance unit told investigators he remembered finding Smith lying on the floor, possibly intoxicated, wearing only boxers and a sweatshirt after his shower. He had a cut atop his head and a bloody nose.

Smith stood and was helped into the gurney. He was taken to a grassy area outside the shift commander’s office, where it was cool and raining. About an hour had passed since the fight.

Nurse Tara Parker was in the office passing out medicine to a long line of inmates. Singleton had just arrived to work an overtime shift as a transport agent, moving inmates from prison to prison. At least two supervisors, Sgt. Jonathan Richardson and shift commander Lt. Kenny Waver, were in the office as well.

Waver, according to the report, said he threatened Smith with a can of mace when Smith first arrived on the gurney because he refused to sit down. But both shift leaders denied hitting Smith or seeing anyone abuse him, and both failed to return calls and letters seeking comment.

Smith continued to complain that he was cold and that his head was hurting badly. According to what several inmates told investigators, Smith defied correctional officers who told him to stay out of the office for fear he would track blood inside.

As the situation escalated, Singleton allegedly smacked Smith hard in his face and head, punched him twice in the ribs, and swept his feet from under him, causing him to fall on his side, three prisoners who helped guards transport Smith said in the report. McClease told Injustice Watch that he left his post to smoke a cigarette, looked down toward the shift office, and saw Singleton hit Smith.

“Singleton was coming out of the door, and Billy was standing on the wall right next to the door, and Singleton turned around and punched him,” he said. “And everybody who was in the pill call line scattered.”

Several prisoners also accused other officers in the report of attacking Smith. Officer Ramus Johnson allegedly “grabbed inmate Smith by the shirt with his left hand and slapped him twice with his right hand and pushed him to the ground,” according to one account. Another prisoner claimed to have seen Officer Walter Green punch Smith in the ribs after putting on gloves with hard plastic knuckles. Neither of the officers responded to repeated requests for comment.

At some point, witnesses alleged, Singleton punched Smith in the face and then “hogtied” him with help from other officers. They cuffed his hands behind him, shackled his feet, and then connected the cuffs to the shackles. Many law enforcement agencies have banned this sort of dangerous restraint method. Some critics liken it to torture.

Smith was laid on his stomach on the gurney, strapped in, and left behind the office beyond the view of cameras, yelling for help for at least an hour or more, according to the report. After he began to vomit, Waver ordered Singleton and rookie officer Ell White to take Smith to the health care unit down the road at Staton Correctional Facility. White, whose personnel file says he is a motor transport operator for the Alabama National Guard, did not return requests for comment.

Inmate runners said the officers unstrapped Smith and that he walked to a prison transport van near the back gate. Video footage showed the van leaving the prison about 9 p.m. Smith entered Staton under his own power, Singleton and White said. But he didn’t leave that way, according to the report.

Denied Care

Jackson Hospital
On Nov. 13, 2017, paramedics took Billy Smith to the emergency room at Jackson Hospital with a fractured skull and a bleeding brain. He died 26 days later. (Adeshina Emmanuel | Injustice Watch)

Parker, the nurse, told investigators that she left the shift office at Elmore Correctional Facility and returned to Staton to find the officers in a hallway with Smith. Parker said she told the officers that she needed a few minutes to get settled, but would return. The officers placed Smith in a holding cell to wait.

The officers told investigators they saw Smith sitting on a bench with his eyes closed, and that he eventually slid off and began kicking, hitting his head on the floor, and grabbing at Singleton’s legs. They said they didn’t hit Smith or let him fall.

White said Smith collapsed when officers tried to get him to stand up. Smith became unresponsive, so White rapped him lightly on the back of his neck to wake him. It was “nothing ruthless,” he said. White declined to take a polygraph about that account.

In a second interview, White said that he picked up a water cooler inside the cell and began pouring water over Smith to wake him up. He also said Singleton poured water and ice over Smith, but Singleton denied it. Nurses later discovered the sound of water in Smith’s lungs, according to the report.

When Parker got to the cell, she said there was blood smeared on the walls, and that she found Smith rolling around on the floor, thrashing and yelling. Parker remembered the officers saying that Smith was “wigging out” on drugs, investigators said. In Parker’s statement, she admitted that she made two big mistakes: The nurse did not complete a body chart on Smith, and she ultimately refused to treat him, she said, because he was acting erratically.

Parker initially told investigators she didn’t see water on the ground in Smith’s cell and didn’t see anybody pour water on him. More than two months later, Parker gave a second statement, telling investigators that she did see White pour water over Smith in the holding cell.

Once Parker refused to treat Smith, the officers said they loaded Smith into a wheelchair and rolled him to the van. Singleton said that the officers buckled Smith into the van, but that he unbuckled himself and tore at his clothing. But White, in his second interview, had a different story than Singleton: Smith was not moving when they got to the van, and the officers didn’t buckle him into his seat.

The van was captured on camera returning to Elmore just after 10 p.m., about an hour after Smith was taken to Staton. At least two inmate runners helped unload Smith. They saw him lying on his left side, unresponsive, stuck between two benches, with his shirt over his head, his pants around his ankles, and his boxers down to his thighs, according to the report. One of the runners said that he pulled a trash bag filled with ice from between Smith’s chest and one of the seats.

The inmates who transported Smith, as well as a supervisor who saw him after he returned to Elmore, offered the same account: Smith was wet, shaking uncontrollably, and making a strange snoring noise. “Oh my god,” Waver exclaimed when Smith was rolled back to the shift office, according to one inmate runner’s account. Supervisors then ordered him taken back to Staton.

Parker and one of the inmate runners said that Smith returned to Staton with several marks on his body that were not there before. Parker told investigators it appeared Smith had been dragged. After nurses evaluated his condition, they gave him medicine meant to treat drug overdoses, but it had no effect, according to the report. After that, authorities took Smith to Jackson Hospital, in Montgomery, but the report doesn’t say when.

There are discrepancies in different witness accounts. Some inmates, including retired officer Joel McClease, said that they saw Smith walking on his own closer to 10 p.m.

One of the prisoners who helped transport Smith initially declined to talk to investigators until he was transferred to another prison, 25 miles away. There, he gave investigators a statement largely supporting the descriptions of how Smith was mistreated. He later told investigators that Singleton unexpectedly visited him, saying, “I suppose I know why you are up here.”

The prisoner said Singleton confided that “they are trying to pin that inmate’s death on me,” and then told him to “stay strong.”

The prisoner told investigators that he took the statement to mean he should stay quiet about what happened to Smith, according to the report.

John Crow, who was the warden at Staton during Smith’s incident but has since moved on to another facility, didn’t return calls for comment. And nurse Parker, contacted in February by Injustice Watch, refused to answer questions about what happened at the shift office or the medical facility in 2017 when Smith suffered fatal injuries while she was on duty.

“Please respect the fact that I do not want to talk about this case,” she said. “I do not want to be bothered anymore about the situation.”

“Exceptionally Cleared”

Department of Corrections
State investigators interrogated many of the correctional employees named in the Billy Smith case at Alabama Department of Corrections headquarters, in Montgomery, Alabama. (Adeshina Emmanuel | Injustice Watch)

The Alabama Department of Corrections’ Investigations and Intelligence Division began looking into Smith’s injuries on Nov. 14, 2017, the day after he arrived at the hospital.

Investigator William D. Favor and a partner, T.A. Wallace, found Smith unconscious, visibly battered, and recovering from an emergency brain surgery when they arrived at the hospital. A nurse told the investigators that Smith had a fractured skull on the left temporal area of his head and a swollen brain that had shifted to the right. Favor wrote in his report that Smith was brought to the hospital “due to a possible drug overdose.”

The investigators reviewed his body and observed: “several cuts to the top of his head, abrasions and bruising on both legs, hips, shoulders, however; he did not appear to have any defensive marks or bruising on his arms nor did he have any cuts to his knuckles and hand that would indicate hitting any object with his fist.”

Then–Elmore Correctional Facility warden Joseph Headley, who didn’t return Injustice Watch’s requests for comment, was among the first people Favor interviewed. Headley, now the warden at Staton Correctional Facility, never indicated that guards or nurses had mishandled Smith, according to investigators. Instead, he helped connect investigators with alleged witnesses to Smith and Blount’s dormitory fight.

When investigators later approached prison leadership with harder questions about what had happened to Smith under their watch and asked whether officers had abused Smith, leaders responded with apparent defensiveness, deception, and a lack of cooperation, the investigators’ report shows.

Assistant Warden Gwendolyn Babers, who refused to be interviewed for this story, denied ever seeing an inmate abused, according to the report. A prisoner, however, alleged that Babers had exited out the front side door in view of the shift office, and spoke to Waver briefly while Smith was hog-tied. Investigators couldn’t confirm that inmate’s account. And Babers’ time card showed that she clocked out about 40 minutes before Smith was brought to the shift office, according to the report. However, investigators noted that Babers’ time card was edited on the day Smith was hurt, and that “the reason for the editing is unknown.”

Waver denied that any officers under his command struck Smith and denied seeing Smith hog-tied on the gurney, though in a later interview he acknowledged seeing Smith handcuffed and shackled on the gurney outside the office for an hour or more.

Richardson denied seeing any officer strike Smith and said he could not confirm if he was hog-tied. The corrections sergeant said he had only been outside the office once during Smith’s ordeal — when other witnesses said he was being beaten — but video later showed he had been outside at least six times, according to investigators.

Investigators also found that the original copy of a shift office log was missing notes about Smith’s first trip to Staton that a clerk remembered entering, and it lacked a required signature from a supervisor. A copy of the unsigned, incomplete log was found on a clipboard in the women’s bathroom. The purported original was later found in a locked file cabinet bearing Richardson’s signature.

Richardson denied knowing whether anyone had changed the shift log and insisted that he had signed the log. He failed a polygraph exam when agents asked him if he had seen Smith hog-tied, if he had signed the shift log after it had been altered and if he knew who had made the changes, the report shows.

A state autopsy concluded Smith had died of blunt force trauma. After hearing investigators describe the details of Smith’s fight with Blount and witness statements about Smith’s contact with officers, a medical examiner with the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences attributed Smith’s fatal injuries to his fight with Blount.

In February 2019, one of the investigators referred a manslaughter charge against Blount to the Elmore County District Attorney’s Office.

Investigators declared the Smith probe “exceptionally cleared” and closed it in October 2018, due to the case against the inmate. But in July 2019, the grand jury returned indictments against both Blount and Singleton, who had been promoted to sergeant a year prior.

Prison officials put Singleton on mandatory leave after learning of the indictment, and he resigned about a week later, in August 2019, according to a statement from the Department of Corrections.

Both Singleton and Blount are scheduled to begin trial in December.

McDermott, Singleton’s lawyer, said “the state of Alabama can’t have it both ways” by charging both men with manslaughter even though a state autopsy concluded Blount was at fault.

He accused inmates of making false statements, and blasted corrections staff at Elmore for allegedly scapegoating Singleton while other employees got off the hook.

“Mr. Singleton has been sued civilly, he’s been charged criminally, yet if you read the report, the person who denied medical treatment to Mr. Smith was a nurse,” McDermott said. “The nurse has not been charged, she has not been sued, but clearly she refused medical treatment to this inmate, and I’m sorry, but if you look at it, it looks like her delay contributed to this man’s death.”

Smith’s mother, Teresa Smith, also rejects the notion that only Blount and Singleton are responsible. That is one reason why her family filed a civil lawsuit against Singleton, Warden Headley, who transferred to Staton last year, Waver, state prison chief Jeff Dunn, and former associate commissioner Grantt Culliver, who retired in 2018 amid a sexual misconduct scandal.

She hopes that the story of how her son died can help spur greater accountability at Elmore Correctional Facility and other Alabama prisons, and urge consequences higher up the organizational chart when corrections employees mistreat inmates.

“I want to save another mama, or another child, from having to feel pain like this,” she said. “I don’t really blame the prisoner, because I don’t think he killed my son. I know that the guards did it, and it wasn’t just one person involved.”

Click here to read the rest of Injustice Watch’s Alabama Prison Crisis series.


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ALERT: FAM Press Statement and Call to Action: #EnoughIsEnough PROTEST

 JUNE 6, 2020

PRESS STATEMENT

IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PUBLIC (PLEASE SHARE)

FROM: FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT, FAM’S QUEEN TEAM, NINE DIVINE

RE: PROTEST TO BE HELD AT ALABAMA BUREAU OF PARDONS AND PAROLES ON JUNE 23, 24 AND 25

#FREEUMALL
@humunsofalabamadoc
#EnoughIsEnough

ALABAMA DEPT OF CORRUPTION, STATEWIDE.

To all concerned citizens in the State of Alabama, all incarcerated individuals, to our elected and appointed State officials, and to all of our supporters around the World:

On June 23, 24 and 25, at 8:30 am, FAM and a Coalition of organizations, including FAM’s Queen Team, Nine Divine, family members, activists, attorneys, and supporters are calling for a 3-day Protest at the Headquarters for the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles in Montgomery, Al.

We are making this Call to Action to address the ongoing humanitarian crises taking place inside of the Alabama Department of Corrections, as well as to address decisions being made by the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles that are only exacerbating these issues.

Enough is enough !!!

DEADLY VIOLENCE

Under the current leadership of Commissioner Jefferson Dunn, Alabama’s prisons are the most deadly, overcrowded and underfunded in the nation, and the unfathomable lose of life cannot continue on as usual. In May alone we mourned the death of six more men (and presumably women too) due to violence, suicide or other negligent acts while in ADOC custody.


At the same time, there were many more struggling to survive stabbings, self-mutilations due to mental health issues, and officer use of excessive force and brutality. As we release this statement, Donaldson prison was placed on lockdown due to another episode of violence that has been brewing for three days while ADOC staff stood by and allowed it to happen. We are sick of the savagery and barbarian that is the leadership of ADOC Commissioner Jefferson Dunn.


Enough is Enough !!!

Enough of the murders and drug overdoses. Enough COVID-19 deaths (Mr. Hershell Moon died from COVID 19 on June 3, 2020). Enough physical and sexual abuse. Enough of the suicides. Enough of the preventable medical deaths. And enough of death by incarceration. Enough !!! This level of suffering cannot continue to go on.


Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles.

Meanwhile the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles is denying parole at a staggering rate. In May 2020, 160 people were afforded parole hearings. Of those 160, only 15 people made parole according to a new SPLC report. Also according to SPLC, 11 of the 15 were white, while only 4 people granted parole were Black. These four Black people made parole despite the fact that 51% of those up for parole were Black. These numbers reveal yet another example of the systemic racial issues that plague the Bureau of Parole under Charles Graddick.

 

One should not be surprised to hear Charlie Graddick using the word “hanging” when talking about people in Alabama prisons.

Many deserving individuals who have served decades in Alabama prisons or who will serve decades more are being denied parole even though they are deserving of freedom. Yesterday, June 4, 2020, according to Beth Shelburne, the Bureau denied 37 out of 38 paroles, including a man who has already served 33 years for 2nd and 3rd degree burglary charges. This is outrageous misconduct and a waste of tax dollars. Arbitrarily denying parole to over 75% of all eligible people reveals systemic issues and an addiction to incarceration and oppression. This Must End !



Moreover, the parole process is a complete sham. There are no objective criteria by which a person is reviewed for parole. No one knows what the Board members consider as evidence of rehabilitation and parole readiness. The person being considered for parole is not even allowed to be present to speak at the hearing or to speak via video. This does not make any sense. It is 2020, where judicial proceedings, visitation and other important business is conducted via video technology; yet the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles conducts their business as if we were still living in 1901..

These outdated practices, outdated ideas, and outdated leaders must go. The time for change is now, and Charlie Graddick Must Go!!!

Enough is Enough !! #WeCantBreatheInADOC, either.

In the past, the “Alabama solution” to these same problems has always been the same: Build more prisons !!! Well, building more prisons has not solved our problem; it has only solved theirs.

Today, we must send a message to Montgomery that we reject their solutions.

No more waiting for a Special Session. No more backwards Bills by Rep. Chris England and the other Prison Reform Study Group members. No more Prison Reform Study Groups. By the time these things come to pass, we will be dead in the Alabama Department of Death.

Alabama prisons also lead or are near the top in suicide deaths.


#NoMorePrisons
#NoMoreParoleBureau
#NoMoreCharlieGraddick
#NoMoreDeaths

If you are a family member or support person for someone up for parole on June 23, 24 or 25, please contact us at the information below and provide us with details of accomplishments and any other information that you feel supports your loved one’s release.

THANK YOU,

FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT
FAM’S QUEEN TEAM
NINE DIVINE

If you or your organization would like to be added as a co-sponsor or supporter, please email us at:
freealabamamovement@gmail.com, or fam@famqueenteam.com



“I CAN’T BREATHE”, by Kevin “Rashid” Johnson

WE CAN’T BREATHE: ON THE LYNCHING OF GEORGE FLOYD (2020)

by Kevin “Rashid” Johnson

On May 24, 2020, a crowd of onlookers witnessed the slow death by asphyxiation of a handcuffed Black man in Minneapolis. This was a public lynching.


Only, unlike in times past, this crowd didn’t cheer, but instead pleaded over and over for the cop who murdered George Floyd, to let him breathe; to take his knee off his neck and let him up. Several times onlookers tried to physically intervene, only to be themselves threatened with pig violence.
Also, unlike days of old, this murder was filmed for the world to also witness. And Minneapolis exploded! Thousands poured into the streets in protest.


Until just a few years ago, the world and Amerika at large denied that Black and Brown people in Amerika were routinely murdered by the cops.


The advent of cellphone technology and social media enabled everyday people to force a world in denial to bear witness to the reality of our lives under racist imperialist occupation.
Proportionally, more of us are murdered today by cops than were killed by lynch mobs during the Jim Crow era. And just like during Jim Crow, our killers are protected by a system that closes ranks to villainize the victims and portray our abusers as well-intended arbiters of justice. They’ve even crafted language to recast these killings as benign and something other than murder. Instead of calling it what it is, they’ve coined the euphemism, “police involved shootings.”


What they are is a continuation of lynching. The cops have always participated in this sort of violence. They’ve never been a source of service or protection in our communities.
Black and Brown people have always been corralled into marginalized spaces of American society where we’ve lived a suffocated existence. We were suffocated to death by everyday Amerikans at the instigation and participation of their elites, political leaders and often the cops, when we were hung from trees.


The lynching by suffocation of George Floyd, like that of Eric Garner in 2014, as they protested over and over “I can’t breathe!”, is but a continuation of the same in a racist capitalist society that must be fundamentally overturned. We’ll never be able to breathe free until it is!

Dare to Struggle Dare to Win!
All Power to the People!

WHEN LESS IS NOT MORE: REPRESENTATIVE CHRIS ENGLAND, PLEASE EXPLAIN YOURSELF AND HB329

Dear Rep. England:

In 2000, the Alabama Legislature passed an amendment to the Habitual Felony Offender Act, which granted people serving time pursuant to this act potential sentencing relief, including people who were sentenced for a violent crime. This law ultimately became known as the Kirby law.

Ex parte Kirby, https://law.justia.com/cases/alabama/supreme-court/2004/1030128-4.html

Pursuant to Kirby, any person who had been sentenced after March 1, 2001, as a habitual offender could file a motion seeking a sentence reduction, including people who had been convicted of a violent offense. The burden was on the convicted person to demonstrate that, even though they had been convicted of a violent offense, they were not a violent person, per se. Meaning, they didn’t have a history of prior violent felony convictions and they had demonstrated during their incarceration that they were not or no longer a violent threat to the community. The individual was also allowed to show rehabilitation.

After granting less than 700 such motions, the so-called Kirby law was repealed in 2014 by Senator Cam Ward’s SB84.

Senator Ward’s SB84 on Habitual Offenders Act Catches Serious Criticism

One does not need to rehash the issues that have been caused by overcrowding or over-sentencing in Alabama. Nor is it necessary to discuss the prominent role that the Habitual Felony Offender Act plays in all of this.

Here is the issue that we have with all of this and what we are requesting that you respond to and explain:

On February 26, 2020, after the conclusion of the Prison Reform Study Group, you co-sponsored a Bill, HB329, which you proposed as a solution to Alabama’s prison issues. However, your Bill offers less of a legal remedy to suffering families who have already gone decades without a loved one than the Kirby law that was repealed. The reason why Kirby was repealed was because it was no longer being used to grant relief to anyone, violent or non-violent.

The Bill you sponsored states that it applies only to people who have been convicted on a “non-violent” felony.

“This Bill would provide that individuals currently incarcerated who committed non-violent offenses. . . “

This means that a person whose current felony conviction is for a violent offense is not even eligible to apply for relief under your Bill.

In comparison, pursuant to the since repealed Kirby law, even a person whose current conviction was for a violent offense could apply for the relief because, as the Alabama Supreme Court stated in Kirby, many people whose sentences were enhanced by the HFOA were enhanced by all non-violent prior felonies.

One of the many questions we have for you is, why are you sponsoring a law for non-violent applicants only, when a more stronger law that included relief for violent and non-violent offenders has already been enacted and repealed?

Surely, you have to know that most non-violent offenders have already received the benefit of the Kirby law? This makes your legislation seem very suspect.

In addition, it appears that you didn’t learn much from your participation on the Prison Reform Study Group. Anyone who followed that process closely knows that Alabama has an aging prison population that is filled with appx. 6000 people who were sentenced as a habitual offender. Your Bill will help less than 600 of them.

Also, your Bill is discretionary. This means that the decision of whether to resentence someone or not would be left in the hands of the judges and prosecutors, some of whom already had discretion in the first place and used it to hand out the maximum punishment.

In no way does your Bill propose to solve a problem. It does not speak with the decisive and mandatory language that is needed for this crisis. Instead, you seem to want to pass the matter of coming forward with a “solution” on to someone else, in their discretion. If that is so, then why should the People from your district continue to look to you for leadership and solutions to problems when it is clear from your actions that you are incapable of providing such results?

To say that the “war on drugs” and “tough on crime” legislation of the past has been a war on the Black community is an understatement. All you have to do is look at the prison population and the grave yard for that proof. Our Elders and Ancestors, and our allies fought for Representation is the government so that we could have people from our own communities in positions of power to stop the abuses that were being inflicted on us.

Knowing these things and viewing them in light of your legislation begs the question: how does your Bill push forward the process of remeding these problems?

Rep. England, we are asking that you withdraw your Bill and to resubmit a more robust Bill that will repeal the Habitual Felony Offender Act and make the current sentencing guidelines retroactive. In addition, we are asking that you craft legislation that will create a criteria for parole that will make parole mandatory for every person who completes their parole curriculum.

The Alabama Department of Corrections has a $620,000,000.00 million dollar budget. It is inconceivable that, if appx. $22,000.00 is spent each year per individual incarcerated, those $22,000 dollars can’t be invested in a way that rehabilitates over a specific period of time. Even our colleges and universities have a curriculum established that, upon completion, over a set course of time, renders one capable of graduation. Many of these degrees cost less than $22,000.00 dollars, total, let alone $22,000.00 per year.

Otherwise, we will ask the Black community to repeal you.

Sincerely,

FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT

REPOSTED STORY: EXTORTION IN PRISON.

I Don’t Want My Child Dead But What Do I Do ( Please Read This Now )

Many prison inmates extort families from behind bars. One mother says she occasionally gets phone calls from inmates where her child is serving time. The phone calls are simple: Send money, or your child could die.

She says she sent $300 last time. She’s sent larger sums over the years – $400, $500. The money is sent through, Pay Pal, Western Union, or Walmart cards. She reports the calls, she says, to the Department of Corrections and to federal authorities. Her story of extortion is similar to those found during an extensive two-and-a-half-year federal investigation of all prisons, released this month by the U.S. Department of Justice. “The inability to prevent and address the extortion of prisoners and prisoners’ family members leads to a substantial risk of serious harm,” the report stated.

The federal findings provided seven examples, along with screenshots of texts with threats, painting a picture of criminals behind bars able to extend influence on innocent relatives beyond the walls.

They say, don’t pay it,” she said. “I said, ‘I don’t want my child dead over money.’ I’ve spent nearly everything I’ve got trying to keep them alive, any time he’s out in the prison population.”

‘It’s horrible’ In addition to the extortion threats, she regularly pays money for debts her son may incur behind bars. But the extortion calls are the worst. They’ve been standing over my child, fixing to kill them, sometimes when they call,” she said. “It’s horrible. It’s because he’s on drugs. But it’s happened in different prisons. I never know who it is.” She says the calls began more than 15 years ago, at different prisons, but with the same threats of violence and death. This mother documents her child’s time in prison, writing letters on notebook paper to wardens, prison officials, and others advocating for her child. Her letters, in a flowing cursive script, turn bold when she repeats a familiar phrase: “He is in fear for his life.” It is that devotion that drives her to continue to pay the extortion money. But she knows this could actually turn around against her and kill her child instead. Another prisoner with her child because of their failure to pay, the victim was beaten and threatened with rape. Over the last few months, the department of corrections has initiated several high-profile contraband sweeps through its prisons. Last week, more than 300 law enforcement officers staged a predawn raid at William C. Holman Correctional Facility, beginning about 4:30 a.m. at the maximum-security Atmore lockup, which houses 870 inmates. Officers seized 356 makeshift weapons, 91 grams of meth, 98 grams of marijuana, cocaine, more than 400 assorted pills, and 16 cellphones. This needs to happen in our entire penal system in America and needs to happen now. If you think your child is either doing this crime themselves, or having it done to them and their families, report it right away to the Department of Justice, Attorney Generals Office, your local Congress, and local Senator. The more reports being reported the quicker the problem will be resolved before more prisoners and families are killed. Yes, I said families being killed because of their child’s choices, it happens every day.

To all the FAM Moms out their, We Love Ya.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the Warrior Moms out there dealing with Mass Inc. and Prison Slavery. Whether you have a child inside or if you are a Mom on the inside, please know that you are a Blessing and Loved by many. Neither of you are alone.


FAM loves our Moms because without them none of this would be possible. Our Moms come to visit, write letters, accept phone calls, call lawyers, bring the children for visits, know just what to say when we are down, fight the lawyers, send money, purchase incentive packages, etc.


They also edit stuff, attend press conferences and rallies. Lead protests, call legislatures, governors and Wardens. They are the best and they do their best to bring us home. Their Prayers and their kisses are irreplaceable. We loved our Moms.

FAM

Lieutenant Ronald Carter of ADOC Strikes Again: Commissioner Dunn Fails to Protect Life

Many people are tuned in to the most recent media coverage of events about the murder of an innocent and unarmed Black man in Georgia and another incident where a Black woman was body-slammed by an officer for not wearing a face covering in a public storefront. However, another attack by a peace officer against an unarmed Black man in Alabama, Mr. Andre McKinney, has not made its way into the news cycle. Why? Probably because Mr. McKinney is incarcerated, and these types of stories rarely ever make the news.

Andre McKinney was beaten in the head with a “1×4” by a correctional officer on April 25, 2020, while handcuffed.

Nevertheless, there are certain facts about this incident aside from the fact that Mr. Kinney is a victim of unprovoked police brutality that are news worthy.

Many activist and others who are following the Alabama prison system know that late last year two men, Stephen Davis and Micheal Smith, were beaten to death by Alabama correctional Officers. No arrests have been made in either incident. Additionally, the officer involved in the Davis murder, Kendrick Gadson, has already returned to work and been promoted by Commissioner Dunn to the rank of Sergeant.

These were the second and third reported incidents of a person in custody of ADOC being beaten to death by correctional Officers. Rocrast Mack III was also beaten to death in 2010, and his attackers were convicted and sentenced to federal prison.

Rocrast Mack III

At the same time, the ADOC is currently being investigated by the United States Department of Justice for, among other things, violence levels in Alabama’s men prisons. Coincidentally, the ADOC stalled federal investigators for over one year, refusing to turn over internal documents and reports relating to use-of-force by correctional officers, which turns directly into this latest attack against Mr. McKinney.

Lt. Ronald Carter, the officer involved in the attack and beating of Mr. Kinney, is no stranger to such accusations.

In a class action lawsuit filed while Lt. Carter was a Sargeant at Donaldson Correctional Facility, Carter was accused of beating multiple individuals, all while in handcuffs. In addition, then-Sgt. Carter was once relieved of duty when other officers turned on him in a lawsuit after it was uncovered that Carter was running an illegal racketeering operation using cigarettes and coffee to extort incarcerated individuals, their families and to conduct other illegal activities.

Carter, however, is a second generation officer who was able to get rehired after resigning when his racketeering activities were uncovered. His mother, Mary Carter was a long-time ADOC correctional officer officer and served as a warden for many years during her tenure with ADOC. She is now retired.

By 2014, Carter had risen to the rank of Lieutenant, and his reputation for violence was well documented. At that time, he transferred to St. Clair prison from Donaldson prison, where he served under notorious warden Carter Davenport. As an enforcer for Davenport, Carter carried out a reign of terror that lasted for several years.

Three incidents bear mentioning here.

1. Jermaine Tillman.

Jermaine Tillman was beaten and asphyxiated by Lt. Carter while handcuffs. Mr. Tillman had to be resuscitated multiple times to survive. This incident resulted in a civil settlement of tens of thousands of dollars.

2. Ventura Harris.

One day Ventura Harris was called out of his assigned living area by two officers. When Mr. Harris stepped into the corridor, Lt. Carter was waiting. Lt. Carter had the two officers to place Mr. Harris against the wall and handcuff him to the rear. While Mr. Harris was handcuffed to the rear and defenseless, one of the officers took a set of handcuffs and delivered a blow to the back of Mr. Harris’s head. The blow was so violent that it busted his scalp all the way to the skull.

Harris also settled a civil rights lawsuits for tens of thousands of dollars.

3. Xavian Austin (April 17, 2014 PRESS STATEMENT https://freealabamamovement.wordpress.com/2015/05/01/press-release/)

Mr. Xavian Austin was apprehended for allegedly possessing a cellphone. The officers who apprehended Mr. Austin placed him in handcuffs to the rear and proceed to escort him out of the dorm. Once outside, Mr. Austin was roughed up and his head was ran into a concrete wall.

From there, Mr. Austin was taken to the shift officer, where Lt. Carter was waiting. Mr. Austin was summarily beaten by Lt. Carter and then taken to the infirmary. After being screened by medical staff, Mr. Austin was taken to a remote location where he was beaten again by Lt. Carter and his crew.

BUT . . .

Later this same morning after the Austin attacks, Lt. Carter himself would be stabbed multiple times, have his jaw broken, and suffer multiple other injuries. This incident set off a wave of violence in the ADOC that has not dissipated to this day.

Lt. Carter was absent from the ADOC for over two years, before finally resurfacing at Childerburg Work Camp. Apparently, Commissioner Jefferson Dunn has positions for violent officers like Lt. Ronald Carter.

Lt. Carter seems to have learned a few things after watching how the Stephen Davis murder played out. Recall that the officers who beat Mr. Davis to death claim that Mr. Davis attacked them with two knives in hand. Mr. Davis was beaten beyond recognition, forcing his mother to hold a closed casket funeral.

In the disciplinary report filed in the McKinney assault, Lt. Carter claims that Mr. McKinney took a 1×4 and struck himself in the head while “handcuff[ed] to the front.”

“While detained in the Lieutenant Office with handcuffs to the front by Lt. Ronald Carter. You, inmate Andre McKinney B/179884, did pick up a 1×4 pick of wood and intentionally strike yourself multiple times in the head to self-inflict wounds. “

The Alabama Prison System under the leadership of Commissioner Jefferson Dunn is a bottomless pit of moral decay and hell-on-earth that knows no sin or evil too great. It is time to STOP making demands for change to Commissioner Dunn and start making the DEMAND that #DunnMustGo!!

Please follow us for details of actions being planned to demand Justice for Mr. McKinney.

 

UPDATE ON F.A.M.’S DEMAND FOR CHILDREN IN ALABAMA TO BE RELEASED FROM JUVENILE DETENTION FACILITIES

#FREEOURCHILDREN

On April 9, 2020, FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT released a Press Statement calling for the release of all children being held in Alabama’s Juvenile Detention Facilities.

https://freealabamamovement.wordpress.com/2020/04/09/how-many-children-in-alabamas-juvenile-detention-facilities-are-at-risk-of-death-from-covid-19/

F.A.M. issued this demand in wake of the COVID 19 pandemic and in light of the fact that there was no public discourse concerning the fate of these children or details about their safety.

In response to our efforts, the executive director of the Alabama Department of Youth Services, Steven P. Lafreniere, issued a public letter four days later on April 13, 2020, detailing a few details of ADYS’s COVID 19 plan of action.

April 13, 2020, Letter from
ADYS Director Steven P. Lafreniere

Noticably missing from this public letter by Mr. Lafreniere is any plan on the part of ADYS to release any of these children from custody. In addition, this letter fails to identify how ADYS plans to deal with children who are especially vulnerable to COVID 19 due to pre-existing mental and/or physical condition.

In response to one of the many questions that we posed in our Press Statement (please review these questions in our Press Statement), Mr. Lafreniere states the number of phone calls allowed to each child will increase, but he falls to state how many calls are currently allowed, or what that amount will be increased to? Furthermore, Mr. Lafreniere states that “all staff wear a mask and practice social distancing from youth to the degree practical”, but he Mr. Lefreniere doesn’t mention what efforts are currently in place to provide our children with PPEs or whether their environment will allow them to practice government mandated social distancing. The letter from Mr. Lefreniere does not allay any of our concerns about our children in custody and does nothing to assure us of their safety.

Also, since FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT released our Press Statement, other organizations have joined this important conversation. “The Youth Advocacy” Programs, Inc. has issued a letter to Governor Ivey, and FAMs Queen Team has initiated a Call campaign to demand that these children be released.

PHONE ZAP Campaign by FAM’S QUEEN TEAM

At this time of uncertainty, we can only expect this situation to get worse and more dangerous for children in juvenile detention facilities, which is why the only remedy is their release. The State of Florida recently reported 4 cases of children testing positive for COVID 19. The plan outlined by Director Lafreniere mentions that “screening” is being done on personnel daily, but fails to state what type of screening is being done, or whether any staff member has been tested or quarantined. As we have learned, COVID 19 is asymptomatic in some carriers, so testing – not screening- is critical.

F. A. M. also wants to remind everyone that these children are not criminals and they do not have criminal convictions. When Director Lafreniere says that regular cleaning and sanitizing will be done, we have to wonder who will be responsible for this vital labor because uncompensated child labor is illegal. In the immigration detention facilities, multiple class action lawsuits are pending because the people in those facilities, none of whom had felony convictions, were performing labor without compensation. Juvenile facilities are no different. Children are required to work in the kitchen, lawn care, trash details and other functions without being paid. This definitely will not continue to be allowed on our watch.

The focus amid this crisis has to remain on the preservation of the lives of our children, not preservation of children in detention facilities for deliquent acts. The public letter from Mr. Lafreniere does not indicate that the lives of our children detained in ADYS custody are being prioritized over continued detention. As such, FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT will intensify our demand for release as we continue to seek answers and transparency during this crisis. This response from ADYS needs to be independently verified and, since these children are no longer allowed visitation with their families, volunteers and attorneys needs to be allowed in to speak privately with these children without fear of retaliation. We will update this post and we look forward to hearing from you about your efforts in this matter.

Respectfully,

FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT

Please contact Director Steven P. Lafreniere @ 334-215-3800 to convey your concerns.

Alesia Allen, Executive Assistant to Director, 334-215-3836 or email alesia.allen@dys.alabama.gov.

RE-POSTED FROM PAGE ON FACEBOOK

POSTED BY A INMATE :

Public Service announcement for K.Ivey and her heartless unprofessional and careless administration, an inmate has died today at St. Clair correctional facility because of your lack of effort to protect those that are incarcerated and unable to protect themselves from this virus. One more thing, I have a declaimer for the mask and other ppe that the public is being misinformed about, their not in any prisons! Your taxpayers and voters think they are in, nor is anything being provided to inmates for their protection, and the federal law of social distancing is a joke in the unconstitutionally overcrowded facilities you preside over as the head of this state. Some of your voters have family incarcerated too, I pray that their vote next election will not be in your favor! It’s truly sad that the leadership and how it came into power by exposing former governor Bentley and his darkness, ironically resides in that same cess pool of racism, historical mass incarceration, and the habitual behaviors of traditions that were only designed with one race of people in mind( Former governor G. Wallace made a declaration that I’m sure you remember very well, segregation now, tomorrow, and forever”). Now someone will comment outta ignorance will say “oh he’s playing the ” race card” lol well friend when it’s the only card you’re been giving and it’s been the determining factor for over four hundred yrs of oppression, hatred, hardship, inequality, and systematic mass murders and incarceration even to this day, what other choice do you have being a woman or man of color? This doesn’t apply to all whites, just those who support and demonstrate White Supremacy through laws and the justice system here in the Alabama.

ADOC ISSUES FALSE MEDIA REPORTS CLAIMING TO HAVE ISSUED MASKS, GLOVES AND SANITIZER

Unmasking the Lies and Deceptions about the distribution of PPEs by the Alabama Department of Corrections

STATE-ISSUED MASK MADE OF BASIC ONE-LAYER CLOTHE

FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT, Alabama Prison System, Ala. Over the past several weeks, the Alabama Dept. of Corrections has been gradually changing the prison uniforms that it issues out to the incarcerated citizens in their custody from the familiar white shirts and pants to the new khaki uniforms.

NEW KHAKI COLORED UNIFORMS

The old piles of worn and soiled uniforms were hauled off to never-never land, presumably never to be heard from again. Or so we thought. Recently, though, these old white uniforms seem to have made an ignoble return.


Anyone watching the news lately would know that family members, advocacy groups and others have been putting tremendous public pressure on Commissioner Jefferson Dunn and Governor Kay Ivey to protect the lives and safety of the incarcerated citizenry by proving PPEs to those in custody. Commissioner Dunn has admitted publicly that the ADOC is ill-prepared to deal with the COVID 19 pandemic in the overcrowded prisons system. Along with this pressure was the request that the ADOC allow faith-based groups and others to donate PPEs to the ADOC for the appx. 24,000 people in state custody.

In response to this pressure, the ADOC began to be more transparent about conditions inside the prisons and, among other things, the request for donations to be allowed was approved by Commissioner Dunn.


It is now being report by media that PPE packages, including the donated material are being distributed to the prison population. Pictures of masks, gloves and hand sanitizers are said to be issued out across the ADOC. These reports are FALSE !!

FALSE IMAGES BEING RELEASED BY ADOC OF PPE PACKAGES ALLEGEDLY BEING DISTRIBUTED TO PRISON POPULATION

It is true that the ADOC has provided masks to the prison population, but these masks are the only material distributed thus far, but not every prison has received them. There are no reports of gloves or hand sanitizer being distributed at any Alabama prison that F.A.M. is in contact with.

Instead, the people on the inside are wondering, where is the news media getting this FALSE information from and why are they reporting it without confirmation from those on the inside?

Additionally, there hasn’t been any accounting for or distribution of the donated PPE supplies. Instead, the only product issued by the ADOC thus far has the masks that were made at Tutwiler and Holman Correctional Facilities.


Speaking of these masks, any incarcerated person who wants to receive one must first sign a release of liability form absolving the ADOC of any liability. This liability contract comes with the following warning:

WARNING: Use this mask at your own risk. The ability of this mask to protect the user and the effects of its use on health are unknown. The mask is not guaranteed to be effective against the spread of any illness or virus including COVID 19.”

ADOC WAIVER OF LIABILITY FORM BEFORE MASKS ISSUED TO INCARCERATED PEOPLE

A thing or two about these masks

Clearly, these masks are made from the same material that were previously used to make the white uniforms that the ADOC collected up and hauled off from the prisons.

MASKS ISSUED BY ADOC OFFER NO PROTECTION EXCEPT FOR PROTECTION AGAINST ADOC LIABILITY

We cannot tell if the masks are merely recycled material from the old uniforms or if they were made from excess material left over in stock. What is clear is that the ADOC has now entered into the business of creating medical products but with the caveat that recipients waive all liability if the product doesn’t protect the user. One of the problems with this arraignment is that the user, in this case incarcerated people who are at the mercy and under the control of the ADOC, don’t have any other option in the matter – either sign the waiver releasing ADOC of all liability or you are refused a mask. Second, the ADOC is responsible for the safety of each human life that it incarcerates. In fact, if the deadly virus enters into the prison system, it will definitely come from an ADOC employee because they are the ones trafficking in and out of the prison system and, so far, they are the only ones who have tested positive for the virus.
The ADOC’s responsibility to protect the citizens who are in custody is part of the mission statement of the ADOC and is a duty owed to all 24,000 of us that cannot be waived.

“The mission of the Alabama Department of Corrections is to confine, manage and provide rehabilitative programs for convicted felons in a safe, secure and humane environment, utilizing professionals who are committed to public safety and to the positive re-entry of offenders into society.”

Furthermore, the masks clearly don’t provide protection against transmission of COVID 19 because the material used to make the masks won’t keep the virus inside the mask, nor will it prevent the virus from entering through the mask. . . These masks provide a false sense of security to the user and affords the ADOC opportunity to make a public claim that they are fulfilling their duty to public safety, while in reality the ADOC is doing less than the minimum required during this public health emergency.


We are DEMANDING the protection that we are owed relative to the threat being posed by COVID 19. And we are DEMANDING this protection without precondition and without being required to sign a release of the duty that is owed to us by Commissioner Dunn and the ADOC. We receive mattress, clothing, towels, and other necessities because the ADOC is required to provide these same for anyone in their custody. We are not required to sign a release of liability to receive any of these articles. The reason why we are being required to sign a waiver before we can receive a protective mask in clear: the product is ill-equipped to deal with the COVID 19 emergency at hand, and Commissioner Dunn is more concerned with public perception that he is with protecting human life.

The conditions that were already in existence inside Alabama prisons are testament to the fact that Commissioner Dunn does not care about the 24,000-plus in his custody. Tax-payers already expend in excess of $600 million dollars to support the prison system with little to show in return. Thus, not only is Commissioner Dunn unable to provide adequate protection and safety for the prison population, including during this COVID 19 pandemic, but Commissioner Dunn also seems to be untrustworthy with facts concerning the supplies that citizens and the Faith community have donated. The Faith-based communities have entered into Alabama prisons and distributed foods, hygiene and other items for many years, and those of us on the inside are well aware of how misuse of public funds are common place in ADOC.


Finally, although Commissioner Dunn accepted the request for donations that was initiated by Free Alabama Movement (F.A.M.), F.A.M. did not then and does not now support Commissioner Dunn’s protocol to have the supplies donated to ADOC for them disperse. Instead, in our press statement FAM called for the Faith-based community and non-profit sector to be declared “essential personnel” during this crisis and that they be allowed back into the prisons to distribute the supplies themselves, as this appears to be the only way to ensure accuracy and a realistic account of how these donated PPEs are being distributed. We continue to have the same concerns respecting the donated PPEs that caused us to request that the Faith-based community and non-profits be allowed to disperse these supplies that we initially had.

Sincerely,

FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT

Please call Commissioner Jefferson Dunn and ask him to provide a detailed account of the donated material, and ask him why is ADOC reporting that a package of PPE material that includes hand sanitizer and gloves are being distributed to protect those inside ADOC when no such packages are being distributed? Also, please request that Commissioner Dunn provide a detailed and accurate account of which prisons have issued masks and when does the ADOC plan to have a mask issued to everyone in ADOC custody?

334-353-3883

How Many Children in Alabama’s Juvenile Detention Facilities are at risk of Death from COVID-19?

APRIL 9, 2020

PRESS STATEMENT

IMMEDIATE PUBLIC RELEASE

FROM: FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT

TO: GOVERNOR KAY IVEY AND CONCERNED ALABAMA CITIZENS, JUVENILE ADVOCATES AND STATE LEADERS

RE: CHILDREN IN JUVENILE DETENTION FACILITIES DURING THE COVID 19 PANDEMIC: WHERE IS THEIR ADVOCACY AND WHY ISN’T ANYONE DEMANDING THEIR RELEASE??

With each passing day, the clamor about a potential human rights nightmare taking place inside America’s overcrowded prisons and jails grows louder. We are seeing more and more videos emerge from inside these facilities by courageous (and sometimes sick) men and women showing the world that the structure and conditions inside of the human warehouses are tinderboxes for COVID 19. As a result of these images and stories and advocacy, thousands of men and women across the United States have been released, with the promise of more releases to come. Just yesterday, Alabama’s Parole Bureau announced plans to re-start parole review amid mounting pressure from public discontent.Despite these positive, though belated development, the loudest noise emerging from this crisis is the silence that is emanating from the lack of dialogue about the thousands of vulnerable children who are detained in Alabama’s Youth Detention Facilities. Where is their advocacy and why is no one demanding their release ? It’s time to start asking ourselves a few questions:

  1. How many children are currently in the custody of Alabama’s juvenile detention facilities?
  2. What are the conditions that these children are being detained in as it relates to COVID 19?
  3. Are any children at any facility being subjected to a heightened risk of exposure to COVID 19 as a result of their housing/living conditions?
  4. What type of safety precautions are in place to protect these children from COVID 19?
  5. Has Alabama released any children from juvenile detention facilities due to COVID 19? If not, why?
  6. Are these children being provided masks, gloves, soaps, hand sanitizers, and other PPEs?
  7. In this State of Emergency is the media allowed into these facilities to assess the conditions that these children are being house in and to verify any account given by juvenile authorities?
  8. With COVID 19 now having a disproportionate impact on African Americans, what are the demographics and racial make-up of Alabama’s juvenile populations overall and at each facility?
  9. Who is responsible for devising and implementing emergency planning as it relates to children in juvenile detention facilities?

These questions obviously lead into the most important question of them all: Has anyone (staff/judicial official/case worker) who has come into contact with these children tested positive for COVID 19 ?, or has any child tested positive for COVID 19? Indeed, has any testing at all been done? Are temperatures being checked? What protocols are being followed to protect these children?As I said, there is a deafening silence coming from this segment of the COVID 19 prison/jail commentary. When we talk about the most vulnerable people in society to COVID 19, who is more vulnerable than a child? These children lack the mental acumen to fully grasp and comprehend this once-in-a-lifetime type of pandemic. Then, we have to take into account that some of these children suffer from mental health and emotional issues, psychological trauma from being in these facilities that weaken their immune systems, physical disabilities, etc. Are they being allowed phone calls every day to contact their families? Are they in school or has their school been suspended? We have all of these children locked up in these juvenile detention facilities that look and operate just like jails and prisons, yet we aren’t receiving any information on their well-being and we don’t know what the plan is for their safety.We have to keep in mind that these children are not criminals. They have not been convicted of any crime. No, instead, many of them are simply juvenile delinquents and have sentences that range from maybe a few days to less than six months. This is because their delinquent act may have been running away from home. Acting out in school. Shoplifting or stealing a bicycle or car. Etc. You know, the very things that juvenile are apt to do. Some, of course, may have committed more serious offenses, but the issue is, should these delinquent acts now carry a potential COVID 19 death sentence because they so happen to be in a juvenile detention facility when this deadly virus emerged? The answer to that question is, emphatically, no !!! So, the final question is, what should we be doing to #FREEOURCHILDREN?Many of us in FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT have travelled through these juvenile detention facilities in the past on our way to these adult prisons. That is why it is easy for us to notice the silence across the spectrum of conversation when it comes to children in detention. These children, most likely, are living in the same squalor and moral decay that we now find ourselves living in in these adult prisons. In our opinion, which is supported by studies on the school-to-prison pipeline, the juvenile justice system have served as a feeder system for the adult prisons. In fact, many of these facilities don’t prepare these children for a successful re-entry into society; instead, they prepared us for successful entry into the adult prison system, all the way down to the (illegal) free labor. These juvenile facilities are an important part of the overall carcearal eco-system, as the adult prison system depends on these juvenile facilities to keep turning out assets for future capitalization. Thus, we should not only be fighting to save the lives of these children from COVID 19, but in doing so we will also be saving them from a dysfunctional juvenile system that will only serve to prepare them to spend time in an adult prison – namely, the new facilities that Governor Kay Ivey is planning to build.SINCERELY,FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT

#FREEOURCHILDREN

 

FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT PRESS STATEMENT: WE ARE BEING LEFT TO DIE

F. A. M. 3

 

PRESS STATEMENT

APRIL 5, 2020
11:00 am
FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

RE: Deadly conditions inside of Alabama prisons and the need for decisive actions by Governor Kay Ivey and the Alabama Legislature in the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic

TO: GOVERNOR KAY IVEY, THE ALABAMA LEGISLATURE AND OTHER STATE LEADERSHIP

Dear Governor Kay Ivey, the Alabama Legislature and ADOC Commissioner Jefferson Dunn:

We are releasing this statement from inside the Alabama prison system on behalf of ourselves, and on behalf of our families and those who are impacted by the Alabama prison system, including the employees and their families. All facilities within the Alabama prison system are facing a new crisis involving Covid-19. Because of the limited information we were provided, we’ve only recently become aware of  the two ADOC employees that tested positive for this deadly virus. Meanwhile those of us on the inside, inclusive of less than 20 individuals total, only recently began being tested.

We, our families, the employees, and their families, are fearful for our lives and well-being in the midst of this crisis. We are looking to our state leaders to take actions that reflect (show) value for our lives equally to that of any other human life. 

For the past several years, much attention has been paid to the Alabama prison system, but very little has been done to remedy the problems that the prison system is faced with. Now, with COVID-19 looming as a threat projected to kill approx. 250,000, experts, legal professionals, and others, are forecasting catastrophic results for America’s overcrowded prisons.

These pressing issues dictate that it is time for politics to take a backseat and for sound-humanitarian action to be placed in the forefront concerning the lives of those of us who are incarcerated in the Alabama Department of Corrections (as well as those whose lives that are directly or indirectly connected to the prison system).

It is well established that Alabama’s state prisons are severely overcrowded, underfunded, and understaffed relative to the overcrowded population and are already dealing with substantial issues. With much of the disaster still ahead of us, we have yet to receive any protective supplies to help combat this deadly virus, and it is well-known that there are few ventilators available in the prison system.

Based on the response that we have seen so far within the ADOC, it is a legitimate question to ask: Do the leaders of this state care about our lives inside of these prisons?? Are we nothing more than commodities being used to fund the canteen and incentive packages, and for the use of our free labor? 

On January 26, 2020, Alabama prison Commissioner Jefferson Dunn stated during an interview with the Wall Street Journal the following:

“Our infrastructure was not designed to rehabilitate. It was designed to warehouse.”

Consistent with that statement, one federal judge after another has described Alabama prisons as deplorable and in violation of the basic human rights and moral decency of those incarcerated with the ADOC facilities. U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson, who is currently presiding over class-action litigation Duke et al., v. Dunn, et al., Civil Action No. 4:14-CV-1952-VEH, (Equal Justice Initiative) concerning Alabama prisons, recently approved a private settlement where over $600,000.00 in attorney fees was paid to attorneys from Equal Justice Initiative finding that systemic overcrowding levels were creating problems that rendered St. Clair prison (and  many others) uncontrollable, and that the ADOC must reduce the population of the prison in order to meet the federal constitutional standard.

Already though, this order and private settlement are being reviewed for non-compliance by ADOC. In addition, on April 4, 2019, the US Department of Justice stated that after investigating the ADOC for nearly two years, the conditions of Alabama prisons violate the Eight Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. 

Furthermore, there are multiple class-action lawsuits pending in federal court concerning these and other conditions, including inadequate mental health care and inadequate medical care; plus an additional 70-plus lawsuits pending against ADOC officers for using excessive force, sexual assault by corrections staff, inhumane conditions of confinement, and for retaliation by ADOC against those individuals who have exposed these conditions inside the prisons. These issues point to clear signs that Alabama’s $600,000,000.00 prison system is out of control and a failed state institution.  

Just this past Monday, March 30, 2020, yet another person was killed due to violence inside an Alabama prison. This death is compounded by the fact that in 2019, the Alabama prison system recorded more deaths due to violence than in any year prior. In addition to violent deaths, Alabama’s prison system leads the nation, or ranks near the top, in suicide deaths. Reporter Beth Shelburne recently described the culture inside of ADOC as criminogenic, meaning that it engenders criminal  behavior. This is substantiated by the fact that over 70 officers have been fired in the past two years for trafficking drugs into the prisons. Several other officers have been convicted for violating the rights of incarcerated citizens, and last year two individuals (Stephen Davis and Michael Smith) were beaten to death by correctional officers. Both incidents remain under federal investigation. 

Despite this grim reality, solutions to these problems have not been forthcoming, and countless people continue to be negatively impacted by this failed institution. Based on current empirical data from how the government has responded to previous conditions in ADOC, we are posing the question: how many of us will be left to die in this COVID-19 pandemic? 

In the event of an outbreak, what, exactly is the ADOC’s plan to respond? Why has this plan not been communicated to us?  When will testing begin in earnest? Where will we be quarantined? While test results are pending, where will these patients be isolated ? How many ventilators are available? How many nurses are available?

HISTORY REPEATING ITSELF   

In 1971, Alabama’s prisons were facing the exact same issues that, like today, lead to class action lawsuits in federal court. As you all know, those federal lawsuits lead to a federal takeover of the Alabama prison system that lasted until 1985, when federal oversight ended. (Newman v. Alabama and Pugh v. Locke, 349 F. Supp. 278 (M.D. Ala. 1972); James v. Wallace, 406 F. Supp. 318 (M.D. Ala. 1974).

The “solutions” offered back in 1971, are the cause of the problems today. Alabama approved a plan to build new prisons – St. Clair CF, now the deadliest prison in the entire United States, being one of them – and for passage of the draconian and oppressive Habitual Felony Offender Act. This law is acutely responsible for the unconstitutional overcrowding that drove the prison system off the cliff today, and lead to excessively long sentences that have produced an aging population of men and women who have served 20, 30, 40 or even 50- plus years consecutively. These men and women are now elderly, in poor health from decades of incarceration, and the most vulnerable to the COVID 19 virus.

Building new prisons back then did not solve those problems, and building new prisons today will not solve these problems. Instead, the prison system has a problem with culture, leadership and with coming to grips with issues of race in the criminal justice system that have yet to be resolved. These cultural and structural issues transferred from the old prisons to the new ones, and that is exactly why the exact same problems exist today. There is a current opioid crisis, a methamphetamine crisis, a synthetic drug crisis, as well as biological diseases like TB and Hepatitis running wild in ADOC. As all of you know, these facts have been confirmed by the April 4, 2019, U. S. Department of Justice Report on Alabama prisons. COVID 19, with its potential to explode on our overcrowded prison population, threatens to bring an unimaginable and unfathomable death toll if we don’t act.     

A VIABLE SOLUTION IN THE ALABAMA PRISON LITIGATION REFORM ACT

One option available to us it litigation pursuant to the Alabama Prison Litigation Reform Act, Title 14-15-10, Code of Alabama 1975, which authorizes a judge to issue a release order to address prison conditions where “(1) Crowding is the primary cause of the violation of a right” and  “A court has previously entered an order for less intrusive relief that has failed to remedy. ” Failure to act by State leaders will only ensure public shame in the near future for the deliberate, malicious sentence of death imposed upon all the unfortunate who eventually succumb to Covid-19 while incarcerated in facilities that were deemed unconstitutional and uninhabitable long before there ever was a Covid-19 pandemic. (It should be noted here that only around 200 of the 24,000+ people the ADOC houses are under court ordered sentences of death). 

A recent poll conducted by the ACLU indicates that 63% percent of taxpayers support releasing people from jails/prisons and 72% support clemency for elderly incarcerated people in the face of the COVID 19 pandemic. Governor Ivey and Alabama Legislatures, a failure to act now to save as many lives as possible, after so many citizens have already expressed approval of release, will extract an additional financial cost on taxpayers in federal court for wrongful and preventable deaths, and will come at a huge political cost during the upcoming election cycle. We will not stand by and be silent and forgiving for such a callous disregard for our lives. The ADOC lacks sufficient ventilators and lacks the necessary space to quarantine off the virus, which convinces us that the plan in place is a plan for COVID 19 to slaughter. It is well-known what will be needed to stave off this virus, and we know that those types of resources don’t exist in these prisons.  

As people on the ground who are experiencing this crisis in real time, we offer the foregoing plan in effort to save our own lives and the lives of those who, as a result of their contact with us and ADOC, are affected by the pending COVID 19 crisis in the ADOC.

DETAILED ACTIONS NECESSARY TO SAVE LIVES IN ALABAMA PRISONS:

As an act of compassion and in order to prevent humanitarian catastrophe, Governor Kay Ivey and the Alabama Legislature should take the following actions immediately:

1. Order medical leave for all employees working within the ADOC who are elderly, having a medical condition that makes them vulnerable to COVID-19, and/or who may be immuno-compromised; 

2.  Grant compassionate release of all chronic-care, cancer treatment, dialysis, and patients suffering from respiratory issues, who are elderly, disabled, and/or immuno-compromised;  

3. End parole revocations that are not based on the commission of new crimes, and release all current technical violators and those incarcerated because of drug addiction, or because of an inability to pay fines or child support obligations. 

4. Immediately abolish the Habitual Felony Offender Act, and

5. Immediately release all juvenile in Alabama’s juvenile detention facilities, and anyone serving a sentence after being convicted as a youthful offender, as such sentences only carry a maximum of three years.

6.  Release every person fitting the following criteria:

ii. Is under the age of 21 and serving a sentence of 20 years or less

iii. Has served 20 consecutive year or more in prison for a non-capital offense, not involving a child and not a violent sexual predator

iv. Has served 25 years or more for a capital offense

v. Is over the age of 55, has already served 10 years or more, and is especially vulnerable to COVID 19

vi. All individuals already deemed parole-eligible in 2020 and can provide a sufficient home plan, job plan and re-entry plans; 

vii. Is currently under deferral after being denied parole over the past 5 years, but was otherwise eligible for parole pending completion of further programming;

viii. Any person currently serving a split-sentence, where the split sentence is for five years or less. 

ix. Any person who qualifies for mandatory parole pursuant to Title 15-22-26.2, Code of Alabama 1975, but who hasn’t been released yet.

x. Any person who has already served over 50% of their current sentence.

The failure to act will further expose Alabama taxpayers to civil lawsuits due to the deliberate indifference to human life that would be displayed by a failure to act immediately on the part of Governor Kay Ivey and the Alabama Legislature. 

FAITH-BASED ALTERNATIVES

In addition, Governor Kay Ivey should Order Commissioner Jefferson Dunn to allow all Faith-based Prison Ministries, Civic Organizations, and Volunteers who are already approved to enter into an Alabama prison back into the prison system to assist us by donating, or leading donor drives to receive  gloves, masks, hand sanitizer, soap and other protective material recommended by the Alabama Dept. of Public Health and the CDC, in effort to protect and preserve human life as much as possible. Currently, these organizations and people are deemed non-essential, thus their access is being denied. However, anyone following the news in Alabama knows that the Faith communities like Church of the Highlands are, in fact, taking  leading roles in combating COVID 19, and are, indeed, essential personnel. To date, those of us incarcerated inside of Alabama prisons and juvenile detention facilities do not have access to such protection, while the corrections and medical staff– who are the ones who will bring the virus into the prisons — have immediate access to these materials. 

CLOSING

We implore you, Governor Ivey and the Alabama Legislature, to act swiftly and immediately to all necessary action to reduce our State’s prison population down to no less than design capacity (Alabama’s prisons are currently packed  beyond 160% of their design capacity, as a whole, while some prisons exceed 200% or even 300% of design capacity), and to enact legislation abolishing the Habitual Felony Offender Act, which, as this COVID 19 crisis proves, has outlived its purpose and now poses a real and substantial threat to the lives and welfare of thousands of citizens of the State of Alabama.

To continue to employ or incarcerate the above people while the deadly virus spreads through the system would effectively be sentencing too many to death. Moreover, a release of the said people would instantly reduce the ADOC population, thereby meeting the constitutional standard; in effect allowing our humanity to supersede all politics. With the Institute for Health and Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington predicting that Alabama will have the highest COVID 19 death rate in the U.S., the outcome for those of us left behind in these steel barriers, fences and cages is a foregone conclusion if we don’t act Now ! 

Respectfully,

FREE ALABAMA  MOVEMENT

                 with

FAM Queen Team Standing In Solidarity

A non-violent and peaceful Civil and Human Rights organization founded inside of the Alabama prison system in 2013.

Contact info:

FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT
P.O. BOX 186
New Market, Ala 35761
(334) 245-0761

(We can be reached inside of the death camps also)

freealabamamovement@gmail.com

FAM Queen Team 
P.O. BOX 404
Decatur, AL 35602
(334) 245-0761

(We can be reached standing in solidarity with our family inside the death camps also)

fam@famqueenteam.com

F.A.M.’s COVID-19 Strategies: How Many Lives Will Be Saved?

FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT, the FAM’s Queen Team, and other activists and inside organizers are in the process of developing a comprehensive strategy and press statement to present to Governor Kay Ivey, the Alabama Parole Board, the Juvenile Division of the Courts, incarcerated citizens in Alabama, and family members, friends, and loved ones, in our efforts to combat the spreading and potentially deadly consequences of the COVID-19 virus in the Alabama prison system.

In the meantime, we are providing our immediate recommendations, as time is of essence.

Among other demands, F. A. M. will call upon Governor Kay Ivey to release all incarcerated persons serving split sentences. Under Alabama law, the maximum time required to be served on a split sentence is 5 years. All fairness dictates that no person serving such a sentence should be subjected to a potential death sentence courtesy of COVID-19 and the State of Alabama’s inhumane living conditions inside the prisons.

Additionally, F.A.M. will call for the release of all incarcerated persons who fit the eligibility requirements for mandatory parole release pursuant to Title 15-22-26.2, Code of Alabama 1975. Currently this law, which was enacted in 2016, is suffering the same fate as the “Kirby” law: there are no clear guidelines for enforcement and no formal process or forms in place to request release by eligible persons. For the most part, Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) employees at the institutional level lack any knowledge of the mandatory parole release laws and procedures. Thus, many potentially qualified individuals who should be at home right now have been bypassed for release, and currently languish somewhere within the Alabama State prison system under a potential death sentence courtesy of COVID-19 and the State of Alabama.

F.A.M. is further calling for the release of society’s most precious asset – our youth – along with the mentally ill from juvenile detention facilities and adult prisons around the State. Our youth, including those suffering from mental illnesses who are the most vulnerable, are left out of reports, surveys, etc….. related to the pandemic, but F.A.M. will never forget about these precious beings who are for the most part not even capable of understanding the gravity of the COVID-19 pandemic.

F.A.M. will also be calling for the discontinuation of the sale of any and all tobacco products within all ADOC facilities. These products affect the respiratory system and lungs of users and those exposed to second hand smoke, thus exacerbating the potential for further complications in relation to COVID-19. Known carcinogens and products known to negatively affect the respiratory tract should not be sold in overcrowded jails and prisons where COVID-19 is sure to attack the body and its organs. It is critical that everyone be in their best possible health condition in order for them to combat this deadly virus and fight for our lives.

Finally, F.A.M. will also be calling upon religious, civic and community volunteers to assist with maintaining a healthier and safe environment for the incarcerated by donating gloves, masks and hand sanitizes, cleaning supplies and any other necessary supplies recommended by the CDC to the prisons throughout the State. Many of these type organizations and citizens already perform prison ministry work inside Alabama prisons and jails. But, in light of COVID-19, prison authorities have restricted access to all prison facilities to only ADOC employees and essential personnel.

What these times show is that prison ministry is extremely essential in the Alabama, and needed now more than ever before. We need bold and innovative leadership from the body of Christ, as well as the Islamic, Jewish, Catholic, Odinist, and other communities, because the Alabama Department of Corrections simply does not have the capacity or ability to take the necessary steps required to stop COVID-19 from “spreading like wildfire” within the overcrowded prisons.

Join F.A.M. and FAM Queen Team on the Frontline as we battle to save lives in Alabama prisons and jails.

Sincerely,

FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT
FAM’s Queen Team
NINE DIVINE

COVID 19 would be deadly and devastating in an environment like this
Don’t miss THE PEOPLE’S PLATFORM every Thursday night as we discuss these issues and more.

People Coming Together in the Fightvto Save Lives in Prisons

Dear Governors, Directors and Commissioners overseeing the DOC:

As the Covid-19 continues to spread, it is of utmost importance to focus on the jails and prison systems just as much as we’re focusing on the public communities. I have researched as well as spoken to an Infectious Disease nurse. I’ve compiled a list of suggestions that will help to keep our incarcerated people as well as the communities safer. The goal is to PREVENT the virus from entering facilities. Due to small spaces, it’s practically impossible for the incarcerated to practice social distancing. So, we as a whole need to brainstorm other solutions for added protection.

I’m happy to say that Virginia has been very receptive to these ideas, including but not limited to: Seeking addition medical personnel through a temp agency so that there will be extra health care workers present at facilities, ordering extra and FREE soap for all inmates, serving fruits, some facilities are requiring workers to wear gloves facilities and some facilities are requiring timely cleaning/sanitizing in pods, chow halls and bathrooms several times a day. That’s a great start. It is our great hopes that other states will follow suit by implementing some of the following suggestions.

  1. ANYONE who enters a jail or prison (including staff and vendors) be required to wear the supplied masks, gloves and shoe covers
  2. Routine Temperature checks of not only the employees but the ones incarcerated as well
  3. More fruits and juices in their diets as well as a Vit C regimine to boost their immune systems
  4. All states to order extra soap to make sure soap for proper hand washing is readily available for all incarcerated.
  5. Make any necessary repairs or replacements of sinks so there are ample amounts of functioning sinks for hand washing
  6. Allow showers daily
  7. Implement a plan that individual pods go to chow hall, outside, etc. separately
  8. Hand sanitizing stations in all common areas or hand sanitizing wipes if the concern of liquid sanitizer is an issue of contraband
  9. Lysol Disinfecting wipes be available for use to clean cells
  10. For people in open bay pods, I recommend sleeping head to toe to expand the breathable space between each person. In other words, one person sleeps head at top of bunk, the next person sleep with head at the bottom of the bunk
  11. Test kits readily available on site
  12. A separate area to be used for quarantining people who have symptoms
  13. All kiosks, tablets, pen-pads and phones to be sanitized after each use (Lysol wipes would be handy for this)
  14. For all facilities who have stopped commisary services due to fear of vendors bringing the virus in, there are several ways to address and work around this issue.
    A. Wear masks, gloves and shoe covers
    B. Designate a different, less populated area for check ins of vendors
    C. Check vendors in OUTSIDE the doors.
  15. Reinstate the commisary. The result of indefinitely disallowing the incarcerated to order commisary is the #1 reason for riots to erupt. By taking away that right to order, whether its a priviledge or not, is blatantly asking for disaster. For most of the people, commisary is the only thing they really have to look forward to.
  16. Extra mental health or group counseling to address the virus and the fears of many. It’s important for the incarcerated to know they will not be forgotten during this pandemic and that every precaution available is taken for their protection.
  17. Last but certainly not least, look into releasing anyone who has immune deficiencies, the geriatrics, the handicapped, anyone who is at a low risk to re-offend, anyone who is due for release soon and speed up the parole process so that parole eligible will be released if parole is granted. The goal is to reduce already over crowded facilities to help prevent the spread of this deadly virus.

I hope these suggestions are feasible for your individual state and that they will be implemented in as many facilities as possible.

We have to keep in mind, should the virus enter a facility, with the close contact/distancing, it will spread like wild fire. This is not only a huge concern for those incarcerated but also for the workers who enter these facilities everyday: then leaving to take the virus back out into the communities.

Thank you for your time and for implementing all means necessary to protect each and every citizen, incarcerated or not. Please don’t hesitate to contact me for further information as desired or needed.

ANOTHER DEATH DUE TO VIOLENCE AT AN ALABAMA PRISON

Post by Scott Frye on Facebook

Just got a call from an inmate/friend in the faith dorm in Ventress Correctional Facility. They had a stabbing. This has not hit the media yet. Supposedly, one guy bled out before the Lifeflight arrived. They say it is getting worse by the day. The CERT team or “Goon squad” is there shaking down with the Sheriff trying to find the knives. Evidently there were a couple of free world knives in there. 3 officers have given up their keys and quit. He wanted to get this to me in case something happens to him. I guess this goes along with Judge Cobb’s post of trying to get the Governor to step up and release folks. We actually have a solution to protect public safety and allow inmates a safe release at a fraction of the cost. I have a mobile app called ARComply and also an electronic monitoring bracelet system which we are using with various judges and offenders. Actually, there is a law on the books that all you attorneys who are my Facebook friend need to be filing habeas corpus or certiorari’s on sect. 15-22-26.2 which states that inmates can or “SHALL” be released up to 24 months early to their EOS or end of sentence dates as long as they are on intense supervision with Alabama Bureau of Pardons & Paroles–it does say “SHALL” so it is not a review process and I have let the Commissioner know but due to the COVID-19 scare, it seems ADOC is not doing anything right now.

COVID-19: Help F.A.M. Lift Up the Voices on the Inside as we Prepare to Save Lives

COVID-19 WILL DECIMATE ALABAMA PRISONS

Yesterday, al.com published an article asking what will Alabama do with all of the bodies that die from coronavirus? Here in Alabama, FAM is organizing in efforts to save lives behind these lines. Late yesterday evening, FAM put out a request for assistance to one of our important organizers whose voice has been cut off from the Movement. We ask those who profess to support those on the inside to do just that. Help us lift our own voices . . . Not use us to lift yours !!

IMPORTANT!! F.A.M. Activist Needs Assistance

FAM is requesting assistance for an important activist inside the Alabama prison system whose voice we cannot afford to have silenced from the Movement during this crucial time that we are in the midst of confronting the COVID-19 virus pandemic.

We need to raise $200.00 to assist our brother in getting his voice back connected to our conference calls and other critical conversations being had by inside organizers. If you can contribute any amount toward this request, please donate to our CashApp (CashApp only) at:

$FREEALABAMAMOVEMENT

ADOC Lieing to the public about COVID 19 response at St. Clair prison

“all individuals” within ADOC who have been in direct contact with the positive case are now in “self-quarantine for a 14-day period.”

This statement from ADOC is a lie. . .

The mental health office is located inside of the infirmary. This means that those individuals who were scheduled for a mental health appointment had to go to the infirmary. In addition, those individuals in the infirmary who are already on the sick ward were exposed every day as well as those who were scheduled for medical screening, testing appointments, etc. This means that both direct and indirect contact traffic has happened throughout the prison. These people are lying. . .

COVID 19 UPDATE AT ST. CLAIR PRISON AFTER MENTAL HEALTH WORK TESTS POSITIVE

A mental health worker at St. Clair prison tested positive for the COVID 19 virus last week. As is now, we don’t know many mental health patients she came into contact with. What we do know is that no testing has been done. Also, we know that two additional correctional officers have taken off and that one nurse exhibited symptoms but ultimately tested negative.
So far, no testing has been done. ADOC is conducting temperature checks for officers entering the prison for each shift but no such testing is being down for those incarcerated. Also, while several officers have been seen sporting protective masks and gloves, no protection of any kind is being offered to the incarcerated population.

In addition, we are unaware of the impact that this positive test has had on the surrounding community, as ADOC staff routinely stop as convenience stores and local businesses prior to reporting to work. We don’t know if ADOC has alerted local establishment that this mental health worker may have visited.
We will update this post as further details emerge as well as update actions that are being planned to protect the lives of everyone potentially effected by this situation.

Holman Prison Closing: What should be Expected?

With news of the closing of Holman prison after many years of civil and human rights violations caused by overflowing raw sewage, lack of clean running water, and many other structural issues, many of the men incarcerated there and their families are anxious about where their loved ones will be transferred to and how they will be impacted by these changes. These men will be adjusting to new locations and new environments, as will the men at the prisons where these 600 individuals will be arriving at.

Many are pondering how this influx of more bodies will affect the already distressed and overcrowded prison system. Also, there are unique challenges and psychological issues that will have to be factored into this process. One, for example, is the fact that Holman was an open-bay style prison, where there was no restraint of movement in the living quarters. Now, these men will be housed in prisons with cells that they will now have to share with another person, sometimes for days at a time. This will increase anxiety and tension, with results that we won’t know about for some time. Many of these men from Holman who have been locked up for a long time have never shared a cell with another human being. This will be a major adjustment for many.

Another concern that some have expressed is the question of violence. As in, what is the ADOC’s plan to address issues that arise when men come into contact with people they have not seen in a while but have unresolved beefs with? What type of indicators will the ADOC be looking for to get out in front of issues instead of being reactive to them? The ADOC already can’t address violence caused by overcrowding and limited resources. What are they going to do when an already crowded system becomes even more crowded? Finally, who is going to be held accountable if this plan doesn’t work?

For the people from the southern part of the State, many families will now have to travel to Donaldson or St. Clair or even Limestone to visit their loved ones. This will pose an additional strain and financial burden on families who can least afford it. Men who had become accustomed to regular visits, which helps with rehabilitation and staying connected to family, will now be dealing with this additional frustration. With visitation and communication with family being a proven means of effective rehabilitation, the impact of separation is not going to be easy to detect.

The Prison Study Group also released its recommendations right after the announcement of this closure. Many people feel as though this closure was done with very little foresight into the impact that this abrupt change will have on the issues currently affecting Alabama prisons.

Also, the fact that the Study Group’s report was not done in anticipation of these new developments appears to render the report as just another waste of taxpayer funds.

In addition, the Study Group report was anticlimactic to the people on the inside who were looking for change and real solutions. Again, though, the report made clear that the solutions will have to come from the Inside — the one segment that was excluded from the process.

In the short term, it’s too early to tell what the full impact will be. With reports of beds being erected in gymnasiums, which will reduce recreation time, the prospects for heightened tensions are a realistic expectation. The organizations and individuals who are leading the calls for change to the ADOC have to become more hands on and reiterate their demands for access to the people on the inside of these prisons. If overcrowding caused the infrastructure of Holman to wear down, then this move seems calculated to tear down more infrastructure in order to justify building news prisons.

We will be updating on this concern as it develops with the hope that the men are wise enough to turn this into a positive opportunity to be heard now that there is one less prison that has to be reached in order to organize for change.

 

 

 

JUSTICE FOR THE GADSDEN 6: Black Children Are A Commodity In the Criminal Justice System

The Gadsden 6. Clockwise from Top Left to Right: Roland Martin, Melvin Ray (Bennu Hannibal Ra-Sun), Fred Brown, Steven Stewart, Curtis Richardson (not pictured) and Archie Hamlet.

On March 24, 1988, at appx. 1:00 am, these six Black men were arrested in Gadsden, Alabama, for the burglary of a Belk Hudson department store. At the time, we were all 16 years of age or younger, and considered children by Alabama law.

After our arrest, we were taken to the police precinct, where we would be questioned for several hours, without any attorneys being present and without any of our parents being notified of where we were or what was going on.

When the interrogation ended around 4:00 am, the police officers, appx. four to six, all white, were satifised that we could be charged with over 30 felony counts of burglary and theft offense, not only for the burglary of that night but for several other unsolved burglaries as well.

Later that same morning of March 24, after spending a few more hours being processed into the youth facility, we were hauled into court for what was supposed to have been an initial appearance hearing. The only adults present for this hearing were the judge, the prosecutor, several of the police officers, and a case worker.

What transpired next . . .

Once in the courtroom, we were supposed to have a what in Alabama is called an “initial appearance” hearing where we received an explanation of the charges against us and be informed of our rights, including the right to have attorneys and to have our parents present with us in court to contest the charges.

Instead, something else happened that would affect us for the rest of their life.

The judge, prosecutor and the police held a private conference outside of our presence and beyond our ability to hear what was going on. When they adjourned, the prosecutor and the judge did all of the talking. The prosecutor stated that there would be a “stipulation” or admission of probable cause by the state in behalf of all six of us — to all 30-plus charges. The police officer concurred. The judge then stated that he accepted the stipulation and entered the stipulation into the official record of the court. We never spoke. Never knew what the word “stipulation” meant of what was going on.

MARCH 24, 1988 CASE ACTION SUMMARY FROM GADSDEN, ALA JUVENILE COURT WHERE THE “STIPULATION” WAS ENTERED BY THE COURT

This stipulation is extremely unethical and highly unusual. First and foremost, no one, not a judge, prosecutor, or police officer can stipulate to a criminal charge for anyone on their first appearance in court. And even worse, this was done to children who did not have attorneys and whose parents were never notified and were not present.

The imagery of this scene and how these adults committed these acts against these children is undeniable: A white judge. White prosecutor. All white police officers. Both case workers white. The only Black face in the room were those of six children. We were not viewed as children but as feeder stock for the system of Mass Incarceration. With the stipulation, we could now be transferred to adult court where we could receive real felony convictions and all of the disabilities that come with that.

It hard to imagine that in a period of just a few short hours, six children could be arrested, interrogated for over three hours by a group of all- white police detectives, charged with over 30 felony offenses, and then taken into a courtroom without an attorney or even a parent present, only to have the prosecutor and police make an admission of guilt for them, which a judge then dutifully accepts before ordering the children detained.

 

After this stipulation was made, all six of us would ultimately be transferred to adult court were we would suffer convictions that would be with us for the rest of our lives. The problem is that we never should have been in adult court in the first place. The proceedings in juvenile court were illegal and unethical. Today, we are fighting for the justice that we were entitled to in 1988.

Join the fight for Justice for The Gadsden 6 as we demand that the judgement and orders issued by Juvenile Judge Robert E. Lewis and the actions of the prosecutor be declared unconstitutional and void. The record of these convictions still stand today, and they must be corrected.

GADSDEN 6

Free All American Slaves: and While you’re at it, Reform the Reformers

Every time a major incident occurs in a prison in this country like what we are experiencing in Mississippi, the first thing we see are statements calling for more guards and more security. But what we need to see more of are statements calling for mass releases and less people incarcerated in these hell holes and dungeons.

The problems in Mississippi have gripped Alabama, South Carolina, Delaware, Texas, Oklahoma, California and other prison systems. There is a disconnect between reality and the source of the problem. Human life was not intended to be lived in a cage, a steel and concrete cell, or a prefab building. It’s telling when we have so many “advocates” and reformers, etc calling for better living conditions. This is a symptom and reflection of the “kind slave master” who believes that the institution of slavery can be humane with proper amenities, a full staff of corrections officers, and technologies that will allow for the system to “keep an eye” on the plantation warehouses.

But . . . these ideas have to be rejected as well, because they reflect acceptance of the institution, which is predicated on white supremacy, social control of black and brown people and the racist belief that Black, Brown and poor white people are somehow less human and , therefore, deserving of being separated from society and caged like the brutes and beasts of burden that they allegedly are, and whose best purpose is the be directed and guided towards forced labor to enrich the rulers of society.


Even in the conversations about prison reform, you never hear the “benevolent reformers” mention the forced labor endemic to the slave plantations. Sure, they will point out the fact that Black people are disproportionately targeted for Incarceration, but they never delve into the issue of forced labor and the history of slavery. Why? Because the reformers are the descendants of the former slave masters. The reformers habor the same racist thoughts about the “bad nigger” and those who “need to be there.” They call these the “violent offenders” or the “murders” etc, yet they don’t want to acknowledge the intentionally created social and economic conditions that are major contributing factors to these social crimes in the first place.

The reforms don’t need to start at the Prisons or the criminal justice system. It needs to start with the cultural norms, the ideologies and ingrained values of the reformers that lead to the creation of slave plantations and prisons in the first place. But to start here would require the “reformers” to take a look in the mirror. To look at the family tree and their ancestry . And the “reformers” don’t want to start there because then they have to look at the values that they hold dear; the institutions that they pledge allegiance to, and the fears that they habor about people simply because of the color of their skin.


The easy way out is to blame the victim in the cages for their own problems. And say that their prisons only need more guards to keep those who deserve there. When the reality is that prisons are so inhumane that not even the worst that a racist, hatful, deranged society has created deserves to live in a cage – no matter the size of the cage, the level of security, of the wages , cameras and extra safe locks on the doors. Mississippi has shown, once again, that the worst of society are those who try to maintain, reform, and select who should stay and who should be released on parole, receive good time in, America’s cages. Ain’t no way to fix or reform it. It’s time to FREE ALL AMERICAN SLAVES !!!
F. A. M

THE FLAG FOR FREEDOM IN ALABAMA, NOT REFORM !!!

 

 

 

 

 

Beth Shelburne Interview with Willie J. Simmons – Sentenced to Life for 9 dollar robbery

WILLIE J. SIMMONS, 62 years old. 37 years in prison. LWOP. $9.00 robbery.

By Beth Shelburne

Today I talked to Willie Simmons, who has spent the last 38 years in prison for stealing $9. He was convicted of 1st degree robbery & sentenced to life without parole in 1982, prosecuted under Alabama’s habitual offender law because he had 3 prior convictions. He told me his priors were 1 grand larceny and 2 receiving stolen property. I could only locate the grand larceny from 1979, but court records in Alabama are spotty. He did a year in prison for that conviction, and thinks he did about the same for the other crimes. “But I really can’t remember,” he said.

Mr. Simmons was 25 when the state said he should die in prison. Today he’s 62. When I asked his age he paused & laughed. “Been so long since somebody asked me that,” he said. He hasn’t had a visitor since 2005 after his sister died. “Haven’t heard from nobody since then.”

Mr. Simmons is incarcerated at Holman, one of the most violent prisons in the country. He is studying for his GED and “tries to stay away from the wild bunch.” He got sober in prison 18 years ago, despite being surrounded by drugs. “I just talked to God about it,” he said. Mr. Simmons told me he was high on drugs when he committed the crime that landed him in prison for life. He wrestled a man to the ground and stole his wallet which contained $9. “I was just trying to get me a quick fix,” he said. Police arrested him a few blocks away. He remembers his trial lasting 25 minutes and his appointed attorney calling no witnesses. Prosecutors did not offer him a plea deal, even though all of his prior offenses were nonviolent. “They kept saying we’ll do our best to keep you off the streets for good,” he said.

Mr. Simmons told me he grew up poor in Enterprise, Alabama. He started using drugs in high school, but dropped out at age 16. “It was real bad,” he said about his drug use. He was using hard drugs when he committed his crimes. “It was all stupid. I was messed up.”

Over the years, he’s filed appeal after appeal, with no lawyer. All were denied. “In a place like this, it can feel like you’re standing all alone,” he told me. “I ain’t got nobody on the outside to call and talk to. Sometimes I feel like I’m lost in outer space.”

“My hope is to get out of here, settle down with a woman and do God’s will,” he continued. “I’d like to tell people about how bad drugs are.” Mr. Simmons said he sees men doing drugs all the time in prison, but he stays away. He hasn’t gotten a disciplinary citation in a decade.

In 2014, lawmakers removed the last avenue of appeal for people like Mr. Simmons serving life without parole under the habitual offender law. I asked if he had hope that leaders would reconsider that. “Yes, I’ve been hoping and praying on it,” he said. “I ain’t giving up.”

Mr. Simmons did not deny his crimes & I am not writing this to argue that he’s innocent. He has paid for his crimes with his entire adult life, cast away like he wasn’t worth redemption. It sickens me to think about how many other people are warehoused in prison, forgotten. When tough on crime people say everyone in prison deserves to be there, think of Mr. Simmons. We should be ashamed of laws that categorically throw people away in the name of safety. We should question anyone who supports Alabama’s habitual offender law. It needs to go.


You can write to Mr Simmons at:

WILLIE JUNIOR SIMMONS AIS: 00112862
A Dorm, Bed 57
3700 Holman Unit
Atmore, AL 36503-3700

Don’t forget to add your return address (that is the prison policy) in the top left corner of your envelope, thank you.

Justice for The Gadsden 6

Justice for The Gadsden 6

Gadsden 6 photogrid

Clockwise from top left: Roland Martin, Melvin Ray, Fred Brown, Steve Stewart, Curtis Richardson, Archie Hamlet

Introduction

When Children are exploited by the Juvenile Justice System in Alabama

Thirty-one years ago on March 24, 1988, six Black children, all under the age of 17, Fred Brown, Archie Hamlet, Roland Martin, Melvin Ray, Curtis Richardson and Steve Stewart, were arrested by Gadsden police in the early morning hours around 1:00 am, for a department store burglary. After their arrest, these six children were taken to the police station for a three-hours long interrogation. The children were not represented by attorneys and their parents were not present during this interrogation.

The interrogations were conducted by an all-white group of 4 to 6 detectives. When the interrogation was completed around 4:00 am, these children were charged with over 30 felony offenses involving several unsolved burglaries in Gadsden.

Just a few hours after this early-morning interrogation ended, police and the district attorney’s office then marched these children into court for an initial appearance hearing that quickly turned into a full fledged probable cause detention hearing. None of the children were represented in court by an attorney, and none of their parents were present. It was just the judge, police, and the D.A.

At the hastily erected probable cause detention hearing, which was orchestrated by the juvenile court judge, the DA and police, the judge allowed the D.A. to stipulate to probable cause on behalf of all six children to ALL 30-plus charges pending against them.
This illegal probable cause stipulation would then be used to justify continued detention of these children and removal from their homes, parents and siblings.

Juvenile Court Judge Robert E. Lewis’ order states:

“At detention hearing probable cause stipulated to and child ordered detained. . .”

Copy of Melvin Ray's Detention Hearing sheet

Copy of Melvin Ray’s Detention Hearing sheet

As the above court record shows, attorneys were not appointed until April 6, 1988, two full weeks after the arrest and “probable cause” stipulation were made.

Meanwhile, the Gadsden 6 remained in detention for over a month, until April 27, 1988, when the juvenile court judge granted the prosecutor’s motion to transfer these children to adult court. The juvenile court judge granted the prosecutor’s motion to transfer on the same day that it was filed, without conducting a transfer hearing or even notifying anyone that the motion had been filed.

None of the children were present when this motion was heard, no one was served notice of the prosecutor’s motion, the children did not have legal representation to review the motion or present evidence in their behalf, and none of their parents were present when the motion was heard or granted. Injustice was administered behind closed doors when no one was looking…

On to Adult Court…

Once in adult court, the Gadsden 6 were given an ultimatum: plead guilty to all charges and go home that day with sentences of time served and probation, or take a chance on trial and spend the next decade of their lives in prison. The authorities in Gadsden saddled these young black children with over 20 adult felony convictions that would follow them for the rest of their lives, and through a process that guaranteed injustice, as no one was present during the juvenile proceedings to protect the constitutional rights of these children or the parental rights of their parents.

These illegally prior felony convictions have been used in subsequent adult proceedings to enhance many of the Gadsden 6’s sentences under Alabama’s draconian habitual felony offender law, resulting in an additional 50-plus years of illegal time being served, including two instances where life without parole was illegally imposed.

Join the Gadsden 6’s demand for justice !!!

  1. All proceedings and convictions be declared null and void and removed from their records.
  2. All records in juvenile and adult court be expunged.
  3. Compensation and acknowledgement of the wrongful nature of the proceedings used against them, including full legal pardons.

Sign our petition to the Alabama Legislature and the Alabama courts to rectify this injustice put upon the Gadsden 6 by the Gadsden Police Department, the Gadsden DA, and the Juvenile & Adult Divisions of the Circuit Court of Etowah County, Alabama.

Follow the GADSDEN 6 on Facebook @ Justice For The Gadsden 6.

Gadsden 6 Supporters at Courtroom 29 July 2019

Gadsden 6 Supporters at the Montgomery Courtroom, 29 July 2019

July 29, 2019 court hearing in Montgomery, AL

Justice for the Gadsden 6 poster

Justice for the Gadsden 6 poster

Press Release: Updates from Limestone Correctional

unheardvoices o.t.c.j.

For Immediate Release
Press contacts:

Unheard Voices O.T.C.J.
Unheardvoices78@gmail.com

Attorney Richard Rice
256-529-0462
rrice@rice-lawfirm.com

Nikki Davenport
FAM Queen Team
256-221-7658

Recently, Ella Fassler, writing for Truthout, released an article in relation to a piece published here shedding light on the torture practices used by ADOC officials at Limestone Correctional Center in Harvest, Alabama (find that post here).  The piece was instantly retweeted and attracted significant outrage among its readers (you can read it here). We now want to update you on the situation at Limestone C.C. following the release of that story and the actions taken by Kenneth Shaun Traywick, AIS 177252. Traywick, as well as Robert Earl Council, AIS 181418, not only led Unheard Voices O.T.C.J. to the initial knowledge of the existence of the “Bucket Detail,” but Traywick also went on a 14-day hunger strike demanding Limestone C.C. administration stop the bucket detail and the…

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Our Finances have to be Redirected from Cookies and Chips toward Freedom Initiatives

May 27, 2018

Part VIII: Campaign to Redistribute the Pain 2018

by Bennu Hannibal Ra-Sun, formerly known as Melvin Ray, Free Alabama Movement

Originally published in the SF Bayview, May 27, 2018.

On Jan. 21, 2018, our loved elder, revolutionary leader and teacher Hon. Richard “Mafundi” Lake joined the Ancestors. Baba Mafundi left us with knowledge, love and an example of how to live a life of truth, integrity, conviction to struggle, love for his beautiful, faithful and devoted wife, Mrs. Carolyn Weyni Njeri Lake and family, and with an understanding that sacrifice is necessary.

For the many of us who had the privilege of being in the classroom of life with Ancestor Mafundi, let his transition serve as yet another lesson to us of the immediacy of our situation behind these walls and serve as a reminder of why we can’t wait to commit our all to the struggle to end slavery in America. We are, without any doubt, still slaves and chattel here in America for no reason other than the color of our skin.

While others may suffer as collateral consequences due to the class struggle, racism serves as the primary driver behind capitalism’s parasitic greed and the genocidal tendencies being waged against Black people in the U.S. and worldwide.

America has never known any purpose for Black people except domination of our labor. In the document “David Walker’s Appeal,” we learned that American slave owners devised a plan to send all “free” Blacks to the colony Liberia so that they could not mingle with or educate and influence the enslaved Blacks who were to remain in America.

The slave was to remain isolated, totally uneducated, and forever surrounded and contained by a society and system that offered only one option for Black people: forced slavery, with no hint of humanity. The only knowledge we were to have was who we were owned by and what our job was.

Very little about this model has changed under the prison slave system that has been erected under the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. As slaves, we are separated more and more from society every day.

Some states offer up to five free letters each month to indigent slaves. In Alabama, you receive two free legal letters each week – that’s it. If you can’t afford stamps to write your family and you lack legal representation, you are effectively cut off from communicating with society.

In the solitary confinement units, you get one phone call every 30 days, except in disciplinary seg, where NO phone calls are allowed. We receive one visit every 90 days in administrative segregation and one visit every six months in close or maximum custody.

Otherwise, we talk to these walls, toilets or to ourselves. The outside world is something that exists only in our heads. How can a prison system in Alabama or anywhere prepare a person to return to society by cutting us off totally from society?

The mind-altering effects of such oppressive conditions cannot be denied. In the groundbreaking book “Understanding the Assault on the Black Man, Black Manhood and Black Masculinity” by Wesley Muhammad, Ph.D., Dr. Muhammad cited from a report in the Chicago Tribune about how poverty, neglect or sensory deprivation of the kind we experience in solitary confinement can negatively affect and reset the brain’s chemistry.

Chemical manipulations of the mind and bodies plays a vital role in social control. Nowhere is that more evident than in the prison system.

The food, water and medicine that we are exposed to on a daily basis plays an important role in how we develop behind these walls. Our bodies are constantly polluted with toxic food, processed meats, genetically modified products, contaminated water, cheap or experimental medicines, etc. which adversely affects not only our physical health but also our mental health and disposition.

These chemical weapons disrupt important biological functions, including the biochemistry of the body and the endocrine system, which affects moods, stress, aggression, impulsive behavior, addiction, social interaction, violence etc.

Dr. Muhammad goes on to point out how drugs like K2, ice, marijuana and cocaine were designed and manipulated to produce a desired result. The drugs always seem to come along at the height of struggle and civil disobedience. Alas, in the midst of the current Prisoners’ Human Rights Movement, we see new drugs seeming to originate inside of the prison.

So, understanding and being involved in the movement also entails knowing the seen and unseen strategies and forces that are being employed against the struggle. Drug overdoses and suicides have gotten so bad that they are hardly news any more.

And as the death tolls continue to climb, the sedatives, downers, opioids and Flacka and Suboxone drugs are being endlessly introduced into the prisons to keep our eyelids closer to being closed. Stay woke, people. Please Stay Woke! Our survival is at hand.

As we move further along into 2018, we have to continue to plan, strategize, mobilize and bring all of our forces closer to being One. From the inside, we continue to need more artists, authors, activists and organizers to step forward.

Our sister Queen Tahiyrah and others just launched the #BarzThroughBarz magazine. This is yet another platform that we can use to reach the people. In addition, our brother Kwame Shakur has worked to create several social media platforms, including YouTube Channel Live and a blogtalk radio show to help spread the movement.

And, as I have stated previously, we still have room for even more innovations, because we still have work to do in forming a National Coordinating Committee to establish a national organization that will be all of our factions together, as well as our need to find an app developer so that we can create an app that will make all of our platforms just one click away.

Also, we need to monetize all of our content and create an e-business so that we can sell our products, leather and crafts, books, poetry, art, cards, calendars and whatever else we create from inside these prisons so that we can finance our own operations within our movement.

One Brother who recently reached out from Missouri, C.I. Ballard, expressed frustration with the “slave mindset” that he continues to encounter: “I ain’t getting involved with that. I’m just trying to go home” or “I’m just trying to do my time” etc.

Well, while we continue to try to reach this “mindset” head-on, we also need to be constantly creating alternative content, music, books etc. to reach these people. This is the work of the National Committee, to help devise plans and tactics that can be used to recruit and help change minds.

Actions like the Campaign to Redistribute the Pain 2018 help to identify candidates who are willing to sacrifice for freedom and are committed to ending slavery and to stop funding the system. These are the people who will help lead, guide and direct the national organization and volunteer to be part of the National Coordinating Committee being proposed by Brother Kwame Shakur of Prison Lives Matter.

Those who refuse to wear the chains will not financially support the very system of slavery that, paradoxically, relies on that same financial support to afford and buy the chains. We can accomplish this only by making those tough decisions that call for separation.

Separation from the system … By doing this, we won’t get caught up in the abyss of organizing just for the sake of creating another organization, while continuing to act in ways that are counterproductive to our livelihood. We have to organize around the problem, only, and create an organization that constitutes the solutions.

I will close this article with words of encouragement to all of the men, women and young adults who have made a sacrifice behind these walls for your/our freedom, including C.I. Ballard, Kwame Shakur, Manuel “Chase” M., Omar G. (freeourbrothers.com), Kwanetta H. (Texas), Mary Shields (Mississippi) and the many others who have contacted the Free Alabama Movement at our P.O. Box.

We are four months into a one-year bi-monthly (February – April – June – Black August – October – December) boycott campaign against collect phone calls, canteen/snack line/store draw, incentive packages or visitation vending machines. Our objective is to defund prison systems by disrupting departmental operating budgets by removing these funds from government budgets and redirecting these funds towards building a national organization whose agenda and purpose will be to end mass incarceration and prison slavery.

These redirected funds will help generate and disseminate educational material and books on mass incarceration, prison slavery and the 13th Amendment; help incarcerated freedom fighters publish books, articles, poems, arts and crafts, and other material needed to fund our movement; help to develop an e-business platform to centralize funding; and, among other things, help finance development of our own app so that we can consolidate and organize all of our movement information into one click of a button. We can never be an independence movement if we don’t establish an independent structure.

Bennu Hannibal Ra Sun, formerly known as Melvin Ray

Our family at Bay View has put out a call notifying us that it costs $7,000 in printing costs each month to produce our Holy Scripture. This is a cost that we should be covering from behind these walls with ease.

The fact that we are connecting through this newspaper only shows how important it is to us. The fact that we are not supporting Bay View financially in the same way that Bay View is supporting us, while at the same time we give unconditional support to the collect phone companies and canteen to the tune of billions each year, merely shows our shortcoming as a movement and, more important, why we need to step up to another level and organize nationally.

April has ended. May is here signaling that June is near, which means that, once again, it’s time to Redistribute the Pain 2018.

Bennu Hannibal Ra Sun

Free Alabama Movement

Book of the Month – June 2018: “Understanding the Assault on the Black Man, Black Manhood and Black Masculinity” (2017), by Dr. Wesley Muhammad, Ph.D.

Newspaper of the Month: Bay View newspaper

Magazine of the Month: #BarzBeyondBarz

Send our brother some love and light: Melvin Ray, 163343, Limestone CF D-70, 28779 Nick Davis Rd, Harvest AL 35749.

Seeing the Problem, Being the Solution, Making the Sacrifice (pt VII)

February 2, 2018
Part VII: Campaign to Redistribute the Pain 2018

by Bennu Hannibal Ra-Sun, formerly known as Melvin Ray, Free Alabama Movement

Published in: SF Bayview, Feb 2nd, 2018

http://sfbayview.com/2018/02/seeing-the-problem-being-the-solution-making-the-sacrifice/

Last month, on Monday, Jan. 8, 2018, millions of people diverted their collective attention to the College Football Playoff National Championship Game in Atlanta, Ga. At the same time, on the other side of the country in Las Vegas, Nevada, almost 250,000 people congregated for the start of the week long CES presentation (formerly Consumer Electronics Show), the world’s largest tech trade show. On display will be the latest technological innovations that will influence and dictate the future of the world that we live in.

Unfortunately, most of us will be more in tune with the sporting spectacle – which will afford us an emotional discharge and escape from the reality of our problems – than those of us who will be focused on learning what technologies will be available for us to continue to advance our struggle towards a solution in our digital world.

The theme of the CES platform is directed towards consumers. Ultimately, though, these technologies will be refined for policing purposes and will be used to control our lives behind these walls. And just like the consumer show, corrections agencies have their own “tech” convention every year, hosted by the American Correctional Association, where they exchange ideas and shop for products.

Commissioners, wardens, officers’ union representatives etc. shop for locks, new restraint chairs, tasers, body armor, biometric devices, surveillance equipment, new prison architecture and designs, prison movement and population management software, body cameras, cell extraction gear, riot control ammunition, leg monitor systems, all the way down to the toilets, sinks and typewriters related to controlling their lucrative hundreds of billions of dollars’ prison slave industry.

The theme of the CES platform is directed towards consumers. Ultimately, though, these technologies will be refined for policing purposes and will be used to control our lives behind these walls.

Notoriously missing from this equation is us, the very people who are being controlled by these technologies. To a degree, we have been able to make effective use of social media to wage our fight to end mass incarceration and prison slavery.

In several of my articles throughout this series promoting our Campaign to Redistribute the Pain 2018 boycott, I proposed that we utilize this year-long bi-monthly February-April-June-Black August-October-December boycott to develop a national organization and put forth a national agenda and plan of action; create a digital storefront so that we can generate revenue from our talents, skill and abilities (think eBay, Amazon-type store); and most importantly, we need to get us an app created so that we can collect, organize and disseminate all of the information that is critical to us building awareness to our struggle and what people can do to join, support and share information about our movement.

Information on hunger strikes and work strikes pertaining to our movement all needs to be one click away on the app. Planned protests at prisons, state DOC headquarters or private companies that profit off of prisons, like McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Nintendo, Starbucks, CoreCiv, Access Secure, J-Pay, AT&T, Canteen and Verizon, all need to be one click away on our app. Companies that contract with DOCs like the collect phone companies and their revenue and profits need to be one click away. And every product made or service provided at each individual prison needs to be one click away.

Information on hunger strikes and work strikes pertaining to our movement all needs to be one click away on the app.

Right now, all of this data is scattered out all across the internet, in various books and in reports that people have no idea where to start looking for.

According to a research study by the Institute for Advancing Justice Research and Innovation at Washington University in St. Louis, in 2016, the true cost of incarceration is estimated to be $1 trillion per year, and the researchers also found that more than half of those costs are being shouldered “directly by prisoners, their families, and their communities.” That’s a lot of information scattered around.

If we, indeed, are shouldering the burden for over half of these costs, which amounts to $500 billion, then isn’t it reasonable to expect that we should do a better job of collecting this information and tracking this money so that we can better organize our movement towards bankrupting prison slavery?

I would surmise that if we contribute over $500 billion in direct financial contributions, then the other half is probably coming directly from our labor. In Nas’ song, “N—–”, he said that in relationship to our problems, we are both the question and the answer. Well, if we are the financial pillars of this system, we are both the problem and the solution. In prison slavery, we are the slave and the master.

In the December 2017 issue of Bay View, our Brother Terrance Amen stated the following: “We all know what the problems are, but very little energy and effort are focused on the solutions. We are not the ones who put ourselves in this situation, but we are the ones who continue to stay in this situation because of the way we spend our money.”

Our Campaign to Redistribute the Pain 2018 focuses all of our energy and effort on the solution to the problems that we perpetuate from the way that we are spending our money while in prison. Invariably, solutions create issues because solutions call for sacrifice.

Talking about a problem is easy. In these prisons, even in the Bay View, we see much talk devoted to the problem. The solutions that are offered – if one can waddle through all of the talk and find one – usually deviate far and wide from any sacrifices being made. The norm usually reveals signs of the “savior complex,” where we are calling for the politicians to fix it.

But Brother Amen also said: “Politics will not solve our problems. Black economics will.” That’s why the most important aspect or feature of the Campaign 2RTP is the incorporation of our family members and others who make financial contributions to us in prison.

Our Campaign to Redistribute the Pain 2018 focuses all of our energy and effort on the solution to the problems that we perpetuate from the way that we are spending our money while in prison. Invariably, solutions create issues because solutions call for sacrifice.

A lot of people in prison simply don’t want to make any sacrifices whatsoever, and have no problem exploiting the people who love them for funds. They don’t dare educate their people about this movement, our boycotts or otherwise. This Campaign 2RTP is designed for us to be able to bypass those negative elements and engage these family members directly. Getting our app created will only make this process that much easier.

Those of us on the inside know that prisons have an economy too, as well as a culture set up to exploit those just entering the system. With prisons across the country being so overcrowded and understaffed, administrators have resorted to alternative methods to control such large populations.

One of the things that wardens and officers do is select collaborators from the population to help them control the masses in much the same way that slave owners used to do. These collaborators are allowed to control the drug, liquor, cigarette, gambling and other markets.

When the youth enter the prison, they are immediately preyed upon. Those youth who have money or financial support are steered towards drugs and other vices. Those who have nothing are recruited to gangs, the “armies” that the dealers use or, lacking these, they are turned out and forced into quasi-prostitution or they become labor slaves.

Those of us who recruit them for education and self-development are targeted by the system. When we try to build our movement and open the eyes of the youth and the people to what is really going on with mass incarceration and prison slavery, we become subject to “hits” like our ancestor Hugo Pinell and so many other warriors.

The collaborators work with the police to stop the movement but they never work with the movement to stop slavery. These are dynamics that people in society don’t know about, but the Campaign 2 RTP 2018 will serve many purposes before it is done.

Once again, I strongly recommend that as many of you as possible reach out to Queen Tahiyrah of Sign o’ the Times blogtalk radio and connect your/our families to her. Queen T hosts shows where incarcerated brothers and sisters call in from prison along with family.

Our Warrior God from Free Alabama Movement, Dhati Khalid, and the rest of the F.A.M.ily are also always tuned in. Call her at 513-913-2691 or reach out to F.A.M. and Bro Dhati at P.O. Box 186, New Market, AL 35761 and let’s all get connected.

Family support in prison requires devotion of a tremendous amount of time, money, sacrifice and other resources. Those of us on the inside have a duty and obligation to make sure that their sacrifices are worth it and appreciated.

If an incarcerated person does not have a GED, then there is no legitimate reason why they should not be in GED school after six to nine months in prison. Once they complete GED, if they don’t have an employable skill or trade, they should enroll in trade school.

These accomplishments will only help with parole eligibility and other release programs. And more importantly, they will help with self-development and with returning an asset to the community instead of a liability.

Families should encourage, support and ultimately demand as much in return for their sacrifices and support. We need to make sure that these important messages are reaching everyone, because we can’t continue to fund the institution of slavery.

Family support should also set a hard budget on how much money they can afford to send into a prison and stick to it. Too many people in prison are young when they enter and, thus, have no real concept of paying bills, child care, emergencies, elderly care, unexpected repairs etc. All they know is their needs. And, the vices in prison are strong, too, and expensive.

Family support in prison requires devotion of a tremendous amount of time, money, sacrifice and other resources.

If an incarcerated loved one can’t stick to their budget and is constantly calling home for money, pay pals and green dots, then this is a red flag and warning sign that something is wrong. Gambling, drug abuse and wasting money in prison trying to portray an image are real problems, and the opioid crisis that is claiming so many lives in America is alive and well in the prison, too.

All of this is being financed by someone or being facilitated by someone. If this someone is you, please stop it now and help us bring everyone home from prison as soon as possible, starting with the defunding effort being spearheaded by our Campaign to Redistribute the Pain 2018.

Families should encourage, support and ultimately demand as much in return for their sacrifices and support.

We have talked about the problem ad nauseum. We have cried enough tears to fill up many rivers. Our complaints have been noted and ruled on, and we have held on and endured for many seasons. As my Aunt Mary in Mississippi DOC would say, “Enough is enough.” Now is the time to Redistribute the Pain in 2018.

Our Campaign 2 RTP 2018 kicks off on Feb. 1, 2018, to begin Black History Month. It is time to not only celebrate Black history but to also show that we have learned from the lessons of history that is part of our heritage by using those lessons to help solve our problems.

Dare to struggle! Dare to win!

Bennu Hannibal Ra-Sun, Free Alabama Movement

Book of the month: “We Will Shoot Back: Armed Resistance in the Mississippi Freedom Movement” by Akinyele Omowale Umoja

Literature of the month: “Liberation or Gangsterism” by Russell “Maroon” Shoatz/s

Newspaper of the month: Bay View

Word of the month: Sacrifice

Send our brother some love and light: Melvin Ray, 163343, Limestone CF D-70, 28779 Nick Davis Rd, Harvest AL 35749.

Campaign to Redistribute the Pain 2018 – Part IV Boycott, Defund, Bankrupt

Boycott, Defund, Bankrupt – Say NO to canteen, incentive packages, collect phone calls and visitation during February, April, June, Black August, October and December in 2018

December 30, 2017
Part VI: Campaign to Redistribute the Pain 2018
by Bennu Hannibal Ra-Sun, fka Melvin Ray, Free Alabama Movement

Published in the January 2018 issue of SF Bayview

Fire burns off the dross of the hidden gem to reveal the precious metal. In struggle, it is the call to action that burns off the negative habit, distorted values and laziness of those who answer that call to reveal the precious jewels of humanity. With 2018 just a few days away, the call to action that is the Campaign to Redistribute the Pain 2018 is set to kick off Feb. 1, 2018. Let the fire burn bright.

Queen Tahiyrah of the National Freedom and Justice Movement, F.O.M., and Sign o’ the Times blogtalk radio has created a flier for the campaign, in addition to our https://redistributethepain.wordpress.com blog, and our redistributethepain@gmail.com email. Queen T can be reached on Facebook in the SignOTheTimes group (https://www.facebook.com/QueenTahiyrah), by email to signothetimes19@gmail.com, or call 513-913-2691. You can also write to her at 1623 Dalton St. #14393, Cincinnati, OH 45250.

As 2018 draws near, over 2.5 million people remain behind bars, walls, steel and cages. The burden of changing our circumstances remains squarely on our shoulders. We have to change our thoughts about how freedom is possible to attain, then change our actions.

Many of us know about completing our sentence as a way to freedom, or an appeal, post-conviction petition or parole. We have to amend this paradigm to include the collective actions that we can take as a unified body to bring about freedom as well.

There is no escaping the fact that we, as a body, constitute a significant sector of the economic pie chart that funds and fuels mass incarceration and prison slavery. For purposes of this call for a nationwide boycott campaign, we have identified four sectors of the Prison Industrialized Complex that serve as some of the main economic drivers for prison budgets, which generate billions of dollars annually to fund prison operations:

  • Collect phone calls
  • Canteen / store / snack line
  • Incentive package purchases

Visitation vending and electronic visitation

The collect phone call industry is, by far, the most exploitive monopoly of the four enterprises. I don’t want to speculate on the amount of money we spend nationwide on phone calls, other than to say that this figure has to be in the billions of dollars.

The prison companies contract with the phone companies to carry out this extortion scheme through legal kickback schemes. We are locked up in these closed environments. If we want to maintain contact with our families, we have to pay a ransom to the phone company.

The prison system charges the phone company a cut (kickback) for being able to set up shop inside of the prison. The prison system’s cut or kickback percentage becomes part of the overall operations budget used to pay salaries, buy equipment, pay for water, electricity etc.

So, not only our slave labor, but also our financial contributions are helping to keep this empire running. Therefore, we have to boycott these ventures to help defund prison operations budgets.

Just as easily as a habeas corpus or appeal can free you, so, too, can you gain your freedom if a DOC has to close down prisons due to insufficient funds in their budgets to fund operations.

The fact that these industries generate billions of dollars each year merely attests to the enormous power that our families have over U.S. prison operations. Every time that they reject a collect call, they empower themselves by sending a message to the phone company that they will no longer assist in funding prison operations costs.

For those of us on the inside, when we stop picking up those phones, we send the message that we are ready to talk to our families at home in the living room and on the porch. These conversations are free and priceless.

The distinctively unique feature about these prison monopolies, as I’ve stated before, is that as incarcerated and enslaved people, we are their only customers. This makes it clear, without any doubt, that as much as organizations and groups grapple and fight with the FCC and the phone companies over prices, the POWER to effect change, immediate change, lies exclusively in our hands alone.

And always keep in mind that while it may cost $5, $10 or $20 to make a call, it don’t cost a penny to boycott for a month.

Casting a wide net!
Many of the owners of these cottage industry companies are former corrections officials. They either own the companies outright or are major investors. Others are family members, business associates or political contributors.

So, boycotting incentive package company Union Supply, for example, has ripple effects on many balance sheets. In addition, the employees of these companies feel the heat from participating in this evil industry. There’s plenty of pain pent up and caged inside these prisons, and we need to #RedistributeThePain in 2018 so that others can feel its intensity.

Beginning Feb. 1, 2018
When the campaign kicks off, I recommend that we invest approximately 25 percent of whatever you/we save into a fund to purchase books, stamps, newspaper subscriptions and office supplies to help print material, all to support the campaign. IWOC has indicated that their main body has donated $4,000 for book purchases.

Free Alabama Movement is contributing $750 to T-shirts, plus $250 to help purchase ink. If you have a submission for a T-shirt design, please send it to: Free Alabama Movement, P.O. Box 186, New Market, AL 35761 or email redistributethepain@gmail.com. If we choose your design, you’ll win $50 for books or newspaper subscriptions, tuition payment or other educational need.

Book of the Month – February 2018:
Prison Profiteers: Who Makes Money from Mass Incarceration” by Tara Herevil and Paul Wright

Newspaper Subscription of the Month – February 2018:
SF Bay View, one month $2, one year $24

Publication of the Month – February 2018:
Prison Legal News, six months $18, one year $30

These are just a few of the recommended reading materials that you will find on our WordPress blog. I suggest that those who can, make these purchases, and those who can’t, reach out to FAM, IWOC, Queen T or Bay View, and collectively we will try to handle the request or send it to someone who can.

One other request that I would like to put out there personally is the need of assistance in developing an app that helps us to better analyze and break down each state’s prison system, each individual prison, and each prison’s industry and labor force, just to name a few. A person should be able to click on an app and at least get the following information at any time:

  • Population
  • Total jobs worked by incarcerated
  • Each job description
  • Paid jobs / amounts
  • Unpaid jobs
  • Total canteen sales
  • Total collect calls
  • Total incentive packages purchased
  • Total visitation vending
  • All products made by prison labor
  • All services provided by prison labor
    (Other factors may be included)

Creating our own app in aid of our movement is not cost prohibitive. We already have the funds to pay for it, but we are spending it on potato chips, cookies, candy, collect phone calls and processed food instead. For the most part, all of this is public information that is available to us through Freedom of Information Act and Open Records Act requests. In addition, we can use survey questionnaires, civil litigation, and other methods to start culling information out of these prisons and start painting a picture of what the business of prisons is really all about.

Wherever there is unity, there is power. So, let’s utilize 2018 as the year to continue to strengthen our unity, so that we can make 2018 a very powerful year for our movement, while also making it a very painful year for prison profiteers, human traffickers and the institution of slavery.

Our circumstances absolutely will not change until our thoughts and actions change. We have been spending, funding and enriching the system long enough. Now it is time to Boycott, Defund and Bankrupt.

Stop financing our own oppression. It’s time to Redistribute the Pain in 2018.

Bennu Hannibal Ra Sun, Free Alabama Movement

Send our brother some love and light: Melvin Ray, 163343, Limestone CF D-70, 28779 Nick Davis Rd, Harvest AL 35749.

Boycott, Defund, Bankrupt – Say NO to Canteen, Incentive Packages, Collect phone calls and Visitation during February, April, June, Black August, October and December in 2018 (Pt VI)

December 30, 2017

Part VI: Campaign to Redistribute the Pain 2018
by Bennu Hannibal Ra-Sun, fka Melvin Ray, Free Alabama Movement

Published in the SF Bayview, Dec 30, 2017

Fire burns off the dross of the hidden gem to reveal the precious metal. In struggle, it is the call to action that burns off the negative habit, distorted values and laziness of those who answer that call to reveal the precious jewels of humanity. With 2018 just a few days away, the call to action that is the Campaign to Redistribute the Pain 2018 is set to kick off Feb. 1, 2018. Let the fire burn bright.

Queen Tahiyrah of the National Freedom and Justice Movement, F.O.M., and Sign o’ the Times blogtalk radio has created a flier for the campaign, in addition to our https://redistributethepain.wordpress.com blog, and our redistributethepain@gmail.com email. Queen T can be reached on Facebook in the SignOTheTimes group, by email to signothetimes19@gmail.com, or call 513-913-2691. You can also write to her at 1623 Dalton St. #14393, Cincinnati, OH 45250.

As 2018 draws near, over 2.5 million people remain behind bars, walls, steel and cages. The burden of changing our circumstances remains squarely on our shoulders. We have to change our thoughts about how freedom is possible to attain, then change our actions.

Many of us know about completing our sentence as a way to freedom, or an appeal, post-conviction petition or parole. We have to amend this paradigm to include the collective actions that we can take as a unified body to bring about freedom as well.

As 2018 draws near, over 2.5 million people remain behind bars, walls, steel and cages. The burden of changing our circumstances remains squarely on our shoulders.

There is no escaping the fact that we, as a body, constitute a significant sector of the economic pie chart that funds and fuels mass incarceration and prison slavery. For purposes of this call for a nationwide boycott campaign, we have identified four sectors of the Prison Industrialized Complex that serve as some of the main economic drivers for prison budgets, which generate billions of dollars annually to fund prison operations:

  • Collect phone calls
  • Canteen / store / snack line
  • Incentive package purchases
  • Visitation vending and electronic visitation

The collect phone call industry is, by far, the most exploitive monopoly of the four enterprises. I don’t want to speculate on the amount of money we spend nationwide on phone calls, other than to say that this figure has to be in the billions of dollars.

The prison companies contract with the phone companies to carry out this extortion scheme through legal kickback schemes. We are locked up in these closed environments. If we want to maintain contact with our families, we have to pay a ransom to the phone company.

The prison system charges the phone company a cut (kickback) for being able to set up shop inside of the prison. The prison system’s cut or kickback percentage becomes part of the overall operations budget used to pay salaries, buy equipment, pay for water, electricity etc.

So, not only our slave labor, but also our financial contributions are helping to keep this empire running. Therefore, we have to boycott these ventures to help defund prison operations budgets.

Just as easily as a habeas corpus or appeal can free you, so, too, can you gain your freedom if a DOC has to close down prisons due to insufficient funds in their budgets to fund operations.

The fact that these industries generate billions of dollars each year merely attests to the enormous power that our families have over U.S. prison operations. Every time that they reject a collect call, they empower themselves by sending a message to the phone company that they will no longer assist in funding prison operations costs.

Not only our slave labor, but also our financial contributions are helping to keep this empire running. Therefore, we have to boycott these ventures to help defund prison operations budgets.

For those of us on the inside, when we stop picking up those phones, we send the message that we are ready to talk to our families at home in the living room and on the porch. These conversations are free and priceless.

The distinctively unique feature about these prison monopolies, as I’ve stated before, is that as incarcerated and enslaved people, we are their only customers. This makes it clear, without any doubt, that as much as organizations and groups grapple and fight with the FCC and the phone companies over prices, the POWER to effect change, immediate change, lies exclusively in our hands alone.

And always keep in mind that while it may cost $5, $10 or $20 to make a call, it don’t cost a penny to boycott for a month.

Casting a wide net!
Many of the owners of these cottage industry companies are former corrections officials. They either own the companies outright or are major investors. Others are family members, business associates or political contributors.

So, boycotting incentive package company Union Supply, for example, has ripple effects on many balance sheets. In addition, the employees of these companies feel the heat from participating in this evil industry. There’s plenty of pain pent up and caged inside these prisons, and we need to #RedistributeThePain in 2018 so that others can feel its intensity.

Beginning Feb. 1, 2018
When the campaign kicks off, I recommend that we invest approximately 25 percent of whatever you/we save into a fund to purchase books, stamps, newspaper subscriptions and office supplies to help print material, all to support the campaign. IWOC has indicated that their main body has donated $4,000 for book purchases.

Free Alabama Movement is contributing $750 to T-shirts, plus $250 to help purchase ink. If you have a submission for a T-shirt design, please send it to: Free Alabama Movement, P.O. Box 186, New Market, AL 35761 or email redistributethepain@gmail.com. If we choose your design, you’ll win $50 for books or newspaper subscriptions, tuition payment or other educational need.

Book of the Month – February 2018: “Prison Profiteers: Who Makes Money from Mass Incarceration” by Tara Herevil and Paul Wright

Newspaper Subscription of the Month – February 2018: SF Bay View, one month $2, one year $24

Publication of the Month – February 2018: Prison Legal News, six months $18, one year $30

These are just a few of the recommended reading materials that you will find on our WordPress blog. I suggest that those who can make these purchases, and those who can’t reach out to FAM, IWOC, Queen T or Bay View, and collectively we will try to handle the request or send it to someone who can.

One other request that I would like to put out there personally is the need of assistance in developing an app that helps us to better analyze and break down each state’s prison system, each individual prison, and each prison’s industry and labor force, just to name a few. A person should be able to click on an app and at least get the following information at any time:

  • Population
  • Total jobs worked by incarcerated
  • Each job description
  • Paid jobs / amounts
  • Unpaid jobs
  • Total canteen sales
  • Total collect calls
  • Total incentive packages purchased
  • Total visitation vending
  • All products made by prison labor
  • All services provided by prison labor
  • (Other factors may be included)

Creating our own app in aid of our movement is not cost prohibitive. We already have the funds to pay for it, but we are spending it on potato chips, cookies, candy, collect phone calls and processed food instead. For the most part, all of this is public information that is available to us through Freedom of Information Act and Open Records Act requests. In addition, we can use survey questionnaires, civil litigation, and other methods to start culling information out of these prisons and start painting a picture of what the business of prisons is really all about.

Wherever there is unity, there is power. So, let’s utilize 2018 as the year to continue to strengthen our unity, so that we can make 2018 a very powerful year for our movement, while also making it a very painful year for prison profiteers, human traffickers and the institution of slavery.

Our circumstances absolutely will not change until our thoughts and actions change. We have been spending, funding and enriching the system long enough. Now it is time to Boycott, Defund and Bankrupt.

Stop financing our own oppression. It’s time to Redistribute the Pain in 2018.

Bennu Hannibal Ra Sun, Free Alabama Movement

Send our brother some love and light: Melvin Ray, 163343, Limestone CF D-70, 28779 Nick Davis Rd, Harvest AL 35749.

Make History in 2018, Not Excuses: Whose Side are You on? Campaign to Redistribute the Pain Part V

November 30, 2017
Part V: Campaign to Redistribute the Pain 2018
by Bennu Hannibal Ra-Sun, formerly known as Melvin Ray, Free Alabama Movement

Published in SF Bayview, Nov. 30, 2017

“Times Are Changing” – Art: Arkee Chaney, A71362, P.O. Box 1327, Galesburg IL 61401

Greetings of love, dedication and resiliency to all Freedom Fighters and fearless frontline generals, soldiers and warriors who dare to struggle and sacrifice for liberty, freedom and equality from behind these walls, fences and cages of genocide and oppression. As we continue to raise awareness and lift up our voices so that we may be heard on the issues of systemic racism and economic exploitation in the criminal justice system, as well as prison slavery and police killings and brutality, we continue to see an evil and determined enemy dig in its heels in the name of White Supremacy.

In October 2017, it was reported that the Trump administration is seeking more immigration jails and detention facilities to house more immigrants that they plan to arrest. Prior to this, in September 2017, President Trump gave a speech in Huntsville, Alabama, to deliver his latest “rally the troops” speech to a captivated and applauding audience with a clear message to White America that Black people in this country must be kept in our “place” or suffer the consequences.

It was not by coincidence that Trump chose Alabama, the Heart of Dixie, to deliver his racist and misogynistic statement. A footnote on Alabama history is in order here.

On May 21, 1901, at the Constitutional Convention of 1901 of the State of Alabama, we find the following statements in the official minutes of the proceedings from convention president-elect John B. Knox:

“And what is it that we want to do? Why it is, within the limits imposed by the federal Constitution, to establish white supremacy in this state.”

Mr. Knox further states:

“But if we would have white supremacy, we must establish it by law – not by force or fraud.”

President Trump’s choice of Alabama to make his “son of a bitch” speech coincides with the comments made by our Sister Jemele Hill of ESPN, as we can all now see that birds of the same feather flock together. Trump’s statement expressed a clear ideology of white supremacy: When a Black mother gives birth to a Black child who she would raise up to be a man who speaks out against racism and oppression, then, in the eyes of white supremacist ideology, that mother is a bitch. And, according to this ideology, these sons of bitches should be fired or, worse, fired on.

Colin Kaepernick, a man of bi-racial origin, raised by a white family, and deeply rooted in Black and human consciousness, made a stand by taking a knee. President Trump took a fall by trying to stand in the same space as a man.

As vanguards of the current Prisoners’ Human Rights Movement, we, too, are charged with taking a stand. The Campaign to Redistribute the Pain in 2018 is a call to action for those serious about freedom, justice and economic equality. Just like Colin, we have chosen a non-violent action, in exercise of our First Amendment right to free speech, to expose neo-slavery and inhumane practices throughout the prisons and entire criminal justice system.

We already know what lies ahead; we see that Colin has been white-balled by the NFL. Many of us have experienced repression for our efforts thus far, also. We know what happened to Brother Hugo Pinell. We see the torment of men like Kevin “Rashid” Johnson, Jalil Muntaqim, Malik Washington, Mafundi Lake, Russell Maroon Shoatz/s, Mumia Abu Jamal and so many more.

As vanguards of the current Prisoners’ Human Rights Movement, we, too, are charged with taking a stand. The Campaign to Redistribute the Pain in 2018 is a call to action for those serious about freedom, justice and economic equality.

For those of us down here in the Deep South in the Free Alabama Movement, things have been no different. Over four years in, and not a single person from any other race, ethnicity or nationality, EXCEPT Black men, has spent a single day – not one – in a solitary confinement cell for exercising rights supposedly secured by the U.S. Constitution. White supremacy is established in the law, just like they said it would be.
But this only tells half of the story …

The ADOC has resorted to using the solitary confinement units at the four maximum security units to stifle the spread of the movement: St. Clair CF [Correctional Facility], W.E. Donaldson CF, Holman CF and Limestone CF. Of the 12 wardens at these four prisons – each facility has three – 11 are Black and only one is white. Also, Donaldson was selected as the “breaking” plantation, where, within the last approximately 24 months, over 80 men have been transferred to this prison and were subsequently beaten, sexually assaulted, and confined to solitary. Fewer than 12 officers carried out almost all of these attacks, and most of these officers were Black: Snelson, Edmonson, Gunn, Gadson, Binder, Phillips, Speak, Turnbull, and Cunningham.

Prior to being transferred to Limestone on Aug. 2, 2017, I had spent the preceding two years at Donaldson, most of it in solitary confinement. When I was let out briefly in 2016, I learned that one of the Black wardens (Angela Miree) and one of the Black captains (Baldwin) had solicited a “hit” on me in July 2016. After their hit was thwarted, the next month I was placed back into solitary confinement.

Immediately above the heads of these Black administrations are two Black regional coordinators, Cheryl Price and Gwendolyn Mosley, who, in turn, have a Black supervisor in Associate Commissioner Grantt Culliver. Incidentally, it is at this level where the decisions are made as to who gets sent to the new statewide SHU at Limestone or the “breaking” plantation at Donaldson CF.

Just to give you an idea of how these Black professionals are making decisions on who is subjected to the “nigger boxes” (as they were called on the slave plantations), here are some figures. In August 2017, the population at Donaldson CF was approximately 1,800, including 1,418 Black, 356 White and five Mexican prisoners; numbers are approximate.

Over 87 percent of all men in segregation at Donaldson are Black. The statewide lockup unit at Limestone is 90 percent Black. St. Clair and Holman seg units are over 83 percent Black. Extreme oppression has always been reserved for Black people in the South – and no less elsewhere.

Of the several beatings that took place at Donaldson prison, one stands about above the rest. When the transfer from Holman took place after the warden (Carter Davenport) was stabbed, five men were sent to Donaldson. One by one as they exited the van they were led into a room in handcuffs, belly chains and shackles, where they were all then beaten one by one. Three or four of them were sexually assaulted. Every one of them identified Officer Justin Gunn (Black) as the leader of the assault.

This incident was so savage that it drew Associate Commissioner Culliver and Regional Coordinator Price to the prison. Yet, nothing was done. Subsequent to this, Officer Gunn beat, sexually assaulted and hospitalized Quintavius Clark. He has since assaulted Brandon (“Bird”), and kicked a man in the mouth while handcuffed, in addition to getting knocked out in a fistfight. When I left the prison in August 2017, he was assigned to tower duty due to his latest assault.

These attacks are being carried out by Black correctional officers and then covered up by Black administrators. The very flag that symbolized oppression for Black people is the exact same flag that these officers salute and pledge allegiance to, which is the same flag that John B. Knox said gives them the power “to establish white supremacy in this state.”

One by one as they exited the van they were led into a room in handcuffs, belly chains and shackles, where they were all then beaten one by one. Three or four of them were sexually assaulted. Every one of them identified Officer Justin Gunn (Black) as the leader of the assault.

Imagine that, the same niggers that couldn’t get a job with the ADOC 50 years ago until Martin, Malcolm, Elijah, BPP and others stood up to Jim Crow are now leading the charge to suppress a non-violent movement against, as Michelle Alexander calls it, “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration.”

We’ve seen it all before, though. Right?! Didn’t we see Black folks denounce MLK in Alabama? When Ferguson erupted, didn’t the state send for Al and Jesse? When that didn’t work, they called in “their” clergy and preachers.

In Alabama, they had ol’ Chaplain Browder bringing chicken and watermelon. Hell, Ferguson went so far as to install a coon police chief. With all the Black professionals in ADOC in Montgomery, can’t we anticipate what’s coming next in their efforts to stop our movement? Mississippi’s Black DOC commissioner just went to prison for human trafficking of Black bodies.

Our Elder Richard “Mafundi” Lake used to always express to us the importance of studying our history in our struggle. Baba Mafundi used to say, “Black people can find the answers to all of our problems by studying Black History.”

Then he would say, “See, you got to organize the people.” That precept, ORGANIZE, is one of the pillars of civilization that our Ancestors left to us. They organized! every facet of their life. Indeed, the process of life itself, and all things in the universe, is organized. And if we are to achieve our goal within this movement, then we, too, must organize – because the opposition, as I pointed out in Part IV of this series, is already organized.

We have 51 states before us. Each state has its own sovereign authority. But in order to create a United States, all 51 states agreed to give up some of their rights for the benefit of the whole body. This is how the federal government was created. The fed has limited authority over federal issues, and the states retained authority over all remaining issues specific to each state.

For example, each state has its own state tax rates, while every citizen has to pay the same federal tax rate based on income. But there are not 51 different currencies. Instead, there is only one U.S. dollar that all 51 states use. This is so because all 51 states agreed to allow the federal government to establish a single currency (see Article 1, Section 8, U.S. Constitution). This structure is pretty much how our National Prisoners’ Rights Movement will have to be organized.

Each of us in our individual states has certain issues that are specific to our individual state that we will need to pursue on a state-by-state basis. These issues will have to be decided by the people in those states. This is the sovereign characteristic of our structure.

At the same time, though, we will need to form and consolidate a national body to create national plans, coordinate nationwide events, and maximize our impact on a national scale concerning those issues that we all share in common.

To date, we have already conducted one nationwide direct action campaign – the Sept. 9, 2016, 45th Anniversary Attica Rebellion Non-Violent Demonstration. Our outside supporters also just conducted the August 2017 Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March. These efforts, though successful, illustrate why it is important for us to organize these energized bodies.

Anyone familiar with college basketball probably associates the term “one-and-done” with the Kentucky Wildcats. They have plenty of talent, all of the potential, but very little to show for it. We can’t forget a movement based on “one-and-done” either. This is where a national organizational structure comes in. As of right now, I am aware of two proposed constructs, although I have not seen any specific details as to how either would be constructed or operated. One appears to be the Millions for Prisoners Human Rights Coalition, and the other appears to be Prison Lives Matter.

“Dehumanization 1619 to 2017” – Art: Arkee Chaney, A71362, P.O. Box 1327, Galesburg IL 61401

From my perspective, the names that we choose are far less important than making sure that we implement the proper type of structure that creates BOTH inside organizations and outside organizations. As far as how that would look and need to be organized, picture a triangle: At the top is the national organizing body, and the other two points represent outside organizations, such as the Millions for Prisoners Human Rights Coalition –Michigan, and those inside, such as the Free Michigan Movement.

STEP 1. The first step in this process would be creating a steering committee to help draw up an outline for establishing a board of directors. These members would be tasked with soliciting candidates to fill a nine (or so) member board composed of six individuals who are incarcerated and three who are in society. Once the nominees are in, an election would be held to select a Board of Executives and Directors.

STEP 2. Establish charters for inside and outside organizations. For example, the incarcerated men and women in Michigan would establish their Free Michigan Movement charter, which would serve as an umbrella for all factions operating inside MDOC.

All of the outside organizations operating in Michigan who are committed to supporting the directives of the FMM would then organize under the outside support charter, Millions for Prisoners Human Rights Coalition – Michigan.

STEP 3. Next, of course, would be the drafting of the bylaws. Within these documents would be an outline of the specific functions, purposes and duties, etc., of everyone associated with the national organization. Only national policies will be coordinated on this level, such as:

  • Nationwide hunger strikes
  • Nationwide boycott campaigns and storefront protests of companies like McDonalds, Starbucks etc., that profit from prison labor. We would select only one company at a time and organize nationwide demonstrations.
  • Nationwide protests at prisons, DOC headquarters, state capitals etc.
  • Nationwide workstrike dates
  • Nationwide boycotts of collect phone calls, canteens, incentive packages, visitations etc. in the mold of the Campaign to Redistribute the Pain 2018.
  • Nationwide 13th Amendment awareness rallies, marches etc.
  • Nationwide social media events, including “Twitter-storms,” panel discussions etc.

Obviously, this is just a proposal. I am sure there are others out there with ideas on how we should proceed too. We need to bring these ideas together to form a plan of action.

Additionally, there are many organizations in society out there that are kicking up dust but don’t have a platform for connecting to our struggle behind these walls. In fact, many of them are fighting issues that they may not even realize are connected to the 13th Amendment and slavery. Those of us on the inside have to build those bridges through our outside support networks that will connect our people together.

To establish that point:

I recently read up on the events concerning the police killing of Anthony Lamar Smith in St. Louis, Missouri. What stood out the most was how the activists there have completely changed their strategy to now target the economic structure of the city as opposed to just marching and protests. They targeted the malls, entertainment centers, restaurants and even a concert venue. All of their target areas were forced to close. This impacted the pockets of city finances, supporters of murderous police etc., and helped to “Redistribute the Pain.”

As one activist said, “Last time in Ferguson, we were very emotional and just protestors, but we are now activists.” We have to be activists also behind these walls before our pain will be felt.

Ultimately, though, as powerful as their demonstration was, they left plenty of money on the table. Under the organizational structure that I am proposing, those of us on the inside could have been added to that force on the outside. Here’s how:

In Alabama, we just received the winter food package list from Access SecurePak. Where is the company headquartered? 10880 Linpage Place, St. Louis, MO 63132. Most likely, this same company has contracts throughout Missouri’s DOC and probably even city or county jails. A boycott of this business that supports and finances mass incarceration and prison slavery most definitely should have been included. Additionally, and at the same time, work strikes should have been organized at the jails and prisons.

Missouri is no different from Alabama, California, Texas, South Carolina, Georgia, or any other state. Prison labor is active and a revenue generator on all layers of the economy in Missouri. In fact, the very streets, roads, and sidewalks that the activists were moving on are probably cleaned in some part by prison slave labor. Some of the stores may even have products made in a prison. Most definitely, the police cruisers that are dispatched to the scenes where our activists are congregated are maintained and repaired by people in jail or prison.

Millions of dollars in labor costs, lost production and lost sales can be effectively mounted onto the backs of cities in an instant, if only we can connect our movement together.

Under the organizational structure that I am proposing here, this unification would merge seamlessly, and the fit would be perfect because we are already aligned strategically on the use of direct action economic activity. For example, the outside organization, Millions for Prisoners Human Rights Coalition – Missouri would be the eyes and ears on the ground that would be informed when a trial like Mr. Smith’s was taking place.

They would join forces with other outside activists and groups, letting them know of our presence on the inside, say, Free Missouri Movement. Throughout the process of trial, planning and coordination would take place, starting at the local city and county jails then moving to the prisons. Then, when the unlawful verdict is reached, the plan of action would go into effect – boycotts and work strikes on the inside, with boycotts on the outside.

Millions of dollars in labor costs, lost production and lost sales can be effectively mounted onto the backs of cities in an instant, if only we can connect our movement together.

This, of course, would be an example of an individual state charter exercising autonomy in a local issue. These plans would also be relayed up to the national board, who would then send advisories out to all other branches nationwide in the event that other branches wanted to join in the same capacity.

It could be a hunger strike, a boycott in the mold of the Campaign to Redistribute the Pain 2018, a work strike or whatever. (Them brothers up in Michigan at Marquette, Kinross, Cotton and Chippewa appear to be ready at the drop of a dime.) The main thing is, we have to get organized, then get connected to the broader struggle in society.

Plain and simple, we have to get connected because police killings and social justice are each a part of prison slavery and mass incarceration. How? What if Mike Brown had lived? Where would he be today? In prison! When Sandra Bland asserted her rights as a human being, where did she end up dying? In jail!

If Anthony Lamar Smith had lived, what would have happened? I’ll tell you what: He would have been arrested, charged with drug possession and distribution, and taken to jail. Walter Scott was running from the slave catcher because he didn’t want to be returned where? Jail!

Mike Brown, of course, would have probably been charged with assault, attempted murder, jaywalking and who knows what else. Since the bail bond system was so thoroughly exposed after his death, we know that his bail would have been near $500,000. And, we already know that the grand jury would have believed Officer Wilson, so Mike Brown would have been indicted. According to Michelle Alexander’s book, “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness,” Mike Brown would have pled guilty, just like 95 percent of all defendants do.

Thus, Mike Brown would be in the county jail, waiting to go to MDOC, where he would become Brown, M, D819642, B/M. Life.

Plain and simple, we have to get connected because police killings and social justice are each a part of prison slavery and mass incarceration.

If Sandra Bland had lived, her situation would be even worse. In recent years, rapes, sodomy and sexual violence have been reported in women’s prisons from Alabama, Florida, California and Mississippi, just to name a few. In January 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice concluded an investigation by finding that the women at Julia Tutwiler Prison have been raped, sexually abused and more for a period of almost 20 consecutive years – up to 2014 when the investigative report was issued. And it continues …

A more glaring fact missing from these reports is that many of these women gave birth to children, while other women had abortions. Some of these women were forced to have abortions, while other women who refused abortions, by sometimes married officers, had their fetuses beaten from their bodies. I was once given an eyewitness account by a woman formerly incarcerated at Tutwiler, who recounted seeing a mentally ill young woman beaten until she miscarried by an officer who had been raping her.

There are many Sandra Blands who lived. Yet, where are their protests? Do their Black Lives Matter while they are still alive, or must they die first? What about the children who were born to these prison slave plantation rapes? First and foremost, the Department of Justice report did not even tell us how many children were born – but the ADOC knows how many deliveries were made.

Where are these children whose mothers have life sentences with no family members capable of receiving such child, and the father is a correctional officer, married with a family, and no incentive to tell his wife and family that he has a child at work on a slave plantation? Haven’t we experienced this narrative already? Don’t these Black Lives Matter, too?

When we, FAM’s blogtalk radio show The People’s Platform and Sign of the Times with Queen T, hosted the Scott Sisters from Mississippi upon their release from Mississippi’s slave yards, they told us of women who had given birth to as many as four to five children while incarcerated for over 20 years. In society, we see report after report of women being raped by police officers. Aren’t these issues combined? Then we aren’t the movements combined? If you are wondering why not, #MeToo.

There are over 219,000 Sandra Blands incarcerated today, with the number growing each day. Many of them will be raped, sexually assaulted, impregnated and give birth to a Mike Brown Jr. or Sandra Bland Jr. real soon.

We cannot only accept Black Lives Matter as a slogan. The burden lies with us behind these walls to organize our movement in a way that forces society to recognize our humanity and bear witness to our sacrifices. Our Black Lives Matter only when our Black Lives Matter to us, first.

“Imprisoning Mothers” – Art: Arkee Chaney, A71362, P.O. Box 1327, Galesburg IL 61401

The year 2018 is important for many reasons. In retrospect, the Campaign to Redistribute the Pain 2018 is a call to sacrifice. One can look at a canteen list and quickly see that the offering of snacks, candy, potato chips etc. are the menu for a child. We have to sacrifice cookies, “wraps” and “spreads” if we want to sit at a table and eat as men and women.

We can’t allow our mothers, wives, fathers, brothers, lovers and friends to continue to feed the pig and fall further into their own mode of institutionalization. Some of our loved ones feel guilt or partly responsible for our incarceration, and too many of us play on those feelings for a green dot, money on the books etc.

We are now at a time when we must advance beyond the one-and-done concept of struggle. Since we are enslaved and incarcerated every day, we must also struggle every day. Malcolm X said that if we aren’t willing to die for our freedom then we may as well remove the word from our vocabulary. At a bare minimum, the base of our sacrifice should be a bi-monthly boycott of chips and soups, phone calls and visits.

On Dec. 6, 1865, the USA decreed in the 13th Amendment that we are slaves and property of the government. On Dec. 6, 2017, we have to implement the next phase in our plan to dismantle the institution of slavery by starting the process of defunding it. Slavery is already morally bankrupt. Now we must financially bankrupt it.

In closing, I want to parlay off the words of our Warrior Queen Sister Dr. Ava Muhammad of the Nation of Islam, who has lectured on the financial industry of mass incarceration and prison slavery. In boycotting, we have to redirect our finances towards a plan that will give us financial independence. Through social media platforms, we now have the power to create our own revenue streams. Behind these walls, we have craftsmen, writers, poets, artists and many other talents.

With a national organization, we can create our own online storefront where we can sell our own products, which will allow us to finance our own movement. Then, during the bi-monthly boycotts of the Campaign to Redistribute the Pain 2018, we can send a portion of the funds that we withhold from the prison industry as donations to our national organization.

On Dec. 6, 1865, the USA decreed in the 13th Amendment that we are slaves and property of the government. On Dec. 6, 2017, we have to implement the next phase in our plan to dismantle the institution of slavery by starting the process of defunding it. Slavery is already morally bankrupt. Now we must financially bankrupt it.

Looking back on history as Elder Mafundi has told us to, Ancestor Marcus Garvey has already shown us what we can do when we pool our resources. We have to build our own independent power base because ain’t no one coming to save us. We must self save.

In February 2018, April 2018, June 2018, August 2018, October 2018 and December 2018, we must work towards building our national entity, while also refining local coalitions and networks. We can never defeat an opponent that we fund with all of our financial resources and labor, especially when we don’t have anything close to our own entity that we fund to help us wage our fight.

Without that organized body, we are just fussing and calling it fighting. Until we organize, we are nothing more than just disgruntled employees – the thousands of men that our great Ancestor Harriet Tubman said she could have freed if only we knew that we were slaves …

Bennu Hannibal Ra Sun

Free Alabama Movement

Note: I do not know Colin Kaepernick personally. The info that I wrote about his personal history was gleaned from info that I have read. Any inaccuracies should be attributed to me, not Bay View. My apologies in advance for any mistakes, for it is never my intent to ever mislead the people.

Send our brother some love and light: Melvin Ray, 163343, Limestone CF D-70, 28779 Nick Davis Rd., Harvest AL 35749.

The Power of Economics: One Message, One Mind, One Movement

The power of economics: One message, one mind, one movement
June 30, 2017
by Bennu Hannibal Ra-Sun (formerly known as Melvin Ray)
Published in the SF Bayview, June 30, 2017

Photo of Melvin Ray and his daughter Raven Antonia on a visit, 2017

Melvin Ray gets a visit from his daughter, Raven Antonia, and his “grandbaby in the oven.”

Greetings to all of the freedom fighters, warriors and honorable supporters in this struggle to End Mass Incarceration and Prison Slavery. Two thousand and seventeen has been a year of incubation for the Free Alabama Movement. Many of us have been subjected to intensified repression, cast deeper into the recesses of solitary confinement, causing us to merge into a new, stronger and more powerful incarnation of the original.

Sometime last year, the ADOC (Alabama Department of Corrections) erected what amounts to a SHU (Special Handling Unit) at Limestone Correctional Facility. Brother Dhati Khalid (“Freedom or Death”) was the first freedom fighter to be transferred there from here at Donaldson Correctional Facility in approximately May 2016. Brother Kinetik Justice, who has now served approximately 40 consecutive months, was sent there late last year. These remain the only two men who have been sent to SHU-Limestone for political reasons.

As for me, I am personally on my 10th month after returning to seg (segregation, or solitary confinement), which makes 36 of the last 41 months. At present, I am being held on “isolation” status – no contact, “Walk Alone,” no phone, visitation, books, magazines etc. supposedly under INVESTIGATION for unspecified reasons. Nevertheless, life moves on.

Many of us are excited about Aug. 19, 2017. There will be an event in Montgomery, Alabama, in addition to the Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March in Washington, D.C. We MUST seize this moment in our movement.

Stokely Charmichael pointed out in his book “Ready for Revolution” the important distinction between mobilizing people versus organizing people. As organizers, it is extremely important that we seize upon the opportunity that #A19 will bring, to organize our supporters.

How do we do this?
First and foremost, we must stay on message. And what is that message? We are uniting to End Mass Incarceration and Prison Slavery. In doing so, we have to keep at the forefront of our heart, mind and spirit that slavery – which predominates over mass incarceration – is an economic enterprise system that is mathematically put together and thus capable of being scientifically taken apart.

The basic premise of this deconstructive science is simple: “There can be no slavery without the slave.” As I state in my forthcoming book, even if 1 million people do attend our events on #A19, it won’t do much good if 1 million prison workers – slaves – get right back up and continue to answer that “work call” year in and year out.

People in society are not the ones working these prison slave labor jobs, so we can’t afford to allow them to EVER entertain the impression that they can free us simply by marching. We have to put a plan in place for them to support.

First and foremost, we must stay on message. And what is that message? We are uniting to End Mass Incarceration and Prison Slavery.

The ultimate job of deconstructing slavery remains on us, the slaves. Simply stated, we have got to stop the slave labor, and our movement has to organize our supporters around our plan to launch our next round of massive strikes, whenever that date is set.

Social, political and ECONOMIC education must be ramped up

One thing I have noticed about our writings behind these walls is that, while we have written enough to fill up several universities with social and political content, we have very little material on economics. It is going to be next to impossible to build awareness around the true nature of our movement if we don’t start the process of educating on the economic factor of slavery.

Solitary confinement has its origin on the plantation as the “nigger box.” Our water has always been contaminated. As slaves, we never had health, dental or prenatal care on the plantation. Sabre Red and Cell Buster spray have merely replaced the whip.

These are but the residuals of slave plantation life. As long as there is the economic enterprise of slavery, these residuals will always exist. Furthermore, if we stopped any of them or all of them, so long as we continue to provide slave labor, slavery will remain intact.

It is going to be next to impossible to build awareness around the true nature of our movement if we don’t start the process of educating on the economic factor of slavery.

We have to make a much more concerted effort to put the focus on the economic factors at play. When people understand how $$$ is the driver, we have to then help these same people understand how “their” money or “their” labor is what is keeping this system of slavery alive. In economic terms.

Information needs to be organized so that our loved ones can see just how their money is fueling the system; then we have to help them organize boycotts and the withholding of funds at strategic moments. For example, when our families send us commissary money, they need to know 1) how much money they are sending collectively each month, and 2) how the prison system is using this money to keep the prison system intact.

In Alabama, commissary profits are used to purchase batons, mace, handcuffs etc. When our loved ones and supporters gain awareness of this, they can better see where their power lies and how they can use it effectively.

So long as we continue to provide slave labor, slavery will remain intact.

If a prison profits $20,000 each month, that’s $240,000 each year. If they were to organize, say, rolling boycotts of every other month, that’s six months – January, March, May, June, September, November – and $120,000 that they have removed from a prison’s operating budget. These types of deficits are very disruptive to a prison budget.

When we combine these types of maneuvers with phone boycotts and incentive package boycotts, these types of tactics add up fast. These are the types of methods that we need our family members and supporters organizing year-round, non-stop.

Of course, the Great White Whale remains the workstrikes. Why? Because this is easily a $100,000,000,000 industry that WE control. That is the one thing that has to penetrate through to our consciousness: We actually control a $100 billion industry through our labor. If you don’t think that slave labor has power, just think about all of the wealth that it has created.

These are just some of the companies that we produce products for and provide services for, or who make money off of us: Abbott Laboratories, ALRT, AutoZone, Bayer, Caterpillar, Costco, John Deer, Eddie Bauer, Exxon Mobil, Fruit of the Loom, Gelco, GlaxoSmithKline, Glaxo Wellcome, International Paper, Jan Sport, J-Pay, K-Mart, Koch Industries, Mary Kay, McDonalds, Nintendo, Pfizer, Proctor & Gamble, Quaker Oats, Sarah Lee, Sprint, Starbucks, Victoria’s Secret, WalMart, Wendy’s.

Of course, the Great White Whale remains the workstrikes. Why? Because this is easily a $100,000,000,000 industry that WE control.

There are many thousands more, and even more institutional investors. But these are just the products and services. We also have to look at the labor costs. Not including work releases, in Alabama there are approximately 10,000 laborers. This is the math on just one eight-hour workday at minimum wage:

10,000 x $8 per hour = $80,000 per hour
$80,000 per hour x 8 hours = $640,000 per day
$640,000 per day x 20 days each month = $12,800,000

So, just by going to work each day, five days a week, even at a minimum wage rate of $8 per hour, we are giving the state $12,800,00 each month in free slave labor. This is barbers, runners, kitchen, yard, road squads, infirmary workers etc.

Multiply that by 12 months, and the state is getting approximately $163,600,000 in free labor. And remember, this is just the cost of labor. These figures don’t include what that labor is producing. In Alabama, we are producing agricultural goods, tags, furniture, chemicals, beef, fish, recyclings, sand mines, print shop and more.

And these figures are before we ever get money sent by J-Pay, which transacts about $1 billion a year, and before we draw canteen, make medical co-pays, make phone calls etc. These are billion dollar entities, and we are the capital.

We have … got … to … get … these … numbers … before … the … people so that everyone can see our power. No state’s prison budget can withstand the loss of our collective economic might, but we have to put this shit in its proper context. Slavery is ECONOMICS! So the solution must be also.

I will close with this. In 2015, I drafted a document called FAM’s Six-Step Plan of Action 2015. What I consider to be the most important step in that plan is the establishing of one central detention facility jail prison in each state to serve as a “headquarters” for organizing – by our outside, free world support. Just go, set up shop, and start organizing. Collect contact info, pass out newsletters and pamphlets, set up conference calls etc.

These are billion dollar entities, and we are the capital. We have … got … to … get … these … numbers … before … the … people so that everyone can see our power. Slavery is ECONOMICS! So the solution must be also.

Establish shifts around visitation days. It could start out as just one person, but don’t stop until that entire place has the message. Then, set a test date for a phone boycott. Set another for a canteen boycott, and another for a short workstrike. The plan is to organize that one institution, both inside and out. When that one is done, then reach out to the next one.

We can’t be grassroots with no boots on the ground. This is how outside support can help those on the inside organize under any circumstance. But these posts have to become permanent. More details of this plan will be forthcoming, but for now we have to get on to the discussion about economics. There truly is power in numbers, especially when it comes to economics.

Free Alabama Movement (FAM) Economic Challenge

What products are produced at your place of incarceration?

What service industry (e.g., call center) is located at your place of incarceration?

How many people provide labor at your place of incarceration?

How much money do loved ones send to prison accounts each month at your place of incarceration?

Approximately how much money is spent on canteen at your place of incarceration each month?

Approximately how much is spent on collect calls at your place of incarceration each month?

Would you be willing to participate in and/or help organize a bi-monthly phone and canteen boycott for the year 2018?

Send our brother some love and light: Melvin Ray, 163343, Donaldson CF 1-3, 100 Warrior Lane, Bessemer AL 35023. If you are responding to the FAM Economic Challenge at the end, send your response to Unheard Voices OTCJ, P.O. Box 10056, Longview, TX 75604.

Let’s Talk About it!!! Corrections Corp and the GEO Group: Modern Slave Profiteers

Mort T. Care: “Corrections Corporation of America and the GEO Group owns about 75 percent of the nation private prisons”

LETS TALK ABOUT IT!!

They rely on human beings being incarcerated for their money, and both of them are multi-billion dollars enterprises that exploit free and cheap labor in a new form of slavery, exploitation, and torture to force labor.

They also lobby for touch-on-crime policies and against reforms or change to harsh sentencing practices that currently incarcerated over 1.5 black men, women, and children.

Free Alabama Movement and Free Mississippi Movement are currently protesting against the civil and human rights abuses of the companies from inside of prisons throughout America.

We need support, donations, and skilled organizers to help us organize the men and women on the inside to engage in work strikes/shutdowns so that we can destroy the economic ecosystem of corporations like these, whose existences are based on the continued enslavement of Black and other POC.

ADOC targets Black Newspaper For Reporting on Prisons 

The ADOC continues its efforts to muzzle the voices that are raising up behind prison walls. In their latest move, the ADOC has finally put into writing what it has been unwritten policy for the past 18 months: banning the San Francisco Bay View Newspaper from all ADOC prisons.

The pretextual reason for the ban, according to the ADOC, is that the newspaper is “racially motivated.” What the ADOC ignores is that its own existence is “racially motivated.” As many readers of the Bay View know, this newspaper extends its platform to the entire Black community, including those incarcerated in America’s prisons.

It was the Bay View Newspaper that started the coverage of FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT, when no other news agency would, and their support never wavered. In addition, Bay View has continued to support ALL Movements being lead to end prison slavery in America, including in Alabama.

As a result of the current ban, a subscriber to the newspaper, Michael Williams, who is incarcerated at Holman prison, has went on a hunger strike in protest. The ADOC has banned many other publications over the past 3 years of any entity that covers the corruption and scandal that is the ADOC.

We encourage all of our supporters to make phone calls to the prison in support of Mr. Williams, and to demand that this unconstitutional ban be lifted. In addition, we encourage our supporters to contact legislatures in the House of Representatives and request that they investigate these attempts by the ADOC to stifle free speech and press, where ADOC officials are attempting to ban critique of their illicit practices from being exposed, while they seek over 350 million dollars in taxpayer funds to build new houses of horror and torture.

If ADOC wants to ban “racially motivated ” activity or ideology from spreading, perhaps they should start with the death penalty and habitual offender laws, which are used to disproportionately incarcerate Black people in the State.

From anonymous page Correctional Officer 


The Department of Corrections, more specifically St. Clair Correctional Facility, has reached a new low this week.  The Warden has decided to enforce a policy that prohibits Correctional Officers from bringing in normal items such as mesh backpacks, can sodas, and even sealed bags of chips.  Correctional Officers are being required to work 16 hour shifts on a regular basis and are already being forced to work with their hands tied behind their backs due to the lack of security equipment.  This new policy restricts Officers to using only plastic bags/backpacks not to exceed 16” x 12” x 4”, prohibits sealed / unopened / unsearchable opaque or Styrofoam food / drink containers, and even goes as far to state that a wallet cannot exceed 4” x 8”.  Once Correctional Officers enter the facility they are not authorized to leave during their shift, even if their 12 hour shift has been involuntarily extended to 16 hours.  With no designated lunch period or official breaks, Officers rely on the food and drinks they bring to last their entire shift.
Ever since the facility’s x-ray baggage scanner stopped working (and was later removed) approximately a year ago, the flow of contraband into the facility has increased exponentially.  The regular occurrence of “packages” being tossed over the perimeter fence has mysteriously stopped.  One can only imagine why.  Why not replace the x-ray scanner, instead of relying on inconsistent and substandard hand searches of Officer’s property?  If stopping the introduction of contraband is the Warden’s concern, why not do it the most effective and proven way possible?
The department’s regulations and this policy also prohibit cigars of any type.  This has always been enforced at the institution.  Approximately two years ago, a Correctional Officer was handcuffed, interrogated, and forced to resign upon the discovery that he had given an inmate some Black & Mild cigars.  Yet nearly every day, a Warden brings in Black & Mild cigars, openly smokes them, and gives them to inmates.  If this is illegal for an Officer to do, what makes it acceptable for a Warden to commit?  Why prevent Officers from bringing food and drinks to work?  Why are Officers the only ones being held to the regulations and policies?  At what point does one realize how irrational their policies and decisions truly are?

A Witness to Genocide: Soul-less in Alabama DOC, by S.J.

​”I have witnessed more than my share of young men that have been sucked into the modern-day plantation. Young men that have been abandoned, forgotten, and alienated. Young men that have been discarded like the trash in our every day households.

I’ve witnessed the transformation of these young men from someone’s son, brother, grandson, father, or husband/boyfriend; to an animal!! What was once hope in their eyes turned to hate, and despair.

I’ve watched and witnessed the lives of young men drain from their eyes, and their soul when they were forced to adapt to this cruel, and violent lifestyle of the concrete jungle. I’ve watched and witnessed the lives of these young men be taken from them because the concrete jungle engulfed them and claimed their blood.

I’ve watched and witnessed these young men laugh to keep from crying for way too long.

But one thing I’ve yet to witness is, the mass majority of society see what I have witnessed!

I WAS ONCE A YOUNG MAN!”
Received via a letter from Swift Justice.

EMERGENCY ALERT: Another Violent Death Being Reported by U.V. at Elmore CF


Unfortunately, we are receiving word of yet another stabbing death at Elmore CF. Elmore has already had one stabbing death this month and another in the complex at Staton. As these deaths continue to pile up, ADOC officials focus their attention on dollars over life.

As the death toll continues to rise, there have been no fundamental changes to the culture of ADOC. Efforts to save lives must be expedited because, in the eyes of the ADOC, bodies are replaceable.

 

Another Death in ADOC: No Statement from ADOC Spokesperson 

We are receiving word of a stabbing death at Staton CF. According to the report, the deceased had been stabbed twice in a two week period.

“Inmate stabbed to death at Staton. Second time same inmate been stabbed in less than 2 weeks.”

The ADOC has stopped reporting on violence incidents as they try to extort $800 million from taxpayers for new prisons. Not a single one of the “human rights” orgs have ever filed a wrongful death action against the ADOC for damages. All they want is attorneys fees.

We will not allow these deaths to be swept under the rug.

#incarceratedlivesmatter

 

HOW ABUSE OF THE INCARCERATED IS JUSTIFIED 

​Prisoner Hatred: The Psychology of Justified Torture in America        2/11/17

 
Millions of Americans are currently being held in modern day concentration camps on American soil. We call them “prisons”. Prisons are being ran “for profit” and have become torture chambers and “legalized” slave labor camps. Similar to Germany during the Nazi regime, Americans have been “trained” through media sources to look the other way, continue in complacency, mind our own business, and remain apathetic. We have naively believed whatever they, the prisoners, receive, they deserve. 
In an ego driven society, where personal gain and self preservation is cherished above consideration of our neighbors, whether we know them or not, projection, scapegoating, and superiority are the “ego defenses” used most often when directing hatred toward prisoners. It is how we justify the torture of millions of people, whether they are guilty or innocent. We do not stop to consider the aspects of “guilt versus innocence”, “crime”, or “authority”. 
In order to justify the torture of millions of people, held in these modern day concentration camps, called prisons, we project onto them everything we hate about ourselves (projection). Whatever quality of ourselves that we “secretly” hate, we see it perfectly in prisoners. Therefore, we believe, “whatever they receive, they deserve”. 
Even as we project our self hatred onto a group of people we deem as worthy of hatred, we say to ourselves, they deserve to die, or be tortured, or suffer, or be locked in a cage for the rest of their lives, they are less than human (scapegoating). We become sadistic abusers. 
And after all, we are the “superior” group (superiority). We believe we deserve all good things and they don’t because they are less than human, less than deserving, less than worthy of love….etc. 
Because we blindly trust “authority” and are taught to “worship” “authority”, we do not consider if the prisoner is innocent or guilty by doing our own research of the “crime”. We really do not care; our ego needs someone to hate and blame. And, we do not consider if a “crime” was even committed at all, as in “conspiracy” charges. We continue to project, blame, and criticize. We do not consider what the “crime” is…again, we need somewhere to place our self hatred. 
We need someone or some group to be our “slave” so that we can keep up our superiority ideals. We need someone or some group to oppress so that we can feel good about our intelligence, our college degrees, our material  possessions. We need someone or some group to place our “hatred” so that we can continue our denial systems, our lack of accountability, our own slave mentality. 
“In Deep Love and Eternal Kindness”, 
Angela Clemons, LAC

Alabama House Speaker unsure if Governor’s prison overhaul plan will pass | WHNT.com

http://whnt.com/2017/02/06/alabama-house-speaker-unsure-if-governors-prison-overhaul-plan-will-pass/

  The Governor is playing politics with the location of the proposed new prison sites. Closing down 17 prisons will affect the economy of alot of communities in Alabama. Thus, to disclose a location would influence the vote of many legislatures. 

ADOC and US DOJ are in on investigation together 

​  https://www.bna.com/sessions-confirmation-pit-n73014450289/

 “Faced with unfavorable political decisions necessary to adequately fund its prison system—such as raising taxes or letting out low-level offenders early—Alabama instead backed civil actions and a U.S. Department of Justice investigation that raised questions about the state of its prisons, Arthur Rizer, justice policy director at libertarian think tank the R Street Institute and a former assistant U.S. attorney, told Bloomberg BNA on Jan. 19.

State officials were hoping that the results of the investigation would allow them to blame former President Barack Obama’s already unpopular administration for any unpopular actions, Rizer said.”

THE FLEECING OF THE PRISON POPULATION

​Repost by Don Shula in Prison Reform Movement: 
This is a post from Debra Hernandez. What she is saying is so important and true. 
SILENCE AND INACTION IN THE FACE OF ALL THIS INJUSTICE IS CONSENT, IS COMPLICITY. 
  Here she comments on the reasons behind the prison abolition movement.

I love it.  
  Been involved since 1978. The pendulum definitely swung way way right. I hope to see it in my lifetime. 

The problem is that the Legislature and system that created the system will put up a fight due to the profiteers.   I believe like in Arizona the same people who started to put this in motion in the late 80s are the exact same who are the ones who profit. Many in AZDOC   administration now work in conjuction with the private prisons we have here. It continues to grow. 

Actually,  Arizona is in a teacher crisis.  They are down thousands of teachers. Several thousand class rooms don’t have teachers that are credentialed. They have babysitters. Governor Ducey who gave his address at the beginning of the year started all about education being a priority.  It is smoke and mirrors. He have condemned buildings that used to be the classrooms,  next to what was supposed to be temporary. 

He proposed,  get this a .04% raise for teachers. What a joke. Minimum wage gets more than college educated professionals.  

Now,  if journalists want to uncover what’s underneath the smoke and mirrors, they would find it is criminal how our education system has been raided over the last 20 years. The politicians stole from the kids and made a crime and punishment industry that gets billions. Here in Arizona,  the budget for prisons is extremely high.  Like I said a couple ofbillion or more.

Now, over the years they have put the costs onto the prisoners families.

They pay $25.00 for an application to visit per adult and children who become teems then have to get a back check even if they have visited for most of their young lives. Azdoc took control through the AZ Legislature, years ago, the inmate account and made it the property of AZDOC.  So, once it goes on their books it belongs to Department of Corrections.  They receive the interest. They get kick backs from the telephones,  the commissary . They have to buy there own clothes which are orange AZDOC uniforms. They don’t actually own them, they rent them. Doc will take them back once you are released if they are so lucky to get out. They pay electric,  they pay for Doctors appointment and there are fees that have nothing to do with inmate. Those fees are expenses for other parts of the prison system, like programs for drunk drivers who are serving time. There are no programs, no incentives to learn and better themselves.  They say they do but in reality that is another smoke and mirror. 

WHAT I AM GETTING AT IS,

WE HAVE AN EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM SET UP HERE IN ARIZONA THAT GUARANTEES THAT MORE PRIVATE PRISONS WILL BE NEEDED. 

THE PROBLEM IS THE POOR SCHOOLS ARE ATTROCITIES.  

THE PRISONS DON’T HAVE THE STAFFING.  THEY ARE SO SHORT ON STAFF THAT WOULD BE CONSIDERED A CRISIS. REMEMBER THE LONGEST PRISON HOSTAGE SITUATION HAPPENED IN LEWIS PRISON, THE EXACT PRISON THAT MY HUSBAND AND SON ARE IN. 

THEY DON’T HAVE ENOUGH FOOD TO FEED THEM  THE FOOD PACKAGE LIMIT HAS GROWN OVER SEVERAL YEARS. THE AMOUNT THEY CAN BUY IN COMMISSARY ALSO HAS GONE UP. 

THE FAMILIES OF THE INMATES ARE SUBSIDIZING THE MEALS, THE CLOTHES, THE DENTIST OR DOCTOR APPOINTMENTS.  THEY PAY ELECTRICITY,  FEES ARE PASSED ON AS WELL.  WE THEN PAY OUR TAXES AND WE PAY FOR THE BILLIONS IN AZ DEPARTMENT OF THE BUDGET. 

WHERE IS ALL THE MONEY GOING TO?  NOT TO SCHOOLS, OR PRISONERS CARE AND NOT SECURITY OF THE PUBLIC.

I WOULD LIKE AN INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER USE THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT AND FOLLOW THE MONEY TRAIL.

San Francisco Bay View » Michigan prisoners speak out against ‘epic’ abuse and retaliation

http://sfbayview.com/2017/02/michigan-prisoners-speak-out-against-epic-abuse-and-retaliation/
Michigan prisoners speak out against ‘epic’ abuse and retaliationFebruary 3, 2017

by Harold Gonzales

  On Sept. 9, 2016, prisoners participated in the largest prisoner work stoppage in the history of the country. Prisoners in at least four facilities in Michigan joined in the workstoppage,including Kinross Correctional Facilitynear Kincheloe in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The next morning, after retaliatory actions from staff, Kinross prisoners held a peaceful demonstration in the yard. Since then, hundreds have faced harsh, unjust retaliation.Michigan Abolition and Prisoner Solidarity (MAPS)formed to help amplify the voices of prisoners brave enough to speak out publicly against the abuses of the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC). Harold “HH” Gonzaleswas a spokesperson for the prisoners at thedemonstration at Kinross and wrote the following account.This photo illustrates a Jan. 9, 2017, story broadcast by WCMU Radio, a NPR station, headlined, “Disturbance at Kinross cost almost $900,000.”It is hard for me to write these accounts because they are so numerous in blatant retaliatory actions against us, without any regard or fear of accountability. A lot of the public would not believe a state agency could stoop to a lot of the persecution I’ve faced for standing against past and presentinhumane treatment. They count on that fact, as well as the hope that an attitude of “prisoners don’t deserve rights,” or the public turning a blind eye to the mistreatment of prisoners, will be their license to mistreat us.I will try to give you a brief, concise description of events that precipitated the fall event, the event itself and the actions ofMDOC afterward. Before I do so, though, I would like to share a perspective that I believe will help people to understand our plight.When people hear prison or Department of Corrections, they think of a system of incarcerating criminals; they relate through what they’ve seen in movies and so forth. They see it as a state agency run by a pseudo-government, governed by a system of checks and balances.It’s an “easy on the eye, mind and soul” vision. What it really is, is a multi-million-dollar corporation. I believe it accounts for one of the top three largest parts of the state’s budget. It outsources to outside bidders for contracts worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, for huge kickbacks.It is now beginning to monopolize the sale of goods and services to the inmate populations. In essence, it’s “big business” and, like all big business, its goal is to protect its interest. Couple that with a system that creates its own policies, answers to itself and, because its merchandise is prisoners, has no real moralor ethical responsibilities, and you have the Michigan Department of Corrections, or MDOC!It is hard for me to write these accounts because they are so numerous in blatant retaliatory actions against us, without any regard or fear of accountability. A lot of the public would not believe a state agency could stoop to a lot of the persecution I’ve faced for standing against past and presentinhumane treatment.Now I can begin the story of the events at Kinross that culminated in the fall work stoppage, and the subsequent actions taken by the department.All the inmates at what is now known as Kinross were transferred as a whole to that facility in the fall of 2015. The “new” facility was abhorrently below the health and safety standards required to open it. When we arrived, there was no heat, the plumbing didn’t work, the room and cell furnishings that are required by Correctional Facilities Administration (CFA) policies could not be met, i.e., blankets, sheets, washcloths, towels etc.The ventilation system, when turned on, caused three people to be rushed immediately to the hospital and 26 people ended up going in time. The chow hall was woefully inadequate to facilitate 1,150 inmates, the cable didn’t work, and there were not enough outlets for the eight men required to live in cramped cubes built for four men – in fact, there were only two outlets. There were no shelves for the inmates’ bunks, no curtains, no fans, no sprinklers for fire safety, and we were fed well beneath calorie and nutritional standards!There is more, but I will stop here. As you can see, though, the prison clearly was not ready for human or animal habitation. Everymaintenance man was heard to say, “I don’tknow why they brought you guys here; the prison is not ready.”This actually sparked a previous protest that was blamed by MDOC on Trinity, one ofthose outsourced, privately-owned, kickback-giving companies that was supposed to feed us. And so the onus of the cause of the protest was placed on Trinity, and the overall general conditions that it was really about were conveniently overlooked by the MDOC Public Relations Department.The prison clearly was not ready for human or animal habitation. Every maintenance man was heard to say, “I don’t know why they brought you guys here; the prison is notready.”We lived under these conditions for most ofthe time we were there. I’ve been doing time for almost 30 years and in all that timeI’ve never seen conditions so bad they united 1,150 prisoners: Bloods, Crips, GDs, Vicelords, Red Teams, Blue Teams, Five-Pointed Stars, Six-Pointed Stars, Christian, Muslim, all united in the common cause of ending the abusive conditions, mental and physical, that all inmates are subjected to, not just at Kinross, but all overMichigan.Kinross just created a united mindset to stand against it finally. Suddenly, everyone was an activist, willing to support in any way they could.We exhausted all the avenues for legal redress on the issues to the kangaroo judicial system – it just happened to be the same system we were seeking redress from: “Big Business MDOC,” the same people who approved and allowed us to be transferred there. Clearly, they were not going to answer in our favor and give in to the most hated enemy of Big Business: “liability.”So they took us on the roller coaster of “spins,” false promises, creative interpretation and bureaucratic red tape! It reached the point where we were clearly able to see the nature of the animal we were dealing with and the futility of seeking justice from the system built, owned, written by and answering only to itself, without outside assistance. There were many solutions to go about getting it, but the one that held was the work stoppage of Sept. 9, 2016.Kinross just created a united mindset to stand against it finally. Suddenly, everyone was an activist, willing to support in any way they could.Suffice it to say the work stoppage was organized and put in effect the morning of Sept. 9. The protest had taken on a nationalaspect, where it was no longer just about Kinross, but the idea and concept of mass incarceration, built with racial overtones, unfair and unethical sentencing practices, unjust taxation without representation, suchas the 6 percent sales tax on anything we order except food from store, even shippingand handling, “the New Jim Crow.”The warden knew of the protest and the truth of why it happened at his facility, a fact that can be logically proven by his stance of inaction against it. He instructed his staff not to write tickets or fire inmates for not working. If you check the records, no tickets were written and no one lost a job for not working that day. Clearly, he knew we had legitimate gripes against his facility.His staff, however, were of a different opinion. They chose to try and exorcise the protest out of us through mistreatment: malicious shakedowns, breaking property and underfeeding us with dated, spoiled food; and when seeking redress, we were told to “deal with it.”This sparked off the assembly on Sept. 10, 2016. In short, against my will I ended up out there. I blame no inmate for their actions. These were men who were desperate and believing they had no other option. While I did not agree with some of the methods used, I believed in the principles at their core.The warden knew of the protest and the truth of why it happened at his facility, a fact that can be logically proven by his stance of inaction against it.You have to realize the severity of the situations we face in here. They (MDOC) have literally killed people in here and gotten away with it. They were basically starving us, had us living in filth, no bleach, watered down sanitizer, with lying and abusive staff, and the only people to complain to would rather protect the interests of “Big Business” than the rights ofsome prisoners!So I ended up out there and, yeah, when things started to turn dark (mindsets, not the time of day) and people – scared, tired, frustrated, with hope almost gone – asked me to be the spokesperson for the inmates with the administration, I did it, and peacefully ended the assembly. This action has me labeled as the “leader” of the fall incidents, when in actuality I ended a situation that could have turned ugly for everyone. I thought I did a good thing for us: no one hurt, good discussion with the warden, a positive tone all around.You have to realize the severity of the situations we face in here. They (MDOC) have literally killed people in here and gotten away with it.But “Big Business” couldn’t allow it to end like that. It had too much attention and theycouldn’t allow the focus of the incident to be on the issues, so they literally sent in the guns to an already agitated, anxiety-filled, desperate group of individuals who were barely talked out of violence, to aggravate and intensify their aggression.They intentionally incited a riot-type atmosphere so the department would back their past transgressions – they would haveno choice! They intentionally collage all the events together to paint the picture of a bunch of inmates storming out of units rioting, when in fact the assembly had been over for at least two hours, inmates were in their units in their cubes and peaceful whenthey sent in the “storm troopers.” Inmates in my unit were on their bunks and still they gassed us repeatedly.They intentionally incited a riot-type atmosphere so the department would back their past transgressions – they would haveno choice!We were taken out of the unit and myself and 102 other inmates were taken to Marquette Prison, to a condemned block that had been closed down for four years prior to our arrival. We were placed in filthy cells here also, plumbing didn’t work, and supplies and treatment were below standards. We were always fed the same bag meals, although they had a functioning kitchen with workers, and already fed everyone else there in their cells hot meals.After the second day, I was separated from the rest of the transferred Kinross prisonersand placed in another block, where I was informed that they “knew” I was the “leader”and I had nothing coming. They meant my property was “lost.” Everything I possessed – hygiene, legal transcripts, coat, shoes, appliances, photos etc. – everything gone. Iwas denied toothpaste the whole time I was there.Twenty-severn days later, 88 of us were transferred again to Baraga Maximum facility, where again I was separated from the rest of the inmates. I was immediately called into an office, told they “knew” I was the “leader” of the “rebellion” and that I should plan to be there in segregation for two years.After this event, my security classification was raised up four levels and I was placed in administrative segregation where they can keep you for as long as they want. HereI was denied blankets, washcloths, towels and laundry bags for the first 10 to 12 days, an extra set of clothing for 27 days, the right to buy things from the store for 70 days, and none of these things did they end up giving me without me first having to go through the lengthy grievance process.I was immediately called into an office, toldthey “knew” I was the “leader” of the “rebellion” and that I should plan to be therein segregation for two years.These are all things that another prisoner is given by procedure, but here I have to grieve to get them. They have an “incentive”program here that allows inmates to earn privileges and even though I do all the things necessary to gain the privilege, I have to grieve to gain them. This is a process that can be stretched out to 60 days, so I’m always behind in anything I earn. They have still not “found my property.”As of Aug. 19, 2016, I was a level one-one prisoner, the lowest security achievable. I was a father with an 8-year-old son I have never seen face-to-face, not living in the best of circumstances, striving diligently to reach him. I had three years left on an 11-year sentence.Men like me are the perfect “patsy” for the MDOC. We are supposed to take the abuse and make no waves. They pit our desire to go home against our desire for humane treatment. Ninety percent accept the abuse,but the abuse throughout MDOC is reachingepic levels! Sure, on the surface they have asystem of checks and balances, but the checks don’t balance the scales. They cover up the transgressions, so in essence the checks balance the scales so that they ever favor “Big Business!”We need help, I’m shouting out from this 8-by-10 cell, help us! Don’t let them quiet our voice; be an amplifier for us. Don’t let what they are doing to us and throughout the MDOC fade into oblivion. We were not angels, but we don’t deserve this!We need help, I’m shouting out from this 8-by-10 cell, help us! Don’t let them quiet our voice; be an amplifier for us. Don’t let what they are doing to us and throughout the MDOC fade into oblivion.I cannot express adequately my appreciation and gratitude or the humbling effect that knowing I’m not in this alone hashad on me. I’m thankful for the strength andinspiration that your support provides at thetimes when things get overwhelming. I will not run from this or hide. There are too many inmates that are counting on me to be their voice, and since that’s where this started for me, that’s where I’ll be until the end!

Send our brother some love and light: Harold Gonzales, 194496, Baraga MaximumCorrectional Facility, 13924 Wadaga Rd., Baraga, MI 49908-9204.

ALTERNATIVE PLAN FOR ALABAMA PRISONS PROPOSAL 

Monday, January 30, 2017
Alabama State Auditor Jim Zeigler (R) will present his alternative to solve Alabama’s prison overcrowding to the Prison Reform Committee Monday.
The committee meeting will be at 10:00 a.m. in room 325 of the State House.State Auditor Jim Zeigler is promoting his “Plan Z” as “a cheaper and faster way to alleviate current inmate overcrowding.” Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) for the second straight year is promoting an extreme proposal he is calling the Alabama Prison Transformation Initiative (APTI).

The Bentley Administration wants to borrow an incredible $800 million to build four mega-prisons and close 14 of Alabama’s existing prisons. Auditor Zeigler warned that the Bentley plan, “Would indebt the State for almost a billion dollars and still not solve the overcrowding problem.”Zeigler said that Alabama Department of Corrections commissioner Jeff Dunn said last weekthat the Bentley plans would raise inmate capacity from the current 13, 318 to 16,000. Zeigler said: “That is nowhere near the current population of 23,318 inmates. We incur almost a billion dollars of debt for the next 30 years but do not come close to solving the problem. Big borrowed cost – no solution.”

Zeigler said that his Plan Z would build a new women’s prison, refurbish the old Tutwiler women’s facility to a new men’s prison, reduce overtime paid by the prison by up to $18.9 million, and continue with criminal justice reforms that are already causing inmate reductions.

Zeigler said that his plan would only require a bond issue of $123 million, which Zeigler points out is far less than the APTI bond issue of $800 million. Zeigler said that $7 million of the annual savings by cutting overtime will pay for the bond issue with no burden on the General Fund or taxpayers.

Zeigler said, “Supporters of APTI are attempting to paint a picture that it is the only alternative to overcrowding and a potential federal takeover. APTIis NOT the only alternative. As a matter of fact APTI does not solve the overcrowding problem at all, by their own facts.”

Zeigler said, “Before the Legislative Session is over, Plan Z can be substantially improved by input from all concerned. This is a much better methodology than presenting the Legislature with a package dealand seeking their approval.”

Zeigler wrote that a Jan. 20, 2017 analysis by the Legislative Fiscal Office determined that Plan Z could decrease inmates to 18,727, dropping overcrowding to 132 percent of Federal guidelines. The figure of 135 percent is generally considered acceptable and is an appropriate target.

Gov. Bentley recently told the Alabama Media Group that borrowing the $800 million to build the four new mega prisons was his top legislative priority of the upcoming 2017 Legislative Sessions. Gov. Bentley had proposed the enormously expensive plan in 2016. The controversial plan was passed by the Alabama House of Representativesbut went down in the Alabama Senate.State Auditor Jim Zeigler has been a frequent critic of this and many other Bentley Administration proposals.

Zeigler has been mentioned as a possible 2018 Gubernatorial candidate. Bentley is term limited from serving another term. Many critics of the Bentley plan argue that a lame duck governor facing possible indictments and/or impeachment should not hamstring the next Governor with paying for prison debt run up by the previous administration.

CERT Team OFFICERS CARRY OUT BRUTAL ATTACK AND USE CHEMICAL AGENTS AT HOLMAN PRISON

*Attention Emergency Confined*** ***********Citizens Alert**********Prisoners in the segregation unit (lock up) at Holman Prison are currently being attacked and sprayed with a chemical agents by the CertTeam. It has been reported that prisoners are having trouble breathing due to the harsh chemicals and no ventilation. Staff are refusing to open doors to vent out the strong smell. The Prisoners were conducting a peaceful protest against inhumane conditions. Inmates are complaint of non functioning toilets, showers, refusal for daily walks . It has been reported that are having trouble breathing due to the harsh chemicals and no ventilation.These type of attacks are a violation of Prisoner Rights according to the 8th Amendment under Crueland Unusual Punishment.A use of force is excessive and violates the Eighth Amendment when it is not applied in an effort to maintain or restore discipline but is used to maliciously and sadistically cause harm. Where a prison official is responsible for unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain, the Eighth Amendment has been violated.Please contact the A.D.O.C and the Alabama Governors Office demanding that prisoners are provided proper treatment and that their current inhumane conditions need to be addressed immediately.

Warden Stewart 

Holman Correctional Facility1240 Ross Rd, Atmore, AL 36502

‎(251) 368-8173

Comissioner Jefferson Dunn

Associate Commissioner

Grant Culliver

Alabama Department of Corrections

301 South Ripley Street

P.O. Box 301501

Montgomery, Alabama 36130-1501

webmaster@doc.alabama.gov

(334) 353-3883

Governor Robert Bentley

600 Dexter AvenueMontgomery, AL 36130

(334) 242-7100

Department of Justice

(205) 244-2001

ussaln.civilrights@usdoj.gov

A RESPONSE TO THE CRITIQUE PUBLISHED BY IT’S GOING DOWN 

Link to Critique:
A Look at the Free Alabama Movement https://itsgoingdown.org/look-free-alabama-movement/?_e_pi_=7%2CPAGE_ID10%2C3211025623 — 

As an inside/outside supporter standing in solidarity of the FAM, it is my duty as a comrade and supporter of FAM to respond to the critique of the FAM post on January 25, 2016 on the site, Its Going Down. This response is by no means to disregard the opinion of the author; however a response is much needed to clarify the actions, works, and accomplishments of the FAM.I would like to begin by addressing the opening quote by the author of the article. 
  It was stated, “Non-violence is itself just an insidious hypocritical form of violence, a sign of certain people’s inability to stand up for themselves as human beings. “ As a comrade of the FAM I know that the members have been taught, studied, and duplicated the works of many leaders such as; Civil Rights Leaders, Revolutionaries, Political and Spiritual Leaders from our history and current times. The actions of such leaders were not always supported by violencebut were effective forms of actions that led to manyaccomplishmentsthat brought change. Leaders such as Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., and The Black Panther Party were of great minds that were often met with a level of violence; however, in most cases they chose to use their minds versus violence. This choice did not deem them as unable to stand up for themselves nor the rights of the people.One of the easiest things for the inactive to do is criticize works of the active without suggesting or offering any form of a solution. It is also the actions of a reactionary to cause more damage by using violence, especially if the violence is not being used in effort to defend a cause or for protection. 
  To criticize the works of FAM in such a blistering manner suggest hate and envy towards FAM, the movement and its supporters inside and out. After carefully reviewing your article, what “you” considered to be a critique of the actions of FAM, was more so an attack geared towards discrediting the works and accomplishmentsof the FAM. Also, I do recall that you mentioned that you “sincerely” hoped that FAM changes its mode of action and incorporate a diversity of actions into its tactics when it came to fighting the state. You continued to state that you hope that FAM abandons it reformist goals where strengthening the state. I am very curious to know, how effective would it be to approach the state in a violent manner in effort to change, reform, or repeal laws. It is the right of the people to hold those who are place in these offices accountable for their actions, policies, and procedures without jeopardizing the safety of those of the movement inside and out.The use of the non-violent approach being used by FAM is based on multiple reasons, one, as I stated, is the safety of the members and supporters (insideand out), using the knowledge gained by extensive research in its proper manner, and attacking this system on the economic basis in which this system is thriving on. 

  The sole reason why Mass Incarceration exsist is due to a profit based agenda.It was the portrayal of violence and violent related crimes that led the majority of those incarcerated to end up behind prison walls. “You” being a previous participant and observer (as you so stated)have knowledge that the strategic planning, organization mobilization of the FAM in January 2014, cost the state of Alabama millions of dollars during days of the work stoppage, also sparking the attention of the state and the awareness of the nation to finally recognize that changes needed to be made in the system. This system capitalizes on the suffrage of the men, women and their families not only in the state of Alabama, but across the nation. The only thing the system (naming the ADOC, law makers, corporations, and politicians, etc.) understands is the bottom line (money). The only way to fight this profiting system is to attack its investments and industries economically (non-violently)by the use of work stoppages, labor strikes, sit downs, and more importantly boycotts with the aide and assistance of the outside ( family members, organizations, and those who view this draconian system as unjust) standing in solidarity, once again non-violently. 
  Now if met with violence, it would only be of human nature to defend one’s self “by any means necessary”, in the words of Malcolm X. It is unfortunate that you and the media have mislabeled and misinterpreted the so called “riot “that occurred on August 1, 2016 as an act of violence instead of resistance to the unjust actions of the ADOC. However, FAM and its supporters deemed these actions as “the language of the unheard”, as stated by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It isevident that you have not paid close attention of theplans of the ADOC and state officials that it is more important to build more prisons to combat the over crowdedness instead of repealing laws, revamping the parole system, and implementing rehabilitation programs (as stated in the FAM Freedom Bill) in effort to lower the recidivism rates and restore families and communities.
   It is the lack of knowledge and ignorance of those, including yourself that aide in the efforts of the state to allocate money to be allowed to build more prisons. My question to you is what other way do you think they will get this money? Simply put, it is to create situations of violence to show and prove that it is necessary to provide money for the building of new prisons to continue this profit making process. It is also amusing that you have missed this concept considering you are a part of this process just as much as those who participated in the “riot”. Furthermore, it is sad that those who work for this system recognize the acts of the administration and have expressed to the members of FAM in conversation, documentation, and participation of the movement that they too agree that some actionneeds to be taken not only on the behalf of the inmates, but also themselves, as they suffer as welldue to lack of pay and their safety. Unbeknownst to you, FAM is in possession of this proof and this information. This information has been dispersed tothose who are trusted to disclose this information to assist in bringing awareness to this situation.One thing that I do agree is that FAM has been excellent at spreading the information and raising the awareness to people on the outside. However, I do not agree that they have failed to spread and articulate this same awareness inside the prisons inthe state of Alabama, January 2014 Shutdown, May Day (May 1st), and September 9 are indications thatthe information were well disseminated and well received in the inside for those who were receptive of the information. FAM has and will utilize continuous efforts to continue spreading the word about their goal, which is Freedom and Humane Treatment. I will admit that it will not reach everyone, but it will not stop them from trying nor will it stop this Movement. 

  To say that the work stoppages that occurred on the fore mentioned dates were ineffective is ludicrous due to the fact that the work stoppages cost the state millions in lost revenue, brought the awareness of the Alabama (tax paying) public, and the nation that there is a serious problem. It also revealed to the prisoners that are being used as slave laborers that we the people have the power to change this system.More importantly, FAM recognizes that the people must be educated as to the root cause of Mass Incarceration, Prison Labor, and legalized slavery can only survive under the protection of the U.S. Constitution by way of the 13th Amendment which states that: slavery is abolished with the exception of one duly convicted in a court of law. This education must be applied to those on the inside and outside in order to raise awareness so that this can be effectively combated.You stated, “In order to end prison slavery, prison society must be destroyed and the same goes for Mass Incarceration. I would advise prison rebels to not allow so-called free-world allies to dictate how we fight. We really don’t need allies, we need accomplices, conspirators.” This is the rhetoric of a fool! Until FAM organized the work stoppages, labor strikes, and shut downs, NO ACTION had been taken by the masses of prisoners to bring raises awareness about the system of Mass Incarceration and Prison Slavery on a state, national, and even international level. 
  My questions to you and those who you have “talked” to, what organizing and plan of actions have “you” taken to attack the very conditions you are currently under?In closing, your attempts to slander and denigrate FAM are without merit and support. Also in regards to the “Peace Summit” you referred to, the peace that was brokered at Holman was done so by members of FAM, UPU (Universal Peace and Unity) religious communities, militant communities, and those affiliated with youth organizations this peace was brokered by THE PEOPLE working in unity and solidarity. The person, to whom you are attempting to slander, Kinetik Justice, has worked tiredly and effortlessly on the behalf of the people to be a voicefor the voiceless and to bring awareness to the squalor, pain, and suffering of the incarcerated in Alabama and across the nation. You do NOTHING and have done NOTHING, yet you attempt to slander and discredit a movement based assumption that only Facebook post is the cause of being placed him in solitary confinement for the past three years and as of current date. Kinetik Justice, Ra Sun, and Dhati Khalid (FAM 3) have duplicated the actions of our most prominent leaders for the fight for Freedom, Justice, and Equality which definitely constitute them as being leaders.
Respectfully,

FAM QUEEN Team UPU (Universal Peace and Unity)

Who’s guarding Alabama’s death row? Holman prison ‘severely understaffed,’ internal documents show | AL.com

Who’s guarding Alabama’s death row? Holman prison ‘severely understaffed,’ internal documents show | AL.com http://www.al.com/news/birmingham/index.ssf/2017/01/whos_guarding_alabamas_death_r.html

Pick the day; pick the problem. ADOC has them all. 

JOIN F.A.M. IN WASHINGTON, D.C. IN AUGUST FOR THE MILLIONS FOR PRISONERS MARCH

FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT is announcing our plan to support and attend the Millions For Prisoners March on Washington, DC in August. The current projected date for the March is August 19, 2017.We encourage all of our supporters to help spread the word about this important event by visiting the FACEBOOK group.Also, FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT would like to start producing fliers and preparing travel plans for this event. FAM will be providing free travel and food, etc. from the donations that we have received since September 9th. If you are interested in helping to plan and organize this event with us, please inbox your contact info so that we can add you to our conference call and email lists.In addition to this event, FAM will be receiving input from our supporters on the feasibility of a suggestion that was made by Unheard Voices ofhosting an event at the Alabama State Capitol on this same day for those who can’t attend in Washington. We need your input on this, so please share your insights, ideas, and suggestions.

RISING DEATHS AND ASSAULTS CONTINUE TO PLAGUE ALABAMA PRISONS

The death toll is on the rise in Alabama prisons. In addition, suicide rates are increasing. Despite these rises in preventable deaths, the voice of the family members of the living incarcerated members  remains fairly quiet, if not muted about the conditions and happening in Alabama prisons.

  As the lead voice on reform is Alabama, FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT receives messages from family members “after the fact” that their loved one has been harmed. Yet, when the warnings are sent out by FAM that something is amiss in the prisons and more vocal action and organizing is needed, the responses are usually negligible to non-existent. 

  The solution to these problems will require UNITY. WHY wait until a loved one is being carried out on a gurney or med flighted to a trauma center or hidden in a solitary cell incommunicado before deciding to reach out for assistance? 

  If you have a loved one is prison, NOW is the time to act, while they are still healthy, alive, and breathing on their own. Don’t wait until disaster strikes before deciding that you want to contact someone. Get involved in doing something that will bring your loved one home; don’t settle for a visit and incentive packages to bring comfort to a person who cannot know comfort in such deplorable conditions. 

  In appx. 45 days the Alabama legislature will be meeting to make decisions that will affect the lives of 30,000 families. The sad part is that the families are not organized in any meaningful way to have their voices heard, neither on the question of building new human warehouses, nor on the issue of using tax dollars to pay for it. 

  As one lawyer said last year, these people are planning to build a 1 billion dollar tomb to bury people alive in. If the family members don’t act, then it won’t be long before mothers and wives start buying flowers and caskets instead of shoe packages and Christmas packages. 

 

  

Alabama Prison Purgatory and the Billion Dollar Fraud to Build More Prisons 

​Prison Watch NetworkDedicated to gathering documentation directly from prisoners, from media and other sources about prisons and prisoners’ human rights..

Category Archives: AlabamaShame on Alabama

Posted on June 7, 2016 byinternationalprisonwatch

By an Alabama inmate*

2015-2016

This is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God.

That is what the following that you are about to read is and will be. You may not like it, and you probably won’t, you may even doubt it or disregard it, but it will still be the truth, and not what your elected officials and appointed do-boys want you to believe, and yet have been reportedly telling you the public for years. If you doubt because of who or where I presently am, I can prove every word that’s said and that makes me dangerous to these liars.

I have been incarcerated here in the Alabama Department of Corruption (ADOC) since November, 1989, almost 26 straight years, for Theft of Property 1st degree, from Mobile County (I was passing through). I have not been out since that arrest, nor have I been pardoned, I have been denied repeatedly, yet I have only had 5 disciplinary infractions in all these years. I am well educated, and I have completed every so-called program the ADOC allows me to participate in. I am a practitioner of Native American Spirituality and believe deeply in the existence we as humans share, and yes there is a creator.

I am also guilty of the charged Alabama crime. I am sorry it happened and I have paid dearly for it. I have put this before you to let you know this will be based on facts, the truth, and be honestly given to you so you’ll know how your politicians are and have lied to you.

What you are about to be informed about is what the true reality is, no cover-up, no misinformation being thrown at you to scare you into reacting and doing (voting) on what your politicians are trying to get you to do. Just the true honest facts.

Fact 1

This wonderous cure-all Prison Reform Bill [SB67], that has been talked about for the last 15 years, that your legislature just passed, well here is the real scoop on it:

– It does not do anything to relieve the worst overcrowded prison system in these United States. They are telling the public it fixes the problem. They have lied to you! Why?

There is nothing in the whole Bill SB67 that relieves or releases, or even helps release anyone who now makes up this prison overcrowding problem. Nor would it help anyone who has done 20+ years inside here with a chance or any way out of here. Here is why:

First, they never tell you the public the exact real prison population. It is always between 28,000 or 33,000 whenever they state the prison population figures.

Second, if a prison system is designed to hold less than 14,000 inmates, and the actual population is one of thes 28,000 to 33,000 figures, how can a prison system only be 185 to 190% capacity when the figures say it’s actual number is twice the designated capacity? The true figures don’t lie, but the politicians tell you only what they want you to hear, and yet Sen. Cam Ward went before Congress on July 15, 2014, and stated the prison popuation was “192%,” but he doesn’t tell you the public that. You’re not really supposed to know, so they hide the real truth. Doesn’t it make you wonder what else they hide from you?

The Prison Bill has the Parole Board hiring 100 new parole officers, for who? Not anybody in here, but to drop the caseload of the already hired Parole Board officers, yet only 3 out of 10 people are granted parole.Those parole figures have steadily declined since 2008.

Also, they keep talking about the Federal government coming in and taking over the prison system. The Federal government doesn’t want to take over, it has 48 other states that have overcrowding problems to worry about. Alabama is just the worst.

If the Alabama politicians don’t fix the problems they themselves have helped create, then they can let the Feds take over, and sit back and say “We told you (Alabama) they would take over,” and they don’t have to worry about being voted out of their easy jobs by looking like they are easy on crime or couldn’t fix what their own have created.

Did you know that Governor Bentley’s January 14, 2014 State of the State address said not one word about fixing the prison probem? You should read it.

Fact 2

Sen. Ward and new Commissioner Dunn have both stated that 4500 inmates will be released within the next 5 years.

How?

They don’t tell you that.

Why?

Because that money will be released through normal ADOC or Parole operations. This does not drop the overcrowded population in any way. There are that many prisoners awaiting to come from county jails and the streets new. Yet, they also tell you the Prison Reform Bill will expand the prison system by up to 2000 more beds. Where are they gonna be put?

But it is interesting that neither 4500 released inmates nor the 2000 bed expansion was in the revised Bill the Governor signed.

What are you telling the public these lies for?

Again, there is nothing in this miraculous Bill that releaves the overcrowding.

And Mr Commissioner Dunn: the Federal Courts have already struck down the stacking of beds three (3) high. They stopped that at W.E. Donaldson and St. Clair. Making it even more overcrowded and dangerous is not the solution. There is already enough violence in here now, how much more will you create and how many more inmates will one guard have to oversee, or how many more stabbings and deaths will you allow?

And yes, a lot of these needless stabbings and inmate deaths are on those politicians’ hands for creating this mess in here. But they won’t take credit for that, will they? They tell you whatever they want you to believe, but it’s not reality. Nothing changes and what is bad gets worse.

For the last 15 years that I know of, every year it’s been the same: “The prison system is broke, we need more money.” Again more money is given, yet the system doesn’t get fixed, it gets worse. Yet these politicians keep saying the same old song and dance, but you keep re-electing these same showmen. They took $500 million from you to fix problems, and now they can’t repay it. Where did that money go? The same problems still exist, yet they will think up something new the following year. But that’s okay, you’ll never know about it.

Makes me wonder who the true criminals are: the ones who take your money by telling you whatever they want to -or what you want to hear, or us who are actually incarcerated, and who have to live in the mess they have created?

Maybe those elected officials should spend some time in here, I bet they’d change their tunes. But like Don Seigleman who got caught in the cookie jar, he is in a nice federal retirement home prison.

Fact 3

Some of us (a lot actually) have lived in here 20+ years and have lived through the ADOC’s bragging about feeding all its inmates three (3) times a day on less than $1.00 (one dollar) (in the 1980s and ’90s).

Well, guess what? Now most of us that have lived through that are sick. I am 61 years old and my health and that of a lot of older inmates is failing and an awful lot are dying in here.

We do not get fresh vegetables or fruit (one apple, one orange a month). Our meat patties are made by the ADOC and are full of meat byproducts. The veggies come out of cans gotten from the lowest bidders. They are not the same quality you buy at the grocery store. And they are usually over- or undercooked and not seasoned at all. The cooking is done by inmates who would rather steal it to sell, than take pride or time toprepare it. Almost all who are forced to work in the kitchens don’t want or care to be there anyway. So why should they care what the food tastes like?

We do not get salt or pepper. Yet if you read an ADOC menu it makes it sound like we eat at a four (4) star restaurant, and your tax dollars at work. Why would you have multiple dieticians working in Montgomery on a menu that almost never changes? It has only changed 3 or 4 times in the last 20 years, and these multiple dieticians are getting paid very good money for basically doing nothing.

Your tax dollars at work.

Or take the “ADOC family plan.” There are so many family members working in the ADOC, like one family member working in the laundry and two in the kitchen. Even some akin to eachother work the same shifts. There are husbands and wives working the same shifts at some prisons, yet they are not supposed to be doing that. But the ADOC does what it wants.

You should see how much wasted food goes out of here because no one will eat it. The cats in here won’t even eat these meat patties they give us, they are that bad.

After all these years of havingto eat these meals to survive in here, the quality and quantity we are fed has destroyed a lot of our health. The ADOC’s medical costs have soared because of it. There’s all kinds of newspaper articles to look it up, or better just ask the commissioners. They are constantly complaining about health costs to the media. Well again, they have helped cause these rising health costs by these unhealthy meals they feed us in here, year after year.

Do you know how the health inspectors do spot-checks on restaurants you go to? Not in here, they know days ahead of time when they’ll make their spot-checks for inspection. And it will be clean and pretty, but yet there will be roaches and rats still running around. And within a day of the inspection they look like they usually do: unclean tables (metal), black knots so thick you can’t even see the trays with food on them. Who cleans these? Inmates who don’t want to work but are forced to. What would you expect of 1200 men, locked up and who do not want to work (for very low wages) or even care about something that “belongs to the state”? But these state inspectors work for…the state. Go figure.

Fact 4

This new Commissioner Dunn has said if the Legislature cuts his budget he’ll have to close 2 prisons. Wake up out there: where would he move 2000 inmates to? He certainly cannot release them and he won’t. There is no place to move that many inmates to. So he is already sounding like a politician. And here’s an ex-military officer coming in to run a prison system that’s 20+ years behind the times, and way behind the other state prison systems.

Commissioner Dunn took office on April 1st 2015, and he is yet to even visit the first prison he’s deciding over. How can you lead when you haven’t even seen what you are leading and the true picture of how messed up it is? Are you, Commissioner Dunn, relying on what some staff member who has had an easy cushy job for years tells you what you want to know? Are you even going to talk to us who have been here longer than your officers, about the real issues inside here? Oh yeah, we don’t know anything or matter to you. Kim Thomas didn’t listen either, tht makes us in here wonder why he ran away and went to work for Governor Bentley’s legal team: was he bailing out before it really got bad? What’s the deal on that?

But here is reality: one officer being responsible for two (2) cell blocks that hold over 200 people each for 8 hours (Draper), and here one officer over 240 or 188 inmates, and now according to the June 12, 2015 newsarticle that they have changed the projected Red Eagle prison, and will close Ventress and Draper, and say that 5000 inmates have to be moved. Well, another lie! Between the two prisons there are only about 2600 at most. Another score tactic to be used on you, the public.

And now here’s another State Finance Director, Bill Newton, telling you in this June 12th article that the ADOC is going to have to close two prisons. What does he have to do with ADOC? Is he just trying to make it sound good, and cause panic? It’s a lie and they can and will not do it. They have been threatening to close a prison for years (so they say) and have not, and can’t do it. Alabama, are you listening to these lies?

I live in a 240 men dorm (warehouse). My bed is 39 inches from someone on each side of me, and 21 inches from the bed that makes up the isle behind my head, from the mattrass, which is 1 ½ inches thick; one steel bed frame (not springs) to the bed directly above me is 27 inches, When I sit on the edge of this bed, my neck hits the steel frame above me. I have one blanket, two sheets, no pillow, and I had better take care of those sheets, because I won’t get any more (I’ve had one set for six years). I have a laundry bag and a bed box that is 31 ½ x 25 x 6 inches, or 3 square feet of storage space. That’s it to hold anything I have after 24 years in here. It’s about the size of one of your chest of drawers. And you’ll still have more space. That’s my home, subject to be searched anytime 24/7, to be torn up or destroyed and anything taken as contraband by any ADOC employee wanting to do it. For any reason or no reason at all.

And it’s hot: not airconditioned, only a few ceiling fans. The airconditioning is for the ADOC or medical units. Nowhere else. Not for the inmates. And the temperatures go up into the high 90s and more. It’s not a nice environment to live in or sleep in, and to prove my point: on June 13th 2015 there was one officer over 188 inmates and he got stabbed for taking a phone. This put all the other staff on panic. Just another day in the ADOC.

Fact 5

The ADOC budget is $400 million dollars plus, yet here in one of Alabama’s oldest prisons which is falling apart the maintenance budget is only $60.000 a year. That is to fix all the maintenance problems. When it rains, the dorm I live in has a mini flood from the water coming in, and this is every time it rains, and yet the ADOC paid $20 million in overtime salaries to its employees, for one year. What other company or state agency pays that kind of money for overtime?

In 2009, the overtime salaries for the ADOC went like this:

A C.O.I. officer made $28 and change. A sergeant $32 and change, a lieutenant $38 and change, and a captain $42 and change, and every weekend a aptain would sit in a tower for 8 hours and get paid $42 an hour. All overtime, and I think it’s the same now in 2015, but you pay that, Alabama.

And in here I get one (1) roll of toilet paper and one (1) bar of soap a week. I get 3 sets of clothes: 3 shirts, 3 pants, and that’s supposed to last a year, with one of those sets being for visitation. I get no other type hygiene products except for shaving cream and a disposable razor. We must be clean shaved at all times. If you need anything else you buy it or do without.

Fact 6

The Alabama courts have nowhere to send mental health prisoners. The State has closed its main mental health facilities, so guess where the State through its judges are sending these individuals? They have flooded the prison system with the mental health patients.

It’s not a pretty sight in here seeing the problems and situations these guys face. They need more help than these officers are willing or trained to give them, or are even equipped to handle. There has beena mental health lawsuit filed against the State by the Southern Poverty Law Center on this issue, yet it remains unresolved. And yet, the infamous Senator Ward told a congressional subcommittee on July 15, 2014, that 56,2% of Alabama prisoners have mental health problems [see page 8 ofhttp://media.al.com/news_impact/other/Read%20what%20Ward%20told%20the%20panel.pdf ]. And yet I have seen first hand these same mental patients stopped, beat up, attacked, robbed of their possessions, and made to stand up all day in an enclosed shower stall, as punishment for their actions, this being done by inmates and prison guards. They truly need help.

But Senator Ward went all the way to Washington to talk about an Alabama prison problem. Why did he spend the taxpayers’ money to discuss an Alabama problem with some other people who can’t fix the Alabama problem? Was he grandstanding? Or being a typical politician?

Did you know Senator Ward submitted the Bill to repeal the Kirby Law, which actually helped some inmates sentenced to Life Without Parole or Life get their sentences reduced? (See this article by Lee Hedgepeth, in the Alabama Political Reporter on Senator Ward’s SB84, Jan. 25 [13], 2014). This was the only law that these inmates could use to get actual help from the court system for errors that had been made on their sentences. Sounds like Senator Ward doesn’t like inmates or inmates getting help.

Is that, Sen. Ward, why this Prison Reform Bill you pushed through does absolutely nothing to ease the real problems? What the public doesn’t know is you have pushed through this Bill that actually raises and increases sentences to further fill the system, yet this Bill you kept saying will save Alabama money and ease the worst crowded prison system in America does neither. No one has eased the present problem. It’s still here. This SB67 isn’t even a good bandaid to slow it down. You’ve shoved more responsibility on a Parole Board and the ADOC to manage things they can’t manage now.

People, do not believe me, read the Bill, then you’ll understand. They talk the talk, and yet it’s always the same, just different words and promises or quick fixes that actually change nothing in here, the words just fool you, the ones who pay for their unfulfilled promises.

Senator Ward must want to be Governor. It seems like you always want to be seen or heard. Hey Senator, even I, a lowly inmate, can tell you how to truly ease overcrowding in just a couple of very simple ways. You make it seem like it’s a major problem. You don’t want to ease this moneymaker, just tell the public the truth, and how about that DUI problem, Senator Ward?

Fact 7

We inmates are simply being warehoused. I know the public isn’t really concerned with inmate comfort, but as they continue to pack us into these few facilities and not truly letting anyone out, we have become a cash cow for the ADOC through the tax payers and the Federal Funds that the State gets for prisoners that they also do not tell the public about (which is in the millions of dollars).

So the more they keep in here, the more money comes into Alabama, its a fact, at $42.50 a fay (Senator Ward’s figure before Congress). For every inmate in the ADOC you add it up, and with some of us being in here 20+ years (on property crimes) and then parole and probation violaters that are kept for 5+ years or more, for simple technical violations like moving without permission or failed drug tests, who are yet not let back out for long periods of time… Don’t get me wrong, some of these other inmates that have done 20+ years need and should be in here.

But long sentences and life sentences back in the 1970s could be served in 7 to 10 years, then paroled, then it went to 15 years at one time in Alabama. Now according to this 3-member Parole Board, they told my family and several others, that in Alabama a Life sentence means a Life sentence. Even if an inmate was not sentenced to Life Without Parole, and yet I know an inmate who was paroled in 4 years on a Life sentence. So who truly makes the rules or the law, the Parole Board? If someone with a Life sentence can’t be paroled (for a property offense, like mine) or the Parole Board won’t parole someone who is eligible, how does someone get out, and help ease the overcrowding that is happening in Alabama? He (she) doesn’t, he has become part of the warehousing and money machine and will probably die in here (my biggest fear).

These politicians have no solution to ease overcrowded prisons. Well, to name but one:

Set a cap on how long someone must actually serve on a life sentence. Other States already have done so, it carries from 15 years to 25, 30 years for others. After that many years of being locked up, shouldn’t someone be abe to be released for nonviolent property crimes? There are a lot of them in here, including myself.

There is no such thing as rehabilitation in the Alabama prison system. There is not! There are no life skills programs for the majority who need it, only for a very select few, which the ADOC wants to showboat or deceive the public with for more money. The ones chosen have little time to serve and haven’t been locked up for any prolongued time either. Your tax money at work. It may help a few but it ignores the many. If you do not try to rehabilitate yourself, the State won’t and doesn’t care: if you do or don’t, it’s all money in their bank so why should they care?

Let me give you some of the parole figures given at a meeting of citizens in Birmingham, which come from the Council of State Government Justice Center (CSG). They said Alabama has some of the highest crime rates in the country. Total crime is 8th highest, violent crime 14th, and property crime 7th compared to all other states, for the years 2008-2012 [see also these figures.]

The actual Alabama Parole figure are for 2008: 43%, 2009: 41%, 2010: 40%, 2011: 31%, 2012: 29%, 2013: 30%. If you’ll notice the figures that made parole have steadily declined. Why? What happened that so many were denied parole? Alabama is 4th in the country in adult incarceration (CSG), yet the Parole Board has kept more and more fom being released, again: why?

More prisoners, more money? Shouldn’t somebody explain this steady decline in paroles? I bet no one will, ’cause they don’t care. Yet the prison population in 2008 was 29,959, and then in 2013 it rose to 32,467, and they keep telling the public that the prison is only at 190%. And yet 2,266 more inmates have come into the prison system since 2008, than have gone out. Can you guess where they put them?

Fact 8

The ADOC has sold off all their moneymaking industries, the farms, farm equipment, horses, cattle, hogs, catfish ponds, and now there is nothing for inmates to do. No way to work off stress or be kept occupied, or to learn any type of responsibility, or work-ethic. A few go to trade school (more money into the system), a few get GED’s, but the larger majority of ADOC inmates do nothing, except, lay around, shoot the breeze, about all the things they want someone to believe. They talk about the crimes they did or are going to do, only differently, so they don’t get caught, gangbang, get tattood, or do drugs. Yet these are the revolving-door ‘non-violent’ inmates who are always being released.

Do you know that a study was done on 100 violent inmates and 100 non-violent inmates who were released. Here is the result: 85% of the [so-called] non-violent offenders came back, yet only 2% of the ‘violent’ offenders returned. Are you listening? Gives you something to think about, doesn’t it? ADOC job security, and lots of money for the State to get.

I’ve watched these non-violent inmates come and go, some as many as 3 or 4 times with new sentences and still get back out, with almost no actual time spent incarcerated. When some of us oldtimers try to teach or show these newbys (shorttimers) how to think or act differently to change their lives and stay out, we’re laughed at or told we don’t know what’s going on. It’s amazing they’re doing life on the installment plan, and don’t even realize it.

But I guess when half your neighborhood is in here, it’s just like being at home, and easier to plan the next great caper. The courts give all these short split sentences and know they’ll only be here for a little while, so why should they do any work or try to change in here, or even get on education? Some never get out of bed, just up all night, and no responsibilities. They don’t care, nor does the ADOC.

The less the ADOC officers have to do, the better they like it. And they tell us so. Free easy money, and all the overtime they want… don’t believe me, but check out the July 7/8, 2014Tuscaloosa News article, which states: 20 million in overtime paid to prisons. This was done in 2013. This article appeared in every State newspaper. Quick, join up, corrections is hiring. There’s a 21-year-old who just worked 50 hours overtime, at $28.00 an hour. Good money.

But, you should also be aware that some ADOC personell, not all, have stolen from inmates, took illegal cellphones and then sold them back to whom they were taken from or to other inmates. For a $19.95 flip phone it costs upwards of $300.00 without a charger, for the smartphones it’s $350-600, without chargers. I’ve seen guards charge toll fees to transport contraband from the kitchen to cell blocs (St. Clair) or let inmates steal what they want as long as the kitchen officers get their cut; take an inmate’s personal property and call it ‘contraband,’ even religious items; take legal paperwork and personal legal books (at Fountain) to hinder legal work, and deliberately take and the destroy sacred religious articles, that inmates are actually allowed to have, then tell them “You don’t like it? Sue me, we’ve got plenty of lawyers” (St. Clair). But you, tax payers, pay for this. This has happened and still happens. A guard walks into a kitchen during chow call, takes a small brown paperbag, fills it with cookies made for the inmates, then walks around eating these same cookies in front of all in the chow hall, an inmate confronts him, then writes a complaint on him, and the inmate getspunished and locked up in segregation, and the officers laugh about it (St. Clair). And they keep saying Tutwiler is a bad place. But nobody wants to know about any of this.

You follow the rules they (ADOC) have set out and nobody cares or does anything. You complain or cause trouble by having someone on the outside complain, then you (the inmate) are going to end up in segregation or at worst stabbed up or beat up by this officer’s homeboy who is a locked up inmate or inmates, it happens in here, but no one cares. There are stabbings or killings happening in here pretty often but the outside is very seldom ever told. And I ask: Hello, are you listening or do you even care?

Welcome to the ADOC and reality. I know you the public have your own lives and problems, but hey you’re paying for this stuff with your tax dollars. Your State governments and State agencies are not telling you the truth about what you should know about. But the only thing that I have been able to come up with these 20+ years is, the Legislature keeps shifting the burdens on to the next ones, and the next one keeps passing it on down the line. The State Legislature that you vote for does not fix the very problem they have helped create. Yet they cry wolf and say whatever they need to say to get more of your money, for their self-caused problems. And you continue to pay!

Hey Alabama, are you that blind, nonhearing, or do you just not want to get involved? Well you re involved, because what you keep failing to acknowledge is these locked-up individuals in here, will get out some day, and they will be changed, angry, unskilled to cope with modern society, and desperate. What will youdo when you release someone society has passed by with new technologies, new laws that make it harder on the ones released and you give him $10.00 to get started on? Could you do it?

Hey Alabama, your prison system is a mess and it is only getting worse, because you keep changing the commissioner at the top trying to change the system or fix the problem, yet all the rest of the top stay the same. So what’s gonna change? Nothing! You have to change the people causing the problem to make things change. The ADOC will never change, because it’s going to keep doing what it always has, and the people of Alabama will keep on paying for it, because the ADOC is not accountable or answerable for anything it does, or any amount of money you supply it to spend.

But Alabama, you should want to know. And you should want to know how you’re being lied to. Do you? Prove it.

Alabama, life has changed as I knew it 25 years ago. Cell phones have been invented, Ipods, even MP3-players have come and have now mostly gone. But I have done what I can to change me. I used what was offered. But then I am from a different generation.

What does the future hold? I have no idea. But your taxpayers will foot the bill for it. You will continue to pay for your politicians, and they’ll get rich. They still won’t tell you the truth, ’cause it’s like what Jack Nicholson said in “A Few Good Men,” “The Truth, you can’t handle the Truth.” I do give you more credit, but time will tell, how long you keep accepting the loss of your hard-earned money. For your politicians’ failures, and when the ‘mass accident’ that’s waiting to happen in here, happens, they’ll come crying and screaming for you to give more money to fix their continued failure. As Senator Ward said in 2012, cited in a Jan. 7th, 2014 article: “The whole system is a ticking time bomb…”

It has already actually started, these last 3 years with all the inmate killings and assaults or other acts of violence within these fences. This is even on Correctional officers. The mini-riot at St. Clair. The incidents at Holman, and all the ones you don’t know about most of all. Because they won’t tell you about that unless it fits their agenda’s.

An ADOC officer stated to me that, “If this place was a dog pound in here, the way it is ran and the conditions it’s in, someone would be in jail for it.” It’s amazing that a dog pound is in beter shape than a prison system. Even their own ADOC employees know it. But they won’t let you know that.

I promised the Truth, well did you truly want it? ‘Cause that’s what you’ve been given.

The ADOC do not want us writing or letting those on the outside world to know about what it’s really like, or what goes on in here. Out of sight, out of accountability, the beatings, stabbings, the real violence, the race-related problems [unreadable], and how the keepers of the gates are not all they are supposed to be. You should check out how many have been charged and convicted for stealing our Social Security numbers and ID’s and selling them. Yet the ADOC doesn’t even tell us about this going on, we find out from newspapers. They have stolen mine and filled false Income Tax on me twice… And I knew nothing about it. [see: here (Justice Department website) and here for example]

One final word, for those of us who do get out, will you be there to help or to turn your backs on us, as your judges, district attorneys, legislators, and so-called defense attorneys all have when we enter the system, when we have been abused, dehumanized, stripped of any pride or ambitions, and yet tryign to have a little dignity in the face of adversity?

Like ex-Supreme Court Judge Sue Bell Cobb said in her own editorial from 2014, WWJD? Reform Alabama’s horrible criminal sentencing laws. What would Jesus do, Alabama, about these packed prisons and horrible criminal sentencing laws?

Alabama, don’t let them keep telling you only what they want you to know.Ask questions, or in the end you’ll be paying a lot more of your money on taxes for things you do not want or need.
Thanks for listening, Alabama, I only hope you truly are.

Now for a quick update:

The ADOC has stopped serving its inmates eggs of any kind, and hasn’t for a few months now. ADOC is also not giving adequate substitutes calorie-wise, if at all, to make up for its loss of food that makes up our daily diets. They have taken away pancakes, oranges, apples (we only got them once a month). No type of fresh produce of any kind. Yet their prison budget was fully funded and they have still cut down on the portions they feed us. Why?

They are telling us here at Atmore that before or shortly after the New Year (2016) they are going to put 250 more inmates into an already overcrowded unit (1250 inmates). And we’re wondering where these extra beds will go!

So Alabama, are you listening? I’m still wondering why Cam Ward keeps talking about the millions that are going to be saved by the ADOC (Nov. 6, 2015)…. How is this Bill you passed saving any money, when you had to have 26 million to fund it and will have to keep funding it? You are not saving anything. Quit telling the people of Alabama fairy tales. Oh, I forgot you’re a politician, you’re good at that. But what about your DUI, do you want to tell us more about that? I didn’t think so.

Well Alabama, you’ve been told, will you continue to let business be as usual? Your money, your future neighbors are in here. Are you just going to let the time bomb explode? These killings, stabbings, semi-riot situations happening all over the state, but do they tell you the truth or even let you know it?

It’s your choice and really your responsibility, and as Judge Sue Bell Cobb said: “Alabama what would Jesus do?”

Shame on Alabama!

The author of this pamphlet

And all Alabama inmates

Dec. 2015

Finished typing and editing on June 2016

We’ve made this article anonymous, because we do not want to cause the author any repercussions for expressing his opinion.

THE CRISIS CONTINUES: NO SOLUTIONS FROM ALABAMA LEADERS 

   Death defines the ADOC and its leaders, who sacrifice bodies for dollars. 

Over the past 20-plus months, since the violent attack of Mr. Xabrian by Lt. Ronald Carter at St. Clair CF, violent stabbings, police brutality, murders, suicides, and government heavy-handedness has gripped Alabama prison on a scale never seen before. 

    Carter committed suicide at Holman prison

  Peaceful protests have been organized both inside and outside of the prisons by various factions, including FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT.

   But, dispute the many pleas for leaders to step forward and address the many problems that plague Alabama prisons, no fundamental changes of any kind have been made within the ADOC. The sole response from the ADOC has been predictable: call in the CERT Team. 

 This special tactical unit is guilty of its own brand of police brutality. In one instance, ADOC officials put out a statement claiming that the CERT Team had been attacked. But FAM released videos (see Free Alabama Movement’s YouTube channel)  showing men who had been tortured, beaten and bloodied by the CERT Team, as they stood and admired their handy work. The lies of the ADOC were exposed, as not a single CERT Team member suffered any injury of any kind, not even a scratch. 

   This is but one of the man who were  beaten by the CERT 

  In the upcoming 2017 Alabama Legislative Session, some politicians and public officials will be asking for over 1 billion dollars to build new prisons in Alabama. These funds will be requested despite the current dysfunction of the prison system, and there will be no public oversight of these funding, nor will there be any unfettered access allowed  to the prisons by the press or public watchdog groups. 

    In addition, the main contributors to the dysfunction (overcrowding, outdated habitual offender laws, ineffective parole board) will not be addressed.

  Building new prisons may alleviate the overcrowding quota, but it will not alleviate the problem of mass imprisonment. Alabama, one of the smallest states in the US, currently has the fifth highest incarceration rate in the world.  In books like “Slavery By Another Name” and “How Capitalism Underdeveloped Black America”, we see how prisons have been used to re-enslave and disenfranchise Black and poor people, and we also see that human rights abuses have plagued Alabama prisons since the 1800’s. Underinvestment in education, rehabilitation and re-entry is a hallmark of Alabama prisons, which contributes to recidivism, violence, and corruption in the ADOC. 

  The next critical moment in this Movement must be geared towards promotion of FAM’s “FREEDOM BILL”(see on http://www.freealabamamovement.com) and exposing the nefarious intent of the corrupt officials who are plotting to steal 1.5 billion from taxpayers. The rhetoric of the struggle and all of the self-professed and self-righteous  is loud, but the organizing and mobilizing of the People around a solution and clear goals is woefully lacking in substance. 

  Where are you in the struggle for Freedom? 
FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT 

  

 

CONFINED CITIZEN’S ALERT: HOLMAN CF

​Dara Folden 

****Attention Confined Citizens Alert****

Confined Citizen Deatwan Lasted #285632 housed at Holman Correctional Facility was brutally attacked for refusing to occupy a segregation cell once occupied by Robert Carter who recently committed suicide on October 9, 2016.

When Laster refused to enter the cell he was attacked and sprayed with a chemical agent known as Saber Red that severely burns the eyes and skin. Laster pleaded with the Riot Team to take him to the infirmary however his request were ignored. This type of force is a violation of his 8th Amendment, Cruel and Unusual Punishment. 

Please show your support by calling Holman Correctional Facility at: 

(251) 368-8173 to demand immediate treatment and relocation to another cell for Laster.

URGENT:  Violent Attack Against F.A.M. Member Mr. James Ware at Donaldson CF

  On Saturday night at Donaldson CF, FAM Member James Ware was attacked by corrections officers after being removed to an isolated area of the prison in an obviously planned attack. Mr. Ware was placed into the “hot bay” dorm , which is an isolated and restricted part of the prison where assaults have been frequent. 

  FAM first reported on the “hot bay” dorms, also called Behavior Modification Program, when a rebellion took place at Bibb Co. prison over inhumane treatment and abuse by staff. These programs have had multiple rebellions at every prison that they are located, included G.K.Fountain. FAM leader James Pleasant, also known as Dhati Khalid, was transferred from St. Clair CF to Donaldson and then placed in this “hot bay, where he was also assaulted, sprayed with chemical agents, and subject to other deprivations. The hot bay dorm at Donaldson has drew the ire and criticism from officers as well, and many incidents, especially the spraying of chemical agents goes on weekly; many incidents are not even reported.

  Mr. Ware has been moved to another area of solitary confinement and is being denied a phone call to communicate with his family. Please assist Mother’s and F.A.M.ilies by contacting Commissioner Jefferson Dunn at Commissioner Jefferson S. Dunn at 334.353.3883 and Warden Leon Billing at  205.436.3681, and demand that Mr. Ware be afforded a phone call to insure that he is safe and receiving proper medical treatment. 

  Sincerely, 

Mother’s and F.A.M.ilies 

Please update us on your phone calls by posting to our FB group

https://m.facebook.com/groups/1054185174702322?ref=bookmarks#!/groups/1054185174702322?view=info&refid=18&ref=bookmarks

 Or, by emailing us at:
Mothersandfamilies3@Gmail.com

More Violence in Alabama Prison 

By Dara Folden

Another violent day in the A.D.O.C. Inmate Jason Regan was stabbed at the St. Clair Correctional Facility today Oct 27th around 5:30 p.m. This incident occurred in the Faith Based Honor dorm unit at the facility. This stabbing rides on the heels of 5 inmates that were brutally stabbed which required medical treatment from a hospital outside of the facility. The A.D.O.C is wracked with daily acts of violence against staff and inmates on a regular basis. These incidents are also in direct corelation to the govenor attempts to dupe the voting public into approving 1.5 billion to build new prisons.

Prior to today’s stabbing there have been a rash of other stabbings, one including an officer, along with a suicide and suicide attempts. These acts of violence are a result of multiple factors such as over crowding, lack of staff, and the mistreatment of inmates and staff of the A.D.O.C. The conditions have been so bad that officers have walked off the job during shifts and have also refused to report for scheduled shifts. As a result, the Riot Team, which is called in for special cases, are being sent from facility to facility across the state to cover shifts but yet their presence is not effective especially when the screams and banging of the inmates went unanswered resulting in the death of Robert D. Carter, a hanging victim at Holman Correctional Facility.

The A.D.O.C is currently under investigation by the DOJ regarding saftey issues and violations, amongst other issues that have not received the necessary attention from the administration. But as concerned family, friends, and citizens we must aide in this investigation by reporting issues affecting our loved ones. Our voices can and should be heard.

As family and friends of loved ones behind bars how long will we not bring attention to these issues? How many more Jason Regan’s and Robert Carter’s will we have to read about before something will be done? Keep in mind silence is consent. The longer we remain silent about situations that need to be spoke on and require immediate attention, the longer the list of names will become in the next story.

Is our thinking pattern distorted?

(Top row depicts pictures of unsanitary conditions inside of Alabama’s prisons, bottom pic depicts unsanitary conditions relating to animal rights.)

October 27,2016

       The question above arose as I was pondering the fact that more people are prosecuted annually for animal cruelty across the nation than those that participate in human cruelty within our prison systems.

        I ask the question ” Is our thinking pattern distorted ?” People today seem it more fitting to prosecute and educate for animal cruelty more so than acts against fellow humans. To me this raises my curiosity as to how can we become so sadistic.

        The way people have become so easily swayed to seeing these men and women in our penal system as less than animals baffles me. We have de-humanized many individuals that will one day return to our neighbourhoods and be expected to be civilized, and better than when they entered our prisons. This is a perfect example of distorted thinking, and why the recidivism rate in our nation is over 76%.

         Maybe there’s more truth to the saying “A dog is man’s best friend“. I think it’s time we reevaluate and correct our thinking pattern.

            Unheard Voices O.T.C.J. Swift Justice


Robert Earl Council , also known as “Kinetic Justice”, remains on hunger strike within the dungeon of Limestone Correctional Facility.

October 26,2016

     Today within the walls at Limestone Correctional Facility Robert Earl Council remains on protest against the retaliatory actions taken against him for speaking out on the inhumane injustices that plagues our state.

      We have come to know Robert Earl as “Kinetic Justice”, which seems to be a fitting name from the looks of how things have taken off across the nation.

    Webster defines the adjective kinetic as an energy “of or relating to the movement of physical objects”. 

       From the looks of things there’s definitely no question that the momentum is still going regardless of the fact the administration continues to attempt to break the spirit of the movement.

Sources say there has been another stabbing at Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore, Alabama.

October 25th, 2016

     Another report of a senseless stabbing at Holman Correctional Facility earlier today. Details are unknown at the time, and Holman prison administration refuse to give a confirmation, or refute this report. However at this time it is believed to be an inmate on inmate altercation. 

    The rise in violence within Alabama’s prison system has all to do with the near 200% over crowding problem that has haunted Alabama for well over two decades.

    The founder of UNHEARD VOICES stated when asked, why is there a sudden incline in violence behind the walls of Alabama’s prisons,”It’s to be expected when you have double the capacity of men in one spot, more than that spot was designed for. And to make matters worse you have a system that has only one thing that is consistent, and that’s inconsistency. It pushes these men over the edge. There’s no structure among the admin.so there damn sure no structure for the men housed in Alabama.

    “It’s a sad situation to be honest. You have men that the courts declared unfit for society, and they declare guardianship over these men and remove them. But yet they provide no guidance, establish no structure in these guys life while they’re here. They in essence create rabid animals, and complain when they act out. It’s sad!”

        Last month the Department of Justice declared an investigation on the entire ADOC. But these processes take time and we can only ask how many more men will die while we wait?

           UNHEARD VOICES O.T.C.J/THE FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT

Retaliation against one of the heard voices in Alabama’s prison.

October 25th,2016

      Robert Earl Council (known as Kinetic Justice), was transferred from Holman prison earlier this month as a strategic move by the ADOC administration in Montgomery Alabama. It’s believed that this move was to purposely implemented to stop the momentum in the FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT.

    On October 21st,2016, Robert Earl Council engaged in a hunger strike at Limestone correctional facility, making today his 5th day protesting the retaliatory actions against him for leading the national wide movement against mass incarceration. Today it was reported that the Warden, Christopher Gordy at Limestone Correctional Facility ordered the water supply to Robert Earl Council be shut off as well. 

    It’s plain to see that the leaders of Alabama will do nothing short of retaliating against those that expose the injustices that have remained silent for decades. However it is also plain that these men like Robert Earl Council will do nothing less than continue to shed light on the reality of Alabama’s darkest kept secrets. 

    Robert Earl Council your voice is heard! FREE ROBERT EARL COUNCIL!

          Unheard voices O.TC.J./FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT

Another report of assault to an inmate at Staton Correctional Facility in Elmore, Alabama.

October 25,2016

  It was reported by an inmate just moments ago that he witnessed inmate John Baker, who is housed at Elmore Correctional Facility in Elmore, Alabama being assaulted by C01 Barbers for speaking out on scripture from the bible.

      Inmate David (witness of the assault),reported said assault to an inmate activist that stays speaking out against the many injustices within Alabama’s prison.

     This act is a custom or policy among many officers within Alabama that has been denied for years. It will be interesting to see if this assault is denied when the assault took place in front of a security camera at Staton health care and fellow officers Herns.

      We ask that this incident be reported immediately to the Staton Correctional Facility warden #334-567-2221 and Elmore Correctional Facility warden at 334-567-1460.

          Unheard Voices O.T.C.J.