PRESS RELEASE: Inhumane Conditions in Alabama Prisons Leads to Strikes by Incarcerated Men and Now Guards

URGENT EMERGENCY ALERT: As Incarcerated Men Strike for Rights, Guards Follow: Officers Stage Historic Work Strike at Holman Prison

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT PRESS RELEASE CONCERNING HOLMAN CORRECTIONAL FACILITY

CONTACT INFORMATION: 

Mothers and F.A.M.ilies
P.O. BOX 186
New Market, AL 35761
Tel. 256.203.4371

F.A.M. Leads Work Strikes in Alabama Prisons, Now Officers Stage Historic Work Strike at Holman Prison

Contact: freealabamamovement@gmail.com

Holman CF, Atmore, Al. September 24, 2016.

Last night at Holman prison an emergency situation developed as ALL of the officers assigned to the second shift waged a historic work strike for the first time in the history of the Alabama Department of Corrections.

Assistant Commissioner Grantt Culliver was dispatched to the prison, where he then had to order supervisors from another prison, Atmore CF, to report to Holman prison just to be able to serve meals. The officers at Holman, who have been defying ADOC policy and speaking publicly to the media, had communicated their plans to F.A.M. members, and expressed their support for non-violent and peaceful demonstrations against the human rights conditions existent at Holman.

Officers have also complained about overcrowding and the need for a mass release, more education and rehabilitation programs, as well as issues with disease and filth. Officers reserved their harshest criticism towards the Commissioner’s officer and what they perceive as a lack leadership from Commissioner Dunno and Culliver.

First hand audio account available here.

FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT

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Free Alabama Movement talks on Democracy Now about the deplorable state of Alabama’s overcrowded prisons

Photo from Democracy Now show of May 13 2016

Still from Democracy Now show of May 13 2016

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fdemocracynow%2Fvideos%2Fvb.17414523278%2F10154142103348279%2F%3Ftype%3D3&show_text=1&width=560

http://www.democracynow.org/embed/story/2016/5/13/alabama_prison_strike_organizer_speaks_from

http://www.democracynow.org/embed/story/2016/5/13/alabama_prison_strike_organizer_speaks_from

Kinetik Justice, a prison strike organizer and co-founder of the Free Alabama Movement, spoke with Democracy Now! from solitary confinement at Holman Correctional Facility: “These strikes are our methods of challenging mass incarceration, as we understand the prison system is a continuation of the slave system.”

This interview was conducted on DemocracyNow on May 13th, 2016. You can also listen to, see, read the interview with Kinetic Justice via this link.

FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT calls for federal investigation into allegations of Human Rights violations at Holman Prison

After receiving numerous phone calls from family members and photographs from conditions inside Holman prison, FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT and other representatives are calling for federal authorities and Human Rights attorneys to investigate allegations of Human Rights violations taking place at Holman to punish peaceful protests.

Reports indicate that officers are leaving dorms in filth, not taking out trash, leaving showers and soiled laundry unclean, in efforts to punish peaceful demonstrations.

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  The men in Holman prison also allege that officers are violating their Human Rights by serving inadequate meals and attempting to use starvation tactics in violation of Federal and International law and treatise against Torture through food.

Basic nutritional calories and food portions are not being met.

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The men confined at Holman prison are asking supporters to contact the Human Rights Watch, all media, and Human Rights attorneys and request that they come to the prison and begin taking complaints. Living conditions include leaky ceiling with Black mole and other harmful conditions in the showers that are causing infections.

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Showers filled with mole and bacteria.

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Tarps being used to contain leaks in roof.

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Freealabamamovement@gmail.com

  Contact info:

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Toll Free Call Center: 1-877-696-6775

Center For Disease Control and Prevention
800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636),TTY: 888-232-6348

Alabama Department of Public Health  |  Montgomery, AL  |  1-800-252-1818  |

MAY DAY MAY DAY. ..

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WE, the Prisoners of Alabama Department of Corrections, as a collective reach out to Rev. Kenneth Glasgow, Founder of The Ordinary People Society, Prodigal Child Project and Formerly Incarcerated Convicted People Families Movement asking that Rev. Glasgow mediate and speak on our behalf, in making the following statement to the Legislators of the state of Alabama.

At 12:01 May 1, 2016 We, Alabama Prisoners will begin a Peaceful and Nonviolent Protest for Our Human Rights in the form of a Work Stoppage. This is in fact a means to Peacefully Petition the Alabama Government for Redress of Grievances as We have suffered under Cruel and Inhumane Conditions over the past two decades.

Let us be clear,  this is not just about the Deplorable Conditions of Confinement,  but more so about the 13th Amendment,  the Alabama Constitution of 1901 and the Statutory Laws discriminatoryly enacted from both. The laws that created and maintains the denial of our Human Rights and perpetuation of our Economical Exploitation.

From Wrongful Convictions,  Exceedingly Excessive and Mandatory LWOP sentences, Alabama’s prisons are literally Warehouses of Men stacked on top of one another, and due to an Arbitrary and Biased Parole Board System, thousands of Men eligible to be released are stopped up in a broken and dangerous system.

*It has been stated and acknowledged that there are over 3, 000 people that are eligible to be released.  However,  due to budgetary concerns (parole and probation officers, supervision,  etc) they remain trapped in an excessively overcrowded system;  exposed to unnecessary threat to their  safety and well being. To address this issue would contribute greatly to relieving the pressure of prison overcrowding.

A lot of the pressure could be released by  Revising and Modifying the Laws and Policies that Created and Perpetuates these Cruel and Inhumane Conditions; not by building bigger more expensive prisons.

*Over 8000 people are serving enhanced mandatory sentences under Alabama’s Habitual Offenders Statute. More than 2000 are serving Mandatory LWOP sentence, some for petty theft cases.
To Repeal the Habitual Offenders Statute would create the opportunity for over 8000 people to be eligible to return to their families and communities after decades due to the application of the Habitual Offenders Statute while reducing the inhumane and dangerous overcrowding which contributes to the spread of diseases and increases the level of violence.  Overall it would contribute to a more sanitary and humane living environment.

*From exposure through exonerations it is clear that the Prosecutors of the State of Alabama are more concerned with convictions than truth and innocence.  Most of the attention has been focused on the Wrongful Convictions of those sentenced to Death. As a result a demand for oversight was  expressed in Senate Bill 237. However, through political maneuvering this Bill was tailored to only apply to those sentenced to death.

We assert that The Alabama Innocence Inquiry Commission created by Senate Bill 237 shall apply to all Wrongfully Convicted prisoners not just Death Penalty cases. To be Wrongfully Convicted is to be Wrongfully Convicted no matter the sentence. No innocent person should suffer the loss of his freedom unjustly and remain confined due to procedural limitations or judicial misconduct. Therefore, this Bill shall apply to all prisoners with credible claims of innocence, as this is what justice requires.

*Earlier this year,  the U.S. Supreme rightly declared that mandatory Life without Parole sentences for juveniles was unconstitutional.  It is time that Alabama go a step further and abolish mandatory Life without Parole sentences for First Time Offenders,  many who were barely beyond the juvenile age limit.
This would make hundreds of prisoners eligible to earn their freedom after being provided Education,  Rehabilitation and ReEntry Preparedness.  Thus also relieving some of the pressure and strain created by the excessive overcrowding.

*We further state that the A.D.O.C’s Economical policies and practices of compelling Incarcerated Citizens to provide labor with no compensation, while imposing various fines and fees upon them, is hyper-exploitative, unjust and amounts to PRISON SLAVERY.—–It is discriminatory and exploitative to force Incarcerated people to work while prohibiting them from being compensated; yet imposing arbitrary fines and fees upon them. To work is an essential part of rehabilitation and learning to be responsible for self, as from the compensation one is able to provide for their needs and ease the financial burden on their  families. Therefore, A.D.O.C’s Economical policy of Free Labor is counterproductive to rehabilitation and is exploitative and demeaning. Therefore, a more equitable Economic Policy shall be established between Alabama Prisoners and the ADOC.

*The Alabama Parole Board is arbitrary and biased therefore it must be overhauled to establish a criteria for those eligible for Parole.
The members of the Alabama parole board are receiving these appointments with an agenda that says that rewards them with long-term employment and other incentives to deny parole. These members refuse to set criteria for parole eligibility because this would make parole mandatory, instead of discretionary, for those who qualify.

In theory, the 13th Amendment put an end to and forever abolished slavery, at least that is what we’ve been taught in schools. However, in actual practice, the 13th Amendment merely changed the name, method and rationale for keeping African Americans in a state of perpetual servitude. As the 13th Amendment explicitly permits ” Involuntary Servitude”– an euphemism for Slavery– as punishment for “duly convicted criminals.”

In direct response to this Constitutional mandate, the Alabama Judicial System was structured to keep white land owners in a position of power and Africans in their place– Servitude. In fact, the State of Alabama used the 13th Amendment as their foundation in drafting the *ALABAMA CONSTITUTION OF 1901. As the Alabama Legislature used their authority to set up court systems, appointed only white people as Judges and District Attorneys, pre arranged elections for those positions that had to be voted on, then expanded the criminal code as its effective means of carrying out their objective. By their own admission, the State of Alabama’s sole purpose in drafting the Constitution of 1901 was to establish “White Supremacy”- by law. As the delegates to the all-white Constitutional Convention, were not secretive about their purpose and aims. In the opening address, President of the Convention, John B. Knox stated:
“And what is it that we want to do? Why is it 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…”

In keeping with the sentiments of John B. Knox, the State of Alabama has used the Constitution of 1901 to construct a solid foundation, in which to discriminate from.
Even to this day, Alabama openly applies its laws discriminately, first –based upon race, then upon financial status.

Alabama’s “good old boy”-style of justice is maintained and perpetuated by police officers “overreaching”, district attorney’s ” overcharging” and judges “over sentencing.” All of this is made possible by the Alabama Constitution of 1901 and the Alabama Legislature, as it is the Alabama Legislature that enact these laws that specifically target young African-American males, particularly and African-Americans in general.

*One glaring example, is the racially motivated amending of the Capital Murder statute to include Section 16, 17 and 18- or commonly called the “drive-by shooting laws”. According to the Alabama Legislature, in the early 1990’s there was a massive public outcry against”gangs”, so in 1992 the Legislature passed Act 92-601; which made a murder committed by the use of a deadly weapon fired from or into a vehicle, a Capital Offense–punishable by death or life without parole. Act 92-601 became codified in Title 13A-5-40(a)(16),(17) and (18). From a plain reading of the statute, in order to be charged and found guilty of the Capital Offense, all that’s required is that the shooter or victim be in a vehicle or house at the time of the murder. Prior to this amendment, all Capital Offenses required an aggravating circumstance in order to elevate the murder to a death penalty offense. However, the “drive-by shooting laws” are simply based upon location of the shooter or victim.

In March of 2006, Representatives Marcel Black and John Robinson authored a Bill and presented it to the House of Representatives, which addressed the application of subdivisions 16, 17 and 18 of Title 13A-5-40, I.e., the Capital Murder statute. In session it was stated:
“Whereas, the legislature is aware of the case of State of Alabama v. Fondren (Calhoun County CC 02-600) in which Fondren was convicted of Capital Murder for violating Section 14A-5-40(a)(18)…”

HJR 575
On March 28, 2006, this Bill was adopted by the House of Representatives. On April 17, 2006, this Bill Was adopted and signed by the Senate. Upon both Houses adopting this Bill, it became House Joint Resolution 575. In accordance with the procedure for passing a Bill into Law, the House Joint Resolution was delivered to the Governor. On April 27, 2006 at 1:09 p.m. Governor Bob Riley signed the Bill.
It became Act No. 2006-642, which stated in pertinent part: ” … in passing Act 92-601, it was the intent of the legislature in adding sub division (18) to address”drive-by shooting”, that is murder committed through the use of a deadly weapon …used within or from a vehicle which murders were gang related or intended to incite public terror or alarm.”
In HJR 575 (Act No. 2006-642) the legislature recognized that Section 13A-5-40(a)(17),(18) has been misinterpreted by prosecutors and courts to apply to any murder committed by or through the use of a deadly weapon, fired or otherwise used within or from a vehicle, even if it was not gang related.
Being that this interpretation was contrary to the legislature’s intent, the Legislature urged the Attorney General and District Attorneys to charge only those individuals who commit murder by or through the use of a deadly weapon fired or otherwise within or from a vehicle, when the vehicle was involved in the shooting or that the shooting was gang related. This clarification by the legislature should have changed the sentences for countless individuals serving Life Without Parole behind the prosecutors and judges misapplication of the law.
Therefore,  the Legislature shall amend the “drive-by shooting” statutes, so that the plain language of the statute will effectuate the legislature’s intent as expressed in House Joint Resolution 575(Act No. 2006-642). And to make such Amendment Retroactive.
*The A.D.O.C’s policy and practice of not affording those Incarcerated with meaningful Educational and Rehabilitation opportunities falls below the standards of human decency, as it perpetuates ignorance and exploitation. It has been empirically proven that the lack of Education is a primary driver for incarceration, therefore, Rehabilitation has to include a meaningful opportunity for Education programs.
More specifically,  we want the EDUCATION,  REHABILITATION AND REENTRY PREPAREDNESS BILL IMPLEMENTED THROUGHOUT THE ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS
(hyperlink freealabamamovement for copy of FREEDOM BILL)

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Word Of The Devils Plans

I was talking to my investigator last week. He said they had just left a seminar were they were pitching ideas about the building of the New prisons to the State. He said the one thing that they all were in agreement on was this: The LWOP and Death row will have their own part of the prison. They will not have any jobs other than waiting to die bro. He said they will have levels 2,3,4,  there so they will be the only ones with all the job in and outside the prison. Not even a kitchen job for LWOP, hall runners job, or Nothing. All these old niggas that have this industry job bro can’t even work at this New shit there trying to build. He said LWOP an Death row will dam near be the same other then we get more time out just where they have us housed. He said other then our outside time, we lock down. He said in other words they are  building a Nice clean prison for u to die in. He said there building y’all a Billion Dollar Casket. He words not mines. Smfh. b
Str8 Game Changer ‍‌‌‌‌‌‍‍‌‍‌gu‌n‌

SENATE BILL 67: REFORM OR RACKET TO EXPLOIT CRIME AND MORE POOR FAMILIES

FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT
By Melvin Ray
freealabamamovement@gmail.com
http://www.freealabamamovement.com

After over a year of research, meetings, studies and other expenditures of tax-payer funds, the Council of State Government (CSG) and the Alabama Prison Reform Task Force (PRTF) have given the Alabama people Senate Bill 67 as the solution to the issues in Alabama prisons and the state’s criminal justice system.

The PRTF and CSG got off to a controversial start when it was revealed that of the 25-member task force, not a single African American male would be part of the decision making process, deliberations, or considerations of the group. Being a black man, the hypocrisy of this struck me from the beginning: Black men, who make up approximately 13% of the total state population, are approximately 60% of the total prison population.

Note** The U.S. GOVERNMENT Bureau of Statistics, shows that 70%% of all crimes ccommitted in the U.S. are ccommitted by white people.

So, this means that the families and communities most affected by the prison and judicial system are black. Yet, in a way that only a state like Alabama can explain, not a single black man was invited to discuss what solutions would be best to fix a problem that has been created by people who look just like the CSG committee and the PRTF — predominately white men.

Alabama prisons currently hold over 30,000 people in space designed to hold less than 14,000 people. Of this 30,000, approximately 80% of ALL people who enter into ADOC are functionally illiterate — or worse. Most of these people are young, poor, unskilled, and addicted to some type of drug. The problems made manifest in such a setting are predictable and expected.

Overcrowding serves to breed problems:

MALNUTRITION

First, the budget is fixed to serve just over 13,000 , while the prisons hold 30,000-plus. With low budgets, the cheap, undercooked food being served lacks nutrition, inadequate portions, and consists mainly of processed foods. In a word, the people in Alabama prisons are malnourished.

UNSANITARY WATER SUPPLY

The water system in Alabama’s prisons was designed to filter and serve less than 14,000  people. So imagine what happens when this system is overburdened with 30,000-plus people. First, the water is not properly filtered before it enters back into the prisons. This contaminated drinking water is the major contributor to most ailments in Alabama prisons.

Food isn’t properly cleaned. Bodies aren’t cleaned. Clothes aren’t properly cleaned. Thus, diseases, infections, cancers, and deaths ensue.

Then, you have people literally stacked on top of each other. This breeds other problems: frustration, depression, and mental illnesses.

Untreated mental, emotional, psychological and addiction issues lead invariably to violent settings. St. Clair prison is Exhibit A in this crisis.

Death and disease are so widespread due to inadequate resources for meaningful healthcare.

Quarantines for outbreaks of TB, scabies, and Staph (and now food-food-poisoning) are now common protocols.

Sometimes, staff, family members who visit, lawyers, and people in the prisons aren’t even informed of outbreaks due to delays in detection.

Then, you have the actual living conditions. Filth is everywhere. The water supply is contaminated. Showers are almost always cold due to overuse because the water system wasn’t designed for so many people. Cleanliness is a constant issue. Mold, mildew, rats, roaches, spiders, snakes, and bugs are in every crack and crevice. Repairs to all areas of the infrastructure are needed, with some prisons being over 40 years old.

Health, food, and fire inspectors are rarely seen. When they are present, they are not doing their jobs of accurately reporting on the wholesale violations that are so prevalent.

However, when one examines SB 67, one doesn’t see a single one of these issues being addressed.
The human costs and abuse associated with reform needs are being totally ignored because no one cares about the inhumane, uncivilized treatment of men and women in prison. And certainly not those in Alabama’s prisons, who are majority black and all poor.

In fact, the PRTF is calling for 2,000 more beds to be added to existing facilities. Senator Cam Ward has stated that the goal is to reduce overcrowding to 140%, which courts have said is acceptable. But the question to ask is: why can a state Senator openly say that his goal is to violate a health/fire code for maximum occupancy, and feel no consequences whatsoever? Where is the Fire Marshall to remind Senator Ward that fire codes are to be strictly complied with, including occupancy rates? A Fire Marshall will close down a night club, a basketball arena, or a restaurant for being over-capacity, but here we see that the law doesn’t apply to the prisons.

Instead, it is the *goal* of Alabama officials to have a illegal, overcrowded prison system and the Fire Marshall says nothing.

SB 67 doesn’t address any of these issues. Sen. Cam Ward and his cabal have sat down as if they were doctors, to solve a problem without asking their patients a single question about what is wrong or what could be done to fix the problems. To my knowledge, the PRTF did not enter into a single prison and ask the occupants about our issues, where the problems areas are, or what solutions we see as being needed. Nor did they enter into a single black community, which is where mass incarceration has had it worst effects, to see how these issues should be addressed. White men in Alabama are not accustomed to consulting Black men on problems, even those problems created by white men that disproportionately affect black men, like mass incarceration.

Some Alabama prisons house in excess of 1,000 people – most of whom are illiterate – and don’t even provide a GED program, let alone sustainable job skills programs. There are currently no gang-intervention programs, no community volunteer programs at the community custody facilities, no Life Skills programs – and SB 67 is not calling for any of them. These are programs that most Black community leaders, religious leaders, mothers, and fathers will tell you that our communities need from the ADOC while they are holding these men for decades at a time. Yet, Senator Ward doesn’t see a need for Black voices on the PRTF or the all-white CSG.

In Alabama, where uneducated people fill the system, education is neither encouraged nor mandated. A person with a 10-year Sentence with no GED, skill or trade, and who has a known drug or alcohol addiction, does not have to attend school, learn a skill or trade, participate in any program — and can still earn Incentive Good Time. How can a person earn “good time” if they are not actively addressing their shortcomings and issues that lead them to prison in the first place?

As for the Alabama Parole Board, one has to wonder just how much longer the charade can go on. In 2015, they still don’t allow a person to attend their own hearing. We can watch Satellite television, use Tango and Skype, but the Parole Board still can’t find a way to hear from the person (not a file) going up for parole.

The hearing itself is a show of power and disrespect. The parolee gets all of two speakers, who each get  5 minutes to speak. A person who has made 20 years of change has to have someone else try to communicate that change in 2 five-minute exchanges. Then, the victim of the crime gets to speak.

They get unlimited speakers, for an unlimited time. If a victim can’t attend, no problem. Hired speakers (called Victim’s Advocates), on tax-payer dime, can speak. Again, they are not restricted by any time constraints, whatsoever.

The facts of the crime are already known. A parole hearing is supposed to be about what changes the person has made to show that they have learned from their mistake, improved themselves, and are now prepared for another chance at society.

The parole board sits on the file for decades, and never even sets out a curriculum for what they expect to see from a person vying for parole. It is all a tax-payer funded dog-and-pony show scam.

SB 67 is nothing more than an expansion of the scheme.

SB 67 is joining the nationwide, elaborate money grab operation (that once again is being funded by tax dollars) fueled by discriminatory practices in arrest, conviction, sentencing, and parole, and in the end, financial exploitation. Multiple “private prison” companies, “non-profit” organizations and community corrections companies will rely on more convictions, parole and probation violations, alternative sentencing, and the like to tax, fine, fee, and charge poor people til death.

So-called “regional” jails will be built for private jail operators to receive even more tax payer funds.
Work release-style facilities will be created – where SB 67 authorizes up to 65% of gross earning to be deducted from the paychecks of already poor people – to go into the pockets of the “community corrections” companies that will charge to serve as collection agencies.

The kickbacks from these contracts will be in the form of campaign contribution to people like Senator Cam Ward.

The greatest benefit from SB 67 will continue to be the massive amounts of free labor that is being exploited from the men and women in Alabama prisons. These prison industries, funded by tax dollars, are generating billions of dollars in revenue. However, no one knows how large these industries are, or where all of the products or money from these industries are going.

For example, Alabama Correctional Industries runs a $25 million-dollar chemical plant at St. Clair prison. Where is that money going to? ADOC has a cattle ranch and a fish pond. Where is all beef and fish going? It certainly isn’t making its way to the kitchens in the prisons. Elmore runs the largest recycling plant in the State. Where are the proceeds?

And in spite of all of this free labor, no credit is deducted from the sentence. No deductions from the fines or court costs that a person may have. No deductions for child support that continues to accrue, even though the father or mother is working 8, 10, 12 hours days for free or pennies in wages.

In addition to this, a person who is forced to work for free every day also must pay a medical co-pay when they get sick. Where is this money supposed to come from? That is where the exploitation of our families comes in, because when they do send us money, the State deducts their “charges” first and we get what’s left.

SB 67 is nothing more than a continuation of these practices, only now the exploitation is moving away from the prisons and closer to the communities.

VIOLENCE CONTINUES ON AT ST. CLAIR PRISON IN SPRINGVILLE, ALABAMA

ANOTHER ASSAULT BY AN OFFICER AT ST. CLAIR PRISONS TODAY USING HADNCUFFS AS BRASSKNUCKLES TO ASSAULT AN UNARMED MAN

Part of the situation at St. Clair involves Officer Lindsey, who used a pair of handcuffs to hit a defenseless man in the mouth. The man defended himself in self-defense from this unprovoked attack, which left his mouth busted open and the officer with sever damage to his jaw and mouth.

This is the second incident in the past few months where an officer used a pair of handcuffs to assault someone. In the first incident, Ventura Harris was struck in the back of the head while handcuffed and required over 15 staples to close his scalp back together.

We are asking everyone to please join FAM on Sunday, Feb. 1, 2015, at 11:30 am for a “STOP THE VIOLENCE, WARDEN DAVENPORT MUST GO” Prayer Vigil and Demonstration.

Contact Ms. Ann “Mother Ray” Brooks @ 256-783-1044 for additional details.