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”
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com,
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APRIL 9, 2020
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:
- How many children are currently in the custody of Alabama’s juvenile detention facilities?
- What are the conditions that these children are being detained in as it relates to COVID 19?
- 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?
- What type of safety precautions are in place to protect these children from COVID 19?
- Has Alabama released any children from juvenile detention facilities due to COVID 19? If not, why?
- Are these children being provided masks, gloves, soaps, hand sanitizers, and other PPEs?
- 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?
- 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?
- 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
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.
FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT
FAM’s Queen Team
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.
- ANYONE who enters a jail or prison (including staff and vendors) be required to wear the supplied masks, gloves and shoe covers
- Routine Temperature checks of not only the employees but the ones incarcerated as well
- More fruits and juices in their diets as well as a Vit C regimine to boost their immune systems
- All states to order extra soap to make sure soap for proper hand washing is readily available for all incarcerated.
- Make any necessary repairs or replacements of sinks so there are ample amounts of functioning sinks for hand washing
- Allow showers daily
- Implement a plan that individual pods go to chow hall, outside, etc. separately
- Hand sanitizing stations in all common areas or hand sanitizing wipes if the concern of liquid sanitizer is an issue of contraband
- Lysol Disinfecting wipes be available for use to clean cells
- 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
- Test kits readily available on site
- A separate area to be used for quarantining people who have symptoms
- All kiosks, tablets, pen-pads and phones to be sanitized after each use (Lysol wipes would be handy for this)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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
WILLIE JUNIOR SUMMONS AIS: 00112862
A Dorm, Bed 57
3700 Holman Unit
Atmore, AL 36503-3700
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
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. . .”
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 !!!
- All proceedings and convictions be declared null and void and removed from their records.
- All records in juvenile and adult court be expunged.
- 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.
July 29, 2019 court hearing in Montgomery, AL
For Immediate Release Press contacts: Unheard Voices O.T.C.J. Unheardvoices78@gmail.com Attorney Richard Rice 256-529-0462 firstname.lastname@example.org 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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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
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.
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 email@example.com email. Queen T can be reached on Facebook in the SignOTheTimes group (https://www.facebook.com/QueenTahiyrah), by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, 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 email@example.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:
- 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.
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.
”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.
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.
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.
For more information on the Millions For Prisoners Human Rights March, click here.
e. “Fam. I tried to call!!! They in lock up jumping in folks for shit!!! Get them to start calling up here!!!! They sparging that shit and we can’t breathe!!”
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.
THE NEXT STEP FOR FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT (F.A.M)
“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”
13th Amendment, US Constitution
There are several fronts that F.A.M. is currently working on to continue the fight against mass incarceration and prison slavery. With the growth and continued exposure of F.A.M. also comes the need to organize more soundly on a structural and foundational level. In this respect, we are working to structure our legal department and Legal Clinic Network:
1) We need to recruit a volunteer to serve in the capacity of a staff attorney and to develop a fundraising plan to provide compensation when available. This office will help to advise F.A.M. on legal issues and represent F.A.M. in legal matters.
LEGAL CLINIC NETWORK
2) We would like to structure a F.A.M. Legal Clinic Network.
We already have a commitment from several law students, one attorney, and we are exploring opportunities with a law professor and another attorney that we are already in contact with. We anticipate the Legal Clinic Network to start out working in the following capacity:
ASSISTANCE WITH CRIMINAL CASES
a) Handling at least one criminal conviction and/or civil suit per year. In addition, we would like to build a network of volunteers composed of law students, paralegals and researchers to assist with legal research, editing and typing, copying, and filing and collecting public records.
FIRST AMENDMENT ISSUES
b) Filing litigation concerning First Amendment rights as they relate to the right of people incarcerated to peacefully assembly in protest of ongoing civil and human rights violations, and to establish and declare free speech zones at Alabama prisons for Freeworld supporters without interference from state officials when conducting demonstrations or protesting on prison grounds.
(i) First Amendment peaceful assembly rights will also address state retaliation for non-violent and peaceful activity inside of prison, and establish precedent that will be backed by TRO’s to prevent arbitrary detention in solitary confinement and retaliation by prison officials for the exercise of constitutionally protected rights. In California, several recent decisions were issued stating that people in prison could not be punished for hunger strikes because this activity was not violent and did not pose a threat to security.
(ii) First Amendment free speech zones will declare the rights of the public to access public prison facilities and to communicate with visitors on visitation days at these prisons and pass out information concerning public safety, mass incarceration, and civil and human rights issues taking place in Alabama prisons.
WOMEN’S AND CHILDREN’S RIGHTS
3) The Legal Clinic Network will address the violations of women’s rights at Tutwiler as outlined in the U.S. Dept of Justice report in January 2014, and seek compensation and assistance for all children who were born as a result of these sex crimes.
4) The Legal Clinic Network would also like to build a network of labor attorneys and experts to address labor issues within the prisons.
FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT
P.O. BOX 186
New Market, AL 35761
October 7, 2016
Holman prison back on lockdown after another violent incident. Reports state that officers refused to enter the dorm and try to stop the stabbings, and then officers refused to open the door to allows the injured to escape.
FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT urges all to contact Governor Bentley and the Commissioner’s Officer and demand that the media bad public representatives from Mother’s and F.A.M.ilies be allowed immediate entry into this prison along with DOJ investigators.
FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT (F.A.M.) RESPONDS TO NEW D.O.J. INVESTIGATION: CALLS FOR TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 7, 2016
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Mother’s and F.A.M.ilies
P.O. BOX 186
New Market, Al 35761
FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT (F.A.M.) is pleased with the news that the U.S. Department of Justice (D.O.J.) will be conducting a statewide investigation into the issues of abuse, violence and safe, secure and sanitary conditions in Alabama’s men’s prisons, even though we believe that the women’s prison should also be revisited. We would like to emphasize that we are looking for an open, transparent and inclusive investigation that will keep the public updated, informed and INVOLVED throughout this process. Alabama prisons are unique in that they are the most overcrowded, underfunded, and understaffed prisons in America. Therefore, any solutions to the existing problems will need to be unique and require “outside-of-the-box” thinking as well.
We would also like to see accountability result from this investigation. In 2014, the U.S. D.O.J. released a report on its year long investigation at Tutwiler. In this report, D.O.J. investigators found that the civil rights of these women had been violated for over a 20-year period, and that at least one-third of all of the correctional staff at Tutwiler had engaged in some form of sexual misconduct with the women incarcerated there. Yet, despite these conclusive findings, which included child births and unauthorized abortions by complicit medical staff, not a single person was prosecuted for the violation of a single federal crime.
Some of the questions we have to ask are, what is the purpose of this investigation? Are there federal criminal or civil statutes available where A.D.O.C. officials can be prosecuted and required to pay damages as a result of this investigation if they are found guilty of wrongdoing? Will the D.O.J. prosecute any findings of corruption? Will federal charges be brought against officers who are found to be using excessive force? In instances of death, will negligent D.O.C. officials be prosecuted?
Other questions that have to be asked are, in the ultimate finding of unsanitary and unsafe conditions, what are the proposed solutions? Will the D.O.J. seek to alleviate overcrowding through release programs or more prisons? Will the people incarcerated have a voice and seat at the table towards fashioning solutions (as was done in California in the Askher settlement)? Will family members be allowed to be part of the investigation? Will there be briefing sessions for the public? Will there be on-site inspections where family members, interested organizations and the media will be allowed to attend? Will the investigation into sanitation include water testing, since officers at most prisons are warned to not drink it under any circumstance?
When speaking of transparency, will the D.O.J. move for policy changes that will afford the media open access to Alabama prisons? Finally, will public organizations be factored into the role of oversight and implementation of solutions, such as educational and rehab programs?
We cannot just go into an investigation without some clear understanding of what a solution will look like. We have learned from Tutwiler and all of the frivolous lawsuits filed by Southern Poverty Law Center and Southern Center For Human Rights, that oversight is just as important as the settlement itself, and oversight can not be left to the A.D.O.C. under any circumstance.
Governor Bentley has stated that he welcomes the investigation and looks forward to working with the D.O.J. Well, why should the federal government have to come in and investigate matters that fall within his responsibility? If Governor Bentley does not have a Commissioner’s Office that is capable of assessing the rising violence, murders, drugs overdoses, etc. and understands that those issues need investigating and solving, then what is the purpose of having investigators on taxpayer payrolls?
Governor Bentley is looking for a political bailout; he ignored dead bodies and waited for federal intervention so that he can maintain his “tough on crime” stance, while “blaming” the federal government for the needed and costly changes to Alabama’s prison system. But now that the ‘feds’ are here, F.A.M. and the family members of those incarcerated have an opportunity to seek real changes if, indeed, that is what the D.O.J. is here for.
FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT
(Governor Robert Bentley)
This morning after breaking news from the Department of Justice in Washington that there will be an investigation in relations to the civil rights violations of thousands of incarcerated men and women, Robert Bentley, commissioner Jeffery Dunn, Grantt Gulliver, and so many more involved sweat bullets.
During yesterday’s breaking news inmates across the state in facility dorms, and t.v.day rooms you could hear a pen drop. At the conclusion of the news you heard sighs of relief, sniffles and a few sobs, but big smiles grew as a sign of victory in a battle fought.
Convicts and officers across the state are now starting to see hope and anticipating the soon to come investigation and expecting results and positive change for the first time in the history of Alabama.
Today two of the most listened to voices sit in solitary confinement for starting this movement in Alabama.A movement that has grown and spread throughout this nation. These men were placed in solitary for exercising there 1st amendment rights of freedom of speech, and now are huge threats to the Alabama Department of Corrections in exposing the injustices.
The convicts and many correctional officers of Alabama are now calling upon the leaders of Alabama to release these political prisoners from solitary confinement at Holman prison and Donaldson prison.(Melvin Ray, and Robert Earl Council).
This morning the prison activist groups Free Alabama Movement and UNHEARD VOICES chant we won’t be silenced, we will be heard!
The William C. Holman Correctional Facility was constructed in 1968 and 1969. The facility was officially open in December, 1969, at a cost of five million dollars.
The first prisoner was received on December 15, 1969. The Holman Correctional Facility houses Death Row inmates and is the only facility in the state that carries out executions.
The present population of Holman C. F. consists of minimum through closed custody inmates, including life without parole and Death Row inmates.
The living quarters have a total capacity of 998 available beds. There are 630 population beds with Housing Units A-D having a capacity of 114 each and Housing Unit E with a capacity of 174.
There are 7 infirmary beds. There are 200 segregation unit beds and Death Row has a capacity of 194 for a total of 1031 beds.
Holman is located ten miles north of Atmore, Alabama, just east of Highway 21 on Ross Road. The perimeter of the security compound is surrounded by two fences. The inner fence is taut wire fence with the outer fence being chain link. The compound has six towers and two perimeter vehicles, which operate twenty four hours a day.
During the hours of darkness, the perimeter is fully lighted. Thecountryside in the vicinity of Holman prison is farm and timberland. The main crops are cotton and peanuts.
Located directly behind the facility within the security compound is an industrial area consisting of a Tag Plant where all of the State’s motor vehicle tags are manufactured and a Sewing Factory which makes sheets and pillow cases that are distributed to other state prisons.
In 1991 a new Administrative building was built onto the front of the main prison within the security compound to provide needed Administrative Offices.
In the latterpart of 1995, the entire kitchen and dining area was remodeled and updated. In 2000 a newly constructed, 200 bed single cell segregation unit was put online. *In 2007 the housing units in general population were remodeled with single beds and an updated bath room area.
*The 2007 renovation was the result of a 4 day Work and Hunger Strike, which included all men in HOLMAN prison. (Kinetik Justice was the Spokesperson for the Prisoners during the negotiations and was ultimately “declared a threat to security “and when, then Warden Grant Culliver attempted to place Kinetik in Solitary Confinement Indefinitely, Attorney Tiffany Johnson Cole intervened and Kinetik was transferred to St. Clair C. F. )
Only 7 cars in the HOLMAN parking lot, only 3 officers for Death Row and Segregation, Officer just confirmed that it’s over, as all CO’s are quitting this coming week ~”We’re tired of them playing games with y’all and our lives. It doesn’t make any sense. You be safe Lil Brother.”
Well they told me they had something planned, now I see what it is.
The Administration has effectively ran their workforce off. Smh
The Women at Tutwiler Women’s Prison have reached out to Mother’s and F.A.M.ilies and F.A.M. and are requesting assistance. In resoonsr, we are planning to conduct more demonstrations at Tutwiler prison as part of the FREEDOM TOUR 2016.
Additionally, we are asking that organizers and supporters around the country locate a women’s prison, jail, or detention facility in your city or state and conduct protests there also on the same day.
In Alabama at Tutwiler, we saw where the women were being raped and abused by officers like Carter Davenport when he was a captain at Tutwiler, who was then promoted to Warden and went on to cause more hell in ADOC. Before being forced to resign, Davenport was promoted repeatedly and protected by Asst. Commissioner Grantt Culliver, who has also been involved in sexual misconduct while on the tax-payers payroll.
BEWARE: Sexual predators and enablers on the loose in Alabama.
When the women are being raped and Commissioner Culliver is off rendezvousing with his tax-payer paid secretary/mistress, then we cannot expect our women to be protected if they are left standing alone. Therefore, we are calling on organizers nationwide to help us increase the exposure being given to the plight and struggle of our #WomenBehindTheWall.
Was Asst. Commissioner Grantt Culliver out having sex with the secretary while Monica was being raped ?
Monica Washington is just one of the many women who have been raped and impregnated by a correctional officer. When the US Dept. Justice completed their report and found widespread sexual abuse at Tutwiler, they never once stated how many children were born, how many women told them that they were forced to have abortions, or who all amongst the medical staff were complicit in covering up these crimes. It’s time for the ADOC to tell us where those babies are and how many there are.
When “The People’s Platform ” hosted the Scott Sisters from Mississippi, they told us of how they knew of women who had given birth to four and five children. This is a national issue, supported by medical professionals who work at prisons, and the children are unaccounted for and have no parents at home. Where do the children go when the mother has no family while the father has a family at home that doesn’t know about his criminal sexual behavior at work?
Mother’s and F.A.M.ilies
P.O. Box 186
New Market, AL 35761
EMERGENCY ALERT: F.A.M. PRESS RELEASE FOR HOLMAN PRISON
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SERIOUS HUMANITARIAN CRISIS AND HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS DEVELOPING AT HOLMAN PRISON
Pas. Kenneth S. Glasgow
The Ordinary People’s Society
FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT
Atmore, Alabama. September 16, 2016
A serious humanitarian crisis is developing at Holman prison as correctional officers continue to walk off of the job amid concerns about safety and apathy from Warden Terry Raybon and the office of ADOC Commissioner Jefferson S Dunn, as violence, including deadly stabbings and assaults continue to mount.
Several officers expressed dismay and fear after learning that two of their fellow officers, Officer Brian Ezell and another officer, reported to Warden Raybon that they had knives drawn on them and their lives threatened, and that neither Warden Raybon, nor Commissioners Jeff Dunn and Grantt Culliver would take any action to ensure their safety. Both of these officers then quit.
Several other officers have also quit in the past three weeks after witnessing a stabbing of a fellow officer in the temple and who had remained hospitalized with life threatening injuries until he was pronounced dead earlier today. This after a former warden, Carter Davenport, was stabbed in March amidst back to back riots and other violence at Holman.
Now, after seeing Warden Raybon release approximately 20 people from segregation on September 13, 2016, most of whom were all in segregation for violent incidents (only to see several stabbing take place, including one critically injured and another losing an eye), a total of eight more officers have either quit or turned in their two week notices. Officers are expressing concern that the Commissioners of the ADOC are intentionally exacerbating violence at the expense of human life in efforts to push forward their plan to extort the public for 1.5 billion to build new prisons in next years Legislative Session.
Officers have began to express support for the Non-Violent stance of FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT and their efforts to expose corruption, violence and other issues plaguing Holman and other Alabama prisons, and have went so far as to make repeated requests to Warden Raybon for the release of F.A.M. co-founder and organizer Kinetik Justice from solitary confinement, because officers now feel that he is being wrongfully detained and because he has repeatedly demonstrated the ability to conduct peaceful demonstrations at Holman prison to bring attention to issues within the ADOC and Holman prison.
We are asking that everyone call Commissioner Dunn and Warden Raybon and demand that they post daily reports of the staffing levels and incidents of violence taking place at Holman as a matter of public safety.
We are further requesting assistance in finding a Human Rights attorney and human rights observers to report to Holman immediately, as the level of violence is skyrocketing, and the men at Holman are left in a virtual war zone to fend for themselves, while officers continue to walk off the job in what is already the most understaffed prison in America. Officers are so afraid to enter the dorms that routine security functions like conducting count are being done by the incarcerated men themselves, and video footage attesting to this fact are widely available online and across social media.
Family members of those incarcerated at Holman are requested to call Commissioner Dunn and Culliver continuously, and demand that their loved ones be immediately removed from Holman, as there are insufficient officers to secure the prison.
FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT
Warden Terry Raybon
Holman Correctional Facility
Commissioner Jefferson Dunn
Commissioner Grantt Culliver
334-353-3883 (switchboard operator)
Police stabbed in the kitchen at Holman. He was transported to hospital but doesn’t look like he will make it.
On March 24, 1988, six black (6) teens (Roland Martin, Fred Brown, Steve Stewart, Melvin Ray, Archie Hamlet, and Curtis Richardson) were arrested in the early morning hours after an attempted burglary of a department store in Gadsden, Alabama.
After being arrested, the youth were all taken to a police station where they were interrogated by several officers (all white) for several hours. By the time the interrogations ended, well after 3:00 am, the youth were charged collectively with over 30 counts (appx. 5 to 6 counts each ) for many other unsolved burglaries in Gadsden. These children did not have any attorney present during these interrogations and no attempt was made to contact any of their parents until after the interrogations had ended.
Some parents were reached, some weren’t.
Later that same morning, these 6 children were taken before a judge for a “probable cause hearing.” None of the parents attended this impromptu hearing. And, none of the youth were represented by counsel. Somehow, with no opportunity to be heard, without any counsel, and with little to no evidence beyond the word of the police officers, the judge allowed for probable cause to be stipulated to for all 6 youth.
It is not known who the court allowed to stipulate to anything in behalf of the Gadsden 6 youth, but the record clearly shows that this is what occurred. We know that children could not stipulate to probable cause or anything else for themselves, and we know that no lawyers were appointed in the case until weeks later, in April; so the stipulation was not made by an attorney.
As a result of this stipulation, all 6 children were ordered to be detained in detention facilities pending further proceedings.
The next event to take place in these proceedings took place on April 6, 1988, when attorney J.B. Lofton was appointed.
This appointment of counsel came after these children had already been before a judge and after the court had already authorized custody to be taken from the parents.
Finally, with counsel now appointed, the judge set a hearing for April 28, 1988, and for the first time, issued notice and summons’ to the parents.
However, on April 27, 1988, just one day before the hearing was scheduled, the prosecutor filed a motion to transfer all of the cases of the children to the circuit court for prosecution as adults (for all non-violent property offenses). The juvenile judge granted pprosecutor’s motion that same day that it was filed !!!
The children were all transferred to adult without a hearing, without a lawyer being present, and without any of the children or their parents being present. In fact, apparently no one but the judge and the prosecutor ( the same two parties from the March 24 probable cause “stipulation” hearing) were even aware that such motion had even been filed. Proof that the attorney did not perform any services throughout these proceedings can be gleamed from the fact that his declaration for fees was voided right after it was filed.
In the end, these children suffered convictions in adult court for offenses that they never had legal representation on at critical stages of the proceedings , namely, during the interrogations and initial arrest, at the probable cause hearing when someone was allowed to stipulate to probable cause in behalf of the children, and when judge granted the prosecutor’s motion to transfer the cases to adult court. Of course, all of this was/is illegal.
All or most of these children suffered collateral consequences as a result of the actions taken in the juvenile court, including having these illegal prior convictions used against them both in and out of court, including two of whom who have had these illegal non- violent prior convictions used to enhance future sentences to Life Without Parole under Alabama’s Habitual Felony Offender Act.
We are asking that you support the Gadsden 6 as they fight for Juvenile Justice in Alabama.
WRONGFUL CONVICTIONS ALABAMA
Mothers and Families
P.O Box 186
New Market, AL 35761
Look for MAF on Facebook @ Maf Fam
Greeting from Mothers and F.A.M.lilies:
May this letter find you in the best of spirit and health in spite of your circumstance of being incarcerated in Alabama. We hope to lift your spirit by letting you know that we are in this fight with you for freedom, justice and civil and human rights until the end. Over the past 3 years, we have been fighting relentlessly alongside FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT and all others for justice in Alabama. Among our many activities have been:
1) Conducting protests at numerous prisons and in Montgomery to help bring awareness to the problems with ADOC, including the need for a mass release;
2) Promoting the Alabama FREEDOM BILL and demanding its passage by the Alabama Legislature;
3) Hosting rallies and workshops under the banner of INCARCERATED LIVES MATTER at Kelly Ingram Park in Birmingham, Alabama;
4) Meeting with local, state and federal official to address police brutality and other forms of corruption in ADOC;
5) Fighting for real wages for labor in ADOC so that working men and women can send money home to their families and children instead of enriching politicians in Montgomery;
6) Demanding changes to the Alabama parole board to provide for more paroles and more clearly defined criteria for mandatory parole;
7) Transparency and media access inside of ADOC; and more.
For the remainder of 2016, M.A.F. will be coordinating and conducting a Freedom Tour 2016 to canvas all of the prisons in the State of Alabama to garner support from more mothers and family members for our Movement to end Mass Incarceration in Alabama and throughout the Nation. If you are interested in becoming a part of this Movement or if you have any information that may be of use to us, please contact us.
Lastly, we want to remind everyone that the fight against Governor Bentley’s Alabama Prison Transformation Initiative Act and the construction of new prisons spending millions of dollars in Alabama is not over. The bill will now head to the Senate floor for debate and a vote in the next regular session of the Alabama Legislature. Be sure to contact your State Representatives to let them know that we oppose this plan. We want Education, Rehabilitation and Re- Entry Programs, not more economic exploitation and abuse.
Mothers and F.A.M.ilies
Update in relations to the Alabama department of Corrections, at the Elmore facility in Elmore county.
A white middle aged man was found collapsed inside of DORM A-1 just a few moments ago. The officer that eventually responded was C.O. 1 Scroggins, failed to administer CPR. The man was unresponsive and had turned blue. The shift leader Sgt. Richardson was called to the scene and he responded nonchalantly, taking his time, and without being prepared with an emergency CPR to attempt a life saving maneuver in which each Correctional officer has training in. Officer Woodget pushed the unresponsive inmate slowly to the back gate of Elmore where the inmate has to be taken to another facility in order to receive medical attention. WHY IS THAT? BECAUSE THERE IS NO MEDICAL PERSONNEL AT ELMORE CORRECTIONAL FACILITY. THIS ALONE IS NOT ACCEPTABLE!! Note the man died and now Elmore is in lockdown due to the administration. Please CONTACT media and state representatives about this. I’ll update with the man’s name!
Confirmation in inmates name…a one, Walter Lemons, confirmed also he died during being taken from the dorm to the back gate of Elmore, and no CPR administered, nor any other attempt to save his life.
Greeting from FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT
Join us on June 25. 2016 , beginning at 2 pm for our “INCARCERATED LIVES MATTER ” event at Kelly Ingram Park, in Birmingham , Alabama.
We will be discussing issues that affect
the lives of those incarcerated in the Alabama Department of Corrections and devising solutions to the problems that we are experiencing with mass incarceration. Topics of discussion will include:
1) Developing plans for a mass release and improved conditions of confinement that will be coordinated through class-civil litigation, calls for intervention by the US Dept of Justice, the United Nation, and other affiliate organizations, including the National Movement Against Mass Incarceration and PrisonSlavery, The Ordinary Peoples Society, Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee, and others;
2) Overhauling Alabama’s Parole Board to include demands for an “automatic” parole eligibilty criteria;
3) Revising Alabama’s Habitual Felony Offender Act and abolishing sentences of LWOP and the death penalty; solitary confinement; mental health treatments and release of the mentally ill; protecting the rights of women; expansion of rights to children who have a patent incarcerated ;
4) Changing laws that allow for children to be prosecuted as adults and substantially amending Alabama’s First Offender and Youthful Offender laws;
5) Promoting Free Alabama Movement’s “FREEDOM BILL” for Education, Rehabilitation, and Re-Entry Preparadness;
6) Ending free labor and other economic exploitations in Alabama prisons;
freealabamamovement@Gmail.com, mothersandfamilies3@Gmail.com, or call 256-203-4371.
Free food and refreshments, and limited free transportation will be available.
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.
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.
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.
Showers filled with mole and bacteria.
Tarps being used to contain leaks in roof.
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 |
Today, May 3, 2016, there sits over 2.5 million people in the prisons, jails, and immigration detention facilities throughout u.s.a.
In one form of another, most of us are “subjects” to a government program called mass incarceration. The people who have been the targets and victims of this program are mostly poor, black and brown, but also include every nationality and race in u.s.a.
Some are collateral consequences, while others are mentally ill. The thing that all have in common is that we are being oppressed by our own government for the service of a for-profit business model that has taken over America’s prisons.
For addicts, there is no rehabilitation. For the mentally ill, there are no services. For those who committed “crimes”, there is no educational or job training. There is only a profit motive for ALL. There is no doubt that there are also many innocent, overcharged, self-rehabilitated, and simply underserving people still trapped with no way out.
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)…”
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)
“As incarceration rates increase, parole has become a critical mechanism for controlling Alabama’s bulging prison population. In the early 1990s, a significant portion of Alabama’s prisoners were paroled, but in the past two decades parole grants plummeted even as prison overcrowding reached crisis proportions.The Attorney General’s Office opposes nearly all parole grants and has even pressured Parole Board members into rescinding parole determinations.” – EJI
This is why we must DEMAND that Alabama overhaul its Parole Process by creating a criteria for those incarcerated and once that criteria is met Parole is MANDATORY rather than based on the feelings of a Board that doesn’t even know the people being considered.
FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT
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
The vast majority of people that are charged with a crime have no knowledge of the law or the court procedures, therefore they are appointed an attorney- paid for by the same people seeking to convict you. In most instances, these court appointed attorneys are given a flat rate payment, have a case load of paying clients and no incentive to fight for their court appointed clients. In fact they persuade most clients to plead guilty regardless of the evidence.
However, that is not the worst part, as once a person is convicted and sent to prison, they have absolutely no counsel. You become your own attorney and you are expected to know the law, court procedures, time limitations and the protocol for writing legal documents.
It is documented that a person’s lack of knowledge and skills in Court Proceedings is no excuse.
It’s odd that these people really expect a common person to know and understand the law when it takes lawyers, judges, district attorneys, and etc. 6 to 8 years of school to learn the basics of the law. As, even after they complete school many still don’t know enough to be successful in their practice- it takes experience in the court room to actually be competent enough to be labeled successful at it.
So how in the Hell can it logically be expected of everyday Men, Women and Children – many without a high school education – know what it takes to win in a court room?
By the time he/she learns enough to defend themself and understand the level of comprehension it takes to be successful in most cases, it’s too late due to deadlines to file a proper petition.
A lawyer is supposedly appointed to represent you in order to defend or protect your rights but really they are appointed to keep you in the blind to the evil plot the judicial system is laying out against you and your life. I speak from first hand observations and experience, as I’m a living witness to how it works.
The actions or lack of proper actions by my -and thousands of others- Court Appointed Attorney contributed to my Wrongful Conviction. Then continued improper actions lead to myself-and thousands of others- being Procedurally Barred from adequate Appellate Reviews.
This is a sad and tragic reality for far to many people- Tricked into a Slave System then expected to know how to correct it, in a set limit of time.
It’s a Set-up …by design and scheme. …
We can sit back and allow it to continue or We can Organize then create OUTREACH STREET LAW / LIFE SKILLS PROGRAMS in our Communities. With an Educational Curriculum that teaches Our Children the laws and procedures before they come into contact with the Legal System-As statistics verify that millions of them will in their lifetime.
A Curriculum that informs and teaches about:
1. History of the US Constitution
2. What is the Law?
a. United State Code Service
b. Code of 1975
c. Procedural Law
3. Rules of Court:
a. Criminal Procedures
c. Appellate Procedure
d. Post Conviction Procedure
e. Civil Procedures
4. Habeas Corpus/ 2254 U.S.C.S Petition
5. Certificate of Appealability (COA )
6. Writ of Certiorari/ US SUPREME COURT
This is just a suggested curriculum, based on HALIFAX COUNTY (Where I learned and observed the results). If you choose to accept or follow this curriculum or not– we NEED Men and Women, in our Community, with the knowledge and skills to create some kind of programs that counter the IGNORANCE OF THE LAW Set Up.
KNOWLEDGE is the only remedy to this Systems IGNORANCE OF THE LAW. .IS NO EXCUSE sickness.
FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT AVERS…
The ADOC’s practice of Housing men and women in a system that is over 190% its designed capacity is a willful disregard for the health, safety and security of over 25,000 Incarcerated Citizens. This practice is a violation of Humane and Constitutional standards. —– To properly reduce Overcrowding down to Constitutional standards would afford thousands of Fathers, Mothers, Sons and Daughters an opportunity to rebuild their lives. And for those still in the prison system, it would reduce the congestion inside the dormitories, reduce the level of violence and spread of diseases. Overall it would contribute to a more sanitary and humane living environment.
The ADOC’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. Therefore, ADOC’s Economical policy of Free Labor is counter productive to rehabilitation and is exploitative and demeaning.
The ADOC’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.
Something has got to be done. This place is a war zone. We have been under quarantine for months for a TB outbreak and being no one can come or go it has been crazy.
The children that they have here are daily robbing and fighting, and because there is no segregation unit here the administration are being forced to use makeshift areas to house the trouble makers: the barber shop the law library class rooms etc.
Yesterday there was a fight and they put the two inmates back in the same dorm which led to more problems. Then there’s the heat: it’s so hot in these small overcrowded dorms with only two showers for 68 inmates. There are no screens in the windows, so not only do we have to deal with the heat but the flies and other insects as well.
The kitchen is the worst I’ve seen: no ventilation when we go in to eat. It’s so hot it makes you sick to try to eat and then there’s the flies and nats and dirty tables something has got to be done.
The Warden here should have been fired years ago he don’t care. You have officers here that are just as dangerous but I’m glad they are because if they wasn’t this place would have long ago exploded with uncontrollable violence.
I have been gone for almost 29 years and with what I see here it scares me to know that in society you all are having to deal with these mentalities of youths with guns. I saw my classification specialist today and I had already been told that she don’t do nothing. Well because I am a voice that’s not afraid to speak out I was told that I wouldn’t be put back in for my custody and transfer I Until October, yet others are told 90 days for me it’s 6 months.
I was suppose to go to court on August 3 on the actions of Childetsburg CC but due to the quarantine being extended that will be postponed. I was just informed that they have an inmate housed in the backwater shake down area somebody needs to do something!
Note: Staton CF is at 2690 Marion Spillway Road, Elmore , AL 36025
April 29, 2015
By MOTHERS AND F.A.M.ilies
RE: PROTEST AT ST. CLAIR AGAINST POLICE BRUTALITY AND COVER-UP OF CORRUPTION BY LT. RONALD CARTER AND THE RIOT TEAM
WHEN: Saturday, May 2, 2015, @ 11:30 am
WHERE: ST. Clair prison, Springville, AL
Contact: Ms. Antonia Brooks
On May 2, 2015, family members, friend, and loved ones of those who are incarcerated in ADOC are being asked to attend the protest at St. Clair prison against the police brutality by ADOC.
On April 17, 2017, Lt. Ronald Carter sparked more violence and police brutality at St. Clair prison when he beat Xavier Austin while in handcuffs. On this same night, another officer left his assigned security post and attempted to assault another man. These assaults, and the acts of self-defense in the face of this violence resulted in the RIOT TEAM being called into St. Clair on April 17 2015, and resulted in over 25 men being beaten by the RIOT TEAM.
The ADOC is attempting to cover up this police brutality with a bogus investigation that has resulted in over 10 black men being charged with assault against Lt. Carter, but there have been no calls for any investigation into the police brutality claims, which were recorded and photographed. The ADOC is charging these men – all Black – in this matter based on “confidential sources”, but with no evidence of any kind, and in some instances even where ADOC’s own records show that these men are innocent.
While at St. Clair, Lt. Carter has been named in more lawsuits for police brutality, several pending rigt now, including one filed by Bryan Stevenson of EQUAL JUSTICE INITIATIVE, which includes an incident where Lt. Carter choked a handcuffed man nearly to death and another man, Ventura Harris, was beaten by Lt. Carter’s subordinates while he stood and watched. Mr. Harris required over 15 staples to patch his skull back together.
Also, several officers signed a petition that was circulated at St. Clair by Officer Brian Fife, where they were complaining about the abuse and bullying tactics by Lt. Carter towards officers. Lt. Carter has also been accused of sexual harassment by at least one female correctional officer.
We are asking all family members, friends, loved ones and supporters to attend this protest to “STOP POLICE BRUTALITY BY ADOC”, and to demand justice for those who have been wrongfully accused and/or beaten as a result of the actions of Lt. Carter. Stop this cover-up now and demand accountability against police brutality.
FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT
FREE MISSISSIPPI MOVEMENT
FREE MISSISSIPPI MOVEMENT UNITED
MISSISSIPPI SOUTHERN BELLES
FREE DA TEAM
MOTHERS AND F.A.M.ilies
George Jackson University
Ida B. Wells Coalition
Black Autonomy Federation
San Francisco Bay View
PLEASE SHARE/NOTIFY NEWS MEDIA
Deep Down South in Alabama
I been down the dirt roads deep down south in Alabama I tended the cotton fields prayed in the shack and folded clothes til the sunsets deep down south in Alabama but when the night falls me and the brothers and sisters meet remembering our land before we were took from the belly of our mother singing songs of redemption and suddenly life is put into these tired hands and feet the drum is beat the fires lit and we fade into the ecstasy of oneness the connection the struggle the joy the bliss and being happy that I nor they are from this terrible land deep down south in Alabama.
FREE THE F.A.M. 3: Non Violent and Peaceful Demonstrations threatened ADOC’s “Violent Culture of Control” Policies
FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT
P.O. BOX 186
NEW MARKET, AL 35761
“FREEDOM OR DEATH. AINT NUTHIN ELSE. . . STOP PLAYING WITH THE CONCEPT.” Dhati
Ever since solitary confinement came into existence, it has been used as a tool of repression.
While it is justified by corrections officials as necessary to protect prisoners and guards from violent super predators, all too often it is imposed on individuals, particularly prisoners of color, who threaten prison administrations in an altogether different way. Consistently, jailhouse lawyers and jailhouse doctors, who administer to the needs of their fellow prisoners behind bars, are placed in solitary confinement. They are joined by political prisoners from various civil rights and independence movements.”
And that’s exactly what Alabama is doing with their Solitary Confinement- using it to repress and torture anyone that speaks the words FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT. For exposing Alabama’s on going Human Rights violation James Pleasant, Robert Earl Council and Melvin Ray were targeted, singled out and labeled “threats to the security of the ADOC,” then placed in Solitary Confinement with indeterminate sentences.
At the time that these men made their decisions to address the ongoing Civil and Human Rights violations that were apparent in the ADOC, the prisons were historically overcrowded, there was a wave of violence brewing statewide throughout the prisons, living conditions were deplorable, food and healthcare we severely substandard and causing many illnesses and death, and the prison administrators, commissioners, and wardens were all refusing to respond and address the complaints.
Then, on January 1, 2014, under the banner of FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT, a Non-Violent and Peaceful Protest for Civil and Human Rights was launched at Holman Prison, as over 1000 men went on shutdown [work stoppage].
Three days later, on January 4, 2014, 1300 more at St. Clair Prison joined in. These demonstrations remained peaceful the entire time. ADOC officials acknowledged to the AP that these demonstrations were peaceful:
“On Saturday, Alabama Department of Corrections spokesman Brian Corbett acknowledged to the Associated Press that since New Year’s Day, at least some prisoners have refused to work in kitchen and laundry areas and perform other jobs.”
“Corbett told the AP that the protests at the St. Clair and Holman Correctional facilities have been peaceful . . .”
Unfortunately for approximately 8 families with loved ones in ADOC, these peaceful ended too soon, because over the course of the next 14 months after the demonstrations ended, with no intervention or improvements from ADOC, approximately 8 men were killed. and hundreds more have been stabbed.
* Our beloved Lil Mook, Marquette Cummins, who came to prison at 17 lost his physical life on January 6, 2015, on the second day of the shutdown. His Spirit lives on and serves as a reminder to us all that we must bring these prisons to an end because they ccontinue to take life, yet give nothing of value in return.
Also, at the same time that these peaceful demonstrations were concluding, the US DOJ issued a report detail the two-decades long horror story that emanated from Julia Tutwiler Women’s Prison in Wetumpka, AL.
According to the report, which was completed after a long investigation, the women confined at Tutwiler had been raped, impregnated, sexually assaulted, abused and exploited for sex for over two decades. Children were born. Children were aborted. Women were beaten and raped, and it was estimated that at least 1/3 of the ENTIRE corrections staff had been involved in the abuses. In that time, less than 10 officers has been prosecuted, and the most time handed out was 6 months, with one officer getting 5 days.
Now, approximately 14 months later, and exclusively for organizing a “non-violent and peaceful protest”, these three men, Robert Earl Council, James Pleasant, and Melvin Ray, have all been labelled a “security threat”. In addition, F.A.M. and the family members and supporters, including those who had lost a loved one to the violence and who were supporting F.A.M.’s call for an end to the violence, were also labelled as a security threat.
Under ADOC rules, violence such as riots, assaults, destroying property, etc., all fall under security threats. In fact, under ADOC rules, a person who commits a murder while in ADOC custody must serve 30 [months] in solitary confinement. Yet, the people who are trying to stop this avoidable and senseless loss of life are subjected to indefinitely periods of solitary confinement. In other words, if any member of the F.A.M. 3 were guilty of committing a murder, they could look to be released from segregation in a definite period of time of 30 months, but for engaging in peaceful protests against the conditions that lead to violence and murder, these men became “security threats.”
Not a single ADOC rules prohibits “Non-Violent and Peaceful” demonstrations. In fact, the right to peacefully assemble is guaranteed and protected by the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
In response to the protests, in light of the conditions that were exposed by F.A.M. on social media like YouTube and Facebook, Gov. Bentley and Sen. Cam Ward created a Prison Reform Task Force and have since verified EVERY issue that F.A.M. complained of.
Additionally, EJI followed the demonstrations by filing a lawsuit about the violence at St. Clair, were hundreds of people have been assaulted, including one person by the warden, Carter Davenport, who has since been reassigned to another prison (he was a Captain at Tutwiler during the rapes, etc.). The SPLC has filed a lawsuit on the healthcare against ADOC after the demonstrations.
When Gov. Bentley, Sen. Cam Ward, Chief Justice Roy Moore, Attn General Luther Strange and other state officials acknowledged the problems within ADOC that were exposed by F.A.M., THEY were not labelled security threats. When al.com confirmed that Warden Davenport was the root of the violence at St. Clair they were not labelled a security threat. When the US DOJ reported on the abuses at Tutwiler, they were not labelled a security threat.
But when the people who live in the violence, the very people who are forced to live in the inhumane and uncivil conditions complain about the violence with -non-violent and peaceful protests”, they are labelled a threat to security, even where the violence levels, understaffing, and decrepit conditions show that there is NO SECURITY TO THREATEN, and certainly none to threaten with “Non-Violent and Peaceful Protests!!!
Join F.A.M. as we demand answers from ADOC and other Alabama officials about why these men are being punished for complaining about these ongoing civil and human rights violations.
Are you qualified for the job?
WANTED: Director – Step 3 McDonald’s INITIATIVE: “S-To-P” the “school-to-prison” pipeline (Alabama)
“We have to confront the school to prison pipeline by confronting the economic incentive for the pipeline. Our children are being targeted for the modern slave trade know as mass incarceration FOR prison slavery. We have to organize at the companies like McDonald’s — one company at at time — who are investing in these practices.”
FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT
By Melvin Ray
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:
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.
This is a press release sent out by the Ida B. Wells Coalition:
Scroll down plz for Updates!
Support the Strike at St. Clair Correctional Facility in Alabama!
Today, 48 hours before a peaceful work stoppage starts on Sunday, March 1, at St Clair Correctional Facility (SCCF) in Springville, Ala., riot police have been sent to the prison to beat, torture, and intimidate the men incarcerated at SCCF, whose demands include an end to severe overcrowding and filthy living conditions.
[Note added 2/28: the EJI is lawyer in a class action lawsuit against St. Clair CF, plz contact them too or forward yoru emails to firstname.lastname@example.org or call them also and ask them to take note and communicate with their clients: 334-269-1803. See below for update. Thank you]
Here’s how you can support the strike and help stop the brutality against the prisoners:email@example.com
- Call SCCF’s warden, Carter Davenport, at (205)467-6111. Tell him to stop the retaliation against the prisoners, who have a right to peacefully protest against their inhumane treatment.
- Send an email to the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC). Go to the ADOC’s website, http://www.doc.state.al.us. Click contact us and then click constituent services. Type your message, addressing it to Warden Carter Davenport. Before sending your message, please sign it. (You don’t have to give your address.)
- Spread the word to others. We must flood the prison with phone calls and the ADOC with email.
JoNina Ervin – Memphis Black Autonomy Federation, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Anthony Rayson – Ida B. Wells Coalition Against Racism and Police Brutality, Email: – idabwellsinkc@gmailcom
On January 1st, 2014, the Free Alabama Movement was launched as a cross-racial collective action, with work stoppages at Holman, St. Clair and Elmore Correctional Facilities.
This is an inside-outside solidarity network that is working closely with the Ida B. Wells Coalition. We are looking to broaden the support for these courageous and conscious prisoners.
Literature created by these prisoners is available through the South Chicago ABC Zine Distro / P.O. Box 721 / Homewood, IL 60430. Check their website, etc.
Free Alabama Movement / P.O. Box 186 / New Market, Alabama 35761
Internet Radio: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/freealabamamovement
Antonia Brooks: 256.783.1044 Latosha Scott: 334.322.8989
Thanks to the efforts from the People who supported F.A.M. this morning and afternoon, the Riot Team has been ordered to leave St. Clair prison. Yet again, Brian Stevenson (EJI) seems to continue to screen his calls from the family members of the men at St. Clair.
Equal Justice Initiative has filed a class action lawsuit, but they have not returned to the prison to take any steps to protect the men from retaliation from the ADOC. In fact, despite several requests to do so, EJI and Brian Stevenson have not sent any notifications to the “class” that they claim to represent informing them of how to report retaliation or new claims.
No monitors or class representatives have been put in place at St. Clair, and many of the men at St. Clair don’t even know that the “class action” lawsuit includes them. If you have a loved one at St. Clair, we are asking that you contact EJI and demand that Brian Stevenson protect the class of plaintiffs that he and his “experts” will be getting PAID to represent.
Equal Justice Initiative
122 Commerce St.
Montgomery, Alabama 36104
Wake Up Alabama
DOC tries to address crowding in Bold letters Montgomery Advertiser January 3, 2012. After reading this story, I obtained a copy of the lawsuit filed in California and if the same was filed in Alabama, this state could be faced with the same. However, here in Alabama, the problem is a lot deeper. One of the biggest reason why Alabama’s prison system is so badly over crowded is because of the way they classify violent and non-violent offenders.
It was over five years ago that the above mentioned story was done and it has truly gotten worst. Here in the state of Alabama whenever you hear something about inmates being released its always said that it will be the non-violent offenders; the drug and property offenders, however, there are thousands of inmates in the ADOC that’s classified as violent offenders whose not actually violent at all.
Let’s look at Third Degree Robbery. By Alabama’s law code of Alabama, 1975 section 13A – 8.43 (a) A person commits the crime of Robbery in the Third Degree if in the course of committing a theft he:
- Uses force against the person of the owner or any person present with the intent to overcome his physical resistance or physical power of the resistance or,
- Threatens the imminent use of force against the person of the owner or any person present with the intent to compel acquiescence to the taking of or escaping with the property. This is a Class C Felony, sentencing range 1 yr and a 1 day to ten (10) years.
This is a crime involving no weapon and nowhere in the language of the crime’s elements does it mention violence. Yet, here in the state of Alabama, it’s considered a violent case. They say it’s the threat of violence, but the naked truth in any crime has the potential to become violent.
A shoplifter steals a pack of candy and is approached by security, it can instantly become violent if the shoplifter: (A) Fights (B) Pulls a weapon or (C) If it’s the security guard that fights, overreacts and uses a weapon.
Another perfect example, Friday, February 3, 2012 in The Enterprise Ledger, a man was shot by someone breaking into his car; Theft turned Violent.
What do you think, should a person be considered a violent offender if he has never injured anyone, Or if he’s never been convicted of a crime where a weapon was used?
Deep rooted flaws in the Alabama Prison System is why our system is screwed.
Let’s look at on facility with two classes of inmates: Community Work Center (CWC) / Work Release:
Community Work Center – Minimum out Inmates.
These Inmates are allowed to work in society. They wear white state issued clothes and they work City Sanitations, Police Departments, Senior Centers, Colleges, Parks and Recreation and the Road Crews. The State (DOC) is given $1500 per day per inmate and the inmate is given $200 per day.
These inmates are those convicted of many crimes to include manslaughter. Some can go to work release and some can’t.
Work Release – Minimum Community
These Inmates are allowed to work in society on private jobs and wear their own clothes. They can take passes home. These Inmates are convicted of many crimes to include: Assault, Robbery First with a weapon or injury.
The State gets most of their money.
On December 12, 2012, I ended a (25) year sentence for Theft of Property and began on Life for Robbery Third. It took me nearly 23 years to make it to a community work center in May, 2010.
For over two years, I’ve worked in the kitchen as the Baker and Store Room Clerk. After arriving at my present facility I’ve worked for the sanitation and parks and recreation and I never had a problem on my job.
However, because I am classified as a violent offender and because ADOC says I have (3) or more convictions involving either the threat of a weapon or injury resulting from the use of a weapon:
I am barred from Work Release.
Nowhere in the Language of Robbery 3rd does it states threat of a weapon, but because of the original charge of Robbery 1st DOC says it’s violent. I was not convicted for a crime in the court but I am serving time for what I wasn’t convicted for.
The difference between in an Inmate in Work Release and myself is the dress code, I wear white and he wears street clothes. He works and gets paid by the hour; I get $30 to $40 added to my account each month to be spent back to DOC and he gets passes home, I don’t.
I have served nearly 30 years in prison and I am not alone. Whenever I go up for parole they insure that a protestor is present, when is Enough! Is Enough! This a deep rooted problem and it’s time for a change.
More to come!
By: Ismail Shabazz
By KINETIK JUSTICE
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.”
WHO DEFINES CRIME & WHO IS THE CRIMINAL?
In direct response to this Constitutional mandate, every southern state created an array of “stay in your place” laws. Which, by design, methodically criminalized every aspect if African American life. History has well documented that Alabama took this mandate to heart. As from its inception, 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 13the 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.
The history books are replete with examples of Alabama’s blatant racially motivated enactment of laws targeting young Africans males. Even to this day, Alabama openly applies its laws discrimately, 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 attorneys” 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”. Though not discriminatory on their face nor in literal wording, but let’s examine the Legislatures motive and the District Attorneys statewide application—
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.
As stated earlier, the statute doesn’t appear to be discriminatory from a literal reading. – “They have long learned how to change the language of oppression without changing the conditions. It’s the Art of Rhetoric.”
LETS LOOK AT ITS APPLICATION
In February of 1994, Oeatha Archie III was alleged to have been sitting in a vehicle, when he fatally shot someone that was outside the vehicle. Oeatha was charged with Capital Murder, then sentenced to Life Without Parole.
In September of 1994, Tony Knight was alleged to have been standing outside a vehicle, when he fatally shot someone that fell into a vehicle. Tony was charged with Capital Murder, then sentenced to Life Without Parole.
In October of 1994, Brian Smith was alleged to have been sitting in his vehicle, when he fatally shot someone that was outside the vehicle. Brian was charged with Capital Murder, then sentenced to Life Without Parole.
In October of 1996, Dennis McGriff was alleged to have been sitting inside a vehicle, when he fatally shot someone outside the vehicle. Dennis was charged with Capital Murder, then sentenced to Death by Electrocution.
All 4 were young black males when they were arrested. And there are several other young black males, languishing away with Life Without Parole, in the Alabama prison system, with identical situations.
In November of 1999, Shirley Henson was alleged to have been sitting in a vehicle, when she fatally shot someone outside the vehicle. From the very beginning, the District Attorney and the Media labeled this a case of “Road Rage”. Capital Murder was never mentioned nor considered, as Henson was charged and convicted of a much lesser charge of “heat of passion” manslaughter, then sentenced to 13 years. Shirley Henson just happened to be a middle class white lady.
So the question becomes, WHAT MADE SHIRLEY HENSON DIFFERENT FROM OEATHA ARCHIE, TONY KNIGHT, BRIAN SMITH AND DENNIS McGRIFF???
It’s obvious that race matters when Prosecutors decide who to charge with Capital Murder. However, the Prosecutors in Calhoun County didn’t get the memo for how the statute was to be applied.
As in March of 2003, Phillip Fondren, a white male, was charged with Capital Murder, for shooting from a vehicle when the victim was outside the vehicle. Fondren was even sentenced to Life Without Parole.
HOLD UP, WAIT A MINUTE!!!
Due to Phillip Fondren’s case, the Alabama Legislature stepped in and sought to clarify the intent of the “drive-by shooting laws.”
In March if 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)…”
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 a 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 legislatures 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. But it didn’t, in fact the Attorney General has refused to respect the legislatures resolution. In a Declaratory Judgment filed by Brian Smith – asking the Court to declare the application of the ” drive-by shooting” statute as unconstitutional, the Attorney General argued that 13A-5-40(18) did not itself state that it applied only to gang related murder and the resolution was just the legislatures opinion. However, all judges are not so disrespectful to the intentions and clarification of the law makers of this State. As former Supreme Court Justice Sue Bell Cobb has urged the legislature to go one step further, and amend the “drive-by shooting” statutes, so that the plain language of the statute will effectuate the legislatures intent ad expressed in House Joint Resolution 575(Act No. 2006-642).
There are also a few Circuit Court Judges that have given effect to the legislatures Resolution. In Huntsville, Alabama, Madison County Circuit Judge Loyd H. Little reduced Walter Lamont Perry’s Capital Murder charge to regular murder. Assistant D.A. Bill Starnes stated the reason for the charge being reduced as: “The law on shooting into an occupied vehicle has changed because the Alabama Legislature recently indicated that the intent of the law was to address “drive-by shootings” and because the vehicle was stationary when the fatal shooting occurred, the death penalty charge no longer applied.” Based upon the foregoing and the House Joint Resolution as well as the urging of former Supreme Court Justice Sue Bell Cobb, FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT is campaigning to make the Legislature amend the Capital Murder statute to reflect their true intentions, as stated in the House Joint Resolution 575.
Free Alabama Movement
*For Immediate Release*
January 26, 2015
Contact: Ann Brooks (256)783-1044
February 1 Protest To Highlight Inhumane Conditions In Alabama Prisons
(Springville, Ala.) – Demanding an end to the filthy living conditions on Alabama’s death row and “a culture of violence” carried out by officials throughout the state’s maximum security prisons, families and friends of the men, women and children who are incarcerated in Alabama prisons will hold a peaceful protest on Sunday, Feb. 1.
Sponsored by the Free Alabama Movement (FAM), the protest will begin at 11:30 a.m.in front of the St. Clair Correctional Facility (SCCF), located at 1000 St. Clair Road in Springville.
FAM was started by men in Alabama state prisons to expose “the deplorable conditions and the slave labor inside the cement walls” of the state’s prisons. FAM has posted videos on You Tube in which over 80 men who are incarcerated in the Alabama Department of Corrections give their personal accounts about the inhumane living conditions they endure in Alabama prisons.
Three Alabama maximum security prisons, St. Clair CF, Holman Correctional Facility, and Donaldson Correctional Facility, all went on lockdown at some point in the past 10 days due to violent-related incidents.
Men and women are confined to their 8 by 12 foot cells 24 hours a day during lockdowns, and their family members
and friends cannot visit them.
On Jan. 25, several men on death row at Holman held a peaceful protest. Holman officials have denied these men use of equipment to clean their cells, and these men are being forced to eat cold sack lunches three times
a day. “We are human beings. Just because we’re on death row doesn’t mean that we have to live like animals,” said one death row inmate. The guards used pepper spray to punish the peaceful protesters in the segregation unit at Holman who were also protesting the inhumane living conditions.
SCCF has turned into one of the most dangerous prisons in America, according to the FAM. The prison’s warden, Carter Davenport was previously suspended in 2012 for assaulting a man confined at St. Clair in the head while he was handcuffed.
Riot police have been called in at SCCF, according to FAM. In the last two weeks, there have been at least 20 incidents in which people were stabbed or assaulted by an officer, at SCCF. Prisoner Jarvis “Flame” Jenkins was beaten twice by guards and was seen with blood dripping from his clothes. Another SCCF prisoner, Derrick LaKeith Brown, has been hospitalized with injuries for a week.
Prison officials Warden Walter Myers and Captain Darryl Fails, and others, removed James Pleasant from his cell at Holman on January 23, 2015, and told him that he, Robert E. Council (Holman) and Melvin Ray (St. Clair), known as the FAM 3, were problems to the ADOC and threatened to kill them for exposing inhumane and illegal conditions inside Alabama prisons.
FAM has been organizing Non-Violent and Peaceful Protests throughout the ADOC since January 1, 2015, when over a three week perios, over 4500 men participated in the demonstrated, which were supported by their families, friends, loved ones, and supporters nationwide.
For more information, call Ann Brooks at (256)783-1044.
UPDATED: On January 27, 2015, St. Clair CF went back on lockdown, where the overcrowding and lack of leadership from Warden Carter Davenport continues to cause a violent atmosphere.
Remember Young Brother Rocrast Mack.
“STOP THE VIOLENCE, WARDEN DAVENPORT MUST GO”
“Another officer approached Mr. Mack and ordered him to get on the ground. Witnesses saw Mr. Mack comply with these orders and quickly get on his knees and place his hands on his head. Soon after, at least five other officers, including Lieutenant Michael Smith, arrived at the scene after responding to a call for back-up.
Even though Mr. Mack was on his knees and subdued, witnesses report that officers violently assaulted Mr. Mack. Officers beat Mr. Mack with batons and fists, striking his head, face, and body.
The correctional officer who initially got Mr. Mack to submit to arrest tried to intervene and attempted to pull the officers off of Mr. Mack and put himself between Mr. Mack and the assaulting officers. This officer was threatened by other guards and forced to retreat. Lieutenant Smith was heard to say that the guards were going to kill Mr. Mack.”
FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT
“WE GOT POWER”
We got Power y’all, and its the FREE labor and other money that we are providing to the ADOC.
Right now, the ADOC is getting appx. 2 to 3 billion dollars per year (IF NOT MORE !!) off of us from: work release, court costs and filing fees, production of license plates, cattle ranch, print shops, furniture plant, fleet services, chemical plant, fish pond, sand, recycling, farming, telephone calls, medical co-pays, canteen and much more.
We also work in the Montgomery warehouse, honor camps, kitchens, laundries, runners, libraries, dorm cleaners, and so much more, all for free.
WE PROVIDE THIS LABOR, AND THIS IS OUR POWER !!!
WE GOT POWER, and WE have to use, take it away from the ADOC, and make them change our living conditions, change parole, changes arbitrary sentencing, and allow us to earn our FREEDOM.
“WE GOT POWER”
BUSINESSMEN TALK DOLLARS, POLITICIANS TALK VOTES
When statesmen ruled the halls of politics, you could go to them and talk politically in terms effecting change based on how many votes you can bring in. Exchanges were made based on those numbers.
Nowadays, businessmen rule the halls of politics. Therefore, instead of talking number of votes, you have to be talking money. If you ain’t talking money, they ain’t listening.
Mass incarceration is now atleast a 500 billion dollar industry.
In Alabama, those numbers are somewhere between 2 and 3 billion dollars. That should give you an idea of the type of financial impact that your coalition must have in order to gain their attention. If we want to see changes in the system, we have to understand the business model that we are in.
And please remember that we are dealing with businessmen, not politicians. This is a very important distinction.
State officials made a surprise announcement on Tuesday that Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) Commissioner Kim Thomas has resigned.
In the same press release, the Governor’s office also announced Colonel Jefferson S. Dunn will become the new commissioner after he retires from United States Air Force in March.
Billy Sharp will take over as interim commissioner. Sharp is well-known in Tuscaloosa County where he recently served as interim sheriff and as a volunteer instructor with the Alabama Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission for 37 years at the Tuscaloosa Academy. He also worked at the Alabama Criminal Justice Center for 31 years.
This is a follow-up Article plus Affidavit by Ismail Shabazz, who is in Childersburg Comm. Work Center, and he can be reached by writing him at:
Ismail Shabazz, #155100
Childersburg Comm. Work Center
P.O. Box 368
Childersburg, AL 35044-0368
By Spokesperson Ray
FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT will and always has been a Movement by our Youth and for our Youth. I admire and respect this “next” generation that I have had the privilege and opportunity to be around and share values, knowledge and learn with.
I remember the formative stages on F.A.M. here at St. Clair, and it was the Youth who inspired, encouraged and supported this Movement, and I have unquestioned Faith that one or more of these young men will rise up and take complete control and leadership of this Movement against this system of mass incarceration and prison slavery that they have been educated about and are now beginning to understand and organize against.
Thousands of our Youth have saw their lives destroyed by a system without cause. They will not remain idle to these effects, nor will they stand by and allow their Genocide to continue on forever. In 2015, the struggle will continue . . . and the talented and brilliant Youth will continue to step forward and lead FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT!!
This is not the first time that the ADOC administration has sought to stop positive programs from being implemented. At St. Clair, a program called Convicts Against Violence was founded by Mr. Earl “Tyrese” Taylor in efforts to stop violence at this prison. At the time, this was the only program that offered any type of educational and mentoring classes in the dorms that house the majority of young black men.
The success of this program in stopping violence and educating these men cannot be disputed because ADOC’s own record prove that violence was down to all-time low levels, and class enrollment was over 98%.
But crime pays and racism persists in Alabama, and when Black people start creating solutions to problems like illiteracy, violence, drug addictions, mentoring and leadership classes for misdirected gang members, conflict resolution and mediation, then these programs come under attack. At first, a “noose” was hung in L-2/ C.A.V. dorm by racist staff along with a message to “kill” all “niggers”.
The unjustified and ongoing solitary confinement of the F.A.M. 3, James Pleasant, Robert. E. Council, and Melvin Ray for the assumed (but unstated) purpose of organizing Non-Violent and Peaceful Protests for the continuing civil and human rights violations in Alabama prisons continues.
In the face of their detention, it has become even more evident that the ADOC tolerates and accepts (and even promotes) violence over non-violence. Since the inception of F.A.M., there have been over 6 murders to occur at Holman and St. Clair prison, one riot, over 60 stabbings and many assaults on officers, by officers, and amongst the men incarcerated, and not one measure has been taken to stop this violence — except FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT.
During the historic peaceful demonstration by F.A.M. to start the year, not a single act of violence occurred, and the overriding message from F.A.M. leaders was that the violence must end, and education, rehabilitation and re-entry preparation must begin.
The quagmire our Alabama Department of Corrections finds itself in has as its source the same cancer that has plagued this state since its inception. As with most structural injustices this, too, can be traced back to America’s sinful incestuous affair with race. It is disingenuous to speak comprehensively about the complications of the prison system in America, let alone Alabama, without speaking on the influence of race.
Consider seriously the debilitating effects of racist policies which create
overwhelming racial disparity such as disproportionate sentencing, whereby
blacks get a longer sentence for the same crime as compared to whites, racial
profiling, the ill-fought and wrongly aimed war on drugs, underfunded and
understaffed public defenders and schools in the inner city, and you will see
structural impediments which lay the foundation for the current horrifying
statistic that one in three black males will be incarcerated at some point in
Critics argue the lack of supportive fathers is the culprit for all the troubles, which young black males suffer. Tell that to the parents of Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin; both had loving and supportive fathers but were still seen as a menace to a sinfully racist society. Space would not allow me to give an exhaustive monologue on the depth of the historical events surrounding these issues. Suffice it to say, our prison problem began to manifest itself when nostalgic, white supremacist ideologues created incriminating laws such as the Black Codes immediately following slavery, which preyed upon the newly freed slaves. Even businesses profited off the backs of legally entrapped blacks.
Moreover, today according to author Michelle Alexander, the word “felon” is now
seen with the same angst as the word “negro” or “colored” did during the Jim
Crow era. It is extremely hard for former nonviolent inmates to find jobs, vote
and even get a student loan for college.
If people who committed crimes involving no moral turpitude have paid their debt to society why do we feel it efficacious to stigmatize and punish them for the rest of their lives? I am exuberant that God does not still label me based on past sins. For all those who come to Him in repentance, confessing their faults, and accept Him as their Lord and Savior, God welcomes. Hebrews 10:17 says, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
Until we get honest about the source, it will do us no good to try to remedy the problem. Otherwise, we will only be treating symptoms and never cure the disease. Not talking about racism does not make it go away. Likewise, exposing a problem is not the same as creating one. People of faith need to stand up against injustice even if it is being done to the vilest among us. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King once said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Let us not just eradicate our prison overcrowdedness and staffing problems. Let’s get to the root and finally address the role of race in our criminal justice system.
If Jesus, a man of color, were in an Alabama prison today, would you care about the conditions, sentencing guidelines and societal stigmatization post-release then? Well, several of His servants are incarcerated, and we are called not to judge, but visit them. Always remembering what Jesus says in Mathew 25:36, “I was in prison and you came to visit me.”
By Mae Smith
November 13, 2014
AL DOC has told me that they can no longer communicate with me concerning my son, seriously do they think I am going to just stop inquiring about his wellbeing?
He has been beaten, abused and locked in solitary confinement for almost 2 years and now they are giving him weekly injections all in order to kill him, because they don’t go to prison for the murders they commit, they break bread and drink wine!!!
By Kinetik Justice Amun
When you proclaim to be or you’re striving to be RIGHTEOUS and you see something thats not RIGHT & EXACT you have 2 options- You either do something about it or You support those that are doing something about it. If you see something wrong and choose neither one of those options- you’re plastic and when the FLAME gets turned up, you’ll melt and puddle like snow. FREE THE FAM 3! UHURU AU KIFO
By Kinetik Justice Amun
The willful denial and intentional deprivation of the Human & Civil Rights of one person is WRONG. The systematic denial and institualized deprivation of over 52,OOO peoples Human & Civil Rights is PURE EVIL. To Stand Up to and Challenge such a System is to commit yourself to a Righteous Cause. FREE ALABAMA FREE MISSISSIPPI UNITED – THE MOVEMENT IS A RIGHTEOUS CAUSE. So link up and join us as we fight for the FREEDOM JUSTICE & HUMANE TREATMENT OF OVER 52,OOO HUMAN BEINGS.
…of Governor Bentley’s and Sen. Cam Ward’s Prison Reform Task Force and The Council of State Governments: Cites National Report that Debunks CSG and their Justice Reinvestment Initiative program
On June 10, 2014, Governor Robert Bentley, surrounded by Sen. Cam Ward, Commissioner Kim Thomas, Chief Justice Roy Moore and others, announced the formation of Alabama’s 25-member Prison Reform Task Force and a partnership with the Council of State Governments (CSG), to address longstanding and nationally publicized issues that affect Alabama’s prison system.
According to Gov. Bentley, the solution to Alabama’s prison woes, which include a nation-leading 200% occupancy rate that has led to extreme overcrowding, excessive violence including 4 murders in 2014 already at St. Clair prison, least-in-the-nation investments in education, rehabilitation and corrections, high recidivism, widespread diseases like Staph, TB, STD’S, Hepatitis, scabies, and others, over-targeting of Black men (Black men make up only 14% of Alabama’s total population, but 62% of the prison population) and understaffing, among other issues, can be found in the CSG’s Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI).
According to FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT Founder and Spokesperson Melvin Ray, the recipe being offered by Gov. Bentley and lead by Sen. Cam Ward in the JRI is nothing more than bloated political speak and, so far as solutions are concerned, is D.O.A. Mr. Ray says that anyone thinking that the JRI program can solve Alabama’s historic mess need only read the report issued by a national group of researchers, analysts and advocates titled, “Ending Mass Incarceration: Charting a New Justice Reinvestment.”
This National Report highlights some of the very issues that are already plaguing Governor Bentley and Sen. Ward from the start: misdirected focus on “costs” as opposed to corrections, lack of racial and demographic diversity from the communities and leaders most affected by mass incarceration, and failing to acknowledge the racial equation that is so evident in Alabama’s (and the Nation’s) criminal justice system.
Ray says that “throughout Governor Bentley’s speech, not once do we hear the words Education, Rehabilitation or Re-Entry Preparedness. It is these structural deficiencies that are driving mass-incarceration in the first place, along with poverty and unemployment. But, we can’t expect to have that discussion when the PRFT and the CSG board more so resemble a Ku Klux Klan rally than it does the racial balance of the State, or the communities that fuel mass incarceration. The people most affected by mass incarceration — the African American community — needs a seat at the table also.
When race has so obviously been at the forefront of the drive behind mass incarceration and prison slavery, the African American community cannot expect a group made up almost exclusively of white men to address issues that they created in the first place. There is a real “human cost” at stake here with so many black men being in prison, but Governor Bentley’s committee doesn’t even pay lip service to that issue. Their plan under the JRI of building satellite prisons in our communities and calling it community corrections just won’t do. African American communities are already devalued. Building satellite prisons in them will only exacerbate that equation even lower.”
FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT CO-FOUNDER Robert Earl Council said that the legislation that will address these concerns has already been written in their “FREEDOM BILL.” Mr. Council says that without a focus on education and rehabilitation that includes re-entry programs, the African American community can stay prepared for more of the same.
The ACLU/SENTENCING PROJECT Report (which can be found on their websites) echoes these complaints. According to the Report, “The Justice Reinvestment Initiative, as it has come to operate, runs the danger of institutionalizing mass incarceration at current levels.”
The Report goes on to say that, while the JRI was originally intended to reduce prison populations and pass those savings on to affected communities “to make them safer, stronger, more prosperous and equitable,” the savings have not been realized, and “as it turns out, without significantly reducing corrections populations.”
Despite the fact that the JRI has been implemented in over 28 states, Sen. Ward can only point to Texas as a State that he says the JRI has improved.
Yet, the Report belies Sen. Wart’s comments, and show that Texas’ “prison population went from 171,790 in 2007 up to 173,648 in 2010, then down slightly to 172,224 in 2011.” (p. 6) In the last several years, Texas’s prison population has risen from 171,790 at the end of 2007 to 172,224 at the end of 2011, and is projected to increase further. The JRI trumpets Texas’s “success,” and the Texas reforms were a success in one sense: Texas is one of our toughest-on-crime states, so any progress on criminal justice reform is an accomplishment. However, if the metric is reduced to corrections populations and costs, the Texas JRI program must be viewed as a failure.
Another area of concern for FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT expressed by Mr. Council is “the total lack of representation by a single African American male on either the Governor’s PRFT or the Board of the CSG.”
The 25-member PRTF has 20 white men, 3 white women, 2 African American women, and 0 African American men.
African American men only make up 13% of Alabama’s total population, there are 16,861 African American men in Alabama prisons, who constitute 63% of the total prison population. Based on these statistics alone, Mr. Ray says that the total exclusion of African American men from the PRTF is totally unacceptable, indefensible, and indicative of the systemic racial barriers and white supremacist ideology that continues to exist in Alabama. When Sen. Ward was confronted with this lack of racial inclusion, despite the enacting law (SJR 20 calling for racial inclusion, Sen. Ward said that he is more concerned with diversity of thought than diverse representation.
But as F.A.M. supporter Ms. Barbara Wine states, diverse thought can hardly come from such a homogeneous group:
“A group of white men will always come up with a white man’s idea. Ideas and solutions drawn from a diverse team representative of the population affected, can draw from a range of life experiences, cultural awareness and social knowledge, which will yield better results. White men (especially in the South) did not want to let slavery end, so they kept it alive in the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and enforced it in the prisons. It is a disgrace upon this country that in the Land of the Free we still has a provision in our U. S. Constitution in 2014 that authorizes slavery.”
The National Report supports the need for racial and community inclusion “especially from minority leaders and elected representatives of high incarceration communities (and grass roots organizations, grass-top leaders, among others), WHO ARE OFTEN MARKEDLY MISSING.” (emphasis added)
Rep Barbara Boyd, D Anniston, AL
Rep. Barbara Boyd D-Anniston, who is one of the two female African American’s on the PRTF along with Sen. Vivian Figures, D, Mobile, stated in a discussion with F.A.M. on July 15, 2014, (FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT has over 200 supporters from Rep. Boyd’s district), Alabama already had a prison reform task force that was spearheaded by Rep. John Rogers D- Jefferson (an African American and long-time proponent of prison reform in Alabama) and didn’t need another one. Instead, according to Rep. Boyd, what Rep. Rogers needed, but couldn’t get, was support, funding and a commitment from the power establishment and Alabama Legislature to implement suggested reforms.
Ms. Antonia Brooks (mother of F.A.M. Founder Melvin Ray) says that “the families, friends and loved ones of those incarcerated must be afforded a seat at the table of this debate” and that “Sen. Vivian Figures and Rep. Barbara Boyd owe more to the Black community than to accept a token appointment to a committee that is so obviously promoting a white supremacist agenda and deliberately excluding the group of people most impacted by mass-incarceration – Black people.”
Ms. Brooks stated that F.A.M. has a March planned on the State Capitol next month (August 2014) and that she looks forward to an opportunity to one day sit down with Sen. Figures and Rep. Boyd to hear from them on their appointments and to present them with the “FREEDOM BILL” that is being pushed by FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT.
With over 1.4 million black men in America’s prisons and, as stated by noted author Michelle Alexander, with more Black men under the control of the CJS in 2014 than were enslaved BEFORE the Civil War, Prison Reform in Alabama must address specific issues – – including racism – – that have contributed to mass incarceration, crime, and punishment.
Mandatory GED completion and graduation from a technical school are things that F.A.M. says must be made mandatory in sentencing for anyone serving a split sentence, earning good time, or who hopes to earn an early parole or be placed in an honor camp or work release program (Requirements that are currently lacking in Alabama). Mentoring programs, community volunteer work in sports, arts, and music, and developing Tutoring programs, Gang Intervention and Leadership Programs, and volunteer assistance to elderly, like mowing lawns, etc., which would start at community “Honor camps,” are programs being pushed by the Freedom Bills that F.A.M. says must be included in any Prison Reform if the ills of mass-incarceration are to be seriously addressed.
Under the current model of governance in Alabama, where the community is not made a part of the discussion and white men dominate the debate, we can’t expect enlightenment and diverse, outside-the-box ideas to enter the room
Published originally on: Alabama Prison Watch, October 28, 2014
By Annabelle Parker, October 2014
Q: We remember that the FAM first came into view with the work-strike actions inside St Clair. Can you tell us a little more on that please, and how it worked; did you get people to start thinking for themselves and such?
F.A.M. came about in stages and events that were somewhat unrelated to F.A.M. at the time, but which ultimately served as seeds for the future. Small steps like coming into prison and joining a law class that was being taught by a mentor. Then, latching onto the coattail of a revolutionary PP and Black Panther named Richard “Mafundi” Lake and hearing phrases like “organize” over and over again.
And growing from a student in the law classes to a teacher. Then, taking on individual cases that started to open my eyes to the systematic approach in which the judicial system was incarcerating black youth in droves. At this time, I had not evenheard the phrase “mass incarceration.”
The next step along the process was when I got transferred to St. Clair prison, where a whole new world was opened up to me because cell phones were prevalent and so abundant. I was introduced to technology . . . and started to learn about social media and new ways to reach out and interact with society.
By this time, I had learned that the law was not practiced as it was written, and that the criminal justice system did not really care about Justice at all.
Nevertheless, just having access to technology, I began a campaign to bring awareness to my case, and started a website called Innocentmanmelvinray.com. Being still just a tad bit naive’, I thought that I could reach out more effectively with the technology that the phone provided and get the kind of help I needed. Needless to say, this notion, too, was soon disabused.
But the one thing that this failure did do to help bring F.A.M. into existence was that it allowed me to see that there were many other people out there doing what I was doing, dealing with the same issues, but who were, likewise, not having the success that we deserved. That insight ultimately lead me back to what Mr. Mafundi always stressed: “organize.”
Realizing that there were literally thousands of “Innocentmanmelvinray’s” out there (the most poignant one that I ran across that stays in my mind is Davontae Sandford’s case), I started asking myself how can I bring these collectives together? That question sprung the concept of “FREE ALABAMA” into my mind. At that time, I was in solitary confinement and it was during that time that I had learned about the December 9, 2010, shutdown by the men in Georgia. I told myself that I could take that concept and build around it.
From my early days at Holman prison, I used to talk with two of my Brothers about how we needed to get a small camcorder into the prison. They used to laugh at the thought, because technology hadn’t shrunk camcorders then but I knew that the day was coming when they would be small enough.
From that point on, I began laying the groundwork for how I would start “organizing” my prison, and then my State, and how I would use a cellphone to record, interview, and document everything.
From reading Stokely Carmichael’s book, Ready For Revolution, I also knew that when the time came, we would be bold with our Movement. I wouldn’t allow anyone who did an interview to use a street name or nickname, because I wanted to dispel any pretense of fear in our Movement, plus, I wanted people who watched the videos to be able to go to court records in order to authenticate what people were saying about their cases and the injustices they had received — whether wrongful convictions, excessive sentences, whatever.
So when I got out of segregation I went to work. I started talking to leaders, explaining the philosophy, taking pictures, filming living conditions, and interviewing. I also started writing a manifesto. But in the process of all of this, the final thing that happened was that I read Michelle Alexander’s book, The New Jim Crow. She has a passage in there that said that it would take a “Movement” to take down mass incarceration. That was the first time I had saw anyone boldly make that statement, and it crystallized for me what I was doing, and so with that, we went from FREE ALABAMA, to FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT.
Then, I contacted the one person who I knew would support me 100%, because over the years we had worked on so many other projects together and I knew that this would be the culmination of all of our previous work: Kinetik Justice (g.n. Robert Earl Council).
After I ran down everything to him he said what he always says, “Sun, what you done came up with now?? . . . I can CEE it though. Let’s run it.” And off we went and FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT was officially founded. We haven’t looked back since.
Q: We remember that the FAM first came into view with the work-strike actions inside St Clair. Can you tell us a little more on that please, and how it worked; did you get people to start thinking for themselves and such?
Well, the work strikes, which we call “shutdowns” are the heart of our Movement to end mass incarceration and prison slavery, because the modern Prison Industrialized Complex is an estimated 500 billion dollar enterprise that is financed off of the backs of people who are incarcerated. As most people know, what is taking place within America’s prison system is modern slavery. It’s a hard reality to fathom, yet it is so true.
Starting out, what I did was to evaluate our options, which included litigation, hunger strikes, letter writing campaigns, etc., among others, while at the same time tried to get a better understanding of the system as a whole, and look at the option that gave us the most power to make a change. When I looked at what the men had done in GA, I realized that using labor strikes as a tool of Economic Empowerment gave us our best option and most leverage.
With Alabama’s economy being stagnant and down with the larger economy due to the Recession, I knew that we could have a real impact if we organize around our labor contribution. And with that, I started researching just how much of a contribution we were making to the system. I started with the kitchen here at St. Clair because I used to work for several years at Red Lobster. Using my knowledge from the industry, I realized that in just the kitchen alone, we filled over 60 jobs, with a total labor contribution of approximately 1 million dollars per year. We have people stealing sandwiches just to survive or get a shot of coffee in prison, who were giving the ADOC over 1 million in labor per year.
All totaled, the ADOC is getting about 2 to 3 billion dollars from us in Alabama. Work release deductions, the value of everything we produce, filing fees, store, incentive packages, co-pays, fees.
When I started showing guys these numbers and putting them in terms and a format that they could understand, it made the organizing that much easier.
Once I started looking at the industries here, and started receiving more input and assistance, the numbers really started adding up. In the chemical plant alone, I was able to show the guys that they were producing 25 million dollars-worth of chemicals each year.
When I would show them invoices and then point at their shoes, or ask what they had in their box, it was an undeniable proposition to ask of them if they were being fairly compensated.
The kicker was the fact that most of us weren’t being released and had no opportunity for release, no matter the sentence. Then, the ADOC helped my cause even further when a popular old-timer, Eddie Neal, was denied parole again after already serving almost 40 years. Mr. Neal had two disciplinary tickets in 40 years, and the last one was in 1996. Guys started accepting what was going on with the parole board — they didn’t care about a clear record, good behavior, education, or anything. They were part of the exploitation-for-labor system. All I had to do was help explain to them what they were seeing. They did the rest.
We have to start being honest with ourselves about our conditions and the fact that we aren’t doing anything about it. Giving money to a lawyer is a pipe dream. Being a mental slave to ignorance, which causes one to be dependent upon a lawyer or a judge to administer justice for a constitutional violation is hype. We have to start looking for ways to create our own opportunities. Developing our own politics. That’s what FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT (and now FREE MISSISSIPPI MOVEMENT) are all about.
Q: On the website of the Free Alabama Movement [freealabamamovement.com], we can view films and photos you made and posted on YouTube about the things you were struggling to improve or get rid of, and this is a powerful means to make clear what you are grieving and what you are up against, right? Is it more effective than grievances (which you no doubt must file in order to be able to go to court, but that is a very difficult way, especially from prison with no income).
Really, as I said, the videos were something that I had envisioned long before I envisioned F.A.M. I knew that society had no real idea of what conditions were like in prison, because I see the commentary about us having “air conditioning and eating steaks.” So, initially, the videos were designed to show people how inhumane conditions in prison were.
As I spent more time in prison, certain things started to stick out to me: mainly how the ADOC lies and controls the narrative about prisons through a media that is denied access to the prisons, and that the media is force-fed a narrative that they weren’t questioning.
When officers assault the men (and women), we were faulted. When conditions were complained about or lawsuits filed, the ADOC “lied or denied.” So, I was determined to change that narrative. But then, in 2012, I finally stumbled across the Dec 9, 2010, actions in GA, and the two things that stuck out the most to me were: (1) they were ostracized in the media, and (2), they were beaten after their peaceful shutdown. The GDOC accused them of all types of false motives, and then went in after the fact and brutalized them. I knew that I had to document all of our grievances and produce proof for the public of why we were protesting. I was not going to allow ADOC to control the narrative in the media about our legitimate complaints.
After getting some guys to overcome their fears of repercussions for going on camera, something unexpected happened: the Men began to open up about our conditions in ways that they never had before. It sparked conversation, opened up debates, and it revealed to guys the fact that most of us had NEVER been heard before about our circumstances, our cases, or our desires to be free, to be fathers, to receive education, etc. No one, prior to F.A.M., had given us that chance to speak in our own words. So guys opened up and gave us something that can never be taken away. For the first time, WE TOLD OUR STORIES, IN OUR OWN WORDS,WITH OUR OWN DIALECTS AND PHRASES. And we posted it all over YouTube, Facebook, and anywhere else we could find a space.
Q: You made connections with people inside MS prisons and now they too are organizing peacefully in a similar way? Please elaborate.
Yes, it is correct that we made connections with people in Mississippi who are organizing FREE MISSISSIPPI MOVEMENT and Non-Violent and Peaceful Protests for Civil and Human Rights. But we have also made contact with people on the inside in Georgia, Virginia, and California, and we have also connected with families and organizations in Florida, Arizona, Texas, Washington, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Texas.
In fact, the people in Mississippi, and in particular, a woman named LaShonda Morris, found us because of our media. She was looking for someone to help who was about this work of confronting mass incarceration and prison slavery for real and not just talking. Thankfully, she found FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT, and we have ALL been blessed by her efforts, because she is serious about what she is doing, and she has connected us in ways and with people that we never would have been able to do on our own.
On November 22, 2014, FREE MISSISSIPPI MOVEMENT will host a Rally and Information Session in Jackson, MS, and we are confident that the future is bright for FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT & FREE MISSISSIPPI MOVEMENT UNITED/UMOJA.
Q: On the website for the F.A.M., freealabamamovement.com, you mention that you work in a nonviolent way. Can you tell us why you put emphasis on this, and what you mean with nonviolence?
Well, first and foremost, FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT, and now, FREE MISSISSIPPI MOVEMENT are about Freedom. We are about getting people out of prisons where we are being warehoused, exploited and abused, so that we can return home to our communities.
But at the same time, we also acknowledge that some of us have made mistakes or have shortcomings that we needed to address, and we want opportunities to correct them so that when we are released, we can be better sons and daughters, better husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, and be assets to our communities.
In addition to our mistakes, we have also been demonized by the media, by police, by prosecutors, and by prison officials, So, we have taken it upon ourselves to demonstrate who were and the changes that we have made.
No one wants violence brought into their communities. People want and need answers to violence, so it is important for us to demonstrate that we are Non-Violent, we are Peaceful. Some people have committed violent crimes, while others have committed crimes that are labeled as violent, but where no one was harmed, while other people have been wrongfully convicted of violent offense.
But, whether you are innocent, guilty, mentally ill, or whatever, no one is getting out, and the prison system wants to justify our incarceration by telling society that we are “violent predators,” “killers,” “dangerous gang leaders and drugs dealers,” etc. These labels are applied 20, 25 years after the facts, after change, after maturity, after education, repentance, and after some children have grown from 18 to 43, yet no one can get out because the D.A.’s will still get on T.V. and revert back to a 40-year-old crime and argue that the person 40 years onwards still exists, even though this D.A. has no up-to-date knowledge of who this person is decades later.
So we are taking this platform and we are going to do our interviews to make our presentations to the public. We are going to make our complaints against this system to the public, and then we are going to back that up by demonstrating to the public that we can now address our issues Non-Violently and Peacefully.
Violence is nothing more than a thought process. It is part of a chain of options that human beings arrive at when confronted with a problem. What we have done is that we have educated guys about this chain, and provided them with alternative remedies to solving problems without resorting to violence.
Our Brother Earl “Tyrese” Taylor started a program at St. Clair called Convicts Against Violence, with an emphasis on Education and Mentoring. With this program, we were able to reduce the violence level down to what one might see at a work release, from right here at a maximum security prison.
But the ADOC didn’t want this, so they removed the warden who allowed us to implement this program, and replaced him with a Black warden, Warden Davenport, and the first and only program he disbanded was C.A.V. Now, 4 1/2 years later, St. Clair has reverted back to one of the most violent prisons in the entire country. This is why F.A.M. stepped in, to again stop this State-engineered violence, and what happened? Over 5000 Men across the State jumped immediately on board and supported it. The State responded by labelling myself, the co-founder, and F.A.M. as a security threat group. Lol. We have NEVER had a single incident of violence, yet we are a threat. Not to the security, but to the system of mass incarceration, prison slavery, and the exploitation of people.
Go figure, since they attacked F.A.M. and our Non-Violent and Peaceful Movement, 4 men have been murdered in 2014 alone, and the Equal Justice Initiative, led by Bryan Stephenson, has filed a class-action lawsuit and been calling for the removal of Davenport. This lawsuit was not filed against the entire ADOC as is usually the case, but exclusively against “Bloody St. Clair.” So that should tell you how bad things have gotten.
Stopping violence is easy, and we didn’t receive any funding from the ADOC to run our program. But violence pays. 80% of all people who enter ADOC are functionally illiterate. Education teaches better decision making. We can teach that if they didn’t obstruct our efforts. They will claim that they offer schools, but if what they were teaching was working, then we wouldn’t be having this conversation.
More and more prisons are removing educational programs and replacing them with factories. Some, like Bibb Co., don’t even offer GED classes. We have to organize against this profit motive, because no one is going home so long as we submit to being exploited for labor and living under inhumane conditions that we should be outraged about. We have to return the narrative to Education, Rehabilitation, and Re-Entry Preparedness, because the State narrative has caused too much pain, destroyed too many communities, destroyed too many families, and destroyed too many people who have something of value to offer society — even in the lessons learned from our mistakes.
Q: We also read that you have written a Bill titled ALABAMA’S EDUCATION, REHABILITATION, AND RE-ENTRY PREPAREDNESS BILL.
Can you tell us a little about the background and aims of this Bill? And can outside support help promote it?
Did any politician approach you yet and (how) would you want to work with someone from politics who takes your issues seriously?
Let me answer the second part of your question first. No, we have not approached any politicians, and we have no intentions or desire to. If what we are doing is going to work, we have to make it work ourselves. The men and women have to understand that the Prison Industrial Complex (PIC) has created an economy that is bases on Free/Cheap Labor to compete in the global market against cheap manufacturers like China and Indonesia. The problem is that they have incarcerated over 2.5 million people and they have created a system that is TOTALLY dependent upon US. If we stopped working, then their current model of prisons, including private prisons stopped working.
They are now making over 500 Billion dollars off of our labor. They don’t have a way to replace that. People in society don’t work for free. This system was created by politicians, they are the ones getting the kickbacks, they approve the contracts, and they are the ones who invest their pensions into the stocks of these corporations. So, it makes no sense to solicit them. Would you give up a multi-billion dollar enterprise in exchange if you didn’t have to?
The money that they are making off of our labor is the money that they are using to fund their prison budgets. Nationwide, prison budgets total 86 billion dollars, so where is the remaining 414 billion dollars going? Ask the politicians??
If we take our labor off our the table, then the States are left with normal budget intakes to pay for prisons. Believe me, when we take our labor back, only then will prisons get back to Corrections and Rehabilitation. Every system in America will start back giving good-time, and even the Federal Prisons (who started the profit-based model with Unicor) will have to go back to granting parole. Additionally, we will finally be able to bring political prisoners like Mumia, Iman El Amin, Larry Hoover, Mutulu, and so many more home.
Funny how we “CONTROL” a 1/2 trillion dollar market, but we go to bed hungry at night. Our bill, which we call the “FREEDOM BILL,” will be the model of what prison will look like after we take control of our situation. If they (the State) ever want to see their assembly lines roll again, then our Legislation will be the functional equivalent of a “labor contract.” No freedom, no labor !!!
Our Bill, as it is titled, will place Education, Rehabilitation, and Re-Entry Preparedness at the forefront of our stay in prison – not free labor. Voting rights will be restored. LWOP and Death Sentences will be repealed, and conjugal visits will be a part of rehabilitation. Also, media will have unfettered access to prisons. With alternative media like VICE, TruthOut and others, everything will be out in the open.
But our Bill won’t just give out a free pass, people will have to “earn” their freedom through completion of a curriculum that will address the needs of the individual. No GED/Diploma: You have to get one. No skill or trade: Gotta get one. No life skills: Time to grow up and learn what it takes to be a man and provide for you family and community.
There will be exceptions, because there are exceptional cases. But the way things work right now, no one knows when they will be released, if they will make parole, or what they can do to guarantee that when they have served sufficient time, addressed their issues, that they will return home to their family. Our Bill will provide that certainty for most, and it will give that comfort to spouses, children, etc., of when the loved one will return home. They will know, they will be a part of it, and they will be able to engage in activities like family visits, conjugal visits, parenting classes, etc., that will keep families together when a member of the family has made a mistake. If we are producing 500 billion dollars to live with rats, spiders, mold, abusive officers, and serve decades on end, with no end in sight, then surely we can unite and make a stand.
No doubt they can afford to pay us for any labor that we perform. Otherwise, something has to give. If we can clean them up, we can tear them down. However, we come in Peace.
Q: Can you tell us a little on your support for the women incarcerated in one of the worst prisons in this country, Tutwiler Prison for Women?
Our hearts go out to the women at Tutwiler. I mean, you add all of the issues that go on in prisons that they suffer equal to men, then add on the fact that they are raped by men, assaulted by men, impregnated by men, and forced to have abortions, or forced to give birth. And after 20 years of abuse, only 6 officers prosecuted, with the most time being 6 months. One got 5 days.
F.A.M. organized a Protest Rally at Tutwiler. We created a Facebook-page to support them. I have personally interviewed approximately 25 women who have served time at Tutwiler either online or on my radio show.
Due to the DOJ being inside of Tutwiler, we have not been able to contact them directly. But we support them and they are a part of F.A.M. My plan was to draft a section on Women’s Rights for the FREEDOM BILL, but we never got cooperation from some of the women who had served time at Tutwiler who we connected with. They were too busy to help the women they left behind. I am bitter about that, and I let them know it.
Nevertheless, F.A.M. stands firm in our convictions. We aren’t going anywhere without our Women. If they can’t get speak right now, fine. We will reserve their places until they can.
Q: Do you have any advice or words of encouragement for those inside California’s (and other states’) prisons? Inside its Secure Housing Units (SHU’s)?
To our Brothers and Sisters in California, we say Stand with us and form FREE CALIFORNIA MOVEMENT. The economics of your system is the same as ours. We are all making the same license plates, cleaning the same feces off of the walls, cooking the same scrambled eggs, doing the same electrical work for free. The same people who are investing their pensions in private prisons and mutual funds in Alabama, are the same ones who are investing in California.
Serving 30 years in Alabama is the same 30 years in California. Your influence carries great weight here in the South, It’s time for us to unify across State boundaries because that’s what mass incarceration has done.
These systems can’t function without our labor. They used the drugs to fund the Iran/Contra war. They then used the “war on drugs” to justify mass-incarceration. Then, they turned the prison population into modern slaves. Now, it’s our turn to act. We have to leave the crops in the field. We have to make them turn their assembly lines off. Since they are the ones getting paid, it’s time for them to cook the food, clean the floors, take out the trash, do the maintenance and everything else.
If we are to do any more labor, then we have to state our terms and conditions, and foremost amongst them is that we must be afforded an opportunity to earn our freedom. If we must work, then we must get compensated for our labor. If we must remain here without tearing these walls down, then we must be treated humanely.
My message is not just to the men and women in these solitary holes. I, myself, am in one right now. My message is to the whole 2.5 million victims of mass incarceration and prison slavery. Everyone !!! All of us around the country, let’s just shut down. Wherever you are, just stop working. If you are in solitary confinement, spread the word to those rotating in and out. When they try to lock up those who organize and lead the shutdowns in population, don’t even give up.
Some men can’t survive solitary confinement, and the administration will threaten them if they participate in the shutdowns. So let’s just clog up the cells.
Let’s all just shut down and see how their 500 billion dollar system works without us, and then see if they change their tune about our FREEDOM. EVERYBODY !!! Just shut down.
Thank you Spokesperson Ray for your encouraging and strong, bold and outspoken activism and advocacy!
You can contact the Free Alabama Movement via:
Email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook group: FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT
FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT, P.O. Box 186, New Market, AL 35761
Free AlabamaMovement – Book in PDF by Melvin Ray
1. We need to create a “Free Alabama” and “Free Mississippi” speakers’ tour to send activists all over Alabama & Mississippi United to spread the message about the conditions in Alabama’s & Mississippi’s prison systems.
This is the first step to a regional and national campaign, but we need to win the people in Alabama & Mississippi over, and not just activist organizations or so-called leaders.
2. We need to have a series of mass meetings in Birmingham, Selma, Pritchard, Anniston, Montgomery, Decatur-Huntsville, Tuskegee, Enterprise, Troy, Bessemer, Collegeville, Foley and others in Alabama, and Clarksdale, Gulf Port, Greenville, Jackson, Hattiesburg, and Parchman in Mississippi to expose the conditions in these state prisons, to educate and organize communities of color especially, as well as all others opposed to structural racism represented by this system.
3. We need to call for a mass international email campaign about conditions in Alabama and Mississippi prisons, backed up with pictures, videos, and firsthand account interviews from the men and women incarcerated in these (and other) States.
4. We need to build a coalition with other Movements around the world that address issues concerning mass incarceration and prison slavery, including political prisoners, civil and human rights violations at immigration detention centers, private prisons and divestment programs, solitary confinement, juvenile rights, mental health, and the death penalty.
5. Contact HBCU’s and other universities (Yale, Harvard and other Ivy League schools are currently doing demonstrations on campus about solitary confinement). We also need to partner with legal groups about filing a series of class action lawsuits against conditions in Alabama and Mississippi prisons.
However, unlike the current groups like the ACLU, SPLC, SCHR, EJI and others who only sue for cosmetic changes and million dollar attorneys’ fees settlements, we want legal groups who will demand a jury trial and who will seek compensatory, punitive and any other damages available. (The ongoing abuses in America’s prisons give the first real chance at reparations-type compensation for current slavery practices)
6. Go to the United Nations Human Rights Council with a human rights complaint about Alabama and Mississippi prisons being a violation of international human rights covenants.
7. A national protest march in Montgomery, Alabama and in Parchman, Mississippi against prison slavery, as well as continuing picket lines at the Alabama and Mississippi Departments of Corrections.
8. A Southern Regional [or national] Prison Activist Conference (Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Louisiana), about not only conditions in Alabama and Mississippi, but all over the country.
9. An Emergency Response Network to be able to respond in support of prison strikes in Alabama and Mississippi, or anywhere in the country where work strikes are taking place, and prevent mass repression by prison officials.
10. We need to recruit students, youth, and community activists as volunteers from all over the country.
11. We need to have a massive fundraising campaign on GoFundMe to obtain the funds to make this happen. We should create a joint fundraising committee to handle the funds and make an accounting of all funds raised.
Note* A Western Regional base is being developed for California and Arizona. And Illinois is also being targeted for development.
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FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT, FREE MISSISSIPPI MOVEMENT, FREE GEORGIA MOVEMENT, FREE FLORIDA MOVEMENT, FREE LOUISIANA MOVEMENT, FREE TEXAS MOVEMENT, FREE CALIFORNIA MOVEMENT, FREE ILLINOIS MOVEMENT, FREE PENNSYLVANIA MOVEMENT, FREE OHIO MOVEMENT, AND MORE . . .
None of us are FREE until we ALL are FREE .
Facebook group: Free Alabama Movement
Email: email@example.com – Freemississippimovement@gmail.com
Mail: FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT, P.O. Box 186, New Market, AL 35761