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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

By Beth Shelburne

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


You can write to Mr Simmons at:

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

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

Press Release: Updates from Limestone Correctional

unheardvoices o.t.c.j.

For Immediate Release
Press contacts:

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

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

Nikki Davenport
FAM Queen Team
256-221-7658

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

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

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

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

Published in the January 2018 issue of SF Bayview

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

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

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

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

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

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

Visitation vending and electronic visitation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bennu Hannibal Ra Sun, Free Alabama Movement

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

Three-part Plan of Action 2015

Establish a Headquarters at a prison or other place of mass incarceration in your city/county/state. Establish a protest cite at a MCDonald’s in your city/county/state.

Read our Plan Of Action 2015 article:

LET THE CROPS ROT IN THE FIELDS: A Call For A New Strategy in The National Movement Against Mass Incarceration and Prison Slavery – Short Version [Link: https://freealabamamovement.wordpress.com/2015/02/26/let-the-crops-rot-in-the-fields/ ]

By FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT

Join the National Movement Against Mass Incarceration and Prison Slavery today.

FAM-FMM UNITED AGAINST McDONALD’S: NO MORE INVESTING IN PRISON SLAVE LABOR

Everyone knows about the problems of mass incarceration and prison slavery, but only FREE ALABAMA-MISSISSIPPI MOVEMENT UNITED has the solution.

S.O.S. If you want to join the fight against Mass Incarceration and Prison Slavery, FREE ALABAMA-MISSISSIPPI MOVEMENT needs your help.

Join our new fb group FAM-FMM UNITED Against McDonald’s. We are forming a National Campaign to start targeting major corporations that exploit people in prison by using prison slave labor, and anyone can organize right in there own community. [Link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1548749275364290/?fref=ts ]

Read our Plan Of Action 2015 document titled “LET THE CROPS ROT IN THE FIELDS” and start organizing today. [Link: https://freealabamamovement.wordpress.com/2015/02/26/let-the-crops-rot-in-the-fields/ ]

Adopt a prison or any other place of incarceration and a McDonald’s in your city/county/state, start organizing a Non-Violent and Peaceful protest n join the National Movement Against Mass Incarceration and Prison Slavery.

Support the Strike at St. Clair Correctional Facility in Alabama!

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 contact_us@eji.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:contact_us@eji.org

  1. 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.
  2. 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.)
  3. 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:  organize.the.hood@gmail.com

Anthony Rayson – Ida B. Wells Coalition Against Racism and Police Brutality, Email: – idabwellsinkc@gmailcom

Background:

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.

Freealabamamovement.com

Free Alabama Movement  /  P.O. Box 186  / New Market, Alabama  35761

Blog:  Freealabamamovement.wordpress.com

Twitter @FREEALAMOVEMENT

Internet Radio:  http://www.blogtalkradio.com/freealabamamovement

YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC88hKOWZ7PKGaTMPpLMTA w

Antonia Brooks:  256.783.1044     Latosha Scott:  334.322.8989


Update 2/28:

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.

Website: EJI.org

Contact: http://eji.org/contact

Equal Justice Initiative
122 Commerce St.
Montgomery, Alabama 36104

Phone: 334-269-1803
Fax: 334-269-1806
Email: contact_us@eji.org


 

LET THE CROPS ROT IN THE FIELDS (short version)

LET THE CROPS ROT IN THE FIELDS:
A Call For New Strategy in The National Movement Against Mass Incarceration and Prison Slavery – Short Version
By Bennu Hannibal Ra-Sun, w/contribution from Kinetik Justice Amun

FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT

After a period of over 40 years of an accelerated rate of incarceration, the issue of Mass Incarceration and Prison Slavery have now reached its crescendo.

Spurred on by factors that included racism, capitalism, free labor, and a politically motivated desire to provide jobs to a valued voting block of rural, conservative white citizens by building prisons in rural and agricultural areas that had been decimated by the Industrial Revolution and the outsourcing of jobs to China, India, Indonesia, etc.

Then, once the prisons were built, the government manufactured a “war on drugs” designed to fill those newly built prisons with black, brown and poor whites who had been rendered unemployable by corporate downsizing and outsourcing in the early 70’s, and who were considered a strain on social programs, unwanted competitors for limited jobs, and ideal candidates for corporations that needed a large labor pool for forced slave labor.

Mass incarceration has now culminated in a for-profit Prison Industrialized Complex that now holds over 2.5 million men, women and children hostage for the sole and exclusive purpose of exploitation and free labor.

Today, January 2015, the people in America’s prisons, mostly black, brown (and white), and all poor, now make up a free (or penny wages) labor force for a 500 billion dollar per-year industry that is producing a range of products and providing services so broad and extensive that it touches every area of the U.S. economy.

Virtually EVERY person in prison, our families, friends and supporters, and even every organization that states that they are against mass incarceration prison slavery, are all contributing financially to the very companies that are exploiting the people through mass incarceration and prison slavery.

Have you ate at McDonald’s or Wendy’s lately? Shopped at WalMart or Victoria’s Secret? How about that Dell computer? Have you used a customer service center? Where do you bank at, Wells Fargo? Are you in the military? Have you seen a soldier in that finely stitched uniform with night vision goggles? Do you work for a State University or agency that gets its furniture repaired somewhere?? Or that purchases large amounts of cleaning supplies, or hand-made brooms, mops, etc.? How many of these companies do you do business with?

Well, if you get up out of the bed and do anything more than breathe, chances are you contribute to the bottom line of a company that is engaged in warehousing millions of people for exploitation through mass incarceration and prison slavery.

Just to get a general idea of how pervasive this modern-day forced labor, i.e. slave system is, check out this article titled: Corporations Involved in Profiting off Prison Labour. Prison for Profit Dirty Secrets1 :

“Prison labor— with no union protection, overtime pay, vacation days, pensions, benefits, health and safety protection, or Social Security withholding — also makes complex components for McDonnell Douglas/Boeing’s F-15 fighter aircraft, the General Dynamics/Lockheed Martin F-16, and Bell/Textron’s Cobra helicopter. Prison labor produces night-vision goggles, body armor, camouflage uniforms, radio and communication devices, and lighting systems and components for 30-mm to 300-mm battleship anti-aircraft guns, along with land mine sweepers and electro-optical equipment for the BAE Systems Bradley Fighting Vehicle’s laser rangefinder. Prisoners recycle toxic electronic equipment and overhaul military vehicles.”

For a listing of the many other companies, products and services, read the article: Corporations Involved in Profiting off Prison Labour. Prison for Profit Dirty Secrets2:

Don’t Trust the Mainstream Media

All across America, one can’t turn on the news, read a newspaper, or follow social media without seeing that mass incarceration and prison slavery (‘corrections’ or ‘prisons’ in mainstream terms) have become a national problem. The ‘problem’ though, as being reported in the mainstream media (msm), is not about the human devastation that mass incarceration has wrought, but about the costs associated with maintaining budgets to keep so many people in prison.

The mainstream media, which is controlled by the business elite no less that our current politicians, are reporting on this ‘problem,’ but with no real solutions being offered.

CAUTION: I must add that the reason the msm is reporting on this issue is because the prison profiteers are promoting a ‘reform’ plan to the public that in reality is a new scheme that has been thoroughly exposed by N. Heitzeg and K. Whitlock in their Smoke and Mirrors series,3 to expand the privatized prison industry directly into the communities with community corrections, privatized parole/probation, drug rehabilitation centers, traffic court, and more, with the sole purpose of releasing low levels offenders, who will then be required to pay a ransom to enjoy a semblance of freedom.

Simply stated, every facet of the criminal justice enterprise will be contracted out to private for-profit businesses, and the human traffickers who own these businesses will become the new slave masters. The businessmen and women will make their campaign contributions, the politicians will ensure that the laws are in place, the police with make the arrest, the prosecutors and judges will guarantee the convictions, and the prisoner will be a slave.

The New Strategy: Using Direct Economic Action to Affect Change

When determining the best strategy to challenge Mass Incarceration and Prison Slavery, it is essential that we step back and take a look at the entire system. We must identify the fundamentals of what makes this system work and why this system exists. Once we thoroughly understand the underpinnings of the system of Mass Incarceration we can begin to see why the old strategies and tactics have not and will not bring about any meaningful change. Then we can begin developing a New Strategy that attacks Mass Incarceration at its core.

Just like the Institution of Chattel Slavery, Mass Incarceration is in essence an Economic System which uses human beings as its nuts and bolts. Therefore, our new approach must be Economically based, and must be focused on the factors of production- the people being forced into this slave labor.

Our Three-Part Strategy

1) Organize prison shutdowns at prisons with major economic industries (tag plants, fleet services, food distribution centers, agriculture, etc.)

2) Call for a nationwide leaflet campaign, protests, and boycotts of McDonald’s restaurants, which is one of the major corporation that has a national presence and that benefits from prison slavery, in addition to others like WalMart, Victoria Secret, AT&T, Wells Fargo Banks, Wendy’s, GEO/CCA private prison companies that are listed on the NYSE, and more.

3) Having our families, friends, supporters, activists, and others holding protests at the prisons where the people are mass incarcerated and oppressed.

PART 1 : “SHUTDOWNS/WORK STRIKES”

1) Organize prison shutdowns at prisons with major economic industries (tag plants, fleet services, food distribution centers, agriculture, etc.)

Remember, we are working against a half trillion dollar system that is controlled by businessmen and women who are the modern-day slave profiteers. And just like any business, their focus is on the bottom line. From this viewpoint, we must organize work stoppages at prisons with economic industries that are operated by slave labor. The impact of a work stoppage is immediate and significant, as production is shutdown and profit margins plummet around the country.

Believe me, if you want to have commissioners, politicians and the like hunting you down, organize a strike. You won’t have to call them, because they will call you. Prison industry is more than just license plates. Now it includes military, food, clothes, mining, recycling, call centers, car parts, cleaning supplies, printing, and so much more.

And when we organize, we have to demand that real “reforms” take place that will afford everyone an opportunity to earn our freedom, NOT JUST EARN A CHECK FOR OUR LABOR, and that fundamental changes be made throughout the system.

Experience has shown us at FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT that this approach is more effective than hunger strikes, marching and writing letters combined, as those strategies will only bring publicity, lip service and some changes, while work stoppages shut down the entire economic system and gets directly into their pockets, which brings the movers and shakers to the prison for negotiations.

PART 2: McDonald’s

Ronald McDonald: A Slavery Master in Clown’s Clothing !!!!

When deciding on which company to protest we have to devise a strategy that we can use nationwide: We can’t boycott all companies because there are simply too many corporations involved. What we have to do is focus on just one of them at a time that uses prison slave labor and that is large enough and visible enough to bring a true awareness about prison slavery, and target that one.

Starting off we have identified McDonald’s as a company that presents itself as family-oriented, but which uses prison slavery to produce a number of goods:

“McDonald’s uses inmates to produce frozen foods. Inmates process beef for patties. They may also process bread, milk and chicken products.”4

We will start off our McDonald’s protest by locating and reaching out to the people in the prisons where McDonald’s products are produced. At the same time, we will begin letter-writing campaigns to their investors and shareholders, while also leaving leaflets/pamphlets on the cars of their customers at McDonald’s restaurants nationwide, and organize protests at their storefronts, in a mall or headquarters, or wherever we can, and call for boycotts of their stores to force then to stop using products that are manufactured by forced prison slave labor.

But we focus all of our attention on one corporation at a time, instead of using a scattered approach of multiple orgs spread out thinly over several corporate fronts.
When one falls, we move on to the next prison profiteer, which can be Victoria’s Secret, Wal Mart, GEO, CCA, JPay, Keefe, or something.

Part 3: Consolidating our Resources

HAVING OUR FAMILIES, FRIENDS, ACTIVISTS, AND SUPPORTERS ALL GALVANIZED AT A SELECT PRISON TO ENGAGE IN PROTESTS AND TO SHOW SUPPORT FOR THE PEOPLE ON THE INSIDE WHO ARE BEING OPPRESSED.

This strategic move is just as important as the strikes, because it brings all of the people together who oppose mass incarceration and prison slavery. We can’t have a unified Movement Against Mass Incarceration and Prison Slavery if we are in a long-distance relationship with our supporters, organizers, activists and others who support our cause. We have to get everyone organized at the prisons, so that we can confront the system at the site of its oppression: the prisons.

By having our supporters in one location for each State, we maximize our resources, increase our strength in numbers, and we move with a unified front.
Very little can be done by the State at this point except to meet our demands.

The protests against police brutality are taking place at police stations. The workers at Wal Mart are protesting at WalMart. The Occupy Wall Street Movement protested on Wall Street. Therefore, the Movement and fight against mass incarceration must take place at the prisons !!!

“The Old Way”

Now, let’s take a look at the familiar strategies of Movement Against Mass Incarceration and Prison Slavery, and see why we need a change in strategy:

1) Hunger Strikes
2) Marches and Protests at State Capitols, (as opposed to demonstrations at the prisons where they should be)
3) Letter writing campaigns, petitions and phone calls, etc.

1) HUNGER STRIKES
The demonstrations put on by the Men and Women in California (and Georgia, Washington State, and Texas) showed us all that with leadership and unity, we can defeat mass incarceration with the right strategy. But, we also learned that, while we did see progess in some areas, it has a minimal impact on the system of mass incarceration.

We have to strategize with the understanding that we are dealing with modern day slave profiteers. These businessmen will gladly let us die from starvation so long as their assembly lines keep moving.

“Leasing convicts to private businesses made a tidy fortune for both state and local governments, especially after slaves were emancipated. In 1878, 73% of Alabama’s entire state revenue came from prison labor. Reconstruction-era plantation owners, though, were hardly incentivized to care about their charges: When any of their starving workers died, they simply asked the state for new ones, at no cost to their bottom line.”5

The net effect on the bottom line from a hunger strike is negligible. This is not going to get the response we need, so we have to do more.

2) MARCHES
Sure, the traditional marches bring attention to issues and they bring people together, but they simply don’t bring about much results. If we must march, then let’s March at the prisons where mass incarceration and prison slavery are taking place at.
As I said above, when the people protest against police brutality in Ferguson, Memphis, and California, they are doing it at the police stations.

When “BANTHEBOAT”-activists protested in support of Palestine, they protested at ports. We have to ask ourselves: If we are protesting against mass incarceration and prison slavery, then why aren’t we doing it at the prisons where our economic strength can be felt?

Just like we saw in California with the hunger strikes, the families and supporters showed their support at the prison. The people in the prisons can see that support and receive the boost in morale that will be needed to carry this thing through. The meeting place is at the prisons!!!

3) LETTER WRITING, PETITIONS, ETC.
Letter writing campaigns and making phone calls are still effective, but we have to change who we are targeting and what we are attempting to communicate.

Letters/calls help when written to alternative media sources and other activists, organizations and supporters of our Movement, to let them know that we are striking so that we can inform other prisons in other states, so that they can join in also.

Letters/petitions also help when we target companies that are using prison made good to let them know that we will boycott them if they don’t stop, and it also helps to contact their customers and let them know that they are purchasing slave-made good. But the old habit of writing politicians and commissioners won’t work in today’s world, and just haven’t produced meaningful results.

It’s time to find a new target audience and bring attention to a new strategy and a new message!!

Is The Current Movement Against Mass Incarceration Spread Too Thin?

In F.A.M. we strategize around bringing all of the forces and resources together from each individual state into one collective whole. Groups that are fighting against the death penalty, solitary confinement, children in prison, voting rights, mentally ill people in prison, free labor, disenfranchisement, parole reform, and a few other issues. We will address all of these issues in our “FREEDOM BILL”, so everyone and every organization that is fighting against these issues should all be fighting together.
Note: Each State should draft their own FREEDOM BILL

The best way that we see to do this in Alabama is to identify the most economically important prison(s) in Alabama, and start organizing shutdowns until all of the strategically important prisons are shut down. One main prison will serve as the “headquarters” for our families, organizers and supporters, etc. At that point, the negotiations begin as to how to tear down the system of exploitation and create a new system based on the structure as outlined in the FREEDOM BILL, which promotes Education, Rehabilitation and Re-Entry Preparedness.

Take for example the situation that just occurred in California with the various lawsuits that the State fought for over 20 years (See the Plata decision by the U.S. Supreme Court) and passage of the Prop 47 law that went into effect. Despite the fact of California’s prison system being overcrowded with a 160% occupancy rate, the State’s prison officials and Attorney General’s office still refused to budge on releasing people who were eligible.

“Most of those prisoners now work as groundskeepers, janitors and in prison kitchens, with wages that range from 8 cents to 37 cents per hour. Lawyers for Attorney General Kamala Harris had argued in court that if forced to release these inmates early, prisons would lose an important labor pool.

Prisoners’ lawyers countered that the corrections department could hire public employees to do the work.” (LA Times, 11/14/2014 Federal judges order California to expand prison releases6)

As for the Firefighters, the Attorney General’s Office concluded that these men who risked their lives for the State, who saved the State over $1,000,000,000 billion dollars annually, were simply too valuable a commodity to release, even though these men worked outside of prison every day and were clearly not a threat to society anymore:

“About half of the people fighting wildland fires on the ground for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) are incarcerated: over 4,400 prisoners, housed at 42 inmate fire camps, including three for women.
Together, says Capt. Jorge Santana, the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation (CDCR) liaison who supervises the camps, they save the state over $1 billion a year.”7

While it is extremely rare to receive these type of admissions from the State, what we witnessed in the California litigation is the reality of modern slavery: Yes, the people have an education and are already working in society, but, NO!!!, they can’t be release because it would cost too much to replace their free or penny labor!!

This episode highlights why the strategy of work strikes/shutdowns being promoted by FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT, and now joined by FREE MISSISSIPPI MOVEMENT, is the key to bringing the system of mass incarceration and prison slavery to its death: If we are been held solely for our labor and exploitation even after educating and rehabilitating ourselves, then why should we continue to work? If the firefighters in California can’t be freed because they save the State a billion dollars that they don’t otherwise have, then why don’t the firefighters go on a workstrike? The fires will continue to burn until they either come up with 1 billion dollars to train other firefighters, or they can release them and then hire them to do the job that at prevailing wages.

Also please note that the State is saving one billion dollars just on the firefighters alone. How much more pressure would a work strike/shutdown put on the CDCR or any other prison system, when all the kitchen workers go on strike? All the maintenance and electrical workers? All the garbage workers? The yard crew? Gym and library workers? And then the BIG whammy, when ALL of the factory and farm workers in prisons go on strike at one time, and this strike is spread regionally and nationally?

The financial numbers and fallout from such a strike will be felt from Wall Street to Main Street, and every street in between. This is the power of economics at play, and this strategy is the only strategy that will stop mass incarceration in its tracks.

WE MUST LET THE CROPS ROT IN THE FIELD IF WE AREN’T RECEIVING BENEFIT OF THE HARVEST

LET THE CROPS ROT IN THE FIELD is a proven strategy that was passed down to us from our Ancestors from the slave plantations that was used to disrupt the economics of the field. The harvest of the planter season was reaped when the crops were picked from the field and sold on the open market. When the slave master had invested all that he owned into his next crop (prison factories), the slaves would wait until just before the harvest and rebel against the slave system by ‘going on strike’ and causing the crops to rot in the field. This tactic would completely ruin the slave master’s investment.

While these crops were rotting in the field, the slave master would come down from the big house, make nice and beg the slaves to go back to work

But when that didn’t work, the slave master, just like the modern prison commissioners and wardens, would then result to threats and violence. But those determined for their freedom would resist and fight to the end.

In the end, when the crops were left to rot in the field, the slave master would sometimes lose his plantation if he had used it as collateral to secure a loan from the bank to plant. This is what happens to a prison system that is built upon the exploitation and free labor of the people incarcerated: when the laborers stop working, the free labor prison system collapses because there isn’t any revenue coming in to finance the system of 30,000 people in Alabama, 23,000 in Mississippi, 160,000 in California, or 2.5 million nationwide, who still must be fed, still must be provided medical care, still must had lights, water and basic hygiene.

These obligations and costs don’t stop, but the means to pay for them — the revenue that is produced by our labor — stops when we stop.

In 2014, Alabama has a 400 million dollar budget to run its prisons, which is paid by the sale of the products and services that are manufactured by the slave labor from the people incarcerated.

All told, Alabama is making anywhere from 2 to 3 billion dollars each year from our labor, fines, fees, canteen, phone calls, etc. while over $500,000,000,000 dollars is made nationwide off of prison slave labor.

If we are to end Mass Incarceration and Prison Slavery, which only those caught up in the slave system can do, then we must Unify nationwide from inside of these prisons and we must stop our labor and LET THE CROPS ROT IN THE FIELD.

Notes

  1. See online at: http://truthcdm.com/corporations-involved-in-profiting-off-prison-labour-prison-for-profit-dirty-secrets/
  2. Idem: http://truthcdm.com/corporations-involved-in-profiting-off-prison-labour-prison-for-profit-dirty-secrets/
  3. See: truth-out.org/news/item/27125-smoke-and-mirrors-inside-the-new-bipartisan-prison-reform-agenda
  4. See: Atlanta Black Star, Oct. 10th, 2014: 12 Mainstream Corporations Benefiting from the Prison Industrial Complex http://atlantablackstar.com/2014/10/10/12-mainstream-corporations-benefiting-from-the-prison-industrial-complex/
  5. See: Buzzfeed News: The Prisoners Fighting California’s Wildfires, Oct 31st, 2014 http://www.buzzfeed.com/amandachicagolewis/the-prisoners-fighting-californias-wildfires#.ajPXZzq8xr
  6. See: LA Times, Nov. 14, 2014 http://www.latimes.com/local/political/la-me-ff-federal-judges-order-state-to-release-more-prisoners-20141114-story.html
  7. See: Buzzfeed News: The Prisoners Fighting California’s Wildfires, Oct 31st, 2014 http://www.buzzfeed.com/amandachicagolewis/the-prisoners-fighting-californias-wildfires#.ajPXZzq8xr

FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT & FREE MISSISSIPPI MOVEMENT

Committed to Non-Violent and Peaceful Protests for Civil and Human Rights for the Men and Women Incarcerated in Alabama & Mississippi prisons, and any other prison where the People desire to be FREE.

FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT
Contact Free Alabama Movement:

Antonia Brooks 256-783-1044

NewsBlog: Freealabamamovement.wordpress.com

Website: Freealabamamovement.com

Facebook group: Free Alabama Movement

Twitter @FREEALAMOVEMENT

Email: freealabamamovement@gmail.com – Freemississippimovement@gmail.com

Mail: FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT, P.O. Box 186, New Market, AL 35761 – USA

Internet Radio: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/freealabamamovement

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC88hK0WZ7PKGaTMPpLMTA_w

ALABAMA FREEDOM BILL

Free Alabama Movement Bill Cover: Education - rehabilitation - Re-entry Preparedness

*ALABAMA FREEDOM BILL

~ A BILL PRESENTED BY FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT TITLED,
ALABAMA’S EDUCATION, REHABILITATION, AND RE-ENTRY PREPAREDNESS BILL.*
[3-10-15]
PART 1 Section 1

Be it ENACTED A LAW that by January 1, 2018, Alabama’s Department of
Corrections (ADOC) will reduce its prison population down to its designed
capacity of app. 13,500; Alabama’s Department of Corrections currently has
over 29,000 people incarcerated in a system designed to hold less than the
14,000, making this State’s prison population occupancy rate of approx.
200% the *highest* in the nation. As recent as 2012, California’s prisons
were declared unconstitutional by U.S. federal court for exceeding 160% of
its occupancy rate.

Due to the ill effects of mass incarceration and prison slavery in Alabama,
including having the third highest incarcerate rate in the world of 650 per
100,000 residents. Alabama’s ADOC is now running a multi-billion dollar
free/cheap labor corporation by targeting black andb other poor citizens
for incarceration, while committing other civil and human rights abuses in
the living conditions, sentences imposed, release, and excessive fines,
costs, and other exploitive practices that are all beyond recourses of law.

For these obvious reasons, the Commissioner of ADOC is ordered by this law
to release no less than 400 persons per month (4800) per year, beginning
January 31, 2015, until the prison population is reduced to its current
design capacity

Section 2

Be it also Enacted that the Commissioner of the Alabama Department of
Corrections shall not allow the prison population of the ADOC to exceed
10,000 by the year 2020, where several Alabama prisons are over 40 years
old and constituted waste and serve no purpose towards education or
rehabilitation, and that if the Commissioner shall violate this decree,
anyone incarcerated in ADOC subject to such overcrowding shall have to
right to sue the Commissioner in any State court and receive as
compensation $1,000 from the ADOC budget for each day that this law is
violated:

Section 3

Be it also enacted that a moratorium shall issue upon the passage of this
Bill stating that no person convicted of a crime in the state of Alabama
shall be transferred to any out of state facility. In order to address the
ill effects of mass incarceration for private financial motives, no other
public or private prisons either within or without of the State of Alabama
shall be built to house any person convicted of any crime within the State
of Alabama. However, if an old prison currently existing within the State
of Alabama is closed, condemned or shutdown, a new prison may be built but
shall not exceed 110% of the original design capacity of the prison that
such new prison shall replace;

PART 2 Section 1

Be it also ENACTED that upon the passage of this Bill, the Commissioner of
the ADOC shall implement a program within the ADOC titled the Education,
Rehabilitation, and Re-Entry Preparedness program, and the Commissioner
shall designate all bed-space with the ADOC for this program. Such program
shall be made available to all people incarcerated within the ADOC,
irrespective of sentence, including sentences of Life Without Parole and
Death, which sentences shall be abolished in the state of Alabama.

Once enrolled into the E.R.Re-E.P. program, a new social/psychological
evaluation will be performed, along with a case review of the person’s
convicted offense. Thereafter, an Education/Rehabilitation curriculum will
be made based on the individual needs of the person being evaluated, and a
base parole date will be set within 30 days.

CAPITAL MURDER CASES:

Capital Murder cases will be classified into two (2) Levels:

LEVEL 1 CAPITAL MURDER CASES

Level 1: Level one capital murder cases will consist of those people
currently convicted of a capital offense and sentenced to Death or LWOP
with two or more victims, murder of a police officer, or a child. These
people, though eligible for parole, will require Special Review before
parole is granted. Review will be by the Governor, a classification
specialist and psychologist within the ADOC, and members of a Citizens
Committee selected by Free Alabama Movement Executive Committee.

This person, after serving 15 to 20 years, and upon completion of the
Education/Rehabilitation program, will then be eligible for review to be
placed in the Re-Entry Preparedness phase of the program. Upon successful
completion of the Re-Entry preparedness phase, this person would then be
eligible for parole upon Special Review.

LEVEL 2 CAPITAL MURDER CASES

Level 2 offenders consist of those people convicted of a capital offense
with one victim and who are currently sentenced to LWOP. These people will
not require special review and will become parole eligible upon successful
completion of the curriculum and after serving the full base minimum.

Those Level 2 offenders convicted under sections §13A-5-40 (16,17,18), Code
1975, after serving 10 to 12 years, and all the other Level 2 Capital
Murder offenders, after serving 10 to 15 years, and upon completion of the
EDUCATION/REHABILITATION/RE-ENTRY Curriculum, shall then be paroled back to
society.

*Any jury finding of future dangerousness automatically requires the
offender to seek SPECIAL REVIEW PAROLE.

MURDER CONVICTIONS:

All other persons convicted of murder under 13A-6-2 and sentenced to 15 to
99 to life, will received a base parole range of 7-10 years upon completion
of their initial review, and will be paroled upon completion of the
EDUCATION/REHABILITATION/RE-ENTRY PREPAREDNESS Program.

Any person convicted for murder and sentenced to LWOP pursuant to the
Habitual Felony Offender Act, will start with a base parole minimum of 10
years, with enhancements available for each valid prior felony conviction
(a prior felony used to enhance but later ruled invalid will be
retroactively deducted from the parole date).

PRIOR FELONY CONVICTIONS:

CAPITAL OFFENSES AND MURDER:

Any non-violent felony conviction (non-violent being defined as no serious
physical injury suffered by the victim), can increase a parole base by 1
year per prior conviction, with a maximum of 3 years.

Any violent prior felony conviction (where the victim suffered serious
physical injury) can increase a parole base by two years each, with a
maximum increase of 6 years. But in no event may a Level 2 offender also
convicted as a habitual offender be required to serve more than 21 years
upon successful completion of the program.

And no person convicted of murder and also as a habitual offender shall be
required to serve more than 16 years upon successful completion of the
curriculum.

Note*

Any one or more prior violent felony offenses found by a jury to contain
special circumstances (for example, a hate crime, a human rights
violations, shooting a victim 3 or more times, crime against a child), can
increase a parole base by a maximum of 5 years total. But in no event may a
Level 2 offender be required to serve more than 21 years upon successful
completion of the program, and in no event may a non-capital, non- habitual
offender, murder defendant serve more than 15 years before parole, and no
more than 20 years for a person convicted as a habitual offender upon
successful completion of the curriculum.

Note*

Completion of core curriculum for a prior felony or for completion of an
associate degree in college or equivalent can earn points deduction for
each prior felony used to enhance a sentence.

EXAMPLE OF OFFENSE CLASSES:

CLASS A Non-Capital FELONY:

7-10 Year base parole

CLASS B FELONY:

3-7 Year base parole

CLASS C FELONY:

1-3 Year base parole

For example, a person convicted of a ROBBERY would receive a parole base as
follows:

Robbery 1st degree 7-10

Robbery 2nd degree 3-7

Robbery 3rd degree 1-4

Assault 1st degree 6-10

Assault 2nd degree 3-16

Assault 3rd degree 1-3

Theft 1st degree 3-5

Theft 2nd degree 2-4

Theft 3rd degree 2 yrs max.

Manslaughter 1st 6-9

Manslaughter 2nd 3-6

Manslaughter 3rd 1-4

PART 2 SECTION 2

ALABAMA’S PRISON SETUP

LEVEL 6 PRISONS:

OPT-OUT CAMP.

Any person desiring to opt out of the E.R. & Re-E.P. will be assigned to an
opt-out facility and be processed pursuant to current ADOC regulations,
Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) and rules.

LEVEL 5 PRISONS:

STUDENT ORIENTATION:

LEVEL 5 PRISONS: These institutions will serve as 90 day to 180 day
orientation facilities, and will be where initial social/psychology
evaluations will be conducted and where parole bases will be set. These
facilities will also house the people who were formerly Capital and Death
sentenced, for 180 days to 1 year, respectively, for evaluation. Program
readjustment, program failures, and GED prep classes will be help at these
institutions.

LEVEL 4 PRISONS: These facilities will house students participating in GED,
SKILL AND TRADE DEVELOPMENT, AND SOCIAL- PSYCHOLOGICAL NEEDS (such as Anger
Management for violent offenders, AA-NA treatment for addicts, etc.)

LEVEL 3 FACILITIES: These facilities will offer INTRODUCTION TO LIFE
SKILLS, PEER LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT, MENTORING, AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
SKILLS. Also, these facilities will emphasize community volunteer programs
and have an emphasis on free world volunteers, religious and secular prison
ministries, and core curriculum and distance learning courses (the latter
may be used to qualify for point deductions from base parole set-ups).

LEVEL 2 FACILITIES: Residents assigned to these facilities will begin
Re-Entry Preparedness learning, including receiving practical computer
skills, learning the job market for their skill or trade, Home and Parole
Plan development, and continued learning and aftercare therapies.

LEVEL 1 FACILITIES: Residents at these facilities will receive practical
learning in Life Skills, including finding a job, creating a budget/savings
plan, opening a bank/checking/savings account, finding as apartment,
roommate, etc. for those without family assistance, and then Re-Enter
society.

PART 2 SECTION 3

EXEMPT PERSONS:

Exemptions:

Any person who has already served 21 Years or more, and who would not be
classified in LEVEL 1 status or need Special Review Parole, shall be
eligible for immediate placement in LEVEL 3 status.

Any person age 62 or above, who has already served 20 years or more and who
would not be classified as LEVEL 1 status or need Special Review Parole,
shall be eligible for immediate placement in LEVEL 2 status.

All persons in LEVEL 1 status or who require Special Review Parole shall be
eligible for Special Review Parole with one (1) year of passage of this
Bill into law.

PART 2 SECTION 4

DISQUALIFIED PERSONS

No person having committed and been convicted of two or more sex offenses
arising out of separate incidents, or an adult age 22 or above who commits
an offense against a child under 14, an elderly or disabled person shall be
eligible to advance beyond LEVEL 3 STATUS, and must seek Special Review
Parole.

PART 2 SECTION 5

SPECIAL REVIEW PAROLE:

ALL persons required to seek SPECIAL REVIEW PAROLE will be afforded an
opportunity to attend such hearing in-person, or by audio-video means, at
their discretion. In-person reviews shall be conducted semi-annually, and
audio-video hearings will be held quarterly. No person shall receive more
than one review per year, and upon completion of the program curriculum and
remaining in good standing, shall not be denied review for more than 3
years.

PART 2 SECTION 6

DUE PROCESS RIGHT

The provisions of this Bill create a substantive due process right pursuant
to the U.S. and Alabama Constitution, and any person subject to removal,
re-class, or other disciplinary action shall enjoy the right to challenge
such decision by Habeas Corpus in the proper jurisdiction as established by
Title 15, Code of Alabama 1975, and all provisions of the Alabama
Administrative Procedure Act applies to the ADOC in its entirety, Section §
41-22-3(9)g.1), to the contrary are hereby amended. All proceedings of a
disciplinary nature must be recorded by audio/video means.

PART 3 SECTION 1

Be it ENACTED that any person sentenced pursuant to the Habitual Felony
Offender Laws of this State, said applicable law must be charged in the
Indictment and proven in a bifurcated trial before the convicting jury,
(see U.S. SUPREME COURT decisions Alleyne v. United States, 570 U.S.–(June
17,2013) Apprendi v. New Jersey, 536 U.S. 545 (2002); Rangel-Reyes v.
United States, 547 U.S. 1200 Slip Opinion (2006); and; §13A-5-10.1(b),Code
of Alabama 1975), with said requirements being retroactive to the passage
of this law to any person sentenced as a habitual offender.

Due to the fact that laws like the HFOA were enacted for the sole purpose
of creating a massive pool of free/cheap labor, these laws are forever
repealed. A prior felony is just that, a “prior” felony where the debt has
already been paid to society. Therefore, this form of double punishment
will be limited to the 1 or 2 point enhancement provisions as laid out in
Part 2, Section 1 of this Bill.

PART 3 SECTION 2

YOUTHFUL OFFENDERS

Be it also ENACTED that any person who commits any crime between the ages
of 18 and before reaching 22, shall be prosecuted as a Youthful Offender.
As a Youthful Offender, such individual shall be ineligible to be charged,
tried or convicted as an adult and cannot be sentenced to more than 15
years in prison.

Such offender shall be ineligible of being charged with a capital offense
or sentenced to life, life without parole or death.

With the recent decisions issued by the United States Supreme Court,
including its decision in Miller v. Alabama, concerning juvenile
prosecutions for crime committed when they were as young as 14, it SHOULD
now be obvious to the criminal justice system that modern science debunks
all theories that these children can be effectively prosecuted as adults.
Modern science shows that these children simply lack mental development to
sufficiently appreciate the magnitude of their conduct, and that they are
simply too young to make such decisions without taking into account
external influences.

Therefore, upon passage of this law, no child under the age of 18 may be
prosecuted as an adult in the State of Alabama for violation of any law of
this State where they would be sentenced to a prison designed to house
adults.

Children under the age of 18 shall be prosecuted under the laws designated
for juveniles and may be held in a juvenile facility until their 22
birthday, at which time they will be released.

Children age 18 and above, but under the age of 22, may be prosecuted in
adult court, but only under the laws designated for Youthful Offenders.
This law will become retroactive upon passage of this Bill.

All provisions of his law will become retroactive upon passage of this Bill.

PART 3 SECTION 3

JOINT HOUSE RESOLUTION

Be it ENACTED that the provisions set out in House Joint Resolution 575,
sponsored by Robinson(J) and Black(M), SHALL be declared the law of this
State, amending Sections 13A-5-9 (16, 17, and 18), and that any person
indicted-pursuant to these provisions, said Indictment must charge that
such offense was gang- related and that a vehicle was used as an instrument
to commit the offense.

The amendment and all provisions herein shall be retroactive upon passage
of this Bill.

PART 3 SECTION 4

PROTECTION OF THE MENTALLY ILL:

It shall be the policy of the State of Alabama that no person suffering
from a mental illness shall be incarcerated in a prison designed for
persons convicted of a crime.

Mentally ill people, who now compose appx. 50% of all people in prison,
need professional treatment in a mental health facility, not punishment.
Within 24 months of the passage of this Bill, the ADOC and the Governor of
the State of Alabama, in conjunction with the Executive Committee of Free
Alabama Movement, shall draft standard procedures which must be unanimously
approved or submitted to an approved arbitrator pursuant to Federal
arbitrator laws, for identifying and releasing all mentally ill persons
from ADOC custody by January 1, 2018.

PART 4 SECTION 1

ABOLITING ALL LAWS THAT PERMIT SLAVERY AND INVOLUNTARY SURVITUDE IN THE
STATE OF ALABAMA:

Be it ENACTED that no citizen or laborer in the State of Alabama shall be
required to work any job in this State without compensation of less that
the prevailing minimum wage in Alabama, including those citizens
incarcerated in the ADOC, and that no restrictions on forming a labor union
shall apply to any person performing labor within or for the Alabama
Department of Corrections.

After over 400 years, it is time to remove Any exception, practices, or
provision of law that permits slavery or involuntary servitude from the
1901 Constitution of Alabama,including ART. 1, SEC. 32, which reads:

SECTION 2

Slavery prohibited; involuntary servitude.

That no form of slavery shall exist in this state; and there shall not be
any involuntary servitude, otherwise than for the punishment of crime, of
which the party shall have been duly convicted.

PART 4 SECTION 2

WELFARE COMMITTEE

Be it also ENACTED that the Commissioner of the ADOC shall create a Welfare
Committee at each prison, composed of the men and women incarcerated, and
elected by their peers, and that such Committee shall have authority and
ownership over all prison stores, canteens, and incentive package programs,
with the ability to negotiate with their own suppliers.

The Welfare Committee shall be permitted use the profits from these
businesses that they and their families are the exclusive customers of, for
Education, Rehabilitation and Re-Entry Preparedness Programs, recreational
supplies, and infrastructure needs like computers, irons, ice coolers,
coffee pots, televisions, and incentive packages for elderly, disabled, and
destitute prisoners.

FAMILY AND COMMUNITY ORIENTED REHABILITATION

PART 5 SECTION 1

CONJUGAL VISITS

Be it also Enacted that upon the passage of this Bill, there shall be
allowed within the Department of Corrections conjugal visits, which shall
be allowed no less than every 14 days for any person who has served 2 or
more consecutive years within the ADOC, and that every person, upon
marriage, shall be able to consummate such Marriage with a conjugal visits.

PART 5 SECTION 2

VISITATION

Be it also Enacted that the visitation policy in Alabama shall be that
every person confined in the ADOC shall enjoy a four hour visit every
weekend, and that there shall be no restrictions placed on who may visit,
and a minimum of 20 people shall be permitted on each person’s approved
visitation.

PART 6 SECTION 1

VOTING RIGHTS

Be it ENACTED INTO LAW that every citizen of the State of Alabama shall
have the right to vote, and this Right shall not be denied to any person on
account of a criminal conviction.

The right to vote is a fundamental civil and human right, and a criminal
conviction has no bearing on this right to vote. Civil offenses have their
own punishment, and conviction of a criminal offense shall not affect civil
rights.

There simply is no logical or reasonable reason why any citizen should lose
their civil right to vote because they have been convicted of a criminal
offense.

PART 7 SECTION 1

OPEN MEDIA ACCESS TO ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS

BE IT ENACTED as the Law of this State and the policy of the Alabama
Department of Corrections to allow unlimited access of the news media into
any and all State prisons at least 3 times per month upon a regularly
posted schedule, which shall be posted in each institution and made
available to the media.

Such access shall be permitted for at least 4 hours on the designated
media-day at any prison where permission from a member of the media is
requested. When media is on site no restrictions are to be placed on areas
where they may go.

Any media request to interview any person of interest to the media who is
incarcerated in an Alabama prison shall be conducted on this designated
media-day also. Such interview request shall be made at least one week in
advance and shall take place on the visitation yard.

No person incarcerated in ADOC shall be denied access to the media, and the
normal rules of visitation shall apply, except that the media shall not be
required to be on an incarcerated person’s visitation list. The media shall
not be restricted in any way from using audio, video or other recording
equipment on media-day.

In cases of emergency, such as rape, death, quarantine due to outbreak of
disease, or other matter of importance to the public, the media shall be
allowed access within 48 hours of the declared emergency situation.
Lockdowns, assault by officers and other issues shall not be grounds to
deny emergency or general media access.

For more questions, comments, or suggestions concerning this “FREEDOM
BILL”, please email us at:

freealabamamovement@gmail.com

or

FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT
P.O. BOX 186
New Market, AL 35761

or

Freealabamamovement.com

Revised 3-10-15

Press Release: February 1 Protest To Highlight Inhumane Conditions In Alabama Prisons

Free Alabama Movement

*For Immediate Release*

January 26, 2015
Contact: Ann Brooks (256)783-1044

Press Release
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.

It is Our Youth of FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT that makes us GREAT!!!

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!!

ALUTA CONTINUA

THE PEOPLE’S PLATFORM blogtalk radio show

FREE ALABAMA-MISSISSIPPI MOVEMENT’s blogtalkradio show, “THE PEOPLE’S PLATFORM”, will air tonight, Thursday, November 20, 2014, at 7 p.m. (cst). Join in tonight for our discussion:

WHY WE MUST EMBRACE AN ECONOMIC STRATEGY IN ORDER TO BE SUCCESSFUL IN THE FIGHT AGAINST MASS INCARCERATION AND PRISON SLAVERY.

Listen in tonight at 7 p.m. (cst), by dialing 646-716-4936, or listen online at: www.blogtalkradio.com/FREEALABAMAMOVEMENT.

Press 1 to comment, ask questions, or make suggestions.

Please Donate to F.A.M

Donate to FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT by Pay Pal today and support of Movement Against Mass Incarceration and Prison Slavery. We are leading our Movement for Civil and Human Rights from the Inside of Alabama’s prisons, and we need your help. So please join our cause and support of efforts today as we move to FREE ALABAMA !!!

Please Donate by Clicking on this Link!

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FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT Rally @ St.Clair 7-10-2014

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FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT Rally 7-19-2014 @ St. Clair

Photos from the FREEALABAMAMOVEMENT RALLY 7-19-2014- @ ST. CLAIR.

FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT Rally 7-19-2014 @ St. Clair

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Free Alabama Movement Blasts Racial Make-Up…

…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 AM17375-2partnership 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).

FAMpluslogoAccording 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.robert bentley

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

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A Flicker Turns Into A Flame: Alabama Prisoners Want Change – A Report From F.A.M’S Southern Region

A Flicker Turns Into A flame: Alabama Prisoners Want Change
A Report From F.A.M’S Southern Region

By Kinetik Justice Amun (g.n. Robert E. Council)

10599613_1518395251745511_5416659300835430917_nToday in America, there’s the resurgence of a People’s Movement sweeping across the Nation — As the flame of inhumane treatment and economical exploitation has billowed into a wildfire demanding change.

Reminiscent of the Civil Rights Movement of the 60’s, from California to Ohio, Texas to Florida, there is a deafening call for an end to America’s systemized targeting, mass incarcerating, warehousing, then economically exploiting those considered, “LOW CLASS,” i.e., New African, Hispanic and poor whites.

Suffering from gross incompetence, sub-par management of resources and the Nation’s highest OVERCROWDING RATIO – 200% over its designed capacity-that flame of change touched the Alabama Prison system.

On Jan. 1, 2014, FREE ALABAMA MOVEMNET launched a cross-racial collective action – a PEACEFUL & NON VIOLENT PROTEST for Human & Civil Rights, in the form of a work stoppage, which spread to St. Clair Corr. Fac. on Jan. 3, 2014 and Elmore Corr. Fac. on Jan. 5, 2014.

“THE FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT”

Free Alabama Movement is an “INSIDE-OUTSIDE” solidarity network, which has brought Alabama Prison Class and Human Rights Advocacy Groups together across Racial, Ideological and Geographic differences – thereby created a cross-denominational solidarity, unlike anything ever seen in the Alabama Prison System.

Free Alabama Movement is a peaceful & nonviolent protest for the human and civil rights of over 27,000 incarcerated citizens and several more thousands of family & friends of those incarcerated citizens.

Our message is clear – we proclaim that Alabama’s practice of:

1. WAREHOUSING INMATES IN OVERCROWDED DORMITORIES….
2. PROVIDING NO EDUCATIONAL OR REHABILITATIONAL PROGRAMS….
3. PROHIBITING AN INMATE FROM BEING COMPENSATED FOR HIS LABOR,

WHILE FORCING HIM TO PAY FINES AND FEES…. IS INHUMAN & EXPLOITATIVE IN VIOLATION OF THE STANDARDS OF HUMAN DECENCY…

Our Goals are defined:

1) Overcrowding MUST be addressed: 8-10 Thousand People released.

2) Taxation without compensation (free labor) abolished.

3.) Parole Board overhauled to establish parole criteria.

4.) Abolish Life Without Parole, Life/Barred from Parole & the Death Penalty.

5.) Amend Arbitrary & Discriminatory Applied Laws, i.e. 13A-5-40 (16)(17)(18).

WHY FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT?

In every stage of these inhumane conditions, we have petitioned the courts for redress, in the most humble method-filing lawsuit after lawsuit. Our repeated petitions have been answered with time-stalling rhetoric, as we continue to suffer from neglect while the D.O.C. daily reaps the financial benefits of our economical exploitations.

And as of June 2013, Alabama law makers established that prisoners could no longer file “class action” law suits against the D.O.C. in regards to inhumane living conditions. (See AL Prison Litigation Reform Act).

History has taught us that convincing the court to issue new rules to improve day to day life in prison and changing exploitive policies requires, not only petitions, but also the creation and maintenance of a legitimate prisoners’ rights movement-both inside and outside the prison walls. Clearly stated, to make real sustaining fundamental change in the
inhumane treatment and overcrowded prison conditions, we can’t rely on lawsuits alone – they have to be connected to the larger struggle.

FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT IS THE LARGER STRUGGLE – GET INFORMED!!

Why a Work Stoppage?
It is our understanding based on various in-depth studies that *MASS INCARCERATION, UNCONSTITUTIONAL OVERCROWDED PRISONS AND THE INHUMANE TREATMENT ARE MORE ABOUT ECONOMICS THAN THE HUMANITY OF
PEOPLE.

The numbers support our contention that “MONEY” is the motive and most important factor in explaining the policies and conditions within the D.O.C. Therefore, an economical response is our most effective strategy.

A Peaceful & Nonviolent Economical Response…

Each institution is a “STATE FREE LABOR FORCE”, which generates BILLIONS of dollars each year, in tax dollars, industry market, imposed fines & fees, co-payments, court costs and the millions saved by inmate “FREE LABOR.”

We have researched and studied the lessons of previous prison movements throughout the country; and the evidence of the Jan. 1, 2014 – Jan. 21, 2014 work stoppage has confirmed that prisons don’t function without inmate labor. And every day that the prison doesn’t function the prison profit margin plumets.

Based upon these premises and understanding the motive behind Alabama’s Prison Policies, Free Alabama Movement takes the position that – if we, collectively, engage in a proactive peaceful & nonviolent work stoppage, the financial burden will compel the Dept. of Corrections and the law makers of this state to be more receptive to our demands for fundamental
Human Rights. This method also affords us the opportunity to show society that many of us are intelligent & rational men striving to resolve our issues with the most peaceful means possible; and to combat the misconception that we all are, irrational, violent predators lacking any morality and humanity.

All of Free Alabama Movement’s action have been and will continue to be peaceful and nonviolent as we work to bring about a positive change within the Dept. of Corr. If they refuse to recognize the legitimacy of our Human and Civil Rights Struggle against the practices of the D.O.C. then it is the responsibility of the Federal Government to use their powers to stop
Alabama’s inhumane treatment and economical exploitations.

Maybe that’s what it might take – as Alabama has a long history of having to be forced into glory, by the intervention of the Federal Government.

For those familiar with the Alabama history, let’s not forget that it took the Federal intervention to abolish slavery, Federal Intervention to enforce reconstruction, Federal Intervention to outlaw convict leasing, Federal Intervention to enforce Civil Rights Laws in the 1960’s and Federal Intervention in the 1970’s when Alabama became the 1st prison system taken
over by the Federal Courts due to inhumane treatment of its prisoners.

40 YEARS LATER, the Alabama prison system is once again on the brink of a possible federal take over.

In the 1970’s, the inmates resorted to VIOLENCE in order to push change.

TODAY, THE FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT VOWS AND IS COMMITTED TO EFFECTING CHANGE BY PEACEFUL & NONVIOLENT MEANS…

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F.A.M.-bw wpPlease donate to Free Alabama Movement via Paypal by clicking on our logo, thank you!


F.A.M. 3, Part 1 and 2, by Kinetik Justice Amun

Sankofa3Word press melvin-1

By Kinetik Justice Amun

Part 1

The Alabama prison system is one of the worst in the nation in regards to overcrowding, inhumane treatment, unsanitary living conditions, inadequate health care and lack of Educational opportunities.

Earlier this year, in response to those horrid conditions, over 4,500 Men at 5 different Institutions in Alabama engaged in Non Violent & Peaceful Protest in the form of a work stoppage. For 3 weeks these men refused to work for free while being dehumanized and economically exploited.

After a press conference at the State Capital and several meetings with the Commissioners of the Department of Corrections, it was agreed that the Alabama prison system needed some drastic changes. This is what they told the public, while internally they began targeting the men they felt like were responsible for organizing and orchestrating such a mass shutdown of their economic stronghold.

Melvin Ray, Robert Earl Council and James Pleasant were targeted, singled out and labeled “threats to the security of the ADOC”, then placed in Solitary Confinement with indeterminate sentences. For the past 9 months, these 3 men have been harassed, intimidated and threatened with physical abuse (and one has been assaulted and deliberately denied medical treatment).

In the course of their continued struggle to get justice in the Alabama prison system, these 3 men have become known as the Free Alabama Movement 3 or (FAM 3).

Part 2

HOLMAN WARDEN STRIKES A DEAL
Holman Correctional Facility’s Warden, Walter Myers has reportedly struck a deal with several influential inmates at the maximum security prison. “I don’t have a problem with y’all using and selling drugs, this is prison and that’s going to happen. Just as there will be occasional fights. But I need y’all to help me keep the violence down. And NO FREE ALABAMA talk.”

Myers seems to be holding his end of the bargain as records show that in the last 6 months:

1. One person stabbed another several times. He served 4 months in Solitary Confinement and war released back to general population.

2. The Wardens’ runner was found in possession of 3 grams of crystal meth. He served 16 days in Solitary Confinement and was then released back to general population.

3. Two men assaulted one another with weapons. One served 45 days in Solitary Confinement. The other served 63 days in Solitary Confinement. Both were then released back to general population.

So, as Warden Myers stated, drugs and violence are acceptable parts of prison.

However, what is not and will not be tolerated- FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT. For promoting FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT- teaching other inmates the law and expressing their views about the on-going Human violations occurring at Holman Prison, Robert Earl Council and James Pleasant have been placed in Solitary Confinement with indeterminate sentences.

To date, Robert Earl Council has served 9 months in Solitary Confinement with no consideration for release. James Pleasant has served 8 months in Solitary Confinement with no consideration for release. So, once again, it appears that Warden Myers is truly a man of his word.

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“Let’s just shut down” – An Interview with Spokesperson Ray of Free Alabama Movement

By Annabelle Parker and Melvin Ray, October 2014
First published on Alabama Prison Watch

Q: How did you come about starting the Free Alabama Movement, what was the thing or issue that triggered it? And were you all in general population? You are still in solitary (the hole) now, right? Please elaborate on how it works from there, and what is possible, from there.

Spokesperson RayF.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.

StokeleyFrom 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).

sink inside facilityReally, 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: FAM website frontthe 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.

March at Tutwiler aug 2014F.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.March to end rape, 8-23-2014, Alabama
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:
www.Freealabamamovement.com,
Email: freealabamamovement@gmail.com or freemississippimovement@gmail.com
Facebook group: FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT
Twitter @FREEALAMOVEMENT
FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT, P.O. Box 186, New Market, AL 35761

On InternetRadio.

On YouTube.

Free AlabamaMovement – Book in PDF by Melvin Ray

An Interview with Melvin Ray of Free Alabama Movement, by Dan Brent

Spokesperson Ray Oct 2014 (2)An Interview with Melvin Ray of Free Alabama Movement, by Dan Brent

From: People’s World

Dec. 1st, 2014

In August of 2013, a young man named Melvin Ray, incarcerated in Alabama’s St. Clair Correctional Facility, began developing and sharing a philosophy and plan for resistance to mass incarceration from within the confines of the prison itself. He penned what some might characterize as a manifesto for what would become the Free Alabama Movement.

Incarcerated individuals who joined this movement since January of 2014 have used several tactics of resistance, including filming the conditions of these facilities with cell phones and posting the videos to YouTube.

The use of this new technology as a subversive tool spurred a media campaign by the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) emphasizing the “danger” of cell phones in the hands of prisoners. It was claimed that it might lead to “overseeing drug deals or calling for a hit.” It is incredibly suspicious how the ADOC’s media campaign did not begin with some notable criminal act organized from within prison walls, yet it conveniently coincided with the release of videos and photos damaging to the reputation of the state agency, just as an investigation for abuses in another facility within the state by the U.S. Department of Justice was drawing to a conclusion.

But the tactic that Free Alabama Movement has emphasized most in their struggle is the stoppage of labor – strikes within the prisons. Melvin and the others have consistently decried free, uncompensated labor as the main reason for the persistence of mass incarceration in the U.S., placing prisoner exploitation in the general context of the struggle against capitalism.

I asked Melvin a few questions that I felt were relevant to the general anti-capitalist and black liberation movements, that he might assist those of us in the “free world” in understanding the underlying thought behind Free Alabama Movement’s actions and development, and its relationship to those on the outside. Although I had originally intended to write a paragraph-style article interspersed with quotes from the interview, both the dynamism and cogency of his responses persuaded me instead to offer readers more of his unclad words:

Is there a connection between poverty wages within oppressed communities and free labor in the so-called “justice” system?

Poverty wages are part of the social/economic/political control mechanism of capitalism, and it is very much related to forced prison slavery/free labor. With limited resources due to low wages, you are restricted in many ways, including where your family can afford to live, what they can afford to buy (quality of life), and the most important control is their access to education. When your income only allows you to live in a poor community, then you typically only have access to under-performing schools, due to a lack of investment from state and local government. When confined by wages, the people of these poor communities are then closer in proximity to crime and criminal influences, which are directly related to incarceration, where forced slave labor is introduced. Consequentially, most people who are incarcerated also come from the poor communities where wages are depressed. The cycle then repeats itself because slave labor is forced on the socially and politically impoverished, because we lack traditional economics (no income) and political power due to disenfranchisement.

How would you describe the connection between white supremacy on the streets with police violence and white supremacy in the context of mass incarceration?

The fabric of white supremacy stretches across all threads of America because it is of a cultural and psychological nature, as described by Marimba Ani in her groundbreaking book Yurugu. In order to erect the concept of white supremacy, there has to be a foundation for it to stand on, and that foundation has always been black people. So with a psychology and culture built upon an identity that must destroy the black image and all things black, it’s easy to see the connection between police brutality, mass incarceration, and a host of other elements (poverty, low wages, lack of investment opportunities, discrimination in housing and college admittance, and on and on).

The same mindset that allows a police officer to summarily execute an innocent, unarmed black person in the street is the same mindset that allows an officer to plant evidence, to lie on the witness stand, and for a white juror to find guilt. It allows a judge to appoint a knowingly incompetent defense attorney, and it allows a prosecutor to withhold evidence, use false evidence, to overcharge, and to discriminate against black jurors, all with impunity. The Dred Scott case (1857) captured it best when the U.S. Supreme Court said that “no black man has any rights that a white man is bound to respect.” That applies whether it is an innocent black man or woman like Sean Bellor, Renisha McBride, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Mafundi Lake, Move 9, on up to the Scott sisters, Mike Brown and Ezell Ford.

Under the dictates of white supremacy, if you are black in this society, then you can be murdered or raped with little consequence, or you can be subject to murder or rape in prison with the other weapons of mass murder and destruction like the death penalty, life without parole, malnutrition, substandard healthcare, on down to police brutality, forced free labor, long-term solitary isolation and sensory deprivation, and exposure to widespread disease, all subsumed in mass incarceration.

Under white supremacy, this is the lot for black people so that white people can validate their supremacy. In a “democracy” where the resources are controlled by a few and political will is enforced by the vote of white-majority politics, white supremacy will reign for a while longer.

What role does capitalism plays in the mass incarceration of people of color within U.S. society?

Capitalists seek the highest return on their investment, and the best way to increase returns is to find ways to reduce the cost of production. The cheaper the cost to produce, the greater the return. One production cost that any corporation would like to reduce is labor costs. Why? Because labor costs (paying employees’ salaries and raises, sick leave and maternity leave, vacation time, payroll and income tax, Social Security, 401Ks, and compliance with labor laws) are the greatest expense to a business. Corporations have found that the best way to reduce these labor costs is to use free prison labor because when the capitalist uses a prisoner/slave, he doesn’t have any such expenses. He can replace all of these expenses with a campaign contribution to the politicians who can guarantee that he has access to prison labor.

It’s all a matter of bottom line profits. The capitalist doesn’t care where it comes from, and when you have power brokers who deem a certain segment of society ideally suited for that purpose (black, poor, uneducated, no political power), then they pass legislation like the “war on drugs” to create a system of mass incarceration/prison workforce slavery. Global competition within capitalism from producers like China made the decision to mass incarcerate large swaths of young black men for the purpose of exploiting them for prison/slave labor quite easy.

After the laws are passed, the next step is to get the media involved to play their role of demonizing and assassinating the character of black men so thoroughly in movies, TV, radio, and on the evening news (“crack babies,” “drug predators,” “violent gangs,” “monsters,” etc.) to the point that not only does no one care about the mass incarceration/government control that is taking place for over 7 million people, but most people think that when these people are imprisoned, they should be made to work for free as part of their punishment.

At the same time, these corporations fund colleges that begin teaching students in criminal justice curricula that prison labor is a necessary form of punishment for crime.

Before long, everyone is drinking the same Kool-Aid.

With so many restrictions on your own personal freedoms, how do you cope? How do you keep resisting the system of mass incarceration?

I don’t “cope,” that’s why I resist! My freedom was taken away from me in a violent manner by the state. In essence, I was kidnapped. That’s how I define my incarceration at this time, as a kidnapping.

I had a family that I was raising, a business that I was starting, and a future that I was preparing for. The state decided that they would use their legal system to take all of that (and so much more) away from me for a crime that I didn’t commit, and on top of that, I was sentenced to life without parole. So there is no way to cope with that.

I resist because I have no choice. The rules of prison are made to institutionalize you and make you a slave. The state needs for us to accept this way of life that they have chosen for us, so that we aren’t a management problem for them. Well, I have a problem with it. Harriet Tubman spoke about how although she freed hundreds of slaves, she could have freed thousands more if only they knew they were slaves. Well, I know what’s going on here, and I reject it wholeheartedly.

When the innocent, mentally ill, and the guilty are enslaved under the same oppression simply because the system deems you expendable, then I recommend that you better resist too, or else you will suffer the most ignoble fate known to humanity: dying as a slave of old age. It’s far better to die fighting for your liberation, freedom and honor than it is to live a life of service and docility, constantly enduring abuse by your master. You have to at least be a problem for him; make your name taste like shit in his mouth; constantly be in his head; worry that bastard to death! Whatever you do, don’t let him rest at peace at night as long as he holds you captive.

Man fights for justice inside Alabama prisonUSP

The Only Money Changing Hands is Going to the Lawyers

Their litigation never produces sustained results; they always include “more police” in their settlements; they have a policy to NEVER sue for damages for the people who suffered injuries:

“Over the years, story after story of the violence inside the Idaho Correctional Center emerged. The prison, which was dubbed “Gladiator School,” has been the subject of multiple lawsuits around the widespread brutality and violence, much of which was deliberately allowed by prison staff as a management tool. In 2010, the ACLU filed a federal class action lawsuit on behalf of prisoners against prison officials and the CCA. The suit highlighted 24 cases of assaults that occurred between 2006 and 2010. The following year, CCA settled with the ACLU, agreeing to changes around staffing and safety. However, violence and lawsuits continued.”

What Do Private Prisons Have to Do With the Upcoming Election?

The Meeting Place To Fight Mass Incarceration is at The Prisons, Not at The Capitols or on Facebook or Twitter

The only people who are capable of changing the perceptions in society are the people in prison. That’s why we need people to support our efforts to do that.

The Movement against mass incarceration and prison slavery must take place at the prisons, not in the universities, on the t.v. or the internet.

The activist, organizer, supporter, family, friends, and the incarcerated have to all be protesting in the place where the oppression is going on: that’s at the prisons.

“Let’s just shut down” – An Interview with Spokesperson Ray of Free Alabama Movement

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.

StokeleyFrom 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).

sink inside facilityReally, 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: FAM website frontthe 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.

March at Tutwiler aug 2014F.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.March to end rape, 8-23-2014, Alabama
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:
www.Freealabamamovement.com,
Email: freealabamamovement@gmail.com or freemississippimovement@gmail.com
Facebook group: FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT
Twitter @FREEALAMOVEMENT
FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT, P.O. Box 186, New Market, AL 35761

On InternetRadio.

On YouTube.

Free AlabamaMovement – Book in PDF by Melvin Ray

Private Prisons are the New Slaveholders

Cells to Cells
When elected officials have strong ties to private prison companies, you see sentencing laws become incredibly strict, the privatizing of services such as halfway houses and probation, and a market incentive to churn people through the system.

Spokesperson Ray
The businessman controls prisons today because they are a 500 billion dollar industry. The approach to ending it also has to be a business approach. We have to get at the core of the economics (“follow the money”, so to speak) of the system and disrupt THAT !!! Hell, we are their system. Our labor and the things that we produce, the services that we provide, and what we spend tallies up to 500 billion . . . for someone else.

ORGANIZE ! ORGANIZE !! ORGANIZE !!!

Organize KwameNON-VIOLENT AND PEACEFUL PROTEST FOR CIVIL AND HUMAN RIGHTS MOVEMENT AGAINST MASS INCARCERATION AND PRISON SLAVERY
A mass prisoner strike wave is coming in state and federal prisons all over the country.We need to build a national activist movement against prison slavery, but in support of the Free Alabama Movement & Free Mississippi Movement United, we propose the following immediate action campaign:

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.

JOIN THE MOVEMENT AND START YOUR CHARTER TODAY

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 .

*Contact:*

Antonia Brooks 256-783-1044
Latosha Scott 334-322-8989
Lashonda Morris 601-480-2507

Website: Freealabamamovement.com
Facebook group: Free Alabama Movement
Twitter @FREEALAMOVEMENT
Email: freealabamamovement@gmail.com  Freemississippimovement@gmail.com
Mail: FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT, P.O. Box 186, New Market, AL 35761
Blog: Freealabamamovement.wordpress.com
Newsletter: Sankofam
Internet Radio
YouTube


F.A.M.-bw wp