Kinetic Justice appeared on The Stream, Al Jazeera: The labour rights fight in US prisons, Sept. 26, 2016
Kinetic Justice appeared on The Stream, Al Jazeera: The labour rights fight in US prisons, Sept. 26, 2016
EMERGENCY ALERT: F.A.M. PRESS RELEASE FOR HOLMAN PRISON
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SERIOUS HUMANITARIAN CRISIS AND HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS DEVELOPING AT HOLMAN PRISON
Pas. Kenneth S. Glasgow
The Ordinary People’s Society
FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT
Atmore, Alabama. September 16, 2016
A serious humanitarian crisis is developing at Holman prison as correctional officers continue to walk off of the job amid concerns about safety and apathy from Warden Terry Raybon and the office of ADOC Commissioner Jefferson S Dunn, as violence, including deadly stabbings and assaults continue to mount.
Several officers expressed dismay and fear after learning that two of their fellow officers, Officer Brian Ezell and another officer, reported to Warden Raybon that they had knives drawn on them and their lives threatened, and that neither Warden Raybon, nor Commissioners Jeff Dunn and Grantt Culliver would take any action to ensure their safety. Both of these officers then quit.
Several other officers have also quit in the past three weeks after witnessing a stabbing of a fellow officer in the temple and who had remained hospitalized with life threatening injuries until he was pronounced dead earlier today. This after a former warden, Carter Davenport, was stabbed in March amidst back to back riots and other violence at Holman.
Now, after seeing Warden Raybon release approximately 20 people from segregation on September 13, 2016, most of whom were all in segregation for violent incidents (only to see several stabbing take place, including one critically injured and another losing an eye), a total of eight more officers have either quit or turned in their two week notices. Officers are expressing concern that the Commissioners of the ADOC are intentionally exacerbating violence at the expense of human life in efforts to push forward their plan to extort the public for 1.5 billion to build new prisons in next years Legislative Session.
Officers have began to express support for the Non-Violent stance of FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT and their efforts to expose corruption, violence and other issues plaguing Holman and other Alabama prisons, and have went so far as to make repeated requests to Warden Raybon for the release of F.A.M. co-founder and organizer Kinetik Justice from solitary confinement, because officers now feel that he is being wrongfully detained and because he has repeatedly demonstrated the ability to conduct peaceful demonstrations at Holman prison to bring attention to issues within the ADOC and Holman prison.
We are asking that everyone call Commissioner Dunn and Warden Raybon and demand that they post daily reports of the staffing levels and incidents of violence taking place at Holman as a matter of public safety.
We are further requesting assistance in finding a Human Rights attorney and human rights observers to report to Holman immediately, as the level of violence is skyrocketing, and the men at Holman are left in a virtual war zone to fend for themselves, while officers continue to walk off the job in what is already the most understaffed prison in America. Officers are so afraid to enter the dorms that routine security functions like conducting count are being done by the incarcerated men themselves, and video footage attesting to this fact are widely available online and across social media.
Family members of those incarcerated at Holman are requested to call Commissioner Dunn and Culliver continuously, and demand that their loved ones be immediately removed from Holman, as there are insufficient officers to secure the prison.
FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT
Warden Terry Raybon
Holman Correctional Facility
Commissioner Jefferson Dunn
Commissioner Grantt Culliver
334-353-3883 (switchboard operator)
Kinetik Justice, a prison strike organizer and co-founder of the Free Alabama Movement, spoke with Democracy Now! from solitary confinement at Holman Correctional Facility: “These strikes are our methods of challenging mass incarceration, as we understand the prison system is a continuation of the slave system.”
By KINETIK JUSTICE
In theory, the 13th Amendment put an end to and forever abolished slavery, at least that is what we’ve been taught in schools. However, in actual practice, the 13th Amendment merely changed the name, method and rationale for keeping African Americans in a state of perpetual servitude. As the 13th Amendment explicitly permits ” Involuntary Servitude”– an euphemism for Slavery– as punishment for “duly convicted criminals.”
WHO DEFINES CRIME & WHO IS THE CRIMINAL?
In direct response to this Constitutional mandate, every southern state created an array of “stay in your place” laws. Which, by design, methodically criminalized every aspect if African American life. History has well documented that Alabama took this mandate to heart. As from its inception, the Alabama Judicial System was structured to keep white land owners in a position of power and Africans in their place– Servitude.
In fact, the State of Alabama used the 13the Amendment as their foundation in drafting the ALABAMA CONSTITUTION OF 1901. As the Alabama Legislature used their authority to set up court systems, appointed only white people as Judges and District Attorneys, pre arranged elections for those positions that had to be voted on, then expanded the criminal code as its effective means of carrying out their objective. By their own admission, the State of Alabama’s sole purpose in drafting the Constitution of 1901 was to establish “White Supremacy”- by law. As the delegates to the all-white Constitutional Convention, were not secretive about their purpose and aims. In the opening address, President of the Convention, John B. Knox stated:
“And what is it that we want to do? Why is it within the limits imposed by the federal constitution to establish white supremacy in this state.” … “but if we would have white supremacy, we must establish it by law…”
In keeping with the sentiments of John B. Knox, the State of Alabama has used the Constitution of 1901 to construct a solid foundation, in which to discriminate from.
The history books are replete with examples of Alabama’s blatant racially motivated enactment of laws targeting young Africans males. Even to this day, Alabama openly applies its laws discrimately, first –based upon race, then upon financial status. Alabama’s “good old boy”-style of justice is maintained and perpetuated by police officers “overreaching”, district attorneys” overcharging” and judges “over sentencing.”
All of this is made possible by the Alabama Constitution of 1901 and the Alabama Legislature, as it is the Alabama Legislature that enact these laws that specifically target young African-American males, particularly and African-Americans in general. One glaring example, is the racially motivated amending of the Capital Murder statute to include Section 16, 17 and 18- or commonly called the “drive-by shooting laws”. Though not discriminatory on their face nor in literal wording, but let’s examine the Legislatures motive and the District Attorneys statewide application—
According to the Alabama Legislature, in the early 1990’s there was a massive public outcry against “gangs”, so in 1992 the Legislature passed Act 92-601; which made a murder committed by the use of a deadly weapon fired from or into a vehicle, a Capital Offense–punishable by death or life without parole.
Act 92-601 became codified in Title 13A-5-40(a)(16),(17) and (18). From a plain reading of the statute, in order to be charged and found guilty of the Capital Offense, all that’s required is that the shooter or victim be in a vehicle or house at the time of the murder. Prior to this amendment, all Capital Offenses required an aggravating circumstance in order to elevate the murder to a death penalty offense. However, the “drive-by shooting laws” are simply based upon location of the shooter or victim.
As stated earlier, the statute doesn’t appear to be discriminatory from a literal reading. – “They have long learned how to change the language of oppression without changing the conditions. It’s the Art of Rhetoric.”
LETS LOOK AT ITS APPLICATION
In February of 1994, Oeatha Archie III was alleged to have been sitting in a vehicle, when he fatally shot someone that was outside the vehicle. Oeatha was charged with Capital Murder, then sentenced to Life Without Parole.
In September of 1994, Tony Knight was alleged to have been standing outside a vehicle, when he fatally shot someone that fell into a vehicle. Tony was charged with Capital Murder, then sentenced to Life Without Parole.
In October of 1994, Brian Smith was alleged to have been sitting in his vehicle, when he fatally shot someone that was outside the vehicle. Brian was charged with Capital Murder, then sentenced to Life Without Parole.
In October of 1996, Dennis McGriff was alleged to have been sitting inside a vehicle, when he fatally shot someone outside the vehicle. Dennis was charged with Capital Murder, then sentenced to Death by Electrocution.
All 4 were young black males when they were arrested. And there are several other young black males, languishing away with Life Without Parole, in the Alabama prison system, with identical situations.
In November of 1999, Shirley Henson was alleged to have been sitting in a vehicle, when she fatally shot someone outside the vehicle. From the very beginning, the District Attorney and the Media labeled this a case of “Road Rage”. Capital Murder was never mentioned nor considered, as Henson was charged and convicted of a much lesser charge of “heat of passion” manslaughter, then sentenced to 13 years. Shirley Henson just happened to be a middle class white lady.
So the question becomes, WHAT MADE SHIRLEY HENSON DIFFERENT FROM OEATHA ARCHIE, TONY KNIGHT, BRIAN SMITH AND DENNIS McGRIFF???
It’s obvious that race matters when Prosecutors decide who to charge with Capital Murder. However, the Prosecutors in Calhoun County didn’t get the memo for how the statute was to be applied.
As in March of 2003, Phillip Fondren, a white male, was charged with Capital Murder, for shooting from a vehicle when the victim was outside the vehicle. Fondren was even sentenced to Life Without Parole.
HOLD UP, WAIT A MINUTE!!!
Due to Phillip Fondren’s case, the Alabama Legislature stepped in and sought to clarify the intent of the “drive-by shooting laws.”
In March if 2006, Representatives Marcel Black and John Robinson authored a Bill and presented it to the House of Representatives, which addressed the application of subdivisions 16, 17 and 18 of Title 13A-5-40, I.e., the Capital Murder statute. In session it was stated:
“Whereas, the legislature is aware of the case of State of Alabama v. Fondren (Calhoun County CC 02-600) in which Fondren was convicted of Capital Murder for violating Section 14A-5-40(a)(18)…”
On March 28, 2006, this Bill was adopted by the House of Representatives. On April 17, 2006, this Bill was adopted and signed by the Senate. Upon both Houses adopting this Bill, it became House Joint Resolution 575. In accordance with the procedure for passing a Bill into a Law, the House Joint Resolution was delivered to the Governor. On April 27, 2006 at 1:09 p.m. Governor Bob Riley signed the Bill. It became Act No. 2006-642, which stated in pertinent part:
” …in passing Act 92-601, it was the intent of the legislature in adding sub division (18) to address “drive-by shooting”, that is murder committed through the use of a deadly weapon …used within or from a vehicle which murders were gang related or intended to incite public terror or alarm.”
In HJR 575 (Act No. 2006-642) the legislature recognized that Section 13A-5-40(a)(17),(18) has been misinterpreted by prosecutors and courts to apply to any murder committed by or through the use of a deadly weapon, fired or otherwise used within or from a vehicle, even if it was not gang related. Being that this interpretation was contrary to the legislatures intent, the Legislature urged the Attorney General and District Attorneys to charge only those individuals who commit murder by or through the use of a deadly weapon fired or otherwise within or from a vehicle, when the vehicle was involved in the shooting or that the shooting was gang related.
This clarification by the legislature should have changed the sentences for countless individuals serving Life Without Parole behind the prosecutors and judges misapplication of the law. But it didn’t, in fact the Attorney General has refused to respect the legislatures resolution. In a Declaratory Judgment filed by Brian Smith – asking the Court to declare the application of the ” drive-by shooting” statute as unconstitutional, the Attorney General argued that 13A-5-40(18) did not itself state that it applied only to gang related murder and the resolution was just the legislatures opinion. However, all judges are not so disrespectful to the intentions and clarification of the law makers of this State. As former Supreme Court Justice Sue Bell Cobb has urged the legislature to go one step further, and amend the “drive-by shooting” statutes, so that the plain language of the statute will effectuate the legislatures intent ad expressed in House Joint Resolution 575(Act No. 2006-642).
There are also a few Circuit Court Judges that have given effect to the legislatures Resolution. In Huntsville, Alabama, Madison County Circuit Judge Loyd H. Little reduced Walter Lamont Perry’s Capital Murder charge to regular murder. Assistant D.A. Bill Starnes stated the reason for the charge being reduced as: “The law on shooting into an occupied vehicle has changed because the Alabama Legislature recently indicated that the intent of the law was to address “drive-by shootings” and because the vehicle was stationary when the fatal shooting occurred, the death penalty charge no longer applied.” Based upon the foregoing and the House Joint Resolution as well as the urging of former Supreme Court Justice Sue Bell Cobb, FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT is campaigning to make the Legislature amend the Capital Murder statute to reflect their true intentions, as stated in the House Joint Resolution 575.
By Kinetik Justice Amun
When you proclaim to be or you’re striving to be RIGHTEOUS and you see something thats not RIGHT & EXACT you have 2 options- You either do something about it or You support those that are doing something about it. If you see something wrong and choose neither one of those options- you’re plastic and when the FLAME gets turned up, you’ll melt and puddle like snow. FREE THE FAM 3! UHURU AU KIFO
By Kinetik Justice Amun
The willful denial and intentional deprivation of the Human & Civil Rights of one person is WRONG. The systematic denial and institualized deprivation of over 52,OOO peoples Human & Civil Rights is PURE EVIL. To Stand Up to and Challenge such a System is to commit yourself to a Righteous Cause. FREE ALABAMA FREE MISSISSIPPI UNITED – THE MOVEMENT IS A RIGHTEOUS CAUSE. So link up and join us as we fight for the FREEDOM JUSTICE & HUMANE TREATMENT OF OVER 52,OOO HUMAN BEINGS.
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)
Today 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
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…