San Francisco Bay View » Free Alabama Movement Peace Summit turns chaos into community http://sfbayview.com/2016/10/free-alabama-movement-peace-summit-turns-chaos-into-community/ — shared by UC Mini
WE, the Prisoners of Alabama Department of Corrections, as a collective reach out to Rev. Kenneth Glasgow, Founder of The Ordinary People Society, Prodigal Child Project and Formerly Incarcerated Convicted People Families Movement asking that Rev. Glasgow mediate and speak on our behalf, in making the following statement to the Legislators of the state of Alabama.
At 12:01 May 1, 2016 We, Alabama Prisoners will begin a Peaceful and Nonviolent Protest for Our Human Rights in the form of a Work Stoppage. This is in fact a means to Peacefully Petition the Alabama Government for Redress of Grievances as We have suffered under Cruel and Inhumane Conditions over the past two decades.
Let us be clear, this is not just about the Deplorable Conditions of Confinement, but more so about the 13th Amendment, the Alabama Constitution of 1901 and the Statutory Laws discriminatoryly enacted from both. The laws that created and maintains the denial of our Human Rights and perpetuation of our Economical Exploitation.
From Wrongful Convictions, Exceedingly Excessive and Mandatory LWOP sentences, Alabama’s prisons are literally Warehouses of Men stacked on top of one another, and due to an Arbitrary and Biased Parole Board System, thousands of Men eligible to be released are stopped up in a broken and dangerous system.
*It has been stated and acknowledged that there are over 3, 000 people that are eligible to be released. However, due to budgetary concerns (parole and probation officers, supervision, etc) they remain trapped in an excessively overcrowded system; exposed to unnecessary threat to their safety and well being. To address this issue would contribute greatly to relieving the pressure of prison overcrowding.
A lot of the pressure could be released by Revising and Modifying the Laws and Policies that Created and Perpetuates these Cruel and Inhumane Conditions; not by building bigger more expensive prisons.
*Over 8000 people are serving enhanced mandatory sentences under Alabama’s Habitual Offenders Statute. More than 2000 are serving Mandatory LWOP sentence, some for petty theft cases.
To Repeal the Habitual Offenders Statute would create the opportunity for over 8000 people to be eligible to return to their families and communities after decades due to the application of the Habitual Offenders Statute while reducing the inhumane and dangerous overcrowding which contributes to the spread of diseases and increases the level of violence. Overall it would contribute to a more sanitary and humane living environment.
*From exposure through exonerations it is clear that the Prosecutors of the State of Alabama are more concerned with convictions than truth and innocence. Most of the attention has been focused on the Wrongful Convictions of those sentenced to Death. As a result a demand for oversight was expressed in Senate Bill 237. However, through political maneuvering this Bill was tailored to only apply to those sentenced to death.
We assert that The Alabama Innocence Inquiry Commission created by Senate Bill 237 shall apply to all Wrongfully Convicted prisoners not just Death Penalty cases. To be Wrongfully Convicted is to be Wrongfully Convicted no matter the sentence. No innocent person should suffer the loss of his freedom unjustly and remain confined due to procedural limitations or judicial misconduct. Therefore, this Bill shall apply to all prisoners with credible claims of innocence, as this is what justice requires.
*Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme rightly declared that mandatory Life without Parole sentences for juveniles was unconstitutional. It is time that Alabama go a step further and abolish mandatory Life without Parole sentences for First Time Offenders, many who were barely beyond the juvenile age limit.
This would make hundreds of prisoners eligible to earn their freedom after being provided Education, Rehabilitation and ReEntry Preparedness. Thus also relieving some of the pressure and strain created by the excessive overcrowding.
*We further state that the A.D.O.C’s Economical policies and practices of compelling Incarcerated Citizens to provide labor with no compensation, while imposing various fines and fees upon them, is hyper-exploitative, unjust and amounts to PRISON SLAVERY.—–It is discriminatory and exploitative to force Incarcerated people to work while prohibiting them from being compensated; yet imposing arbitrary fines and fees upon them. To work is an essential part of rehabilitation and learning to be responsible for self, as from the compensation one is able to provide for their needs and ease the financial burden on their families. Therefore, A.D.O.C’s Economical policy of Free Labor is counterproductive to rehabilitation and is exploitative and demeaning. Therefore, a more equitable Economic Policy shall be established between Alabama Prisoners and the ADOC.
*The Alabama Parole Board is arbitrary and biased therefore it must be overhauled to establish a criteria for those eligible for Parole.
The members of the Alabama parole board are receiving these appointments with an agenda that says that rewards them with long-term employment and other incentives to deny parole. These members refuse to set criteria for parole eligibility because this would make parole mandatory, instead of discretionary, for those who qualify.
In theory, the 13th Amendment put an end to and forever abolished slavery, at least that is what we’ve been taught in schools. However, in actual practice, the 13th Amendment merely changed the name, method and rationale for keeping African Americans in a state of perpetual servitude. As the 13th Amendment explicitly permits ” Involuntary Servitude”– an euphemism for Slavery– as punishment for “duly convicted criminals.”
In direct response to this Constitutional mandate, the Alabama Judicial System was structured to keep white land owners in a position of power and Africans in their place– Servitude. In fact, the State of Alabama used the 13th Amendment as their foundation in drafting the *ALABAMA CONSTITUTION OF 1901. As the Alabama Legislature used their authority to set up court systems, appointed only white people as Judges and District Attorneys, pre arranged elections for those positions that had to be voted on, then expanded the criminal code as its effective means of carrying out their objective. By their own admission, the State of Alabama’s sole purpose in drafting the Constitution of 1901 was to establish “White Supremacy”- by law. As the delegates to the all-white Constitutional Convention, were not secretive about their purpose and aims. In the opening address, President of the Convention, John B. Knox stated:
“And what is it that we want to do? Why is it within the limits imposed by the federal constitution to establish white supremacy in this state.” … “but if we would have white supremacy, we must establish it by law…”
In keeping with the sentiments of John B. Knox, the State of Alabama has used the Constitution of 1901 to construct a solid foundation, in which to discriminate from.
Even to this day, Alabama openly applies its laws discriminately, first –based upon race, then upon financial status.
Alabama’s “good old boy”-style of justice is maintained and perpetuated by police officers “overreaching”, district attorney’s ” overcharging” and judges “over sentencing.” All of this is made possible by the Alabama Constitution of 1901 and the Alabama Legislature, as it is the Alabama Legislature that enact these laws that specifically target young African-American males, particularly and African-Americans in general.
*One glaring example, is the racially motivated amending of the Capital Murder statute to include Section 16, 17 and 18- or commonly called the “drive-by shooting laws”. According to the Alabama Legislature, in the early 1990’s there was a massive public outcry against”gangs”, so in 1992 the Legislature passed Act 92-601; which made a murder committed by the use of a deadly weapon fired from or into a vehicle, a Capital Offense–punishable by death or life without parole. Act 92-601 became codified in Title 13A-5-40(a)(16),(17) and (18). From a plain reading of the statute, in order to be charged and found guilty of the Capital Offense, all that’s required is that the shooter or victim be in a vehicle or house at the time of the murder. Prior to this amendment, all Capital Offenses required an aggravating circumstance in order to elevate the murder to a death penalty offense. However, the “drive-by shooting laws” are simply based upon location of the shooter or victim.
In March of 2006, Representatives Marcel Black and John Robinson authored a Bill and presented it to the House of Representatives, which addressed the application of subdivisions 16, 17 and 18 of Title 13A-5-40, I.e., the Capital Murder statute. In session it was stated:
“Whereas, the legislature is aware of the case of State of Alabama v. Fondren (Calhoun County CC 02-600) in which Fondren was convicted of Capital Murder for violating Section 14A-5-40(a)(18)…”
On March 28, 2006, this Bill was adopted by the House of Representatives. On April 17, 2006, this Bill Was adopted and signed by the Senate. Upon both Houses adopting this Bill, it became House Joint Resolution 575. In accordance with the procedure for passing a Bill into Law, the House Joint Resolution was delivered to the Governor. On April 27, 2006 at 1:09 p.m. Governor Bob Riley signed the Bill.
It became Act No. 2006-642, which stated in pertinent part: ” … in passing Act 92-601, it was the intent of the legislature in adding sub division (18) to address”drive-by shooting”, that is murder committed through the use of a deadly weapon …used within or from a vehicle which murders were gang related or intended to incite public terror or alarm.”
In HJR 575 (Act No. 2006-642) the legislature recognized that Section 13A-5-40(a)(17),(18) has been misinterpreted by prosecutors and courts to apply to any murder committed by or through the use of a deadly weapon, fired or otherwise used within or from a vehicle, even if it was not gang related.
Being that this interpretation was contrary to the legislature’s intent, the Legislature urged the Attorney General and District Attorneys to charge only those individuals who commit murder by or through the use of a deadly weapon fired or otherwise within or from a vehicle, when the vehicle was involved in the shooting or that the shooting was gang related. This clarification by the legislature should have changed the sentences for countless individuals serving Life Without Parole behind the prosecutors and judges misapplication of the law.
Therefore, the Legislature shall amend the “drive-by shooting” statutes, so that the plain language of the statute will effectuate the legislature’s intent as expressed in House Joint Resolution 575(Act No. 2006-642). And to make such Amendment Retroactive.
*The A.D.O.C’s policy and practice of not affording those Incarcerated with meaningful Educational and Rehabilitation opportunities falls below the standards of human decency, as it perpetuates ignorance and exploitation. It has been empirically proven that the lack of Education is a primary driver for incarceration, therefore, Rehabilitation has to include a meaningful opportunity for Education programs.
More specifically, we want the EDUCATION, REHABILITATION AND REENTRY PREPAREDNESS BILL IMPLEMENTED THROUGHOUT THE ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS
(hyperlink freealabamamovement for copy of FREEDOM BILL)
This is a press release sent out by the Ida B. Wells Coalition:
Scroll down plz for Updates!
Support the Strike at St. Clair Correctional Facility in Alabama!
Today, 48 hours before a peaceful work stoppage starts on Sunday, March 1, at St Clair Correctional Facility (SCCF) in Springville, Ala., riot police have been sent to the prison to beat, torture, and intimidate the men incarcerated at SCCF, whose demands include an end to severe overcrowding and filthy living conditions.
[Note added 2/28: the EJI is lawyer in a class action lawsuit against St. Clair CF, plz contact them too or forward yoru emails to firstname.lastname@example.org or call them also and ask them to take note and communicate with their clients: 334-269-1803. See below for update. Thank you]
Here’s how you can support the strike and help stop the brutality against the prisoners:email@example.com
- Call SCCF’s warden, Carter Davenport, at (205)467-6111. Tell him to stop the retaliation against the prisoners, who have a right to peacefully protest against their inhumane treatment.
- Send an email to the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC). Go to the ADOC’s website, http://www.doc.state.al.us. Click contact us and then click constituent services. Type your message, addressing it to Warden Carter Davenport. Before sending your message, please sign it. (You don’t have to give your address.)
- Spread the word to others. We must flood the prison with phone calls and the ADOC with email.
JoNina Ervin – Memphis Black Autonomy Federation, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Anthony Rayson – Ida B. Wells Coalition Against Racism and Police Brutality, Email: – idabwellsinkc@gmailcom
On January 1st, 2014, the Free Alabama Movement was launched as a cross-racial collective action, with work stoppages at Holman, St. Clair and Elmore Correctional Facilities.
This is an inside-outside solidarity network that is working closely with the Ida B. Wells Coalition. We are looking to broaden the support for these courageous and conscious prisoners.
Literature created by these prisoners is available through the South Chicago ABC Zine Distro / P.O. Box 721 / Homewood, IL 60430. Check their website, etc.
Free Alabama Movement / P.O. Box 186 / New Market, Alabama 35761
Internet Radio: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/freealabamamovement
Antonia Brooks: 256.783.1044 Latosha Scott: 334.322.8989
Thanks to the efforts from the People who supported F.A.M. this morning and afternoon, the Riot Team has been ordered to leave St. Clair prison. Yet again, Brian Stevenson (EJI) seems to continue to screen his calls from the family members of the men at St. Clair.
Equal Justice Initiative has filed a class action lawsuit, but they have not returned to the prison to take any steps to protect the men from retaliation from the ADOC. In fact, despite several requests to do so, EJI and Brian Stevenson have not sent any notifications to the “class” that they claim to represent informing them of how to report retaliation or new claims.
No monitors or class representatives have been put in place at St. Clair, and many of the men at St. Clair don’t even know that the “class action” lawsuit includes them. If you have a loved one at St. Clair, we are asking that you contact EJI and demand that Brian Stevenson protect the class of plaintiffs that he and his “experts” will be getting PAID to represent.
Equal Justice Initiative
122 Commerce St.
Montgomery, Alabama 36104
Free Alabama Movement
*For Immediate Release*
January 26, 2015
Contact: Ann Brooks (256)783-1044
February 1 Protest To Highlight Inhumane Conditions In Alabama Prisons
(Springville, Ala.) – Demanding an end to the filthy living conditions on Alabama’s death row and “a culture of violence” carried out by officials throughout the state’s maximum security prisons, families and friends of the men, women and children who are incarcerated in Alabama prisons will hold a peaceful protest on Sunday, Feb. 1.
Sponsored by the Free Alabama Movement (FAM), the protest will begin at 11:30 a.m.in front of the St. Clair Correctional Facility (SCCF), located at 1000 St. Clair Road in Springville.
FAM was started by men in Alabama state prisons to expose “the deplorable conditions and the slave labor inside the cement walls” of the state’s prisons. FAM has posted videos on You Tube in which over 80 men who are incarcerated in the Alabama Department of Corrections give their personal accounts about the inhumane living conditions they endure in Alabama prisons.
Three Alabama maximum security prisons, St. Clair CF, Holman Correctional Facility, and Donaldson Correctional Facility, all went on lockdown at some point in the past 10 days due to violent-related incidents.
Men and women are confined to their 8 by 12 foot cells 24 hours a day during lockdowns, and their family members
and friends cannot visit them.
On Jan. 25, several men on death row at Holman held a peaceful protest. Holman officials have denied these men use of equipment to clean their cells, and these men are being forced to eat cold sack lunches three times
a day. “We are human beings. Just because we’re on death row doesn’t mean that we have to live like animals,” said one death row inmate. The guards used pepper spray to punish the peaceful protesters in the segregation unit at Holman who were also protesting the inhumane living conditions.
SCCF has turned into one of the most dangerous prisons in America, according to the FAM. The prison’s warden, Carter Davenport was previously suspended in 2012 for assaulting a man confined at St. Clair in the head while he was handcuffed.
Riot police have been called in at SCCF, according to FAM. In the last two weeks, there have been at least 20 incidents in which people were stabbed or assaulted by an officer, at SCCF. Prisoner Jarvis “Flame” Jenkins was beaten twice by guards and was seen with blood dripping from his clothes. Another SCCF prisoner, Derrick LaKeith Brown, has been hospitalized with injuries for a week.
Prison officials Warden Walter Myers and Captain Darryl Fails, and others, removed James Pleasant from his cell at Holman on January 23, 2015, and told him that he, Robert E. Council (Holman) and Melvin Ray (St. Clair), known as the FAM 3, were problems to the ADOC and threatened to kill them for exposing inhumane and illegal conditions inside Alabama prisons.
FAM has been organizing Non-Violent and Peaceful Protests throughout the ADOC since January 1, 2015, when over a three week perios, over 4500 men participated in the demonstrated, which were supported by their families, friends, loved ones, and supporters nationwide.
For more information, call Ann Brooks at (256)783-1044.
UPDATED: On January 27, 2015, St. Clair CF went back on lockdown, where the overcrowding and lack of leadership from Warden Carter Davenport continues to cause a violent atmosphere.
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…