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Prison

Palestinian Prisoners Go On Indefinite Hunger Strike

On Sunday, September 25, 30 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails started an indefinite hunger strike to protest the Israeli policy of administrative detention without charge or trial. The strike demanding an end to this policy has been organized under the slogan: “Our decision is freedom..our strike is freedom.”   The prisoners issued a joint statement before the formal commencement of their strike which was read outside the Israeli Ofer prison by their family members along with members of Addameer and other prisoner solidarity groups. Some of the leading figures participating in the hunger strike are Nidal Abu Aker, Ghassan Zawahreh, and the French-Palestinian lawyer Salah Hammouri. 

National Faith Groups Call On Congress And President To Close Guantanamo Bay Prison

Washington, DC – On Tuesday, Jan. 11, twenty-nine national faith groups sent a letter to President Biden and all Members of Congress calling on them “to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and to ensure that all of the people held there are either released, agree to a plea deal, or receive a fair trial in a federal court.” Rev. Ron Stief, Executive Director of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, released the following statement: “For twenty years our country has held people without charge or trial in Guantanamo. Some of the people we still hold there were tortured by the U.S. after they were captured. Others have been cleared to leave Guantanamo yet remain imprisoned there, indefinitely detained without trial.

Governor Reduces Sentence Of Truck Driver To 10 Years

Aguilera-Mederos, who was 23 years old at the time of the accident, was transporting lumber on Denver’s I-70 freeway when the brakes on his big rig truck failed on a downhill grade where he tried to hug the shoulder. His truck then slammed into stopped traffic that created an explosion and pileup. Governor Polis and the state’s political establishment were forced to respond to mass economic and political pressure by a powerful movement of truck drivers, who mobilized widespread support for Aguilera-Mederos within the working class. Since the December 13 sentencing, drivers refused by the thousands to enter the state of Colorado and deliver goods and circulated the issue widely on social media. Though little reported in the media, the powerful boycott shook the state’s economy to its core.

COVID-19 Prevention No Match For Crowded, Poorly Ventilated Housing

In the months since COVID-19 wreaked havoc inside California’s 35 prisons and claimed 240 incarcerated lives, practically nothing has been done to address the crowded and poorly ventilated housing units that have helped the virus spread. At San Quentin State Prison, COVID-19 infected three-quarters of its incarcerated residents and dozens required hospitalization. It killed 28 prisoners and a correctional sergeant, prompting a court to call the incident the “worst epidemiological disaster in California correctional history” last October. A near full-scale shutdown from March 2020 to May 2021 didn’t thwart the virus’ disastrous effect on San Quentin residents. The deaths took place while prisoners spent more than 23-hours-a-day locked inside their cells with two people assigned to each one.

Rather Than Pay Fairer Wages, Businesses Look To Prisons

For months, business owners and corporate media pundits in the US have complained about a “labor shortage,” claiming that businesses are struggling to find new employees because “no one wants to work.” Rather than enticing applicants with more competitive wages and stronger benefits and protections, though, many businesses are opting to exploit prison slave labor.

Perverted Prison Justice

There are common ways in which the prisoner is stymied in his attempt to file a complaint.  The filing of every form is time sensitive.  So the warden and others will withhold their responses, backdate them, and then send the responses to you so that you only have a day or two to respond.  You can’t possibly get it done in time, so it’s dismissed as “not responsive in a timely fashion.”  You have no recourse because the federal courts have ruled that a prisoner must exhaust the “administrative complaint process” before going to the courts.  But if the complaint is dismissed by the BOP as “not responsive” because of time, you’re out of luck.  And those people who violate the Prison Rape Elimination Act get off scot free.

Chris Hedges: Julian Assange And The Collapse Of The Rule Of Law

A society that prohibits the capacity to speak in truth extinguishes the capacity to live in justice. This why we are here tonight.  Yes, all of us who know and admire Julian decry his prolonged suffering and the suffering of his family.  Yes, we demand that the many wrongs and injustices that have been visited upon him be ended.  Yes, we honor him up for his courage and his integrity. But the battle for Julian’s liberty has always been much more than the persecution of a publisher.  It is the most important battle for press freedom of our era.  And if we lose this battle, it will be devastating, not only for Julian and his family, but for us. Tyrannies invert the rule of law.  They turn the law into an instrument of injustice.  They cloak their crimes in a faux legality.

Jail Populations Back Up After COVID-19

It wasn’t long after Matthew Reed shoplifted a $63 set of sheets from a Target in upstate New York that the coronavirus pandemic brought the world to a standstill. Instead of serving a jail sentence, he stayed at home, his case deferred more than a year, as courts closed and jails nationwide dramatically reduced their populations to stop the spread of COVID-19. But the numbers have begun creeping up again as courts are back in session and the world begins returning to a modified version of normal. It’s worrying criminal justice reformers who argue that the past year proved there is no need to keep so many people locked up in the U.S. By the middle of last year, the number of people in jails nationwide was at its lowest point in more than two decades, according to a new report published Monday by the Vera Institute of Justice , whose researchers collected population numbers from about half of the nation’s 3,300 jails to make national estimates.

Mass Incarceration Has Worsened The COVID-19 Pandemic

A massive pandemic risk factor has been hiding in plain sight across the United States, growing exponentially in scale over the last four decades with the support of trillions of dollars spent by federal, state, and local governments. But, inexplicably, the current national policy conversation about rebuilding public health, pandemic preparedness, and biosecurity has entirely ignored it. What is this epidemic engine that multiplies harm and then distributes it to every corner of the country? In a cruel irony, it is the very system that both Republicans and Democrats have built and defended for decades as the centerpiece of a misleading concept of “public safety“: mass incarceration. Evidence has long shown that America’s unparalleled system of human caging does not effectively deter crime, and that US residents are no safer than peer nations, whose governments on average incarcerate at only 15 percent the US rate.

Julian Assange Supporters Hold Vigils

Small vigils have been held in cities across the world to mark the second anniversary of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange being detained in prison after he was dragged from the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Supporters demanding his release joined events on Sunday in countries including Australia, the UK, Belgium, Germany and the United States. Protests were held in London outside the Ecuadorian embassy, at Westminster Magistrates' Court, and at Belmarsh prison where he is being held. Messages saying "Bring Assange Home" and "Journalism Is Not A Crime" were also projected onto buildings in the capital. A small gathering of supporters held up similar banners in Sydney Harbour, calling for the Australian to be released.

Prisons Prime Testing Ground For Dehumanizing Hi-Tech ‘Advances’

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is coming under fire again from Democratic lawmakers, as well as from the American Postal Workers Union, who are calling for President Joe Biden to pave the way for DeJoy’s removal after the Trump-appointee announced higher mailing fees and logistical changes that could further slow down mail. The US Postal Service (USPS) has already suffered a more than 50% drop in on-time arrivals for first-class mail deliveries, according to the service’s own data. Nevertheless, thanks to the ubiquitous presence of high-speed internet, the personal communications of most Americans don’t seem to be fundamentally affected by the problems at USPS. Excluding the mail-in-ballots controversy leading up to the 2020 presidential election, the majority of the country remains little more than a...

111 NGOs Call On Biden To Close Guantánamo

On February 2, more than a hundred non-governmental organizations joined a letter led by the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Center for Victims of Torture, urging President Joe Biden to close the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba and end indefinite military detention. The letter is signed by organizations ranging from those working to end anti-Muslim discrimination and torture to immigrant rights organizations and organizations working broadly on civil rights, civil liberties, and racial justice at the national and local level. It emphasizes the devastating and ongoing consequences of the prison, including the effect of a post-9/11 national security framework on domestic racial justice struggles and efforts to end police violence.

On His Way To Prison, Activist Advocates For COVID-19 Prisoner Release

On Thursday (Jan. 14), Patrick O’Neill will report to the Federal Correctional Institution near Elkton, Ohio, to serve a 14-month sentence for breaking into a nuclear submarine base as part of a symbolic nuclear disarmament action he took up with six other Catholic pacifists more than two years ago. But on his way to prison, O’Neill has taken up a new cause: protecting inmates from COVID-19. Some 329,298 prisoners across the United States have tested positive for the coronavirus and about 2,020 have died, according to the Marshall Project, the online journalism organization focused on criminal justice. Prison facilities are often overcrowded and poorly ventilated, making it nearly impossible to practice social distancing and other preventative measures to avoid contagion.

IADL Demands Immediate Release Of Palestinian Maher al-Akhras

IADL calls for the immediate release of Maher al-Akhras, a Palestinian man and father of six, jailed by Israel without charge or trial. As IADL convenes its Council, al-Akhras has been on hunger strike for 91 days to protest his arbitrary detention and demand his freedom. His health condition is increasingly critical and his life is at grave risk. Al-Akhras is jailed under Israel’s policy of administrative detention, used routinely against Palestinians. These detention orders may be issued for up to six months at a time, and they are indefinitely renewable.

Solitary Confinement Increases Risk Of Premature Death After Release

A recently published study of people released from North Carolina prisons confirms what many have long suspected: solitary confinement increases the risk of premature death, even after release. Personal stories, like those of Kalief Browder’s isolation and subsequent suicide, are canaries in the coal mine. Underneath seemingly isolated events, researchers now find that solitary confinement is linked to more deaths after release from prison. These preventable deaths aren’t outliers; in the U.S., where the use of solitary confinement is widespread, an estimated 80,000 people are held...
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