Palestinian Prisoners’ Hunger Strike

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By James J. Zogby for Lobe Log – One thousand five hundred Palestinian prisoners have been on a hunger strike for almost a week now. They are refusing sustenance in an effort to improve the deplorable conditions faced by the nearly 6,500 Palestinians who are currently imprisoned in Israel. On the day before the strike began, the action’s leader, Marwan Barghouti, published an op-ed in the International New York Times. It was an elegantly written piece in which Barghouti laid out the conditions in Israel’s prisons and the demands of the strikers. These demands include: more regular family visits, better health care, an end to solitary confinement, and end to administrative detention (a practice in which Israel jails Palestinians for prolonged periods without charges or trial—there are currently 500 such detainees), and installing public telephones enabling prisoners to have monitored calls with their families. Barghouti began his article noting that he has been in prison for 15 years during which time “I have been both a witness to and a victim of Israel’s illegal system of mass arrests and the ill-treatment of Palestinian prisoners.”

Why We Are On Hunger Strike In Israel’s Prisons

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By Marwan Barghouti for The New York Times – HADARIM PRISON, Israel — Having spent the last 15 years in an Israeli prison, I have been both a witness to and a victim of Israel’s illegal system of mass arbitrary arrests and ill-treatment of Palestinian prisoners. After exhausting all other options, I decided there was no choice but to resist these abuses by going on a hunger strike. Some 1,000 Palestinian prisoners have decided to take part in this hunger strike, which begins today, the day we observe here as Prisoners’ Day. Hunger striking is the most peaceful form of resistance available. It inflicts pain solely on those who participate and on their loved ones, in the hopes that their empty stomachs and their sacrifice will help the message resonate beyond the confines of their dark cells. Decades of experience have proved that Israel’s inhumane system of colonial and military occupation aims to break the spirit of prisoners and the nation to which they belong, by inflicting suffering on their bodies, separating them from their families and communities, using humiliating measures to compel subjugation. In spite of such treatment, we will not surrender to it.

Two States Consider Bills To Keep Parents Out Of Jail

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By Victoria Law for Truthout – Ayana Aubourg has one childhood memory of her father that does not involve a jail or prison visiting room. “The only thing I can remember is him making spaghetti,” said Aubourg, whose father was sentenced to 10 years in prison when she was seven years old. She saw him once a year in a visiting room that she remembers as being “cold and controlled.” Later, a playroom was added for the children visiting their fathers, but the presence of a few toys did little to make the atmosphere warmer or cheerier. “It’s still a very traumatic experience,” she told Truthout. Spaghetti remains her favorite dish. Aubourg is now 22; her father was released from prison five years ago. But the prison visiting room lingers in her mind, and she is now working to change the laws that rip so many families apart.

Infamous Phoenix Tent Prison Closed After 23 Years

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By Megan Cassidy and Laura Gómez for The Republic – Penzone made the announcement Tuesday based on the recommendation of an advisory committee that he appointed after taking office in January. The tents served as a prominent symbol of Penzone’s predecessor, Joe Arpaio, who erected the facility in 1993, his first year in office, and held it up as an inexpensive solution to overcrowded jails. Penzone defeated Arpaio in last year’s general election, ending his 24-year span as sheriff. At an afternoon press conference Tuesday, Penzone said Tent City has become the preferred location for inmates and a liability for understaffed detention officers. Shuttering the facility will save the county approximately $4.5 million a year, he said.

Mumia To Finally Receive Hep C Treatment

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By Staff for the Campaign to Bring Mumia Home. On March 31, 2017, Mumia Abu-Jamal received a cruel mix of bad and good news from a prison doctor. The doctor shared the results of his recent lab test, which showed clear signs of cirrhosis, an irreversible scarring of the liver caused by his untreated Hep C. The doctor also informed Mumia that he would be treated with the Hep C cure within a week. The impending victory was bittersweet. Mumia shared his feelings with those he called that morning. His rare expression of emotion was also captured in an interview that evening in which he stated: “My first reaction was really shock, anger, disbelief. If I had been treated in 2015, if I had been treated in 2012 when they say they first diagnosed it, I wouldn’t be this far advanced.…For a lot of guys and a lot of gals inside the Pennsylvania prisons, I think it is a step forward and a great day, but I assure you I don’t feel that way right now.”

These For-Profit Schools Are ‘Like A Prison’

From propublica.org

By Sarah Carr, Francesca Berardi, Zoë Kirsch and Stephen Smiley for Pro Publica and Slate – An alternative school for sixth- through 12th-graders with behavioral or academic problems, Paramount occupied a low-slung, brick and concrete building on a dead-end road in hard-luck Reading, Pennsylvania, a city whose streets are littered with signs advertising bail bondsmen, pay-day lenders, and pawn shops. Camelot Education, the for-profit company that ran Paramount under a contract with the Reading school district, maintained a set of strict protocols: No jewelry, book bags, or using the water fountain or bathroom without permission. Just as it still does at dozens of schools, the company deployed a small platoon of “behavioral specialists” and “team leaders”…

Privatization Of Prisons Gets New Life Under Sessions Order

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By Kevin Zeese for Popular Resistance. One of the ugliest policies in the move to privatize public services has been the private prison industry. We have reported on the abuses of private prisons, riots at them and how they put profit ahead of prisoners as these shocking photos show. The private prison industry is a corrupting influence in US politics. We have reported on how “Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is striking deals with private prison companies to lock up a “guaranteed minimum” of mothers with their children in euphemistically-termed family detention centers” and how they are getting wealthy abusing immigrants. Corporations are turning the US justice system into a profit making venture at every step in the process. This decision to continue to use private prisons by the Trump administration ensures that the profit of private prisons will come before treating prisoners humanely. The trend toward corporate profiteering from what is becoming a prison-industrial complex will continue. Injustice will thrive while justice is diminished.

Quarter Of Inmates Could Have Been Spared Prison Without Risk

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By Jamiles Lartey for The Guardian – Study of 1.5 million prisoners finds that drug treatment, community service, probation or fines would have served as more effective sentences for many. A quarter of the US prison population, about 364,000 inmates, could have been spared imprisonment without meaningfully threatening public safety or increasing crime, according to a new study. Analyzing offender data on roughly 1.5 million US prisoners, researchers from the Brennan Center for Justice concluded that for one in four, drug treatment, community service, probation or a fine would have been a more effective sentence than incarceration.

Barrett Brown Leaves Prison Still Chained To A Crime He Didn’t Commit

The Daily Dot

By Dell Cameron for The Daily Dot – The 35-year-old cause célèbre, convicted in January 2015 after spending more than two years in pretrial confinement, faces a laundry list of post-release restrictions and obligations, including drug treatment, mental health evaluations, and computer monitoring. After departing the Three Rivers federal correctional institution in San Antonio, where Brown continued his work as a writer over the past year, publishing award-winning essays at D Magazine and the Intercept, he will report to a halfway house in Hutchins, Texas, before 4pm CT.

Jeremy Hammond: Reflections From The SHU, Part 1

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By Jeremy Hammond for Free Jeremy – “When are you going to start doing your time right?” one of the prison administrators tell me on their weekly rounds of the Special Housing Unit. I’m back in SHU again, this time for making hooch. I explain one or two disciplinary shots a year is really what you should expect out of a medium-security prisoner. Seems like all of my comrades behind bars are in solitary these days.

Atlantic’s New Editor Was IDF Prison Guard, Beat Palestinians

Goldberg in a meeting with President Obama. | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

By Staff of Tele Sur – The new editor of one of the most storied magazines in the US is so far on the fringe that even other staunch Zionists criticize his overzealousness. “In five years, however, I believe that the coming invasion of Iraq will be remembered as an act of profound morality.” These are the not-so-prescient words of Jeffrey Goldberg, named this week the new chief editor of the 159-year-old Atlantic Magazine, one of the most famous journalistic institutions in U.S. history.

The New Slave Revolt

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By Chris Hedges for Truth Dig – Severe state repression and a near-total press blackout make it impossible to determine how many prisoners are continuing the national work strike that began on September 9th. The core demand is an end to prison slavery: the forced low-or-no-wage employment extracted from inmates. “Once we take our labor back,” said an organizer, “prisons will again become places for correction and rehabilitation rather than centers of corporate profit.”

Experience ‘RIKERS,’ Face To Face

Cecily McMillan, Occupy Wall Street Activist Released From Rikers

By Bill Moyers for Moyers & Company – Over the years I have landed at New York’s LaGuardia Airport knowing that the island just off and below the tip of the right wing was Rikers, the city’s largest jail, isolated in the East River within sight of the Manhattan skyline and separated from the borough of Queens by a single bridge. Looking across at the stark jumble of buildings, I had often thought of Alcatraz, on the other side of the continent: penal colonies framing America’s gateways.

Prison Labor Is Slavery By Another Name

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By Olivia Alperstein for Other Words – Across the country the largest prison strike is taking place, vowing to “finally end slavery in 2016.” Right now there’s a national movement mobilizing to raise the federal minimum wage to a living wage of $15 an hour. But imagine if instead of earning even that much, you could only earn a few cents an hour. If that sounds like something from the developing world, think again. The reality is our prisons are perpetuating slave labor.

Guards Sympathize With Striking Prisoners: “We See It As A Moral Issue”

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By Cora Lewis for Buzz Feed News – The US Department of Justice has opened an investigation into prison conditions in Alabama, weeks after inmates there joined a nationwide prisoner strike in protest of forced labor and living conditions. “The investigation will focus on whether prisoners are adequately protected from physical harm and sexual abuse at the hands of other prisoners; whether prisoners are adequately protected from use of excessive force and staff sexual abuse by correctional officers; and whether the prisons provide sanitary, secure and safe living conditions,” the DOJ said in a statement.