From Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity
Hello CA Hunger Strike Supporters!
As you know, last year when prisoners at Pelican Bay State Prison launched a hunger strike, the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity coalition worked tirelessly to get mainstream media to cover the strike and expose the torturous conditions within California’s Security Housing Units, as well as within prisons in general. During the first week of the strike in 2011, CA Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) said only a few dozen prisoners were on strike. When Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity members pressured the LA Times to get true numbers from the CDCR, it was revealed that more than 6,600 prisoners were striking, reaching at least a third of the state’s prisons. Some of the very same prisoners involved in the 2011 CA Hunger Strike organized a similar hunger strike in the early 2000′s, but had serious trouble getting the word out due to a media blackout imposed by the prison administration.
Media exposure helped spread awareness and grew strong support for the 2011 CA Hunger Strike. Forceful media work along with grassroots mobilization played an important role in supporting one of the largest prisoner strikes in recent history and pressuring the CDCR to negotiate with the strike leaders. There is still much to be done to help the strikers win their demands. One way of helping to amplify the demands of the strikers is to push California decision makers to lift the media ban on California prisons.
Assembly Bill 1270 is a prison media access bill that was introduced by Assembly member Tom Ammiano to lift the media ban on CA prisons. It will allow journalists greater access to interview California state prisoners and could help amplify the voices of prisoners held in cells meant to silence and disappear them. The CA Appropriations Committee will be making an important vote concerning AB1270 on Monday, August 13th.
BEFORE MONDAY, AUGUST 13th: Help Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity get more signatures on the petition in favor of this bill and support the prisoners in their struggle for human rights!
You can also support by making a quick phone call to Committee members. Click here for phone numbers and sample phone script.
Update & Call for Support from Prison Books Chapel Hill:
First, we are announcing and encouraging people to participate in a call-in day to support NC prison hunger strikers on Wednesday, July 25th. You can find phone and fax numbers here. Because the strike may have spread to facilities we don’t yet know about, folks are especially encouraged to call the Division of Prisons HQ in Raleigh.
Second, the Asheville Prison Book Program has set up a petition for the strikers which supporters can sign here.
On Monday July 16th, prisoners began hunger strikes at Bertie CI in Windsor, Scotland CI in Laurinburg, and Central Prison in Raleigh (North Carolina). Targeting a wide range of conditions related but not exclusive to solitary confinement, the prisoners have vowed not to eat until their demands are met.
Read more about the strike and the prisoners demands via Chapel Hill Prison Books Collective.
Issue 17 of The Abolitionist focuses on “Prisoner Organizing.” Subscribe today to support thousands of prisoners in getting the publication free of charge, and connect struggles against powerlessness and inequality across prison walls!
From the Prison Blues Art series by imprisoned artist Larry James DeRossett (write to him at Larry James DeRossett, #635046, California Correction Institution, PO Box 608, Tehachapi, CA 95381).
We’ll feature more art from Larry in our upcoming Issue 18: Surveillance.
Attention all PIC-loathing writers and researchers: the International Conference on Penal Abolition and Survivors in Solidarity with Prison Abolition are both having open calls for submissions of writings related to, yep, abolition. Here’s the info:
The International Conference on Penal Abolition (ICOPA)
ICOPA 14 Trinidad June 13-15, 2012.
www.actionicopa.org e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
This year is the 50th Year of Independence in Trinidad and Tobago and a time to re-think institutions, examine assumptions, and explore new ideas on building a just society. In 2002 Trinidad and Tobago transitioned penal policy from punishing and diminishing people to correcting and restoring. Prison communities are envisioned as foundations for human enrichment and populations and recidivism rates were reduced locally. Development and justice took new steps as this idea took root and spread to other agencies of the criminal justice system. In recent months, the State of Emergency reversed that trend; greater numbers of people were arrested and imprisoned, expanding the carceral project.