If given the attention it deserves, an important new book is certain to make significant contributions to the public discussions of US prison policy. The author, Shawn Griffith, was released last year from Florida’s prison system at the age of 41, after spending most of his life, almost 24 years, behind bars, including seven in solitary confinement. Facing the US Prison Problem 2.3 Million Strong: An Ex-Con’s View of the Mistakes and the Solution was self-published just months after Griffith was released from what is the third largest state prison system in the US, after California and Texas.
On Mother's Day, May 12th, between 50 and 75 people met up in Raleigh to show their solidarity with women at NCCIW and RCCW, two of the largest women's facilities in the state. The demo was part of a national call-out initiated by the Chapel Hill Prison Books Collective. Noise Demonstrations also happened outside prisons and jails in Bloomington IN, Pittsburgh PA, New York City and Muskegon MI. In Raleigh anti-prison activists, anarchists, Catholic Workers, and others, ranging in age from 5 to at least 70, banged on drums and pots and pans, carried signs and black flags, and lofted banners that read “Free All Mothers,” “ACAB,” and “Love for All Prison Rebels.”
Earlier this week, on Wednesday, May 8, lawyers for Russell ‘Maroon’ Shoatz filed a federal lawsuit regarding his placement in solitary confinement for over 22 consecutive years. The written complaint, directed at Pennsylvania Department of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel and the Superintendents of SCI-Greene, where Shoatz was last held, and SCI-Mahanoy, where he was transferred to on March 28, 2013, states that this “is an action for injunctive, declaratory and monetary relief for violations of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution.”
(PHOTO: Maroon's daughter, Theresa Shoatz, with Chuck D at NYC event.)
Mother’s Day began not just as a day to honor mothers, but as a day for mothers to express solidarity with one another and against the wars that left widows and orphans impoverished. This Mother’s Day, in honor of this tradition, we are calling for a global day of solidarity with incarcerated mothers and against a penal system that disproportionately cages people based on race, class, and gender non-conformity. Please circulate this call far and wide and help organize a noise demo outside a prison or jail near you that holds women captive. Here is a flyer that was made for one mother's day demo that you can pass out at yours.
This month, a 30-day action campaign was launched demanding the release of Russell ‘Maroon’ Shoatz from solitary confinement, where he has been held for over 23 consecutive years, and 28 of the last 30 years, in Pennsylvania prisons. On April 8, when the campaign began, Maroon’s legal team sent a letter to the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (PA DOC), demanding his release from solitary confinement and promising litigation against the PA DOC if he is not transferred to general population by May 8.
Please join us in a phone campaign to get Jalil free. Jalil had a minor stroke in February. (He did not know that he had suffered a stroke, but had a tingling sensation in his left arm.) The first doctor he saw at Attica wanted to immediately send him to the hospital, but the head doctor, Dr. Rho, said that they first needed to get permission from Albany to take Jalil to the hospital.
Today, April 17, 2013, marks 41 years that Albert Woodfox and Herman Wallace have been unjustly incarcerated in solitary confinement in Louisiana. This is 41 years of living in concrete and metal cages of 6 x 9 feet; 41 years of being separated from their families and loved ones; 41 years of being wrongly accused of a murder they did not commit.
Mother’s Day began not just as a day to honor mothers, but as a day for mothers to express solidarity with one another and against the wars that left widows and orphans impoverished. This Mother's Day, in honor of this tradition, we are calling for a global day of solidarity with incarcerated mothers and against a penal system that disproportionately cages people based on race, class, and gender non-conformity.
Here is the political prisoner birthday poster for April. As always, please post this poster publicly and/or use it to start a card writing night of your own. Tragically, there are four more people on this poster than there were last April. Let's make sure to show them lots of love and support for their first birthday locked up.
Albert Woodfox has spent nearly 41 years in solitary confinement in conditions that are cruel, inhuman and degrading. In 1972, he and two others were convicted of murdering a guard at Angola prison. The "Angola 3" were sentenced to life imprisonment - although no physical evidence linked them to the crime and serious legal flaws came to light.
We periodically ask our readers and supporters to support us with a financial donation. We are hoping to raise $500 this Spring for our ongoing operations. We've been busy lately fixing technical problems, planning improvements for our tech infrastructure, and talking about how we can bring more original content in the future to our readers.
Checks and cash are accepted, but contact us to make special arrangements.
What we've been up to lately:
Server improvements and optimization: You may have noticed that the website hasn't been down very much in the past month. Dave and Chuck have been busy cleaning up the server, slaying evil spambots and otherwise optimizing the server and websites. This is necessary so we can make further tech improvements and have a stable environment to publish more original content.
Infoshop News: We recently started a project which will upgrade Infoshop News to the latest version of Drupal, a popular content management system. This will allow us to do more interesting things with Infoshop News, from multimedia to subject tagging. This new software will also help us prevent downtime problems. We expect this project to be finished by the end of Summer 2013.
Infoshop Library: This week we will resume adding content to the Infoshop Library (http://www.infoshop.org/Library), which has been relocated to new software on our site. Content from the old library will be re-added to the library in the next couple of months. We will also be planning ways for more volunteers to get involved with this project.
Infoshop OpenWiki: The wiki is currently offline, but the old wiki content will be migrated to the website in the next couple of months.
Infoshop Forums: The Infoshop Forums will be migrated to our Drupal website this summer. We haven't decided yet if old content and user accounts will be migrated.
If you'd like to help with any of this, please get in touch!