Prison Abolition Has to Be a Priority in the Fight to Overcome Fascism.

This story was originally published by Prism. “America is revealing a visage stark with harshness. Nowhere is that face more contorted than in the dark netherworld of prison, where humans are transformed into nonpersons, numbered beings cribbed into boxes of unlife, where the very soul is under destructive onslaught.”–Mumia Abu-Jamal Whatever we allow to happen to people incarcerated in prisons… Source Source / Read More: Prison Abolition Has to Be a Priority in the Fight to Overcome Fascism.

Congress Has One Last Chance to Abolish the Crack Cocaine Sentencing Disparity

Reformers applauded Attorney General Merrick Garland on Friday for instructing federal prosecutors to treat crack cocaine and powder cocaine as the same drug when seeking “mandatory minimum” prison sentences. However, the Justice Department’s new policy carves out several exceptions for prosecutors seeking lengthy sentences. To finally put an end to this historic injustice, advocates say… Source Source / Read More: Congress Has One Last Chance to Abolish the Crack Cocaine Sentencing Disparity

California Organizers Are Creating Momentum for Statewide Prison Closures

There’s going to be one less prison in California. On September 8, visiting Lassen County Judge Robert F. Moody dismissed a lawsuit by the town of Susanville that intended to force the continued operation of the California Correctional Center (CCC), a 60-year-old state prison requiring $503 million in repairs. Judge Moody’s ruling marks the end of the town’s year-long fight to stop CCC from… Source Source / Read More: California Organizers Are Creating Momentum for Statewide Prison Closures

Abolition Is About Escaping the Death Trap of “Normalcy”

“There’s no doubt that we have to abolish the carceral state. And there’s no doubt that policing and racial capitalism go hand in hand so that we can’t be pursuing abolition in a capitalist context,” says author and organizer Andrea Ritchie. In this episode of “Movement Memos,” Ritchie and host Kelly Hayes talk about why the Democrats will not save us, the relationship between abolition and the state, and why it’s so hard for most people to imagine political transformations. Music by Son Monarcas and Imprismed TRANSCRIPT Note: This a rush transcript and has been lightly edited for clarity. Copy…

Biden’s Action on Weed Convictions Is a First Step — Let’s Push for Much More

President Biden’s announcement yesterday on marijuana was exactly the bold leadership we needed from this administration — ahead of the critical midterm elections in one month — and a step in the right direction for what must come next if he is to attempt to right the many wrongs of the 1994 crime bill, which he had championed as a senator, and which imposed automatic life sentences for people upon their third offense if they already had two prior felony convictions on their records. Biden’s executive order on marijuana did three key things: 1) Unconditionally pardoned people with federal convictions…

California Is Dependent on Prison Labor for Fighting Fires. This Must End.

On September 7, 2022, after many attempted delays from the City of Susanville, California, a Lassen County judge ruled in favor of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s plan to close one of Susanville’s two prisons. The court case and public debate over the prison closure has been almost entirely based on the anticipated loss of 1,000 jobs in the prison, but the closure of this facility marks an enormous shift in the use of prison labor for public work. The California Correctional Center in Susanville is set to be closed by June 2023. It is one of two remaining training hubs for…

Across the Midwest, Counties Are Building New Jails on Toxic Land

This story was published in partnership with Capital B News. Nestled in Cleveland’s Industrial Valley, the intersection of Transport Road and Rockefeller Avenue holds the story of the city’s toxic past — and potentially poisonous future. Once the home of a massive oil refinery, the plot is now the potential new home of a $700 million jail in the heart of Cleveland’s industrial corridor. County officials say the new jail is needed to provide a safer and better-resourced facility after more than one dozen detainees died in county custody in recent years. But the plan has ignited a movement to…

17 States and DC Have Stopped Reporting Active COVID Cases Behind Bars

On July 5, Rita Deanda tested positive for COVID while incarcerated at the California Institution for Women. She was immediately ordered to pack her belongings and moved to a quarantine unit, which she referred to as “COVID jail.” That was where she spent the next 11 days. The 57-year-old doesn’t know how she got COVID; she was taking precautions, such as wearing her mask and doing her best to socially distance from others. On the day she was tested, Deanda recalled that she felt great. But the week before, she told Truthout, “I had a migraine from hell and thought…

Hundreds of Thousands of Incarcerated People Are in Danger Amid Scorching Heat

This summer is set to be among the top 10 hottest on record with heat waves melting roads across Europe, causing thousand-acre fires in Texas and California, scorching people across the globe. Across the country, as temperatures soar, people behind bars describe feeling as if they are melting or being baked alive in units that frequently lack air conditioning or cooling mechanisms. Temperatures in parts of Texas have soared to over 100 degrees every day for the past week — with no relief in sight. The state has the tenth-highest incarceration rate in the nation, with 840 of every 100,000…

“Mental Health Units” in Prison Are Solitary by Another Name, Activists Say

Christian Hill has been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and major depressive disorder. In the New York State prison system, this classifies him as having a serious mental illness and confers a “1-S” designation upon him. Under the newly implemented HALT Solitary Confinement Act, people with this mental health designation cannot be punished by being placed in the Special Housing Unit, or SHU, where they would spend at least 17 days alone in their cells. Instead, Hill and others with this designation must be sent to a Residential Mental Health Unit, a prison unit for incarcerated people with serious mental…

Abortion Funds Are Preparing For a Storm. To Help, “Get in Where You Fit in.”

“We have to be thinking and dreaming and planning really expansively … because when Roe falls, band-aid solutions are not going to be enough,” says Meghan Daniel, a support coordinator with the Chicago Abortion Fund. In this episode of Movement Memos, Daniel and host Kelly Hayes talk about the end of Roe, abolishing police and prisons and how funding abortions builds power. Music by Son Monarcas, Pulsed & Imprismed TRANSCRIPT Note: This a rush transcript and has been lightly edited for clarity. Copy may not be in its final form. Kelly Hayes: Welcome to Movement Memos, a Truthout podcast about…

Prisons Aim to Stifle Creativity. Here’s a Book That Pushes Back.

I spent six and a half years in prison. Much of that time, I was working on one fiction manuscript or another. I had to stumble around in the darkness to figure out how to do this. So do most writers in prison. Now there’s a book to help change that. PEN America’s The Sentences That Create Us (Haymarket Books, 2022), edited by Caits Meissner, is the dream of every incarcerated writer: a collection of how-to-write essays by those who can speak to that audience best — other incarcerated writers plus people who have taught writing classes in prison. The…