Occupy movement challenges prison-industrial complex

Occupy movement challenges prison-industrial complex

By Betsey Piette | Workers World | March 4, 2012

Demonstrators chanted, “Tear down Jailhouses! Build up School Houses!” outside Heery International Inc.’s Philadelphia office as part of a national call from Occupy Oakland to Occupy for Prisoners on Feb. 20.

Heery, which profits from private prison construction, was paid $316 million in October to build a Graterford Prison extension to house 4,100 more inmates and a new death row facility.Organized by DecarceratePA and endorsed by Occupy Philadelphia, the protest targeted the disparity between increased funding for prison construction while Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett slashes funding for education and is pushing for more cuts. Continue reading

Protests demand Human Rights for Prisoners

Protests demand human rights for prisoners

By Judy Greenspan | February 27, 2012
San Quentin, Calif. – Despite police blockades and freeway ramp closings — forcing demonstrators to hike to the rally site in front of the prison — activists occupied the front of San Quentin Prison for several hours on Feb. 20. That day had been designated as the National Occupy Day in Support of Prisoners.

Demonstrations were also held in about 15 cities around the country, including New York, Boston and Los Angeles. In New York hundreds of mostly youth in the multinational crowd rallied at the Lincoln Correctional Facility in Harlem and then at a Wells Fargo bank. Continue reading

Hundreds March in Harlem against Mass Incarceration & Private Prisons

Via Families for Freedom

Hundreds March in Harlem against Mass Incarceration & Private Prisons

Members of Families for Freedom joined with the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) Immigrant Worker Justice working group and the OWS Prisoner Solidarity working group to protest the connection between investment in private prisons and the mass incarceration of prisoners and immigrant detainees. Hundreds of protestors marched in Harlem highlighting the role private prison companies have played in supporting anti-immigrant policies, leading to record detention and deportation rates. The protest ws part of a national day of action during which over 15 cities held protests in solidarity with the ongoing hunger strike at California’s Pelican Bay State Prison, with communities dispossessed by the criminal injustice system, and with political prisoners everywhere. Continue reading

California prison hunger strikers propose ‘10 core demands’ for the national Occupy Wall Street Movement

From N.C.T.T. Corcoran SHU to the Occupy Movement

By Heshima Denham, Zaharibu Dorrough and Kambui Robinson | CA Hunger Strike

“The Constitution, then, illustrates the complexity of this American system: that it serves the interests of a wealthy elite, but also does enough for small property owners, for middle-income mechanics and farmers to build a broad base of support. The slightly prosperous people who make up this base of support are buffers against the Blacks, the Natives, the very poor Whites. They enable the elite to keep control with a minimum of coercion, a maximum of law – all made palatable by this fanfare of patriotism and unity.” – Howard Zinn

Greetings, Brothers and Sisters. A firm, warm and solid embrace of revolutionary love is extended to you all. These words by Brother Howard Zinn are particularly relevant to the survival of the evolving Occupy Wall Street Movement, as these truths have been integral to the success of populist organizing in the U.S. historically and are central to the proposal we’re putting forward here.

Most of you, at this point, are familiar with the NARN Collective Think Tank (NCTT) from the many progressive programs and ideas that have come out of this body from both Pelican Bay SHU and here in Corcoran SHU, most recently our work in the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition. Like the Arab Spring, which is still rocking the Middle East, and our own struggle to abolish indefinite confinement in sensory deprivation SHU torture units (see the five core demands from Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity), the Occupy Wall Street Movement expresses a fundamental rule of materialist dialectics as they apply to social development – i.e., the transformation of quantity into quality – expressed eloquently by the Honorable Comrade George Lester Jackson some 40 years ago: “(C)onsciousness is directly proportional to oppression.” Continue reading

Occupy for Prisoners Comes Out Against Mass Incarceration

Occupy for Prisoners Comes Out Against Mass Incarceration

by: Yana Kunichoff | Truthout | February 22, 2012
Each time the 100-strong crowd assembled for the national Occupy for Prisoners day roared below the Metropolitan Correctional Center in downtown Chicago on Monday evening, the lights in a couple of windows would flicker on and off – prisoners up above, responding to the chants of “build schools, not prisons” and “we’re with you, brothers and sisters.”

“I can only imagine how excited they might have been to see that there are people in the free world that are concerned about them.” said Christan Bufford, an organizer for juvenile justice with the Southwest Youth Collaborative. “When you are in there [detention], you feel like you are the only person in the world.”

Bufford would know – he spent four months in the Illinois Youth Department of Corrected at the age of 16 after an aggravated gun charge and a probation violation. The statistics on mass incarceration for juveniles are bleak. For the more than 93,000 young people in the juvenile justice system in 2008, about 80 percent went on to have contact with the adult criminal justice system, found the MacArthur Foundation. Continue reading

Occupy for Prisoners rally held in Durham

A former prisoner who spent 20 years in jail holds a signOccupy for Prisoners rally held in Durham

By Kosta Harlan | February 21, 2012 | Fight Back News
Durham, NC – Holding signs and shaking noise-makers, about 50 people gathered outside the Durham County Detention Facility on Feb. 20. The protest brought out a diverse group of people, who held banners that read “No more prisons” and “Solidarity with prisoners everywhere.” Others held placards saying, “End prisoners abuse and solitary confinement.” Dozens of people honked their car horns in support as they drove past the demonstration.

In the distance and several stories above, inmates crowded around the few windows that looked out onto the plaza, waving to the demonstrators. Continue reading

Protesters Call for more Rehabilitation Programs Not Cages

Fresno jail protesters call for more rehabilitation programs

By Gene Haagenson | ABC | February 20, 2012

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) — Protestors rallied outside the Fresno County jail on Monday. They were asking county leaders to dedicate more money to drug treatment and mental health programs as an alternative to jail.

This protest outside the Fresno County Jail was aimed at getting the attention of the Board of Supervisors. Under legislation called AB 109 board members will have discretion in how to spend state realignment funds. Continue reading

Protesting Prisons-For-Profit that Prey on the Poor

Protesting prisons-for-profit that prey on the poor, powerless immigrant detainees 

By Albor Ruiz | New York Daily News | February 22, 2012

Occupy Wall Street groups march on Wells Fargo bank in Harlem

Incarcerating poor, powerless people for profit is a despicable business, but it sure is profitable.

“Hello Harlem, we’re here to help” reads an unintentionally ironic sign in a Wells Fargo bank, a major investor in two private prison companies, the GEO Group and the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) that in 2010 made a whopping $2.9 billion in profits. Continue reading

Occupy Wall Street Calls for End of Death Penalty & Solitary Confinement

Occupy Wall Street Takes On U.S. Prison Conditions

By Laird Harrison | The Huffington Post | February 21, 2012

SAN QUENTIN, Calif., Feb 20 (Reuters) – Hundreds of anti-Wall Street demonstrators and prison reform activists joined forces outside San Quentin State Prison in California on Monday to protest high incarceration rates and living conditions for inmates.

Speakers said the state’s sentencing laws were too strict. They called for an end to solitary confinement and the death penalty and said children should not be tried as adults. Continue reading

Occupy movement stages day of protests at US prisons

Occupy movement stages day of protests at US prisons

Joined by the three hikers detained in Iran, activists point to overcrowding and inhumane conditions in US prison system.

Via The Guardian Occupy demonstrators participated in a nationwide day of action to protest against the US prison system on Monday, with demonstrations carried out at over a dozen sites across the country, including prisons in California, Chicago, Denver and New York.

The call to protest was issued by activists with the Occupy Oakland movement and was co-ordinated to coincide with waves of prison hunger strikes that began at California’s Pelican Bay prison in July. Demonstrators denounced the use of restrictive isolation units as infringement upon fundamental human rights. The hunger strikes followed a US supreme court ruling in May which stated that overcrowding in the California prison system had led to “needless suffering and death.” The court ordered the state to reduce its overall prison population from 140,000 to 110,000, which still well-exceeds the state’s maximum prison capacity. Continue reading

Occupy Oakland rallies at San Quentin, turning Presidents Day into Prisoners’ Day

Occupy Oakland rallies at San Quentin, turning Presidents Day into Prisoners’ Day

By Paul Liberatore | Marin Independent Journal | 02/20/2012

The Occupy Movement turned Monday’s Presidents Day holiday into Prisoners’ Day.

As part of a national “day of solidarity” with inmates, about 700 Occupy demonstrators rallied peacefully outside San Quentin Prison’s East Gate on Monday in support of prison hunger strikers protesting solitary confinement and other human rights issues.

Many of the demonstrators were from Occupy Oakland, whose members clashed with police in January, when 400 were arrested. Continue reading

Prisoners & Activists bring attention to US criminal justice system

Via Free Speech Radio

Occupy movements in different cities have taken on specific issues – from fighting evictions to challenging ordinances on free speech –  and today, across the country, events are taking place to bring attention to the nation’s prison system. The US imprisons more people per capita than any other country, and the prison population is overwhelmingly men of color. The private prison industry has also been expanding, and along with it, laws aimed at putting more people behind bars. but the opposition to this system is growing, with many protests coming from inside the fortified institutions. The nationwide protest today, organized by the occupy movement and inspired by prisoners, attempts to address the harsh conditions and policies which have created mass incarcerations. FSRN’s George Lavender reports on one of the events, taking place in California. Click here to listen to the report

DC Activists oppose the Big $$$ Incarceration Machine

Occupiers, activists, and protesters oppose the big money incarceration machine  

Reginald Johnson | The Examiner | February 20, 2012

Occupy D.C.’s Criminal Injustice Committee and other organizations participated in National Occupy Day in Support of Prisoners, where people from around the country protested in front various jails and prisons around the country. In the District of Columbia, nearly a hundred people protested outside the D.C. JailContinue reading

Ohio Prisoners Fast in Solidarity

Ohio Prisoners Fast in Solidarity
At least 20 prisoners at Ohio State Penitentiary (OSP- Ohio’s Super-Max prison) will refuse food on Monday February 20th in Solidarity with the National Occupy for Prisoners Day of Action.
The fast was called by Siddique Abdullah Hasan, a Muslim Imam on death row at OSP for his alleged involvement in the 1993 Lucasville Uprising. In January of 2011 Hasan and other death row prisoners wrongfully convicted in relation to the Lucasville Uprising staged a successful hunger strike, winning their demands for improved conditions and access to legal resources. Continue reading