November 8, 2012 by Solitary Watch Guest Author Lance Tapley
In 1986 Ojore Lutalo, a black revolutionary in the Trenton State Prison — now the New Jersey State Prison — wrote to Bonnie Kerness’s American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) office in Newark. His letter described the extreme isolation and other brutalities in the prison’s Management Control Unit, which he called a “prison within a prison.”
“I could not believe what he was telling me” about the MCU, she says. She reacted by becoming “this lunatic white lady” calling New Jersey corrections officials about Lutalo.
Kerness immediately went to work trying to stop MCU guards from harassing prisoners by waking them at 1 a.m. to make them strip in front of snarling dogs leaping for their genitals — to arbitrarily have them switch cells. She got this practice stopped.
Lutalo’s letter also began to open her eyes to the torture of solitary confinement, which in the mid-1980s was just starting to spread across the country as a mass penological practice. Coordinator of the AFSC’s national Prison Watch Project, Kerness had worked on prison issues since the mid-1970s. Now she became an anti-solitary-confinement activist. In 2012, she has been one longer and more consistently than, possibly, anyone else.
submit a case of someone killed by law enforcement HERE
People Killed by Law Enforcement
in U.S. 1990's to 2012 [incomplete list including many unidentified people killed by law enforcement]
Lorenzo Ingram, Sr.
Johnie Kamahi Warren
Walter Williams, Jr.
Terrence L. Cloyd
Conn Wayne Duncan
Jay Allen Johnson
Ernest “Marty” Atencio
Abdiel Burgueno, Jr.
Troy Edward Davis
Glen Alton Haring
Mario Albert Madrigal
Jose Benito Saenz
Harold Shover, Jr.
Billy Charles Hyde
Marvin Glenn Johnson
Othel June Striplin
Joel Mathew Acevedo
Alberto Acosta Jr
Phillip Daniel Aguilar
Jihad Alim Akbar
Frank Filomeno Alejo
Jerriel Da'Shawn Allen
Eddie R. Alvarado
Marco Ernesto Avila
Leroy Barnes Jr
Anton Barrett Sr
Roderick Lee Bertolette
Alan Blueford Jr
Luther Brown Jr
Christopher Arrion Burgess
Mark William Burke
James Louis Carrel
Carlos Casillas Fernandez
Mohammad Usman Chaudhry
Yi Tzu Chen
Avery Cody, Jr
Joe Casto Corrales
Martin F. Cotton II
Maurice Leroy Cox
Pedro Santa Cruz
Manuel Angel Diaz
Qazi Tiensinh Do
Reginald Doucert Jr
Oran Eugene Douglas III
Ernest Duenez, Jr
Noe Escobar Reyes
Eric Daniel Foster
Ralph Peter Gawor
Carol Anne Gotbaum
Cary James Grimé
Terry Grinner Jr
Efrain Lara Gutierrez
Demetre Omar Hall
Kenneth Harding Jr
Vong Yang Her
Carlos Heredia Jr
Angel Farias Hernandez
Jesus Juan Hernandez-Cazares
Anastasio Hernandez Rojas
Charles Blair Hill
Stephen Clancy Hill
Stephen Paul Hirschfield
Joshua Alva Hollander
Jonni Kiyoshi Honda
Joseph Frank Kennedy
Susie Young Kim
Barry Martin Koeningsberg
Albert Mike Leday Jr
Eric Lewis Liebowitz
Reginald Andre Linthicum
Mariano Lopez Fernandez
Pete Carlos Madrid
Carl Maggiorini, Jr.
Dyron Mandell Brewer
Reynaldo Quintero Martinez
Clifford Paul Maxwell
Jose Monteon Jr
Cheri Lyn Moore
Terry Wayne Nash
Ruben Walton Ortega
Albert Ray Owens
Jose Carlos Perez-Hernandez
Roman Gallius Pierson
Woodrow Player III
Alex Roman Quintanilla
William Quiros Jr
Arthur Jarvis Raleigh
Ignacio Rangel Gonzalez
Raul Castillo Razo
James Earl Rivera, Jr.
Michael Robert Rosa
Javier Joseph Rueda
Miguel Sanchez Jr
Michael Lewis Sanders
Byron San Jose
Ernesto Donald Smith
Jaden Edward Soto
OC Deputy Terry Stepp
Why does the US put so many people behind bars and what lies behind California's new push for leniency?
People and Power last Modified: 01 Nov 2012 14:40
By filmmakers Michael Montgomery and Monica Lam
The US locks up more people than any other country in the world, spending over $80billion each year to keep some two million prisoners behind bars. Over the past three decades, tough sentencing laws have contributed to a doubling of the country's prison population, with laws commonly known as 'three strikes and you're out' mandating life sentences for a wide range of crimes.
But a clear sign that Americans are rethinking crime and punishment is a voter's initiative on California's November ballot called Proposition 36 that seeks to reform the state's three-strikes law. Some 27 states have three-strikes laws patterned after California's version, which was one of the first to be enacted in the country.
Since it was passed in 1994, nearly 9,000 felons have been convicted in California under the law.
One of them is Norman Williams, a 49-year-old African-American man who was a crack addict living on the streets. He was convicted of burglarising an empty home and later stealing an armload of tools from an art studio. His third strike: filching a jack from a tow truck in Long Beach. His fate sealed under California's three-strikes law, Williams was sent to a maximum security prison [for a life sentence] alongside murderers, rapists and other violent criminals.
"I never wanted to do my whole life in prison. Nobody wants to be caged like that," Williams says.
Williams was lucky. After 13 years behind bars, his case was reviewed by a judge and he was released. He is one of about two dozen 'three strikers' who have won sentence reductions through the work of a Stanford University law clinic founded by Michael Romano. In Williams' case, the prosecutor actually agreed that the original sentence was too harsh. An idea emerged from Romano's work: Why not draft a ballot initiative to ensure that sentences like Williams' will not be repeated?
"When people originally passed the three-strikes law in 1994 the campaigns were about keeping serious and violent murderers, child molesters in prison for the rest of their lives," Romano says. "I think that's what people want and are kind of shocked to hear that people have been sentenced to life for petty theft."
See actual page10 of 2012 booklet attached or if you click on READ MORE
feedback welcome to firstname.lastname@example.org, especially if you've read the various statements! ~Verbena of RedwoodCurtain CopWatch
I know that this might be difficult for people to understand, but I am urging you not to vote for Prop 34, the Savings, Accountability, and Full Enforcement for California Act (SAFE California Act). Never would I believe that I would stand in the way of abolishing the death penalty, but as with many propositions, bills, and ballot measures brought to the people in the past, with promising names (i.e. the horrendous and misleading "Victim's Rights Bill", Prop 9 in 2008) or the appearance of good ideas, it is necessary to look deeper- WHO created the bill? WHO is advocating for it? WHO is against it? WHY? Propositions put in petitions and on our ballots are not always as simple or righteous as they sound.
I have been talking some with people who have worked with prisoners and have fought for years against the racist, classist, unjust, and cruel jail and prison system of the U.S.- which has about 2.3 million people captured in its cages, and many more under the constant scrutiny and control of the injustice system (run by some of the worst crooks/criminals on Earth). And this does not account for the U.S. immigration detention centers, holding thousands of captives. So, I sought out some opinions from people I trust, especially after speaking with a local woman who has been doing prisoner support and prison abolition work, and she was not excited about Prop 34. The large majority of people on death row in CA, apparently are not in favor either. That says a lot.
It is my strong opinion, now, that we should not allow Prop 34 to pass. And we should get busy creating a better ballot measure to end the death penalty, which puts funding in a just direction for those so harmed by the injustice system.
Below are four writings from prisoners on Death Row in San Quentin. One of the writers, Kevin Cooper is an outspoken artist, writer, prisoner who was framed (like many black men) years ago for murder and has been fighting to be freed from prison and from death row for many years. I think he raises important questions to examine... WHY were death row inmates never consulted by the proponents of this Act? Who are the proponents?
PLEASE READ the statement from the Campaign to End the Death Penalty as to why it "cannot add its name to the list of organizations endorsing the California SAFE Act." Here is the link:
by Jarvis Jay Masters (on San Quentin's Death Row)
Please DON’T vote in favor of “The SAFE California Act” to end California’s death penalty.
You need to know that your vote for this act would throw away the key for all the innocent men and women on death row and, instead, sentence all prisoners on death row to spend the rest of their lives in prison without the possibility of parole and without effective legal representation.
The way I see it is, behind the scenes, the “Act” has been to cast Jeannie Woodford, former prison guard, former San Quentin warden, former director of California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and current director of Death Penalty Focus, an organization striving to abolish the death penalty, to build support for this “Act” from, among others, the prison guards union.
I am not the first to say how deeply troubling it is to see this initiative being advocated for by a woman who presided over state executions without ever offering an OPEN apology.
There is something even more troubling about depending on a flawed prison system and its employees to go ahead and make this decision, when the men and women at risk have never been asked for our two cents about matters that affect our life and death. PLEASE KEEP READING!
Tragedy of US police training by Israeli companies
Mon Sep 24, 2012 By Gordon Duff
What had once been police is how a “hodge-podge” thousands of agencies, each one falling like dominoes, unable to resist offers of advanced military weapons, offers of “informal discretionary funding” (bribes) and quickly degenerating into an army of occupation."
During the Bush administration, Israeli-American dual citizen and Director of Homeland Security Chertoff mandated that American police forces be trained by Israeli groups in crowd control, counter-terrorism and intelligence gathering.
Since that time, shootings of unarmed civilians has gone up 500%, attacks on legal political protests by police have become a scandal and huge stockpiles of ammunition and military heavy weaponry have been distributed to law enforcement groups in every region of America, both local and federally controlled.
Additionally, Army Chief of Staff General Odierno has offered the use of the US Army, an offer published in the Council on Foreign Relations journal, Foreign Affairs, to suppress political dissent by force, a violation of his oath of office and, quite literally, an act of conspiracy against the sovereignty of the US and State governments.
The current problem with law enforcement and the diminishment of legal rights of Americans is now at levels that cannot be ignored any longer. It has become obvious to an ever increasing number of Americans that something is in the works, perhaps a political coup or a military take-over.
Years ago such things were done behind closed doors, now it seems it can be done in the open, just like shooting down presidents, killing senators in plane crashes or blowing up office buildings.
Instability in the United States is very real. With Mitt Romney planning a new war while cutting taxes for the rich, one in four Americans is suffering from malnutrition and one in five children live with constant hunger in a nation that spends billions of dollars to subsidize and store excess food. There is now a legitimate concern that armed law enforcement officers, numbering over 800,000, with constables and auxiliaries taking that number over 1 million, foreign-led criminal organizations may systematically be gaining control of America in a form of “rot from within.”
It doesn’t take a genius to track down the money behind half of America’s politicians to their source, bank fraud, narcotics, gun running, medical scams and the oil monopoly. This is the new organized crime.
What had once been police is how a “hodge-podge” thousands of agencies, each one falling like dominoes, unable to resist offers of advanced military weapons, offers of “informal discretionary funding” (bribes) and quickly degenerating into an army of occupation.
Key to this has been Israeli training, sending into America so-called experts who have long operated in an environment where killing civilians under cover of a rigged racist system of government has been official policy for over six decades.
Israel’s militarized police are trained to violate human rights on a daily basis. 116 UN resolutions have been filed and passed by majority vote by the General Assembly citing them with apartheid and genocide, exactly the description of America that Mitt Romney and his friends are offering America.
In my own town recently, a police officer shot and killed an Iraq War veteran while the man was asleep. The officer had been called to the home because the family was concerned about their son who was having trouble adjusting.
They let the officer in the house, and rather than waking the sleeping veteran, the officer simply emptied his pistol into the man’s body.
I just did a Google search of the phrase: “police shoot unarmed man” and got 1,610,000 results.
Dec. 8, 2011
... I honestly believe that there will not be a better time to challenge the legality of warehousing people in isolation than now.
A message from Troy Anthony Davis September 10, 2011
The threat of jail expansion comes amidst numerous lawsuits surrounding allegations of systematic abuse and torture in LA’s jails as well as numerous reports and expert opinions recommending against the rampant misuse of incarceration in the county. ... Twenty counties in California have applied for a total of $1,102,855,803 including a $100 million application from LA County. ...
January 1st, 2012: Oscar Grant 3rd Anniversary Memorial March and Rally
Stand Up to the Watchdogs of the 1%--Your Local Police Department!
The riots that swept large parts of London, Birmingham, Liverpool and Bristol last night are an explosion of bitterness and rage.
Just as with the student protests last year, it is the “lost generation” created by the Tories who are at the centre of these struggles—although many older people were also involved.