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.
The state’s hand of repression can even reach beyond the grave.
by Paul Boden Nov 18, 2010
Organizing Director, Western Regional Advocacy Project
This is the third article in a series we're writing on Quality of Life ordinances, our contemporary version of the vagrancy laws that have been with us for centuries. In the South, they were used to force freed slaves back to the plantation. In the North, they were used to instill a Protestant work ethic in indigent whites. This compulsion to control labor and separate the "worthy" from the "unworthy" is deeply ingrained in our culture and institutions.
Occupy Eureka invites you to the Humboldt County Courthouse to attend our unveiling of our new information kiosk as we call out for justice and equality for the 99% through the exercise of our first amendment rights. This event is part of a movement-wide call to "re-occupy" in the wake of coordinated attacks and subsequent evictions of occupations across the nation and around the world.
OPEN WORKSHOP for anyone who might want to take direct action for the Earth or any social justice struggle...
Focus on insurgent skills: organize to be a wrench in the machine; demystify legal risks; prepare to assert power with confidence; and arm ourselves with knowledge to prevent the legal system from separating or silencing us.