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Dented Blue Mercedes: “Protective” Custody

The way that trans people are housed in detention and correctional settings has come to attention recently, after British comedian Avery Edison was detained by the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) for having previously overstayed her visa — and then she was initially sent to a mens’ prison while the issue was sorted out. After an outcry. Ms. Edison was moved to a female facility, but a number of other experiences that trans people have had with CBSA and Correctional Services Canada (CSC) have also come to light.

On Friday, I’d posted an article discussing some of the issues (Read more…)

Dented Blue Mercedes: “Protective” Custody

The way that trans people are housed in detention and correctional settings has come to attention recently, after British comedian Avery Edison was detained by the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) for having previously overstayed her visa — and then she was initially sent to a mens’ prison while the issue was sorted out. After an outcry. Ms. Edison was moved to a female facility, but a number of other experiences that trans people have had with CBSA and Correctional Services Canada (CSC) have also come to light.

On Friday, I’d posted an article discussing some of the issues (Read more…)

Dented Blue Mercedes: On the Detention of Trans People

“… in a way that is not inconsistent with one’s gender identity.”

Remember that phrase. It’s going to simplify something that might otherwise seem like a complicated issue.

So this British comedian walks into Toronto’s Pearson International Airport.

Some of you have heard this one before…

The treatment of trans people (particularly trans women) in detention facilities, in the correctional system and in border security has come under re-examination recently, following the story of 25-year old Avery Edison. The British comedian had overstayed her student visa during a previous visit to Canada, and so upon her return, (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Swiss Inmates Going to Pot

Swiss prisons have a marijuana problem and Swiss prison guards like it that way.

A recent study published in the  International Journal of Drug Policy estimates that 50 to 80 percent of inmates in Swiss prisons use marijuana. Prison staff told researchers they found marijuana to be a relatively safe drug and that cracking down on consumption would have more negative effects than positive ones.Surveys of detainees and guards revealed similar opinions on marijuana use, with both groups describing the effects of marijuana as analgesic, calming and a way to decrease the traumatic prison experience.  Negative consequences included sleepiness, social (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Omar Khadr moved to Edmonton prison after months in solitary confinement

Former Guantanamo detainee Omar Khadr has been transferred to the maximum-security Edmonton Institution in Alberta after spending months in solitary confinement at Millhaven penitentiary in Ontario, where a fellow inmate once threatened his life.

The post Omar Khadr moved to Edmonton prison after months in solitary confinement appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Sketchy Thoughts: Snapshot of Genocide

An excerpt from Loic Wacquant’s Punishing the Poor: The Neoliberal Government of Social Insecurity (Duke University Press 2009), pages 59-73:

The Gaols of the Subproletariat: An Experimental Verification

It suffices, to discern the extrapenological functions served by the outsized extension of the US carceral apparatus even as crime plummeted for over a decade, to sketch in broad strokes the sociological profile of the “clientele” it accommodates at its entry point. Whence it turns out that the half-million detainees who glut the country’s 3,300-odd jails on anyone day–and the fourteen million bodies that pass through their gates in the course of

. . . → Read More: Sketchy Thoughts: Snapshot of Genocide

Sketchy Thoughts: Mtl: Captive Genders Discussion and Letter-Writing

Friday, March 293:30pm1800 Létourneux

Join the Prisoner Correspondence Project for a reading from Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex and conversation with two California-based queer anti-prison activists. What are some of the uses and limits of a queer framework in anti-prison organizing? What does it mean for queers to “act local” as prisons become increasingly removed from urban centres? What are the resources and strategies that can be shared in our cross-border contexts?

Eric Stanley is visiting faculty in Critical Studies at the San Francisco Art Institute and coeditor of the anthology Captive Genders: Trans

. . . → Read More: Sketchy Thoughts: Mtl: Captive Genders Discussion and Letter-Writing

Sketchy Thoughts: Kevin Rashid Johnson: February 2013: They Waited, Wanted and Watched For Me To Die…

What follows is a message from Kevin “Rashid” Johnson, who is currently being held at a behavior modification unit in Oregon, where he suffered a severe health crisis earlier this year. It answers many of the questions we have had since we learned of his predicament. -kFebruary 2013:  They Waited, Wanted and Watched For Me To Die… Kevin “Rashid” Johnson Things I Don’t Do Even before I began my political journey in 2001, I maintained certain principles; a variety of things I just don’t do.  And usually, if ever I deviated from those principles, even in error, I’d . . . → Read More: Sketchy Thoughts: Kevin Rashid Johnson: February 2013: They Waited, Wanted and Watched For Me To Die…

Sketchy Thoughts: Kevin Rashid Johnson and Oregon’s Isolation Torture Unit

This is an update about Kevin “Rashid” Johnson, a prisoner activist and intellectual who is currently in a dire situation in Snake River Correctional Institution in Oregon.  As was reported last week, Rashid has been in the midst of a health crisis for almost a month now, which has included periods of severe disorientation. For a time he was refusing to eat or drink; as far as our most recent information if concerned, he is currently accepting liquids but still not eating.  Rashid has spent most of his adult life in prison, and almost all of that time

. . . → Read More: Sketchy Thoughts: Kevin Rashid Johnson and Oregon’s Isolation Torture Unit

The Scott Ross: How The US Used Pussy Riot And You Liked It

Why were you outraged over Russia locking up Pussy Riot but ambivalent over America bringing its full weight down on open access activist Aaron Swartz? Simple, because hating a Russian government is easier than improving your own.

When Russian punk band Pussy Riot received 2 years for “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” there were weeks of press coverage, mass protests, world outrage, and calls, most notably by US President Barack Obama, denouncing Russia’s actions as “disproportionate”.

Yet when Reddit co-creator Aaron Swartz was facing 35 years in an American prison for merely making publicly-funded research public, there were few

. . . → Read More: The Scott Ross: How The US Used Pussy Riot And You Liked It

Sketchy Thoughts: Video Interview with Sanyika Shakur

In this interview, New Afrikan Communist Sanyika Shakur discusses his personal social development, his time in Pelican Bay-SHU, the 2011 California prisoners’ hunger strikes, the effects of long-term isolation torture, New Afrikan nationalism, communism, and the struggle against gender oppression.

In a biographical note written while in PB-SHU, Shakur explained: i was born Nov 13, 1963.

Raised in South Central Los Angeles, by a phenomenal single, working-class, mother. Cut my teeth in the hostile gang culture in South Central from the mid-70′s til the late 80′s. Was introduced to the New Afrikan Independence Movement, by way of the Spear &

. . . → Read More: Sketchy Thoughts: Video Interview with Sanyika Shakur

Sketchy Thoughts: Rock Vol.2 #2

The latest issue of Rock is out; this is a newsletter produced by former political prisoner Ed Mead with content for and by prisoners at Pelican Bay.

Pelican Bay’s SHU is an isolation torture unit where people spend years and even decades in solitary confinement, deprived of all human contact. A couple of years ago prisoners at the SHU successively initiated two of the largest prisoner hunger strikes in u.s. history, with thousands refusing food for weeks on end, demanding some very basic and minimal reforms. Despite wily promises from the prisoncrats, we are two years later with little

. . . → Read More: Sketchy Thoughts: Rock Vol.2 #2

Art Threat: The imagination, art, and activism of Herman’s House

Last week I attended the Toronto theatrical premiere of Herman’s House, a thought-provoking documentary written and directed by Angad Singh Bhalla. This Canadian film tells the story of an artistic collaboration between Jackie Sumell and Herman Wallace. Sumell is a multidisciplinary artist from New York. Wallace is a Black Panther from Louisiana who has been [...] . . . → Read More: Art Threat: The imagination, art, and activism of Herman’s House

Things Are Good: Reading for Faster Freedom in Brazil

Prisoners in Brazil may be able to shorten their stay in jail by reading and writing. It’s only 48 days but it can make a difference, the prisoners need to read from a collection of philosophy, science, literature, or the classics then reflect on them in a submitted paper.

Educational programs like this are a good way to help people returning to society restart with more focus and support.

Prisoners will have up to four weeks to read each book and write an essay which must “make correct use of paragraphs, be free of corrections, use margins and legible joined-up

. . . → Read More: Things Are Good: Reading for Faster Freedom in Brazil

Sketchy Thoughts: Red Onion Prisoners on Hunger Strike! Day 11…

Men at Red Onion State Prison in Virginia are not only refusing meals but also refusing showers and refusing recreation time. We must support these courageous comrades who are actively revolting against the incarceration nation. Go to http://virginiaprisonstrike.blogspot.com and take action!

These reports are from Rock Volume 1, #6, June 2012, available here.

Solidarity Statement with Red Onion Hunger StrikeStudents Against Mass Incarceration (SAMI) at Howard University extends our solidarity to the prisoners on hunger strike in Red Onion State Prison. As Black students, we understand that the inhumane conditions of solitary confinement experienced by Our incarcerated brothers is an extension of the brutality suffered by Black people since our forced transportation

. . . → Read More: Sketchy Thoughts: Red Onion Prisoners on Hunger Strike! Day 11…

Sketchy Thoughts: Inmate Dies During Hunger Strike at California’s Corcoran State Prison

This troubling news reposted from Solitary Watch: 

News of a death in Corcoran State Prison’s Administrative Segregation Unit is emerging as an underreported hunger strike in the prison’s ASU comes to a close. Inmates in the ASU are held in 23-hour-a-day solitary confinement. Many have been in isolation for years and even decades.

California State Prison, Corcoran, which houses over 1400 in Security Housing Units and an additional 350 in ASUs, has been the site of two waves of hunger strikes since late December 2011. Unlike the highly publicized hunger strikes last year that originated in Pelican Bay State

. . . → Read More: Sketchy Thoughts: Inmate Dies During Hunger Strike at California’s Corcoran State Prison

Sketchy Thoughts: From Bad to Worse: Transferred from Red Onion to Wallens Ridge State Prison

Wallens Ridge State Prison

This is the latest dispatch from Kevin “Rashid” Johnson, Minister of Defense of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party-Prison Chapter, and author of Defying the Tomb:

From Bad to Worse: Transferred from Red Onion to Wallens Ridge State PrisonBy Kevin “Rashid” Johnson

On January 20, 2012, I was transferred from Red Onion to Wallens Ridge State Prison. This transfer came on the heels of a December 12, 2011, incident where a large portion of my hair was ripped out by a Red Onion guard, a staged investigation by a Virginia Dept. of Corrections Internal Affairs

. . . → Read More: Sketchy Thoughts: From Bad to Worse: Transferred from Red Onion to Wallens Ridge State Prison

Sketchy Thoughts: Defying the Tomb: Struggle, Education, Survival and Liberation in Lock-Down

WHERE: Bluestockings Bookstore, 172 Allen Street, New YorkWHEN: Saturday, February 11, 2012 @ 7pm

Soledad Brother-esque, this book is a collection of letters between Johnson and a fellow prisoner, Outlaw. It also includes some essays written by Rashid discussing a variety of political issues. Acclaimed by several political prisoners and movement veterans, it is a must read. 

The book also includes Rashid’s art produced within the confines of a solitary confinement cell at Red Onion State Prison in southwest Virginia where he has been held 23 hours a day for years. It reflects inspiration by many leading revolutionaries and thinkers,

. . . → Read More: Sketchy Thoughts: Defying the Tomb: Struggle, Education, Survival and Liberation in Lock-Down

Sketchy Thoughts: Abuse Reports Culminate In Hair-Raising Assault By Red Onion State Prison Guards

In the following report, Rashid details a vicious racist attack on his person by guards at Red Onion State Prison, which occurred on December 12, 2011. Since this report was written, Rashid’s situation has gotten even worse, as earlier this week he was transferred to Wallens Ridge State Prison (Virginia’s other supermax), where he was confined between 2000 and 2003, a period when he was repeatedly singled out for abuse by guards (many of whom are still working there). Already, he has been subjected to death threats from guards, has had his food tampered with (i.e. has found metal

. . . → Read More: Sketchy Thoughts: Abuse Reports Culminate In Hair-Raising Assault By Red Onion State Prison Guards

We Have Our Priorities

According to Correctional Services Canada, the average annual cost of keeping someone in a federal prison in Canada in 2004-2005 was $88,067 . Now compare that to the annual amount spent per student in Canada during the same time period of $8726 including operating budgets and salaries.

Canada’s aging prison population

First off I’d like to offer kudos to Howard Sapers, the Correctional Investigator of Canada, a true gem within our civil service .In his latest report Sapers highlights the aging of our prison population and the special challenges faced by both the effected inmates and their jailers The older offender is often a neglected, but significant and growing, segment of the offender population. Today, . . . → Read More: Canada’s aging prison population

Progressive Proselytizing: Mandatory Sentences Really Mean Mandatory

Canada’s top legal group, the Canadian Bar Association, was not exactly kind to Harper’s approach to crime in its recent annual conference. It identified many issues from overcrowding to the rates of mentally ill in the prison system. But the issue tha… . . . → Read More: Progressive Proselytizing: Mandatory Sentences Really Mean Mandatory

Dead Wild Roses: The Spawn of Guantanamo Bay – SuperMax Prison Hell

Prison is not supposed to be a walk in the beach. I understand that. People that commit offences need to be consequenced for their transgressions against what society deems to be the proper set of standards. Consequences should not include psychological torture, self-mutilation and degradation. “Supermax prisoners’ daily lives are chock full of alienating and [...] . . . → Read More: Dead Wild Roses: The Spawn of Guantanamo Bay – SuperMax Prison Hell

Sketchy Thoughts: Support the California Prisoners’ Hunger Strike!

In the months before summer 2011, news spread that between 50 and 100 prisoners at Pelican Bay State Prison in the Security Housing Unit (SHU), Corridor D, were going on an indefinite hunger strike, starting July 1.What was initially expected to… . . . → Read More: Sketchy Thoughts: Support the California Prisoners’ Hunger Strike!

Sketchy Thoughts: Hugo Pinell Participating in the California Hungerstrike

Excerpted from a letter to Kiilu Nyasha:A hunger strike has been in effect since July 1 and I’ve been with it, altho is very hard to know what’s going on? On July 1, one station up here announced the hunger strike, but nothing since and I don’t kno… . . . → Read More: Sketchy Thoughts: Hugo Pinell Participating in the California Hungerstrike