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
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
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…
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
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
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
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
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
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
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…
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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!
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
Eddie Griffin, one of the surviving Marion Brothers who went on hunger strike in 1976, writes here of his support for the Pelican Bay strike, and his own experiences thirty five years ago. In solidarity with the California hunger strikers, Griffin has … . . . → Read More: Sketchy Thoughts: Eddie Griffin’s Statement of Support for Prisoner Hunger Strike at Pelican Bay
From IF THE SHU FITS: CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT AT CALIFORNIA’SPELICAN BAY STATE PRISON:B. General Conditions Within the SHUFrom the outside, the SHU resembles a “massive concrete bunker.” From the inside, it is a “windowless labyrinth of cells … . . . → Read More: Sketchy Thoughts: Life in Pelican Bay SHU
The Lucasville 5 are five prisoners who were framed for the murder of snitches and guards in the 1993 Lucasville prison riot. The 1993 riot and hostage taking was one of the longest in u.s. prison history, and yet it ended relatively peacefully. It was… . . . → Read More: Sketchy Thoughts: Letter from Bomani Shakur of the Lucasville 5
This Friday July 1 in Montreal the comrades from the Maison Norman Bethune (the PCR/RCP’s bookstore) will be hosting a film screening of Unlock the Box, a documentary about isolation torture and control units in the united states.The film is in englis… . . . → Read More: Sketchy Thoughts: Unlock the Box at the Maison Norman Bethune, July 1