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Tell Charlottesville: No Weapons at RalliesActivists, including nonviolent peace activists, are often forbidden to carry posters on sticks, having to use hollow carboard tubes, at events around the United States. Yet in Charlottesville, Va., in August 2017 a group threatening violence and having engaged in it the night before was allowed to assemble in a public space with guns, sticks, and other weaponry. The results were brutal. There is no reason that Charlottesville cannot, under existing laws, do what many other localities do and set the terms of public rallies to forbid the possession of weapons. Here’s an expert legal opinion that forbidding weapons is legal. http://www.dailyprogress.com/news/local/free-speech-expert-restricting-weapons-at-virginia-rallies-could-be/article_75548987-1529-5deb-ae11-19d2e5a7c9ac.html Here is a report on Richmond, Virginia, forbidding weapons at a rally. http://www.dailyprogress.com/news/state/richmond-police-plan-weapons-ban-at-pro-confederate-protest-saturday/article_db0447fe-c0fc-509c-912d-2b85a0959b1f.html There is nothing to be gained by trying to ban rallies of particular political viewpoints, or by trying to ban all public rallies. Either would be in stark violation of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. There is no need for new laws. Charlottesville can and must commit to forbidding weapons from rallies. ********** UPDATE: Here's a list of items banned from an event in Gainesville, Florida, with hatemonger Richard Spencer. It includes all conceivable weapons, and even open flames of any kind. http://www.police.ufl.edu/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Richard-Spencer-Speaking-Engagement-Prohibited-Items-List.pdf Here's an NBC 29 report on our petition to ban weapons from public rallies in Charlottesville. http://davidswanson.org/petition-asks-charlottesville-to-keep-weapons-out-of-rallies/ It seems to focus on this Virginia state law, which bans loaded guns from public places in a list of localities that does not include Charlottesville. https://www.lawserver.com/law/state/virginia/va-code/virginia_code_18-2-287-4 The intent in citing this seems to be to claim that Virginia state laws allowing "concealed" and "open" carrying of guns cannot be overridden in any way except in the list of localities found in that law. Yet, Richmond, which is in that list, apparently decided it could ban every type of weapon except guns. http://www.richmond.com/news/local/city-of-richmond/richmond-police-say-they-can-t-stop-unpermitted-confederate-rally/article_c25223b6-4d05-54c1-9b88-8289a0dfb90b.html Still, here is a list of weapons banned in Gainesville that nobody in Charlottesville has yet proposed, as far as I know, any justification whatsoever for not banning from the fascist rally in August or any future rally: simulated firearms, tasers, knives, sharp objects Lighters, matches, torches or open flame Any athletic equipment or other items which could be used as a weapon Masks of any kind, goggles, bandanas/scarfs, neck gaitersFlag Poles, bats, clubs, sticks (including sticks on signs) Aerosol/pressurized cans, mace Chains, padlocks, bicycle locks Shields Fireworks Backpacks, bags, purses, clutches Signs made of anything other than cloth, paper, foam core, cardboard Cans, metal or glass containers, premixed beverages or alcoholic beverages water bottles of any kind Perhaps some of the items above go overboard. Certainly the rest of the list not reproduced here does. And of course it seems crazy to ban non-gun weapons while allowing guns. But we are asking the City of Charlottesville to ban guns, knives, and sticks, and it has yet to produce any excuse for not banning knives and sticks. And the city will only be moved to pursue banning guns from public rallies if we keep up the pressure.
You Must Impeach Trump for War Crimes & Bust the Military/Industrial Complex!Our country was founded on the idea that our government would be instituted under the “rule of law” rather than the political whims of kings and queens as England was ruled in the 1700’s. Our Constitution states Congress must pass a declaration of war before the US military and president can take action against another nation, except in the case America is attacked by another nation. America has NOT been attacked by any of the nations in which our military or CIA forces are fighting today. Furthermore, no declarations of war have been approved by Congress. Thus these wars are illegal under the American Constitution and laws. They are illegal under the UN Charter and various treaties America has signed. Mr. Trump’s threatening preemptive nuclear war and aggression against N. Korea and threatening war of aggression against Venezuela are established war crimes. Trillions of dollars have been spent illegally drowning our Nation in debt and prohibiting the domestic public investments necessary to help our people and environment. Today we have a vast complex comprised of military/industrial/intelligence/elected officials. This complex is an old boys club with each group helping the other get public tax dollars and get richer becoming ever more powerful. This complex spends trillions of dollars on preparation for wars, on actual illegal wars of aggression and sends millions of American soldiers into harm’s way. The result of these illegal wars has been: millions of people have died, been wounded or made ill or homeless by these Wars on Terror. Thousands of American troops have died and hundreds of thousands wounded physically, mentally or emotionally. We must break the back of this “complex.” The impeachment and removal from office of President Trump for war crimes will initiate, hopefully, the dismantling and demise of this “complex” by Congress and future administrations. Why? Because the next president Vice President Pence, or another person, will have to obey the rule of law or he/she will be the next person impeached. Future presidents will think twice before they commit illegal actions. Additionally, once the president has been impeached, the following impeachments of military and intelligence leaders for their violations of their oath of office and the laws of our land will become easier. The American military/industrial/intelligence/elected official complex is possibly the greatest threat to world peace and to the future of America that exists. It must be dismantled and the perpetrators punished and removed from power. We, the below members of Veterans for Peace, are co-sponsors of this petition. We urge you to please sign the petition, share it with your friends and hopefully help save our future! Peace! Philip Anderson, VFP Chapter 80 Duluth-Superior, WI US Army 1975-78 retired-Army & Navy Reserves Buzz Davis, VFP Ch. 13 Tucson, AZ, US Army 1967-70 S. Korea Kay Davis, Assoc. Member VFP Ch. 13 Tucson, AZ Brad Geyer, Ch. 175 Janesville, WI USAF 1989-93 WI ANG 1993-03 Gulf War Dan Luker, VFP Ch. 9 Boston, MA, US Army 1968-71 Vietnam John Spitzberg, Chs. 099/160, Willow, AK, US Army & Air Force 1958-72 Germany Jean Rawson, Assoc. Member VFP Ch. 25 Madison, WI Joshua Shurley, VFP Ch. 180 Fresno, CA, US Army 1993-01 Carroll Nast, VFP Ch. 122 Colfax, CA, USAF 1969-79 Vietnam Wayne Beverly, VFP Udonthani, Thailand USMC Sgt-Vietnam 1966-67 Paul Gessler, VFP Ch. 178 Northern CO USAF 1970-73 ICBM Support Jim Wohlgemuth, VFP Nashville, TN George Newell, Pres. VFP Ch. 120 Boulder, CO USMC 1968-1973 VFP Chapter 120 Boulder, CO Daryl K. Sherman, VFP Ch. 25 Madison, WI US Army Special Forces Sgt. 1956-62 Berlin 60-62 Cynthia Heil, Assoc. Member, VFP Ch. 099 Asheville, NC
Extend Temporary Protected Status for Haitians Impacted by 2010 Haiti EarthquakeHaitians across the United States are in a collective state of anxiety, worried that they will soon lose protection from detainment and deportation. In 2010, the Obama administration granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to close to 50,000 Haitians after the earthquake disaster that killed 300,000 people and displaced approximately 1.5 million. Created in 1990, TPS is a federal immigration relief program granted to citizens of certain countries with deteriorating conditions caused by armed conflicts, natural disasters, or health epidemics. The program grants residency, work permits, and driver's licenses to refugees who had started living in the U.S. before or within a year after the earthquake. For the past seven years, the United States has renewed the TPS program for Haitian citizens in 18-month installments. Under the Trump administration, however, that temporary protected status is set to expire on January 22, 2018. “Haiti still hasn’t fully recovered from the earthquake. There are still people living in tents. People are living in caves. They’re dying of malnutrition.” -- Steve Forester, Immigration Policy Coordinator at the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti In addition to recovering from the earthquake aftermath, people in Haiti are fighting a cholera epidemic that was brought into the island by a United Nations peacekeeping mission in 2010. Hurricane Matthew hit seven months ago, exacerbating the cholera crisis and severely damaging infrastructure projects as well as Haiti’s agricultural sector. This resulted in a food crisis that has some Haitians living outdoors and suffering from hunger. To date, about 9,000 people have died from cholera since the epidemic began and 780,000 others have been affected by the disease, according to the United Nations. It would be irresponsible for the United States to send tens of thousands of people back to a recovering country where they haven’t lived or worked for years. Many of these families have U.S.-born children, making deportation both cruel and extremely disruptive. If the United States government wants Haitian refugees to return to their homeland, it should focus immigration policies on helping Haiti to recover instead of forcing people back to a country unable to support them. Ending temporary protected status for 50,000 Haitian citizens would have disastrous effects in many ways. Internationally, it would create the potential for a new immigration crisis. In the United States, it would fuel the engine of the prison-industrial complex by immediately criminalizing many thousands of Haitian citizens throughout the country after January 22, 2018, making it illegal for them to work, drive, keep housing, or continue to live in the United States at all. Please sign this petition to ask Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly to extend Temporary Protected Status to qualifying Haitian citizens who were displaced or drastically impacted by the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
Close the Disgraceful California Rehabilitation Center in Riverside CountySign this petition to ask California Governor Jerry Brown to shut down California Rehabilitation Center at Norco in Riverside County. A recent report from the California State Department of Public Health revealed shocking conditions at CRC-Norco, a medium-security state prison. This prison houses an astonishing 3,400 prisoners in unsafe and unsanitary conditions that include broken floor tiles, rat and cockroach infestations, and standing pools of water. With a population capacity of 2,491 people, the facility is both overcrowded and structurally neglected. "CRC-Norco is dilapidated and unsafe…. We have known for years that this prison is in terrible shape," said California State Senator Loni Hancock. In 2012, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation publicly acknowledged the unsafe conditions at CRC-Norco and set forth a plan to close the facility by June 2016. One year later, however, prison administrators suspended the deadline, stating that a federal court order to ease crowding in California’s already overcrowded prisons mandated the CDCR to keep the facility open until further notice. That decision was reaffirmed in January 2016 when Governor Brown released the CDCR budget proposal for the 2016-17 cycle, which reflected an extended continuation of operations at CRC-Norco. It is unconscionable for Governor Brown and prison officials at the CDCR to continue to house incarcerated people at a facility that is publicly known to be infested with vermin and structurally unsafe. Keeping the prison open and operating creates a host of health and safety hazards for both the inmates and employees. In addition, it reflects an extraordinary disregard for the human rights of the 3,400 people who are forced to live at the overcrowded, decaying facility. CRC-Norco should be shut down immediately.
California Prisoners Bear the Brunt of Statewide Water ShortageIn the wake of the state’s most severe drought in memory, California Governor Jerry Brown issued mandatory statewide water restrictions that require all public agencies to reduce their water consumption by 25 percent. Officials at the 34 prisons operated by the California Department of Corrections have responded by restricting inmates' showers, ability to flush their cells' toilets, and access to laundry services and clean clothes, according to interviews with inmates. Showers are running only three days a week (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday) for a total of four hours, providing a little over an hour for hundreds of prisoners to take turns bathing on shower days. Any prisoner caught in the showers for more than 5 minutes, washing clothes while showers are running, bird bathing or flushing the toilets in their assigned cell could face disciplinary action, including 30 days added to their prison sentence (CDC-115 Rules Violation Report). Prison officials have been instructed to shut off water fountains, outdoor showers, and to stop hosing down sidewalks. As a result, California prisoners are denied water-breaks throughout the day and are refused the hygienic practice of washing off sweat after a workout. Women's prisons in particular have struggled with sanitary upkeep since the implementation of CDCR’s water conservation program. Shower and toilet restrictions affect female prisoners on their menstrual cycles most directly. CDCR’s water conservation program began in 2006 with a pilot project to install flush-restricting valves on toilets at nearly one-third of all California adult institutions, resulting in a host of unsanitary conditions ranging from foul odor to overflowing toilets. Water conservation methods have only grown more aggressive within the recent decade and California prisoners have borne the brunt of health and safety hazards associated with aggressive yet inadequate conservation planning. If California is serious about water conservation and water-use reduction in its prisons, state officials should consider developing policies that promote the depopulation of overcrowded state facilities -- starting with releasing disabled people, the elderly and non-violent offenders. Reducing the numbers of people incarcerated unnecessarily could result in significant water savings and help to make the prison environment more adaptable and suitable for rehabilitation. Other methods of reducing water waste, without violating the human rights of the imprisoned, can include updating sinks, toilets, showers, and appliances with advanced water-saving fixtures. Sign this petition to California Governor Jerry Brown asking him to immediately end all water conservation methods that violate the human rights of people in prison. Sources: http://www.latimes.com/local/political/la-me-ff-to-save-water-california-turns-off-prison-showers-20150709-story.html https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/california-prisons-are-restricting-shower-and-toilet-use-to-fight-the-historic-drought-626 http://www.insidecdcr.ca.gov/2010/04/california-prisons-reduce-water-consumption/ http://www.inmate.com/prison-articles/california-prisoners-affected-by-drought.htm
No Package Restrictions for NYS Prisoners!Visitation packages are a crucial part of subsistence in the prisons. New York State’s prison system that houses over 60,000 men, women, and children, all of whom are under fed, under nourished, and are not able to meet hygiene needs without purchasing products. Packages brought in by visitors allow prisoners to sustain themselves while they suffer the “slow death” of the prison system. They receive books, hygiene products, stationery, religious objects, underwear, shoes, shirts and blouses (which allow inmates to regulate their body temperature). All of these objects are crucial for survival for inmates. The proposal to revise the package directive 4911 by adding 4911A to restrict packages to a small selection of prison vendors will severely restrict what prisoners can have (which is already extremely restrictive) and raise costs for family members who already have an extra burden to bear taking care of their loved ones in and out of prison. Currently, visitation packages can be purchased from bulk stores, which allow families to keep costs down. We can be assured that packages purchased through vendors will be more expensive. In addition to increasing costs for families who are already financially struggling, this directive will put even more money into the hands of the prison industry, which is already a multi-million dollar a year industry that thrives of other people’s immiseration. Meanwhile, prisoners are working for slave wages, making 10-16 cents an hour, and are completely reliant on outside support to supplement their starvation diets served in prison. Furthermore, the justification for restricting packages is that visitors are allegedly smuggling drugs through packages. However, as investigations show, it is often corrections officers who smuggle drugs, and who are the ones allowing in tainted packages. Instead of monitoring the COs--there are currently no cameras in the package room--DOCCS is instead punishing prisoners and their families. In addition, suicide in prison is often a result of alienation, deprivation, and lack of stimulation, which will all increase with a new package restriction. The only things that this directive will be taking out of the prisons if it is implemented are prisoners’ human dignity, will, and incentive for good behavior. We are asking that the new directive, 4911A, be repealed immediately, before the NYS prison system wastes time and money on vendor contracts, and before the lives of 60,000 inmates and their families are changed for the worse. Written by families and friends of inmates from the Women’s Facilities of NYS, presented by Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee
Was Darren Rainey Tortured and Killed by Prison Guards at Dade Correctional Institution in Florida?On June 23, 2012, Darren Rainey, a mentally ill black man serving a two-year prison sentence for drug possession, was killed by four prison guards at Dade Correctional Institution in Florida. The Florida correctional officers kept Darren Rainey locked in a shower for two consecutive hours with the water turned up to a scalding 160 degrees — even though Florida state law mandates 120 degrees as the highest available temperature allowed. According to the assigned medical examiner, when Mr. Rainey was removed from the shower, his skin was falling off of his body. Darren Rainey entered the shower around 7:30 p.m. on June 23, 2012 and was pronounced dead around 10:00pm later that night. One prisoner said he heard Rainey screaming, begging to be let out. Another stated that he helped clean up chunks of Rainey's skin from the shower the following morning. Multiple inmates have revealed that the shower was used against them too, as a torture device. Last week, Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle's office revealed that, after a five-year legal dispute, no charges will be filed against the four prison guards who allegedly tortured and killed Darren Rainey. In addition, the four accused guards will be allowed to keep their jobs as Florida correctional officers. Prosecutors concluded that Rainey's death was an "accident,” stating that he died from a combination of factors, including health complications of his mental disorder, heart disease that had gone undiagnosed, and what they described as "confinement in a shower." According to prosecutors, the medical examiner's report played a key role in their decision not to press charges against the four prison guards. The Miami-Dade prosecutor's office maintained that the DCI medical examiner report reveals no burns on Darren Rainey after discovering him in the shower, and that any deformed skin was a result of skin "slippage" from being in the shower for too long. When that same medical examiner's report was reviewed by investigators at HuffingtonPost, however, it was discovered that Britney Wilson, a licensed practical nurse at DCI, examined Rainey’s body approximately 10 minutes after he was found, and noted “1st degree burns to 90% of his body.” An additional medical examination conducted by Lt. Alexander Lopez, a firefighter and paramedic with Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, reported that Darren Rainey was found “with 2nd and 3rd degree burns on approximately 30 percent of his body." This obvious cover-up is not just an attack on the neglected prisoner community — it is a blatant disregard for the families and communities of anyone who is black, poor, disabled, elderly, and/or lacking health-care and incarcerated. We should all be disturbed, not only by the horrific death of Darren Rainey, but by the failure of the state of Florida to protect him and hold those who are responsible accountable for their actions. The four accused correctional officers are: Sgt. John Fan Fan, Officer Cornelius Thompson, Officer Ronald Clarke, Officer Edwina Williams. Harold Hempstead, former prisoner at FCI, first reported Rainey's death and was a key witness in Darren Rainey's case. http://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/op-ed/article140015793.html Hot Water Temperature Laws: Anti-Scald Regulations (Florida) http://inspectapedia.com/plumbing/Hot_Water_Temperature_Laws.php#FL The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Report on Darren Rainey’s death. https://cbsmiami.files.wordpress.com/2017/03/darrenraineyincustodydeathcloseoutmemo.pdf Investigation of evidence conducted by HuffingtonPost http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/darren-rainey-inmate-death-dade-correctional-institution_us_58d94c9fe4b03692bea82e1b?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Officials%20Ruled%20Inmates%20Boiling%20Death%20An%20Accident%20But%20Documents%20Show%20They%20Omitted%20Key%20Details&utm_content=Officials%20Ruled%20Inmates%20Boiling%20Death%20An%20Accident%20But%20Documents%20Show%20They%20Omitted%20Key%20Details+CID_8215adfc57846c1e7159b4870e1301a9&utm_source=Email%20marketing%20software&utm_term=Read%20More&ncid=newsltushpmgnews Other Sources: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/special-reports/florida-prisons/article56108525.html
Pass California SB 54 NowSB 54, the California Values Act, authored by President pro Tem of the State Senate, Kevin de León, prohibits state and local law enforcement agencies, and school police and security departments, from using resources to investigate, interrogate, detain, detect, or arrest persons for immigration enforcement purposes. California needs to lead the way and "be the wall of justice" (de Leon) that protects, and advances, social equity and justice. The California legislature must immediately pass SB 54.
Keep the pressure on! Demand Mumia & all affected prisoners get the hep C cureThe Pennsylvania Department of Corrections has shown a blatant disregard for both judicial authority and the thousands of PA prisoners affected by hepatitis C. In January 2017, Pennsylvania Judge Robert Mariani ordered the Department of Corrections to provide Mumia Abu-Jamal with hepatitis C treatment. Mumia has an active, chronic hepatitis C infection, and is at serious risk of experiencing medical complications. The debilitating symptoms of an active hepatitis C infection include extreme skin irritation, limb numbness, vision problems, and swollen feet. Mumia’s organs are extremely vulnerable due to the infection. Despite Judge Mariani’s order, the Pennsylvania DOC has not provided Mumia Abu-Jamal with the hepatitis C treatment. Mumia's lawyers have filed a motion for contempt against the Department of Corrections. The PA-DOC and their private health care provider, Correct Care Solutions, have retaliated by filing an opposition motion to the contempt motion with the 3rd Circuit. Throughout this petty battle over court orders, Mumia's life and the lives of over 6,000 hep C+ prisoners have been disregarded. It is imperative that Mumia, and all other prisoners who need it, get the hepatitis C treatment they need.
Ban Solitary Confinement for Youth Prisoners in State CustodyThousands of adolescent youth, ages 11 to 18, are being held in solitary confinement in jails and state prisons across the U.S. These youth spend 22 or more hours each day alone, often in a small 8-by-8-feet cell, completely isolated both physically and socially, often for weeks, months, or even years at a time. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, as many as 10,000 youth prisoners are held in isolation in juvenile jails nationwide. For youth being held in isolation in adult facilities, there is no official count. The ACLU reports that solitary confinement can "cause serious psychological, physical, and developmental harm, resulting in persistent mental health problems, or suicide." Since youth are still developing, the physical and neurological effects are even more detrimental. These risks are magnified for children with disabilities or histories of trauma and abuse. On Jan 26, 2016, President Obama announced a ban on solitary confinement for juvenile offenders in the federal prison system. He said that the practice is often overused and has the potential for devastating psychological consequences on young people. Although Obama’s ban affected close to 8,000 youth in federal prisons, it had absolutely no impact on those in solitary confinement in state and county facilities. It is up to us to pressure Congress and state prison systems to follow suit!
STOP THE RAIDS, REFORM RICO AND END OVER-PROSECUTION OF OUR COMMUNITIESTrump's inaugural pledge for "Law & Order" is coded messaging to law enforcement agencies, both local and federal, that will empower them to continue their abusive, racialized policing. This will mean more arrests and more incarceration at a time when America should be moving away from needless punishment of Blacks and Latinos. Collaboration between local police department and federal law enforcement in large, military-style "gang" raids have been cheered on by sensationalized media reports. They describe these young men as all being dangerous and part of organized criminal enterprises--which they were not. Over the past few years we have seen the emergence of a bipartisan consensus for criminal and civil justice reforms. Movements are growing across our nation urging legislators to change unfair laws that hurt families and communities of color. A wasted $80 billion a year spent on prisons actually dehumanizes inmates, many who are detained in inhuman conditions, some tortured in solitary confinement and denied visits or communication with their families. Sign this petition, spearheaded by family members of those charged with RICO. Demand that Congress take ACTION NOW to #ReformRICO
A Call to Action for Mark Clarke at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, NYMr. Mark Clarke was arrested on April 27, 2016 along with 119 other people in the largest "gang" raid in NYC history. They are now known as the Bronx 120. https://www.bronx120.org/ Indicted on the basis of "evidence" such as social media surveillance, "association" and the NYPD's highly discriminatory criteria for identifying "gang members," the Bronx 120 face federal charges from a DA's office that boasts a 90+% conviction rate. Being charged under the RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) Act of 1970 allows for all 120 young men to be implicated in the same 8 alleged murders dating back to 2007. Since the shock-and-awe style raid by 700 militarized law enforcement officials from 6 different agencies last April, the state has employed numerous scare tactics against the Bronx 120 and their loved ones in an attempt to silence opposition to this blatant abuse of authority. Mark Clarke has been sent to Metropolitan Detention Center, the federal prison in Brooklyn, to await trial. Since Mark has been at MDC, other prisoners have reported multiple personal attacks against him by MDC correctional officers, including being denied family visits, being shot with rubber bullets and sprayed with tear gas while in his cell. Although Mark has documented psychiatric issues since his imprisonment last April, he has been denied visits to the psychiatric unit at MDC, despite multiple requests from his mother. Mr. Clarke has been in solitary confinement since September 14, 2016 and will be until October 2017 unless we act on his behalf. Please use this link to donate to the Bronx 120 Commissary and Legal Fund. Because this is a very large federal case, there is a shortage of local lawyers with the experience needed to take it on. This fundraiser will go towards helping to get additional legal support and contribute to commissary. https://www.youcaring.com/targets-of-the-eastchester-raids-and-their-families-640725 Please call these MDC officials to ensure that the warden and others know that people are aware of the situation and put pressure on them to allow family visits and phone calls for Mr. Mark Clarke. Phone: 718-840-4200 (Ext: 5549 Case Manager Demosphenes) (Ext: 5141 Warden's Secretary) Key points to mention when you call/leave a message: --Mr. Clarke needs to be allowed visits and be allowed phone calls. --All documentation about his continued segregation needs to be released to his family.