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Release Kevin "Rashid" Johnson From Solitary Confinement ImmediatelyKevin “Rashid” Johnson has been a Virginia prisoner (#1007485) since 1990. During his imprisonment, he became a human rights advocate and a journalist. His journalistic work in particular exposes abuses by prison administration and staff. His related steps toward litigation have resulted in his being “interstate compacted” or transferred to prisons in different states. Currently, Rashid is being held in solitary confinement with no legitimate security justification at Sussex I State Prison in Virginia. Between 2012 and June of 2018, Kevin "Rashid" Johnson was transferred to prisons in three other states (Oregon, Texas, and Florida) before being returned to Virginia. He was kept in solitary confinement in Texas and Florida, where he witnessed and suffered many acts of abuse by prison staff. All this, in reprisal for his political and journalistic activity. Each state prison transfer has subjected Rashid to serious abuses -- including, while in northern Florida last January, being caged for over a week in a freezing cold cell without heat or a blanket. Over the years, Rashid has had his life threatened by corrections officers and has endured explicit, violent retaliation for exercising his First Amendment right of protected free speech. Rashid expects to be transferred again soon and fears being subjected to extreme isolation. Kevin Rashid Johnson does not call for violence or illegal activity and has not been charged with anything of the kind during his imprisonment. He is not a threat to the Virginia Department of Corrections – he is an imprisoned journalist and human rights advocate – and should be released from solitary confinement immediately. Solitary confinement has been increasingly recognized by courts and society as a form of torture. This punitive measure has been imposed on Kevin Johnson not because of any violent conduct on his part but because of his relentless exposure of abuses by prison officials, his willingness to challenge those abuses through the legal system, and his efforts to educate fellow prisoners and encourage them to challenge by peaceful means the unhealthy and humiliating conditions to which they are subjected. Using solitary confinement as a tool to silence someone who exposes prison abuses and advocates for prison reform is a human rights abuse and unconstitutional. We call for the immediate release of Kevin Johnson from solitary confinement and for the VADOC not to transfer him again out of state.
#SaveChristopherYoungIn 2006, 21-year-old Christopher Young was sentenced to death for the 2004 murder of 55-year-old convenience store owner Hasmukhbhai “Hash” Patel. In his 12 years of incarceration, Chris has transformed himself into a thoughtful, peaceful man with a desire to help others. He has committed his final moments to sharing his story of transformation and asking for clemency from death. You can read/watch his story here: http://lawatthemargins.com/death-row-saved-my-life/ “I’m truly sorry for the crime I committed. There’s nothing I can do to bring back Mr. Hash Patel. If I knew taking my life would do that, I’d volunteer for it without any complaints. But that’s not going to do it. I can teach others to think about their actions. I’m sure I can stop something like this from happening again.” – 32-year-old Christopher Young, June 2018 Young’s attorneys are challenging the conviction itself and seeking a new trial based on what they consider a violation of his rights under the “free exercise” clause of the First Amendment and “equal protection” clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Chris’ lawyers claim that religious discrimination occurred during the jury selection process of his trial, and in 2016 over 500 religious leaders signed a statement saying he deserved a new trial. “Unfortunately, the state court issued a ruling saying it is acceptable to exclude someone from serving as a juror in a death penalty trial merely because of the church that person belongs to,” said David R. Dow, Young’s attorney. “We hope the Supreme Court will agree to review the case and reaffirm that our Constitution and our nation’s commitment to religious liberty means that an individual’s membership in a church does not automatically disqualify that person from acting as a juror.” Sadly, the United States Supreme Court turned down Young’s latest appeal in January 2018. In his final days, he seeks clemency. The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles has the power to recommend clemency. Together, we must send a strong message to the members of the board and to Texas Governor Greg Abbott (who can accept or reject the board's recommendation) that Chris deserves mercy. Take action today to save Christopher Young’s life. Sign the petition.
Undo Unconstitutional Life-Without-Parole Sentence for Bobby BosticBobby Bostic was only 16 years old when he was sentenced to 241 years in prison for non-fatal crimes. He is now 38, and will not be eligible for parole until he is 112 years old. Despite two recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings that determined life without parole sentencing for juveniles who have not been convicted of murder to be unconstitutional, the state of Missouri has repeatedly refused to offer Bobby an appeal. We must stand with Bobby in his effort to take his appeal, if necessary, to the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1995, Bobby Bostic and an older accomplice were convicted of 18 crimes stemming from an armed robbery and carjacking. While the older accomplice pleaded guilty and took a plea bargain for a 30-year sentence, Bostic took the case to trial. He was found guilty on all counts and was given the maximum possible sentence: 241 years. "Your mandatory date to go in front of a parole board will be the year 2201," the judge said. "Nobody in this room is going to be alive in the year 2201." At the time, Bobby was just 16 years old. "Two of the Supreme Court's rulings in recent years have barred judges from imposing sentences of life without parole for juveniles who haven't killed anyone," reports Riverfront Times. "But Missouri is one of a small number of states arguing that doesn't apply to defendants who aren't technically sentenced to life without parole — even if their sentences add up to just that." In addition, the Missouri Supreme Court has defended its ruling by claiming that the U.S. Supreme Court rulings pertain only to defendants convicted of a single charge, not multiple charges added together. "In practice, that means Bostic would have been better off committing a single act of murder than being convicted of multiple, non-fatal crimes," noted Doyle Murphy, a journalist at the Riverfront Times. Bostic's sentence also violates the Convention on the Rights of the Child, a treaty to which every single nation on earth other than the United States is party, and which is therefore international law. The treaty states: "Neither capital punishment nor life imprisonment without possibility of release shall be imposed for offenses committed by persons below eighteen years of age." While Bobby Bostic awaits his parole date in over 100 years from now, his accomplice will be eligible for parole next year. The case of Bobby Bostic illuminates the punitive nature of the U.S. criminal justice system. Instead of managing prisons as spaces of rehabilitation, the U.S. Department of so-called Corrections has made it a point to punish offenders in the most retributive ways possible, depriving juveniles like Bostic of any meaningful opportunity to obtain release. According to the ACLU's state legal director, Tony Rothert, "Bobby Bostic should get a chance to show that crimes he committed as a teen do not define him. The Constitution demands nothing less." Background: Riverfront Times: Bobby Bostic, Sentenced as a Teen to 241 Years, Appeals to U.S. Supreme Court https://www.riverfronttimes.com/newsblog/2017/12/21/bobby-bostic-sentenced-as-a-teen-to-241-years-appeals-to-us-supreme-court
Release Imprisoned Bahraini Human Rights Defender Dr. Abduljalil al-SingaceFrom Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain: Dr. Abduljalil al-Singace is a Bahraini academic, blogger, and human rights defender sentenced to life in prison after he called for democracy during Bahrain’s 2011 Arab Spring protest movement. Along with twelve other leading human rights and political activists that would come to be known as the “Bahrain 13,” Dr. al-Singace was tortured before a military court convicted him on baseless charges stemming from his right to free expression. Despite international criticism and formal calls for reform, civilian courts upheld the “Bahrain 13” rulings and confirmed his life sentence. Now, Dr. al-Singace is spending his 56th birthday in prison – his sixth behind bars since the start of his unjust life sentence. Dr. al-Singace suffers from a number of serious, ongoing health concerns – including post-polio syndrome and sickle-cell anemia – that the Bahraini government has refused to adequately address during his detention. Authorities have consistently denied Dr. al-Singace regular medical treatment and have failed to provide him with surgery required as a result of the torture he suffered in 2011. Prison officials have even denied Dr. al-Singace necessary medical supplies, including rubber stops for the bottom of his crutches. As a consequence, it is difficult for him to walk, and he is prone to slipping and falling on his unstable crutches – avoidable accidents which draw ridicule from prison guards. In recent weeks, Dr. al-Singace and other prominent prisoners of conscience held in Bahrain’s Jau Prison have faced increased harassment, including repeated raids at odd hours which have resulted in the confiscation of nearly all personal effects. Dr. al-Singace has had all books, papers, pens, and materials seized, including the only manuscript of a book he had been authoring during his detention. Though advocates for Dr. al-Singace have issued repeated complaints to Bahraini oversight institutions, the government has taken no action to rectify these issues. Dr. al-Singace has been subjected to torture, arbitrary detention, inhumane and degrading treatment, and life imprisonment – merely for peacefully exercising his right to free opinion and expression. But you can help. Take this opportunity on Dr. al-Singace’s 56th birthday to sign this petition calling for his immediate release, and demanding the Bahraini authorities provide him unrestricted access to adequate medical care. After signing the petition, please use the tools on the next webpage to share it with your friends. Please tweet at the Bahraini Ministry of Foreign Affairs (@bahdiplomatic) and the Foreign Minister (@khalidalkhalifa) to call for Dr. Abduljalil al-Singace’s release and for him to be provided proper medical care. Feel free to use the following sample message: #Bahrain human rights defender Dr. Abduljalil al-Singace shouldn’t spend another birthday in prison. @bahdiplomatic @khalidalkhalifa must ensure he is immediately released & given proper medical care! Background from ADHRB: • The Health of Nabeel Rajab and Dr. Abduljalil al-Singace https://www.adhrb.org/2017/06/hrc35-item-3-oral-intervention-health-nabeel-rajab-dr-abduljalil-al-singace/ • High-Profile Political Leaders and Human Rights Defenders Face Ongoing Degradation, Punishment, and Restrictions on Access to Medical Care http://www.adhrb.org/2017/10/high-profile-political-leaders-and-human-rights-defenders-face-ongoing-degradation-punishment-and-restrictions-on-access-to-medical-care/ • No contact for a week: Family fears for Dr. al-Singace’s health http://www.adhrb.org/2016/07/no-contact-week-family-fears-dr-al-singaces-health/ • Urgent Appeal: Release Prisoner of Conscience Dr. Abduljalil al-Singace as Hunger Strike Reaches 160th Day https://www.adhrb.org/2017/10/high-profile-political-leaders-and-human-rights-defenders-face-ongoing-degradation-punishment-and-restrictions-on-access-to-medical-care/ • Champion of Justice: Dr. Abuljalil al-Singace http://www.adhrb.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Champion-of-Justice-Abduljalil-al-Singace.pdf
Support OperationPUSHJanuary 15 marked the beginning of a month-long work stoppage organized by prisoners throughout the Florida Department of Corrections demanding an immediate end to unpaid labor and inhumane working conditions at their facilities. The strike, announced in late December, aims to force corrections officials to pay prison laborers monetary compensation for their work as opposed to “the current slave arrangement,” in which they are paid in time deducted from their sentences. In written statements to news media, the strikers have also demanded increased access to parole, cheaper and more reasonable prices for basic food and hygiene items, voting rights for former felons, and an end to prison-guard brutality. The organized strike began on Martin Luther King Jr. Day — and is named #OperationPUSH, after civil rights leader Jesse Jackson’s 1970s-1990s campaign to improve economic conditions for African Americans. Almost a third of Florida inmates are black, compared with fewer than 17% in the general population. Florida has the nation’s third-largest prison system in the United States, with 97,000 inmates. Prison work inside Florida correctional facilities consists of doing laundry, cooking, cleaning, maintaining the facilities, and even growing food for the inmate population. Before the strike began, one organizer wrote that “[the strike’s] goal is to make the Governor realize that it will cost the state of Florida millions of dollars daily to contract outside companies to come and cook, clean, and handle the maintenance, [which] will cause a total breakdown." Outside of the prison, incarcerated laborers work in “community work squads,” providing free labor to state offices such as the Department of Transportation, the Division of Forestry, and the Department of Environmental Protection. According report by the FDOC, “community work squads” worked over 3.15 million hours in 2017 alone and saved the state more than $38 million in payroll expenses, including flooding and debris cleanup work after Hurricane Irma. Ironically, these same incarcerated workers are barred from employment at the state-level upon release, due to their criminal records. Another incarcerated organizer wrote that Florida prisoners “want to create an environment where someone can do their time, be rehabilitated, and enter into society with some type of hope…that would be helpful for society instead of creating a revolving door where you lock people up and just set them up for failure so that they keep coming back.” In fear of retaliation, these organizers have asked to remain anonymous. One week into the month-long work stoppage, internal sources have reported the participation of strikers in at least eight different Florida facilities in the FDOC. Internal sources have reported that many of these strikers have been placed into solitary confinement by correctional officials. In solidarity with prisoners, marches and protests have been organized throughout the state, and more than 135 civil rights and activist groups, including local chapters of the NAACP and the Florida Women's March, have voiced their support for #OperationPUSH. At a speech at Florida State University, civil rights leader Angela Davis said there is "no better way to keep the legacy of Dr. King alive than by supporting the prisoners' strike." Will you sign the petition to support #OperationPUSH and to demand an immediate end to unpaid labor and inhumane work conditions in Florida prisons? Sources: Movement Against Prison Slavery Ramps Up With OperationPUSH in Florida https://shadowproof.com/2018/01/11/operation-push-movement-against-prison-slavery-florida/ Florida Prisoners Set to Strike January 15th Against Prison Slavery https://itsgoingdown.org/florida-prisoners-set-strike-january-15th-prison-slavery/ Striking Florida Prisoners Thrown in Solitary Confinement, Activists Say http://www.miaminewtimes.com/news/striking-operationpush-florida-prisioners-placed-in-solitary-activists-say-10006900
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
Release Mumia Abu-Jamal Case RecordsA petition filed on behalf of political prisoner and renowned journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal, seeking a new appeal in his decades-long case, was heard in the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas on April 24, 2017. During the session, Common Pleas Judge Leon Tucker ordered the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office to turn over all records pertaining to Mumia’s legal case. If released, these records will reveal a grave conflict of interest in Mumia’s appeal case, identifying Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Ronald Castille as a biased contributor to the case. Justice Castille, who has in the past denied Mumia’s appeals, also played a significant role in Mumia’s conviction during his trial on charges of killing a police office. Castille was Assistant DA at the time of Abu-Jamal’s trial in 1982. In addition, he was appointed as the Philadelphia District Attorney during Mumia’s direct appeal in 1988. A new nine-minute video gives background on new revelations of conflict of interest regarding Mumia’s appeal case: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17Tp5NlllLU What else can you do? A ruling to implement Judge Leon Tucker's recent order to release Mumia’s court documents could be made as soon as May 30, 2017. Please call or e-mail the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office now to pressure them to follow the court’s order to release all the records and files regarding Mumia Abu-Jamal’s legal case. Phone: 215-686-8000 E-mail: DA_Central@phila.gov
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 people 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 further roll-out, and before the lives of 50,000 incarcerated people and their families are changed for the worse. Written by families and friends of people incarcerated in 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
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!