- Campaign Finance Reform
- Civil Liberties / Surveillance
- Civil Rights
- Economic Justice
- Government Accountability / Whistleblowers
- Gun Violence Prevention
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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
Airline Passenger SafetyMinimum seat spacing will allow for faster egress in emergency situations. It will also allow passengers more room for movement during flights decreasing the possibility of blood clots. Preventing over crowded flights will help alleviate stress and tension between passengers and reduce the incidents of violence that are becoming all to common on domestic air flights.
Petition for a moratorium regarding joint US/South Korea war exercisesNorth Korea views these joint war exercises as highly provocative, & they often cite them as a compelling reason why they feel they need to arm themselves & make threatening gestures. Technically the US & South Korea are still at war with North Korea. An armistice was signed but no peace treaty. Although most Americans don't even know this, the North Koreans are highly aware of this fact, & it greatly informs their their hostile rhetoric & actions. Offering North Korea a war exercises moratorium would be a 'carrot' for which the US & South Korea would expect some visible reduction in the hostile threats & actions coming from the North. Not only would this offer cost zero dollars, it would save the big dollars it costs to implement these war exercises.
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.
Demand Congressmembers pass H.R.676 Expanded & Improved Medicare for All ActH.R. 676 would be funded from existing sources of government revenue for health care, by increasing personal income taxes on the top 5% of income earners, instituting a progressive excise tax on payroll and self employment income, and by instituting a tax on stock & bond transactions. Amounts that would have been appropriated for federal public health care programs, including Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), are transferred and appropriated to carry out this bill.
Stop European Parliament from using disinformation and attacking Minsk II agreementA vast majority of MEPs in the European parliament elected to be responsible for relations to the Ukrainian parliament have used their position to spread disinformation and attack the Minsk II agreement. It is of utmost importance for building peace that different actors do not deny facts on the ground trying to falsely blame the opponent for acts committed by the side in the conflict EU supports. It is also of great importance that diplomatic efforts to end the conflict and human suffering be honored. The Minsk II agreement is endorsed by the UN Security Council, i.e. at highest possible international level. Attacks against the Minsk II agreement by the vast majority of MEPs given the responsibility for addressing the Ukrainian conflict is unacceptable. We demand that the constituencies in the European parliament immediately address the concern this creates for EU as a democratic community basing its decision on facts and not disinformation, a community willing to say yes to peace and support diplomatic efforts endorsed by the UN. Europe needs peace now. The greatest humanitarian catastrophe in Europe which is threatening the health and life of millions of people in Eastern Ukraine must be solved. The way the West says that Russia is the only actor who must follow the Minsk II agreement is creating passivity and prolonged human suffering. On the ground, the Ukrainian forces and the volunteer battalions have advanced in what is labelled as a ”creeping offensive”. This means that the Ukrainian forces are advancing into the grey zone and this is in breach of the Minsk II agreement. On the ground Ukrainian ultra nationalist also have since January illegally blocked the railway transport between Ukraine and Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics in order to totally break the economies of Donbass and Ukraine apart. This economic blockade is in breach of the Minsk II agreement and a threat to the economy of both the Ukraine and DPR and LPR who are tied together by treade iun cola and ore for power stations and steel mills. President Poroshenko strongly oppose the illegal blockade but cannot force the ultranationalist to follow the law. During a session in the European Parliament on the 14th of February 2017, the situation was presented in an erroneous way by Anna Maria Corozza Bildt, Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, Rebecca Harms, Dariusz Rosati, Sandra Kalniete, and several others in the European Parliament’s Ukraine delegation. They explicitly tried to undermine the Minsk II agreement by using false statements about the ongoing escalation of the conflict to avoid criticism against the aggressor that currently is Ukraine. A country responsible for a creeping offensive unable or not willing any longer to maintain law and order and thus letting ultra nationalists enforce an economic blockader against the Minsk II agreement. Find more back ground material at the campaign web site.
Tell Trump “No” to the release of fighter jets to Bahrain without human rights conditionsThe United States has historically been a strong ally of the Government of Bahrain. Yet, as citizens of one of the most powerful nations in the world advocating for democratic values, we must call on our representatives to make fully-informed ethical foreign policy decisions. In January 2017, we heard the news of a surprise announcement on the release of a previously-blocked multi-million dollar fighter jet package to the Government of Bahrain with no human rights conditions. The U.S. government had previously blocked the sale in 2016 due to concerns that the Bahraini government systematically violated the human rights of civilians. At the start of a new U.S. Administration under President Trump, the announcement of the sale is extremely worrying. Since the Arab Spring protests of 2011, the Government of Bahrain has continued violently suppressing peaceful dissent in the kingdom and blatantly ignoring international calls for human rights reform. Just this year in January 2017, the Bahraini authorities launched a campaign of unprecedented force against the civilian population. Unidentified masked Bahraini security forces recently used live ammunition against protesters, rendering an individual brain-dead for exercising his right to peaceful assembly. And Bahraini authorities carried out the extrajudicial executions of three torture victims that same month, sparking an increase in protests in the street. These incidents are just the latest in a list of a number of civilians severely injured or killed by the Bahraini government over the past six years. The Government of Bahrain in January 2017 issued a new Royal Decree granting arrest powers to the National Security Agency (NSA), an internal intelligence body accused of the arrest and torture of more than 150 detainees in 2011. Additionally, the Bahraini government has passed an amendment to the Constitution that would allow military courts to try civilians, which would effectively send Bahrain into a permanent state of undeclared martial law. In addition to increased excessive use of force, the recent Royal Decree and Constitutional amendment are clear indications that the Government of Bahrain refuses to implement human rights reforms. Thus, we call on you to write to your Congressional representatives TODAY to urge the Trump Administration to immediately halt the sale of fighter jets and weapons to the Government of Bahrain until the country fully implements human rights reforms and seriously commits to a path towards democracy.
Pass the Video Visitation Act - H.R.6441This petition is in support of Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth’s Video Visitation in Prisons Act, which would require the Federal Communications Commission to ensure that correctional facilities that have video visitation services do not ban in-person visits. U.S. jails and prisons are increasingly using video visitation to replace in-person visits. Some carceral facilities have even taken measures to end in-person visits entirely. Securus, for example, a company that provides phone services and video visitation for jails, requires jails and prisons to immediately suspend in-person visits after adopting their contract. Although video visitation is an important option for people with physical illnesses, disabilities, and limited time and finances, in-person prison visits help incarcerated people to maintain vital relationships with their family members and loved ones on the outside. Face-to-face jail and prison visits are one of the few available opportunities for connection granted to people locked behind bars. We must protect this basic human right.