prison state

Jim Crow Lives: The Ugly Face of Racism Behind the Bars

Submitted by Latif Lamonte on Tue, 02/25/2014 - 18:37

by Latif Lamonte

Bayside State Prison is the worst-of-the-worst, administered by the most racist guards and staff the State of New Jersey can muster. The author is one of those forced to live under Bayside’s reign of terror. “These were not just any beatings, but beatings inflicting such brutal force, that one was broken to the point of sobbing, begging for his life.”

Barack Obama, the State of the Union and the Prison State

Submitted by Bruce A. Dixon on Wed, 01/29/2014 - 14:18

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

For a generation now, predatory policing, the war on drugs and the prison state have been government's most frequent intersection with young black Americans. The gossip before this year's State of the Union was that the president would now do by executive order all those good things Republicans have blocked him on the last 3 years. Does that include reining in or rolling back the prison state? Should we hold our collective breath?

The Living Legacy of Comrade George Jackson, September 23, 1941 – August 27, 1971

Submitted by Bruce A. Dixon on Wed, 09/25/2013 - 00:21

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

George Jackson was a pre-eminent organizer of prisoners who founded a Black Panther Party chapter behind the walls of San Quentin prison. In the 42 years since his death a black leadership class has emerged which is deeply complicit in the sixfold expansion of US prisons in that same period. Now, more minds and hands than ever are engaged in the project to which Jackson gave his life, the political organization of the prisoner class.

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Yasiin Bey, aka Mos Def Undergoes Brutal Guantanamo Style Force Feeding

Submitted by The Editors on Wed, 07/10/2013 - 12:24

Actor, rapper & human rights activist Yasiin Bey, aka Mos Def graphically demonstrates a little of what Uncle Sam's untried, un-accused, unsentenced but permanently incarcerated prisoners at Guantanamo Bay & elsewhere undergo every day... not for the faint of heart. From the Guardian, where you can find much more real journalistic coverage of the NSA and more.

Tens of Thousands of California Inmates Join Pelican Bay Hunger Strikers

Submitted by Glen Ford on Wed, 07/10/2013 - 09:01

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

For the third time in two years, inmates in solitary confinement at California’s most notorious prison have gone on hunger strike. Record numbers of prisoners across the state have joined the Pelican Bay strikers, some of whom “have not seen the natural light of day for more than 20 years.”

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by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

There's a House Judiciary Committee Task Force on Overcriminalization committed to combing through the federal code looking for ways to lock up fewer people. Should we get our hopes up, or get our fight for justice and rolling back the state on? Will the black misleadership class be any help? Probably not much. Should that stop us? Let's hope not.

Violence and the Prison Nation

Submitted by Against The Grain on Tue, 04/30/2013 - 15:14

By Against the Grain Radio

If the problem is violence against women, is the solution the criminal justice system? Many anti-violence activists look to the police, prisons, and stepped-up criminalization for help and protection.  Beth Richie says that's a misguided approach, one that feeds the buildup of the prison nation. Richie describes the contours of the prison nation and the threats it poses to women on the margins.

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Eric Holder's Ploy to Divert Attention from Obama's Expanded Prisons Budget

Submitted by Glen Ford on Tue, 04/16/2013 - 23:56

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

Attorney General Eric Holder claims to have just discovered racial disparities in prosecution and sentencing in the United States. That’s like Robert E. Lee claiming to be surprised at the existence of slavery. Holder is making noises like a prison reformer to divert attention from the fact that Obama’s budget calls for increased funding for prisons, in the midst of austerity. It’s a con game.

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By BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

Michelle Alexander's 2010 book “New Jim Crow” provided a language to talk about the prison state that we never had before. But is it entirely accurate? Is the prison industrial complex real? What's the difference between fighting against racism or a “new jim crow” or a “prison industrial complex” and confronting the reality of the prison state?

FCC Opens Rulemaking Process To Lower Price of Prison Phone Calls

Submitted by Bruce A. Dixon on Wed, 01/16/2013 - 01:46

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

One of the most accurate predictors of which prisoners will be re-incarcerated is the number and depth of their connections maintained with family on the outside. Jailers on the federal state and local level have long cut deals with phone companies to make huge profits on calls between prisoners and their families. Thanks to years of patient grassroots activism, that might be about to end.

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By BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

Georgia prison officials, who denied the existence of a hunger strike its first four weeks, finally acknowledged that some prisoners are on their 36th day without food. But they refused to meet with families and citizens who came to its Forsyth GA headquarters early this week. And despite the fact we have a black president and attorney general, and an open-and-shut case of conspiracy to violate civil rights, the feds seem not interested.

First National Meeting of Formerly Incarcerated Convenes in Alabama

Submitted by Bruce A. Dixon on Tue, 03/08/2011 - 18:07

A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

In the spirit of those brave and selfless Georgia prisoners who stood up for their human rights last December, formerly incarcerated people from across the country convened their own first national meeting in Alabama last week. The next is scheduled for November in Los Angeles. They stand for the full restoration of civil and human rights, and the rollback of the nation's policy of mass incarceration.

First National Conference of Formerly Incarcerated Persons Convenes In Alabama

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by Li Onesto

No moral human being can defend the U.S. prison system, a gulag of torture and debasement designed primarily for the mass incarceration of Blacks and browns. “Nobody—no matter what they have done—deserves to be tortured. Nobody deserves to be put in such extreme conditions of isolation where prison guards try to extinguish everything that makes you human.” The challenge is to act in solidarity with those who struggle against the horror from within the walls.

America’s Mass Incarceration Policy: Bad for Children

Submitted by Lee A. Daniels on Fri, 12/17/2010 - 10:00

by Lee A. Daniels

The “New Jim Crow” that has thrown unprecedented numbers of Blacks behind bars and made crime and stigmatized an entire people, has also mangled the lives of Black children – whether a parent has been incarcerated or not. The generalized effects on Black kids include “increased physical aggressiveness, on the one hand, and, on the other, a sense of worthlessness that reaches levels warranting clinical intervention.” Inequalities are being generationally transferred on a massive scale.

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