Some of the shorter prison news items from Black Flag #216 1999.
Political Prisoners of War Coalition (PPWC) - Michigan Prisoners Lost Major Property Issue by Ali Khalid Abdullah
Michigan prisoners have been fighting a lawsuit in the Ingham County Circuit Court under the case title Cain v. MDOC for the past 12 or so years. This case was presided over by judge James Raymond Cain and was later turned into a class action case involving all of Michigan's prisoners.
The case involved prisoners litigating the MDOC regarding the restricting and taking of property from them that the MDOC had initially allowed them to have. In the past the case has won some victories but recently the court has ruled against he prisoners in many respects. As a result of a recent Court Order ruling, prisoners have been further restricted regarding what they can have in their possession.
Several prisons have already begun the massive shakedowns by ordering prisoners to pack all their belongings (including state-issued clothing not allowed to be taken form the prison during transfers, i.e., extra state pants, shirts, and pyjamas) into one duffel bag and /or personal foot locker (if they have one), or into two small containers which are supposed to be equal to one foot locker or container when they are transferred but will be placed in a separate box), radios, tape players, personal clothing, books , shoes and etc., and all else that dies not fit into the duffel bag and/or personal foot locker or the two containers which then they have to choose to either donate, have destroyed or sent home at the MDOC's expense. These items are considered contraband.
Prisoners in Michigan who have gone through this procedure have been stripped of hooded sweatshirts and sweaters, all clothing that is black or grey, and they have been limited to one coat and jacket (with the pack-up officers determining what was the jacket or coat), 3 pairs of shoes, non-black or grey baseball caps and knit caps, one pair of fingernail clippers, and so on. Items such as sewing machines or clothing that was sewed up or patched were not allowed. Appliances that werenÕt numbered with the prisonerÕs number correctly on them were destroyed, donated or sent out at the prisonerÕs expense. Wallets, coffee cups (once sold by the MDOC were considered contraband. Finished hobbycraft items were no longer allowed to remain in prison...and the story goes on and on.
On September 24, 1998, at the Carson City Correctional Facility aka O.T.F. (where I was recently housed), prisonkkkrats began to shakedown one housing unit per day. First, second and third shift officers volunteered for this undertaking which was to last until October 5th when the entire process at that facility was to be finished. Reports have come in from other prisoners across the state that the wardens of various prisons had completely locked down the entire prisons for this massive shakedown. some wardens (because each warden has his own autonomy to a degree regarding what he will allow in his facility) have been running ram-shod over prisoners' personal items, taking away a lot of possessions. Just as at Carson City, while one pack-up team allows prisoners to have certain things, another pack-up team will deny other prisoners the same items. There is no consistency in the process. I see these manoeuvres as a tool the prisons are using to create hardships and bad feelings among the prisoner-class, as the prisonkkkrats are good at the 'divide and conquer' tactics among the unconscious and unpoliticised prisoners.
We welcome all comrades out there to share their opinions on this matter and to let us know what you think. You can contact us at: Raze The Walls! 2351 College Station Road, Box 532, Athens, GA 30605; or write to R. Nail Partee # 162558, P.O. Box 480999, New Haven, MI 48048; or you can write directly to Ali Khalid Abdullah, Saginaw Correctional Facility, 9625 Pierce Road, Freeland, MI 48623.
In the trenches... October 1998.
Christopher Plummer Defence Committee
A Committee has been set up to support Chris Plummer, an anarchist in jail in Texas. It can be contacted at CPDC, c/o Josh Keene, 3144 Fairfield Rd, Gettysburg, PA 17325, USA If you do write and can spare a US stamp, it would be appreciated.
Prisoner Wants Correspondence
Steven Gallagher AN7971 HMP Haverigg Millom Cumbria LA18 4NA
Mumia Must Live!
Mumia Abu-Jamal, a black revolutionary who has been on Death Row in Philadelphia for sixteen years, is again facing execution.
Mumia has been fighting against oppression since he joined the Black Panthers in Philly at the age of fourteen. The murder charge is clearly designed to silence him, as he is a dedicated fighter for all our freedom. The authorities in Philadelphia particularly dislike him for his defence of MOVE - a black revolutionary ecological group who were bombed and murdered by the police in 1985 (see BF #209 for a history of MOVE).
Mumia's arrest occurred when, working as a cab driver, he saw his brother being beaten by the police and went to his aid. Mumia was shot in the stomach and the policeman was shot and killed by a passerby who escaped. One hundred and fifty witnesses came forward, but the police case rests on three witnesses - all up on other charges and willing to do deals, and in one case being supplied with drugs by the cops.
After a lengthy legal process, the Supreme Court ruled against his appeal. Within days, demonstrations took place all over the world. Mumia faced a rigged trial back in 1982 - he was denied the lawyer of his choice and the jury was unrepresentative. The trial judge was the notorious bigot Albert Sabo, who has sent more black men to death row than any other judge.
Mumia has fought against the racist legal system in America, and witnesses have since come forward who state that they were intimidated by the police. Philadelphia cops and district attorneys have since been shown to have faked loads of evidence.
In 1995 Mumia came close to being executed - INTERNATIONAL PRESSURE helped save his life. Governor Tom Ridge is preparing to sign his death warrant. By standing up for Mumia we can stand up against all the injustices in all the legal systems of the world.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Write to Governor Tom Ridge, State Capitol Blg, Rm 225, Harrisburg PA 17120 USA, expressing your concern - or fax him on 001-717 783 4429
Write to demand a retrial for Mumia: Chief Justice Flaherty, Supreme Court of PA, Six Gateway Centre, Suite 6161, 11 Stanwix St, Pittsburg PA 15222 USA
Let Mumia know you support him: Mumia Abu-Jamal, AM8335, SCI Greene, 1040 E Roy Furman Highway, Waynesburg PA 15370 USA
Contact Let Mumia Live at BM Haven, London WC1N 3XX for details of activities in Britain.