The Movement: Silent No More

A short article on the Vaughn uprising by Vaughn inmate Fenel Baine.

The time has arrived. The smoke has cleared. The dust has settled. The hopeless have found their voice and we’re saying “NO MORE!” No more oppression. No more injustice. No more lynching. No more trampling our inalienable rights underfoot. No more putting our mothers and children through this misery and leaving our families to fend for themselves in a cold, cruel world. No more.

We hostages of James T. Vaughn Correctional Center have taken upon ourselves to take a stand and speak up and speak out about the systemic abuses that we suffer from everyday under the iron hand of Delaware’s criminal justice system. This system is arrogantly racist, brutally oppressive, and blatantly disregards the natural endowment of human right. These people piss on the constitution in this state. Fundamental rights are discretional privileges at their expanse that they withhold from the poor, the minority, and anyone who isn’t tied to their corrupt system of things.

For too long Delaware has been carrying out Jim Crow-era practices against defendants charged with offenses in this state. This state has THE WORSE criminal justice system in the country and has done an immaculate job hiding under a cloak of secrecy for too long. Their scheme is so sophisticated that even states it shares a border with are oblivious to their order. Defendants in this state (especially African-Americans), are stripped of any right afforded by our constitution once they are thrust into Delaware’s gallows as enemies of the state. We are tossed into Kangaroo Courts without a shred of due process in front of racist juries who only know one word: GUILTY. We are pressured into taking plea bargains regardless of our guilt or innocence–with the threat of losing trial and receiving life or death sentences. Our attorney’s act as prosecutors who coerce us into signing our lives away with outrageous plea-bargains, without lifting a finger to fight for our liberty.

Once we are inevitably convicted, we are over-sentenced by racist judges who punish us for exercising our constitutional rights to a trial, for “wasting their time.” From there we are tossed on prison plantations under the authority of racist correctional officers who further punish and oppress at their discretion. Correctional facilities (which should be property called corruption facilities), focus solely on the “punitive” aspect of the equation with no attempt to include the more important “rehabilitative” approach. This is properly shown by the ultra-high recidivism rates in this state. The convicted are legally castrated and stripped of any protections they may have–if any–that the courts didn’t take already.

We are warehoused and caged with hardly any access to any rehabilitative or educational programs. We work for slave wages and are aggressively punished for the slightest infractions. For example: Having more than 4 pair of socks or boxers is considered a violation subject to disciplinary action. Having over 5 books to educate yourself or extra soap to clean yourself is also considered a violation. The disciplinary process is a replica of the trial process in our courts, in which the accused are convicted without the benefit of due process. Once convicted you are relocated to maximum security, the prison’s “SHU” system, which is in effect, a prison within a prison. Guards beat and kill inmates, medical staff kills inmates–through inadequate care, medical malpractice, and misdiagnosis–and any bureaucratic oversight and regulation is virtually non-existent. Couple this with outdated infrastructure, molded showers and cells, a destructive diet over-saturated with processed carbs–and you began to understand why the majority of the population is laden with health problems, ranging from diabetes to all forms of cancer.

No more. Today we take a stand. Our families will be our representatives who will take our call for Justice to the mountaintops. They will be our ambassadors in this noble fight. We will push, we will pull, we will scream, we will march and protest. We will demand our place since power concedes nothing without demand. The kingdom suffers violence, but the violent take it by force. We’re done making excuses, now it’s time we make history.