Control unit facilities cannot be allowed to exist,” writes Russell Maroon Shoatz in a piece called “Death by Regulation.” “They serve no purpose other than to dehumanize their occupants. Our collective welfare demands that we do everything within our power to bring about an end to this form of imprisonment and torture.”
Shoatz, a former Black Panther who will turn 70 years old in August, has been held in solitary confinement in Pennsylvania prisons since 1983. His only time in the general prison population in the last 30 years was an 18-month stint spent at the federal penitentiary at Leavenworth that ended in 1991.
Maroon has had only one misconduct since 1989. His most recent violation was in 1999, when he covered a vent in his cell that was blowing cold air in an attempt to stay warm.
From 1995 until the end of last month, Maroon had been held at the State Correctional Institution (SCI) Greene in southwestern Pennsylvania. Without warning Maroon was transferred on Thursday, March 28 to SCI Mahanoy in the eastern part of Pennsylvania.
A growing grassroots national movement had been mobilizing to win his release into the general population. This transfer appeared to be a response by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections to the gathering legal and political pressure. (more…)
Filed under: FBI, History of anti-imperialist/revolutionary movements, Political Prisoners, Prisons, Racial Profiling, U.S. | Tagged: pennsylvania department of corrections, pennsylvania prisons, pensylvania prison, plitical prisoner, Russell Maroon Shoats, solitary confinement, torture | Leave a Comment »
The Angola 3- who are they?
Voices from Solitary: The Louder My Voice the Deeper They Bury Me
A Defined Voice
They removed my whisper from general population
To maximum security I gained a voice
They removed my voice from maximum security
To administrative segregation
My voice gave hope
They removed my voice from administrative segregation
To solitary confinement
My voice became vibration for unity
They removed my voice from solitary confinement
To the Supermax of Camp J
And now they wish to destroy me
The louder my voice the deeper they bury me
I SAID, THE LOUDER MY VOICE THE DEEPER THEY BURY ME!
The Angola 3 – Herman Wallace (left), Robert King (centre) and Albert Woodfox (right). This is the only photo in existence of the three of them together.
Free all political prisoners, prisoners of war, prisoner of consciousness.
Who are they -Reprinted from Wikipedia
The Angola Three are three men, Robert Hillary King (born Robert King Wilkerson), Albert Woodfox and Herman Wallace, who were put in solitary confinement for decades in Angola Prison, Louisiana after the death of a prison guard.
While inside prison, contact with members of the Black Panthers led to the creation of a prison chapter of the Black Panther Party in 1971. The men then organized prisoners to build a movement within the walls to desegregate the prison, to end systematicrape and violence, for better living conditions, and worked as jailhouse lawyers helping prisoners file legal papers. They organized multiple strikes and sit-ins for better conditions. Woodfox and Wallace were convicted of the 1972 stabbing murder of 23-year-old prison guard Brent Miller. King was said by authorities to be linked to the murder but was not charged.
The three men were taken out of the general prison population and were held in solitary confinement after Miller’s murder in 1972. They remained in solitary confinement until former black panther member Malik Rahim of Common Ground Collective, and a young law student, Scott Fleming, in 1997 discovered that these men were still locked up. They began investigating the case, questioning the facts of the original investigations at Angola and raising questions about their original trials.
Robert Hillary King was released after 29 years in solitary confinement after his first conviction was overturned and he pleaded guilty to a lesser conspiracy to commit murdercharge. Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox are still prisoners in Angola prison and are working to get released. In March 2008 they were moved, after 36 years, from solitary confinement to a maximum security dormitory.
Albert Woodfox has had two appeal hearings (one in November 2008 and one in May 2010) which have resulted in his conviction being overturned and him being granted full habeas corpus. Both appeals were overturned. Immediately after the first in November 2008, both men were moved out of the dormitory, separated and placed back in isolation and in March 2009, Wallace, along with a group of 15 inmates from Angola, was moved to Hunt Correctional Centre where a closed cell isolation tier was created for the first time. In November 2010, Albert was moved to David Wade Correctional Center which is seven hours north of his family and supporters, and stripped of his phone and visiting rights.
A third hearing is due in Spring 2012, and the two men are also bringing a civil case against the state of Louisiana, which is due to take place in Autumn 2012.
Both men, whose sentences for their original crimes have long since passed, suffer from a range of different medical issues – some due in part to their conditions of confinement and their enforced sedentary lifestyle.
Amnesty International is calling on the Louisiana authorities to end the cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of Woodfox and Wallace, and to remove them immediately from solitary confinement.
Their cases have gained increased interest over the last few years. Since his release, Robert Hillary King has worked to build international recognition for the Angola 3. He has spoken before the parliaments in the Netherlands, France, Portugal, Indonesia, Brazil and Britain and about the case, and political prisoners in the U.S.. King was received as a guest and dignitary by the African National Congress in South Africa, and has spoken with Desmond Tutu. Amnesty International has added them to their ‘watch list’ of “political prisoners” / “prisoners of conscience.”
They have a pending civil suit ‘Wilkerson, Wallace and Woodfox’ vs. the State of Louisiana which the United States Supreme Court ruled has merit to proceed to trial based on the fact that their 30+ years in solitary confinement is “inhumane and unconstitutional”. The outcome of this landmark civil case could eliminate long term solitary confinement in U.S. prisons.
They are the subject of 2010 documentary In the Land of the Free, directed by Vadim Jean and narrated by Samuel L. Jackson. The film features Robert King, telephone interviews with Woodfox and Wallace, and interviews with attorneys and others involved with the cases – including the widow of Brent Miller, who believes the men are innocent of her husband’s murder.
They were also the subject of a 2006 documentary film 3 Black Panthers and the Last Slave Plantation and of a music video produced by Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics in protest of the incarceration of the Angola 3 and featuring Saul Williams, Nadirah X, Asdru Sierra, Dana Glover, Tina Schlieske, Derrick Ashong and Stewart.
Herman Wallace is the subject of an ongoing socio-political art project entitled “The House That Herman Built”, in which artist Jackie Sumell asked Wallace what his dream home would be like, and documented his response in various media. In 2012, the film “Herman’s House” was released.
- “Doubts Arise About 1972 Angola Prison Murder”. NPR. 2008-10-27.
- “Lawyers call for release of ‘Angola 3,’ nearly 36 years after guard’s murder”. Times Picayune. 2008-03-17.
- ‘Angola 2’ Leave Solitary Cells in La. After 36 Years March 27, 2008
- Angola 3 TV music video
- The House that Herman Built
- Herman’s House
Quinn said he received a positive reaction from fellow prisoners.
“One hundred percent of them felt I shouldn’t be there, I certainly felt I shouldn’t be there, after creating 7,000 jobs, after never in my life did I owe anyone a penny, never in my life did I steal a penny that didn’t belong to me, I felt it was just wrong.”
Some points for Daddy Q to consider
One hundred percent of inmates agree with Quinn… Oh well Talk about ‘being thick as thieves’.
In fairness Daddy Q never took penny – It was always Euros.
Therefore, he is not lying about that.
Mr Quinn went on to say that, his jailing was wrong and repeated his claim that he has done everything in his power to purge his contempt of court.
Moreover, he felt it was wrong for the judge to imprison “Him” with people who had murdered people and committed horrendous crimes.
What he is saying is
I really do not give a fiddler’s fart if the truth needs massaging a bit along the way so be it. I am too good to be locked up with the likes of them.
Rich coming from a man whose exploits with Anglo and Quinn, insurance has cost you and me hard-earned money.
In reality, what daddy is doing is giving you Johnnie Citizen the fingers – If I can’t have my business you JC can pay off the money owed.
This is galling as we the citizens will be lumbered with Quinn debt for at least the next fifteen to twenty years.
ALMOST 7,000 PEOPLE have been sent to prison so far this year for not paying fines, new figures have shown.
A total of 6,969 people had been committed to prison by the end of November for the offence, according to figures released by the Minister for Justice.
The figures are a minor increase on last year.
However the numbers confirm that there has been a dramatic surge in the last three years in the number of people being jailed for not paying fines.
There has been a 176 per cent increase in the number of people jailed for the offence since 2008, when 2,520 people were sent to jail for not paying fines.
Liam Herrick, the head of the Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT) which campaigns for reform of Irish penal policy, said that imprisoning people for non-payment was “redundant” and “wasteful”.
“At a time of scant resources, the redundant exercise of imprisoning people for non-payment of fines is extremely costly and wasteful in terms of Courts, Gardaí and prison resources,” said the IPRT Executive Director.
More importantly individuals are being committed to our overcrowded prisons in cases where judges have already determined that prison sentences are not appropriate.
On 30 November, 20 prisoners – 0.5 per cent of the total prison population – were in jail for not paying fines, Minister Shatter told the Dáil.
He also said that he intended to start a number of provisions contained in the Fines Act 2010 in the new year, such as allowing people to pay fines by instalments and substituting community service orders for fines.
“I expect that these measures, taken together, will all but eliminate the need to commit persons to prison for non-payment of fines,” Minister Shatter said.
However the failure to fully implement the Fines Act, some 18 months after it became law, was criticised by Liam Herrick:
“The failure to follow up at administrative level to allow for the payment of fines by installment means that thousands continue to be jailed for non-payment of fines 18 months after the legislation was signed into law,” said Herrick.
The figures also showed that the number of people jailed for not paying back debt has increased dramatically.
29 people were jailed for non-payment of civil debt up until the end of November this year – compared to just 5 people for the whole of last year.
The figures came from the Annual Reports of the Irish Prison Service.
The numbers going to jail over in relation to unpaid TV licence fines is higher than ever.
Some 194 people were sent to prison last year for non-payment of TV licence fines, compared to 31 in 2006 at the height of the boom.
The majority of those sent to jail were women, the Irish Prison Service confirmed. Females accounted for 121 of those sent down, while the remaining 73 were men.
Figures show that 25 people a day are now being sent to prison for not paying court fines.
A spokeswoman also expressed concern that women, the primary carer for children, make up the biggest number of those imprisoned for failing to pay fines related to TV licences.
“It is over two years since the Fines Act 2010 was signed into law and the Courts ICT system still hasn’t received the upgrade necessary to process payment of fines by instalment,” the IPRT said.
New legislation on this would be of little effect “unless this system is put in place with urgency.”
Figures show that 4,470 people were imprisoned for non-payment of fines and debts in the first six months of the year, compared to 7,514 in 2011. This compares with 1,335 just five years ago in 2007.
It urged that the minimum of €100 for eligibility for payment of a fine by instalment be removed.
The trust also said it had reservations about the admin charge of up to 10pc to be imposed on those who opt to pay by instalment.
The IPRT recently called on Justice Minister Alan Shatter to consider making use of the right of pardon and and the power to commute or remit punishment – with one suggestion an amnesty for some or all fines defaulters to ease pressure on strained prison resources.
The fact that more women are being imprisoned for failure to pay fines was of “serious concern,” it said.
Out of 1,680 women committed to prison last year, 1,300 were for non payment of court ordered fines.
Last year, 16,000 court summonses for not having a TV licence were processed in the first nine months of 2011. About 7,000 cases ended up in court.
A new Belfast-based legal team asked the court for more time to prepare a defence for the bankrupt businessman.
Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne said it was up to the prison authorities to decide on Mr Quinn Jnr’s release time as it was not a matter for the court.