This Week in the Prison Industrial Complex (August 18)

Hugo-Pinell-poemA short-lived experiment, this will be the final “This Week in the Prison Industrial Complex” entry. When it began, I suspected I may have assumed too intensive of a task. At present, it has turned out to be too difficult to maintain this weekly chronicle. I hope that it was helpful while it lasted. I will continue to examine the prison industrial complex (PIC) and related issues in other posts, as well as sharing more timely PIC news on Twitter.

  • A recent report by Canada’s prison ombudsman’s office found “admission to administrative segregation increased by 9 per cent between 2005 and 2015 [and that] the number of Black individuals in solitary has doubled over the past decade, rising by an alarming 100.4 per cent while Aboriginal individuals sent to solitary also disproportionately increased by 31.1 per cent. In contrast, admission to segregation for White individuals declined by 12.3 per cent.” Howard Saper, the Correctional Investigator, stated the report showed Canada’s use of solitary confinement was “out of control.”

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A summer day’s thoughts on social change

cultivateLate one July afternoon, I sat next to a statue of Pan, playing his flute as an algae-filled fountain bubbled its tune to the tadpoles flitting about, their franticness matched only by the birds darting to and from their nests. At a weekend workshop which had concluded for the day, I felt buoyed by the waves of meaningful connections made. While at the same time, a pleasant weightiness attached itself to my limbs, that mental exhaustion which saps a body of its physical energy. Intense work had been done. We were excavating pasts to inform the present, traversing topographies of daylights and dreamscapes. I stand and sheepishly look around for a totem to serve as reminder and embodiment of the day. My eyes settle on a smooth, plain white rock. Reaching down, I pick it up and silently ask if I may bring the rock with me. I feel an unmistakable assent. Rolling the rock in my hand reveals its hidden underbelly, mica reflecting the warm, setting sun’s rays. Inhaling dusk air comprised of drought and ocean, I make some tea and head to my room. None of this makes sense and that is absolutely beautiful.

There I pick up a recently published book on social change and read how society is composed of basic functions and spheres where people matter due to the roles they fill and the mechanistic decisions they make. How to change society, we simply must realize it no longer fits our cost-benefit analysis and we will construct a new one based on a better rate of exchange.

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This Week in the Prison Industrial Complex (August 11)

A weekly roundup of news and action alerts about political prisoners, prison struggles, and organizing against the prison industrial complex (PIC), both nationally and internationally. If you’ve got something you’d like to see included, leave a comment or send me an email.

  • U.S. political prisoner Abdullah Majid is requesting support in the form of donations to his legal defense fund.
  • The Industrial Workers of the World has published the second edition of The Incarcerated Worker, “featuring news on prisoner revolt, organizing on the inside, letters, and articles.”
  • Meanwhile, the second issue of Wildfire, an anarchist prison newsletter, has been published, with news and texts from anarchist prisoners around the world.

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This Week in the Prison Industrial Complex (August 4)

Freedom for Political Prisoners

Freedom for Political Prisoners

A weekly roundup of news and action alerts about political prisoners, prison struggles, and organizing against the prison industrial complex (PIC), both nationally and internationally. If you’ve got something you’d like to see included, leave a comment or send me an email.

  • From July 15 to 29, Israeli occupation forces arrested 95 Palestinians, including 25 children and two women, in the occupied West Bank.
  • On August 7 and 8, organizations in Mexico will be holding the country’s first National Gathering for the Freedom of Political Prisoners, in the city of Puebla.
  • New York Times article featured a twenty-year-long study on the effects of solitary confinement at Pelican Bay State Penitentiary in California, finding that those isolated for such a long period undergo “social death.”

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