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.”

  • Supporters of Rasmea Odeh are calling for a Week of Justice for Rasmea from September 8 – 14, as she appeals her unjust conviction this fall. Organizers state, “The outrageous arrest, trial, and sentencing of Rasmea Odeh is a political attack on Arab Americans and Palestinians, on Muslims, and on anti-war and international solidarity activists. While the charges being appealed deal with minor problems on her immigration application, the truth is this is a political trial about U.S. Empire. The U.S. government is acting viciously, spending millions of tax dollars targeting a victim of Israeli military torture.”
  • Critical Resistance is holding an online benefit auction until August 26 to raise funds “to fight the violence of the Prison Industrial Complex and continue building for healthy communities.”
  • Tariq Ba Odah, a prisoner at Guantanamo who has been on hunger strike since 2007 and is force fed up to twice daily is close to death, his supporters say. Never charged with a crime, cleared for release five years ago, and being held in solitary confinement without proper medical care, Ba Odah’s“state of health is so precarious that he is vulnerable to the slightest dangers in the environment around him. A cold, a fever, a small injury – like one sustained from a fall – could overwhelm his system, leading to possible death.”
  • On August 12, Hugo “Yogi Bear” Pinell was stabbed to death by a prisoner at New Folsom State Prison in California. Pinell was one of the San Quentin Six, part of a prison uprising and escape attempt in 1971 during which revolutionary prisoner George Jackson was killed by guards. Pinell spent 50 years in prison, 46 of them in solitary confinement.
  • From August 6 – 12, Israeli occupation forces arrested 41 Palestinian civilians, including 14 children, in the occupied West Bank, and three in the Gaza Strip.
  • Color of Change has put out an action alert petitioning the FCC to “limit costs for local phone charges in the prison phone industry.”
  • Meanwhile, RootsAction has an action alert for Chelsea Manning, who is being threatened with “indefinite solitary confinement” for trivial alleged offenses.
  • The Freedom Movement – Florida Prison Chapter is seeking donations of stamps, money and books to acquire literature to meet its goal to “restore liberation – mentally, emotionally, and spiritually – by planting revolutionary seeds and teaching the importance of unity and solidarity.”
  • Hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner Mohammad Allan went into a coma on August 14, day 60 of his hunger strike. He emerged from the coma today and “declared in front of his doctors that if there is not any solution to his case within 24 hours he will ask for all treatment to stop and will stop drinking water.” Israel proposed freeing Allan if he is deported from Palestine for a period of four years. The Israeli Supreme Court will rule on Wednesday whether or not to release Allan on medical grounds. Allan is protesting his detention without charge or trial by Israel.
  • On August 17, after 52 days on hunger strike, three political prisoners in Mexico announced an end to their strike, citing the difficulties they faced obtaining glucose from the prison officials.

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