Saturday, February 04, 2017

Michigan Prisoners Speak Out Against 'Epic' Abuse and Retaliation

Two articles this week broke the news that hundreds of prisoners have faced egregious and ongoing retaliation for the protest at Kinross Correctional Facility last September.

Michigan Prisoners Speak Out Against 'Epic' Abuse and Retaliation

by Harold Gonzales, Feb. 3, 2017

On Sept. 9, 2016, prisoners participated in the largest prisoner work stoppage in the history of the country. Prisoners in at least four facilities in Michigan joined in the work stoppage, including Kinross Correctional Facility near Kincheloe in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The next morning, after retaliatory actions from staff, Kinross prisoners held a peaceful demonstration in the yard. Since then, hundreds have faced harsh, unjust retaliation. Michigan Abolition and Prisoner Solidarity (MAPS) formed to help amplify the voices of prisoners brave enough to speak out publicly against the abuses of the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC). Harold “HH” Gonzales was a spokesperson for the prisoners at the demonstration at Kinross and wrote the following account.

It is hard for me to write these accounts because they are so numerous in blatant retaliatory actions against us, without any regard or fear of accountability. A lot of the public would not believe a state agency could stoop to a lot of the persecution I’ve faced for standing against past and present inhumane treatment. They count on that fact, as well as the hope that an attitude of “prisoners don’t deserve rights,” or the public turning a blind eye to the mistreatment of prisoners, will be their license to mistreat us.

Read more at San Francisco Bay View.

What Happened At Vaughn Prison?

by Heather Ann Thompson, Feb. 2, 2017

At Vaughn prison and elsewhere, we should demand transparency and stand with the inmates who dare to affirm their humanity.

Yesterday, scores of men in Delaware’s largest prison, the Vaughn Correctional Center, took over one of the buildings in their facility. The prison, built in 1971 and known for its serious overuse of solitary confinement, is one of the state’s most severely overcrowded and punitive facilities.
Hoping to push the state to improve living conditions at Vaughn, the prisoners didn’t just take control of building C — they also took guards hostage. And to make the public aware of why they were protesting, they called the media:

We’re trying to explain the reasons for doing what we’re doing. Donald Trump. Everything that he did. All the things that he’s doing now. We know that the institution is going to change for the worse. We know the institution is going to change for the worse. We got demands that you need to pay attention to, that you need to listen to and you need to let them know. Education, we want education first and foremost. We want a rehabilitation program that works for everybody. We want the money to be allocated so we can know exactly what is going on in the prison, the budget.
Read more at Jacobin.