New York Tried To Get Rid of Bail

The no-bail movement was on a roll from Vermont and New Jersey to Alaska and Georgia – and then the lock ‘em up mob struck back. The national drive to reduce jail and prison populations are getting an unexpected nudge from the coronavirus pandemic, as many cities and counties across the country try to reduce exposure to the virus in crammed, unsanitary jails. One of their first targets: bail. To bail-reform advocates across America, this change is a no-brainer: Why incarcerate anyone, pandemic or no, just because they can’t post a cash bond? Their movement looked like a national wave just a couple of years ago, as states from Vermont and New Jersey to Alaska and Georgia rolled out new bail policies to reduce the number of people in jail. These ideas ranged from minor tweaks for only the lowest-level crimes to blanket eliminations of cash bail.

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Private Prison Sues State For Not Having Enough Prisoners

A private prison in Arizona recently sued the state for having a lack of prisoners. For the sake of saving over $16 million in back pay, the state settled by paying the private prison $3 million.  Arizona essentially payed a company $3 million because not enough people are committing crimes.

To be fair, it’s a bit more complex than that. In July, 2010 three violent inmates escaped from an Arizona private prison, which prompted officials to stop sending new inmates to the facility. I say good job to the officials for demanding better performance from Management & Training Corp., the company that runs the prison. Unfortunately, a line in the company’s contract with the state guarantees that the prison is at least 97% full at all times.  They sued on grounds that the breach of contract caused a dramatic loss in revenue.

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El Salvador: Bukele’s Heavy- Handed Response To Pandemic Violates Human Rights

Behind that jovial image of a president who takes selfies at the U.N. and governs over social media stands a strategic ally of the United States who has little regard for human rights.

The social media presence of Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele has transcended his country’s borders on at least four occasions in recent weeks. The first was when he used the armed forces to militarize the national legislature; the second was a speech in which he announced measures he was taking to confront the Coronavirus pandemic, suggesting that his government’s response would be “an exemplary model” for handling the health crisis;[1] the third was when his name and statements about “the use of lethal force” against criminals accompanied images of prison inmates in their underwear, sitting on the floor, crowded together in rows, with a heavy military presence standing over them; and the fourth was when he spoke to René, lead singer of the Puerto Rican rap group Calle 13, whose relevance will be discussed in a moment.

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Prisoners Fight For Their Lives During COVID-19 Pandemic

First and foremost, Take ‘Em Down NOLA was established about five years ago this summer, and our mission is basically the removal of all symbols of white supremacy in the city of New Orleans, as they reflect the systems of racial and economic injustice and oppression of a more than 60 percent Black city. And so, in the city of New Orleans, you’ve had at least 17 monuments to white supremacy. Now 13, thanks to some of our organizing, we were able to successfully get four of them removed back in 2017.

But all of that was really just a wake-up call, a rally to the people in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement to highlight the fact that, you know, state-sanctioned violence has an entire system behind it, an entire apparatus behind it. A Black person is killed in this country every day, extrajudicially, like unarmed Black people being killed by police, and quite often there’s no justice for it.

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Cruel Hoax Mumia Abu-Jamal Was Ill With COVID-19

When a PA Department of Corrections official falsely claimed Mumia Abu-Jamal was being hospitalized with COVID-19 at 5 pm on April 15, the news was shared worldwide in minutes. Supporters around the world, who have been misled by DOC statements in the past, immediately called the institution and demanded confirmation from Mumia himself. By 8:45 pm, the DOC allowed Mumia to call his supporters and he confirmed that the official report was false. “I am fine, I am not hospitalized,” he can be heard on the recorded call saying, part of which was played at the press conference, “…What I need is freedom.”

The whole incident adds to a long list of lies and misinformation by the PA DOC since Mumia was first unjustly incarcerated in 1982.

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Caravans Are Demanding Immediate Release Of Prisoners During COVID-19 Crisis

Local activists caravan in Baltimore demanded the immediate release of prisoners during the COVID-19 pandemic.  On Saturday, April 18th, 2020, a coalition of Baltimore area activists organized a caravan to Baltimore area prisons to show solidarity and demand that Governor Hogan immediately begin to release prisoners amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Participating organizations included People’s Power Assembly, Baltimore Peace Action, Black Alliance for Peace, the Truth and Justice for Marlyn Barnes Campaign, and Ujima People’s Progress Party.

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Palestinian Prisoners Day – The Struggle For Freedom

The annual commemoration of Palestinian Prisoners’ Day can turn easily into a travesty of remembrance. This year, 17 April will be marked with statements calling for the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails on humanitarian grounds due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, there will be scant realisation that the humanitarian principle, when linked to temporary occurrences, is not sufficient as a premise for claiming human rights. It is the legitimate struggle that should frame the call for the prisoners’ freedom, not Covid-19.

Already in 2020, Israel has detained 1,324 Palestinians; a total of 5,000 are currently held in Israeli jails. In March, coinciding with the coronavirus outbreak in the occupied Palestinian territories, Israel detained 357 Palestinians, including children and women.

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Prison Pandemic Pending

“Many people who are dying both here and around the world were on their last legs anyway’. There in a nutshell is the misanthropic mindset of one right-wing pundit, Bill O’Reilly, who gave voice to this nefarious notion on an April day in which some 2,000 Americans, many of them in the prime of their life, died from the coronavirus pandemic. Tragically that inhumane attitude is not restricted to heartless individuals with warped minds. At least one major institution of our dysfunctional criminal justice system, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, seems to harbor a similar operative ideology when it comes to explaining coronavirus deaths on its watch.

Within its 122 prisons over the course of the past few weeks, well over 200 inmates and nearly 90 employees of the BOP have tested positive for the coronavirus.

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Pandemic Protections Must Extend To People In Prison

Over the past month as the Coronavirus pandemic has swept across the United States, precautions have been made to protect residents including enhancements to operational capacity of health care facilities, closing of non-essential business and the establishment of statewide lockdowns that mandate individuals to self-quarantine. Unfortunately these provisions have not extended far enough to protect incarcerated citizens, many of whom have family members and allies on the outside that have demanded action be taken to protect people in prison. In order to combat the lack of action taken by state governors, slow moving legislation has been introduced in multiple states. In Massachusetts HD.4963: An Act regarding Decarceration and COVID-19, demands that people who pose no threat to the community be released, including those serving time for simple possession of controlled substances, detained because they cannot afford bail under $10,000 and over the age of 50, who are according to the CDC medically vulnerable.

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First Statewide Suit Against Corrections Dept. Over Response To COVID-19 Outbreak

Being one of the first areas to have encountered Covid-19, the West Coast is ahead of the rest of the country in its response and preventative efforts. Like many states the entry of nonessential personnel into state facilities have been suspended, this includes visitation, extended family visits, social outings and work release as well as volunteer services. Prisoners, being in an already socially isolating environment, depend on regular communication with friends and family on the outside for their emotional health and psychological well-being. In complete disregard of this, WADOC has placed mandatory phone restrictions on people in prison, who are now only allotted one call each day and are on lockdown for the rest of the day.

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Students Sue Harvard For Investment In Private Prisons

This is not a decision that our campaign arrived at lightly. Turning to the courts is a last resort. Having tried multiple channels, from protests to petitions to rallies to teach-ins to reports to non-official and official meetings, but finding no relief,  we have been forced to file this lawsuit against the President and Fellows of Harvard College, the Harvard Management Company, Lawrence Bacow in his capacity as President of Harvard University, and William Lee in his capacity as Senior Fellow.

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Activists Are Reclaiming Jails As Community-Operated Social Service Facilities

Jails have emerged as a key focal point of the struggle against mass incarceration. Several trends are in motion at the same time. In jurisdictions like New York and Los Angeles, grassroots-led struggles have closed facilities and blocked others from being built. By contrast, in many rural areas, local authorities are manipulating the opioid crisis and bail reform into a jail-building platform.

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You Can Be Free To Vote, Even Behind Bars

Birmingham, Alabama is a landmark city for the American civil rights movement. Even today, it’s ground zero for a vital fight over voting rights. I visited Jefferson County Jail in Birmingham recently to deliver inmates a simple message: you are free to vote, even if you don’t know it. And now is the time for you to claim and exercise this right. I was there with volunteers from The Ordinary People Society (TOPS), the League of Women Voters…

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Torture Rears Its Ugly Head at Guantánamo, It Should Be Closed

2020 has, to date, been noteworthy for how much attention has been focused on Guantánamo, the US naval base in Cuba that is home to the “war on terror” prison established in January 2002, and also to the inappropriately named Camp Justice, where trial proceedings for some of the men held in the prison take place.

First up was the 18th anniversary of the opening of the prison, on January 11, when campaigners from numerous NGOs and campaigning groups — including Close Guantánamo — held a rally outside the White House to call for the prison’s closure.

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