[act-ma] Update: Prison Protest TMRW, 3-5pm Nashua Street Jail, Mon Feb 20 National Day of Occupy 4 Prisoners
bdubkwob at gmail.com
Sun Feb 19 17:32:10 PST 2012
Just wanted to give a quick update about the action, specifically the
action agreements that the POC working group agreed on.
On* Monday, February 20, 2012 at 3:00 PM*, the Occupy Boston People of
Color Working Group, Ocupemos El Barrio, Jericho Movement, and many other
individuals and organizations will be taking part in the National Occupy
Day for Prisoners. We will meet at 3pm at the North Station MBTA Stop at
Causeway St. and Friend St. and then march to the Nashua Street Jail on 200
Nashua Street in Boston. Today the POC working group agreed to the
following statement regarding the action.
*Action agreements for Occupy 4 Prisoners Boston prisoner solidarity march,
* This protest will be a peaceful action. We are creating a space for our
entire community, including formerly incarcerated people and their
families, to feel free to speak out and build together to take on the
*We will not engage in property destruction, civil disobedience, or
arrest-able direct action. Many groups participating in this march,
including some of the march organizers, the OB People of Color Working
Group, Ocupemos El Barrio, and other organizations have members who are
former prisoners or whose immigration status makes them vulnerable. Please
show solidarity with the march and these groups by respecting this request.
*We are here to march and protest the prison industrial complex. During the
march, we will refrain from provoking the police so as not to raise the
risk of arrest for those who participate. Any disagreement regarding the
direction of the day will be resolved within our community, and not with
*This march will be safe for people of all backgrounds, creeds,
sexualities, genders, races, ethnicities and immigration status.
*By following these agreements, you are respecting the wishes of those who
planned this event and the community taking part in it. Please respect the
tactics we have chosen for the march.
Reasons for this protest:
Prisons have become a central institution in American society, integral to
our politics, economy and our culture.
Between 1976 and 2000, the United States built on average a new prison each
week and the number of imprisoned Americans increased tenfold.
Prison has made the threat of torture part of everyday life for millions of
individuals in the United States, especially the 7.3 million people—who are
disproportionately people of color—currently incarcerated or under
Imprisonment itself is a form of torture. The typical American prison,
juvenile hall and detainment camp is designed to maximize degradation,
brutalization, and dehumanization.
Mass incarceration is the new Jim Crow <http://www.newjimcrow.com/>.
Between 1970 and 1995, the incarceration of African Americans increased 7
times. Currently African Americans make up 12 % of the population in the
U.S. but 53% of the nation’s prison population. There are more African
Americans under correctional control today—in prison or jail, on probation
or parole—than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War began.
The prison system is the most visible example of policies of punitive
containment of the most marginalized and oppressed in our society. Prior to
incarceration, 2 out of 3 prisoners lived in conditions of economic
hardship. Yet the perpetrators of white-collar crime largely go free, or
In addition, the Center for Economic and Policy Research estimated that in
2008 alone there was a loss in economic input associated with people
released from prison equal to $57 billion to $65 billion.
At a national level, we call on Occupies across the country to support:
1. Abolishing unjust sentences, such as the Death Penalty, Life Without the
Possibility of Parole, Three Strikes, Juvenile Life Without Parole, and the
practice of trying children as adults.
2. Standing in solidarity with movements initiated by prisoners and taking
action to support prisoner demands, including the Georgia Prison Strike and
the Pelican Bay/California Prisoners Hunger Strikes.
3. Freeing political prisoners, such as Mumia Abu-Jamal, Leonard Peltier,
Lynne Stewart, Bradley Manning and Romaine "Chip" Fitzgerald, a Black
Panther Party member incarcerated since 1969.
4. Demanding an end to the repression of activists, specifically the
targeting of African Americans and those with histories of incarceration,
such as Khali in Occupy Oakland who could now face a life sentence, on
trumped-up charges, and many others being falsely charged after only
exercising their First Amendment rights.
5. Demanding an end to the brutality of the current system, including the
torture of those who have lived for many years in Secured Housing Units
(SHUs) or in solitary confinement.
6. Demanding that our tax money spent on isolating, harming and killing
prisoners, instead be invested in improving the quality of life for all and
be spent on education, housing, health care, mental health care, jobs and
other human services which contribute to the public good. (In
Massachusetts, it costs $45,917 a year
house a prisoner compared to $6,613 in a
tuition and fees at UMass Boston or $13,055 a
public school student.)
At a local level in Massachusetts and Boston, about 24,000 people are held
any given day in state and county prisons and jails; about 59% serving
criminal sentences in state facilities are people of color, and about 6%
are women. This includes about 2,150 people in Nashua Street Jail and
Suffolk County House of Corrections ("South Bay"), including people
detained by Immigration Customs and Enforcement(ICE) in immigration cases.
State prison facilities are
South Bay is at 126% and Nashua Street is at 163%. Among county facilities,
Norfolk, Essex Middleton, Middlesex Cambridge, and Bristol Dartmouth are at
more than 200% capacity, with Bristol Dartmouth at 367%; among state
facilities, MCI Concord and MCI Framingham's Awaiting Trial Unit are at
more than 200% capacity, with MCI Framingham's Awaiting Trial Unit at 359%.
In addition, about 3000 youth per
detained in juvenile facilities, and 1288 youth are placed under the
custody of the Department of Youth Services. On average, state prisons
across Massachusetts are 142%
Though Black and Latino communities are only 16% of the population of
Massachusetts, they comprise a full 56% of the prison population
the Bay State. We also call for:
· The end to the current attempt to pass a three strikes bill or
mandatory post-release supervision laws in Massachusetts
· An end to the unjust detention and treatment of prisoners,
including Tarek Mehanna and Arnold King. Tarek Mehanna is an example
the racist scapegoating, and relentless persecution and targeting under the
Patriot Act’s new provisions of young Muslim men around the country for
speaking out against US foreign policy and other activities that are
supposedly protected by the First Amendment.
· Arnold King is 59 years old and has been locked up since he
was 18<http://www.arnoldking.org/index.html>. He
has been continually denied commutation even after receiving two votes by
the parole board of “favorable” status.
· Research and reporting on racial disparities within the juvenile
· Granting Trans people, particularly Trans women, in prison access
to services and hormones, and HIV+ people to be allowed to keep their
medications on their person
· A visitor bill of rights that reflects humane and just practices
· An end to police brutality and stop and frisk policies targeting
communities of color, and the establishment of a civilian review board in
Boston with real power to hold the police department accountable
· An end to all state and local cooperation with the "Secure
Communities" program, and an end to the practice of honoring the federal
Immigration Customs and Enforcement's requests to detain suspected
undocumented immigrants in jail for extra time so that ICE can initiate
On February 20th, 2012 we will join the National Occupy Day for Prisoners
by protesting in front of Nashua Street Jail, which is just one of the many
oppressive, racist, and overcrowded prison facilities in the Bay State. At
this demonstration, through prisoners' writings and other artistic and
political expressions, we will express the voices of the people who have
been inside the walls. The organizers of this action will reach out to the
community for support and participation. We are contacting social service
organizations, faith institutions, labor organizations, schools, prisoners,
former prisoners and their family members.
National and International Outreach
We will reach out to Occupies across the country to have similar
demonstrations outside of prisons, jails, juvenile halls and detainment
facilities or other actions as such groups deem appropriate. We will also
reach out to Occupies outside of the United States and will seek to attract
international attention and support.
We have chosen Monday, February 20, 2012, because it is a non-weekend day.
Presidents' Day avoids the weekend conflict with prisoners' visitation,
which would likely be shut down if we held a demonstration over the weekend.
For more information and/or to endorse, email occupy4prisoners [at] gmail
ENDORSERS (listed alphabetically)
All of Us or None
ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and Racism Coalition)
Arizona Prison Watch
California Coalition for Women Prisoners
Campaign to End the Death Penalty
Chicago PIC Teaching Collective
Committee to Free Romaine “Chip” Fitzgerald
Community Futures Collective
December 9th Georgia and International Prisoners’ Movement
Free Tarek Mehanna Campaign
Hope for Freedom Paralegal Services
International Coalition to Free the Angola 3
International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5
International Socialist Organization
Kevin Cooper Defense Committee
Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia Abu Jamal
Labor for Palestine
Legal Services for Prisoners with Children
Life Support Alliance
Lynne Stewart Defense Committee
Michael Lewis Legal Defense Committee
Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu Jamal
National Committee to Free the Cuban Five
Nevada Prison Watch
NYC Labor Against the War
Occupied Oakland Tribune
Ocupemos El Barrio
Oscar Grant Committee Against Police Brutality and State Repression
Peoples’ Action for Rights and Community
Prison Activist Resource Center
Prison Watch Network
Prisoners Are People Too, Inc. (Buffalo, NY)
Real Cost of Prisons
Redwood Curtain CopWatch
San Francisco Bay View Newspaper
Solitary Watch News
Stanley Tookie Williams Legacy Network
Through Barbed Wire
Anne Weills, National Lawyers Guild (NLG).
Barbara Becnel, founder, STW Legacy Network
Carole Seligman, Kevin Cooper Defense Committee
Diana Block, California Coalition for Women Prisoners
Jeff Mackler, Director, Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal
Jeffrey Alan Masko, tutor and media coordinator, Second Chance Program at
Michael Letwin, Former President, Assn. of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW Local
Noelle Hanrahan, Project Director, Prison Radio
Sarah Shourd, Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer, former hostages in Iran and
human rights activists
Stanley Tookie Williams IV
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