Saturday, December 11, 2010

Abolition Key To New Justice System

(PHOTO: Kiilu with author Raj Patel)

Abolition Key To New Justice System

By Kiilu Nyasha

December 9, 2010

Everyone knows the U.S. has the highest rate of incarceration in the world, higher than China’s with 4 – 5 times our population, and it continues to spiral. One in 100 adults is locked up in this police state (now totaling 2.4 million), while 1 in 31 is under some other form of penal control (over 7 million).

Few people in America, especially the underfunded, don’t have a friend, relative, classmate or colleague in prison. We also know that most prisoners are there for non-violent, often drug related issues. Yet we keep silent.

“Your silence becomes approval,” wrote our brilliant journalist and revolutionary, Mumia Abu-Jamal, held under threat of death 29 years to this date for a crime he didn’t commit.

Just as chattel slavery produced abolitionists, this new form of slavery must generate prison abolitionists.

Studies have long proven that punishment (not to be confused with consequences) produces negative results more often than not. While rehabilitation and/or appropriate therapy/treatment usually works. “Cure the sickness to save the patient.”

Ancestral societies had no prisons. Offensive behavior brought social consequences, ostracizing, or banishment from the community. Often the offender was made to serve the people (the community) in a menial job.

Raj Patel recently investigated the justice system of the Zapatistas in Chiapas, Mex. and learned they had devised a system much like the one described above.

Please bear in mind that the worst of the worst criminals in this nation are in the White House, Wall Street, and the Pentagon. The solution to a corrupt, fascist government has to be revolution. The 1% replaced by the 99%.

Today’s news reported still more draconian sentencing for California prisoners has been proposed. Up to 15 years can be added to a person’s sentence between parole hearings that used to be annual before being raised to a maximum of five years. Now parole board hearings will in fact be resentencing courts in many cases. E.g., Hugo Pinell (Yogi) has been in supermax solitary for most of 46 years. If he goes to Board next month, he could be told his next hearing for parole would be 2026! At which time he’d be 80 years old. Sundiata Acoli was just denied 10 years after 37, and he’ll be 83 at his next hearing. Cruel and unusual?

U.S. prisons are grossly overcrowded with prisoners living in deplorable conditions suffering inadequate or no medical care, bad food, no access to education or skills training, endemic guard brutality, torture, and provocation of prisoner conflicts for their sadistic amusement, sexual assaults, excessive use of lockup (solitary), and generally inhumane treatment.

“The latest edition of the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund’s “Death Row USA,” shows that the number of people on death row in the United States is continuing to slowly decline, falling to 3,261 as of January 1, 2010…. California (697) continues to have the largest death row population, followed by Florida (398) and Texas (337). Pennsylvania (222) and Alabama (201) complete the list of the five largest death rows in the nation.”

The U.S. is the only Western nation that still imposes capital punishment that is blatantly racist in its execution.

Georgia Prison Strike

In protest of the inhumane living and working conditions in Georgia’s prison system (the nation’s 4th largest) staged a one-day strike on December 9, 2010.

Bruce Dixon reported, “In an action which is unprecedented on several levels, black, brown and white inmates of Georgia’s notorious state prison system are standing together for a historic one day peaceful strike today, during which they are remaining in their cells, refusing work and other assignments and activities. This is a groundbreaking event not only because inmates are standing up for themselves and their own human rights, but because prisoners are setting an example by reaching across racial boundaries which, in prisons, have historically been used to pit oppressed communities against each other.”

According to the Black Agenda Report, Prisoners are refusing to come out of their cells or do work. One in every thirteen adults in the state of Georgia is in prison, on parole or probation or some form of court or correctional supervision. According to reports, the state is dispatching special units and the BAR recommends calls to facilities the next few days to ensure the safety of the prisoners. Here are some numbers:

Macon State Prison is 978-472-3900.
Hays State Prison is at (706) 857-0400
Telfair State prison is 229-868-7721
Baldwin State Prison is at (478) 445- 5218
Valdosta State Prison is 229-333-7900
Smith State Prison is at (912) 654-5000

Pacific Radio just reported that Georgia’s prisons are under lockdown and guards are forcing prisoners out of their cells and beating them.

I salute the courage and international solidarity of the Georgia prison strikers.

We should act promptly to prevent another Attica!

The struggle continues!

Long live the spirit of George and Jonathan Jackson!

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