CMUs/Prison Conditions

  • UPDATE: Mumia Abu-Jamal taken from hospital back to prison; family limited to one visit a week

    Source: Democracy Now! After an international outcry authorities have allowed family members of imprisoned journalist and former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal to visit him for the first time since he blacked out from diabetic shock in prison and woke up in an outside hospital. After the visits authorities limited Abu-Jamal’s family members to one meeting a week. All other meetings have been denied, including with his lawyers and longtime supporter Pam Africa, who is listed on his medical records as his emergency medical contact.

  • Prison dispatches from the war on terror: Gitmo detainee’s life an “endless horror movie”

    Source: The Intercept. Moath Hamza Ahmed al-Alwi, a Yemeni national who has been detained at the American prison facility at Guantánamo Bay since 2002, weighs only 98 pounds. Never charged with a crime, al-Alwi, now 35 years old, is one of many detainees at the camp who have gone on a prolonged hunger strike. As described in a recent petition submitted to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) by his lawyers, al-Alwi’s mental and physical state is seriously deteriorating after two years on hunger strike, and subsequent force-feeding. Al-Alwi, who has described his strike as “a form of peaceful protest against injustice,” has said that he will not resume eating until there is some sort of legal resolution to his case. Prison officials have responded to his hunger strike by placing him in solitary confinement, denying him access to prescribed medical items and subjecting him to extreme temperatures in his cell.

  • The best-selling prisoner of Guantánamo

    Source: Slate. Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s attorney, Linda Moreno, traveled to the island prison to tell him his book, Guantánamo Diary, was a smash hit. She couldn’t even give him a copy. Slahi has been imprisoned for the past 14 years . The United States has never charged Mohamedou with any crime. In April 2010, a federal judge granted his habeas petition, ordering his release. But the government appealed, and he is still there.

  • Judge rules against prisoners In ‘Little Guantanamo’ lawsuit

    Source: Huffington Post. A federal judge ruled Monday against inmates who had challenged highly restrictive federal prison units, dealing a severe blow to their five-year attempt to close what are sometimes called Little Guantanamos. For years, advocates have complained about the special prison wings set up in the wake of 9/11 called “communication management units.” The units restrict prisoners’ links to the outside world, severely limiting phone time and barring contact with visitors. At first, most prisoners in the special wings were Muslims. Today, the inmates are more diverse.

  • How prison stints replaced study hall

    Source: Politico Magazine. Police officers in Meridian, Mississippi, were spending so much time hauling handcuffed students from school to the local juvenile jail that they began describing themselves as “just a taxi service.” Most of the children were arrested and jailed simply for violating school rules, often for trivial offenses. In 2012, the U.S. Department of Justice filed suit to stop the “taxi service” in Meridian’s public schools, where 86 percent of the students are black. The DOJ suit, still unresolved, said children were being incarcerated so “arbitrarily and severely as to shock the conscience.” The reality, though, is that Meridian’s taxi service is just one example of what amounts to a civil rights crisis in America: a “school-to-prison pipeline” that sucks vulnerable children out of the classroom at an alarming rate and funnels them into the harsh world of police, courts and prison cells.

  • UN torture expert refused access to Guantánamo Bay and US federal prisons

    Source: The Guardian. The United Nations’ top investigator on the use of torture has accused Washington of dragging its feet over his requested visits to prisons and refusing to give him access to inmates at Guantánamo. Juan Méndez said he had been waiting for more than two years for the United States to provide him access to a range of state and federal prisons, where he wants to probe the use of solitary confinement. According to Méndez, “it is not rare” for prisoners in the United States to spend 25-30 years in solitary confinement, locked up in a cell with no human contact for 22-23 hours a day.

  • Chicago’s “black site” detainees speak out

    CMUs/Prison Conditions February 26, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: The Intercept. On Tuesday, The Guardian’s Spencer Ackerman reported on the “equivalent of a CIA black site” operated by police in Chicago. When computer program analyst Kory Wright opened the story, he told me, “I immediately recognized the building” — because, the Chicago resident says, he was zip-tied to a bench there for hours in an intentionally overheated room without access to water or a bathroom, eventually giving false statements to try and end his ordeal.

  • ‘Torture Report’ reshapes conversation In Guantanamo courtroom

    CMUs/Prison Conditions February 25, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: NPR. For years in the military courtroom at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, there’s been a subject no one could talk about: torture. Now that’s changed. What many call “the torture report” is no longer a government secret, so lawyers for the defendants can now talk in court about what was done to their clients.

  • The disappeared: Chicago police detain Americans at abuse-laden ‘black site’

    CMUs/Prison Conditions February 24, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: The Guardian. The Chicago police department operates an off-the-books interrogation compound, rendering Americans unable to be found by family or attorneys while locked inside what lawyers say is the domestic equivalent of a CIA black site. The facility, a nondescript warehouse on Chicago’s west side known as Homan Square, has long been the scene of secretive work by special police units. Interviews with local attorneys and one protester who spent the better part of a day shackled in Homan Square describe operations that deny access to basic constitutional rights.

  • 9 surprising industries getting filthy rich from mass incarceration

    CMUs/Prison Conditions February 22, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: Alternet. It’s no coincidence that the United States now imprisons more of its people than any other country in the world: mass incarceration has become a giant industry in the U.S., resulting in huge profits not only for private prison companies, but also, for everything from food companies and telecoms to all the businesses that are using prison labor to cut their manufacturing costs. The prison-industrial complex even has its own lobbyists: according to a 2011 report from the Justice Policy Institute (JPI), the U.S.’ largest private prison company, the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), and their competitor the GEO Group have both spent hundreds of thousands of dollars lobbying forlonger prison sentences.