New York’s Prison Transfers Increased COVID-19 Risk for Sick, Elderly Men

by Alice Speri , The Intercept.

MONTHS AFTER NEW York had become a global epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic, state officials began quietly moving dozens of elderly men with underlying health conditions from prisons across the state to a facility close to the Canadian border.

The transfers, which began in June 2020, after the virus had spread widely and caused several deaths among the state’s incarcerated population and prison staff, were ostensibly intended to protect the most vulnerable from Covid-19. But defying both public health recommendations and common sense, prison officials moved the men from different facilities, including some with large outbreaks, without first testing them, transporting them on crowded and poorly ventilated buses. They then mixed them at the Adirondack Correctional Facility in Ray Brook, New York, without quarantining them. Since then, officials have tested the men only sporadically, even after some were exposed to the virus inside the prison, and have taken minimal steps to promote hygiene and social distancing. When a man incarcerated at the facility was discovered to have contracted the virus, prison officials ordered the guards who had come in contact with him to quarantine at home for two weeks. But they took no measures to test and isolate the incarcerated people with whom he had also been in close proximity.

Read the rest at https://theintercept.com/2021/01/08/covid-new-york-prison-nursing-home-lawsuit

NYC ABC Letter Writing for David Gilbert- January 12th

WHAT: Political Prisoner Letter-Writing
WHEN: 7pm, Tuesday, December 12th, 2021
WHERE: YOUR HOME
COST: Free


NYC Anarchist Black Cross is promoting virtual letter writing to elder political prisoner David Gilbert who has been in New York State prisons since 1981.

“It’s our first every-other-week political prisoner letter-writing event of 2021 and we are starting off by writing to David Gilbert–someone close to us, both physically and in spirit. For this first event of the year, NYC ABC and Page One Collective are asking you to continue to write to from home, staying safe, while also keeping our imprisoned comrades front and center.”

For David to come home, he would need Governor Andrew Cuomo to grant him clemency (release or make him parole eligible). Please write Cuomo and urge him to grant clemency to David Gilbert (#83A6158):

Email: https://www.governor.ny.gov/content/governor-contact-form
Call: (518) 474-8390
Tweet: https://twitter.com/NYGovCuomo
Write: Governor Andrew M. Cuomo
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224 .

Join the Free Maroon Now Coalition on Martin Luther King Day!

On Monday January 18th, The Free Maroon Now Coalition will be gathering at 11 am on the Capitol Steps in Harrisburg (501 N. 3rd St, Harrisburg, PA 17120) demanding the immediate release of PA political prison Russell Maroon Shoatz. On this Martin Luther King holiday, we remind the community that Martin Luther King was unpopular with the government of his time and that he was a political prisoner incarcerated for standing up for Black Lives.
Russell Maroon Shoatz is a 77 year old grandfather who has spent over 50 years in prison for standing up for Black Lives. 22 of those years were spent in solitary confinement. Maroon was diagnosed with stage 4 colo-rectal cancer in 2019 and has undergone chemo over the last year. He is an elder who is no threat to anyone. Maroon is one of 1300 people over the age of 60 sentenced to die in PA Prisons. We must change the practice of excessive sentencing and the mass incarceration of elders.Maroon was diagnosed with Covid in December, where he experienced “refugee like” circumstances with 30 ailing men living in a gym with only one bathroom. 145 organizations from across the country signed on to a letter demanding his immediate release.

Join us as we call for Mercy for Maroon. Join us as we demand Amnesty for all Political Prisoners.Join us as we invoke the call for Reparations.
Granting compassionate release for people defending Black lives
is a part of Reparations.Join us as we mourn the death of justice.
For as long as people continue to be incarcerated
for defending Black Lives there can be no justice.There will be a funeral procession to an undisclosed location following the gathering at the Harrisburg Capitol Steps.

Please sign up here, so we can get an idea of how many people are planning to attend and keep you updated with event details. Traveling is expensive, so if that is a barrier to your participation we can support your gas and toll money.

Urgent medical alert for Kamau Sadiki

Help save the life of former Black Panther & political prisoner Kamau Sadiki/Freddie Hilton. Tweet @GovKemp & call the Augusta State Medical Prison at (706) 855-4700 to demand he be taken to the wound care clinic ASAP.

https://twitter.com/GovKemp
https://gov.georgia.gov/contact-us

Send him a message of hope and healing:
Freddie Hilton #0001150688
Augusta State Medical Prison
3001 Gordon Highway
Grovetown, GA 30813 

Sadiki has spent more than four decades fighting for Black people. At seventeen, he joined the NYC Black Panther Party. He been imprisoned since 2002 for refusing to aid in the capture of Assata Shakur.

Learn more about his story http://freekamau.com

Water Protector political prisoner Rattler released from prison

Despite Rattler’s compassionate release being denied by the federal courts, and the prison as well as federal probation offices refusing to look into Rattler’s legal change of address to be housed with family during the pandemic, Rattler was made to get on a public plane (regular commercial airflight, not Bureau of Prisons personal airlines) despite his attorney being physically present to pick him up to have safe travel and limiting exposure during the pandemic.

We are unsure if he was tested again for COVID before being put on the plane, but he has reported having no more symptoms since his contraction of COVID at Sandstone federal prison last month. He is now in ND heading for the halfway house for the next 6 months.

We will update his mailing address for support mail. Any donations can be added to his Support Committee- PayPal www.paypal.me/siouxic and messages for him can be sent to this Facebook page. Please pray for those stuck in federal halfway houses, local jails, and state/federal prisons because they are ALL affected by COVID. #stillnodapl#strugglecontinues

More via
https://www.facebook.com/FreeRattler
https://www.freerattlernodapl.com

Political Prisoner profile: Veronza Bowers

Veronza was a member of the Black Panther Party, convicted in the murder of a U.S. Park Ranger on the word of two government informants, both of whom received reduced sentences for other crimes by Federal prosecutors. There were no eye-witnesses and no evidence independent of the informants to link him to the crime.

At trial, Veronza offered alibi testimony, not credited by the jury. Nor was testimony of two relatives of the informants who insisted that they were lying. The informants had all charges against them in this case dropped and one was given $10,000 by the government according to the prosecutor’s post-sentencing report. Veronza has consistently proclaimed his innocence of the crime he never committed, even at the expense of having his appeals for parole denied for which an admission of guilt and contrition is virtually required.

Write:
Veronza Bowers, Jr. #35316-136
FCI Butner Medium II
PO Box1500
Butner, NC 27509

Birthday: February 4
More information: veronza.org
Tri-fold flyer
Info was taken from NYC ABC’s Illustrated Guide to Political Prisoners.
More PP addresses here.

‘Prison Break’ January 2021 column

Check out the latest Prison Break column for January 2021 by the Certain Days collective on Its Going Down. From the intro:

“With The Marshall Project reporting that 1 in 5 prisoners in the U.S. have had COVID-19, we are beginning the new year with an intense struggle ahead. In the last few weeks it was announced that political prisoners Russell Maroon ShoatzMutulu ShakurEric KingRattler,Jaan Laaman, and Joe Dibee have tested positive for COVID-19. Since April, other political prisoners including Marius Mason, Sundiata Acoli, Reality Winner, Jeremy Hammond, and Jalil Muntaqim have also contracted the virus. Elder political prisoners Imam Jamil Al-AminEd PoindexterDavid GilbertChip FitzgeraldLeonard Peltier and numerous others face acute risks due to their continued confinement. “

Read more at https://itsgoingdown.org/prison-break-jan-2021/

Check out the 2021 Certain Days calendar!

It’s January 2021 and time to open up the 2021 Certain Days calendar and check out our inside editor Xinachtli’s artwork commemorating our 20 year anniversary!

What’s that? You don’t have one yet? Be sure to pick up copies from these distributors!

https://burningbooks.com/…/certain-days-2021-calendar-a-genhttps://www.leftwingbooks.net/certain-days-2021
https://www.akpress.org/certaindays2021.html
https://www.activedistributionshop.org/shop/diaries/5097-2021-certain-days-2021.html

About Xinachtli
Xinachtli (Nahuatl, meaning “seed”) is a community organizer and Chicano movement
revolutionary, currently imprisoned in Texas. Formerly known as Alvaro Luna Hernandez, he
worked diligently in the barrio on civil and human rights issues, and is known widely for his legal skills.

Xinachtli gained international recognition as the national coordinator of the Ricardo Aldape Guerra Defense Committee, where he was instrumental in helping to free Mexican national Aldape Guerra from Texas’ death row, where he had been framed for the murder of a police officer.

In July 1996 Xinachtli was arrested after disarming a sheriff who was attempting to shoot him. After defending himself at trial, Xinachtli was sentenced to 50 years in prison for aggravated assault, a charge he vehemently denies. While imprisoned, Xinachtli continues to write frequently, has helped to organize multiple prison strikes, and has been held in solitary confinement for the last 20 years and counting.

Xinachtli is a prolific jailhouse lawyer, as referenced by Mumia Abu Jamal in his book Jailhouse Lawyers: Prisoners Defending Prisoners v the USA. Folksinger David Rovics has produced a ballad in his honor, and he is in discussion to produce a documentary about his life and freedom struggles. Xinachtli assists many prisoners in seeking new trials, and filing suits against the repressive, inhumane Texas prison system. He has been a frequent contributor to the Certain Days calendar for many years, and joined as an inside collective member in 2018.

Xinachtli* #255735
James V. Allred Unit
2101 FM 369 North
Iowa Park, TX 76367
*Address envelope to Alvaro Luna Hernandez.

COVID, Prison, and Another Pandemic Clare Grady Made Me Remember

by Susie Day in Gay City News

Clare Grady is going to prison. On February 10, this nice Irish Catholic lady of 62, who lives with her family in upstate Ithaca, will enter Alderson Prison in West Virginia, to begin a one-year-and-one-day sentence. That’s because on April 4, 2018, Clare and six cohorts, also white and Catholic, broke into the world’s largest nuclear submarine base at Kings Bay, Georgia, and defaced government property to call attention to the increasing danger of nuclear war.

Because the group — Plowshares 7 – believes that nuclear weapons aren’t created in isolation from a system that also creates climate change, murders people like George Floyd, and brutally detains immigrants, the group read out a statement, repenting of the sin of white supremacy. They condemned “racism, militarism, and extreme materialism,” the triple evils of the US profit imperative once called out by Martin Luther King, Jr.

Unsurprisingly, Clare and her comrades were arrested, charged with federal crimes, and convicted on all counts. By now, all but one have been sentenced to terms similar in length to Clare’s, which, compared to those served by most people convicted of felonies, seem almost tiny.

Read more at https://www.gaycitynews.com/covid-prison-and-another-pandemic-clare-grady-made-me-remember/

More on Clare’s codefendants from the Kings Bay Plowshares at https://kingsbayplowshares7.org