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  • The Big Bad Fraud Wolf

    By Folami Irvine An elder told me this story once. One day at an auto manufacturer in Detroit, a guy drove his car up and said “I just purchased this car and it’s not working!” All the top men came down to check it out, the engine, the wiring, the radiator, but they couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Finally, they turned to Mr. Willie, an African American man with little education who had a knack for cars. They said “Mr. Willie, something’s not right with this car but we checked everything! What’s the matter?” He got in the car, turned the ignition and the gas pan-el needle was on “E”. “This car ain’t got no gas in it!” Sometimes it’s just common sense. During this past year, we’ve lost a lot of lives. The root of this problem is the big bad fraud, Governor Wolf. He definitely doesn’t care about people. He is able to release over 1,000 incarcerated citizens through reprieve and commutation - people who are ill or vulnerable to illness considering our prisons are overcrowded, poorly cleaned, and lack proper quality healthcare. Governor Wolf had commutation applications sitting on his desk, but because he didn’t move them fast enough. And Bruce Norris died from COVID in the meantime. He’s able to release them but he’s made the choice not to. I can only as-sume it’s because he does not care about our incarcerated family members or the families who are suffering from his lack of action. We’ve lost a lot of loved ones. But to someone like Governor Wolf, our pain is probably insignificant. He doesn’t have family members in prison dying of COVID. But we do, our loved ones are dying. Not because of the crime they supposedly committed, but because of the lack of COVID precautions. Due to overcrowding and guards coming in out of the prisons getting them sick, everyone is at risk. It’s chemical warfare. Many guards come into these prisons without masks, yet families are told WE can’t come visit because we might carry the virus. Governor Wolf is blind to the struggles of real people. His wealth allows him to feel invincible and hide behind a veil of privilege. Which is ironic considering that a portion of the wealth he benefits from is directly sourced from private prisons and similar institutions that are actively endangering our families lives. We get caught up in a lot of data and numbers. I want to deal with the basics of life for a minute. There’s so much emphasis on “evidence-based,” but at the end of the day, some things are beyond evidence. In the hood, we don’t just see what’s “evidence-based,” we see the real deal. We see our family members dying, we see that the GUARDS are bringing this virus into the prison. And we see that politicians like Wolf don’t seem to care. We’re tired of “evidence-based.” We’re dealing with raw, with real “it is what it is” basic outcome. And the outcome is detrimental when dealing with COVID. The outcome is bad for the general population out here. But for those incarcerated, it’s an atrocity. There are so many family members at HRC, alone, that have lost someone. Governor Wolf finally signed 13 commutations. That’s not enough. When there’s a possibility to get people out who are ill or vulnerable or have done 30, 40, 50 years, he should do it. Governor Wolf, take the opportunity to reform your past transgressions and do the right thing. Because while we continue to lose so many people like Bruce Norris, all you had to do was LIFT YOUR FINGER and empathize with the citizens who you are supposed to serve. Governor Wolf, this is year 5. Your karma’s coming. Do the right thing – it’s common sense.

  • Nan hill compares the death of George Floyd and the prison system

    THE INVISIBLE KNEE BEHIND PRISON WALLS Here we go again. I CAN’T BREATHE. It was six years ago when we first heard those same words, “I can’t breathe” uttered by Eric Garner, who later died as a result of being placed in a chokehold by a police officer. On May 25, 2020 George Floyd uttered the same exact words while Derek Chauvin had his knee on his neck and back. This officer put his hand in his pocket which concealed the fact that by holding his hand there, he was allowed to apply more pressure to Mr. Floyd’s neck. He looked directly into the lens of the video camera with absolutely no expression. What I saw was a man grimacing with the satisfaction of a slow kill, oblivious of the sounds or sights around him, even as his fellow officers pleaded, “roll him over”. If you pay close attention, you will notice that Officer Chauvin did not acknowledge or respond to their voices. That’s the satisfaction of a slow kill; he had to finish it. This is the same knee they have in the prison system. I call it the hidden invisible knee that guards and elected officials use. They can and will intentionally apply the same pressure knowing you can’t breathe. Even as Mr. Floyd called out, the police officers stood idly by just as the guards in prisons. Why? They do not fear repercussions even when someone dies irresponsibly at their hands. We have watched our loved ones suffer under the hidden and the invisible knee, their cries ignored; and no video recording allowed. Watch for that same stoic look on the face of guards and some elected officials showing no emotion as they apply the hidden knee, one that is concealed to us in the free world but felt by ALL behind the walls. If these atrocities were being videotaped behind the walls, I wonder how swift justice would be carried out for all those who grimace with the satisfaction of a slow kill. That’s how serving time in prison is experienced, especially for those serving life sentences. That hidden invisible knee results in many men and women succumbing to death, or will soon, if we don’t continue to fight for justice. There were protests all over the world because we watched an agonizing slow death at the hands of police. What took three minutes to kill George Floyd is the same as the amount of time it takes for a judge to bang the gavel to render a guilty verdict or give a life sentence. A life sentence IS a slow kill. Life sentences are handed down in every courtroom in United States of America; we watch helplessly as those that had to stand by and view countless videos of those dying on camera with no empathy, just another black life. Did it take this most recent tragedy or will it take another to make people see that there have always been many hidden and invisible knees in our prison system, with those who rest their knee on the neck and the backs of incarcerated men and women until they die. Those who are responsible know who they are!!!


    FIGHT TOXIC PRISONS IS CALLING ON YOU TO CALL YOUR REPRESENTATIVE EVERY MONDAY AND DEMAND THEY #SHUTDOWNFAYETTE The State of Pennsylvania built SCI-Fayette on a coal ash dumping site that has polluted the air and water. They have not provided clean drinking water. Public access to water testing has proven these harmful chemicals are in the water while nothing is being done about it. This cannot be allowed to continue at SCI-Fayette or any other prison. A PRISON SENTENCE SHOULD NOT BE A DEATH SENTENCE Call this list of representatives: ❖ Governor Wolf: 717-787-2500 ❖ Secretary of Corrections Wetzel: 717-728-4109 ❖ Senator Camera Bartolotta: 717-787-1463 ❖ State Representative Pam Snyder: 717-783-3797 ❖ Senator Patrick Stefano: 717-787-7175 And demand they: ❖ Give clean drinking water to inmates at SCI-Fayette Prison and citizens of surrounding counties. ❖ Shut Down SCI-Fayette Prison and transfer all people imprisoned there closer to their homes. ❖ Increase Releases and Reduce Admissions. A model plan can be accessed here: ❖ Test all inmates for COVID-19 and give them housing that abides by CDC guidelines. Recommendations outlined here: Tell Governor Wolf to #ShutDownFayette and #ShutDownToxicPrisons QUOTES FROM PEOPLE IN PRISON AT FAYETTE FACING HEALTH ISSUES AT THIS VERY MOMENT: “At SCI-FAYETTE, bottled water is considered contraband! But how is that when Correctional officers is given bottled water all the time here! they walk around with bottled water daily,and they can get it out of the ODR-the Officers Dinning Room from their personal vending machines! I even had a large growth on my vocal cords that needed removed since back in 2014! This was caused from drinking this contaminated water that everyone keeps turning a blind eye to! And its funny now that this Corona virus is out,and airborne that everyone can get it now all the prison staff here wonna take all precautions in the world to avoid gettin it ! but they don't and didn't care when all of the prisoner inmates here is, and we’re catching Cancer & dying from this water! how corrupt is that???” “Let’s not just shut SCI-Fayette down because it was built on top of a former toxic coal waste dump! But, because the last three prisoners that were killed at the hands of the Guards using that pepper spray and spraying it up prisoner’s nose and into their mouths all the while as they press their knee in the small of the prisoner’s neck making it hard for them to breathe to get air! And the first thing that the Administration says is that the inmate was high on some unknown synthetic substance.” “I would like to say that I am one of the person that is diagnosed with (Multiple Myeloma) Bone Cancer, shortness of breath, chronic coughing, adverse skin conditions, painful rashes, and hives. I truly do believe that my cancer came from the FLY COAL ASH which has me in this predicament just as well as a lot of other inmates. There has been a lot of guys dying from cancer in here within this year. I truly didn’t deserve to become sick with this cancer which I have to take 10 different types of medication for the rest of my life.” “What is going on here at SCI Fayette is murder/attempted murder. The CO’s is drinking bottled water and bringing food from the outside because of the water situation. They don’t even eat most of the food here because of it being cooked with this water. What about the inmates? We are forced to drink, eat, bathe. If we don’t we can possibly die. There is an inmate who was housed here who has a tumor in his mouth because of this toxic water and more and more people are being diagnosed with cancer. He was healthy as can be when we first was up here now look. He’s in a hospital eating and breathing through a tube.” “I really think its in the water that I am force to drink everyday. The staff and guards are given bottle water, but we are forced to drink this water they will not sell us bottle water because they say it's a SECURITY ISSUE. I am very disappointed with the medical treatment they have given me, I feel they don't care about if I live or die.” “I’ve never had health problems like this. I’m thinking its because of this “Toxic Coal Waste.” Since I’ve gotten this lung disease my breathing has been bad. And to make matters even worse I should not be around poor quality air. This air up here and water is toxic to my health. I asked for a transfer due to my medical issues but all is being denied. I do not want to die here. I also got several grievances on our medical staff here so I’m not getting proper treatment due to this. I’ve seen more than several people die since I’ve been in this jail. And I only been here 10 months. This does not make any sense. I do not want to be next. I need help.” “Cause I'm a prison inmate here at S.C.I.-Fayette that is suffering from all this TOXIC WASTE here this prison. It's really bad here. The water is contaminated, and we are forced to drink it cause we need water to survive. This is inhumane how we are suffering here, and being treated, and the poor Medical Care here at the prison. It's like no one cares. Gov. Tom Wolf in Harrisburg should, and needs to be held accountable for this.” “For just not returning to the half-way house, I am doing 18 months in one of PA’s worst and according to the D.O.C. most violent prisons. Second, since I’ve came into this facility I been having concerns. First, I’ve gotten and now have cysts and a boil that I’ve just gotten seen for finally. I’ve gotten a lump on my neck and shoulder that the medical dept. is saying is nothing but I didn’t have any of this before I came. I am also dealing with indigestion and heart burn. The water not only rests bad but you can smell a bad odor when you shower and on top of that they’ve been serving us spoiled and almost spoiled milks for the last month or so. This facility really needs some kind of federal investigation” “I feel as though this jail itself is committing a crime. Attempted murder. This area is not humane. Period. What is the hold up with who gonna do what? Are yall waiting for everyone to die…? Life threatening toxic chemicals had to sink through the water pipes somehow . why isn’t anything being done when the problem is figured out…” “There are other conditions that you should know about,including: racism by white power elements that control this RHU; the unsanitary feeding practices; unsanitary medication practices; race baiting; bogus misconducts and proceedings; denial of medical care/adequate care; physical/medical abuse; bogus classifications; and other attracts on minority prisoners. A black man recently hung himself as a result of constant race-based attracts. These conditions exist in all of the major Pa.D.O.C. RHU's.They have been trying to murder me for years,and are finally close to their goal.This whole RHU system needs to be investigated and gutted.”

  • Protesting in tribute to George Floyd whose death has sparked protest across the entire US

    On June 7th approximately a thousand people gathered at Eastern State Penitentiary in Philly and march to Gov. Wolf's office in Center City. Over a dozen people were on a hunger strike demanding that Gov Wolf keep his promise and release the elderly and sick from prison during this COVID19 Pandemic. In addition to changing a prison system that does not hold value to or respect for the lives they hold, the Human Rights Coalition (HRC) demand that prison guards be held accountable for wrongful deaths and abuse of the men and women held in their custody. INCARCERATED LIVES MATTER! View more images from protests here.

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