Friday, February 17, 2012

A3 Newsletter: We Heart Prisoners

Angola 3 Newsletter: February 14, 2012

Valentines Day Issue

International Coalition to Free the Angola 3

We Heart Prisoners!

This Valentines day we extend our support to our many comrades behind bars and re-dedicate ourselves to changing the system that oppresses them and robs the communities they are pulled from by cutting education, health care, housing and jobs.

We applaud the collaborative efforts of Occupy Movements around the country in extending their support and numbers to existing prison efforts and in organizing National Occupy Day in Support of Prisoner rallies nationwide in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, Fresno, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, PA, Denver, CO, Columbus, OH and Chicago, IL and Atlanta, GA.

Recognizing the link between corporate greed and the highest incarceration rate in the world is an essential step to combat a profoundly broken system. We hope A3 supporters will join in these rallies anywhere they can and if there isn't one in your community- help organize one!
Legal Update - Two Important Steps Forward
We are happy to report that 2012 began with an eagerly anticipated ruling from Judge Jackson in Herman's case. As you may remember, last fall the State attempted to disqualify both Herman and Albert's counsel, alleging a conflict of interest. Like Judge Brady before him, Judge Jackson dismissed the claim with a very succinct and reasonable ruling.

In other encouraging news, the US Supreme Court overturned the conviction of a New Orleans man serving life at Angola for murder after it was proven that the prosecution withheld important evidence that contradicted the eyewitness claims. Juan Smith was convicted in 1995 by the testimony of a single eyewitness. This is a brand of prosecutorial misconduct known as a "Brady claim" (potentially exculpatory information that is not disclosed by prosecutors to the defense).
Although different from the facts of the A3 cases, the victory is nonetheless an important and helpful precedent for Herman and Albert, both who have put forth strong Brady claims. It is especially welcome news after the tragic US Supreme Court decision that overturned John Thompson's prosecutorial misconduct claim last spring.

Happy 65th Birthday Albert!!!


February 19th Albert will celebrate his 65th birthday with a group of visiting supporters.
Take a moment to send him a short note or birthday card letting him know that your heartfelt wish is that 2012 will be his year of freedom!
Robert King's Message to Occupy Prisons Protests

First of all I would like to applaud and salute those in the Occupy movement for focusing on the hideous corruption of corporate America and the effects this corruption has on all of us in the 99%, including the well over two million individuals that fill our detention facilities and their families.

Being in prison, in solitary was terrible. It was a nightmare. My soul still cries from all that I witnessed and endured. It does more than cry- it mourns, continuously. I saw men so desperate that they ripped prison doors apart, starved and mutilated themselves. It takes every scrap of humanity to stay focused and sane in this environment. The pain and suffering are everywhere, constantly with you. But, it's was also so much more than that. I had dreams and they were beautiful dreams. I used to look forward to the nights when I could sleep and dream. There's no describing the day to day assault on your body and your mind and the feelings of hopelessness and despair.

There is far more than a causal relationship between the Occupy Movement and the work so many of you are doing to change the criminal justice system.

The same people who make the laws that favor the bankers, make the laws that fill our prisons and detention centers. We have to continue to make the connection between Wall St. and the prison industrial complex. The growth of the private prison industry is just one symptom of this unholy alliance.

I stand in solidarity with the Occupy 4 Prisoners rally and hope these rallies shed further light on the insidious effects of prisons for profit and politics.

Free all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience!
February 20: Occupy San Quentin Prison and Beyond!

Marking an important bridging of anti-prison activism with the Occupy movement, a national day of action is solidarity with prisoners has been called for February 20. There will be demonstrations at San Quentin Prison (just north of San Francisco) and around the US.

The Occupy 4 Prisoners website explains that "this action will bring together a broad section of prison activists, former prisoners, occupy activists and other social justice fighters to bring forth the message that the mass incarceration of poor people, who are disproportionately people of color, is misdirected, racist and inhumane. We will emphasize that the drug war targets people of color and is responsible for locking up half a million people, most of whom are non violent drug offenders. We will call for end to the drug war, to mass incarceration, to the death penalty and other harsh sentences like life sentences without the possibility of parole. We will call for a redirection of money to be allocated for mental health services and drug treatment programs in an effort to prevent crimes from happening in the first place."

MEET AT : East Gate, San Quentin. Monday, February 20, 2012, 12 noon - 3pm.

CARPOOL: Oakland: Oscar Grant Plaza/ 14th and Broadway - 10am
San Francisco: 1540 Market @ Van Ness - 10am

--For more info about the San Quentin action and others around the US, email or visit:

--Read/listen to Mumia Abu-Jamal's message for Feb. 20 here.
GNew Book: The Chino Hills Murders and the Framing of Kevin Cooper

In his new book, just released this month, author J. Patrick O'Connor asserts that the police and prosecution orchestrated an obvious frame-up of Kevin Cooper, on San Quentin's death row, that continues to be upheld by federal appeals courts, albeit with the blatantly unfair rulings by US District Court Judge Marilyn Huff blocking critical forensics tests that had been ordered by the US Ninth Circuit Court in 2004.

--Read O'Connor's full interview with Prison Radio here.
Mumia Abu-Jamal Has Been Transferred To General Population

Following a global action campaign to get Mumia Abu-Jamal out of the hole, where he was put following his official transfer off death row, he has now been transferred in to general population where he now can have contact visits other "privileges' denied to him before.

The photo above (the first of Mumia since 1995) is from his second contact visit (his first was with his wife Wadiya) with two longtime supporters: filmmaker/professor Johanna Fernandez and Heidi Boghosian, Executive Director of the National Lawyers Guild. About the visit, Fernandez writes that, "Unlike our previous visits to Death Row at SCI Greene and to solitary confinement at SCI Mahanoy, our visit yesterday took place in a large visitor's area, amidst numerous circles of families and spouses who were visiting other inmates...There were so many scenes of affection around us, of children jumping on top of and pulling at their fathers, of entire families talking intimately around small tables, of couples sitting and quietly holding each other, and of girlfriends and wives stealing a forbidden kiss from the men they were there to visit (kisses are only allowed at the start and at the end of visits). These scenes were touching and beautiful, and markedly different from the images of prisoners presented to us by those in power. Our collective work could benefit greatly from these humane, intimate images."

--Read Johanna Fernandez's full essay here.
Support Carlos Montes, Targeted By The FBI

Following longtime activist Carlos Montes' court hearing on January 25, the Committee to Stop FBI Repression reported that the "Today there was an extremely serious development in Carlos' case. LA County Superior Court Judge Lomeli denied the motion to dismiss the 6 felony charges, setting the stage for trial later this year. Prosecutors have stated in the press that Carlos may face about to five years in prison. The fight is on!"

"This is really about Carlos' deep and long involvement in the antiwar, immigrants' rights and international solidarity movements that challenge US Empire and war. Carlos needs your support!
The State, via the District Attorney and the judicial system, wants to put Carlos in jail for his political activism and effective organizing. We need to continue to build on the support Carlos has and get ready for a full jury trial. Carlos believes that a jury of his peers will find him not guilty. Now is the time to fight! We must organize to win!"

For updates, please visit here.
The Gray Box: An Investigative Look At Solitary Confinement

An excellent new article by investigative journalist Susan Greene has been published by Dart Society Reports. The formidable article is highly recommended.

One paragraph reports that "among the misperceptions about solitary confinement is that it's used only on the most violent inmates, and only for a few weeks or months. In fact, an estimated 80,000 Americans - many with no record of violence either inside or outside prison - are living in seclusion. They stay there for years, even decades. What this means, generally, is 23 hours a day in a cell the size of two queen-sized mattresses, with a single hour in an exercise cage, also alone. Some prisoners aren't allowed visits or phone calls. Some have no TV or radio. Some never lay eyes on each other. And some go years without fresh air or sunlight.

--Read the full article here.
Shown in the photo are 550 letters Justice Now has already received.
Stop the Conversion of Valley State Prison from a Women's to a Men's Prison!

There is a new online petition started by the California Coalition for Women Prisoners and Justice Now that we urge A3 supporters to sign. The full text is below:

Dear Gov. Brown, CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate and Judge Thelton Henderson,

Subject: Stop the Conversion of Valley State Prison from a Women's to a Men's Prison

"For us, the proposed prison conversion and purposeful, escalated overcrowding of California's women's prisons system are matters of life and death." -Person imprisoned at Central California Women's Facility (CCWF)

As the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last May, extreme overcrowding of prisons is unconstitutional. It leads to increased violence, illness and deaths.

Women in prison die of medical neglect due to overcrowding, just like the men. But the State thinks no one is looking, and/or don't care, so they are increasing overcrowding in women's prisons to create the illusion of complying with the intention of the law. Sign this petition to make sure California doesn't get away with hiding the abuse of women in prison.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) is planning to convert Valley State Prison for Women (VSPW) into a men's prison. Instead of releasing thousands of women who are eligible to go home, CDCR is planning to transfer them to them to the three remaining women's prisons Central California Women's Facility, California Institution for Women. This conversion and the crowding of people-including pregnant and elderly women-into facilities that are already far above capacity will intensify by horrific proportions the medical neglect and premature death already rampant in women's prisons. Cells that were designed to house 4 now house 8 and will house 10; the overflow of people will be packed into day rooms and gyms.

Although California passed an Alternative Custody bill for women in 2010, to date fewer than 20 women have been deemed eligible for release under this bill. Over 700 people at VSPW and CCWF have already signed petitions to stop this conversion plan and the transfer of incarcerated people in women's prisons to other overcrowded facilities. They call on the public to support the following three demands in the interest of our community at large:

1. We demand the State immediately halt its conversion program and stop the transfer of women to the remaining overburdened women's prisons so we are not subjected to escalating abuse as direct result of historic overcrowding.

2. We demand that the State release enough people to address overcrowding of all people in its prison system.

3. We demand that when overcrowding has ceased for all people, that the State close Valley State Prison for all people and repurpose it into a non-correctional, community space.

"We inside cannot vote. We cannot lobby Sacramento. All we want is to live... Will you hear our pleas for humanity and dignity?" A statement written by women in California's prisons.

To read the whole statement in it's entirety visit

We need your help to ensure their safety. We need to help ensure that VSPW be closed (not converted) once sufficient numbers of incarcerated women and transgender people are released.

At a time when state funds are desperately needed for schools and after school programs, parks, quality health care, affordable housing, and many other social services, there is no need to continue warehousing prisoners - at great public expense - who are eligible for release.

We call on Governor Jerry Brown, Matthew Cate and Judge Thelton Henderson to stop the conversion of VSPW and the transfer of women and trans people into other overcrowded

Keep in Touch with Herman and Albert


Albert Woodfox #72148 Herman Wallace #76759

David Wade Correctional Center Elayn Hunt Correctional Center
N1 A3 CCR D #11
670 Bell Hill Road PO Box 174
Homer, LA 71040 St. Gabriel, LA 70776

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