Friday, August 26, 2016

NJ Solidarity w/ Sept 9 Multi-State Incarcerated Work Stoppage



On September 9, 2016 on the 45th. Anniversary of the start of the Atiica State Prison uprising that led to the massacre called by then NY State Governor Nelson Rockefeller, prisoners in multiple states around the US are preparing for a work stoppage to protest enslavement in incarcerated facilities throughout the US.

Peoples Organization for Progress and Decarcerate the Garden State joined in a letter calling for protests around NJ in solidarity with the action and demand and in support of Decarceration, freedom for political prisoners and improved conditions for those inside carceral facilities.

In NJ we demand:
End Prison Enslavement: 13th Amendment Keeps Enslavement Intact and it is organized through the US federal, state and local incarceration (“corrections”) system
Freedom for all political prisoners in the USA
Mass Decarceration and Immediate Commutation Relief in Response to the 12:1 Racial Disparity in NJ Incarceration Probabilities
Improved Conditions Inside All NJ Corrections and Detention Facilities

Initial Letter from POP and Decarcerate the Garden State

 Partial lists of actions:

Newark - Coordinated by POP:

Newark County Superior Courthouse
Newark, NJ
Friday Sept 9 (9/9)
3 – 6 pm
520 Market St, Camden, New Jersey 08103
Friday Sept 9 (9/9)
1:30 – 5:30 pm
Leafleting and if numbers permit rallying
https://www.facebook.com/events/431902483646677/

Thursday, September 8 at 3:30 PM - 7 PM
Join community members from across the state to urge elected officials to stop making money from the incarceration of immigrants. Hudson County has been profiting off the prison system. We will march from the Hudson County Jail, which holds immigrants in jail on behalf of ICE for a cost, to the Hudson County Freeholder meeting.

Únase a miembros de nuestra comunidad de alrededor el estado para pedir que los elegidos paren de ganar dinero por encarcelar a inmigrantes. El condado de Hudson está ganando dinero de la cárcel. Vamos a marchar de la cárcel de Hudson, cual detiene a inmigrantes a nombre de la migra por un costo, a la reunión de los representantes del condado.

Start of March: 30-35 Hackensack Ave, Kearny, NJ 07032
End of March: 567 Pavonia Avenue, Jersey City, NJ 07306. 

Route will be 3.5 miles, wear comfortable clothing.

Co-Sponsors: Action 21, Migrante New Jersey
A coffeehouse of music, poetry and discussion 
Inspired by and in memory of Coalition member Marc Shapiro

Saturday, September 10, 7:30 pm
Reformed Church, 19-21 South 2 nd Ave., Highland Park

Discussion: 

Struggles Inside: Organizing Against Inhumane Prison Conditions

Speakers:   

Marshall Rountree, Social and criminal justice reform advocate. Recently released after serving 23 years in prison, many of them in solitary confinement

Additional Speaker: To be announced


Poetry: Rahime Hicks and Marshall Rountree

Central Jersey Coalition Against Endless War   

For additional information call Ellen at 732-771-7882
Statewide campus leafleting 8 am – 6pm
On September 9 (also known as 9/9), prison laborers throughout the country will begin a work stoppage to protest inhumane working and living conditions, just as the prisoners in Attica State Correctional Facility did on September 9, 1971 after their formal grievances and concerns were consistently ignored by the state. Decarcerate NJ is organizing events across NJ to take place on or about September 9 in order to raise awareness about the work stoppage, the inhumane conditions being protested, and to express solidarity with the prison workers who have been abused and exploited for their labor for decades. 
One of our goals for September 9 is to get student supporters from as many NJ college campuses as possible to hand out leaflets in their dining areas at breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner. The leaflets will be two-sided -- one side providing information about 9/9, Decarcerate NJ’s solidarity efforts, and Decarcerate NJ’s contact information, the other side containing information about the campus organization(s) participating in the leafleting and local efforts to work towards decarceration.
In order to meet our goal, we need at least one point person -- student, faculty, staff member, or student group -- from each campus where leafleting will occur. The point person or point people at each campus will be in charge of creating the local organizing side of the flier, printing, making any signs or t-shirts to wear while leafleting, and of course recruiting volunteers to help hand out fliers. If you or your student group are interested in handing out leaflets on 9/9, please contact me as soon as possible with your name, your student group (if applicable), and the campus you will be leafleting at. Additionally, feel free to contact me with any questions, concerns, or requests for help.
Lastly, there is a possible solidarity event on September 10 in Plainfield. This event is in the planning stages but would be hosted by Plainfield youth and feature liberationist music and art to celebrate the unity in struggle for decarceration. There may be additional 9/9 events in other cities across the state organized by members of Decarcerate NJ. More information about the possible Plainfield event and any others which materialize will be released as soon as possible.
Thank you for taking the time to read through this letter and engage in the discussion around decarceration. We hope to see you out in your schools for 9/9!


Best,
Jennie Chenkin
Facebook: Jennie Chenkin
Email: jmac13@hampshire.edu

Phone: (908) 967-4095
Rowan University Panel Discussion Sept 15 – Stay Tuned for Details

Details possibly to be announced elsewhere including Trenton and Jersey City

WE ARE ENCOURAGING ORGANIZATIONS AND INDIVIDUALS TO TAKE INITIATIVE AND ADD MORE SUCH EVENTS . . . AND OF COURSE CONNECT WITH THESE EVENTS ALREADY IN MOTION!

RELATED AND URGENT:
Please join us to protest the failure of the U.S. Attorney's Office to indict the Bridgeton, NJ police officers that shot and killed Jerame Reid. Come to the protest on Monday, August 29th, 4:30pm at the Federal Building, 970 Broad Street in Newark, NJ. For more information call People's Organization For Progress (POP) at (973)801-0001.




Tuesday, August 23, 2016

DETAILED UPDATE FROM IMAM SIDDIQUE ABDULLAH HASAN & CONFINED MUSLIM CITIZENS AT OHIO STATE PENITENTIARY

Courtesy of Free Ohio Movement


They have given me thirty (30) days restrictions. It was a deliberate plan to cut off my direct communications with the outside world prior to the national event/action, notwithstanding their own policy only permits them to suspend my privileges for a period of up to two hundred eighty-eight hours (See paragraph (C) of rule 5120:1-10-12 of the Administrative Code or disciplinary isolation.) This restriction policy became effective 2/16/2016.
I agree that prison officials are "so used to being invisible and hiding its corruption and abuses from the public"; however, we must reveal what happened in my recent situation. Thus continue to work with the media and attorneys to expose the problems in my case. (I plan on filing my appeal to the Warden on Monday.)
There are three of us--Keith Dewitt Jr., David Martin and myself--still on hunger strike. We are all Muslims and are dissatisfied with the contract Imam's work performance, treatment of Muslims, and using his position to remove Muslims from their services merely because they disagree with some of his teachings. The others that were on the hunger strike were showing their solidarity about me being wrongfully put in the hole. They were demanding that I be released from isolation. When that materialized, they ended their strike.


Hereunder are some of the problems in my case:
1. The incident allegedly took place on July 22nd; however, an incident report was not written until August 1st. The charge is very, very serious and no one would wait for 10 days before writing an incident report if it was true.
2. They then waited 8 more days before placing me in the hole (on August 9th) with a conduct report for a Rule 59 violation: Any act not otherwise set forth herein, knowingly done which constitutes a threat to the security of the institution, its staff, other inmates, or to the acting inmate.
3. The above conduct report was dismissed/thrown out and another one was written on 08/15/2016. This was done to embellish and magnify the report.
4. The reporting staff member's signature should appear on the conduct report; however, this is not the case in my situation. Imam Said Ismail's signature is not on mine; instead, Lt. K. Sample signed it. I hear the Imam should have signed it Friday (August 19th), that would be a day after my conviction by the RIB (the Rule Infraction Board). That's unlawful! The written staff member's signature should appear on the report before the RIB hearing is conducted.
5. The RIB has the authority to "Order restrictions on personal privileges following an inmate's abuse of such privileges or facilities or when such action is deemed necessary by the warden for the safety and security of the institution, or the well-being of the inmate. Such restrictions shall continue only as long as it is reasonably necessary." Since I did not violate or abuse any of my phone and/or Kiosk privileges, why am I on 30 days phone and Kiosk restrictions? The simple answer is, they wanted to deny me direct access and communications to the outside world until after September 9th.
6. According to 5120:1-10-13 Violations and penalties, "Major rule violations shall be subject to restriction or suspension of the privileges and/or qualified rights enumerated in paragraph (C) of rule 5120:1-10-12 of the Administrative Code or disciplinary isolation, for a period of up to two hundred eighty-eight hours." That will merely be 12 days of restrictions. So why am I on 30 days of phone and Kiosk restrictions? This policy became effective 2/16/2016.
Not only was my rights to a fair and impartial hearing was violated, the penalty imposed on me was excessive. It clearly shows OSP was out to get me; hence, the reason for the fabricated charge. Even if the Warden or his designee were to refer my case back to the RIB panel for reconsideration when there is procedural errors have obviously occurred, I am convinced the outcome would be the same.
Therefore, let's keep up the pressure and expose OSP's diabolical scheme for all and sundry to see. If we don't, I'm convinced they will eventually fabricate more charges on me in the upcoming weeks, months and years.
Until again, I remain unbroken and in the trenches.
With revolutionary love and salute,
Imam Siddique Abdullah Hasan
P.S.
Share this e-mail with Rick, Jeff, Queen T, and the rest of the world.

OUT NOW! NO MORE FOOTDRAGGING ON COMPLICATED PRISON REFORM SCHEMES

As a veteran of anti-war protest – I have always been on the side of the inter movement debate that has supported the position of US OUT NOW!  There have always been proponents that would attack that position as unrealistic – and instead support schemes including sanctions (which kill almost as good as bombs do) and complicated cease fire negotiation schemes.  Often those with the schemes that allow the war to continue are often also proponents of Democratic Party candidates – they thus support war-lite positions to give false peace credentials to their war making allies in government.
We are at the same point with the demand for an end to mass incarceration.

I would suggest that probably every or nearly every political office holder has the position that there are “too many” prisoners.  There are many incremental schemes – 5 year plans – 10 year plans . . . proposals where those that might eventually get some degree of relief from their current harsh sentences have to conform to rigid programs preparing them for “return” then intensive monitoring (supporting the prison monitoring security equipment companies) once they get limited release from incarceration.

Given NJ’s reprehensible – worse in the nation – probability of incarceration disparity – where Black NJ residents have a TWELVE TO ONE greater probability to end up incarcerated as NJ’s white residency – OUT NOW! Is a legitimate demand.

Let’s demand IMMEDIATE COMMUTATION RELIEF for NJ’s incarcerated and a full fledged investigation of how NJ earned this infamous worse in the nation disparity.

A simple demand for immediate commutations . . . instead of trying to embrace complicated reforms that are being bantered about – could possibly garner public support and create the kind of pressure that could expedite any actual relief that gets meted out.

Face it – with the 12:1 disparity – that means that many incarcerated should likely never have been arrested, many should never have been sentenced, many sentences should never have been as lengthy, many have been over charged and forced into plea arrangements when their was scanty evidence against them to begin with.


We need to make the demands that resources be allocated to exposing these disparities in NJ criminal justice and that commutation be immediately provided to those that have been victimized by these racial aspects of NJ’s so called criminal justice.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Current 9/9 NJ Organizing Status Minutes from 8/12

Decarcerate the Garden State in partnership with Peoples Organization for Progress has called for and has been organizing support for a nationwide strike inside prisons against prisoner enslavement.  We are organizing a set of actions and activities –working with numerous justice and freedom loving organizations   - in solidarity of the anti-enslavement efforts of incarcerated men and women.  Our demands in NJ include support for the demand to end prison enslavement, freedom for all political prisoners,  a 50% reduction of NJ’s incarcerated count and improved conditions for NJ’ s incarcerated men, women and youth.

POP / Decarcerate the Garden State Unified Call to Action:
http://decarceratenj.blogspot.com/2016/05/pop-decarcerate-garden-state-letter.html
Melissa Love Light Tomlinson of Bad Ass Teachers (BATs) states that BATS will be organizing a push in the week leading up to September 9 of educational materials to teachers around the School to Prison Pipeline issue.  They will be also reaching out to NEA and AFT affiliates and will utilize some of the materials on this topic that have been developed by the National Education Association.  Members of several other teachers and school advocacy organizations have expressed interest in the teacher / student  outreach efforts.  Related:
http://decarceratenj.blogspot.com/2016/06/nj-bats-statement-supporting-september.html
http://decarceratenj.blogspot.com/2016/07/how-can-teachers-be-part-of-sept-9.html

Julie Saporito of the Green Party discussed ways to access the organizations county structure to build support for area activities and possibly generate more localizes activities.   The conflict of pros and cons of more local events vs. less regional events was discussed and the idea is that group chapters in easy traveling range of an “area event” like hopefully Newark, Camden and Trenton would support such efforts but those in counties far removed from such events might consider getting something local going even if it was a more low key event.

Jennie Chenkin and Ryan DeAngelo presented the campus initiative to leaflet at the cafeterias on as many NJ campuses as possible.  Jennie has drafted a flier about our September 9 efforts.  The idea is that a two-sided flier can be used with the opposite side containing information about local campus organizing so participants will be promoting both the prison strike and Decarceration movement at the same time as reaching out to students around their local campus organzing efforts.  So far there is likelihood of activities at least at Rutgers New Brunswick and Newark, Rowan, Monmouth, Brookdale and Montclair.  There also has been some discussion with high school students for a similar effort – leafleting to high school students around the beginning part of September including on September 9.

Details: http://decarceratenj.blogspot.com/2016/08/letter-to-students-re-99-campus.html

Ian, was on the call and expressed interest in organizing in the Paterson area either to get something local going there or possibly to help get Paterson people over to the Newark event.

Randy Thompson of Help Not Handcuffs, primarily Asbury Park based group opposed to the war on drugs and supportive of harm reduction discussed his support for efforts but also the challenge since his organization has its major annual event on September 18.  Nonetheless he spoke of doing some outreach to Asbury Park advocates who he can possibly assist in something maybe in Asbury Park around the date.  Help Not Handcuffs:  http://decarceratenj.blogspot.com/2016/06/help-not-handcuffs-statement-of-support.html

Lefty Grimes, an advocate for an end to cannabis prohibition in NJ offered to help coordinate a Trenton event focused on Decarceration and linking it up with the connection to cannabis prohibition and the war on drugs.   We are also trying to have a second phase of the Trenton event focused on local justice related issues as related to mass incarceration.  Both parts of the event will be push the demands of this overall effort.

There were 3 Plainfield members on the call.  We did not discuss this at the meeting but at meetings in recent weeks – the idea is for a street event on Saturday September 10 that will feature music, poetry, other performance and visual art around the themes of Decarceration and ending police impunity for brutality and street killings and other justice related matters.



Central Jersey Coalition Against Endless War is featuring a panel discussion on September 10:
http://decarceratenj.blogspot.com/2016/08/struggles-inside-organizing-against.html

Newark:

POP has offered to officiate a Newark event on 9/9 - we need to tighten up the plan.
Ideally if 5 or more Newark area residents can offer to pitch in with logitics and over all planning and promotion that would be ideal.  It could include an attempt to leaflet at the Courthouse and maybe a march from there to the county jail with a rally of sorts there. (That's just an idea.)  We need to figure out the best time to start - there are advantages of doing it earlier because court would still be in session but the idea of having a larger - after work pool of potential participaints is an argument for a later time.  POP members - you have experience with timing in Newark - this is a Friday - what do you think on the timing?  We might be able to draw in students which could make an earlier time more do-able.  The courthouse is adjacent the county college!  Maybe even agitate there earlier to see if some student traffic can be averted to the court site.

Camden:

There are at least 3 who have expressed willingness to play a coordinating role around a similar event in Camden - including possible leafleting at the Camden County Courthouse and a rally there and / or at the Camden County jail.
It was stressed that all organizations and local county chapters etc. of organizations that are supporting this set of activities should figure either:
How to plug in to one of the already in motion activities being planned.
Initiation of another localized event (like leafleting at a county courthouse, rallying outside the courthouse or at a county jail or other publicly visible venue.

Do not hesitate to get involved.
For more information 908-881-5275

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

LETTER TO STUDENTS RE: 9/9 CAMPUS ORGANIZING

To whom it may concern:
I hope this message finds you well. My name is Jennie and I am a rising senior at Hampshire College where I have created my own major focusing on incarceration, critical race theory, and conflict resolution. I am reaching out to you as a part of Decarcerate the Garden State or Decarcerate NJ, a group which aims to address the epidemic of mass incarceration as it has manifested here in New Jersey.
On September 9 (also known as 9/9), prison laborers throughout the country will begin a work stoppage to protest inhumane working and living conditions, just as the prisoners in Attica State Correctional Facility did on September 9, 1971 after their formal grievances and concerns were consistently ignored by the state. Decarcerate NJ is organizing events across NJ to take place on or about September 9 in order to raise awareness about the work stoppage, the inhumane conditions being protested, and to express solidarity with the prison workers who have been abused and exploited for their labor for decades.
One of our goals for September 9 is to get student supporters from as many NJ college campuses as possible to hand out leaflets in their dining areas at breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner. The leaflets will be two-sided -- one side providing information about 9/9, Decarcerate NJ’s solidarity efforts, and Decarcerate NJ’s contact information, the other side containing information about the campus organization(s) participating in the leafleting and local efforts to work towards decarceration.
In order to meet our goal, we need at least one point person -- student, faculty, staff member, or student group -- from each campus where leafleting will occur. The point person or point people at each campus will be in charge of creating the local organizing side of the flier, printing, making any signs or t-shirts to wear while leafleting, and of course recruiting volunteers to help hand out fliers. If you or your student group are interested in handing out leaflets on 9/9, please contact me as soon as possible with your name, your student group (if applicable), and the campus you will be leafleting at. Additionally, feel free to contact me with any questions, concerns, or requests for help.
Lastly, there is a possible solidarity event on September 10 in Plainfield. This event is in the planning stages but would be hosted by Plainfield youth and feature liberationist music and art to celebrate the unity in struggle for decarceration. There may be additional 9/9 events in other cities across the state organized by members of Decarcerate NJ. More information about the possible Plainfield event and any others which materialize will be released as soon as possible.
Thank you for taking the time to read through this letter and engage in the discussion around decarceration. We hope to see you out in your schools for 9/9!


Best,
Jennie Chenkin
Facebook: Jennie Chenkin

Phone: (908) 967-4095

Monday, August 8, 2016

Why Wisniewski – Why? Time to "Walk it Back" on your "Coffee Ban"

Everybody is  talking about the NJ coffee while driving ban – brain child of Bernie lead delegate, John Wisniewski – a Middlesex County Assembly member. 


He is trying to market this repressive legislation under the guise of “educational” and “not about punishment.”  For something that is not about punishment – there are an awful lot of punishments that are part of this purportedly safety minded proposal: $400 $600 or $800 depending upon how many times you took the caffeine at the wheel and got nailed by a trooper or a local yokel.

Plus license suspension.  Remember too that for many struggling workers and out-of-workers in NJ even a couple hundred of fines equals a short jail term in NJ’s debtor jails – I believe the rate is about $50 a day – whereas if you are poor as dirt for example and you have  $500 fine that you can not pay – you can often jail it off for 10 days sentence.

But this is about more than coffee. 

Technically it is already illegal to be doing distracting things like coffee or whatever while you drive but this will make it for a citable offense meaning you can get pulled over for it.  No doubt there are several other infractions built in – like is it just coffee or does it include water, a sports beverage or tea or hot cocoa?  Probably all.  And what about changing the station or quickly looking over to make sure your son is buckled in.

Basically what it comes down to – Wisniewski – intentionally or otherwise – is giving NJ cops another excuse and cover for racial profiling and other forms of harassment or investigative “look see” policing.

The judicial gives wide leeway to cops doing whatever they want on the highways and byways already.  Many – including those who are Black and Brown – in NJ and throughout the nation are already a little nervous about driving – having experienced the wrath of police stops and having watched the ravages of trigger happy policing of pull overs on the nightly you tubes.

One more reason now they have for random stops – I thought I saw him look down at a drinking receptacle, I noticed his eyes shift from the road, I saw a water bottle in the cup holder . . .
Boom – instant pull over excuse.  Opens the door to the daily dalliance between civilian drivers and the armed (with weapons and with impunity) officers in blue or grey or brown.

So why is Wisniewski – the guy that led NJ progressives for Sanders and spoke at community meetings about the need to fight for change sponsoring this?  Is this some guise to get cops more overtime hours?  Is there some sort of “real reason” deep police investigative strategy going on?  The safety angle sound s somewhat superficial in these days of daily confrontations between zealous, often racist and corrupt police and civilians just trying to go to work or enjoy the pursuit  of happiness.

Why Wisniewski – why?

Better yet – wake up and realize you made a mistake and walk it back.


We need decarcerating action from politicians – especially those that want to claim the progressive mantle – not more excuses to increase the tension between police and civilian drivers at a time when this issue is a major contributor to community anger.

Struggles Inside: Organizing Against Inhumane Prison Conditions

Marc ' s Place 


A coffeehouse of music, poetry and discussion 
Inspired by and in memory of Coalition member Marc Shapiro

Saturday, September 10, 7:30 pm
Reformed Church, 19-21 South 2 nd Ave., Highland Park

Discussion: 
 
Struggles Inside: Organizing Against Inhumane Prison Conditions

Speakers:   

Marshall Rountree, Social and criminal justice reform advocate. Recently released after serving 23 years in prison, many of them in solitary confinement

Additional Speaker: To be announced

 
Poetry: Rahime Hicks and Marshall Rountree
 

Come for the food and performances  stay for the conversation!
Admission Free, but donations gratefully accepted  
Accessible from municipal lot at rear of the church.  Enter lot from Magnolia Street between South 2 nd  and 3 rd 
Central Jersey Coalition Against Endless War   

For additional information call Ellen at 732-771-7882