Archive for September, 2016

From the New York City Jericho Movement

September 26, 2016

 

download-38

via Nate Buckley

Greetings Everyone, here’s an update on Seth’s health from his amazing Daughter Crystal.

#BLACKLIVESMATTER in prison too!

I just got off the phone with my father, who’s health is a constant roller coaster. This month alone, he was sent to the infirmary overnight for observations twice and to an outside hospital for emergency treatment. Every time that he returns, all of his belongings are gone — pictures of family, his food that helps him manage his diabetes so that he doesn’t have to eat unhealthy state food, letters, clothes — everything just gone!

One of his friends told him that he asked prison personnel why were they taking my father’s stuff, and they responded, “he’s not coming back, he’s going to die anyway.”

They take his stuff & clear out his cell in anticipation of his death because they know that they’re trying to kill him. They mess with his meds, food, etc every time as if he’s not a person with actual rights!

Prisoners have rights, but I know we aren’t dealing with the kind of system that sees us as human anyway.

He just told me not to worry, but that’s not possible. I am going to worry, because I know that if we don’t get him home soon they will not stop until he’s dead. They do it, just like police shootings, because there’s ZERO accountability.

I am calling the prison tomorrow to complain. It won’t really do anything, except that it’s a reminder to them that he has family who loves him and that we’re all watching them.

We need to stop talking “reform” and talk abolition of this entire criminal justice system. There’s NOTHING humane or just about this system. They treat the US Constitution like a suggestion when it involves Black and Brown people, poor people, people in prison, etc whether you’re in prison or not.

We have no rights that they feel obligated to respect, legal or otherwise.

This was a hard week, but to learn of my dad’s illness and how they took all of his personal items just to mess with him when he’s already vulnerable and sick, only further confirms what I know to be true – this system needs to be abolished! It’s cruel, inhumane, and degrading. Prisoners have rights! We ALL have rights.

They don’t get to arbitrarily decide who lives and who dies! We need to remind the world that #blacklivesmatter in prison too!

I know some people will read this and ask “but don’t we need the police and prisons to be safe?” Really? White people already live a life of prison abolition. Go into any predominately white middle-class community and I will show you what prison abolition looks like. It means a life free from constant police harassment, arrest, and incarceration. It means a life where there are resources like excellent schools with well-paid teachers, and healthy food. It’s a life where you have safe parks where kids get to play without fear of being shot by the police. Don’t tell me prison abolition isn’t possible when white people are already living it!

We need to combine our call for #BlackLivesMatter with a call for prison abolition and freedom of political prisoners! Until we connect these dots, not much is going to change.

COINTELPRO made sure that prison was going to be the state-sanctioned way to end dissent. This isn’t a pipe-dream. Either we abolish this prison/police state now or we just need to accept that these street style police lynchings will never stop nor will we ever get to a place where we shift resources from punishment to human rights strategies that address our social problems. We can’t demand better healthcare and education, but then send poor people to prison!”

Seth is scheduled to see an endocrinologist in the near future and feels the current doctor is trying to address his medical needs. We will keep people posted as the results and if there is any need to advocate on his behalf. Thank you for all your support and please send Seth a letter of encouragement and support and/or include funds.

Robert Seth Hayes #74-A-2280
Sullivan Correctional Facility,
P.O. Box 116,
Fallsburg, NY 12733-0116

United States

Birthday: October 15, 1948

call for concerted solidality campaign for the struggle of US prisoners

September 17, 2016

_74610271_93074268Prisons in the usa – The dark side of slavery in American society

In order to be in the position to understand the importance and necessity of the us prisoners’ struggle, we first need to analyze the role of slavery in the foundation and evolution of the American state and its historical and integral ,until today, link with the capital.

Slavery in its many forms was actually the foundation on which the omnipotence of american over lordship was gradually built. The root of this phenomenon can be traced back in the era when the Christian empires of europe started a race to conquest unknown lands, founding colonialism regimes, in the era of brutal genocides of the indigenous populations and the slave trade of the non-white African population.

Since then and until today, the social and political circumstances have rapidly changed, mainly because of a heavy blood tax that has been paid from beneath, towards the direction of the total shaking off of slavery as an institution. However, it continues up until today, more or less covered.

Today’s prisoners’ class and racial composition, the spreading of private prisons, the institutionalization of enforced labor as a form of criminal sanction, the exploitation of prisoners by big companies highlight the fundamental connection between state-capitalism-slavery and prison.

Slavery in the first colonial systems

During the first years of the “new world’s” colonization and until the early 18th century, most of the settlers were not free but were under a status of an idiotype slavery, known as “indentured servitude”, which aimed in equipping the colonies with cheap workforce. The “indentured servant” signed a contract according to which she/he was mortgaging her/his freedom and provide her/his work to a master for a period between 5 to 7 years and, in exchange, the latter covered her/his transportation expenses to the colony. In practice, it was happening by the signature of the contract between the “indentured servant” and the ship owner and the subsequent transferring of the contract to the new master, as soon as the ship arrived to the “new world”. The institution was initially introduced in 1619 through Virginia Company. It has been calculated that 80% of the refugees in the american colonies before american revolution were under this status, while only 40% managed to survive.

Inter ventured servants” consisted of three categories : 1) poor immigrants seeking for a better life in the colonies 2)immigrants forced to leave their country because of religious prosecutions or other reasons 3) convicts. It constisted of both white and non-white population. More specifically, in the plantations of the south, the institution favored the further expansion of the land ownership, since it got connected to the headright system. Headright was the right of every coloneler in about 4 acres of land. The big landowners managed to expand the landownership since they were both subsidized with the 4 acres for every worker they brought in through the “inter ventured servitude” system and took profit on the workforce of the “inter ventured servant” that had in their ownership.

So, although slaves existed in the English colonies already since 1600, this constitution was preferred among plantation owners. But, when the “inter ventured servants” started to gradually regain their freedom somewhere in the middle of the 17th century, the land they were given was of bad quality and under the danger of indigenous raids, soon resulting in the creation of a poor and unsatisfied social layer, whose existence annoyed the bag landowners who later manned their plantations with permanent slaves.

Moreover, although european “interventured servants” were already under a status of transient slavery compared to the permanent slaves, many of them acted together with non white, african and american indigenous slaves in order to escape, resist to their masters or organize uprisals. The ruling class was displeased by this alliaance and answered with a tactic of separation between the white and the non white population, like happened, for example, in Virginia with the voting of Virginia Slave Codes in 1705. In an case, already during the 18th century, europeans willing to travel to the american continent under the status of “interventured servitude” had considerably decreased, especially after the disclosure of the conditions in the plantations. The ruling class, on the other hand, within the tactic of separation had started to grant privileges and lighter work to the white” inteventured servants” compared with the non-white, african and american indigenous slaves. In this way, the alliance between whites of all layers and racial discrimination gradually started to form a structure. The “interventured servitude” system was abolished after the civil war through the 13th amendment of american constitution in 1865.

First prisons and enforced labor until the end of the civil war

Imprisonment as a form of criminal sanction was established in america a little before the american revolution of 1765. The first period, during which imprisonment was massively used as a means to deal with offenders, the “mentally ill” and the poor, can be found in the early 1800, in the jackson era. During this period, imprisonment and enforced labor constituted the main sanctions for most crimes until the civil war. In the south, however, were slavery was widespread, imprisonment didn’t have much to offer to the sustainment of order, since slaves were in the mercy of their masters. Despite this fact, imprisonment of white people took place in some parts of the south.

The first occasion of enforced labor of prisoners in favor of private companies and of the state is found in 1820 in the prison Auborn in New York. The constitution quickly expanded to the north and, later, to the west. In 1825 in Kentucky, joel scott paid 1000 dollars in order to use the prisoners of the local prison as a work labor in construction projects. After that, he proceeded in building his own private prison to house them. Deals like this can be found in 1844 in Louisiana and in 1852 in California. Despite the above, the main exploitation of prisoners as a work labor and the evolution of the conception around the utilization of the excluded populations will take place after the end of the civil war.

The inclusion of enforced labor in the criminal system (convict leasing)

After the end of the american civil war (1861-1865), capitalism will dominate in the usa and will gradually highlight it into the superpower that is today. Between 1865-1920, corporate interests were served in all government levels. Governments obeyed almost completely to the big companies. In many occasions, industrial corporations were the ones to set the value of their own property for tax reasons, instead of tax inspectors. Private and public sectors were, in a great degree, undividable, for example, in 1880 the owner of the biggest bank in Montana was at the same time its governor. Capitalistic development, however, did not follow a straight line. Since the middle of the 1870s until the middle of the 1890s (a period named the “great depression”), economy wobbles from massive bankrupts, inflation and the merciless competition between the companies for the reduction of labor costs. Within this framework, the utilization of prisoners as a workforce constituted an ideal solution and the institution of “convict leasing” was spread in both the south and the north and the 2/3 of prisoners were assigned to private companies. Companies signed contracts with the state that the workforce would be replaced in case a prisoner got ill or was considered as unsuitable.

The explosive development of the industry and economy was, in a big degree, connected with the specific configuration of the criminal system. The need for cheap labor force leaded to massive criminalization of behaviors and massive arrests. People were sent to prison for insignificant excuses, like gambling and consuming alcohol. While capitalism was gradually evoluting towards its monopolistic form (which will reach after 1890) prisoners started to be assigned only to the most powerful corporations of every state.

The institutionalization of slavery as a criminal sanction through the 13th amendment of the us constitution served as the legal base for the institution. In the south, convict-lease system was spread everywhere and constituted the new way of utilization and disciplination of the recently libareted slaves who were now under a status of discrimination, imposed on them through jim crow’s laws, under the ideological construct of white supremacy. In the prisons of the south after 1985, 90% of the prisoners were non-white. Prisoners were assigned to the mines, to railway companies and to the iron and steel industry. All the extractive companies of the south, as well as the agricultural economy of cotton and sugar, was based on the prisoners’ labor. In the north, there was also a close cooperation between the industries, commercial and agricultural companies and all of the order enforcement authorities as well as the judicial system. Sheriffs, local magistrates, policemen, judges and governors were all working together for the systems’ conservation. Labor unions, syndicates and labor parties reacted to the institution, initially as far as the utilization of prisoners as specialized workforce was concerned, because it was against their interests.

Prison labor was also utilized as a counterweight against the workers’ effort to organize. Companies, in cases of strikes and claimings, could replace their workforce with prisoners who worked under harsh and lethal conditions. This way, a lot of mine strikes were broken.

But, in 1890, during a mine strike, TC&I company tried to use prisoners in order to break the strike. Strikers and their allies, friendly towards the workers’ movement “the knights of labor” started guerilla war with attacks to the prison’s fence and liberated prisoners. They after denied to obey to the governor’s order to return them back and armed conflicts followed. Since 1890, uprisals and prisoners’ strikes started to happen more and more often, especially in the north, where an important percentage of prisoners were veterans of the American civil war, but also, ex- workers.

 

The development of the prison-industrial complex

Since the 70s and until today, prisons continued to constitute a privileged field of profit and repression in the usa, while, at the same time, through the the prison-industrial complex, we are passing into new forms of social control and surveillance. The interaction and cooperation in the prison system between industry and private prisons, construction companies, prison supply companies, companies exploiting the enforced labor of the prisoners and of the political conservation in general, is conceived by this term.

This way, american state’s propaganda for the social legalization of the army-industrial complex, making huge profit during the cold war, was gradually replaced by the prison-industrial complex, this time, using the excuse of the “war on drugs”.

During the 60s, 70s and 80s, CIA, after secretly getting involved in the drug trade taking place in vietnam and nicaragua, channeled large quantities into the poor neighborhoods of people of color. During the 70s, a lot of companies got transferred out of the usa seeking cheaper workforce resulting in a rise of the unemployment in the poor neighborhoods and a big part of the non-specified unemployed turning to thefts and drug dealing. This phenomenon, offered the suitable political excuse in order for reagan to start, in the middle of the 80s, the campaign of “war on drugs”. A big wave of arrests of non-white people followed this tightening of the legal armory, leading to the overpopulation of prisons. While the expenses for the maintenance and building of new prisons overcame the abilities of the state’s budget, private prisons constituted an advantageous solution, not only for the state but, for the capital as well. In 1984, investors in Tennesee, having connections in the government, structured Corrections Corporations of America (CCA). The idea was to fοund private prisons and rend the bed to the government. The utilization of private prison reached its peak in the 90s during clinton’s presidency, when private prison companies took on the imprisonment of refugees without a residence permits and prisoners of “high risk”. In 2000, private prisons’ industry donated 1,2 millions to 830 candidates. Today, the largest of private prisons’ companies are CCA and GEO Group (ex Wackenhut), while the percentage of inmates in them in 2013 was calculated to be the 8% of the total population of prisoners in the usa.

Together with the institution of private prisons, prisoners’ enforced labor, based -as referred above- on the 13th amendment, is still a field of profit and management of the excluded populations.

Prisoners work without syndicate rights, days off or alliances, under miserable conditions. Their denial to work has as a consequence disciplinary punishments and privilege deprivations. The last 30 years more than 37 states allow private companies to use prisoners with the symbolic payment of between 0,93 and 4,73 dollars a day. Companies exploiting the work of prisoners are, among others, IBM, Boeing, Microsoft, AT&T, Wireless, Texas Instrument, Dell, Compaq, Honeywell, Hewlett-Packard, Nortel, Lucent Technologies, 3Com, Intel, Nothern Telecom, TWA, Nordstorm’s, Revlon, Macy’s, Pierre Cardin, Target Stores, Starbucks and Honda.

 

Prisoners’ struggles – Resistance finds its ways and spaces to be manifested

As expected, the asphyxiating status of enforced labor as part of the penalty, this disguised form of modern slavery, compresses and crushes the prisoners so much that, little by little, the seed of resistance is being born, a seed growing on anger and desperation. Since quite some time, a series of fermentations inside the American hellhole, which are actually slave galleys, has led to the planning of a concerted struggle inside prisons, targeting towards the definitive abolition of this brutality which euphemistically calls itself “social contribution”. Despite the great difficulties in the communication among prisoners, the thirst for fighting managed to overcome all obstacles so to finally the struggle plan to be communicated in such a degree, that we can maybe be talking about one of the biggest concerted fighting campaigns form the prisoners themselves.

The starting point of such a struggle has been set by the commissions of prisoners themselves on 9/9/16, a date-symbol for the struggles of us prisoners since, 45 years ago, on September 9 1971, the uprisal in the Attica prison of New York took place which constituted the biggest and most dramatic prison uprisal in the usa history. The basic occasion was the murder of the inmate George Jackson from the Black Panthers by the jailers.

As Anarchist Black Cross, we consider that the peak of this struggle has a special importance, since it constitutes a collective scream of dignity form the inside of the modern hellholes of a state that has made imprisonment into a science, being a model and example for every ambitious totalitarian state.

The status of slavery in prisons is the epitome of brutality inside imprisonment conditions since it abolishes the individual status of every person and targets towards her/his total submission between the gears of multinational leviathans.

As anarchists, we cannot whistle with indifference in front of a struggle orienting from the damned of the social margin, being under an idiotype status of slavery and still claiming, even under the adverse conditions of imprisonment, a breath of dignity and self-determination.

The inmates will conduct their struggle by actually denying the procedure of enforced labor, carrying out an abstention of their predicted duties, actually a kind of strike from inside the prison, which is being punished with disciplinary punishments and isolation. A struggle in the root of which there is political disobedience and sabotaging to corporate interests which have identified themselves with the most ruthless forms of exploitation.

The prisoners have outwardly addressed a call for the support of their fight from whoever feels that this struggle has anything to do with her/him and finds a piece of herself/himself inside it.

Inside this framework, as Anarchist Black Cross-solidarity cell we had conducted an event and notification on 4/8 in the squat Themistocleous 58, together with comrades from the translating network of antireport Contra Info, during which, a comrade from Anarchist Black Cross of Portland had extensively spoken on these issues aiming to the notification of the domestic anarchist movement for the struggle that would follow from 9/9.

We are willing to manifest our solidarity to the inmates of us prisons by any means and for all the duration of their struggle. Towards this direction, we are calling all the collectives, all the Anarchist Black Cross cells internationally but also anyone wishing to support in her/his way, to concert our powers in an International Day of Solidarity which can be a point of reference for the international solidarity movement for that struggle and will constitute an occasion for further sharpening of our later actions. We propose that day to be the 1st of October.

We consider that the perspectives, the at-stake-issues, and the stockpile that this specific struggle can leave behind, constitute an open challenge for every fighter wanting to contribute to the conduct of an internationalized and concerted struggle inside and out of prisons, against the modern slavery and the economical dictatorship of multinational companies.

Solidarity and Strength to the struggle of the inmates in the us prisons!

Struggle is the only perspective in order to live with dignity!

Fire to the prisons!

Anarchist Black Cross- solidarity cell(atherns )

 

 

REPORTED HEALTH HAZARD: WATER AT MAHANOY PRISON

September 17, 2016

 

untitled-12

 
URGENT – PLEASE CALL IMMEDIATELY
CALL ALERT – ENVIRONMENTAL HAZARD -UNSAFE DRINKING/BATHING WATER
SCI MAHANOY
301 Morea Road
Frackville, PA 17932
INFO:
Prisoners are calling home complaining that the water at SCI Mahanoy is brown and it stinks very badly. They cannot drink the water. Many prisoners are scared they will die. This is an environmental hazard to the health of all as water is needed to sustain life. There are reports that this has been the case for 3 days. They are threatening the prisoners with lockdown so they cannot call and report what’s going on. Please call immediately.
I will provide more information as it becomes available.
PLEASE CALL/EMAIL
DOC SECETARY WETZEL– 717-728-4109
Talking Points
• There are reports of stinky, brown water that is undrinkable at SCI Mahanoy
• This is unacceptable and an environmental hazard
DEMANDS
• Give all prisoners a supply of bottled water immediately for drinking
• Give prisoners access to clean water for showering and personal use
GOVERNOR WOLFE– 717-787-2500
Talking Points
• There are reports of stinky, brown water that is undrinkable at SCI Mahanoy
• This is unacceptable and an environmental hazard
DEMANDS
• Make sure all prisoners are receiving a supply of bottled water immediately for drinking
• Make sure all prisoners are getting access to clean water for showering and personal use
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (EPA) – 800-438-2474
Talking Points
• There are reports of stinky, brown water that is undrinkable at
SCI Mahanoy
301 Morea Road
Frackville, PA 17932
• This is unacceptable and an environmental hazard
DEMANDS
• Immediately investigate these reports
• Make sure all prisoners are receiving a supply of bottled water immediately for drinking
• Make sure all prisoners are getting access to clean water for showering and personal use

Shandre Delaney

Path to Mumia’s Freedom

September 5, 2016
mumia
 By Rachel Wolkenstein
A new legal action filed by Mumia Abu-Jamal in the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas on August 7, 2016 provides a path in the courts to overturn Mumia’s conviction and win his freedom. The legal underpinning is the recent precedent-setting U.S. Supreme Court decisionWilliams v. Pennsylvania, 136 S.Ct. 1989 (2016), which holds it is a violation of the due process right to an impartial tribunal free of judicial bias if a judge participating in a criminal appeal had “a significant personal involvement as a prosecutor in a critical decision” in a defendant’s case.

Ronald D. Castille was a senior Assistant District Attorney during Mumia’s 1982 trial and the Philadelphia District Attorney during Mumia’s direct appeal of conviction and death sentence. Ronald D. Castille was a Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court during the entire period of Mumia’s appeals of his post-conviction proceedings from 1995-2008.

Mumia made motions to Justice Castille to recuse himself from his post-conviction appeals to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court from 1996-98 and again in 2002 on grounds of bias and conflict of interest, but Castille refused. Mumia raised Castille’s denial to recuse himself as an appeal issue in the federal courts, but it was ignored.

The District Attorney’s office and Justice Castille did not disclose, or denied or minimized any direct role District Attorney Castille had as a prosecutor in capital prosecutions, including jury selection and other prosecutorial trial conduct and appeal strategy and preparation. As stated in the new filing, “The high profile and political sensitivity of Mr. Abu-Jamal’s case, increases the likelihood that Justice Castille’s minimization of his involvement in the case was not credible.”

Castille’s role as both prosecutor and judge in Mumia’s case, in light of the Williams decision, opens the door to a court decision vacating (overturning and dismissing) all Pennsylvania Supreme Court denials of Mumia’s post-conviction petitions. If this new legal action succeeds Mumia would get “do-overs” to the legal challenges he made to the racist frame-up conviction, for which he has now spent close to 35 years in prison, almost thirty in solitary confinement on death row.

This new legal action can lead to renewed challenges to all the state’s unconstitutional racial, political and class biased procedures and state misconduct that resulted in Mumia’s frame-up conviction before the pro-cop and racist judge Albert Sabo who declared before trial, “I’m going to help them fry the n—-r.”

Mumia’s other challenges to his conviction include: Ineffective assistance of trial counsel; The prosecution’s intentional exclusion of African-Americans from his jury; the Prosecution’s summation argument that Mumia would have “appeal after appeal” depriving Mumia of the constitutional standard of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt and the importance of the jury decision in determining guilt and a death sentence; Denying Mumia the right to self-representation and to be in the courtroom during his trial; Police and prosecutorial fabrication of evidence of guilt—false hospital confession, phony ballistics evidence, lying witnesses Cynthia White, Priscilla Durham, Robert Chobert—and suppression of evidence of Mumia’s innocence—Veronica Jones, Dessie Hightower, William Singletary, Ken Freeman, Arnold Howard and the confession of Arnold Beverly.

In other words, Mumia would be able to re-appeal the entirety of his frame-up conviction before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. If the new appeal wins, Mumia will get a new trial, if not dismissal on grounds of gross state misconduct in prosecuting Mumia.

And should a new trial be ordered, the prosecution has no evidence to present against Mumia—the three legs of the case—eyewitnesses, confession and ballistics—are proven to be manufactured by police.

This is what should happen under the U.S. Supreme Court holding in Williams.

But Mumia’s case isn’t any case. There is no other case in the United States that has faced as much orchestrated hostility from the Fraternal Order of Police and both parties of U.S. capitalism as that of Mumia Abu-Jamal.

The legal and political caveats for a winning strategy to free Mumia: Legal action that underscores Mumia is innocent and framed in a political and racist prosecution that denied every aspect of due process and a fair trial; and an intensified international campaign of publicity and protest demanding Mumia’s freedom now!

Mumia’s case embodies the police terror and shootings on the streets, the false and frame-up prosecutions in the courts, the dehumanization and warehousing of mass incarceration, and the ultimate act of “legal” lynching in the racist death penalty.

Mass international protest kept Mumia alive

The state tried to kill Mumia on the street on December 9, 1981. They tried and failed to lynch him by state execution in 1995 and 1999. In December 2011 the state gave up trying to execute Mumia and instead put him on “slow death row”—life imprisonment without parole—and tried to silence him. Mumia has not been silenced, but has been subjected to medical mistreatment and the deliberate refusal to cure his hepatitis C.

Mumia was targeted for state extermination as a Black Panther Party member when he was 16-years-old, renewed when he became a renowned radio journalist, “the voice of the voiceless” and a supporter of the MOVE organization. In the face of execution and life imprisonment Mumia has never wavered in his opposition to and exposure of the racist oppression, class exploitation and murderous terror perpetrated across the globe by U.S. imperialism.

The combined forces of the capitalist state, its police, courts, supported by politicians in both parties of capitalism are united in keeping Mumia locked in prison.

Now is the time for a renewed international campaign to free Mumia! Winning Mumia’s freedom is a blow against the class and race biased American criminal injustice system, a win for all those in imprisoned nation and for us all.

To continue to the remainder of the article, visit

Federal Judge Robert Mariani has denied the preliminary injunction motion in “Abu-Jamal vs. Kerestes” that demanded life-saving hepatitis C treatment for Mumia Abu-Jamal.

September 1, 2016
mumia_wife
The reason Mariani gave is this: “The persons against whom injunctive relief may be granted are not parties to this lawsuit”.

He stated that because the specific members of the Department of Corrections’ (DOC’s) hepatitis C Care Committee – were not named in the lawsuit this motion will fail. The memorandum by Mariani says that “if the proper defendants had been named”, Mumia may well have prevailed in his request for immediate lifesaving treatment.

One might ask: How could the PA Department of Corrections not be the “responsible party”? They not only formed the hepatitis C Care Committee; they then approved its recommendations. The named defendants in “Abu-Jamal vs. Kerestes” are responsible for providing appropriate health care to people in prisons in the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. How could the court let the PA DOC avoid its constitutional obligations to provide medically indicated care to prisoners by simply passing off the responsibility to a subcommittee?

Bob Boyle, lawyer for Abu-Jamal “In addition, at no time during the litigation has the DOC argued that the defendants who had been named could not carry out an injunction. It should be noted that currently pending before the Court is a motion to add as a defendant DOC Director of Clinical Services Paul Noel, who is a member of the Hepatitis C committee, as a defendant.” full statement below

Meanwhile, Judge Mariani did deal a fatal blow to the PA DOC’s “hepatitis C protocol”, finding that the DOC’s provision of medical care to be “deliberately indifferent” and unconstitutional. To quote: “The protocol as currently adopted and implemented presents deliberate indifference to the known risks which follow from untreated chronic hepatitis C.”

Bret Grote, Mumia’s attorney, (Abolitionist Law Center) “The DOC’s current treatment protocol for hepatitis C was ruled in violation of the Eighth Amendment in no uncertain terms: “In the wake of the advent of curative Hepatitis C medications, Defendants have charted a course that denies treatment to inmates until they are on the verge of a ‘catastrophic’ health event, a decision that appears to contain a ‘fiscal component,’ and ignores the standard of care for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C.”  click for press release here

The court’s legal slight of hand on one page denies Mumia immediate care, and on the next page, paves the way for the ultimate delivery of care. But when? How long is the delay?

Note that the hepatitis C Care Committee was created in November 2015 as a direct result of our litigation. It was formed to provide the appearance that the DOC had a process to deliver hep C care. After years of denying hep C treatment to prisoners, the DOC began to treat 5 people at the time of our hearing. A couple dozen prisoners are now are receiving the cure.

Yet 6,000 people in Pennsylvania’s prisons have chronic hep C. All but a few, those with esophageal varices, are being denied treatment. They are dying in the solitary confinement called “Hep C Care Clinics”. Just imagine- no treatment and you have end-stage hep C, and you are in solitary and you are dying. This is not a pretty picture, but it is happening in every single PA prison. It is the definition of “deliberate indifference” and unconstitutional medical care.

press release

9-1-2016 Press Release Contact Abolitionist Law Center Bret Grote, Legal Director bretgrote@abolitionistlawcenter.org 412-654-9070 Federal Court Finds DOC’s Hepatitis C Protocol Unconstitutional But Requires New Defendants Be Added to Lawsuit Before Ordering Treatment for Mumia Abu-Jamal September 1, 2016: Federal district court judge Robert Mariani denied political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal’s request for a preliminary injunction on Wednesday, August 1st that would have forced the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) to provide him with direct-acting antiviral drugs capable of curing his hepatitis C. The opinion, however, also held that the DOC’s hepatitis C protocol violates the Eighth Amendment by withholding the medication to incarcerated patients with chronic hepatitis C, and that when Mr. Abu-Jamal adds members of the DOC’s Hepatitis C Treatment Committee the judge can issue a favorable injunction. The court found that “the standard of care with respect to the treatment of chronic Hepatitis C is the administration of the newly-developed DAA [direct-acting antiviral] medications, such as Harvoni, Sovaldi, and Viekira Pak.” The court then found that the DOC’s hepatitis C treatment protocol “prolong[s] the suffering of those who have been diagnosed with chronic hepatitis C and allow[s] the progression of the disease to accelerate so that it presents a greater threat of cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma [i.e. liver cancer], and death of the inmate with such disease” in violation of the Eighth Amendment. The court did not grant the injunction because it found that members of the DOC’s Hepatitis C Committee had to be added as defendants: “a mandatory injunction favorable to Plaintiff would necessarily require that the individuals enjoined be able to exercise control over the contents or application of the protocol.” The DOC’s current treatment protocol for hepatitis C was ruled in violation of the Eighth Amendment in no uncertain terms: “In the wake of the advent of curative Hepatitis C medications, Defendants have charted a course that denies treatment to inmates until they are on the verge of a ‘catastrophic’ health event, a decision that appears to contain a ‘fiscal component,’ and ignores the standard of care for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C.” Abolitionist Law Center’s Legal Director Bret Grote said the following about the decision: “While we are disappointed the court did not grant the injunction at this time, its holding that incarcerated patients with hepatitis C are entitled to treatment with the breakthrough medications that cure hepatitis C and that the DOC’s current protocol violates the Eighth Amendment sets a powerful precedent for Mr. Abu-Jamal, the more than 5,400 prisoners with chronic hepatitis C in Pennsylvania, and tens of thousands incarcerated with untreated hepatitis C across the country. We won everything but the injunction we sought, and will be moving expeditiously to bring additional defendants before the court so Mr. Abu-Jamal can receive the treatment he is entitled to under the U.S. Constitution.”