Nation Inside

Nation Inside Nation Inside is a platform that connects and supports people who are building a movement to systematically challenge mass incarceration in the United States.
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Nation Inside is a project of Working Narratives, nonprofit arts & social justice organization. Nation Inside is a community of people dedicated to fighting mass incarceration.

Operating as usual

From #PrisonHealthNews: "Happy Earth Day! Imagine being trapped in a cell with toxic coal ash in the air and water, peop...
04/22/2021
Survivors of SCI Fayette’s Toxic Water and Coal Ash Speak Out

From #PrisonHealthNews: "Happy Earth Day! Imagine being trapped in a cell with toxic coal ash in the air and water, people dying of cancer around you as you beg for the clean water that the guards get to drink. Please read & share testimonies from survivors, at https://bit.ly/32xI0nu #ShutDownFayette "

“The drinking water here is a cancer-causing elixir. … I assure you no staff here is drinking the water, so why should we have to?” —KB, incarcerated at SCI Fayette

One small step.  Justice will only come when we work together to create a new way of keeping our neighbors safe.
04/21/2021
Derek Chauvin Trial: Chauvin Found Guilty of Murdering George Floyd

One small step. Justice will only come when we work together to create a new way of keeping our neighbors safe.

Mr. Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The death of Mr. Floyd spurred the largest civil rights protests in decades.

Big win for people in Alabama fighting ADOC and CoreCivic:
04/19/2021
Barclays, KeyBanc Pull Out of Muni Sale for Private Prisons

Big win for people in Alabama fighting ADOC and CoreCivic:

Barclays Plc pulled out of its role as the lead underwriter of a municipal-bond sale that was set to build prisons for CoreCivic Inc. after criticism that the bank was backtracking on a pledge to no longer provide financing to for-profit jail companies.

HAPPENING NOW: Civil Rights attorney Kristen Clarke is being grilled by right wing politicians in her nomination to beco...
04/14/2021
Nominations | United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary

HAPPENING NOW: Civil Rights attorney Kristen Clarke is being grilled by right wing politicians in her nomination to become the Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Division, for her student activism surrounding political prisoner support, opposing mass incarceration, questioning police over-funding, advocating voter rights, etc... Check it out:
https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/meetings/04/07/2021/nominations?bbeml=tp-bMioWl36HU-N8RUoZ8vFIg.jWFQChNDwG0uF3zAhzdTsYw.rl7frAXSPgEKVY79WUJ-HKA.lzdYQLb71nECDPzzqsnIzfQ

We want to see Kristen Clarke, once in this position, apply pressure on state prisons to be accountable for the COVID-19 rates that have been 5x higher inside prisons. Join us. Learn more at #CagingCOVID

United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary

Photos from Campaign to Fight Toxic Prisons's post
04/05/2021

Photos from Campaign to Fight Toxic Prisons's post

Please help spread the word about this urgent situation. Make the calls and spread the social media ASAP.twitter: https:...
04/04/2021
Florida Prisoner Solidarity on Twitter

Please help spread the word about this urgent situation. Make the calls and spread the social media ASAP.

twitter: https://twitter.com/fl_abolition/status/1378533428493176840?s=21
instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/CNOhh9MBjq_/?igshid=8y8xsv4o9faj
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/995837620542847/posts/3628827497243833/?d=n

“⚡️URGENT⚡️ 2,000+ prisoners in Florida lie in direct path of 800 million gallon toxic flood due to imminent failure of retention pond less than a mile away. THEY ARE NOT BEING EVACUATED. @MCGPublicSafety @ManateeSheriff @ManateeGov when will you evacuate prisoners?”

https://www.facebook.com/105318748136119/posts/153709383297055/?d=n
04/02/2021

https://www.facebook.com/105318748136119/posts/153709383297055/?d=n

UPDATE: After 184 days of wrongful incarceration, Anthony Gantt has finally been released from the Duval County Jail after organizers paid his ranson, over $350,000 Bail!

Anthony Gantt, and his fiancé, Diamonds Ford, were asleep in their home on the morning of 09/28/2020 when they were awoken by the sound of shattering glass. Believing their home was being broken into, Diamonds Ford armed her self, her legal right to do under the second amendment, and stood her ground to protect herself, her family, and her home.

When fire was returned, they even retreated to the bathroom and called 911. While on the phone with the dispatcher, they finally realized it was the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office serving a high-risk warrant - a warrant that neither Diamonds nor Anthony were the subject of. THEY DID NOT KNOCK!

Anthony and Diamonds were both arrested and charged with attempted murder of a law enforcement officer in September.

The criminal justice system is showing us what we always knew, the system does not protect black people!

Its showing us that you can be asleep in your bed, and when the police break down your door you have two options: End up dead or incarcerated.

Though, Diamonds & Anthony are now free, they are still fighting for their lives, literally. They face life in prison on these charges. They will not be truly free until State Attorney Melissa Nelson drops the charges against them!
#DropTheCharges
#NoMoreNoKnocksFl #JusticeForDiamondsFord #JusticeForAnthonyGantt

Be sure to sign the change.org petition: bit.ly/DiamondsFordPetition

Also learn more about the case by visiting: bit.ly/diamondsfordwebsite

And follow @justicefordiamondsford on Instagram

03/24/2021
Certified Kitchen for Food Truck Entrepreneurs

Our friend Corey Purdie is launching a food truck to create business opportunities for formerly incarcerated people. Corey supports folks in a small towns and cities. Would you go to his food truck if you lived nearby?

03/11/2021
Emily Posner (on of the attorneys who helped #FightToxicPrisons in defeating the Letcher County, KY prison) is facilitat...
02/27/2021
26th Annual Tulane Environmental Law & Policy Summit

Emily Posner (on of the attorneys who helped #FightToxicPrisons in defeating the Letcher County, KY prison) is facilitating a panel discussion tomorrow at the Tulane Environmental Law Clinic with two of formally incarcerated clients -- one from the federal prison system and one from the State of Louisiana prison system.

They will be speaking about environmental conditions in prisons, environmental justice concerns with prison siting, and re-entry (or lack thereof) programs related to the emerging green economy.

Check it out the whole schedule here:
https://tulaneenvironmentallawsummit.com/

Environmental Summit 2021

#ParoleJustice could prevent public health crises in prisons. Check out this great article the parole fight in NY."Green...
02/23/2021
Advocates tout Black History Month in push for legislative parole reform

#ParoleJustice could prevent public health crises in prisons. Check out this great article the parole fight in NY.

"Greene County is experiencing an increase in COVID-19 cases that local health officials say stem from an outbreak at the state prison."

https://www.timesunion.com/news/article/peoples-campaign-for-parole-justice-Black-history-15953924.php

#CagingCOVID #NationInside

Academics, activists and lawmakers pressed for legislative changes to New York's parole...

There is a chance to intervene ASAP in the planning process for a new prison in the UK. The group CAPE has put together ...
02/20/2021
OBJECT to planning permission for Full Sutton Mega Prison

There is a chance to intervene ASAP in the planning process for a new prison in the UK. The group CAPE has put together a guide to doing so. You don't have to give your name or be local to the site, and there's only one question to answer. The consultation closes tomorrow so click and cut and paste asap if you can!

International solidarity!

https://cape-campaign.org/object-to-planning-permission-for-full-sutton-mega-prison/

We have an opportunity to stop the mega prison being built at Full Sutton. Although East Riding of Yorkshire Council granted outline planning permission for the prison, they have now deferred a…

For those we are doing advocacy and organizing work the road if often a long one to a victory.  Our friends Conn. share ...
02/15/2021
Closing Conn.’s Only 'Supermax' Prison Was 20 Years In The Making For This Advocate

For those we are doing advocacy and organizing work the road if often a long one to a victory. Our friends Conn. share their work in this interview to close the state's only Supermax prison.

Connecticut's only maximum security prison — Northern Correctional Institution — will close in July , according to Governor Ned Lamont. Northern houses

In the summer of 2019 Nation Inside’s #CagingCOVID campaign went on a search for political pressure points to build towa...
02/12/2021
Contact the Civil Rights Division | Department of Justice

In the summer of 2019 Nation Inside’s #CagingCOVID campaign went on a search for political pressure points to build towards effectively addressing this pandemic’s disproportionate impact on incarcerated people, alongside the litany of abuse that existed pre-pandemic that set a stage for this public health crisis. This resulted in identifying the Department of Justice (DOJ) as a central agency in addressing this in a broad and multifaceted way that had the sharpest teeth, if they could be pushed into using them, and a record of similar action to what we were advocating for.

This FAQ was created surrounding the Feb 1st #NationalFreedomDay mobilization, but is still very relevant.

For those with loved ones in a state prison or county jail, complaints to the DOJ can be filed here:
https://civilrights.justice.gov/report/

For more background on the strategy, and info on complaints for federal prisons, immigrant detention centers and more, check out this FAQ we created:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1vFu4zWytPQs-CIbtayqg8z-a5E_iA_eJOhjKdzzI2QM/edit

Have you or someone you know experienced unlawful discrimination? The Civil Rights Division may be able to help. Civil rights laws can protect you from unlawful discrimination, harassment, or abuse in a variety of settings like housing, the workplace, school, voting, businesses, healthcare, public s...

Press Statement on April 3 Parole Rally from National Freedom Movement:FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEFebruary 3, 2021 ONE MILLION...
02/12/2021
#ParoleWatch2021 Press Statement

Press Statement on April 3 Parole Rally from National Freedom Movement:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 3, 2021

ONE MILLION FAMILIES FOR PAROLE RALLY

On Saturday, April 3, 2021, the National Freedom Movement, in conjunction with other organizers, organizations, activists and advocates from around the US are joining the call to action for a 1,000,000 Families For Parole Rally at Parole Boards, Dept. of Corrections Headquarters, and/or State Capitols in states across the country.

America's parole system is broken and failing to respond to the humanitarian crisis taking place in prisons across the country, leaving countless lives in danger. In the midst of a global pandemic and a humanitarian crisis throughout US jails, prisons and other places of incarceration, Parole Boards are guilty of exacerbating the crisis by denying parole due to bad parole laws and for political and financial reasons.

To bring our loved ones home, and for real change to occur, we must unite across the nation and demand changes to this broken and ineffective parole system. Federal parole must be reinstated, a mandatory parole criteria must be implemented nationwide to justify the billions of tax dollars being spent for "corrections", an emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic has to be immediately instituted to save lives, and, among other demands, a 3-year limit on parole supervision must be implemented so that people who have successfully integrated back into society can get their lives back.

Participating states thus far include Alabama, Mississippi, Indiana, New York, Louisiana, Florida, Texas, Georgia, South Carolina, Ohio, Indiana, and California.

Anyone interested in participating in this event or assisting in the planning and organizing should contact us immediately at:

[email protected]

https://freealabamamovement.wordpress.com/2021/02/04/parolewatch2021-press-statement/

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEFebruary 3, 2021 ONE MILLION FAMILIES FOR PAROLE RALLY On Saturday, April 3, 2021, the National Freedom Movement, in conjunction with other organizers, organizations, activists…

While words of support from officials such as Congresswoman Cori Bush are important in situations like this, it is equal...
02/12/2021
Cori Bush calls for transparency after St. Louis jail uprising

While words of support from officials such as Congresswoman Cori Bush are important in situations like this, it is equally important to hear directly from those on the inside as well. The following is a statement from a prisoner on the inside during the multiple protests over the past 6 weeks in response to conditions surrounding the pandemic. (The image and video below is from the third uprising since December at the City Justice Center in St. Louis).

Feb 15 is a deadline for a response from local officials, proposed by Bush. Please help build support for these prisoners between now and then by sharing this post and amplifying the demand for immediate resolutions to the conditions described below, as well as amnesty for all who participated in the uprisings. People should not face retaliation for standing up and demanding basic human rights.

THE FOLLOWING TEXT IS FROM A PRISONER WHO ASKED TO HAVE HIS WORDS SHARED WIDELY:

"On the morning of Tuesday, December 29, 2020 around 10am CT, I (Cortez Easterwood-Bey IMN #6694) and more than 50 other inmates on at least two floors within Missouri's Saint Louis Justice Center (CJC), stood together in solidarity outside of our cells as a form of peaceful protest to exercise our 1st Amendment right to free speech in a peaceful attempt to voice our grievances to be heard by CJC management that have gone unanswered after months (anywhere from 2-6 months or more) of following the established procedures for filing complaints and grievances. We recently learned from sympathetic guards/correctional officers (hereafter referred to as CO’s, that these complaint and grievance forms rarely go past the CO whom the form was given to, let alone to their supervisor nor an outside entity or CJC official. Our peaceful protest was unequally matched with resistance by CJC staff akin to the Civil Rights Movement -- we were subjected to tear gas, hosed down with strong water, and placed faced down in inches of said but now contaminated water in order to be handcuffed, transferred to the known dilapidated Medium Security Institution (MSI) nicknamed the "Workhouse", and placed "in the hole" without proper heat, dry clothing and new face masks. All this because we were trying to tell jail staff and management that we don't want to DIE, we are hungry, we want proper ventilation, we are tired of being cold without being given winter clothing, we want proper PPE for COVID-19, we are tired of being price gouged in the commissary and vending machines, we want the mandated six "recs" per day, and we want visits from family and friends since there is a glass barrier between them and the inmates. How long do we inmates have to go without before one stops adhering to socially acceptable civil norms when they are blatantly and continuously being denied such -- not only the ability to live but also other basic [prison] rights such as the ability to breathe uncontaminated air?

Because of this incident, jail staff have threatened to destroy and discard our personal belongings, religious and otherwise, as punishment. Their purported excuse for this action is because of the tear gas they used has contaminated said belongings. So, we will no longer have our legal documents nor anything we or our family or friends purchased for us -- food, clothing, toiletries, religious documents/books/items, photos, etc. This is our punishment for asking not to be infected with COVID and to have proper and adequate food, PPE, etc.?

To my knowledge, there are at least 12 lawsuits filed by other inmates due to the outcome and actions of jail staff at CJC for this initially "peaceful protest" that has been quelled by correctional officials so the media and public are kept unaware.

On New Year’s Eve, there were already 51 of us in the hole in one "pod", which is supposed to hold a maximum of 60 people pre-pandemic, who were healthy and uninfected with COVID. However, prison staff decided to add 11 more inmates, some of whom were visibly infected with COVID!

This is genocide.

Prior to this peaceful protest that is now being reported as a "riot", there were 24 inmates in my pod KNOWN TO BE INFECTED with COVID by jail staff, but instead of properly quarantining them, they kept them in the pod and with their cell mates in a 6 foot by 9 foot cell. 24 infected inmates soon turned into almost 50 infected inmates in less than 48 hours!!! That’s over 90% of the inmates housed in ONE pod of 60 persons!!! Further, COs are telling us that not only are they NOT going to test us but such testing is voluntary even if the inmate is visibly exhibiting the classic symptoms of a COVID infection. When those of us who are healthy request to be tested for COVID, we are denied and persons from the detention center regardless of their COVID status are continuously mixed in with the uninfected population within the actual jail/CJC, which houses over 800 inmates and more than 60% of those are currently visibly and audibly infected with COVID and are probably not getting proper/adequate medical attention.

Many of us have not yet gone to trial. There is at least one inmate who has been locked up at CJC for FIVE YEARS without going to trial. So how is it that the St. Louis Justice Center staff are allowed to be our judge, jury and now executioner during this deadly pandemic???

We don't want to DIE from SARS COVID-19, especially not at the hands of correctional staff. We are tired of being purposely exposed to other inmates and detainees who visibly have COVID. Jail staff won't test inmates but claim that current pod members have been exposed to COVID even though we have not been tested during the entire arrest and detention process yet COs are constantly placing untested people, healthy or infected, in a jail cell, pod or holding area, with healthy people.

Even though we are inmates and regardless of whether we have been found guilty of a crime we may or may not have committed, our request is not unreasonable. This IS genocide. We are being treated like the Jews during Hitler's regime. Instead of Germany we are in America. And the jail is being ran much like the concentration camps. But because we are black and brown and don't ft the historical standard of American beauty, we are treated less than. We are being treated worse than George Floyd. Instead of one officer with his knee on one Black man's neck for almost 8 minutes, we have several officers and agents of the Missouri, and more specifically the CJC, who are knowingly not following the COVID guidelines and protocols set forth by the CDC and US Department of Justice.

We are HUNGRY. We are pleading for not only proper nutrition but portion sizes that are befitting of an adult male. The lack of proper and adequate sustenance is known to weaken the immune system, thus making any person more susceptible to any disease but especially the highly contagious COVID virus. We get the same chunk of bread-like cake for every meal (breakfast, lunch and dinner). I have been in CJC for almost two months and have yet to be given any fruit, have only once been given a "salad" that consisted of three tightly stuck together pieces of lettuce and one sliver of a shredded carrot. Our vegetables, if we are given them, consist of canned corn or green beans. The commissary and vending machines (in the facility or online for purchase by our family and friends to send to us, which is received bi-weekly) consists mostly of highly processed and junk/snack foods that are grossly overpriced compared to the Missouri prisons and normal retail outlets accessible to most American citizens.

We are tired of being COLD when the temperatures outside are also cold. The COs verbally refuse to turn the heat up, even in the detention/holding facility, citing they are trying to keep all from getting COVID. We have not been given proper clothing to deal with such temperatures within the actual facility. Most of the world is struggling financially so there are very few of us who are recently detained during this pandemic whose family can even afford to purchase a thermal top or bottom or thicker socks via the online commissary. The inmates are not working, and many of us newly detained have not worked during this pandemic, but even if we had we either don't have access to those funds and/or have depleted them in our attempts to purchase food from the commissary and vending machines after we are given our "trays" (breakfast, lunch or dinner) that barely have portions nor nutrients acceptable for a 10 year old child let alone a grown man.

We need our RECREATION BREAKS to stay mentally and physically healthy. Per correctional guidelines, inmates are to be given six (6) recreation hours per day. Since I have been detained at CJC, we get less than 3 and it’s mostly at the discretion of the guards with seemingly no set time periods or systematic adherence to the standard CDC guidelines. For example, one or more pods are let out of their cells between 7a-9a for 45min, then around 3p for another 45min, and maybe around 11p for 15-20min. To myself and others, these actions by CJC-MSI staff seem like an effort to not fully perform the duties for which they are getting paid to perform in accordance with standard operating procedures and CDC and DOJ COVID guidelines and protocols. I have found that if I want to exercise (push-ups, etc.) in my cell or during rec, I must do so in the morning rec so I have enough time to take a shower. I save my commissary/vending and phone calls for the afternoon rec. All this because we're not given 6 recs sessions/hours, time is short and we may not get the 3rd/last rec that is much shorter on time and at a time where business calls cannot be made.

We need INFORMATION to research our cases. We have not or only sporadically been given access to the jail's law library during recs. There are also only six tablets provided to one or more pods housing 60+ people. These tablets are supposed to allow us access to the jail's law library and also, for a fee, be able to communicate with our family and friends via text messaging who have a SmartJailMail account. Most of the times, said tablets are inoperable because they weren't charged properly between recs and/or will not hold a charge. Further, the tablets do not allow for video chatting with anyone.

We need to SEE our loved ones. The CJC website says visitation is allowed and special allowances for such may be made to family members or friends who reside out-of-town. However, this is a lie. All inmates have been told that there is no visitation due to COVID despite the fact that in the visitation area at CJC the inmates are separated from the visitors by a glass partition and wall.

We need but are not given proper PPE. Yet COs are walking around in what appears to be hazmat suits. Inmates are only given a standard face mask bi-weekly. Many don't have one because it broke, became dirty, wet, etc. Payphones, vending machines, tablets, etc. are not sanitized after each use and tables, common areas, etc. are not sanitized after each rec. We need more types of PPE (gloves, N95 masks, face shields, etc.) to protect us against our cellmate who is infected with COVID whom the COs purposely place in our cells and refuse to remove healthy inmates or quarantine the infected ones in a separate area or facility.

I personally was NEVER tested for COVID during my entire arrest and lockup experience (October 14, 2020 to present). Not given a temperature check, COVID test kit nor nose swab, nor blood check. I have been denied my repeated requests for such. After my arrest, I was placed in the detention/holding facility attached to CJC. I was denied access to a shower and clean clothing for at least 2 weeks. It wasn't until I had an outside person to contact my parole officer and a visit was made that I was given a shower, notified of why I was arrested, given a standard jumpsuit and thin (and too small) footwear, and then transferred to the jail-side of CJC. During my time in holding, officers were constantly moving detainees in and out of the holding area I was in, especially during the day. The area was not cleaned nor sanitized. I was not given any PPE during that time. All of this escalated my exposure to this deadly and highly contagious COVID virus.

My detainment in the jail side of CJC has been, for the most part, no different to my initial detainment, as indicated above. How is it that not only do I have to protect myself against violence from much younger inmates, I now have to be strategically conscious of protecting my desire to continue to live and breathe unencumbered by a deadly pandemic-level worldwide virus because correctional staff intentionally place me and others in dangerous and hazardous conditions which further lends us to intentionally get COVID in a short time frame, in some inmates' cases this happens within 24 hours of their cellmate or they themselves being exposed to another inmate or guard who is handling them after dealing with a previous inmate(s) who's visibly and knowingly infected. We are only given a basic face mask ever 2 weeks. No gloves or other PPE is given nor can we have any mailed to us by our family nor friends. How can we socially distance in a 6 foot by 9 foot cell with no ventilation in an open plan/air facility that is kept cold and we are denied and not provided with additional clothing (jackets, gloves, hats, etc.) nor blankets. How can those of us who are not sick stay healthy if we are not given nutritious and portions that sustain us. Yes we are inmates yet many of us have not yet been tried for our supposed crimes. Many of us also have families that we cannot see, barely are able to talk to because their funds are running low or are non-existent for us to call them collect or message them via SmartJailMail.

We feel like POWs in a foreign land in hostile territory. Because of our blackness/ancestral ties to Africa or Latin America, we are being treated less than human. We are dying at CJC in unheard of numbers and being intentionally infected at alarming rates.

In my homeland, which is the civilized country of America...THIS IS GENOCIDE!"
#CagingCOVID #COVIDBehindBars #PrisonCOVID #FreeEmAll #EndMoneyBail #ClemencyWorks #ParoleJustice #parolewatch2021

https://www.ksdk.com/article/news/local/cori-bush-transparency-st-louis-jail-uprising/63-e04c664e-cd3d-4161-b7d7-d50c0bed0d77

"Our obligations as public officials is to ensure equal justice and protection under the law for every person in St. Louis and that’s what I’m here to do," Bush said

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