February 22nd Call-Out

From Support Marius Mason:

helloxfamily1Never too early for a call-out!  Marius and friends are organizing events to take place January 22nd to support queer and trans prisoners.  Support Marius by supporting others!  Let us know if you want to do an event and we’ll send you materials.

Chicago LGBTQ Inmates Speak Out Against Solitary Confinement, Homophobia

From Shadowproof:

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LGBTQ prison abolition group Black & Pink began publishing letters from inmates in solitary confinement last month in an effort to shed light on the abuse and harassment they suffer.

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One prisoner recounts, “It’s very easy to be thrown in segregation merely for walking in a way an officer finds too sissylike.” (Blackandpink.org)

In a post introducing the series on their website, Black & Pink explained that last summer, their Chicago chapter contacted to over 100 inmates in isolation to ask for their experiences. They received nearly 40 responses, mostly from the Illinois Department of Correction and Marion federal prison.

The group writes:

We live in a time of growing knowledge of, and outrage about, solitary confinement. We hope this blog series expands our collective understanding about the horrors of solitary confinement and its particular impact on queer and trans people. More importantly, we hope it becomes another tool to help us end solitary confinement for all people, to move us away from a culture built on punishment and isolation and towards a culture based on restoration and community.

The true number of queer and trans inmates in solitary confinement is basically unknown. In addition to being subject to administrative segregation, punitive segregation and ‘therapeutic housing,’ many LGBTQ prisoners are placed in protective custody, in which they are moved to isolation to supposedly protect them from harm and harassment by other inmates. Protective custody figures are not included in tallies for solitary confinement.

The first installment of Black & Pink’s provides the public with a glimpse into the experiences of LGBTQ prisoners in isolation, including those not just targeted by other inmates but singled out by guards for the way they act or look as well. One inmate wrote:

It’s very easy to be thrown in segregation for merely walking in a way an officer finds too sissylike. I’ve been thrown in segregation because an officer felt my fingernails were too longs and girlie. My friend was thrown in segregation cause her eyes were lined.

Another told Black & Pink:

Often LGBTQ inmates are placed there simply because they are not wanted in the general populations. Some correctional officers use the opportunity to harass the LGBTQ inmates. We are literally in a cage and cannot just walk away! And most of the time we don’t deserve to be in solitary confinement

Sixteen percent of respondents to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey Report [PDF] said they had been incarcerated “for any reason,” compared to less than three percent of the general population who said they had been incarcerated “at some point in life.” Seven percent of respondents to the survey said they had been arrested and incarcerated by law enforcement solely on a basis of their identity and sexual orientation.

This discrimination is life threatening and takes many forms behind bars, going well beyond the use of solitary. Last year, for example, a class-action lawsuit brought by inmates alleged sheriff’s deputies in San Bernadino County, California, skipped legally-mandated safety checks for LGBTQ inmates “due to unwarranted dislike by SBCSD employees and an unwarranted fear of AIDS.”

The Bureau of Justice Statistics found that between 2011 and 2012, “inmates who reported their sexual orientation as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or other were among those with the highest rates of sexual victimization.” That study [PDF] found roughly 12 percent of LGBTQ prisoners and over 8 percent of jail inmates reported being “sexually victimized” by another inmate, with an additional 5.4 percent of prisoners and 4.3 percent of jail inmates victimized by staff.

The abuses faced by queer and trans prisoners — particularly those who are black or brown — deserve far greater attention.  I look forward to the rest of this series and reading the first hand experiences of trans and queer inmates in isolation.

Anarchy Live!: The Writings of Anarchist Prisoner Michael Kimble

From Anarchy Live!:

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[For reading][For printing]

A collection of some of Michael Kimble’s recent writings; plus a new interview with Michael on his life, prison struggle in Alabama, being gay, prison solidarity, recent anti-police struggles, civilization, and anarchy.

Contents
Introduction
“To My Comrades”
“Where Do We Go From Here”
“Up the Ante”
“From Afar”
“To the Carrboro Bookfair”
“Revolution Versus Reform”
June 11th statement
Interview

Demand condoms for Alabama prisoners!

Indiana Queer Prisoner Solidarity:

On February 10, 2015, prisoners in Alabama need as many people as possible to call the prison officials below and demand that condoms be made available to prisoners through the medical healthcare unit and/or by adding them to the list of approved commissary items and products prisoners are allowed to purchase.

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are rampant in the prisons and to minimize their spread, condoms are a necessity! This is a major health issue. One prison has already been placed on quarantine due to widespread STDs.

CALL:
Commissioner Kim Thomas: (334) 353-3883
Governor Robert Bentley: (334) 242-7100

Spread the word!
We want condoms!

SUGGESTED SCRIPT:
I’m calling in support of prisoners’ demand for condoms. As Governor/Commissioner, you have the power to allow prisoners access to condoms. It has been brought to my attention that STDs are rampant in Alabama prisons and that if prisoners are allowed access to condoms through the commissary and/or health care unit, it will minimize the spread of STDs and help save lives and medical costs.

SOME FACTS ABOUT STDs AND PRISONS

-Globally, 10 million people are locked up, with 6 countries locking up at least one of every 200 of their citizens.

-HIV prevalence within prisons is estimated to be between 2 and 50 times those of general adult population. Prisons are a high-risk environment for HIV transmission with drug use and needle sharing, tattooing with homemade and unsterile equipment, and sex.

-Overcrowding creates a breeding ground for opportunistic infections.

-The reported rates of syphilis are higher in correctional environments than in the non-incarcerated population.

-The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended the correctional systems to evaluate existing condom programs.

-The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends condoms in prisons.

-Over 80% of European Union prisons systems, the Correctional Service of Canada, and prisons in Australia, South Africa, Brazil, Indonesia, and Iran provide condoms for prisoners.

-In the U.S., Mississippi and Vermont state prisons have condom distribution programs.

-Condom distribution programs exist in the Los Angeles, CA; San Francisco, CA: New York City, NY; Philadelphia, PA; and Washington D.C. county jails.

-Released prisoners constitute 17% of U.S. population with AIDS

-Released prisoners constitute 35% of U.S. population with tuberculosis

-Prisoners constitute a high rate of Hep C infections

-Studies in California with condom distribution programs in Solano State Prison concluded that condoms were effective in combating the spread of STDs among prisoners and at a low cost.

Sources:
1. http://www.avert.org/prisoners-hivaids.htm
2. Evaluation of a Prisoner Condom Access Pilot Program Conducted in One California State Prison Facility