penal institutions

Prisoners-especially blacks, Chicanos and Puerto Ricans-are increasingly advancing the proposition that they are political prisoners. They contend that they are political prisoners in the sense that they are largely the victims of an oppressive politico-economic order, swiftly becoming conscious of the causes underlying their victimization. The Folsom Prisoners’ Manifesto of Demands and Anti-Oppression Plat- form” attests to a lucid understanding of the structures of oppression within the prison-structures which contradict even the avowed function of the penal institution: “The program we are submitted to, under the ridiculous title of rehabilitation, is relative to the ancient stupidity of pouring water on the drowning man, in as much as we are treated for our hostilities by our program administrators with their hostility for medication.” The Manifesto also reflects an awareness that the severe social crisis taking place in this country, predicated in part on the ever-increasing mass consciousness of deepening social contradictions, is forcing the political function of the prisons to surface in all its brutality. Their contention that prisons are being transformed into the “fascist concentration camps of modern America,” should not be taken lightly, although it would be erroneous as well as defeatist in a practical sense, to maintain that fascism has irremediably established itself.
—  Angela Davis, Imprisoned Intellectuals
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Country Legend Merle Haggard Dies At 79

“I’ve lived through 17 stays in penal institutions. Incarceration in a penitentiary. Five marriages, bankruptcy, a broken back, brawls, shooting incidents, swindlings, sickness, the death of loved ones and more. I’ve heard tens of thousands chant my name when I couldn’t hear the voice of my own soul. I wondered if God was listening and I was sure no one else was.”

With Merle Haggard’s passing, perhaps he’ll finally learn that God was indeed listening and was actually a fan.

washingtonpost.com
Study: Black girls suspended at higher rates than most boys

From the article:

The gender breakdown shows that nationally, 12 percent of black girls received at least one-in-school suspension, whereas the rate for white girls is 2 percent, and for white boys it is 6 percent. The highest rate is in Wisconsin, where 21 percent of black girls are suspended, compared with 14 percent of black boys, 6 percent of white boys and 2 percent of white girls. In the Washington, D.C., black girls are suspended at 13 percent, and white boys are suspended at 12 percent.

Overall, black boys are more likely to be suspended than any group, at 20 percent.  The survey looked at 7.5 million black schoolchildren, 24 million white schoolchildren and about 11.5 million Hispanic schoolchildren across the country. Across all 50 states, black girls outpace their counterparts in suspensions.

Suspensions, when anger at child turns into policy. I have such complicated feelings about them. While it is important for schools to be consistent with whatever systems they have in place we can’t:

- Turn schools into mini-penal institutions. In HS we basically had long term in-school suspension where students took classes in a secluded part of the school and had to wear a specific uniform. They students were there for various lengths of times. Like the school was society and this classroom was jail. In school suspension can become a point where teachers grow unable to work with a student and just pass them off to the dean’s office at any chance they can to either prove a point or deny the student the right from enjoying the class learning environment as a means to change challenging behavior.

- Forget to incorporate plans with students that look at the root of the behavior and supports them through challenging times.

- Continuously TAKE LEARNING AWAY FROM STUDENTS WHO NEED IT MOST as the first punishment. 

The Ten Point Plan

  1. WE WANT FREEDOM. WE WANT POWER TO DETERMINE THE DESTINY OF OUR BLACK AND OPPRESSED COMMUNITIES. 
    We believe that Black and oppressed people will not be free until we are able to determine our destinies in our own communities ourselves, by fully controlling all the institutions which exist in our communities. 

  2. WE WANT FULL EMPLOYMENT FOR OUR PEOPLE. 
    We believe that the federal government is responsible and obligated to give every person employment or a guaranteed income. We believe that if the American businessmen will not give full employment, then the technology and means of production should be taken from the businessmen and placed in the community so that the people of the community can organize and employ all of its people and give a high standard of living. 

  3. WE WANT AN END TO THE ROBBERY BY THE CAPITALISTS OF OUR BLACK AND OPPRESSED COMMUNITIES. 
    We believe that this racist government has robbed us and now we are demanding the overdue debt of forty acres and two mules. Forty acres and two mules were promised 100 years ago as restitution for slave labor and mass murder of Black people. We will accept the payment in currency which will be distributed to our many communities. The American racist has taken part in the slaughter of our fifty million Black people. Therefore, we feel this is a modest demand that we make. 

  4. WE WANT DECENT HOUSING, FIT FOR THE SHELTER OF HUMAN BEINGS. 
    We believe that if the landlords will not give decent housing to our Black and oppressed communities, then housing and the land should be made into cooperatives so that the people in our communities, with government aid, can build and make decent housing for the people. 

  5. WE WANT DECENT EDUCATION FOR OUR PEOPLE THAT EXPOSES THE TRUE NATURE OF THIS DECADENT AMERICAN SOCIETY. WE WANT EDUCATION THAT TEACHES US OUR TRUE HISTORY AND OUR ROLE IN THE PRESENT-DAY SOCIETY. 
    We believe in an educational system that will give to our people a knowledge of the self. If you do not have knowledge of yourself and your position in the society and in the world, then you will have little chance to know anything else. 

  6. WE WANT COMPLETELY FREE HEALTH CARE FOR All BLACK AND OPPRESSED PEOPLE. 
    We believe that the government must provide, free of charge, for the people, health facilities which will not only treat our illnesses, most of which have come about as a result of our oppression, but which will also develop preventive medical programs to guarantee our future survival. We believe that mass health education and research programs must be developed to give all Black and oppressed people access to advanced scientific and medical information, so we may provide our selves with proper medical attention and care. 

  7. WE WANT AN IMMEDIATE END TO POLICE BRUTALITY AND MURDER OF BLACK PEOPLE, OTHER PEOPLE OF COLOR, All OPPRESSED PEOPLE INSIDE THE UNITED STATES. 
    We believe that the racist and fascist government of the United States uses its domestic enforcement agencies to carry out its program of oppression against black people, other people of color and poor people inside the united States. We believe it is our right, therefore, to defend ourselves against such armed forces and that all Black and oppressed people should be armed for self defense of our homes and communities against these fascist police forces. 

  8. WE WANT AN IMMEDIATE END TO ALL WARS OF AGGRESSION. 
    We believe that the various conflicts which exist around the world stem directly from the aggressive desire of the United States ruling circle and government to force its domination upon the oppressed people of the world. We believe that if the United States government or its lackeys do not cease these aggressive wars it is the right of the people to defend themselves by any means necessary against their aggressors. 

  9. WE WANT FREEDOM FOR ALL BLACK AND OPPRESSED PEOPLE NOW HELD IN U. S. FEDERAL, STATE, COUNTY, CITY AND MILITARY PRISONS AND JAILS. WE WANT TRIALS BY A JURY OF PEERS FOR All PERSONS CHARGED WITH SO-CALLED CRIMES UNDER THE LAWS OF THIS COUNTRY. 
    We believe that the many Black and poor oppressed people now held in United States prisons and jails have not received fair and impartial trials under a racist and fascist judicial system and should be free from incarceration. We believe in the ultimate elimination of all wretched, inhuman penal institutions, because the masses of men and women imprisoned inside the United States or by the United States military are the victims of oppressive conditions which are the real cause of their imprisonment. We believe that when persons are brought to trial they must be guaranteed, by the United States, juries of their peers, attorneys of their choice and freedom from imprisonment while awaiting trial. 

  10. WE WANT LAND, BREAD, HOUSING, EDUCATION, CLOTHING, JUSTICE, PEACE AND PEOPLE’S COMMUNITY CONTROL OF MODERN TECHNOLOGY. 
    When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume, among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. 

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that, whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and, accordingly, all experience hath shown that mankind are most disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But, when a long train of abuses and usurpation, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.