‘Abu Ghraib’ prison in Alaska


This video from the USA says about itself:

Guards paraded Alaska inmates naked on a ‘dog leash,’ report finds

5 October 2017

Correctional officers at the Spring Creek Correctional Center in Seward, Alaska, subjected prisoners to sexual embarrassment and harassment, a state watchdog found.

From the New York Times in the USA:

Guards Paraded Alaska Inmates Naked on a ‘Dog Leash,’ Report Finds

By JONAH ENGEL BROMWICH

OCT. 4, 2017

Inmates at a state prison in Alaska were stripped naked in front of female prison staff members, walked naked on a “dog leash” and left without clothing or cover in cold, filthy cells for hours at a time, according to a report released by a state watchdog.

The report, released online last week and referring to events from a 10-day period in August 2013, provided a look at how correctional officers at the maximum-security Spring Creek Correctional Center in Seward subjected prisoners to sexual embarrassment and harassment, as well as situations of extreme discomfort, seemingly as punishment for two incidents that had taken place earlier in the month.

The report, prompted by a complaint filed by an inmate, found that he and 11 other prisoners had been taken from their cells for reasons that were never officially explained, moved to a different location, unshackled and “ordered to strip naked in front of female staff.”

The complaint said the group was handcuffed again and walked nude on a “dog leash,” which the report identified as a cuff retainer, to another area of the prison while correctional officers ridiculed and laughed at them.

The inmate who filed the complaint said he was then placed naked in a cell that was filled with debris and feces, and had blood on the walls, and was left there for hours.

The report was completed and released by the office of the Alaska ombudsman, Kate Burkhart. The ombudsman’s office found that the complainant’s allegations were justified — meaning that the investigation established that they had occurred — and that the prison staff had violated federal and state laws in its treatment of the inmates.

“The allegations are so shocking that they are almost unbelievable,” Ms. Burkhart said in an interview Wednesday.

She said she had been startled by the egregiousness of the alleged violations upon reading the report this summer, when she was named ombudsman. “Proving that they occurred required that level of real in-depth investigation and thoroughness,” she added, when asked why the report took four years to be released.

The ombudsman’s office found that several other inmates had filed similar complaints. At least one said he had been left naked in a cell for 12 or more hours. Another reported that the cells were “probably 50 degrees at most” and that correctional officers were told they would be fired if they provided the inmates with clothing.

The initial inmate filed a grievance with the state Department of Corrections in August 2013. According to the inmate, the department assigned the same staff member who had supervised the punishments to investigate the complaint. That staff member, a lieutenant at the prison, also investigated the others’ grievances. (Names of inmates and prison staff members were redacted throughout the report.)

The lieutenant completed his investigation in October 2013. His report said that the inmate had been involved in a group protest on the evening of Aug. 5 and that he and the others were restrained and stripped, partly to “alleviate the security threat” posed by the prisoners’ misuse of their state-issued clothing.

The assistant superintendent of the prison upheld the lieutenant’s findings and rejected the inmates’ complaints, then subsequently denied their appeals.

When asked to explain how the inmates had “misused” state clothing, the assistant superintendent said that inmates had used it during the protest to yank plumbing fixtures from the wall.

He was unable to articulate how the inmate was intending to misuse his clothing again, the report said. No other written accounts of the episode, including the lieutenant’s, alluded to inmates misusing clothing.

Ombudsmen — government watchdogs established by state legislatures in Alaska, Hawaii, Nebraska, Iowa and Arizona — have no punitive power, so the report’s findings do not carry the weight of law.

It made a series of sweeping recommendations, including that the Department of Corrections revise its policies on restraint devices such as handcuffs and those on strip and body cavity searches.

The report also recommended that the department begin recording staff interactions with body cameras, which Ms. Burkhart argued would protect inmates and prison staff alike.

The department declined to put in place several of the policies, the report found. Phone calls to the commissioner’s office Wednesday went unanswered.

Alaska’s corrections department has undergone several changes in leadership since 2013. A report released by the governor’s office in 2015, prompted by the deaths of seven prisoners, found that the department was in turmoil, with organizational failings, varied implementations of severe punishments and flaws in its internal investigation process. The next year, one of that report’s authors was chosen to lead the department, to the dismay of the Alaska Correctional Officers Association.

Ms. Burkhart said that given the time that had passed, many of the correctional officers involved in the episode were no longer working at the prison and that its administration had changed. Nonetheless, she said, the public “should be alarmed that this happened.”

She was not required to release the report publicly, but said she did so because the egregious behavior detailed in it deserved notice from public officials.

“The ombudsman doesn’t have enforcement power, but the governor and the legislature certainly do,” Ms. Burkhart said. “If there’s evidence that a state agency isn’t following the law, then putting the governor and the legislature on notice that it’s happening, so that they can react and hopefully resolve the problem, is important.”

The Scourge of Racial Bias in New York State’s Prisons. A New York Times investigation draws on nearly 60,000 disciplinary cases from state prisons and interviews with inmates to explore the system’s inequities and the ripple effect they can have: here.

The inmates were just starting their day on July 6 when dozens of corrections officers burst into their dormitory, shouting for everyone to get down on the floor. The raid at Mid-State Correctional Facility, outside Utica, N.Y., officials said, was a surprise search for weapons made urgent after a bloody injury to a guard three days earlier. But over the next two hours, according to inmates, officers beat and stomped on each of the more than 30 prisoners present that morning, screaming curses and racial epithets and destroying property. Several men said their ribs were broken by kicks and punches. A 58-year-old prisoner said he was rammed, headfirst, through the Sheetrock wall in his room. Down the hall, a 41-year-old inmate said his nose was broken as a guard repeatedly slammed a metal door into his face: here.

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North Carolina, USA persecution for anti-racism


This video from the USA says about itself:

Meet the College Student Who Pulled Down a Confederate Statue in Durham & Defied White Supremacy

16 August 2017

A crowd of activists toppled a Confederate statue in Durham, North Carolina, on Monday, just two days after the deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. As the crowd shouted “We are the revolution,” a college student named Takiyah Thompson climbed up a ladder, looped a rope around the top of the Confederate Soldiers Monument in front of the old Durham County Courthouse and then pulled the statue to the ground.

She was arrested the following day on two charges of felony inciting a riot and three misdemeanor charges, including defacing a statue. Thompson was released last night on a $10,000 unsecured bond. We speak with Thompson about her actions before her scheduled court hearing this morning.

From the Southern Vision Alliance in the USA today, about North Carolina:

Please sign the petition and forward widely

CRUEL & UNUSUAL:

Demand Durham Sheriff Mike Andrews end the witchhunt against anti-racist activists and be held accountable for his criminal treatment of the people of Durham!

SIGN THE PETITION NOW

Over the past two weeks, thirteen activists have been arrested and slapped with outrageous felony and misdemeanor charges for their defense of the Durham community against white supremacists, first in relation to the toppling of a Confederate statue in front of the Durham courthouse on Aug. 14, and then for protesting in response to a planned Ku Klux Klan rally on Aug. 18. Most recently, three more activists were issued warrants on Aug. 28 and turned themselves in; two were arrested the day before.

Sheriff Andrews recently attempted unsuccessfully to prosecute activists with Inside-Outside Alliance for protest charges, and was exposed for his exaggerated attempts to target demonstrators. The IOA has held weekly protests at the jail for more than a year. These arrests are clearly a form of retaliation against the movement at large.

The jail that Andrews runs is an institution committed to the preservation and perpetuation of white supremacy. Under Andrews’ tenure, at least five people – Matthew McCain, Dennis McMurray, Niecey Fennell, Terry Lee, and Raphael Bennett — have died in the Durham County Jail due to the criminal conditions inside. Detainees have described the jail as being designed to “break you” and to “make you want to kill yourself.” Andrews has gone out of his way to cover up these deaths, and has made patently false statements about the conditions of the jail. Meanwhile, he has frustrated attempts by the community and elected officials to audit the conditions there, and has lied about the Durham County Sheriff’s collaboration with Immigration, Customs, and Enforcement (ICE).

In what can be described as nothing other than cruel and unusual, Andrews has recently taken steps to completely restrict in-person visitation for Durham County jail detainees, and only allow video visitation.

We say no more!

Stop the witchhunt against activists involved in protesting white supremacy!

Drop the charges against the 13 anti-racist activists!

End the criminal treatment of the people of Durham inside the Durham County Jail!

A black Cornell student said he was beaten and called the n-word, roiling the Ivy League campus: here.

‘Inhuman Belgian prisons’, Dutch court says


This video says about itself:

Belgian jail loses keys

1 November 2012

The governor of one Belgian jail has been suspended after keys to the cells went missing.

The chaplain of Leuven prison has mislaid his master set and staff fear inmates could have got their hands on them.

It means the lucky prisoner will be able to open any of the 180 cells and the doors that separate the twenty sections.

Officials are trying to get the bottom of the matter.

A number of staff went on strike for several hours on Wednesday in support of the suspended governor.

They returned to work later that evening and maintenance staff are in for a busy few days.

The locks on all the cells are having to be replaced one by one.

Translated from Leen Vervaeke, 1 August 2017, in Dutch daily De Volkskrant:

Dutch court refuses extradition to Belgium; Prisons are ‘inhuman and degrading’

Usually, such an extradition request is a formality, but on Tuesday, the International Law Chamber of the Amsterdam Court refused to send the suspects to Belgium. Reason for this is a devastating report of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment of the Council of Europe (CPT), published two weeks ago. In that report, the CPT wrote that it had never seen such a bad situation as in Belgium in Europe in 27 years.

Sometimes three prisoners live in a one person cell, with fungi on the walls, without toilet or running water.