photo: Forest City Anarchists
Happy new year! Welcome to 2022 and the first installment of In Contempt!
In today’s column, we have a lot of news to cover. From updates on political prisoners, to ways to support abolitionist projects, publications, and groups. There’s so much going on, so let’s dive right in.
Political Prisoner News
Word is spreading that Russell Maroon Shoatz has transition.
— Jailhouse Lawyers Speak – #shutemdown2021 (@JailLawSpeak) December 17, 2021
Perhaps the biggest piece of political prisoner news from the last month is that Russell Maroon Shoatz has died, after 49 years in prison and 52 days out on “compassionate release”. You can read a statement on his passing from his representatives at the Abolitionist Law Center here, and another from the New York Anarchist Black Cross.
The @SundiataAcoli campaign stepped it up this week. A billboard calling for his and the release of all elders in NJ is up and peep this…… on the NJ TURNPIKE!! #BringSundiataHome! pic.twitter.com/yFSamvHx2K
— Lumumba Bandele (@Lumumbabandele) December 30, 2021
Maroon’s passing has also been marked by a poem from fellow political prisoner Sundiata Acoli. Sundiata’s own case will be coming up before the New Jersey Supreme Court soon, with even some police groups preparing to argue that he should be released. You can sign the petition supporting his release here, and follow the campaign for his freedom on facebook, twitter and instagram.
How to support Eric King as he proceeds toward trial.https://t.co/iCiYeU2d7A
— Support_Eric_King (@SupportEricKing) December 26, 2021
Anarchist prisoner Eric King’s trial date has now been set for March 2022. The Anarchist Black Cross Federation has published a call to support the Nahuatzen 3, indigenous activists in Michoacán whose case is currently being reviewed.
— Anarchist Black Cross Federation – LA (@la_abcf) December 28, 2021
Antifascist/anarchist prisoner Dan Baker continues to publish new writings regularly, and you can check out some of his latest work, “Post Apocalyptic Present” and “It’s a ‘Wonderful’ Prison Life” now. The Final Straw Radio recently rebroadcast an interview with some of Dan’s supporters discussing his case.
Closing off this section, as De enter the new year, a reminder that the 2022 Certain Days calendar is available now, filled with art and writings from current and former political prisoners.
New Year’s Eve Noise Demos
Out in the streets of #Montreal!
Happy new year! pic.twitter.com/sRTyHzyhc8
— It’s Going Down (@IGD_News) January 1, 2022
Speaking of the new year, December 31st was marked by the traditional prison noise demos at a number of locations. At time of writing, confirmed events include Tucson, AZ, Waupun, WI, Cleveland, OH, Fort Lauderdale, FL, Atlanta, GA, Asheville, NC, Richmond, VA, Worcester, MA, and New York City, NY. Be sure to watch It’s Going Down in the coming days for coverage!
Uprising Defence, Antifascism and other Ongoing Cases
Ruby Montoya is doing whatever she can to lighten her punishment after publicly admitting to a string of arson and sabotage attacks against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) in 2017, including potentially cooperating with the FBI. https://t.co/BgxJe8pgvd
— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) December 30, 2021
Puget Sound Prisoner Support have published an update about a recent federal arrest in Seattle, and the identification of one defendant as cooperating with the prosecution, which contains valuable information about how federal investigations gather evidence. On a related note, Unicorn Riot have published a detailed story on the Dakota Access Pipeline/Ruby Montoya case, where Montoya has both cooperated with the FBI and sought to portray her former lawyer as undermining her.
In another pipeline-related case, two defendants facing felony charges for resistance to the Mountain Valley Pipeline have now accepted a plea deal meaning that they will only be convicted of a single misdemeanor each.
The San Diego prosecution of 11 antifascists for conspiracy is based on eliminationist fantasies of various kinds. To say it appears groundless would be doing it an unwarranted kindness. It also is a clear attack on protest rights.
— David Neiwert (@DavidNeiwert) December 18, 2021
There’s been quite a bit of news involving antifascists and the courts recently. The Daily Kos has reported on the San Diego “conspiracy” case, brought by a prosecutor who promotes antisemitic conspiracy theories about George Soros funding antifa. In Portland, the case of Alexander “Beta Cuck 4 Lyfe” Dial has now been resolved, with the majority of the most serious charges being dropped and Dial being given the choice of a $1,000 fine or community service. Similarly, in Los Angeles, Scottie Tripn, who was facing charges after helping defend against a far-right Trumpist rally on January 6th, has now had all his charges dismissed.
The Portland General Defense Committee have produced a “Christmas Carol”- themed fundraiser, which you can check out here.
donate to support vaughn 17 member and political prisoner Kevin Berry as he finally gets released from prison, so he can get food, clothes and housing after being locked down for 14 years https://t.co/ThuejBR0Oh https://t.co/tbXkBnyLRK
— 🔥 (@abolitiontxt) September 11, 2021
There are a number of updates to share around the Vaughn 17. Vaughn 17 prisoner John Bramble, who was recently transferred back to Delaware, and Ronald “Comrade Pound” Maxime have launched a hunger strike demanding to be moved out of Vaughn due to the retaliation they have been facing. At SCI Phoenix in Pennsylvania, Vaughn 17 prisoner Dwayne “BIM” Staats is calling for people to help pressure the prison administration, who are trying to provoke an incident that could sabotage his progress back into general population. The Movement Magazine, published by Pennsylvania’s Human Rights Coalition, has recently published a story by BIM and Jarreau “Ruk” Ayers, telling the story of deceased Vaughn prisoner Kelly Gibbs and his former co-defendant Keith Gibson. Issue 45 can be downloaded from their website.
Finally, supporters are continuing to fundraise for Kevin Berry, a former Vaughn prisoner who was recently released and needs support as he adjusts to the outside world.
Jailhouse Lawyers Speak
The saddest part of knowing people that were activists in prison is watching them struggle on the outside with no aid. Or with no in roads into the organizing movement beyond the walls. We aim to change that. But we will need your help.
Help us open our housing center project pic.twitter.com/JJ8dXBMxxQ
— Jailhouse Lawyers Speak – #shutemdown2021 (@JailLawSpeak) December 28, 2021
Jailhouse Lawyers Speak have released the following announcement:
The saddest part of knowing people that were activists in prison is watching them struggle on the outside with no aid. Or with no in roads into the organizing movement beyond the walls. We aim to change that. But we will need help.
We will be seeking the people help in opening our Housing Center. This will be a place for returning people [women initially] with a proven track record of standing up for the people in the prisons or when they were out. This is a bold push by Jailhouse Lawyers Speak for 2022.
Details about this project and fundraising towards this project will be released in 2022. Prisoners resistance moving to the next level. Organizing for prisoners by prisoners.
Questions or aid >> reach us at: [email protected]
General Prison News
December 20th, 2021, please call ToCI Warden Harold May and ask why he is not following ORDC policy pertaining to the Comrades and others being held in ToCI Restrictive Housing Units.
Warden Harold May, ToCI
Email: [email protected]ate.oh.us
ORDC Headquarters Contact Form
ORDC Director Annette Chambers-Smith
Also coming out of the Ohio prison system, there’s a call for people to support Sean Swain, who’s faced with another potential out-of-state transfer. Via the Final Straw:
Feel free to reach out to the following public officials to express your concern at the moving of Sean Swain out of Ohio based on the word of a former ODRC because Sean spoke out about torture he suffered in Ohio prisons. More details in the statement at [01:04:19] in the episode…
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine: email form or (614) 466-3555
ODRC Director Annette Chambers-Smith:
- email ([email protected])
- phone (614)387-0588
ODRC Interstate Compact Administrator Katrina Ransom
ODRC Interstate Compact Deputy Compact Administrator:
email ([email protected])
Prisoners at the Darrington Unit in Texas are due to begin a hunger strike at the start of January 2022. Their demands, and updates on their situation as it develops, should be available at the EndAdSegTx facebook page, along with other news about the situation in Texas prisons. Also in Texas, Jason Renard Walker has published a new article about the Texas prison system’s culture of covering up deadly force by guards.
— american poetry club (@notapoetryclub) December 18, 2021
Kevin “Rashid” Johnson has published a new article describing how his move back to Virginia and a medium-security institution shows the strength of people power and solidarity. During December, a phone zap was called for him after he was given several fake disciplinary write-ups, but that situation has now been resolved, and Rashid has been returned to general population.
In Indiana, IDOC Watch are organizing around the case of Angaza Iman Bahar, who is currently being illegally detained by the Indiana prison system past what should be the end of his sentence, and have also published a new interview with long-term organizer Khalfani Malik Khaldun.
IDOC Watch founder Angaza Iman Bahar is being illegally detained at Indiana State Prison! Please watch the video, read the legal documents in the blog post, and donate to his legal defense fund! We need $2500 to retain a lawyer
— IDOCWatch (@IDOCWatch) December 15, 2021
A new article suggests that the New Mexico prison system may have quietly begun backing down on the use of solitary confinement, as new departmental policies ban the use of solitary in women’s prisons and limit it to a maximum of 30 days in men’s. However, there is reason to be suspicious of the Corrections Department’s claims, as the article also quotes people who claim to have heard from prisoners held past 30 days in solitary after the practice was supposedly banned.
In an update on the story around Keith “Malik” Washington, previously covered in the last edition of In Contempt, new statements addressing the situation have been posted by the administrator of comrademalik.com, and by Turning the Tide newsletter.
Folks at Sacramento IWOC are also looking for support in the new year. Check them out here and consider supporting them.
Abolitionist Media Projects
The San Francisco Bay View has a number of recent reports from the California prison system, including a judge finding that San Quentin prison had violated prisoners’ rights during the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, and a group of prisoners at Soledad suing the prison system over a brutal raid in summer 2020. The Final Straw recently broadcast an interview with a member of a prison books collective from Durham, North Carolina, discussing prison mail digitization and related issues. The Prisons Kill project has a new interview with Al Fatah Stewart, who has spent 32 months held in Rikers Island awaiting trial.
This week we honor the late Russell Maroon Shoatz who passed on 12/17/21. In 1970, Shoatz was convicted of murdering a cop in PA, sentenced to LWOP. On 2/20/14 Shoatz returned to gen pop after solitary for 22yrs, on 10/26/21 granted compassionate release🪁 https://t.co/77QeQO5yu1
— kitelineradio (@kitelineradio) January 1, 2022
Recent episodes of Kite Line Radio include a report on jail conditions in Maricopa County, Arizona, a two–part interview on carceral nonprofits, and part of an interview with Russell Maroon Shoatz from 1996.
Spencer Sunshine is up on the Santifa livestream! https://t.co/EVzc34O0g1
— Antifa International (@antifaintl) December 27, 2021
In Bristol, UK, heavy sentences are still being passed in the wake of the “Kill the Bill” riot. Ryan Roberts has been given a 14-year sentence, and the Bristol Anarchist Black Cross website now lists the address of nine Kill the Bill prisoners, including Ryan. Freedom News have published a round-up article listing recent developments in both the Kill the Bill cases and the ongoing case of four people accused of toppling a slave-trader’s statue in summer 2020.
The International Antifascist Defence Fund have updates on a number of cases, including Paul, an anti-racist skinhead from Brisbane who has now been sentenced to community service after a confrontation with some local Proud Boys, antifascists in Denmark who’ve been given a heavy fine after a May Day event, and an antifascist who has now finally settled charges from a January 2014 action in Austria.
ABC Belarus continue to publish their regular monthly updates on repression there. They also have a report from the outcome of the “anarcho-partisan” trial, where four defendants have just been given prison sentences of 18-20 years each for their direct actions against the dictatorship. You can donate to their support fund here.
Solidarische Grüße vom besetztem Flensburger Bahnhofswald (@boomdorp) an die gefangenen Anarchist:innen in Belarus.
— B★M★C (@BlackMosqCrew) December 13, 2020
The Belarusian anarchist group Pramen, which has just been officially banned by the state, has published an article on the use of torture against the “anarcho-partisan” defendants, as well as a profile of Alexander/Sasha Kozlyanko, an anarchist prisoner from a different case.
Everyone should support the defendants facing charges related to their alleged participation in the George Floyd uprising – this list of our imprisoned comrades needs to be getting shorter, not longer. See Uprising Support for more info. The status of pre-trial defendants changes frequently, but to the best of our knowledge they currently include:
Desmond David-Pitts 49970-086
PO Box 5000
Sheridan, OR 97378
Sherburne County Jail
13880 Business Center Dr. NW
Suite 200 Elk River, MN 55330-1692
Lore-Elisabeth Blumenthal 70002-066
PO BOX 562
Philadelphia, PA 19105
Christopher West 161218
Allegheny County Jail
950 Second Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
You can also buy fundraiser clothing for Christopher “Brother Hush” West here.
Lavier Pounds 194234
Allegheny County Jail
950 2nd Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Alvin Joseph 99529156 (POSTCARDS ONLY)
Gwinnett Co Jail
2900 University Parkway
Lawrenceville, GA 30043
Develcho Waller 73223019
Robert A. Deyton Detention Facility
PO BOX 730
Lovejoy, GA 30250
John Wade 14762509
Robert A. Deyton Detention Facility
PO BOX 730
Lovejoy, GA 30250
Joseph Jett 1910905 (POSTCARDS ONLY)
Clayton County Jail
9157 Tara Boulevard
Jonesboro, GA 30250
Champaign County Jail
204 E. Main St.
Urbana IL 61801
Andrew Carlisle 1902379
C/O Securus Digital Media Center- Fulton County Jail
PO Box 989
Dashun Martin 73222019
Metropolitan Detention Center
PO BOX 1500
Los Angeles, CA 90053
Andrew Garcia-Smith 02324-509
PO Box 340
Salters, SC 29590
Nikita Dranets is a Belarusian political prisoner detained as part of a case brought against the anarchist movement.
Belarusian prisons will usually only accept letters in Belarusian or Russian, so if you don’t speak one of those languages your best bet is to email your message to belarus_abc(AT)riseup.net or use this online form and they should be able to translate your greetings and pass them on.
Birthday: January 1
(Belarusian or Russian letters only – use this form for English messages)
SIZO-1, ul. Volodarskogo 2, Minsk, 220030
Nikita Vadimovich Dranets
Serving life plus 10 years for killing a man who broke into her home in self-defense. Before her imprisonment, Fran was an eco, animal and anti-nuke campaigner and it is believed this biased the court against her.
Nebraska uses Jpay, so you should be able to send her a message by going to jpay.com, clicking “inmate search”, then selecting “State: Nebraska, Inmate ID: 93341”.
Birthday: January 4
Fran Thompson #93341
Nebraska Correctional Center for Women
1107 Recharge Rd.
York, NE 68467-8003
Siddique Abdullah Hasan (Carlos Sanders)
Long-time prison rebel on Death Row for his role in the Lucasville Uprising of 1993. Facing heavy retaliation, including attempts to smear him as a terrorist, for his ongoing organizing and support of prison strikes. You can learn more about Siddique in his own words by listening to his interviews on the Final Straw.
Ohio uses Jpay, so you can send him a message by going to jpay.com, clicking “inmate search”, then selecting “State: Ohio, Inmate ID: R130559”.
Birthday: January 4
Siddique Abdullah Hasan (Address envelope to Carlos A. Sanders)
Ohio State Penitentiary
PO Box 1436
Youngstown, Ohio 44505
Abdul Azeez (Warren Ballentine)
Abdul is one of the Virgin Island 3 serving 8 consecutive life sentences after being tortured into a false confession then wrongly imprisoned since 2001 when his sentence was vacated. He was 23 at the time of his arrest in 1972. Now in his 60s, he has several chronic health issues that are difficult to treat inside prison. A new Virgin Island 3 support site is due to be launched in the near future.
Abdul is in a prison run by CoreCivic/CCA, who appear to use Corrlinks, a system where a prisoner must send a request to connect to someone on the outside before they can exchange emails, so if you’re not already connected to Abdul then you’re best off just sending him a card or a letter.
Birthday: January 9
Abdul Aziz (address envelope to Warren Ballantine)
Citrus County Detention Facility
2604 West Woodland Ridge Drive
Lecanto, Florida 34461
Joseph “Shine White” Stewart
Joseph “Shine White” Stewart is a revolutionary prisoner in North Carolina who was sent to solitary confinement for his prominent role in the 2018 prison strikes. Many of his writings have been published by the Atlanta Anarchist Black Cross.
North Carolina inmates can now be contacted using textbehind.com
Birthday: January 14
Joseph Stewart #0802041
Bertie Correctional Institution
P.O. Box 129
Windsor, NC 27983
Sundiata Acoli (Clark Squire)
Former Black Panther/Black Liberation Army prisoner, codefendant of Assata Shakur, serving life plus 30 years for a shootout between the BLA and New Jersey state troopers. As mentioned above, Sundiata’s bid for parole after nearly 50 years is due to be heard by the New Jersey Supreme Court soon.
The Federal system uses Corrlinks, a system where a prisoner must send a request to connect to someone on the outside before they can exchange emails, so if you’re not already connected to Sundiata then you’re best off just sending him a card or a letter.
Birthday: January 14
Sundiata Acoli #39794-066 (address envelope to Clark Squire)
Federal Correctional Institution
P.O. BOX 1000
Cumberland, MD 21501
Joseph “Joe-Joe” Bowen
Black Liberation Army (BLA) Prisoner of War, serving two life sentences for the assassination of a prison warden and deputy warden, as well as an attempted prison break which resulted in a five-day standoff.
Pennsylvania uses Connect Network/GTL, so you can contact him online by going to connectnetwork.com, selecting “Add a facility”, choosing “State: Pennsylvania, Facility: Pennsylvania Department of Corrections”, going into the “messaging” service, and then adding him as a contact by searching his name or “AM-4272.”
Birthday: January 15
Joseph Bowen #AM-4272
P.O. Box 33028
St. Petersburg, FL 33733
Ferguson uprising prisoner, serving a 13-year sentence which is partly for looting during the Ferguson riots of November 2014, along with unrelated robbery and burglary charges.
Missouri uses Jpay, so you can send him a message by going to jpay.com, clicking “inmate search”, then selecting “State: Missouri, Inmate ID: 1287870”.
Birthday: January 17
Jacob Montgomery #1287870
Western Missouri Correctional Center
609 East Pence Road,
Cameron, MO 64429
Abdush-Shahid Faruq (Timothy Grinnel)
Abdush-Shahid Faruq is one of the prisoners wrongfully convicted in the aftermath of the historic Lucasville Uprising.
Ohio uses Jpay, so you can send him a message by going to jpay.com, clicking “inmate search”, then selecting “State: Ohio, Inmate ID: 218140”.
Birthday: January 23
Timothy Grinnel #218-140
Madison Correctional Institution
1851 State Route 56
London, OH 43140
Marius Mason is an anarchist, environmental and animal rights activist currently serving nearly 22 years in federal prison for acts of property damage carried out in defense of the planet.
The Federal system uses Corrlinks, a system where a prisoner must send a request to connect to someone on the outside before they can exchange emails, so if you’re not already connected to Marius then you’re best off just sending him a card or a letter.
Birthday: January 26
Marie (Marius) Mason 04672-061
Danbury, CT 06811