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Urgent COVID-19 Update: Will Prisoner Lives Ever Matter to the Oppressors?

By Keith “Malik” Washington
Fight Toxic Prisons – correspondent

“…through indifference or incompetence the B.O.P. is endangering the lives of individuals entrusted to its care by failing to establish consistent and effective safeguards to protect them from coronavirus.” 

– LISA Newsletter, July 6th 2020

Edited by Thomas L. Root M.A., J.D.

Roger Stone, who happens to be a friend of U.S. President Donald J. Trump, said that a three year federal prison sentence would be a virtual death sentence for a 67 year old like him. President Trump commuted the sentence for his friend so he would not be subjected to the Federal Death Traps operated by the Bureau of Prisons.

I think by now that most of us who embrace Abolitionist Politics realize that no amount of moral shaming nor exposure is going to convince the oppressors in Amerika to release vulnerable prisoners who are poor and who are not rich, white, and connected.

As the coronavirus pandemic rages out of control every facet of the criminal justice system wages an all out war on Black and Brown Lives.

On July 10th, 2020 we saw a record-breaking 65,000 new cases of COVID-19 in the United Snakes of Amerika.

Texas, along with Arizona and Florida, is one of the major hotspots which is driving this surge in positive cases of this deadly virus. In regard to the prison population in Texas, Michael Barajas of the Texas Observer reports the following: “As of early June 2020, about 7,000 people incarcerated by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and nearly 1,000 prison employees have tested positive for COVID-19. At least 42 inmates and 7 prison staff have died from the virus. Even as those numbers rise, Governor Greg Abbott – and the parole board he appointed – has largely ignored calls to release people who have already made parole.”

I personally made parole last year in Texas and as I prepare to release to a Federal Half-way House in the State of California (Sept. 2020) state officials in Texas have been holding up and delaying my parole transfer request!

Before I requested to be transferred to San Francisco, California I was slated to release to Houston, Texas. The city of Houston is located in Harris County. Harris County has been experiencing one of the worst surges of coronavirus in the nation. Although the B.O.P. and TDCJ are well aware of this I find myself struggling to convince prison officials to expedite both my release and transfer. Obviously prisoner lives don’t matter – but there’s more!!

COVID-19 is now present in over 84 federal prisons. There have been nearly 100 prisoner deaths and those numbers are liable to increase due to a recent spike in confirmed cases throughout the United States.

One of the most disheartening and discouraging pieces of news to come out of the U.S. Supreme Court is the decision by U.S. Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor to block the emergency release of federal prisoners housed at the Federal Correctional Institution at Elkton in Ohio.

Of all the U.S. Supreme Court justices who currently sit on the U.S. Supreme Court, I would have never have dreamed in my wildest dreams that only Sotomayor would ignore the humanity of low security prisoners who are vulnerable to contracting the deadly coronavirus. The next time someone tries to tell you how “good” liberal judges are, think again! The entire system is bereft of compassion or empathy. 

In comparison to F.C.I. Elkton in Ohio, we have federal prisoners at F.C.I. Oakdale in Louisiana who have attempted to plead for similar emergency relief as the prisoners in Elkton.

What is remarkable is the number of deaths. At FCI Oakdale there have been approximately 28 deaths of prisoners. There have been approximately 10 deaths at F.C.I. Elkton.

In both of these cases the Federal B.O.P. has fought aggressively to keep prisoners inside these death traps. However, with a phone call and a stroke of his powerful pen, U.S. President Donald Trump protected his personal friend Roger Stone from the threat posed by the coronavirus.

Every group in Amerika needs a representative who speaks out and fights hard for their interests. I represent the elderly, infirm, poor, and vulnerable federal and state prisoners in Amerika who have been left to suffer and die inside these slave kamps and gulags.

I am not angry that Roger Stone did not go to prison. I am angry that the system promotes, sanctions, and condones these stark inequalities in the application of justice in Amerika.

Nevertheless, we must join together in order to shed a discerning light on these ongoing injustices as well as the abuse of political power.

I stand in solidarity with the campaign to Fight Toxic Prisons as well as many other autonomous organizations that seek to dismantle and abolish these systems of oppression which represent the horrible Amerikan legacy of slavery.

Let us struggle together to abolish all forms of slavery and lets fight to free ALL prisoners by any means necessary!!!

Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win, All Power to the People!

Note: Please support and promote Malik’s re-entry fundraiser, he is scheduled to be released in September 2020. Visit the GoFundMe link: https://gf.me/u/ydbirm. Thank you for helping our comrade.

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