Tag Archives: FAM

Free Alabama Movement Responds to DOJ Investigation

From Free Alabama Movement

Contact info:
Mother’s and F.A.M.ilies

P.O. BOX 186

New Market, Al 35761

FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT (F.A.M.) is pleased with the news that the U.S. Department of Justice (D.O.J.) will be conducting a statewide investigation into the issues of abuse, violence and safe, secure and sanitary conditions in Alabama’s men’s prisons, even though we believe that the women’s prison should also be revisited. We would like to emphasize that we are looking for an open, transparent and inclusive investigation that will keep the public updated, informed and INVOLVED throughout this process. Alabama prisons are unique in that they are the most overcrowded, underfunded, and understaffed prisons in America. Therefore, any solutions to the existing problems will need to be unique and require “outside-of-the-box” thinking as well. Continue reading

Request from FAM to Support Prison Rebel Accused of Stabbing Warden

In March of this year, the Sun of Kinetik was accused of stabbing Warden Davenport at Holman prison in Alabama. He was then shipped to Donaldson. He has since been assaulted, harassed, and tortured in Solitary Confinement. If you support FAM and the work we do then let Kinetik’s Sun know his sacrifices for change were not in vain. Those willing, drop him a postcard and those able, put a small donation on his books via the ADOC website.

Amir “Jaja” Davis #268646
G-4 WE Donaldson CF
1000 Warrior Lane
Bessemer, AL 35023

In Revolutionary Solidarity,
Kinetik Justice

Call-in for Comrades Held in Segregation at Holman

From Anarchy Live

On August 1, 2016, following rebellion in one of the dorms, the riot squad attacked individuals at Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore, Alabama, placing multiple individuals in segregation. In violation of Department of Corrections policy, the prisoners have not received a 72-hour investigation notice of the reason for their being placed in segregation, and have not had their personal property returned. The comrades have had to go without shoes, clothing, deodorant, and toothbrushes, and have not had access to their addresses and phone numbers.

Call Warden Mitchell and demand that those put in segregation after the recent riot be released and have their property returned.

Phone number: 251-368-8173

Continue reading

Continuous Rebellion, A Letter From Prisoner and Comrade Michael Kimble

From Anarchy Live

[Note: Below is a text from anarchist comrade Michael Kimble, who just got thrown into segregation for allegedly participating in the most recent rebellion at Holman Prison.]

At the moment I’m writing from segregation (lockup) after being stripped, handcuffed, slapped, and placed here by the CERT (riot squad) on Monday, August 1, 2016 at approximately 11:45 pm. It’s now Wednesday and I haven’t been given my personal property (shoes/slides, soap, deodorant, clothes, toothbrush, etc.) nor have I received a 72 hour investigation notice as to why I’m being held in segregation.

I’m assuming that I’m being held for being involved in a rebellion (riot) that popped off on August 1, 2016 at around 3:06 pm. Initially there was a fight between prisoners, but escalated into a rebellion against the guards when they tried to intervene after being told numerous times that things were under control.

The guards didn’t listen and was chased out of C-dorm, which has become a space of self-governance and resistance against prison officials. Fires were set, control units taken.

I’m one of about ten prisoners who was also placed in segregation.

So, if you don’t hear from me personally, it means that all my property, including letters, addresses, phone numbers, have been destroyed or lost. I’ve had to borrow writing materials to get this out.

You can write Michael at,

Michael Kimble # 00138017

Holman 3700
Atmore, AL 36503-3700

A Letter from Mothers and F.A.M.ilies

[Editor’s Note: what follows is an open letter to those incarcerated in Alabama from the organization Mothers and F.A.M.ilies.]

Greetings from Mothers and F.A.M.ilies:

May this letter find you in the best of spirit and health in spite of
your circumstance of being incarcerated in Alabama. We hope to lift your
spirit by letting you know that we are in this fight with you for
freedom, justice, and civil and human rights until the end.

Over the past 3 years, we have been fighting relentlessly alongside FREE
ALABAMA MOVEMENT and all others for justice in Alabama. Among our many
activities have been:
Continue reading

Hundreds of Inmates Across Alabama Have Gone on Strike to Protest ‘Prison Slavery’

From Vice

By Raven Rakia

May 13, 2016 | 12:45 pm

In late March, a prisoner named Johnny Lee Spears was stabbed to death at Alabama’s Elmore Correctional Facility. Soon after, his fellow inmates began plotting a protest. Many believed that Spears died because he did not receive proper medical care after the attack, and the incident — combined with longstanding complaints against the state’s prison system about overcrowding, frequent acts of violence, crumbling facilities, and medical neglect — was like dropping a match in a keg of gunpowder.

Weeks earlier, similar gripes at the Holman Correctional Facility, another Alabama prison that houses inmates on death row, prompted a riot that saw prisoners seize control of their cell blocks, stab a guard and the warden, and set several fires. This time, the inmates at Elmore wanted their grievances addressed through nonviolent means.

The Elmore prisoners reached out to Melvin Ray, an inmate at the state’s St. Clair Correctional Facility and the founder of the Free Alabama Movement, a prisoner-organized human rights group. Ray told them he could help organize a work stoppage. Dozens of Alabama inmates possess contraband cellphones — some told VICE News they bought the phones illegally from guards — and on April 30 they received a text message.

“We will no longer voluntarily participate in this slave system where economics are placed over our humanity,” the message read. “All [that] is required is for industry workers, kitchen workers, and hall runners to sit down.”

Related: Whole Foods, Expensive Cheese, and the Dilemma of Cheap Prison Labor

On May 1, when protesters around the world marched for workers’ rights on May Day, inmates throughout the Alabama prison system went on strike. Prisoners refused to show up to their assigned jobs, where they are paid a maximum of 30 cents per hour to manufacture license plates, serve food, and clean. One Alabama prison has an inmate-staffed recycling plant, and another has a farm where prisoners grow and harvest all of the crops.

“Prison systems could not operate without exploiting prison labor; prisoners cook the meals, do the laundry, provide maintenance work, cut the grass, work as clerks and teachers’ aides, and much more,” said Alex Friedmann, associate director of the Human Rights Defense Center, a nonprofit that publishes Prison Legal News. “Without the use of low-cost or free prisoner labor, our prison system would grind to a halt — and prisoners are increasingly coming to that realization.”

‘Without the use of low-cost or free prisoner labor, our prison system would grind to a halt — and prisoners are increasingly coming to that realization.’

The strike included at least 300 prisoners at Elmore alone, according to the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) spokesman Bob Horton. The facility was placed on lockdown, meaning prisoners could not leave their cells or dorms, but the restrictions were lifted on Tuesday after about 90 percent of the prisoners returned to work.

Holman remains on lockdown because of the strike, and prisoners told VICE News that the work stoppage has also spread to the Staton Correctional Facility, a medium-security prison that houses around 1,300 inmates, and to St. Clair, which was also placed on partial lockdown last week.

“The main reason that we’re striking is because there continues to be problems inside of the prison and the state’s focus is not on solving the problems — it’s on finding new ways to make money,” said Ray. “They’re not affording us the opportunity to make our concerns known. They’re not listening to our complaints. The only way we have to get their attention is to do these shut downs.”

Related: Hard Labor: Here’s the Weird Shit Inmates Can Do for Work in US Prisons

The strike in Alabama began exactly one month after a similar inmate action in Texas, where prisoners demanded that the state put an end to “prison slavery,” reform parole guidelines, and eliminate a mandatory $100 co-pay for medical care. The Texas strike ended without the state meeting any of the demands.

The Alabama prisoners have also been coordinating with inmates in Mississippi and Virginia to call for a nationwide prisoner work stoppage on September 9, 2016. The day marks the 45th anniversary of the Attica Prison riot, a landmark moment in the prisoners’ rights movement where more than 1,000 inmates at the notorious New York lockup seized control of the facility and demanded political rights and better living conditions.

‘We will no longer voluntarily participate in this slave system where economics are placed over our humanity.’

The major grievance in Alabama is overcrowding. The state’s prisons are holding nearly three times as many people as they were originally intended to house, according to the latest ADOC statistics. A lawsuit filed in 2014 by the Equal Justice Initiative, a nonprofit that litigates on behalf of indigent inmates, blamed the overcrowding problem for high levels of violence across the state prison system. Seven people were killed while in ADOC custody last year.

On May 7, the striking prisoners emailed a list of demands to the media that included abolishing sentences of life without parole for first-time offenders, and repealing the Habitual Felony Offender Act, Alabama’s version of the “three-strikes law,” which has led to life sentences for some repeat offenders convicted of drug charges and other low-level, nonviolent offenses. Other demands include implementing education, rehabilitation, and reentry programs, expanding the Alabama Innocence Inquiry Commission, which works to exonerate wrongfully convicted individuals, and ending “prison slavery.”

Attempts by Alabama lawmakers to address overcrowding and other issues have either stalled or proceeded slowly. Governor Robert Bentley signed a prison reform bill into law last year that is expected to cut the prison population by at least 4,200 people, bringing the prison population down to about 150 percent over capacity.

Footage from the inmate riot at Alabama’s Holman Correctional Facility on March 11.

The situation in Alabama’s prisons was largely overlooked until the riot at Holman on March 11. The incident attracted national media attention after inmates used their contraband cellphones to post footage of the uprising on Facebook. Bentley used the riot to push state legislators to approve a bill that would borrow $800 million from the state’s educational fund to build four new “mega-prisons,” which would have room for far more prisoners than the current facilities.

Prisoners who spoke with VICE News argued that the new “mega-prisons” wouldn’t solve the state’s problems or even alleviate overcrowding. They argued that instead of building new facilities, the state needs to reform its harsh sentencing laws.

Related: These Inmates Won $85,000 Because Their Prison Is on Lockdown Too Often

“They were going to build a new $800 million prison complex in the state of Alabama. For us on the inside, we know that’s really an $800 million corporation,” Ray said. “We view prison labor as real slavery.”

Multiple prisoners at Holman claimed that guards have retaliated for the strike by reducing the amount of food served at each meal. Inmates provided VICE News with photos that appeared to show paltry meals, including one that consisted of two small hot dogs, a slice of bread, and corn, and another that was just beans and two cupcakes. Typically, inmates who work in the prison kitchen prepare and serve meals, but correctional officers have assumed those duties during the strike.

Prisoners in Alabama claim guards have retaliated for a work stoppage by withholding food. One inmate sent VICE News this photo of a recent meal he was served. (Photo via Raven Rakia/VICE News)

Horton did not directly comment on the allegation that guards are withholding food to punish inmates for the strike. However, in a previous statement, he said, “Correctional staff are responding by delivering the basic services to all inmates at both facilities. The facilities are secure, inmates are receiving their daily meals, and their healthcare needs are being met.”

VICE News spoke with one 40-year-old prisoner with diabetes who claimed that the food situation at Homan has put him and other diabetic inmates at risk. Diabetic prisoners are usually offered a special menu with items that help them avoid hypoglycemia, a sometimes fatal condition caused by dangerously low blood-sugar levels.

Related: Alabama’s Governor Used Oil Spill Funds to Renovate His Coastal Mansion

“We’re supposed to get a minimum 2,400 calories a day and a minimum of 125 grams of protein a day and the meals that they’ve been feeding us are not adequate enough to keep our blood sugar up enough to take our insulin,” said the inmate, who requested anonymity for fear of retaliation from guards and prison officials.

A lawsuit filed by Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) in June, 2014 alleged that medical neglect is rampant in Alabama prisons due to inadequate medical staffing. In 2014, according to the SPLC, the ratio of medical staff to prisoners was 1 to 51 in 2014, resulting in “delays, failures to diagnose and treat problems, failure to follow up with patients, errors and decisions to not treat seriously ill prisoners.”

Ray said the strike at Holman is expected to last through the end of the month, but the prisoners will keep pushing for reform even after it ends.

“We’re not going to stop fighting back against the system… until these walls come down,” he said.

Follow Raven Rakia on Twitter: @aintacrow

Continue reading

Democracy Now! Interview with FAM

dnkinetikFrom DemocracyNow.org
Part 2 gets into broader organizing, including the Sept 9th Call for Nationally Coordinated Workstoppage and Protest.

We go behind bars to get an update on the end of a 10-day strike by Alabama prisoners to protest severe overcrowding, poor living conditions and the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which bans slavery and servitude “except as a punishment for crime,” thus sanctioning the legality of forced, unpaid prison labor. “These strikes are our methods of challenging mass incarceration, as we understand the prison system is a continuation of the slave system, which is an economic system,” says Kinetik Justice, who joins us by phone from solitary confinement in Holman Correctional Facility. He is co-founder of the Free Alabama Movement and one of the organizers of the strike. He says organizers tried petitioning their conditions via the courts and lawmakers, but when they were unsuccessful, “we understood our incarceration was pretty much about our labor and the money that was being generated from the prison system, therefore we began organizing around our labor and used it as a means and a method to bring about reform in the Alabama prison system.”

Transcript:NERMEEN SHAIKH: We end today’s show in Alabama, where men at several prisons have ended a 10-day strike over unpaid labor and poor prison conditions. Their coordinated strike kicked off on May 1st, International Workers’ Day, when prisoners at the Holman and Elmore Correctional Facilities refused to report to their prison jobs—and later expanded to three other prisons. The strike focused on severe overcrowding, poor living conditions and the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which bans slavery and servitude, quote, “except as a punishment for crime,” thus sanctioning the legality of forced, unpaid prison labor. Alabama operates the country’s most crowded prison system, holding nearly twice as many people as it’s designed to contain.
Continue reading

Alabama Prison Strikes Ends After Work-Release Strike Breakers Brought In Failure of Prison Expansion Bill Seen as Small Victory

The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW)

Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC)

Alabama Prison Strikes Ends After Work-Release Strike Breakers Brought In

Failure of Prison Expansion Bill Seen as Small Victory

IWW General Headquarters, Chicago, IL. May 12, 2016 Prisoners at Holman Correctional Institution have ended their ten-day shutdown of the State of Alabama’s auto license plate plant. Their work stoppage, initiated on May Day, spread to Elmore, St Clair, Donaldson and Staton facilities over the following week shutting down Alabama Department of Correction’s (ADOC) canning plant, fleet services, and chemical industry as well as the license plate plant. “That was our leverage, that was our power to negotiate with” said Kinetic, a member of both the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) union and the Free Alabama Movement (FAM). In an interview with media representatives of the IWW-Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee he explained how the strike achieved one objective but was broken by the unexpected employment of work-release prisoners as strike-breakers.
The strike achieved its first objective after only two days when the Alabama State Legislature killed the $800 million “Prison Transformation Initiative” that would have greatly expanded Alabama’s prison system, which is plagued with overcrowding, violence, deteriorating buildings and budget shortfalls. The defeated law tried to allocate ADOC $800 million to build four 3500 bed super-max facilities. Prisoners initiated their strike to draw national attention to ADOC’s problems and propose other solutions. On May 1st the prisoners stopped reporting to their work stations, and activists organized rallies and solidarity protests according to journalists who interviewed the prisoner’s spokespersons via clandestine cell-phones. On May 3rd, the ADOC’s new prison bill died on the state senate floor. Prisoners contend that their strike tipped the scales against the bill. Continue reading

Striking Prisoners in Alabama Accuse Officials of Using Food as Weapon

From The Intercept
Alice Speri May 10 2016, 2:24 p.m.
Alabama prisoners who have been on strike for ten days over unpaid labor and prison conditions are accusing officials of retaliating against their protest by starving them. The coordinated strike started on May 1, International Workers’ Day, when prisoners at the Holman and Elmore facilities refused to report to their prison jobs and has since expanded to Staton, St. Clair, and Donaldson’s facilities, according to organizers with the Free Alabama Movement, a network of prison activists.

Prison officials responded by putting the facilities on lockdown, partially to allow guards to perform jobs normally carried out by prisoners. But prisoners told The Intercept that officials also punished them by serving meals that are significantly smaller than usual, a practice they have referred to as “bird feeding.”

Continue reading

Free Alabama May Day Strike!

12495092_10208600490667061_654856713704924885_nThis is the May Day call to action from The Free Alabama Movement. Learn more about outside support for this action here.

In 4 days- Saturday night @ 12:01 May 1st- We will begin the process using our Economic Power to Peacefully bring about a true and transparent reform to the Alabama Judicial and Penal System.

MAY DAY MAY DAY is not just about the Conditions of Confinement. This is more so about the cause of those Conditions- THE 13th AMENDMENT, THE ALABAMA CONSTITUTION OF 1901 and the STATUTORY LAWS that have been created from both- Laws that drive and maintains this Mass Warehousing of men and women for extended periods of time in the name of profits.