". . . our penal system remains the most humane and advanced in the world."
--Spiro T. Agnew
You can tell something of the nature of a society by the prisons it builds. In Amerika, the prison system reflects the class bias, the racism, and the sexism of Amerikan society.
The racism of Amerikan justice is reflected in the denial of religious freedom for Blacks in prisons, Black Muslims are consistently harassed and persecuted (one demand at Attica was for religious freedom). Lt. Calley is a confessed murderer who was acquitted, Bobby Seale (co-founder of the Black Panther Party) was held in jail for two years, charged with crimes for which he was not guilty. At the time of the uprising at Attica, 85% of the 2,250 prisoners were black or Puerto Rican. All of the 383 guards were white.
The persistent and paternalistic sexism of prisons was illustrated in August when women of the Detroit House of Correction (DeHoCo) staged a sit-down strike to protest the inhumane conditions of the jail (see list of demands). The prison authorities refused to even negotiate with those brave women. A letter from a former DeHoCo inmate, Jane Kennedy, states, "Prisoners work as much as 13 hours a day at prison jobs that pay 25 cents a day." August 25th the women 's strike was broken, without any demands negotiated and without any significant support from outside of the prison walls.
DeHoCo is the state prison for women. Male prisoners are jailed in a separate building. DeHoCo is both a symbol of, and a part of, all that is repressive and ugly in the Amerikan judicial system. DeHoCo is a part of a reactionary political prison system. Those who are now in prison have been sent there by a society in which they were denied equal participation. They were imprisoned when they could no longer remain inactive, uncommitted victims of Amerikan society.
They are now political prisoners.
To show support for the just cause of the people in jail at DeHoCo and across the country, we will demonstrate October 16th at DeHoCo. There will be a rally at 2:00 pm, followed by a picketing of the jail. Come and support our brothers and sisters in jail!
For more information, call 971-9367.
THE SISTERS AT DEHOCO MADE THE FOLLOWING DEMANDS:
1. They want an end to shakedowns. The women are constantly searched and then made to strip so the matrons can check that there are no weapons hidden in their uteri or recta.
2. They want matrons to stop arbitrarily searching their rooms and peremptorily punishing them without specific reasons.
3. They want better medical treatment. The sisters seldom receive anything but aspirin because the jail officials think that they all will become addicts.
4. They want higher wages and lower prices. Monthly earnings are often spent on a carton of cigarettes.
5. They want their boyfriends to be able to visit. Last year prison officials banned boyfriends from visiting because the boyfriends were allegedly smuggling heroin and cocaine in to the women.
6. They want an end to censorship.