Activists protest LA County inmate transfer

Jail ProtestSeveral dozen activists and family members of prison inmates gathered outside the L.A. County Board of Supervisors office today to protest the transfer of hundreds of L.A. inmates to Kern County. The supervisors agreed in September to a five-year contract that will move 500 long-term inmates to the Taft Community Correctional Facility, freeing up beds in L.A. county jails for inmates to complete their full sentences. Today, they approved the budget — 10 million dollars. The Board also voted to authorize 29.3 million for jail reforms.

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Life in solitary: advocacy groups push to change security housing units

It was lonely, quiet, and constricting in the 8 by 10 foot security housing unit 4B where Armando R. Morales spent nearly 23 hours a day in isolation at Corcoran State Prison.

He entered the prison system at age 16, and for the last eight years of his life spent his term in a security housing unit, often referred to by advocacy groups as solitary confinement.

Bobby Morales

Armando “Bobby” Morales at 8-years-old. Click here to see more.

Morales was 29 years old when he hanged himself by a shoe lace and a blue blanket in his unit on August 28, 2012.

Armando Robert Morales, known as “Bobby” by his family, was one of 32 inmates in a California prison who killed himself in 2012.

He was housed in the Security Housing Unit, or “SHU” — a place where inmates are 33 percent more likely to commit suicide than inmates in regular cells, according to Dr. Raymond Patterson in a federal report.

Prisoners in the SHU are 2 percent of California prisons’ population, but make up 42 percent of suicides overall, according to a 2012 report by Amnesty International, a global human rights group.

Stories like Morales’ are one of the reasons that California Families Against Solitary Confinement are pushing the California prisons to change the way inmates in segregation are treated. [Read more…]

Angela Davis speaks to a full house at Urban Issues Breakfast Forum

Line outside the California African American Museum

Line outside the California African American Museum

Standing in line, some speculated that Friday April 19 attracted the largest Urban Issues Breakfast Forum crowd they had ever seen. Three lines wrapped around the California African American Museum: one for VIPs, another for reservations, and a last line filled with hopefuls crossing their fingers for the chance to hear Angela Davis speak.

“We want an end to all wars of oppression,” Davis said to a cheering crowd. “We want freedom for all black and oppressed people now held in U.S. federal and state prison and jails.”

Davis, prominent black scholar, activist and feminist, referred to the prison-industrial complex, the idea that the prison system thrives due to its profitability. This was the topic of her talk as well as a central theme in her newest book, “The Meaning of Freedom and Other Difficult Dialogues.” [Read more…]

Earl Ofari Hutchinson on youth violence

The fatal beating of 16-year-old Derrion Albert was caught on video. The videotape shocked the country, and President Obama sent Attorney General Eric Holder and Education Secretary Arne Duncan to Chicago to discuss new policies to prevent youth violence. Annenberg Radio News reporter Timothy Beck Werth speaks with Earl Ofari Hutchinson, a Los Angeles author and civil rights activist.

Visit Earl Ofari Hutchinson’s blog at: