Pennsylvania prisoners punished after Dept. of Corrections embarrassed in Federal Court

first_imgFrackville, Pa. — For the last six months, Pennsylvania state prison staff have been systematically opening and duplicating all legal correspondence exchanged between inmates and their attorneys.This flagrant violation of attorney-client privilege, made official policy by Gov. Tom Wolf in July 2018, was challenged by a joint suit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, the Abolitionist Law Center, the Pennsylvania Institutional Law Project and the Amistad Law Project.After just one day of testimony in federal court, the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections announced its intention to settle the suit and will stop photocopying and storing prisoners’ legal mail.This sudden reversal is a major victory for inmates and abolitionists across the state.The decision to open, copy and store prisoners’ legal mail was one of many repressive policies implemented in the aftermath of an unprecedented 2018 statewide crackdown on prisons. Wolf claimed that his decision to impose an emergency lockdown of all 24 state correctional facilities — and over 50,000 prisoners — was in response to an “outbreak” of illnesses due to exposure to “synthetic drugs” that were being smuggled into prisons.But there has been only one verified case of a corrections officer’s “exposure” to illegal drugs, confirming activists’ suspicion that the lockdown, ordered in the middle of 2018 National Prison Strike, was aimed at stifling rebellion and strike activity.State ACLU Legal Director Vic Walczak told a local NPR affiliate: “Our expert, who was a former warden at San Quentin and a commissioner in the California Corrections Department, was going to testify that legal mail has not been a major source of contraband.” (wskg.org, Feb. 22)The legal watchdogs’ suit was aimed only at prisoners’ legal mail, so all other mail will continue to be routed through Smart Communications in Florida, where it is photocopied and forwarded to Pennsylvania prisons. The DOC granted a $4 million contract to Smart Communications and has spent over $40,000 to purchase copy machines for all state prisons.Retaliation continues against prisoners, families “They’ll resort to any means at their disposal to make you feel like you have no control, to undermine your value as a human being,” says Bryant Arroyo as he bites into a cold turkey sandwich in the visiting room at SCI Frackville.For the first time since the July lockdown, Bryant and his fellow inmates are allowed to purchase lunch while meeting with visitors. Sandwiches and candy bars are again in vending machines that for six months stood empty.The machines seem to be stocked with six month’s worth of leftovers, with mostly food, including some kind of pork product.“This facility is aware,” says Arroyo, “of the majority-Muslim and other individuals who refrain from the practice of eating pork products. It seems the staff has engaged in a deliberate act of discrimination against the Black/Hispanic inmate population.” This insult has only exacerbated racial tensions between the majority Black and Brown prison population and the overwhelmingly white staff.Bryant also points to the removal of tables from the visiting room. During our visit, prisoners could be seen juggling lunch trays in their laps while meeting with family members, or else they were forced to put trays on the floor and eat off the ground. Apart from the indignity of this arrangement, Bryant slams the removal of proper tables and furniture as ableist and a likely violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.The privilege of prisoners to get their photo taken with visitors is still suspended, even though officials said the moratorium was only meant to last 180 days.Monetizing even the small momentsDaniel Gibson, an activist is also being held at SCI Frackville, described to WW a recent visit with his loved one in no uncertain terms: “Our visit at SCI Frackville was punitive and oppressive. It seemed like all the correctional officers’ actions were a retaliation against the recent wins of prisoners’ rights — food and drinks returning to vending machines, the return of client-attorney privilege with respects to legal mail and the reinstatement of the book policy which allows people to donate and send books to inmates.“The COs specifically singled us out, reprimanding us for the slightest personal touch (like leaning on someone) and non-‘promiscuous’ behavior (which is not allowed in State Correctional Institution visiting rooms). This is the case for many visiting rooms across the state, where people do feel singled out because of how oppressive these environments are.“Inmates’ families report harassment, cuts [in] visiting times at SCIs Camp Hill and Frackville in particular, and feeling criminalized while trying to visit their loved ones. The Department of Corrections wants to make in-person visits so unbearable [and] eventually force increased use of video visitation, yet another cash cow for the DOC. They want to further monetize even these small, intimate moments.”The number of formal grievances filed by inmates has reportedly skyrocketed in recent weeks, an indicator of greater mobilization and activism on the part of prisoners. Arroyo, whom Mumia Abu-Jamal once dubbed “the world’s first jailhouse environmentalist,” is encouraged by the bravery and engagement of his fellow inmates.‘Tell me who you walk with’Switching back and forth between Spanish and English as he often does, the Puerto Rican prisoner-organizer recites an adage he learned from his working-class parents. “Dime con quien andas y te diré quien eres/Tell me who you walk with and I’ll tell you who you are.”Bryant walks the block with the most oppressed of our class. The prison authorities and corrections officers clearly stroll a different path“What does the DOC hope to achieve from all this?” A mischievous smile appears on Arroyo’s face, and he rubs his shaved bald head as if running his hand through a mop of hair.Then he trumpets his lips out in a comic fashion and gestures wildly with both hands, impersonating President Trump: “They want to Make America Great Again!“I think that’s a Freudian slip, by the way,” says Arroyo, chuckling. “They really just want to Make America Hate Again.”FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

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Home auctions set to start spring selling season with a bang

first_imgSeveral people have tried to buy the Camp Hill home prior to the auction.“We have had a number of groups to try to buy it before hand, but have been unsuccessful, certainly the owners are motivated when it comes Saturday they want it sold.“We’ve got a couple of groups that have registered prior so that’s always encouraging and I think the owners motivation, having moved on themselves, they’re quite eager to see it sold.” The owners are committed elsewhere and want the property sold under auction conditions.Ray White South Brisbane selling principal Luke Croft has two properties lined up for the gavel this Saturday, including an “unusual” find in Spring Hill set to be auctioned at 11am.Mr Croft said 42 Hill St more than 50 people had inspected the property and it had proven popular due to its age. According to CoreLogic, the owners paid just $145,000 for 32 Percival Tce in 1987.According to CoreLogic, the owners paid just $145,000 for 32 Percival Tce in 1987.Ray White Sherwood/Graceville sales executive Lachlan Humble said more than 70 people had inspected the home, and some had even submitted offers prior to its scheduled auction.“We have had pre-auctions offers; we’re just working with the interested parties to register them before Saturday, if not on the day,” Mr Humble said. No. 42 Hill St, Spring Hill will go to auction at 11am on September 1, 2018.“It’s a pretty unusual house for Spring Hill, the fact that is not 80 to 100 years old like most of everything else around the area,” he said. Also having more than 70 inspections throughout the auction campaign is 131 Watson St, Camp Hill, which is set to go under the hammer at 9am.Ray White Stones Corner sales and marketing consultant Ben Cannon said interest had been strong.“Large blocks with post war homes in Camp Hill are often hard to come by, so this is certainly we’ve had a lot of inquiry,” Mr Cannon said. The city view from the Holland Park home that has been in the same family for more than 30 years.A Holland Park home that has been in the same family for more than 30 years has gained a lot of attention in the lead up to its onsite auction this Saturday, September 1, at 11am.center_img More than 70 people had inspected the home, and some had even submitted offers prior to its scheduled auction.He said it had been two years since a home with a similar position had hit the market.“A lot of the local owners in the area are showing interest, just because something like this doesn’t come up that often,” he said.“They love the home just because it’s perched up on the hill.“It’s a home that you can’t remove, you have to retain the character of the home, something that is very rare in a home. “A lot of people want to remove it just for the block of land, but due to Brisbane City Council restrictions it can’t be done.”Also having more than 70 inspections throughout the auction campaign is 131 Watson St, Camp Hill, which is set to go under the hammer at 9am.More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus17 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market17 hours ago AUCTION ACTION: 42 Hill St, Spring Hill will go to auction at 11am on September 1, 2018.THE spring selling season will officially start this Saturday, with more than 70 properties lined up for the auctioneers’ gavel in the greater Brisbane region. The Spring Hill home is unusual due to its young age.“The house itself is about 15 years old and it’s very contemporary and private.“There’s two houses in the development and this one is down the back of the battle-axe driveway.“That’s still very private, three levels, very unusual construction, a lot of steel beams and corrugated iron.“There’s no lawn to mow, but there’s still multiple outdoor areas.“It really is the ultimate in inner city living.”His second listing at 45 Exeter St, West End, that’s going to auction at 1pm, already has two people registered to purchase. Two buyers have already registered to bid to buy 45 Exeter St, West End this Saturday.“I am heading over there soon to do another building and pest inspection, but we’ve had some solid pre-auction offers.”last_img read more

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South African soccer fans 3

first_imgSouth African fans supporting Bafana Bafana, the national squad, at a match against Equatorial Guinea in Atteridgeville, Pretoria. Bafana Bafana won by four goals to one.Click on a thumbnail for a low-resolution image, or right-click on the link below it to download a high-resolution copy of the image.  Photo: Chris Kirchhoff,MediaClubSouthAfrica.com• Download high-resolution image Photo: Chris Kirchhoff,MediaClubSouthAfrica.com• Download high-resolution image Photo: Chris Kirchhoff,MediaClubSouthAfrica.com• Download high-resolution image Photo: Chris Kirchhoff,MediaClubSouthAfrica.com• Download high-resolution image Photo: Chris Kirchhoff,MediaClubSouthAfrica.com• Download high-resolution image Photo: Chris Kirchhoff,MediaClubSouthAfrica.com• Download high-resolution image Photo: Chris Kirchhoff,MediaClubSouthAfrica.com• Download high-resolution image Photo: Chris Kirchhoff,MediaClubSouthAfrica.com• Download high-resolution image Photo: Chris Kirchhoff,MediaClubSouthAfrica.com• Download high-resolution image Photo: Chris Kirchhoff,MediaClubSouthAfrica.com• Download high-resolution image {loadposition fifa}last_img read more

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BCCI lodges FIR against Lalit Modi

first_imgDays after the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) shut the door on Lalit Modi cutting all his ties with it, the board has now filed a formal police complaint against the former chief of Indian Premier League (IPL). BCCI president-elect N. Srinivasan on Wednesday filed a complaint against Modi at Chennai Police commissionerate. Speaking after filing the complaint Srinivasan said there were many charges against Modi on various decisions he took as the IPL commissioner. The decision to lodge a police complaint against Modi was taken at the recent BCCI annual general body meeting. Speaking about the SMS that went out to IPL franchisees, Srinivasan said a police complaint in this connection has already been filed. Meanwhile, Chennai Police commissioner T. Rajendran told Headlines Today that the complaint against Modi accuses him of criminal misappropriation of Rs 470 crore. Other main charges against him were related to media rights, security and free commercial time.last_img read more

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4-Star WR Equanimeous St. Brown Spoke 3 Languages During His Announcement To Notre Dame

first_imgA general view of Notre Dame's football field.SOUTH BEND, IN – SEPTEMBER 25: A general view of the opening kick-off between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Stanford Cardinal at Notre Dame Stadium on September 25, 2010 in South Bend, Indiana. Stanford defeated Notre Dame 37-14. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)Anaheim (Calif.) Servite four-star wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown committed to Notre Dame this afternoon, and he showed off being trilingual in the process of doing it. St. Brown’s mother is from Germany, and he spent time attending school in France. He began his announcement and made his commitment in English, but dropped some German and French in between.Here’s St. Brown thanking his mother in German: So St. Brown speaks three languages, his father is a former Mr. World and Mr. Universe bodybuilder and his name is derived from the word equanimity, meaning “mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper, especially in a difficult situation.” Oh, and he has younger brothers named Osiris and Amon-Ra. He just may be the Most Interesting Recruit In The World.last_img read more

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Stena Bulk Demands Access to Seized Stena Impero

first_imgzoomImage Courtesy: Stena Bulk Stena Bulk, the owner of the seized tanker Stena Impero, has demanded access to the vessel in order to conduct a full assessment.The company, and the vessel manager, the UK-based Northern Marine Management, said that they consider “it imperative” to be granted access to the tanker, that remains at anchor in Bandar Abbas.The move comes on the back of a letter from Iranian authorities to the United Nations Security Council outlining alleged violations of international rules and regulations, including an unconfirmed collision.“We continue to await a response from Iranian authorities to our request,” Stena Bulk said.India, Russia and Philippines Embassy officials earlier attended the Stena Impero and have met with crew members from their respective countries.“Feedback from the officials is that the crew are in good health and they appreciated the interaction with their government representatives,” the ship owner informed.The 46,575 cbm Stena Impero was seized by Iran in what is perceived as a retaliatory measure after the UK detained a 300,000 dwt Iranian tanker on suspicion it was carrying a shipment of crude oil to Syria.Following the Stena Impero seizure, the UK urged British-flagged ships to avoid the Strait of Hormuz.,Following the Stena Impero seizure, the UK urged British-flagged ships to avoid the Strait of Hormuz.last_img read more

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Mikmaw chiefs optimistic proposed changes to onreserve welfare will be dropped

first_imgTrina RoacheAPTN National NewsEskasoni Chief Leroy Denny says while the news is unofficial he is expecting an announcement from the Liberals at the Assembly of First Nations meetings this week in Ottawa that the federal government will drop proposed changes to welfare on-reserve.Denny said he can’t comment other than what he put on Facebook. On Friday he posted, “Tonight we got news from a government source that the social changes will be delayed indefinitely. We are waiting for more details and an official announcement.”Denny said he won’t celebrate until the news “comes from the minister.”Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett will meet with the Mi’kmaw chiefs on Thursday at the AFN meetings in Gatineau, QC. Though word may come sooner in the week. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is scheduled to address the AFN on Tuesday.The Mi’kmaq fought a four-year legal battle against the former Conservative government over its decision to mirror provincial welfare policies on reserve.The Liberals’ change of heart comes after news of a policy document that supported the Mi’kmaw position was found recently in the National Archives.Mi’kmag Lawyer Naiomi Metallic said the 1964 document outlines “that it’s not going to be possible to adopt all aspects of provincial policy and it goes on to say we need to adapt it to our circumstances. And that’s really key. It proves we were right. We were right along.”Though the chiefs won at the lower level court, they lost at the Federal Court of Appeal in January of 2015. It agreed Ottawa was only following policy. In October, the Supreme Court of Canada said it wouldn’t hear the case.The Mi’kmaq were out of legal options and hoped to lobby the new Liberal government.Millbrook Chief Bob Gloade also posted on Facebook, “Once the official announcement comes from the Minister things will look promising. Lots of hard work done by our legal team and lobbying government officials over the last several weeks is beginning to pay off as liberal government is showing a willingness to work together.”The Mi’kmaq have argued all along that the welfare changes on reserve would cause hardship because bands would get 30 per cent less funding for social assistance.But welfare works differently on-reserve, they argued. Block funding is used to pay for programs and actuals, like social housing, rent and utilities. Court documents showed that government was aware there would be negative impacts on housing and a risk that more kids would end up taken into care.Though the policy document has given the chiefs new hope, Denny was frustrated that Ottawa didn’t include it in the court documents submitted in the first place.“We can’t understand why it wasn’t produced,” said Denny when the chiefs first found out about the document. “It’s very discouraging because we put a lot of time and money into fighting this in court. We just want to be treated fairly. We were right all this time.”As word spreads on social media, there’s a sense of relief among the Mi’kmaq.Denny looks forward to meeting with Bennett. He’s optimistic and said, “The new government seems open minded.”No one from Indigenous Affairs could be reached for [email protected]last_img read more

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Opinion Cleveland Cavaliers fans do not have reason to celebrate — yet

Cavaliers forward LeBron James (left) dribbles the ball during a preseason game against the Chicago Bulls on Oct. 20 at the Schottenstein Center. Cleveland won, 107-98. Credit: Mark Batke / Photo editorCleveland sports can be described as many things. Depressing, gut-wrenching and eternally simultaneously optimistic and pessimistic are just a few.One thing the three major professional teams in Cleveland cannot be called with a straight face is cool.Being uncool comes with the territory of the city’s championship drought, turning old enough to receive an AARP card this coming December.And yet, the Cavaliers are somehow now the “cool” team in the NBA. And I’m not sure I’m crazy about the way that feels.It goes beyond being the title favorites in Las Vegas the season after receiving the first overall pick in the draft.There’s nothing I want to see more than a team in Cleveland win a championship. And so I was ecstatic when the return of LeBron James to the Cavs signaled a very real opportunity for that to happen.But I also knew to hold my breath.The Browns in the ‘80s, the Indians in the ‘90s and the Cavs in the 2000s were all teams that seemed just as destined to bring home a trophy as this upcoming edition of the Cavs. Of course, as we all know, those squads each came up empty in a more heartbreaking fashion than the last.So when James announced his return, I told myself, “Dream today, but save the celebrating for the parade.”For the four years James played for the Miami Heat, I found myself glaring at everyone I passed by who was wearing Heat gear. Not only because I was admittedly still bitter about James leaving, but because I could not stand people that simply hitched on with the “cool” team.After all that I and the generation before me had suffered, waiting for our Cleveland teams to deliver, it infuriated me that so many people could openly flaunt taking the cheap and easy “thrill” of a championship over the real blood, sweat and tears experience.And now, suddenly, the Cavs are “that” team.Look, I know there are a ton of Cleveland fans out there, and not all of them can remain as passionate through the four years of garbage that the Cavs put out in the between-LeBron era. But I was at last year’s preseason game at the Schottenstein Center as well as the one this week, and I can tell you confidently that many people came out of the woodwork for this team.Last season, there were about 11,000 people at the preseason game. This year, there was a sold-out crowd of more than 19,000. At last year’s contest, you could hear a pin drop, while this year’s sounded like a playoff game.On Tuesday, the Cavs announced they are throwing a fan fest before the home opener against the New York Knicks on Oct. 30. That event is scheduled to feature comedian Kevin Hart and rapper Kendrick Lamar.I’m sorry, but that is just simply not how it is supposed to go in Cleveland.After all that these teams have gone through, we have to know better than to count our chickens before they hatch. Confidence is great, but that only gets you so far.So what exactly are we celebrating with this fan fest? The Cavs’ “coolness?”All I’ve ever wanted from my teams was a championship, not to be trendy.If all this attention and bandwagon-hopping is a byproduct of that possibility, then fine. And if they win, please invite Kevin Hart and Kendrick Lamar and Drake and whoever else wants to suddenly convince the world that they’re a Cavs fan to Euclid Avenue for the parade.But please, for now, let’s remember what the real focus is here and save the festivals for a real accomplishment. read more

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Real Madrid blame Monaco for failing to sign Mbappe reveals Vasilyev

first_imgAS Monaco vice-president Vadim Vasilyev has revealed that Florentino Perez blams him for failing to sign Kylian Mbappe for Real MadridThe teenage sensation is one of the biggest young prospects in world football right now following a sensational World Cup campaign that saw Mbappe score four times for champions France.The 19-year-old joined Paris Saint-Germain last year on a season-long loan deal from Monaco, which became permanent this summer after the Ligue 1 champions splashed out €145m plus €35m in add-ons.But PSG were not the only ones who wanted Mbappe and Vasilyev has now revealed that Perez still has regrets over his failure to bring the young striker to Madrid.“Every time I meet with Florentino (Perez), he tells me of his regret for the Mbappe situation,” said Vasilyev, as quoted by Football-Espana.Sergio Ramos, Real MadridZidane reveals Sergio Ramos injury concern for Real Madrid Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Zinedine Zidane has put Sergio Ramos’ availability for Real Madrid’s trip to Sevilla next weekend in doubt after withdrawing him against Levante.“He puts the blame on me for not selling him to Madrid…but it was up to the player!“Relations between us and Madrid remain strong though, and we both wish the player, who is a future Ballon d’Or winner for sure, was at our own club!”Mbappe scored 21 goals in 44 appearances in his first season with PSG.And he made more history on Saturday by becoming the first teenager to reach the 30-goal mark in Ligue 1 for 45 years after netting a late brace in PSG’s 3-1 win over Guingamp.last_img read more

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