“Man Down:” Left in the Hole at San Quentin During a Coronavirus Crisis An Award-Winning Incarcerated Journalist, Now Infected and Isolated Himself, Reports on the Deadly Contagion at California’s Famous Prison

Over the past three months, Haines has provided Solitary Watch with a series of “Inside Updates” describing the conditions at San Quentin during COVID-19, which we have been publishing on social media. The writings illustrate the predictable spread of the virus at such a highly overcrowded facility, where social distancing is impossible, PPE inadequate at best, and people are shuffled from one overpopulated unit to another. The fate of those held at San Quentin was sealed in late May, when the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) chose to transfer in more than 100 men from the California Institution for Men in Chino, where the virus was rampant. As of July 6, more than 1,400 individuals at San Quentin, including 165 staff, had tested positive for the coronavirus.

Keeping Communities Connected: COVID-19 and the State of Prison Profiteering

By Michelle Dillon In his 2018 article “How Prisons Serve Capitalism,” Dan Berger wrote, “More than profit, capitalism generates misery from its poorest subjects.”[i] Especially in the context of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is clear that a fulcrum of carceral control is not simply …

Read moreKeeping Communities Connected: COVID-19 and the State of Prison Profiteering

Secure schools and prison abolition in the UK: During Covid-19 and beyond

By Zoe Luba A largely residential suburb in southeast England, located an hour-and-a-half train ride from London, houses three different prisons for children and youth from across the United Kingdom: HMP Cookham Wood, HMP Rochester, and Medway Secure Training Centre. Barbed wire fences enclose …

Read moreSecure schools and prison abolition in the UK: During Covid-19 and beyond

Global Prison Abolitionist

The Global Prison Abolitionist Coalition emerged from dialogues between organizations such as the Alliance of Middle Eastern and North African Socialists, Lausan Hong Kong, the Emergency Committee for Rojava, various Brazilian socialist and anti-racist organizations, Socialist Workers Alliance of Guyana Abolitionist Collective of Canada/U.S., Black and Pink, along with various Egyptian, Indian, Kashmiri, Kurdish, Turkish, Palestinian, and U.S. socialist activist-scholars, and prominent abolitionist scholar/activists among them are Dr. Romarilyn Ralston and Dr. Joy James. The formation of this coalition was compelled by the need to connect the struggles of political and social prisoners around the world. Here the coalition provides its statement of purpose.

Care not Cages! #COVID19DecarcerateSyllabus

Curated by the California Coalition for Women Prisoners (CCWP)

This political education resource was first circulated online on March 20, 2020. It was last updated on April 19, 2020.

CCWP is a grassroots social justice organization, with members inside and outside prison, that challenges the institutional violence imposed on women, transgender people, and communities of color by the prison industrial complex (PIC). We see the struggle for racial and gender justice as central to dismantling the PIC and we prioritize the leadership of the people, families, and communities most impacted in building this movement.

Founded in 1995, CCWP grew out of the fight for the health of incarcerated people in California’s women’s prisons. A documentary about CCWP co-founder, Charisse Shumate, is available to watch free online. Charisse was a life term prisoner incarcerated for 16 years at the Central California Women’s Facility. She became a lead plaintiff and spokesperson in a class action lawsuit challenging the medical neglect and abuse of women prisoners (Shumate v. Wilson). She died of complications from sickle cell anemia, cancer, and hepatitis C.

All of the following recommended readings are available online and free to access. In addition, you can find more than twenty years of writing across prison walls on issues of medical neglect, abuse, and violence in the online archive of CCWP’s inside/outside newsletter, The Fire Inside.