Month: July 2014

Tomorrow – A Letter Writing Night With Sacramento Prisoner Support




Join us on Thursday, July 31st from 7-9 pm at the Coffee Garden(2904 Franklin Blvd, Sacto). We’ll be sending birthday cards to 3 different political prisoners, and a ‘We Support You’ card to 4 more – who we wanted to remind that we are out here thinking of them. We’ll have plenty of cards that we can fill with individual notes from everyone. If there are other prisoners you’d like to write we’ll have envelopes and paper for that, too.

Hope to see you there!

-Sacramento Prisoner Support


Happy Birthday!

Debbie Sims Africa(August 4th) – Debbie is a member of the Black
Liberation group MOVE, a mother of two and a political prisoner who has served over 25 years in prison after the house she was living in was attacked by the Philadelphia police. During the raid an officer was killed by friendly fire and all nine MOVE members in the house were falsely charged with his murder.

Bill Dunne(August 3rd) – Bill is an anti-authoritarian sentenced to 90 years for the attempted liberation of an anarchist prisoner in 1979. We have a longer bio on our Prisoners page.

Dr. Mutulu Shakur(August 8th) -Dr. Shakur was charged with conspiracy and participation in a clandestine paramilitary unit that carried out actual and attempted expropriations from several banks. Eight incidents were alleged to have occurred between December 1976 to October 1981. In addition, he was charged with participation in the 1979 prison escape of Assata Shakur, who is now in exile in Cuba . After five years underground, Dr. Shakur was arrested on February 12, 1986.

We Support You!

Patrice Lumumba Ford-Patrice is a Muslim activist and son of a former Black Panther leader who was planning a trip to volunteer in Afghani refugee camps. He was then falsely accused of attempting to travel to Afghanistan to aid the Taliban. He refused to cooperate with the government and was sentenced to eighteen years in prison (avoiding a possible life sentence) after pleading guilty to seditious conspiracy and levying war against American and allied forces. There’s a longer bio on our prisoners page.


Jason Sutherlin- Jason is one of 5 antifascist activists that were
arrested in Tinley Park, Illinois, in May of 2012 for allegedly
assaulting attendees of a meeting of white supremacists. In early 2013 Jason Sutherlin was sentenced to 6 years and is due to be released by the end of this year.


Connor Stevens- Connor is one of 4 anarchists from Cleveland, OH, who were entrapped by an FBI informant. After being threatened with decades in prison, Connor plead guilty and was sentenced to 8 years in federal prison for conspiracy.


Justin Solondz – In December of 2011 Justin plead guilty to a single count of conspiracy and a single count of arson for an Earth Liberation Front action at the University of Washington. He was sentenced to 7 years in federal prison in early 2012.


Recently Released Political Prisoner Sekou Kambui is in the Hospital

On June 30th, Sekou Kambui was transferred to a halfway house in Dotham, AL, but he was recently admitted to a hospital because surgery will be needed to remove a tumor. Below is a message from freedom archives that is more of an extensive update, and it goes into ways you can continue to show Sekou Kambui support and solidarity during these times. We also have a full bio on Sekou Kambui on our prisoners page.

-Sacramento Prisoner Support




Sekou Kambui, freed after 40 years in prison at the end of June, sends his
Thanks, Love, and Appreciation to all his supporters. Unfortunately, he is
currently in the hospital. A tumor was found that was partially
obstructing his intestines and digestive process. He is undergoing further
tests. Sekou will have surgery to remove the tumor next week. He says that
he's being treated well in the hospital, and looks forward to full
recovery and a return to A-1 health.

A reminder - we raised close to $1000 for Sekou when he got out recently.
You can still contribute. Make your checks out to William Turk and send
them to The Freedom Archives address below.

If you want to send any cards of support, please send them to:

William Turk / Sekou Kambui
Southeast Alabama Medical Center
1108 Ross Clark Circle, Room 297
Dothan, AL 36303

Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 863.9977


An Update on Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin


Open letter to the Community from Karima Al-Amin

Jul 24, 2014 — As-salaamu'alaikum, Ramadan Mubarak!

 I am so pleased to share this update with the many individuals who
 supported our effort to campaign for Imam Jamil to receive medical
 attention and to be transferred to a federal medical center. I have
 heard from Imam Jamil who has reported that he indeed was transferred
 on Tuesday, July 15, 2014, from the Florence, Colorado ADX to Butner
 FMC, in North Carolina. He would like to express his deep appreciation
 for the support he has received from individuals who made calls, signed
 petitions, attended meetings, wrote letters, offered public comments,
 and galvanized others to take action.

 Within this past week, the Imam has had extensive examinations, from
 "head to toe." Additionally, this morning--July 23, 2014--he had the
 bone marrow biopsy. Although we will not receive the results for
 another two weeks, we are encouraging people at this point to continue
 sending letters and cards to the Imam, while he waits to receive the
 medical results.

 I do intend to send personal letters of appreciation to individuals in
 the hope that I will not miss thanking those who made a difference in
 this campaign. Together we demonstrated that there are those who will
 see an injustice and act to expose and correct the wrong. 

 I also wanted to share that Imam Jamil has been able to keep his fast
 during Ramadan, which is yet another example of his strength and faith.
 May Allah continue to guide him and strengthen him.

 Send letters and cards to:

 Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, 99974-555
 FMC Butner
 Federal Medical Center
 P.O. Box 1600
 Butner, NC 27509

 Jazak Allah Khaira 
 Karima Al-Amin 


Public Statement From Political Prisoner, Brian Jacob Church


The following is a public statement from Brian “Jacob” Church of the NATO 3 originally posted by the People’s Law Office of Chicago. Jacob is serving his sentence at Pinckneyville Correctional Center.

You can write to Jacob at

Brian Church

P.O. Box 999

Pinckneyville, IL 62274

“To my dearest friends and comrades,

I want to thank you all for your never ending love and support for the three of us as we continue to resist this system of state oppression. The last two years have been a long, hard fought struggle, but finally, with trial done and sentences handed out, we’re on the home stretch.

I’m pretty sure I can say for all three of us that had it not been for the international showing of solidarity for our struggle, we would have been in a different, and much worse, situation. For me, this support has helped me both physically and mentally. You all have been most inspiring and uplifting, with constant reminders to stay strong and keep my head up. It has helped me stay focused and to remember why I resist in the first place. Please know that even if I may not have written back, that every letter and book I have received has been read and appreciated.

I also wanted to give special thanks to our really great team of attorneys and paralegals working around the clock, through thick and thin, even through the pains of childbirth, just to make sure we were able to have a fair and proper defense. Your counsel and advice, your opinions (professional and otherwise) and the ability to fight like lions in the courtroom, matched with your dedication to seeing Justice served, has been priceless. This is probably a good thing because we probably couldn’t have paid anything anyhow, as Tom likes to point out.

Lastly, I want to thank the NATO 3/NATO 5 support committee. Your weekly visits, media outreach and fundraising has been so important to our defense and spirits. You have worked for over two years to support us, putting your personal lives on hold and you never had to do any of it.

Every single one of you have my absolute respect for what you’ve done and that’s what helps to make this struggle so worth so much to me.

As it stands right now, I should be released in November 2014. I cannot wait to see how much things have changed. Two and a half years may not seem like a lot out there, but we feel every day of it in here.

Much love,
Brian Church”



New Tom Manning Book – For Love and Liberty

(click here for information on how to order)

For Love and Liberty   by Tom Manning


Tom Manning is a freedom fighter, political prisoner and prolific artist. His paintings are stories that jump off the page, revealing the outlook of people who struggle for liberation around the world. This book of over 80 full-color paintings were made between 1996 and 2005.


“I’m overwhelmed by the talent, indomitable will, and purity of heart displayed here. To say that I am awed by this book does not do it justice.

Tom’s been incarcerated for nearly 35 years. But even before he received his current life sentence he was trapped by the limited choices left to an impoverished child surviving in Boston’s infamous Maverick Street Projects. The military during the Vietnam era seemed like a way out, but that too became a hellish form of confinement.

Tom broke free, he revolted. He became a revolutionary. He committed the unforgivable sin of confronting today’s great imperial empire, the United States, on its home turf. For that, I expect the prison industrial complex will do its best to keep him confined for as long as it can.”

– From the preface by By Robby Meeropol


Women’s Prison Resistance in Alabama

Time to Speak Up: Women’s Prison Resistance in Alabama

July 16, 2014

By Victoria Law

Both incarcerated women and the U.S. Department of Justice agree: The
Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women in Wetumpka, Ala., is a hellish place.
In a 36-page letter that the DOJ issued to the Alabama State Governor
Robert Brentley in January, the agency declared, “The State of Alabama
violates the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution by
failing to protect women prisoners at Tutwiler from harm due to sexual
abuse and harassment from correctional staff.”

Federal investigators found that, for nearly two decades, staff members
at Tutwiler have sexually assaulted women and compelled them into sex to
obtain necessities, such as feminine hygiene products and laundry
service. Women who report sexual abuse are placed in solitary
confinement, where they are given lie detector tests and are frequently
threatened by other staff.

But while the DOJ’s letter — and conditions in Tutwiler — made
headlines, less attention has been paid to the activism and organizing
by women inside Alabama’s prisons. During the department’s
investigation, for example, it received 233 letters from women currently
incarcerated at Tutwiler detailing a host of concerns about the sexual
abuse they’ve either personally experienced or witnessed. This figure
does not include the letters that women have been sending to the
Department of Justice and other government entities for years before the
investigation was launched. When incarcerated, sending testimony letters
is a potentially dangerous action. Women risked prison staff opening
their letters and reading their complaints — and retaliating against
them. Two hundred thirty-three women decided to take that risk.

These actions of testifying are far from the first time women behind
bars in Alabama have organized to effect change. Tutwiler was built in
1942 to hold 365 women. By 2002, Tutwiler housed more than 1,000 women.
“Every dormitory was filled front to back with bunk beds,” described one
woman for an essay in the anthology Interrupted Life: Experiences of
Incarcerated Women in the United States. “The weather gets extremely hot
in the summers — the heat index regularly rises over 100 degrees in the
facility — and cold in the winters. … All the windows have been braced
so that they open only a few inches at the top. Personal space is
nonexistent, and security is very poor.” In recent letters, she asked
that her name not be used for fear of retaliation for speaking out about
prison conditions.

In 2002, women filed a lawsuit against both the state and the Alabama
Department of Corrections about the overcrowding, extreme temperatures
and poor medical care. They also attempted to contact the Department of
Justice and other outside organizations about the rampant sexual abuse,
but their complaints received little attention. In response to the
lawsuit, in December 2002, a federal district court judge declared
Tutwiler constitutionally unsafe and gave state officials 30 days to
develop a plan to remedy conditions.

But Alabama’s solution did not involve sentencing reform or the
implementation of alternatives to incarceration. Instead, it contracted
with the private prison corporation Louisiana Correctional Services to
relocate some of the women to a private prison in Basile, a small town
in southwest Louisiana more than seven hours away.

In April 2003, Alabama sent 140 women to Basile. In June 2003, they sent
another 100 women. Women were pulled out of educational and treatment
programs and transferred to a prison far from family and with far fewer

“Ironically, we were told that the Alabama Department of Corrections
chose prisoners for transfer based on our good conduct at Tutwiler,”
wrote the essay author. In a separate letter, she recalled that Basile
offered only three programs — a GED course, a substance abuse program
and an anger stress management program.

The move sparked even more organizing. Once in Basile, women who were
serving long sentences formed the Longertermers/Insiders group.

“The group wanted to have a voice in the decision making,” wrote the
essay author. “We feared that once in Louisiana, we would be ‘out of
sight, out of mind.’ … We felt it was time to speak up, make a stand,
and be heard.”

They worked together to help each other develop the skills to produce a
political platform about the overuse of women’s incarceration, write
articles for the local newspapers, write letters to legislative
representatives, discuss legislation and talk with people outside prison
about lobbying on their behalves.

“We … are continually striving to give input to a system that has not
allowed us to be heard,” she stated.

Their efforts to have outside people advocate on their behalves resulted
in the legislature establishing the Commission on Girls and Women in the
Criminal Justice System in 2006. The commission did a two-year study and
— finding that women’s needs and pathways to prison remained unaddressed
in the current penal system — issued a series of recommendations that
included expanding the use of community-based alternatives to
incarceration and the closing and tearing down of Tutwiler.

In 2006, the women were transferred to another private prison run by
Louisiana Correctional Services, this time in Newellton, La. In 2007,
they were returned to Alabama. Most were returned to Tutwiler, which
remains overcrowded and rife with staff sexual abuse.

In the meantime, women’s prison organizing continued — this time aimed
at changing long-standing prison segregation policies that discriminated
against women with HIV or AIDS. During the 1980s, many prison systems
segregated people with HIV or AIDS from the rest of the prison
population. While most states stopped the practice years ago, a handful,
including Alabama, have continued. At Tutwiler, women with HIV or AIDS
were confined to a separate dorm. They were only allowed to work
cleaning jobs inside their dorm or in the dorm’s yard. They had to eat
in their living space instead of being allowed into the dining hall with
the general population. They were denied placement in other dorms and
prohibited from participating in programs. Lastly, they were required to
broadcast their status by wearing white armbands.

According to an investigation by The Atlantic, when Beverly Jacobs first
arrived at Tutwiler, she applied to the religious dorm, but officials
denied her a space because of her HIV status. She also applied to a
support dorm for people recovering from substance abuse. Prison
officials refused her application, again because of her status. They
also refused her for a work-release program. In addition to being denied
participation in programs, she faced other forms of discrimination even
while held in a separate dorm. Her clothing was placed in a bin marked
AIDS, washed separately and often returned dirty.

“I still have nightmares about that prison,” she told The Atlantic.

Jacobs’s experience was the norm. Dana Harley, a mother of two who was
serving a 20-year sentence, recalls being confined to the dorm 24 hours
a day.

“I felt caged,” she said in video testimony recorded by the ACLU. “I
wanted to do things, I wanted to be a part of things, but I couldn’t.”

When her family visited, they were not allowed to use the main visiting
room. When Harley’s four-year-old son visited, he asked why the other
children were allowed to play in the larger visiting room while he and
his mother were forced to remain in the smaller room.

“There’s just no way for me to explain to a four year old,” Harley
reflected. At the prison’s clinic, nurses made comments like, “You’re
going to die anyway,” in response to Harley’s questions.

In 2007, Harley wrote a letter to the ACLU describing her experiences.
The ACLU had already spent two decades making several unsuccessful
attempts — through both litigation and negotiations—to end this policy.
The ACLU arranged for Harley to testify at a closed hearing about the
segregation policy. It also filed another suit and, in 2012, a judge
ruled that the policy violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. That
ruling had a ripple effect, forcing Alabama and South Carolina, the
other hold-out state, to end their HIV/AIDS segregation policy. The
change meant that people with HIV would be allowed to participate in
programs such as work release for the first time since the segregation
policy began in the early 1980s. Now, Harley is able to attend religious
services, Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and other programs,
all of which had been previously closed to her.

“It wasn’t for me,” she stated later in an interview with USA Today.
“It’s for the people behind me coming in who aren’t as comfortable [with
their status].” Now, if women with HIV or AIDS enter the prison, none of
the other women know their status.

While these changes are welcome to those currently behind bars, the
drastically increasing numbers of women sent to, and remaining inside,
prisons should also push us to challenge the policies that are locking
up so many. In 1978, Alabama held 257 women behind bars. This included
women in local jails as well as in state and federal prisons.

Since then, the state has seen a 930.7 percent increase in its women’s
prison population. By the end of 2012, there were 2,649 women in Alabama
prisons. As of April 2014, Alabama has 2,686 women under some form of
prison custody — a figure that does not include the unknown numbers of
trans women held in men’s jails or prisons. Just over half the state’s
prisoners have been sentenced for drug or property crimes. Of the 15,212
people in Alabama convicted of violent felonies, only five percent are

Regardless of whether they are incarcerated for violent or nonviolent
offenses, the conditions women face once inside are horrific. In
addition to pervasive, unchecked sexual abuse, women have reported
inadequate medical care, excessive use of force, threats of force, and
inadequate access to clean clothes, uniforms and hygiene products.

For those of us on the outside, given what we know about conditions in
prison, it’s important to support incarcerated women’s efforts to change
conditions. At the same time, we need to understand that more humane
conditions should not be the ending point. We need to also challenge
laws and policies that lock a drastically increasing number of women
away from their families and communities in the first place.


The Cleveland 4 are in need of Support Funds


From their support team:

Donations help the Cleveand4 get food, clothing, stamps, calls home, and everything else they need to survive in prison.

We try to send 50$ to each of them a month. It would be better to send more but we simply can’t afford it at this time. That comes to 202$ a month with the “shipping cost” and the 50 really only covers food, laundry, phone calls, letters and emails. Sometimes they need extra for clothing and other comforts.

The Cleveland 4 were four Occupy Cleveland activists, Brandon, Connor, Doug and Joshua “Skelly.” They were arrested on April 30th, 2012. They were accused of plotting a series of bombings, including that of an area bridge. However, the real story is that the FBI, working with an informant, created the scheme, produced the explosives, and coerced these four into participating.

Connor, Doug, and Brandon took non cooperating plea deals and pled guilty to all charges. The judge applied a “terrorist enhancement” charge to each of them, elongating their sentences as well as subjecting them to harsher prison conditions. Doug is serving 11.5 years, Brandon 9 years 9 months, and Connor 8 years 1 month.

Skelly took his case to trial. He went pro se and acted as his own lawyer. The FBI offered him a non cooperating plea deal with a 3 year sentence, if he would have plead guilty. Josh refused to plead guilty to something he wasn’t guilty of doing. He was found guilty on all counts by his jury and sentenced to 10 years. Even though Skelly had the most minimal role, he got the second longest sentence because he took his case to trial.

Doug, Brandon and Connor plead without an agreement while facing the threat of life in prison. On appeal of there sentencing they were primarily fighting against the life long probation that was handed down at sentencing. Doug also fought against being branded the leader. After months of waiting for a verdict on the appeals, we got word back. The appeal have been denied.

Due to the delay in taking his case to trial pro se, Josh’s initial direct appeal is yet to be heard.

They all continue to fight against the government’s attempt to brand them as terrorists and to expose the techniques of entrapment employed by the FBI and their informants.

ALL of the defendants are in need of a variety of post-conviction support. Please contact us for more info, or visit our website


A July Message from Long Term Political Prisoner, Leonard Peltier, and his Support Committee



Greetings my Friends, Relatives and Supporters:

I was thinking the other day about Independence and the idea of an “Independence day”.   Our people never knew the word “independence”, we were just naturally independent. We were not reliant on anything but ourselves, our land, and the Creator.  Now it seems we have become dependent on a lot of things that are not natural.
I long for independence.  People often ask me what I want when and if I get out of here.

It’s simple: I want to go home. I want to feel the coolness of grass under my feet. I want a home-cooked meal.  I want to be able to hug my family and tell jokes to my grandchildren. I want to sit outside and paint something that I am actually looking at not just from my memory.

That is all, really.  I just want a few simple things for the time I might have left here on Earth.

Over the years we have struggled with the ups and downs of the judicial and political systems.  Yet, even with all the disappointment that has taken place in the last 40 years I am still hopeful. I cannot give up hope; in here, no hope = death.

There is an old adage, that if you want things to BE different you have to DO them different. We have worked in the best possible way to get the strongest and best legal team we possibly could, and in doing so, we now face the challenge of coming up with enough money to afford this team.

I am very fortunate that the absolute best Attorney for this type of action has said that he would take on my case. He is a proven legal warrior and has much success to his credit. He is highly sought after and I need to book him immediately by paying his retainer.   If each of you out there could afford to donate something, it would be appreciated on every level of my being. We need to come up with $50k right away.

There are so many causes and so many people in need, I only ask you to follow your heart and if you are not drawn to help my cause, please help someone or some cause.

After 39 years I have learned that nothing is a guarantee, but I have to try.  I am not ready to give up just yet.  I really do not want to die in here. I cannot say that I will come out of here and be your champion, or leader, I can only say that I have done my best to make a difference from in here, for 38 years.  I have done my best to help other inmates, and to care as best I could for all people and the Earth from in here.

We are a strong and beautiful people.  If our truths and our love of our Mother Earth does not prevail than no person anywhere and not even nature itself will be safe and protected.

I want to say a deep and forever thank you to all of you who have stood by me for so many years and also to the ones who have recently become aware of my situation. I truly hope to be with you all soon.

Your Brother, Relative, and Friend in Need.

Leonard Peltier

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse

Mitakuye Oyasin

There are brand-new and exciting ways you can help Leonard with his Legal Fees:

We have started a fundraising campaign on Indiegogo JUST for Leonard’s Legal Fees.
It launched at Midnight last night — Help Leonard out for as little as 5 Dollars!
Leonard Peltier

Leonard Peltier Freedom Campaign · 255 Primera Blvd, 160, Lake Mary, FL 32746, United States

A Message from Recently Released Anti-Fascist Prisoner, Cody Lee Sutherlin


“When it comes to thanks, I don’t know where to begin. Do I mention certain
individuals or organizations? Do I start with the cards and letters full
of love and support? How about the amount of donations that came in for
the book drive back at Robinson’s library? Or, do I lead off with all of
the fundraising that kept money in the commissary and continues to pour in
for help post-release? I should probably lead off with the lovely lady in
my life that has sacrificed and endured so much for me and our
relationship the last couple of years. Maybe it should be the amazing
legal team that stepped up and have continued to help to this day. I can’t
forget my new friend that has opened his home and heart to me in my
greatest time of need. I must mention all of the people that used to flood
the courtroom in solidarity every time they would walk us in there. With
so many wonderful people, faces old and new, doing so many amazing things,
it’s impossible for my thanks to have a beginning or an end. The thanks
that I have for all of you is so deep and indefinite that it can’t be
measured or explained. Any act of kindness, no matter how big or small,
has meant the world to me, as well as the other four. Thankfully, we’re
down to just two, and in a few weeks it’ll just be one. Let’s show my
brothers our love, support, and appreciation for them. Thank every last
one of you for all you’ve done and continue to do!

With the deepest gratitude and unconditional love,”
Cody Lee




Cecily McMillan – Released from Prison and Reads a Statement from the Women of Rikers Island


(A link to the article that includes a video clip of Cecily McMillan reading this powerful statement.)

Activist Cecily McMillan Released from Prison, Reads Statement From Women of Rikers Island



Cecily McMillan, a New York activist, who was sentenced to ninety days in prison for “felony assault of a police officer” after an incident at an Occupy Wall Street event, was released from prison. She delivered a statement to the press and took the opportunity to read a statement that she and the women of Rikers Island drafted together.

“Incarceration is meant to prevent crime,” McMillan asserted. “Its purpose is to penalize and then return us to the outside world ready to start anew. The world I saw at Rikers isn’t concerned with that. Many of the tactics employed are aimed at simple dehumanization.

“In the interests of returning the facility to its mission and restoring dignity to its inmates, we, the women of Rikers, have several demands that will make this system more functional. These were collectively drafted for me to read before you today.”

She said that the women of Rikers demand “adequate, safe and timely healthcare at all times,” including mental health care services. They also would like to not have to wait “up to 12 hours a day for a simple clinic visit” as well as the ability to request a female doctor “if desired.”

According to the women still imprisoned, there is a “special sense of urgency” to this demand:

…About a week ago, our friend Judith died as a result of inadequate medical care. Judith had been in RSMC for a while, but was transferred to our dorm 4 East A, where I was housed, only a few days before her death. She had recently been in the infirmary for a back problem, and had been prescribed methadone pills for the pain for quite a while. A few days before she died, they decided to change the medicine to liquid despite her dissent. They gave her a dosage of 190mg, which any doctor will tell you is a dangerous dosage, far higher than what anyone should be taking unless it is a serious emergency. Judith was not allowed to turn down the medicine or visit the clinic to get the dosage adjusted.

After three days on that dosage, Judith could no longer remember who or where she was and had begun coughing up blood, accompanied with what we believe were chunks of her liver. We attempted unsuccessfully to get her medical treatment for the entire day, at one point being told that this was “not an emergency,” despite the fact that Judith was covered in blood. That night they finally removed her to the hospital, where she remained in critical condition before passing away a few days later.

“This was a clear case of medical malpractice, both with the ridiculously high dosage of methadone and the refusal of adequate treatment. Stories like this are far too common in Rikers Island, and we demand that no more of our sisters be lost to sickness and disease as a result of inadequate medical care,” the women added.

They also demand that corrections officers be required to follow protocols and that the process for filing grievances be improved so any grievances filed will be taken seriously.

“Recently my friend Alejandra went to file a grievance about being denied access to medical treatment for a concussion until she awoke one morning unable to move. When she met with the captain after filing the grievance, she was presented with a different sheet and a different complaint than the one she had provided and was forced to sign it,” McMillan shared.

The women also demanded “rehabilitative and educational services” for healing addictions and gaining news skills, which could make it easier to achieve employment after release from prison. They noted that this might lower “re-incarceration rates.”

“Many women who come through here are addicts, and many women are imprisoned here because they are addicts,” the women explained. “That’s the area in which reentry rates seems to be the highest. This is likely a direct result of the failure of the meager programs that we are given. Thus, it seems only logical that serious and effective drug rehabilitation programs be provided to those who need them, assuming that the Department of Corrections would like to help work to achieve a better, healthier society and keep as many people as possible out of jail.”

McMillan informed the press that working with her sisters to organize for change “in the confines of jail” had strengthened her “belief in participatory democracy and collective action.”

“I am inspired by the resilient community I have encountered in a system that is stacked against us. The only difference between people we call ‘law-abiding’ citizens and the women I served time with is the unequal access to resources.”

Her activism before prison had been about fighting for freedom and rights. Within the walls of Rikers Island, she said “words like freedom and rights don’t even exist in the first place.”

She also stated, “Crossing the bridge I am compelled to reach back and recognize the two worlds as undivided. The court sent me here to frighten me and others into silencing our dissent, but I am proud to walk out saying that the 99% is, in fact, stronger than ever. We will continue to fight until we gain all the rights we deserve as citizens of this earth.”

The incident that ultimately ended with her incarceration involved an NYPD officer named Grantley Bovell grabbing her right breast and leaving a bruise in the shape of a hand print. Officers joined Bovell and forcefully restrained her leaving more markings on her. The rough treatment led to McMillan having seizures while she was being arrested. The police took their time getting her medical attention.

Though it is a travesty of justice that McMillan served time in prison, like a number of politically-minded people who experience the prison system in this country, she seems to have walked out a much stronger and much more enlightened activist.

Incarceration exposed her to a new struggle that she can fight and help vulnerable people in Rikers Island wage. And, potentially, groups that previously organized under the banner of Occupy will be convinced to join in being a part of this struggle too.