Tag Archives: Prison

Chris Hedges: Teaching ‘The Gulag Archipelago’ in Prison, Chris Hedges

Police states are strikingly similar, especially in the fear they try to emphasize among their subjects. From  Chris Hedges at consortiumnews.com:

There are many disturbing similarities between the brutality imposed on Stalin’s victims and the injustices endured by the incarcerated in U.S. federal and state prisons.

No Justice No Peace – by Mr. Fish.

Two nights a week for the last four months, I plowed my way through the three volumes of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago with 17 students in the college degree program offered by Rutgers University in the New Jersey prison system.

No one in my class endures the extremities imposed on the millions who worked as slave labor, and often died, in the Soviet gulag, or work camps, set up after the Russian revolution.

The last remnants of the hundreds of camps were disbanded in 1987 by Mikhail Gorbachev, himself the grandson of gulag prisoners. Nor do they experience the treatment of those held in Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and U.S. secret black sites who undergo mock trials and executions, torture, extreme sensory deprivation and abuse that comes disturbingly close to replicating the hell of the gulag.

Nevertheless, what Solzhenitsyn underwent during his eight years as a prisoner in the labor camps was familiar to my students, most of whom are people of color, poor, often lacking competent legal representation and almost always coerced into signing confessions or accepting plea deals that include crimes, or versions of crimes they were involved with, which were often false.

Over 95 percent of prisoners are pressured to plead out in the U.S. court system, which is not capable of providing jury trials for every defendant entitled to one, were they to actually demand one. In 2012, the Supreme Court said that

“plea bargaining . . . is not some adjunct to the criminal justice system; it is the criminal justice system.”

My students, like Soviet prisoners, or zeks, live in a totalitarian system. They too work as bonded laborers, putting in 40-hour work weeks at prison jobs and being paid $28 a month, money used to buy overpriced basic necessities in the commissary, as was true in the gulag. They too are identified by their assigned numbers, wear prison uniforms and have surrendered the rights that come with citizenship. 

Continue reading→

Tommy Robinson Reveals Cruel and Torturous Prison Conditions – Placed In Cell Opposite Of Prison Mosque, by Jon Hall

According to Tommy Robinson, he was treated like shit, in some instances literally, while he was in prison. From Jon Hall at fmshooter.com:

On an interview with Tucker Carlson last week, activist Tommy Robinson exposed the sordid details of his imprisonment to British authorities.

In May, Robinson reported outside of a court room where men of migrant-backgrounds were on trial for sexual grooming related offenses. Robinson read out information about their identities and the charges the men faced whilst livestreaming.

Notably, Robinson explained to Carlson that all of the information he read about the men had been from a BBC report that was public knowledge.

However, Robinson was arrested for allegedly breaching the peace. Being brought before a judge, Robinson was held on contempt of court due to the grooming trial being subject to supposed “reporting restrictions”.

Consider it for a second – something like this happened in a so-called free country – with a man imprisoned merely for reading a BBC article in public while holding the wrong thoughts.

Speaking with Tucker, Robinson – a vocal critic of Islam – revealed that during his time in prison, he was placed opposite the prison mosque and had even been diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Robinson explained that although he had initially been placed in a prison with a low Muslim population, 7%, he was moved to a Category C prison with the highest Muslim population in the country.

Robinson was then placed in solitary confinement for 23 and a half hours a day, given only 30 minutes of walking around a small cage for recreation. Robinson said that the threat to his safety after moving prisons was used to justify putting him in confinement.

Robinson detailed that he had lost forty pounds while in prison, given only a tin of tuna and a piece of fruit to eat for his daily consumption.

Being placed in a cell opposite the prison mosque and being forced to block and close his window to stop spit and excrement from being pushed through by other inmates, Robinson relayed the experience to Tucker:

I was supposed to be in Her Majesty’s Prison Service, not Guantanamo Bay… My prison cell that I was put in was on the ground level… and the mosque for the prison was directly opposite my cell. We… had two huge heat waves… I was literally drenched [because] I had excrement and spit put through my window… and in the end, I had to block up all of my cell windows.

To continue reading: Tommy Robinson Reveals Cruel and Torturous Prison Conditions – Placed In Cell Opposite Of Prison Mosque