Saturday, January 21, 2017

Gov. Christie’s State of the State Ignores Drug Criminalization as Driver of “Addiction Epidemic”

Gov. Christie’s State of the State Ignores Drug Criminalization as Driver of “Addiction Epidemic”

Governor Christie’s 2017 State of the State Address was missing one factual item: The role of drug criminalization in creating what the Governor called an “Addiction Epidemic.” The speech, which was heavy on drug-war fear rhetoric, grossly exaggerated the “addiction epidemic” while ignoring the role of the state’s own policies in creating the nightmare scenarios Governor Christie described in visceral.
The absence of any recognition of the role of drug criminalization is alarming, considering that prohibition policy is creating many of the issues he wants to address. In addition, the role of prescription drugs in causing the initial transition to illicit drugs seems to be based on anecdotes rather than facts. Blaming anyone involved in the drug use cycle, even our doctors, is required doctrine to avoid admitting that prohibition policy is largely responsible for social service deficits, drug overdoses and many of the harms his proposals seek to save people from.
Exaggerating the “Addiction Epidemic”
The Governor claimed the drug epidemic is “more urgent than any other epidemic” due to 1,600 overdose deaths in 2015 in New Jersey. While tragic, this fact is grossly out of context as in 2009 more than 1,900 people died in New Jersey from diabetes alone. Nationally, 1,300 people die each day from cigarette use. This misleading visceral is necessary for the continuation of failed Drug War tactics such as drug criminalization and forced treatment. The Governor’s misleading statistics also ignore the fact that overdoses are counted more than once by the Office of the State Medical Examiner when more than one drug is present in the deceased.
Prohibition is Causing Overdose Deaths
Fentanyl deaths are a direct result of drug criminalization. Using substances that are legal, illegal or prescribed, all carry potential consequences. However, making drugs illegal adds risk due to non-regulation of the drugs. Unregulated drugs mean, the people consuming them wont know the purity of them or if they contain adulterants like Fentanyl. In one year 2013 – 2014 illicit fentanyl deaths rose 115% in Florida and 526% in Ohio. New Jersey’s Fentanyl deaths rose more than 300% in that same time period. To be clear, so long as NJ makes the same policy decisions to criminalize personal drug use, this will be a growing problem. Dozens of countries have had exceptional results reducing mortality and improving social outcomes by offering regulated heroin to people who already have a heroin use disorder and have failed regular treatment.
Prohibition is a Barrier to Treatment
Governor Christie spoke of removing barriers to treatment. Viewing treatment, as a significant solution is problematic as nearly 40% of people discharged from treatment in NJ, stated that they did not partially achieve their goal and nearly one in four people were still actively using drugs/alcohol at discharge, according to the 2015 NJ Substance Abuse Monitoring System. Even more concerning is that drug overdose deaths are the 3rd leading cause of death inside NJ’s drug rehab programs according to the New Jersey Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services. Because NJ has the most regressive compulsory drug court system, those people forced into treatment slots, many of which have no interest in treatment, take up space while those who want treatment are turned away. This is with the knowledge that compulsory treatment is less effective and often harmful when compared to voluntary treatment. Decriminalizing drug use will open a significant number of treatment slots in addition to not squandering resources. Simply appropriating more money to treatment providers, allows them to continually drug-war profiteer by trapping people in their programs while not addressing the deficit.
Prescription Drug Reality
The majority of people who use prescription drugs do so without any complications. Furthermore, the Governor’s proposal to have Attorney General Porrino issue an emergency rule limiting the initial supply of opioids to 5 days down from a 30 day supply. This constant barrage on prescription pills will have negative consequences as people with substance use disorder histories already face discrimination in receiving appropriate pain management as recognized by the World Health Organization. Not receiving medically appropriate pain management can jeopardize a person’s recovery. Lastly, it is well established that 75% of the people using prescription opiates for non-medical purposes get them from other sources than doctors so restricting genuinely needed practice will not address this issue (SAMHSA).
Forcing Criminal Justice Interaction
Most people arrested for drug possession have committed no harm to person or property and would not be involved in the criminal justice system if not for prohibition policy. In 2014 New Jersey arrested more than 42,000 people for drug possession alone. Exposure to the criminal justice system for drug use is intentionally harmful and carries severe risk exposure. The recent case of Katie Lee Thomas is a harrowing example as she was arrested for simple drug paraphernalia and found dead in a jail cell a few hours later in Neptune Township. Investing in community education and engagement on this issue would be a more effective measure while continuing non-coercive medicine drop-offs.
Help Not Handcuffs takes Governor Christie at his word that he will “accept ideas from any corner of the state” and we call on him to truly treat drug use as any other health issue meaning there would be no arrest and no forced treatment. This would require ending the harmful drug prohibitions via decriminalization, ending forced treatment and considering effective regulation of substances.

Randy Thompson
Help Not Handcuffs

Friday, December 23, 2016

Some critical thinking on mass incarceration.

Some critical thinking.

For the sake of argument lets go with the hypothesis that in 1865 the US wanted to keep slavery going albeit under a new name and new system. What would they need to put into place to make such a continuation work?

Well 1st of all it would have to be legalized right? 
The 13TH amendment covers that.

Secondly you would need a new designation for such "unfree" persons right? Something that already exists would be best so you could just "include" this new unfree person.
The term Criminals would work.

Next you would need a system that covers all aspects of this new enslavement under legal guise. From the initial "criminalization" via laws and codes that would allow a veritable army to simply gather bodies unopposed, (mass incarceration) and a way to carry these bodies from initial arrest through to incarceration right? Like an assembly line. (Courts)

You certainly don't want to give them trials because the entire setup is unjust so you would need to bypass the 6th amendment right?
It would look like it does now. 95% of all felony cases ending in an unconstitutional plea bargain forced upon a mainly minority population by a 95% white prosecutorial pool.

You would need facilities to hold them in mass quantities using as few resources as possible to keep them alive. (Prisons, detention centers and jails.) 1 in 8 prisoners in the entire world are African Americans.

Now you can't call them slaves anymore so people aren't born as slaves but they can damned sure spend time enslaved. As much time as possible so in this new form of slavery recidivism would be a key factor. Reusable resources.

"Using a Bureau of Justice Statistic study finding inmates released from state prisons have a five-year recidivism rate of 76.6%, the USSC study calculated comparable federal prisoners released have a 44.7% re-arrest rate after five years."

You would also want to put in a safety feature for those whom the system is not meant to oppress that get caught in its grasp. So you would use economic advantages available to those with privilege. Bail, lawyers’ fees etc. Simply put the cost of freedom out of reach for the poor and make sure the population who are poor are dominated by those whom the oppression is aimed at in general. (Institutional racism and for profit justice)

And what about the people who jump through all the hoops. Serve their time. Become model prisoners and unavoidably earn an exit from enslavement? You would make it as hard as possible for them to stay out of prison by taking away any rights, privileges and limiting their opportunities for self-sustenance. (Collateral consequences) Thus herding them right back where they came from.

And how do you make this entire system self sustaining and perpetual? Well you would have to turn the communities of the targeted population into high crime, high poverty, low income areas and then send in your army to collect them at any time for any multitude of reasons. Generation after generation. Father to son, mother to daughter.

And how do you keep them there with limited escape options? Limit education opportunities. There was a reason blacks weren't allowed to read. Why it was literally illegal. Fredrick Douglas told us how that works and why its feared by your oppressor. Knowledge makes a man (woman or child) unfit to be a slave.

And there.... is how slavery can happen right under your nose every day and you would never think it wrong.

New Abolitionists Radio
Move To Abolish 21st Century Slavery

Decarcerate the Garden State (NJ)

For a better understanding of the New Abolitionists movement we suggest watching
Slavery by Another Name PBS &  13TH  in that order. 

For historical perspectives You can also read both Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave and Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl If you want info right now in a short easy to understand video presentation try these poetic presentations.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

From Keith 'Malik' Washington - Spokespersyn for - End Prison Slavery in Texas!

From: Keith 'Malik' Washington - Spokespersyn for - End Prison Slavery in Texas!
Peace and Blessings sisters and brothers! I hope this communication finds all of you doing well! Within the next few weeks many Free World Folks will be wondering why all these prisoners are refusing to work. I'd like you to read this message on any Radio Station that will allow you - focusing hard on the large metropolis cities of Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, and El Paso, Texas.If someone could post the message on you tube via social media that will help a lot.
Message: - Radio/Internet etc.
Peace and Blessings to all - my name is:
Keith 'Malik' Washington. I am one of the key spokespersyns for the End Prison Slavery in Texas Movement. I am from Houston, Texas, specifically the 3rd Ward. There are many Prison Authorities and Law Enforcement Officials who will attempt to characterize our movement as violent.
I have never endorsed or promoted violence in this Movement simply because it plays right into the hands of the individuals and Agencies who oppress us.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice, F.B.I., D.H.S., and numerous Federal and State Law Enforcement and Intelligence Agencies are fully equipped to deal with violence.
However as prisoners finally become visible in the media we must use this opportunity to convey our thoughts and demands in an intelligent, pragmatic, and respectful manner.
What scares T.D.C.J. about this movement is not the violence - it is the prospect of two things:
1.) The threat of losing money from having to stop or slow operations of the numerous Texas Correctional Industry Factories which generate millions of Dollars.
2.) Being exposed in the main-stream media as an Agency which exploits, oppresses, and abuses human beings in their care.
On top of being a spokespersyn for our movement I am also a proud member of the Industrial Workers of the World and the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee. Before I leave you I want to briefly state our Demands:
1.) On a National Level we want Presidential Candidates Hillary Clinton or Jill Stein to craft Legislation that will Abolish Prison Slavery by Amending the 13th Amendment.
2.) In Texas we want the Following:
A.) Good Time & Work Time credits which actually reduce our prison terms - All of us, not some!
B.) An Oversight Committee for T.D.C.J.
C.) Right to an Attorney on Habeas Filings
D.) Abolish the $100 Medical Co-pay System
E.) Humane Living Conditions & Treatment
There are no Racial issues we have - it is well understood that there are Black, White, Latino - Asian and Arab human beings who SUFFER inside Texas Prisons.
We are pleading with the World to hear our cries for Freedom and Humane Conditions. I leave you all as I came in Peace.
In Solidarity - Malik

Friday, August 26, 2016

NJ Solidarity w/ Sept 9 Multi-State Incarcerated Work Stoppage

On September 9, 2016 on the 45th. Anniversary of the start of the Atiica State Prison uprising that led to the massacre called by then NY State Governor Nelson Rockefeller, prisoners in multiple states around the US are preparing for a work stoppage to protest enslavement in incarcerated facilities throughout the US.

Peoples Organization for Progress and Decarcerate the Garden State joined in a letter calling for protests around NJ in solidarity with the action and demand and in support of Decarceration, freedom for political prisoners and improved conditions for those inside carceral facilities.

In NJ we demand:
End Prison Enslavement: 13th Amendment Keeps Enslavement Intact and it is organized through the US federal, state and local incarceration (“corrections”) system
Freedom for all political prisoners in the USA
Mass Decarceration and Immediate Commutation Relief in Response to the 12:1 Racial Disparity in NJ Incarceration Probabilities
Improved Conditions Inside All NJ Corrections and Detention Facilities

Initial Letter from POP and Decarcerate the Garden State

 Partial lists of actions:

Newark - Coordinated by POP:

Newark County Superior Courthouse
Newark, NJ
Friday Sept 9 (9/9)
3 – 6 pm
101 S 5th St, Camden, New Jersey
Friday Sept 9 (9/9)
1:30 – 5:30 pm
Leafleting and if numbers permit rallying

Thursday, September 8 at 3:30 PM - 7 PM
Join community members from across the state to urge elected officials to stop making money from the incarceration of immigrants. Hudson County has been profiting off the prison system. We will march from the Hudson County Jail, which holds immigrants in jail on behalf of ICE for a cost, to the Hudson County Freeholder meeting.

Únase a miembros de nuestra comunidad de alrededor el estado para pedir que los elegidos paren de ganar dinero por encarcelar a inmigrantes. El condado de Hudson está ganando dinero de la cárcel. Vamos a marchar de la cárcel de Hudson, cual detiene a inmigrantes a nombre de la migra por un costo, a la reunión de los representantes del condado.

Start of March: 30-35 Hackensack Ave, Kearny, NJ 07032
End of March: 567 Pavonia Avenue, Jersey City, NJ 07306. 

Route will be 3.5 miles, wear comfortable clothing.

Co-Sponsors: Action 21, Migrante New Jersey
A coffeehouse of music, poetry and discussion 
Inspired by and in memory of Coalition member Marc Shapiro

Saturday, September 10, 7:30 pm
Reformed Church, 19-21 South 2 nd Ave., Highland Park


Struggles Inside: Organizing Against Inhumane Prison Conditions


Marshall Rountree, Social and criminal justice reform advocate. Recently released after serving 23 years in prison, many of them in solitary confinement

Additional Speaker: To be announced

Poetry: Rahime Hicks and Marshall Rountree

Central Jersey Coalition Against Endless War   

For additional information call Ellen at 732-771-7882
Statewide campus leafleting 8 am – 6pm
On September 9 (also known as 9/9), prison laborers throughout the country will begin a work stoppage to protest inhumane working and living conditions, just as the prisoners in Attica State Correctional Facility did on September 9, 1971 after their formal grievances and concerns were consistently ignored by the state. Decarcerate NJ is organizing events across NJ to take place on or about September 9 in order to raise awareness about the work stoppage, the inhumane conditions being protested, and to express solidarity with the prison workers who have been abused and exploited for their labor for decades. 
One of our goals for September 9 is to get student supporters from as many NJ college campuses as possible to hand out leaflets in their dining areas at breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner. The leaflets will be two-sided -- one side providing information about 9/9, Decarcerate NJ’s solidarity efforts, and Decarcerate NJ’s contact information, the other side containing information about the campus organization(s) participating in the leafleting and local efforts to work towards decarceration.
In order to meet our goal, we need at least one point person -- student, faculty, staff member, or student group -- from each campus where leafleting will occur. The point person or point people at each campus will be in charge of creating the local organizing side of the flier, printing, making any signs or t-shirts to wear while leafleting, and of course recruiting volunteers to help hand out fliers. If you or your student group are interested in handing out leaflets on 9/9, please contact me as soon as possible with your name, your student group (if applicable), and the campus you will be leafleting at. Additionally, feel free to contact me with any questions, concerns, or requests for help.
Lastly, there is a possible solidarity event on September 10 in Plainfield. This event is in the planning stages but would be hosted by Plainfield youth and feature liberationist music and art to celebrate the unity in struggle for decarceration. There may be additional 9/9 events in other cities across the state organized by members of Decarcerate NJ. More information about the possible Plainfield event and any others which materialize will be released as soon as possible.
Thank you for taking the time to read through this letter and engage in the discussion around decarceration. We hope to see you out in your schools for 9/9!

Jennie Chenkin
Facebook: Jennie Chenkin

Phone: (908) 967-4095
Rowan University Panel Discussion Sept 15 – Stay Tuned for Details

Details possibly to be announced elsewhere including Trenton and Jersey City


Please join us to protest the failure of the U.S. Attorney's Office to indict the Bridgeton, NJ police officers that shot and killed Jerame Reid. Come to the protest on Monday, August 29th, 4:30pm at the Federal Building, 970 Broad Street in Newark, NJ. For more information call People's Organization For Progress (POP) at (973)801-0001.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016


Courtesy of Free Ohio Movement

They have given me thirty (30) days restrictions. It was a deliberate plan to cut off my direct communications with the outside world prior to the national event/action, notwithstanding their own policy only permits them to suspend my privileges for a period of up to two hundred eighty-eight hours (See paragraph (C) of rule 5120:1-10-12 of the Administrative Code or disciplinary isolation.) This restriction policy became effective 2/16/2016.
I agree that prison officials are "so used to being invisible and hiding its corruption and abuses from the public"; however, we must reveal what happened in my recent situation. Thus continue to work with the media and attorneys to expose the problems in my case. (I plan on filing my appeal to the Warden on Monday.)
There are three of us--Keith Dewitt Jr., David Martin and myself--still on hunger strike. We are all Muslims and are dissatisfied with the contract Imam's work performance, treatment of Muslims, and using his position to remove Muslims from their services merely because they disagree with some of his teachings. The others that were on the hunger strike were showing their solidarity about me being wrongfully put in the hole. They were demanding that I be released from isolation. When that materialized, they ended their strike.

Hereunder are some of the problems in my case:
1. The incident allegedly took place on July 22nd; however, an incident report was not written until August 1st. The charge is very, very serious and no one would wait for 10 days before writing an incident report if it was true.
2. They then waited 8 more days before placing me in the hole (on August 9th) with a conduct report for a Rule 59 violation: Any act not otherwise set forth herein, knowingly done which constitutes a threat to the security of the institution, its staff, other inmates, or to the acting inmate.
3. The above conduct report was dismissed/thrown out and another one was written on 08/15/2016. This was done to embellish and magnify the report.
4. The reporting staff member's signature should appear on the conduct report; however, this is not the case in my situation. Imam Said Ismail's signature is not on mine; instead, Lt. K. Sample signed it. I hear the Imam should have signed it Friday (August 19th), that would be a day after my conviction by the RIB (the Rule Infraction Board). That's unlawful! The written staff member's signature should appear on the report before the RIB hearing is conducted.
5. The RIB has the authority to "Order restrictions on personal privileges following an inmate's abuse of such privileges or facilities or when such action is deemed necessary by the warden for the safety and security of the institution, or the well-being of the inmate. Such restrictions shall continue only as long as it is reasonably necessary." Since I did not violate or abuse any of my phone and/or Kiosk privileges, why am I on 30 days phone and Kiosk restrictions? The simple answer is, they wanted to deny me direct access and communications to the outside world until after September 9th.
6. According to 5120:1-10-13 Violations and penalties, "Major rule violations shall be subject to restriction or suspension of the privileges and/or qualified rights enumerated in paragraph (C) of rule 5120:1-10-12 of the Administrative Code or disciplinary isolation, for a period of up to two hundred eighty-eight hours." That will merely be 12 days of restrictions. So why am I on 30 days of phone and Kiosk restrictions? This policy became effective 2/16/2016.
Not only was my rights to a fair and impartial hearing was violated, the penalty imposed on me was excessive. It clearly shows OSP was out to get me; hence, the reason for the fabricated charge. Even if the Warden or his designee were to refer my case back to the RIB panel for reconsideration when there is procedural errors have obviously occurred, I am convinced the outcome would be the same.
Therefore, let's keep up the pressure and expose OSP's diabolical scheme for all and sundry to see. If we don't, I'm convinced they will eventually fabricate more charges on me in the upcoming weeks, months and years.
Until again, I remain unbroken and in the trenches.
With revolutionary love and salute,
Imam Siddique Abdullah Hasan
Share this e-mail with Rick, Jeff, Queen T, and the rest of the world.


As a veteran of anti-war protest – I have always been on the side of the inter movement debate that has supported the position of US OUT NOW!  There have always been proponents that would attack that position as unrealistic – and instead support schemes including sanctions (which kill almost as good as bombs do) and complicated cease fire negotiation schemes.  Often those with the schemes that allow the war to continue are often also proponents of Democratic Party candidates – they thus support war-lite positions to give false peace credentials to their war making allies in government.
We are at the same point with the demand for an end to mass incarceration.

I would suggest that probably every or nearly every political office holder has the position that there are “too many” prisoners.  There are many incremental schemes – 5 year plans – 10 year plans . . . proposals where those that might eventually get some degree of relief from their current harsh sentences have to conform to rigid programs preparing them for “return” then intensive monitoring (supporting the prison monitoring security equipment companies) once they get limited release from incarceration.

Given NJ’s reprehensible – worse in the nation – probability of incarceration disparity – where Black NJ residents have a TWELVE TO ONE greater probability to end up incarcerated as NJ’s white residency – OUT NOW! Is a legitimate demand.

Let’s demand IMMEDIATE COMMUTATION RELIEF for NJ’s incarcerated and a full fledged investigation of how NJ earned this infamous worse in the nation disparity.

A simple demand for immediate commutations . . . instead of trying to embrace complicated reforms that are being bantered about – could possibly garner public support and create the kind of pressure that could expedite any actual relief that gets meted out.

Face it – with the 12:1 disparity – that means that many incarcerated should likely never have been arrested, many should never have been sentenced, many sentences should never have been as lengthy, many have been over charged and forced into plea arrangements when their was scanty evidence against them to begin with.

We need to make the demands that resources be allocated to exposing these disparities in NJ criminal justice and that commutation be immediately provided to those that have been victimized by these racial aspects of NJ’s so called criminal justice.