Statement from Wayland Coleman on the events of June 3, 2020.

Last night at around 10pm correctional officers approach the cell that I’m held captive in solitary confinement in and said I needed to pack up my stuff because I am being shipped out to Old Colony Correctional Center. I told them that I am refusing this unlawful move do to the fact that I have underlying medical issues, The prison they want to transfer me to has had a Covid-19 and coronavirus outbreak. There are no cases here in Gardner, so due to my health, I will respectfully refuse to move to that unsafe place.

They came back to my cell with riot gear on and gassed me.

Yesterday, my brother Adrian went to the State prison in Garder Massachusetts to do a wellness check on me, (his younger brother) seeing that I had already been in solitary confinement for more than 30 days for feeding other prisoners during this pandemic. He was told by on duty sergeant in the lobby that he was trespassing and needed to leave the property immediately as he radioed in some call over his walkie. Adrian then began leaving the property and was immediately approach by another officer with a Gun on his person. Adrian told that officer that he was here for a wellness check on his brother, that officer also told Adrian to leave the property. The officer with the gun, drove a vehicle to follow Adrian off the property.

Pictures were taken of the sign at the front of the property. See case law M.G.L. c. 266 S123

I finally experienced this new chemical that they’ve developed to spray us with. it’s pretty excruciating. it completely shuts your lungs down and it feels like there’s a hole being burned straight through the middle of your chest. i’ve never coughed so hard in my life. imagine inhaling maybe a half cup of black pepper straight into the lungs, not swallowing but breathing it in through the mouth. the burn and the continuous increase of the pain… that on top of coughing, choking, and spitting up all of the mucus you can handle. the cough is so hard and loud — it’s the hardest cough you’ll ever push out because your body rejects the stuff so violently — and at the end of each violent cough, you’re forced to take a breath in, which causes you to take in another round of gas. your eyes are glued shut because it feels like your eyeballs are being melted into your skull with a torch, so your body doesn’t allow you to open them. on top of all the pain and suffering your body’s going through on the inside, your skin feels like someone doused you with gas and lit a match. that’s what i went through last night.

I don’t understand how that kind of pain works within the so-called rehabilitative environment. it didn’t rehabilitate me or make me respect authority, it just made me angry to see how they wanted to do me harm. i didn’t like the white men in riot gear standing over me, having fun at my expense. but my head’s up, i’m okay and i’m strong. i’m just pissed off.

— Wayland Coleman

In struggle, Wayland "X" Coleman

No protection, no supplies, and now no water?

We learned today from one of our inside organizers that the commissary at MCI-Norfolk suddenly removed bottled water as an item that can be ordered by folks who are incarcerated.

This comes amidst the COVID-19 pandemic that has already killed 3 incarcerated people in MA. Folks behind the wall are forced to pay for sufficient hygiene products, cannot practice physical distancing, are punished for wearing homemade masks, and are confined to their units 24 hours a day under a new lockdown order in all MA prisons this past weekend.

Given well-documented water contamination at MCI-Norfolk, we demand answers and that free bottled water, protective equipment, and hygiene products be given to people inside immediately.

We need your help:

1) Please call MCI-Norfolk using the call script below immediately and magnify our demands. Comment below when you have made the calls!

2) We also amplify our sisters’ demands from Building Up People Not Prisons, take action with them today as well: tinyurl.com/maweekofaction


MCI Norfolk Superintendent
508-660-5900 x211

DOC Commissioner, Carol Mici
508-422-3302
carol.mici@state.ma.us

Hello, my name is ___________. I’m calling because I am alarmed to hear that bottled water has been removed as an option on commissary at MCI-Norfolk. This is unacceptable and incarcerated people and their loved ones deserve answers. Why did this happen?

In light of the pandemic, will you commit to doing everything in your power to distribute sufficient free bottled water, hygiene products, and protective equipment to the people in your care immediately?

Urgent need to #FreeCountry

***Please read this urgent letter from one of our incarcerated friends and organizers, Michael Mauney (aka Country), who is at extremely high risk of dying of COVID-19 once the virus gets into MCI-Norfolk. We ask you to share this post and write to DA Rachael Rollins to secure his release. We must #FreeCountry and #FreeThemAll.***

“To all of my family, friends, and supporters:

I truly appreciate the love and support that all of you have shown to me throughout the years. These almost two decades have been full of trials and tribulations, but also have been marked by some joyous moments of happiness. No matter the struggles, we have been through and almost seen it all, even if only for a moment. I have cherished and learned from you all. For that I am forever grateful.

In the wake of the current Covid-19 pandemic there has been a national conversation around decarcerating the prison population. Due to the inability of incarcerated persons to practice social distancing, the lack of quality medical care and lack of available hygiene resources to combat a potential outbreak inside the walls, prison is ripe and ready to erupt with the spread of the corona virus. Many District Attorneys, Legislators, Community Leaders, Activist, Educators, and Parole departments are in support of releasing incarcerated persons who pose no physical threat to society. They are also in support of releasing incarcerated persons that have been deemed as vulnerable populations due to health issues such as heart disease, asthma, and diabetes among others.

Today I am advocating that I be released from prison on parole in order to preserve my life in response to the danger of the covid-19 pandemic. From the beginning I have taken responsibility and accountability by pleading guilty to the harms I committed. However, due to my ignorance and misguidance of the law at the time, I was given an excessive “from and after” sentence structure which extended my possibly of being eligible for parole after serving 15 years. If my sentence was fixed, it would qualify me to have a parole hearing immediately, but due to the crisis I am asking to be seen earlier than my expected date of 2027.

Because I am a parole eligible lifer, according to pending legislation my case should be screened for possible release on parole. My prison record is impeccable as I have been any thing but short in being a model incarcerated person. I have completed nearly every program the Department of Corrections offers and even have served in leadership roles in most of them. These programs include but are not limited to African American Coalition Committee, Norfolk Inmate Council Education Committee, Restorative Justice Group, Correctional Recovery Academy, and Jericho Circle. I have also successfully completed two vocational programs with earned licences in both (barbering and welding) from Massachusetts Barber Board and the Massachusetts Highway and Bridge Division respectfully. Furthermore, I recently graduated with a Bachelor Degree with Magna Cum Laude honors from Boston University’s Prison Education Program. Therefore, I am fully rehabilitated and do not pose a threat to public safety due to the many tools that have been taught to me in order of not re-offending.

In addition to the plethora of work put into bettering myself for the future, I fit the definition to the letter of what the C.D.C. has determined who is the most vulnerable populations of succumbing to the Covid-19 crisis. On February 15, 2019 at the age of 40, I had a heart attack and a stint was placed into the right-coronary artery which showed 79% blockage at the time. Soon after my hospitalization it was determined that I have heart disease. I am currently listed as chronic care and am being treated with medication for hypertension, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, prediabetes, asthma, and other minor illnesses. If the virus makes it behind the wall
and I contract it it will likely put me down.

Here is where I need you all:

I am asking that you all write letters in addition to emailing and/or calling the Suffolk County District Attorneys Office in support of my immediate release on parole as a result of my vulnerability to the Corona virus. As I am currently housed in the state of Massachusetts which has become a hot-bed for the spread of the Covid-19, I am asking to be paroled/released to my uncle’s and aunt’s home (Mr. and Mrs. Rufus Friday) in the state of Kentucky. I am asking that you all advocate to the District Attorney’s to have my consecutive sentencing structure fixed to concurrent to make me truly eligible now. In your letters I ask you to include not only the language written throughout this call to action but please include some of the following:

  • What is your relationship me?
  • How long have you known me?
  • If any, what impact have I had in your life?
  • Why do you feel I should be paroled earlier than I am supposed to be.
  • How could you support me once released?
  • While incarcerated, how has our relationship grown, or gotten worse?
  • How sure are you that I will honor my parole conditions and how will you assist?
  • Have you seen growth in me and in what ways?
  • How would you feel if something happened to me as a result of getting covid-19?

These are just some prompts to follow but whatever you choose to write or say, you can. I really want to make my request for early parole based upon the outbreak of this virus that could potentially hurt me while being in prison here. I ask that you support me in this cause. I am more than qualified and ready to return home and do not want to die in prison.

You can email me or write me at: mlmauneyII@gmail.com or corrlinks

or

Michael L. Mauney II, W101821
MCI-Norfolk
P.O. Box 43
Norfolk, MA 02056

You can write, email, or call and share your petition and this one with Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins at:

Rachael Rollins
One Bulfinch Place
Boston, MA 02114
617-619-4000
email at: Rachael.Rollins@MassMail.State.MA.US

Thank you all for the love. This matter is urgent. I have a timeline of April 30th. I hope to hear from you soon.

In solidarity,
Michael L Mauney II
aka Country”

call in for Juan, report back

(optional)
(eg, how did the call go? did they offer any information?)

Mutual Aid Project Targeted

As most of you already know, one of the initiatives that we’ve been working on in 2019 has been a project that allows people inside to help meet the needs of other incarcerated and detained people through a Patreon subscription service that also publishes media from inside.

So far, we have sent back every penny that we’ve raised (and then some) to make sure that our family inside has what they need. All of these transactions have been recorded on a ledger and all receipts have been saved. Nevertheless, we were informed earlier this week that one of our inside organizers was questioned about the funds and told that the Department considers trafficking drugs to be the only explanation for why someone on the outside would send money to complete strangers.

This is emblematic of why we oppose prisons, detention and policing altogether: to believe in the logic of the carceral system requires us to suspend our love and support for each other, to see our own needs and those of the state as the only needs that matter.

This logic is the foundation of prisons, where prisoners face time in solitary confinement for simply sharing bottled water or toothpaste. Prisoners and detainees are forbidden from corresponding with one another, and when people are paroled, they are forbidden from staying in contact with their loved ones still inside. For many, this means leaving the only family they have left.

When people are released, they are also forbidden from giving their possessions to people still inside. People who recycle radios or fans are accused of theft and given disciplinary tickets. As of 2018, family members with more than one loved one inside are unable to visit, and attempts by prisoners to send money to family are routinely stymied.

It was in the spirit of trying to address this that we created the Solidarity Network platform, and it’s in this spirit that we intend to continue to do so.

Time and again we see that staff are the primary traffickers of drugs into prisons. And yet, the DOC uses the spectre of drugs and drug use to keep families apart and deny prisoners access to their support systems. The DOC uses this spectre to deny prisoners necessary medical treatment and pain management while conducting violent, violating shakedowns and “security” practices against prisoners and their visitors. Many of our inside members have endured recovery from surgery with no more than Tylenol. We see through this.

We ask supporters to be ready to take action should the DOC continue to escalate its intimidation and retaliation against prisoners and their loved ones. We keep us safe and we are all we have.

Call-in report: phone zap for James

This is to help us track the DOC’s responses. While the calls are most important, these also help us shift our messaging and adjust as we need.

Phone zap: demand that James be allowed to help his family bury his sister

CALL TO ACTION: MAKE A PHONE CALL & SHARE

The MA DOC is at it again. 

We received word earlier this week that one of our friends at MCI-Norfolk, James Horton, was denied access to his sister’s funeral. James meets all of the qualifications required under the DOC regulations for a 24-hour transport to attend the funeral of a relative. While these regulations allow funeral passes, the DOC regularly denies such requests, preventing people inside from being able to grieve the loss of family members in person. 

In this case, not only was James forced to miss his sister’s funeral, he was also forbidden from sending out $400 to help his family cover the funeral costs. This is a new DOC regulation within the last year that attempts to separate people from their communities further by preventing them from providing financial support with what little wages they make inside. 

It’s been a while since we’ve asked you all to make phone calls. James has asked for our help. Can you make a call today to demand he be allowed to help his family grieve? 

Please leave a comment when you’ve called to let us know how the superintendent responds.

**CALL SCRIPT**

Call MCI-Norfolk superintendent Steven Silva at (508) 660-5900 x 211

Hi, my name is (your name). I am a friend/concerned citizen calling on behalf of a prisoner there, James Horton, W108660. James’s sister recently died. He was denied the ability to attend her funeral and to send out $400 to support funeral costs. This is in violation of the very regulations the DOC claims to follow. I am calling to demand that he be allowed to help his family grieve. Can you confirm that he will be allowed to send $400 to the funeral home?

 

Hands up! Mics on! …and more

We are so excited to promote this amazing event that Black Lives Matter Boston is generously holding to support our work! Please please turn out if you are able, it will be an awesome show with amazing live music and tickets can be purchased in advance or at the door. Please RSVP so organizers can know what kind of turnout to expect.

“Hands up! Mics On!” is Friday, September 13th, starting at 5pm at the Democracy CenterFor accessibility information, click here.

 


We also want to acknowledge that so much is happening this weekend in so-called “New England” and we want to promote the excellent work of other groups challenging the carceral state. We know that it is literally impossible to be at everything but we want to encourage everyone who is able to do so to come out. 

This entire weekend, Cosecha Massachusetts will be taking the State House to task for 15 years of false promises to the immigrant community for the ENTIRE WEEKEND from Sept 13 at 10am – Sept 15 at 7pm. On the near endless list of crimes this state has committed against our neighbors, the refusal to provide drivers licenses has been one of the clearest affronts to so-called “sanctuary” status. For those who are unaware, traffic stops are one of the single largest entry points into the criminal legal system for people of color, with the added threat of possible detention and deportation for undocumented immigrants. Parents have been kidnapped by ICE just for taking their kids to school, and plutocrats like Charlie Baker have been making empty promises around providing a license option to immigrant groups for going on 15 years. There are a panoply of events within this weekend of action. 

ALSO: Tomorrow at 5:30pm, the Donald Wyatt Detention Center is holding their regular board meeting, which they cancelled this Monday due to fears of mass protest. This was unsuccessful as resistance is already mobilizing. There are currently threats of selling the facility to a private group like GEO or CoreCivic, both of which are companies that run concentration camps for ICE (see our #NoMoreCages posts for more). It is ESSENTIAL that potential buyers see that there will be no end to the opposition they will face if they move forward with this bid, and that NO ONE is backing down. Support groups like AMOR, FANG and Never Again Action as they continue to throw down to make sure business as usual is impossible. 

The Prisoner Podcast

We are excited to announce the launching of a project that we’ve been working on for a while now, The Prisoner Podcast which will air live every Wednesday, hosted by brothers Adrian Coleman and Wayland “X” Coleman from both sides of the razor wire. 

One of the main difficulties in prison abolition work has been the dialectic of being prisoner-led without the ability to have prisoner voices live at most free-world organizing events. We believe that the most essential component of forging any true meaningful path to liberation involves actively pursuing ways to change this, and we aim to chronicle this process live. To date, Deeper Than Water has brought currently-incarcerated voices to protests, teach-ins, panel discussions and even a funeral where inside family were able to call in from the unit and participate in the memorial service. We hope to keep pushing these boundaries. 

Disallowing prisoner voices from communicating with the outside world, as well as the immoral prohibition on communication between currently and formerly incarcerated people, remains one of the most actively harmful policies of the carceral state. The state knows that a united people is the greatest threat to hegemony and will do anything in its power to stop this. 

At this stage, the show will be broadcast live every Wednesday at 7pm on this Youtube channel. Audio recordings will be posted to our SoundCloud page the following day and released on the Patreon page. The overall aim for this project is to provide direct access to what is happening inside, without interference from state or corporate actors. Adrian & Wayland will also be discussing political theory as it pertains to prison abolition. 

 

Prisoner Podcast News:

As many of you know, the Department of Correction has retaliated against Adrian by cutting off access to his brother. For Wayland’s statement, see the Soundcloud link above, or listen to the second episode of The Prisoner here: [ Soundcloud | Youtube ]