Jalil in the SHU
for Teaching Afro-American History

 

Jalil Muntaqim has been in the SHU since December 6th for teaching Black History - a course approved by the administration. He's taught Black History for almost 2 months, now teaching about the 1960’s, anti-Vietnam War movement and the Black Panther Party.

 

We believe Jalil was written up because the authorities didn’t like what he was teaching, so he was placed in the SHU with 5 charges.

 

This is part of an ongoing program to censor Jalil, which escalated this year after he beat charges for writing a letter to an outside organization and was denied newspapers from the outside.

 

Following is Jalil's letter detailing what occurred:

 

December 14, 2016

 

Dear Anne:

 

As you probably heard, I’ve been placed in SHU with a penalty of 8 months, suspending 4 months for 6 months, having to do 4 months. The charges were: 105.13 Gangs, 105.11 Unauthorized Addresses, 105.14 Unauthorized Organization, 104.11 Violent Conduct, 104.12 Demonstration.

 

This all stems from a class on Black History that I was approved to give and had been teaching for a couple of months, starting in 1861-62 with the Confiscation Act, and now in the 1960’s dealing with the Black Panther Party. During the course of the lecture I presented the 8 Points of Attention:

 

1. Speak Politely; 2. Pay Fairly for What You Buy; 3. Return Everything You Borrow; 4. Pay for Everything You Damage; 5. Do Not Hit or Swear at People; 6. Do Not Damage the Property or Crops of the Poor Oppressed People/Masses; 7. Do Not Take Liberties with Women; 8. If We Take Captives, Do Not Ill Treat Them.

 

This was presented discussing the ethics of the Panthers and how these Points of Attention engendered good relationships with the people in the community. I should have known they would ignore everything but Point 8.

 

Also, I offered an analogy, comparing and contrasting the BPP with the Bloods, stating they need to get organized, get away from criminal behavior and tribal warfare. If they did they could be a large army for the people. I was asked how to make that possible, and I answered they need to get a universal newspaper together that they could collectively contribute to. They interpret this that I was trying to organize them.

 

The Tier III hearing officer, Mr. Marche, dismissed the charge of 105.11 Unauthorized Addresses and 105.14 Unauthorized Organization, finding me guilty of 105.13 Gangs, 104.11 Violent Conduct, and 104.12 Demonstration.

 

I’ve written to Prisoners Legal Services in Buffalo asking them to consider representing me on appeal. If they agree, I’ll still be sitting here for 60 days waiting for a decision.

 

As you know, I have been suffering intense harassment, first messing with my mail, trying to put me in SHU for writing to I Am We Prison Advocacy Network, then denying me receipt of The Militant newspaper, now succeeding by taking comments out of a 1 and a half hour lecture and cobbling them into a narrative to fit rule violations, removing them from the original context and intent. Given the recent NY Times newspaper articles exposing the racist practices of both disciplinary hearings and parole board decisions, it is apparent the harsh penalty in this case coincides with the findings of the NY Times articles.

 

In this regard, it is important that folk know this seemingly unrelenting harassment is consistent with the NYS Correctional Officers Association’s alliance with the PBA’s opposition to my release on parole. With the growing and mounting campaign to persuade Gov. Cuomo to grant my application to commute the sentence, these entities are mounting a campaign to thwart any possibility for success at the parole board. We must vigorously condemn this disciplinary sanction and demand that it be reversed. But just as importantly, we need to further expose the racist nature of the disciplinary process and correctional guards/administrators persistent efforts to prohibit my release on parole.

 

In this regard, I also ask you to try to contact the writers of the NY Times articles and urge them to investigate this disciplinary sanction. They can get a copy of the video tape of the class and audio tapes from the hearing.…

 

Until next time.

 

Revolutionary Love and Unity,
Jalil

 

Dear Friends and Supporters:


For certain I will be here until March 21, 2017, since Albany DOCCS affirmed the disciplinary conviction and excessive sanctions. DOCCS SHU Commissioner D. Venettozzi did this while Prisoners' Legal Service of Buffalo, who were to file a Supplemental Brief on the appeal, never received the records of the Tier III disciplinary hearing. PLS also never received the audio or video recordings, in violation of my due process rights on appeal.

 

Essentially, DOCCS is adamant about violating prisoners' first amendment rights of speech and being able to express our beliefs. The disciplinary proceedings and appeal process further confirm what was reported in the NY Times articles of Dec. 4 and 5, 2016. Hence, was my being placed in SHU on Dec. 6 a coincidence?

 

These DOCCS discriminatory practices must be exposed and challenged by all freedom loving people!

 

In the Spirit of Nelson Mandela

Jalil A. Muntaqim
Feb. 19, 2017

Dear Friends and Supporters:

 

Thank you all for extending your concern for my well being and supporting our continuing social media blast to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in demanding he grants my application to commute this sentence to time served.

 

While we are happy for Judith Clark, we must realize there is something inherently disturbing. When we compare our records of accomplishments in prison and the extent of community support, Gov. Cuomo’s decision presents questions about racial injustices in the decision-making processes in New York State.

 

The New York Times December 4 and 5, 2016 exposé of NYS DOCCS and Board of Parole’s overt racist practices left little to the imagination about what can be aptly described as apartheid. Gov. Cuomo proclaimed on December 6, 2016 that he would order a top-down investigation into discriminatory and biased practices in both the prison and parole system. However, his recent clemency decision indicates he is unable to lead by example.

 

The Scourge of Racial Bias in New York State's Prisons

 

For Blacks Facing Parole in New York State, Signs of a Broken System

 

Governor Cuomo Orders Investigation of Racial Bias in N.Y. State Prisons

 

Again, I am elated Judith Clark was granted clemency. I knew Judy long before she became a prisoner. In fact, the last time I saw here was on a visit in Attica in the late 1970’s. Yet, understandably, the issue is one of Black political prisoners suffering the government’s relentless vindictive posture of retaliation for our failure to succumb to white supremacy. Sundiata Acoli, Veronza Bowers, Dr. Mutulu Shakur, Herman Bell, Seth Hayes, to name a few, languish in prison because of the racial policy of the government. Therefore, my observation of Gov. Cuomo’s clemency decision is based on historical and pragmatic analysis that must be pointed out as we proceed in the fight for freedom.

 

In this regard, I’ve asked we increase the social media blast directed to Gov. Cuomo’s office to two days a month for the next six months. Each second and fourth Wednesday of the month, we should call, text, email, tweet and use whatever social media method to ensure he gets the message of our dissatisfaction with his failure to grant my application to commute this sentence to time served.

 

Beyond that, I would like to open a second front to achieve our goals. Specifically, I am asking all New York City and State activists to identify a member of the Black and Puerto Rican Legislative Caucus, and inquire why they have not challenged Gov. Cuomo on his lackluster approach in tackling the pervasive racially discriminatory practices in the New York State prison and parole system. These elected officials should not get a pass, and our activist community needs to establish a direct-action determination in making these representatives know that in 2017 they will be made to step up in response to our struggle for substantial institutional changes in the overall criminal (in)justice system in New York State. They each should be told to demand Gov. Cuomo grant my application in “good faith” if he is serious about ending racial and biased practices in the prison and parole system — To lead by example!

 

It is incumbent on the activist community to step up the work … the New York Times exposure has provided the irrefutable foundation to make these demands on these elected officials. We only need to have the unrelenting audacity to demand the kind of government practices we believe should govern.

 

Thank you for your support. I will continue to teach and speak truth to power from behind the walls, but my freedom, like the rest of Black political prisoners, depends on the “Power of the People” to rise up and fight for freedom.

 

In the Spirit of Nelson Mandela
in Apartheid NYS Prison System

 

Amandla! Amandla! Amandla!

 

Jalil A. Muntaqim
Southport, January 11, 2017

 

Remember: We Are Our Own Liberators!